What-if 0027: "Death Rates"

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pentar
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby pentar » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:43 pm UTC

So am I right in interpreting the second last graphic as Randal estimating humans are extinct circa 2110?

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Moose Anus » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:52 pm UTC

thevicente wrote:Also, considering the other extreme of the pregnancy duration, if someone dies during the sex act there was a chance the partner die too of fear, or be scarred for life never wanting to have sex again, thus affecting further the fertilty rate, etc
This could also create necrophiliacs. If someone only porks corpses they're not going to get a baby either.
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:05 pm UTC

pentar wrote:So am I right in interpreting the second last graphic as Randal estimating humans are extinct circa 2110?
No, I think that's just his rough estimate of when everyone still alive today will have died. Not accurate, of course, as there will almost certainly be some children today who live past 100, but a fairly good estimate.
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Klear » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:52 am UTC

thevicente wrote:Also, considering the other extreme of the pregnancy duration, if someone dies during the sex act there was a chance the partner die too of fear, or be scarred for life never wanting to have sex again, thus affecting further the fertilty rate, etc


On the other hand, some people will die just before they can kill or castrate somebody.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby philip1201 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:48 pm UTC


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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby mrob27 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:50 pm UTC

Since 13/14 is a bit closer to 93%, I edited the PNG for the last image:

Image

(but I didn't bother to retain the transparency, I think it's better opaque)
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby zaphodbeebledoc » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:24 pm UTC

When do the extra deaths start? Is it something that just happens, or are government agencies responsible? If the former, how long would it take for people to notice? Would it be hushed-up? If so, would the birth rate be affected that much? The answer to these and more questions next time on, XKCD: Death Rates!
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby dragondave » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:15 pm UTC

There are about twenty countries with death rates below [average]... The death rate in all of these countries is going to go up. It has to, because of math.


Not if there is net immigration of young, healthy workers and net emigration of slightly less young, healthy workers. Some of the countries listed have large non-settling economic migrant populations.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby oscar abraham » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:04 pm UTC

I've been thinking about this part:

The death rate in all of these countries is going to go up. It has to, because of math. It seems intuitively obvious that death rates below 10 per 1,000 are unsustainable. If fewer than one person out of every hundred dies each year (and enough are born to sustain the population) then the average person must have to wait over a hundred years to die—which is clearly not compatible with our current lifespans.


Most of the countries in the workd factbook have a death rate bellow 10 per 1000. It is sugested that they should go up soon, isn't that kind of scary? Maybe we should also take on account the fact that older people tend to die more frequently than younger people, and also the fact that people are born more frequently than they die.

What do you think?

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:05 pm UTC

zaphodbeebledoc wrote:When do the extra deaths start? Is it something that just happens, or are government agencies responsible? If the former, how long would it take for people to notice? Would it be hushed-up? If so, would the birth rate be affected that much? The answer to these and more questions next time on, XKCD: Death Rates!


The (roughly) 50% increase in death rate will be statistically noticeable fairly quickly, at least on a local level. Making the connection that it's happening to everyone may take a bit longer - it depends how often the statistics are compiled to each level. Once the figures are assembled for a large enough population for the effect to be statistically significant (any individual undertaker or coroner is going to see fairly large short-term variation in their client load in the normal course of events anyway, so even a tripling of the long-term death rate wouldn't be immediately obvious on a local level) it should get flagged up, at which point people start actively investigating...

That's assuming that no-one high-profile dies before then, and that there's nothing obviously strange about the individual deaths. If someone notices healthy people dying for no apparent reason, or if a number of celebrities die of genuinely unexplained causes, then someone's going to go digging and uncover the pattern before it turns up naturally.

If the additional deaths are all "ordinary" deaths - the usual mix of disease, stupidity, malice and ignorance - then it's unlikely anyone would catch on before the statistics get pulled together, but once it's noticed, and people start looking for reasons for the increased death rate, it's going to be a tough problem - having each death be individually perfectly consistent with previous years, but there being more of them, distributed evenly across every demographic, is going to confound anyone relying on a reasonable model of cause and effect...

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Klear » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:12 pm UTC

oscar abraham wrote:I've been thinking about this part:

The death rate in all of these countries is going to go up. It has to, because of math. It seems intuitively obvious that death rates below 10 per 1,000 are unsustainable. If fewer than one person out of every hundred dies each year (and enough are born to sustain the population) then the average person must have to wait over a hundred years to die—which is clearly not compatible with our current lifespans.


Most of the countries in the workd factbook have a death rate bellow 10 per 1000. It is sugested that they should go up soon, isn't that kind of scary? Maybe we should also take on account the fact that older people tend to die more frequently than younger people, and also the fact that people are born more frequently than they die.

What do you think?


It's not scary because of the additional deaths - the population will get older on average and and with more old people there will be also more natural deaths. What is scary is the havoc the need to pay pensions will wreak on the economy. Also, is it just me, or is there a lot more advertisements for prostate pills and such lately?

Also also, as dragondave, the low death rates are sustainable because of migration. If a country was to attract a lot of young immigrants and got rid of the old and sick, the death rate could be kept quite low.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby OP Tipping » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:55 am UTC

It seems intuitively obvious that death rates below 10 per 1,000 are unsustainable.


One way to sustain a low death rate is to have a rapidly growing population: this means the percentage of the population over the age of, say, 60 is low.

Of course, in the very long term, a rapidly growing population is unsustainable. There's only so much mass in the observable universe.


BTW check out the low death rate on Iraq. 4.73 per 1000 p.a.
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Klear » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:08 am UTC

OP Tipping wrote:
It seems intuitively obvious that death rates below 10 per 1,000 are unsustainable.


One way to sustain a low death rate is to have a rapidly growing population: this means the percentage of the population over the age of, say, 60 is low.

