In 1950, there were 2.5 billion humans. Today there are just over 7 billion. In another 30 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, there will be more than 9 billion.
Brad Lyon has a doctoral degree in mathematics and does software development. He wanted to make those numbers visual. Last year he and designer Bill Snebold made a hugely popular interactive simulation map of births and deaths in the U.S. alone—the population of which is on pace to increase 44 percent by 2050. Now, Lyon takes on the world.
"This one for world births/deaths is certainly more overwhelming than the one for the U.S.," Lyon told me, "and the rate at which they must be occurring gives another glimpse into how big the world is."
That is to say, watch this and everything you're worried about today becomes nothing. That's a healthy perspective, to a degree.
"What got me interested initially," Lyon said, "was simply curiosity about what the pattern of births and deaths might be like, based on the current rates, coupled with the desire to learn more about some of the newer technologies for the web."