## Sunday, February 03, 2008

### How many VPs work for you?

This is a nice way to think of how much energy you use. An average person needs 2000 calories per day to have a healthy life. Energy divided by time equals power, so this average person is worth approximately 96 watts. Now if you take the 13-trillion odd watts of energy that the world generates and divide it by 6.5 billion people, each person is equivalent to 20 virtual persons or VPs. So an average person needs the energy equivalent of 20 people in our world. At this point, people outside US borders should raise their hands and ask the question- ‘but what about Americans?’. Indeed, now comes the really shocking part- an American (or people living the American way of life) is equal to 115 VPs! A European is half as many VPs. This gives around 13 VPs per person for the rest of the world. In the impoverished countries of Africa, the VPs per person are in single digits. This is the stark contrast of energy landscape the world. How do I know this? Check the Jan 21, 08 issue of Science.

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