NYC’s natural history: 400 years ago, today, tomorrow

Manahatta, by landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson
“…reconstructs…the forests of Times Square, the meadows of Harlem, and the wetlands of downtown (to) show what Manhattan looked like 400 years ago.”

Beyond Manahatta…
“The Wildlife Conservation Society launched the Welikia Project, an effort to document the historical ecology of all of New York City and compare it to the current biodiversity of the city; it includes materials…for the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. “Welikia” [way-LEE-ki-a] means “my good home” in Lenape, the Native American language spoken in the New York City region 400 years ago.”

See also:
Where do we go from here? The future of Manhattan…

Brain power vs. computer technology

Computing power and the complexity of microchips:
Points of interest from Randall Munroe’s book “What If?”

A “typical modern laptop…has more computing power than existed in the entire world in 1965.” Something to think about when considering the development of the world’s space programs and moon landings, from the late ’50s through the ’60s.

In 1977, “the combined power of computers (outpaced) the combined computing power of humans….”

In 1988, “all the logic circuits in the world added up to the complexity of a single brain….” To this day, the complexity (as differentiated from the computing power) of the human brain still dwarfs that of all our circuits.

Regarding this complexity, in a “supercomputer neuron simulation (of) individual neurons firing in a human brain…humans perform about the equivalent of 50 billion MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second).
Yet referencing a “pencil and paper” benchmark “to manually simulate individual operations on a computer chip…finds humans perform about 0.01 MIPS.”
A geometric mean: assuming “our computer programs are about as inefficient at simulating human brain activity as human brains are at simulating computer chip activity…human brains clock in at about 30,000 MIPS…about on par with (the average, common) computer.

In 1992, everyone in the world en masse possessed roughly 65 MIPS of mental computing power (as differentiated from the brain’s complexity).

In 1994, Intel’s (then new) Pentium chips singularly surpassed collective human computing capacity, at 70-to-80 MIPS.

According to the geometric mean for complexity referenced above, in 2004, “the Earth’s digital complexity overtook its human neurological complexity….”
If we go by Moore’s Law, that would seem to indicate computers will “pull ahead of humans in complexity” in 2036. (see 1988 above)