Malthusian Musings: Linear vs. Exponential Deathmatch

"The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world."
                - Thomas Robert Malthus

Wikipedia relates that:
The English political economist and demographer Thomas Robert Malthus FRS (13 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) analyzed population growth and noted the potential for populations to increase rapidly, often faster than the food supply available to them. Commentators may refer to such a runaway scenario, as outlined in Malthus's treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population, as a "Malthusian catastrophe"...

To give a mathematical perspective to his observations, Malthus proposed the idea that population, if unchecked, increases at a geometric rate (i.e. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.), whereas the food-supply grows at an arithmetic rate (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.).

It's been suggested to me that much of the economic mismanagement, and even some opposition to population control measures that some people hold to be misguided in those they disagree with, stem from a fundamental lack of understanding of Malthusian theory. I find this a little oversimplistic, but I could be wrong. What's your take?


I Really Gotta Use My Bad Application

Greetings! In addition to trying to rid myself of browser woes, I seek solutions and/or commiseration for the following problems (in Windows):

  • Thunderbird hogging the CPU or hanging. Have you ever had Mozilla Thunderbird just become unresponsive for no apparent reason, until you have to go into Task Manager and kill it? This doesn't seem to happen much in Linux, although I have had it happen once or twice (where I had to kill it from the command line).

  • Trillian Pro spontaneously losing window dockings. I always attach all of my IM windows to a single container called "Multi-IM", but sometimes, when people send me messages, their window re-docks to "Away". I have Trillian Preferences set to Default Appearance -> Contact Windows -> Container: Multi-IM, so this shouldn't happen.

  • Flash making Firefox unresponsive. Sometimes I will be watching something in YouTube, or just loading a Flash site, when suddenly I get an hourglass or spinning circle, and Firefox just locks up for a few seconds to a minute. There's nothing loading; it just becomes unresponsive. Occasionally the application will ask me if I want to disable scripts on that page (which I take to mean "in that tab for that page", but maybe it persists across tabs?

Anyway, has anyone ever encountered one of the above problems, or heard of them, and if so, do you know of any solutions? Thanks!


The Art of War: Death Ground

XI. The Nine Situations

1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war recognizes nine varieties of ground: (1) Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground; (4) open ground; (5) ground of intersecting highways; (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; (8) hemmed-in ground; (9) desperate ground.

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What is death ground to you?

This is part of a series on The Art of War (孫子兵法) by Sun Zi (孫子).


TV Commercial Premiere Dates

Does anyone know where I can look up the premiere dates of various television commercials? Is there an online directory of them that might have this sort of information? Ideally, I'd like links to YouTube videos.

ETA, 11:05 CDT Wed 26 Nov 2008 - I found SplendAd, which even has a vertical search feature, but it doesn't seem complete.