Of course, in the very long term, a rapidly growing population is unsustainable. There's only so much mass in the observable universe.


You can easily sustain it by expelling all elderly and terminally ill and promoting immigration.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby ijuin » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:02 am UTC

In an "open" system, yes, but not in a "closed" system (e.g. the whole Earth without space travel). Up until the present time, no person has been verified to have lived more than about 125 years from their birth (as reckoned by our Gregorian calendar). This maximum span is likely only to increase significantly over the next few centuries via advances in medicine (possibly including genetic engineering of humans or cybernetics).

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Klear » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:41 am UTC

ijuin wrote:In an "open" system, yes, but not in a "closed" system (e.g. the whole Earth without space travel). Up until the present time, no person has been verified to have lived more than about 125 years from their birth (as reckoned by our Gregorian calendar). This maximum span is likely only to increase significantly over the next few centuries via advances in medicine (possibly including genetic engineering of humans or cybernetics).


Obviously, but the article says "in those countries". He doesn't talk about global death rates in this context.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:18 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:In an "open" system, yes, but not in a "closed" system (e.g. the whole Earth without space travel). Up until the present time, no person has been verified to have lived more than about 125 years from their birth (as reckoned by our Gregorian calendar). This maximum span is likely only to increase significantly over the next few centuries via advances in medicine (possibly including genetic engineering of humans or cybernetics).


So far, advances in medicine have done pretty much nothing to maximum lifespan - it's all been about eliminating premature death, not about increasing potential lifespan. Apparently, the demographics point to an exponential decay once you get old enough, with roughly half the survivors dying in each year, so having more people survive to that point will mean more survive longer - but you need twice as many people surviving to a given age to, on average, add a year to the maximum lifespan.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby mathmannix » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

At some point, if you are the roughly one person in a billion who lives to be 115 or so, is the probability of your dying in the next day pretty high (even if you are perfectly healthy)?
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Klear » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:35 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:At some point, if you are the roughly one person in a billion who lives to be 115 or so, is the probability of your dying in the next day pretty high (even if you are perfectly healthy)?


Odds are that you are not perfectly healthy. If nothing else, your body is would definitely be weaker in many ways. Thinner bones, duller senses, weak heart - all of these will greatly increase the chance of you dying. And if you are perfectly healthy even in those respects? Then I suppose you must be one person in a trillion who'll live to be 125 or so...

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:31 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Apparently, the demographics point to an exponential decay once you get old enough, with roughly half the survivors dying in each year
This is not my understanding. Where did you read this information?

It's my understanding that the way aging affects the mortality rate is that, beyond a certain point, the chance of dying in the next year increases every year you're alive.

mathmannix wrote:At some point, if you are the roughly one person in a billion who lives to be 115 or so, is the probability of your dying in the next day pretty high
The implication being that, this, on average, is indeed true.

mathmannix wrote:(even if you are perfectly healthy)?
But the thing to keep in mind is that, apart from the extra xkcd deaths, people die because of reasons. And the reason someone at 115 is statistically more likely to die the next day than someone at 15 is because they are almost certainly not perfectly healthy.
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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:34 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Apparently, the demographics point to an exponential decay once you get old enough, with roughly half the survivors dying in each year
This is not my understanding. Where did you read this information?

It's my understanding that the way aging affects the mortality rate is that, beyond a certain point, the chance of dying in the next year increases every year you're alive.


I found it on Wikipedia - further investigation on Wikipedia turned up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late-life_ ... celeration which draws on a 2011 paper that concludes that the previously accepted evidence for an eventual fixed chance of dying in the next year was misinterpreted, and the data is consistent with chances continuing to worsen.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby ciochedicoefalso » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:45 pm UTC

Sorry to derail the topic slightly.
The comic refers to this the CIA ranking of countries by crude death rate (can't link otherwise the forum doesn't accept the post as it thinks it's spam).

I can't get how it's possible for some of the countries at the bottom of the ranking to be there - I mean, everyone would likely choose Sweden over the Gaza strip as a safe place to live, but reading from death rates it seems the opposite.

Anyone bothers to explain this ?

Thanks :)

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby brenok » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:00 pm UTC

ciochedicoefalso wrote:Sorry to derail the topic slightly.
The comic refers to this the CIA ranking of countries by crude death rate (can't link otherwise the forum doesn't accept the post as it thinks it's spam).

I can't get how it's possible for some of the countries at the bottom of the ranking to be there - I mean, everyone would likely choose Sweden over the Gaza strip as a safe place to live, but reading from death rates it seems the opposite.

Anyone bothers to explain this ?

Thanks :)


I think that's because, being a developed country, Sweden and other countries have an old population, therefore with high mortality rates. The Gaza Strip is much younger, and I believe, the number of deaths related by conflicts is not enough to make a big difference in the general rate (but I could be wrong)

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby Klear » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:50 pm UTC

ciochedicoefalso wrote:Sorry to derail the topic slightly.
The comic refers to this the CIA ranking of countries by crude death rate (can't link otherwise the forum doesn't accept the post as it thinks it's spam).

I can't get how it's possible for some of the countries at the bottom of the ranking to be there - I mean, everyone would likely choose Sweden over the Gaza strip as a safe place to live, but reading from death rates it seems the opposite.

Anyone bothers to explain this ?

Thanks :)


You'd do better to look at the life expectancy. Sweden is much better in this regard.

Also notice how Qatar, which has the lowest death rate, is leading in migration.

All in all, death rate is not the most telling figure.

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby ciochedicoefalso » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:15 pm UTC

Thanks, many reasons for it to make sense then :)

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Re: What-if 0027: Death Rates

Postby gaga654 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:47 am UTC

It may be a bit late for this, but I would just like to point out that a link to this SMBC comic might be prudent.


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