The number of people on this planet is a pretty mindboggling number if on stops to think about it. Here is a world population clock: http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
Exponential growth is crazy, especially over a span of centuries. It seems like only yesterday (1999) when there were only 6 billion people on the planet. The world hit 5 billion people in 1987. Being that there are 6.7 billion people now, the human population on earth has grown roughly 12% in the past decade.
6.7 billion is a pretty big number. My pet comparison has been the amount of gold on the planet per person. The total amount of gold produced (in ~1997) is roughly 3.4 billion troy ounces, which in a sensible unit of measurement is 3.7 billion ounces. There is thus less than one ounce of mined gold per living person, which in my mind is good enough reason to not have a gold standard.
Gold production is roughly 80 million ounces per year, which is also roughly the current number of additional people born per year (i.e. births minus deaths). That is a lot of people. Over twice as many people as live in California, every year. Enough people are born in 4 years to comprise the entire current population of the United States. Kind of crazy to think about, especially because that entire population will be shitting their pants.
The big 7 billion is coming in 2011.
A corollary to this is that a lot of people die each year. Overall mortality is around 1%, meaning around 60 million people die every year. So much death…