This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Confronting Your Mortality--Second by Second

Ever since John Graunt discovered the patternicity to death in the 17th century, humans have been fascinated by the idea that we might be able to predict how long we could live. There are several websites out there, such as Poodwaddle, that will give you an estimate of your life expectancy, based on actuarial tables. But what if you don't want to have to go online, and what if you want to have that information available at all times? Well, NPR has reported that a new watch is out there just for you--the Tikker.
Luckily for you, there's a new product called Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your life, so you can watch on a large, dot-matrix display as the seconds you have left on Earth disappear down a black hole.
Your estimated time of death is, of course, just that — an estimate. Tikker uses an algorithm like the one used by the federal government to figure a person's life expectancy. But the effect is chilling, a sort of incessant grim reaper reminding you that time is running out.
Tikker's inventor is a 37-year-old Swede named Fredrik Colting. He says he invented the gadget not as a morbid novelty item, but in an earnest attempt to change his own thinking.
He wanted some sort of reminder to not sweat the small stuff and reach for what matters. Colting, a former gravedigger, figured imminent death was the best motivator there is. That's why he calls Tikker "the happiness watch." It's his belief that watching your life slip away will remind you to savor life while you have it.
The watch will be available in April 2014--for those of us still alive then...

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