Jan 24, 2020
Body Count
Play • 46 min

Right now, at this very moment, all across the planet, there are 7.6 billion human beings eating, breathing, sleeping, brushing their teeth, walking their dogs, drinking coffee, walking down the street or running onto the subway or hopping in their car, maybe reading a summary of a podcast they’re about to hit play on … and the number is only going up. Everyday 386,000 babies are born (16,000 an hour). We’re adding a billion new people every 12 years.

So here’s a question you’ve probably never thought about: Are there more people alive right now than have ever lived on the planet in history? Do the living outnumber the dead? Robert got obsessed with this odd question, and in this episode we bring you the answer. Or, well, answers.

This episode was reported by Robert Krulwich and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters, with help from Neel Dhanesha. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Music and mixing by Jeremy Bloom. Special thanks to Jeffrey Dobereiner.

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Stuff You Missed in History Class
Stuff You Missed in History Class
Olympe de Gouges
Olympe de Gouges is known primarily for her 1791 pamphlet “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizen.” But her writing and political activity went far beyond that one pamphlet, and she was actually executed for a completely different reason. Tracy's Research: Douglas, Allen. "Gouges, Olympe de 1748–1793." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, edited by Fedwa Malti-Douglas, vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2007, pp. 657-658. Gale In Context: Global Issues, Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. "Marie-Olympe de Gouges." Encyclopedia of World Biography Online, vol. 23, Gale, 2003. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. HESSE, CARLA. "Gouges, Olympe de." Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 2, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006, pp. 993-996. Gale In Context: World History, Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. "Marie-Olympe De Gouges." Historic World Leaders, edited by Anne Commire, Gale, 1994. Gale In Context: Biography, Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. Lyons, Matthew. “Execution of a Feminist.” History Today. Vol. 70, Issue 11, November 2020. Columbia College. “Olympe de Gouges.” Kuiper, Kathleen et al. “Olympe de Gouges: Additional Information.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Woolfrey, Joan. “Olympe de Gouges (1748—1793).” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “The Trial of Olympe de Gouges,” LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY: EXPLORING THE FRENCH REVOUTION, accessed January 7, 2021, Vanpée, Janie. “Performing Justice: The Trials of Olympe de Gouges.” Theatre Journal. Volume 51, Number 1, March 1999. Via Project Muse. Diamond, Marie Josephine. “Olympe de Gouges and the French Revolution: Construction of Gender as Critique.” Dialectical Anthropology , 1990, Vol. 15, No. 2/3 (1990). Via JSTOR. Nielsen, Wendy C. “Staging Rousseau's Republic: French Revolutionary Festivals and Olympe de Gouges.” The Eighteenth Century , FALL 2002, Vol. 43. Via JSTOR. Scott, Joan Wallach. “French Feminists and the Rights of 'Man': Olympe de Gouges's Declarations.” History Workshop , Autumn, 1989, No. 28 (Autumn, 1989). Via JSTOR. Brown, Gregory S. “The Self-Fashionings of Olympe de Gouges, 1784-1789.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 34, Number 3, Spring 2001. Via Project Muse. Mousset, Sophie. “Women's Rights and the French Revolution: A Biography of Olympe De Gouges.” Routledge; 1st edition, July 2017.   Learn more about your ad-choices at
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