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Every abstruse subject needs its popularizers and Fraser has undertaken to alert us to the fact that there's a population explosion underway. Hinting darkly that the processes which regulate the size of animal populations -- mice, rabbits, lemmings ""tend to be rather drastic"" -- Fraser cautions us to ""remember the dinosaur"" and consider exponents. What with life expectancy increasing and human doubling time decreasing, a rudimentary knowledge of exponents -- just keep multiplying by two -- will show you how the population explosion occurs. We are running out of food and space. Hong Kong now has 200,000 people per square mile in the urban area; sure we can compress but we might ""wake up some day with the realization that life isn't worth living."" Food is a problem right now, why the Chinese Communists ""even played footsie with the United States for more wheat."" Of course there are various ""temporizing solutions"" being studied by scientists. We can stop eating beef, which is an uneconomical source of food and turn to alfalfa and bacteria but ""Personally I find the idea of a sixteen ounce mat of charcoal-broiled medium-rare Escherichia coli, representing yesterday's sewage, somewhat unappealing."" Like it or not folks, we're going to have to learn to accept birth control (thoughtfully, he runs down some leading methods for you) and ventures the far-out conclusion that ""high-flown ethical, moral and religious arguments will succumb."" Fraser tells us that he is no expert in the fields of population studies or ecology, just a concerned layman. He's been reading Science magazine regularly, though. How about you?

Pub Date: April 1st, 1971
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press