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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vampires: Do the math

Count Dracula (aka Bela Lugosi)
Reading, writing, and…  vampires?  Although that phrase doesn't flow as easily as, say, blood…  physicist Costas Efthimiou from the University of Central Florida definitely does associate vampires with mathematics.  More precisely, Efthimiou attributes the lack of vampires to a mathematical impossibility.

He figures that on January 1, 1600 there were only 536,870,911 humans on this planet.  So even if the very first Dracula didn't pop out of his coffin until then – and subsequently bit only one person per month – the vampire population would have still doubled by February 1, 1600 (since humans, once bitten by vampires, allegedly become vampires themselves).  Worse yet, vampires would have quadrupled by March 1, 1600.  Do you see where this is going (ad nauseum, ad infinitum)?  At that morbid rate, all humans would have turned into vampires no later than June 1602 (and probably much earlier, human mortality curves being rather steep back then).

Last we checked, there were still humans (or what appeared to be reasonable facsimiles) here on Earth.
Therefore, vampires are either a relatively new phenomenon (Twilight anyone?), or somebody put something in Bram Stoker's wine when he wasn't paying attention.


Copyright October 31, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

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