Jump to content

"In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" (1969) Written by Rick Evans, Performed by Zager and Evans


Recommended Posts

I'm sorry, but I have a nitpick. The lyrics:

"Now it's been 10,000 years. Man has cried a billion tears."

are dramatically off-base.

"Now it's been 10,000 years."

- They're obviously referring to the Gregorian calendar

- This is based on the other lyrics in the song, and is obvious

- Thus, for the purposes of this discussion, 10,000 years will be a lemma

"Man has cried a billion tears."

- And here is why this is so absurd:

Assume an average population of 5 billion during those 10,000 years.

- it used to be a lot less than that

- it will be much greater than that

Assume the average person cries 100 tears a month.

- some people don't cry at all

- some people do nothing but sit around and blubber

With the assumptions given, you will have an average of 5 billion people crying 1,200 tears annually, for an average of 6 trillion tears shed per year.

Multiply this by 10,000 years, and you'll have a total secretion of 60 quadrillion tears.

So, the second part of the phrase is off by 6 orders of magnitude, multiplied by 60, i.e., a factor of 60 million.


An order of magnitude is based upon the Richter scale, with each number being "10 times greater" than the previous.

For example: the DC earthquake of 2011 (during which I was at National Airport on my way to Spain if you'd like to shift the discussion to underwear cleaning services) measured 5.8 on the Richter Scale.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 registered 7.8 on the Richter Scale - it was 2 orders of magnitude (or 100 times) stronger than the DC earthquake.

The strongest earthquake known to man measured 9.8 on the Richter Scale.

For an earthquake to be 6.6 orders of magnitude stronger than the DC earthquake, it would need to register 12.4 on the Richter Scale. In other words, it would need to have 60 million times as much force as the DC temblor.


While the song's phrase may have sounded wistful and infinite, it was dramatic only in its understatement: to visualize just how much it was understated: Our current world population is, give or take, 7 billion people. For it to be equivalent to the actual number of tears man has shed in 10,000 years, compared to what the song claimed it is, our current world population would need to be 420 quadrillion people.


Huh? What's that? I'm not supposed to take this so literally?

You think I should *what*? Lighten up?!


Carry on.

But before you do, I would like to at least propose a lyric change going forward:

"Now it's been 10,000 years. And Dan Snyder's team still sucks."

I caught you off-guard. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the risk of exposing how pedantic I really am, I'll admit to having a similar problem with a line from Sting's song We Work the Black Seam:

"deadly for 12,000 years is carbon-14".

Um, no it isn't.  It isn't deadly and it has nothing to do with nuclear plant power production.   99Tc is a problem.  129I, 237Np, and 239Pu are problems.  But not 14C.  And what does 12,000 years have to do with anything?  And if he's referring to mining uranium ore, the problem for miners is radon.

yours, in search of a life,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don, you've just given me the brilliant idea of rating wine on a base-10 logarithmic scale as well. Perhaps food as well?

Oops, wrong forum.

You do know that this scale was developed to measure Sviatoslav Richter's crescendos, right?

Or would that be Horowitz's Subito Fortes in his Bach-Busoni?

I just told a joke that a total of five people are going to understand. (Okay, go to 4:02 and try not to laugh.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You do know that this scale was developed to measure Sviatoslav Richter's crescendos, right?

Well. That the decibel is a logarithmic scale to begin with, we know.

That a stereo equipment which will make Sviatoslav Richter's pianissimo audible, while withstanding his fortissimo without blowing the fuse and your eardrums all at once will be an order of magnitude more expensive than what you'd normally buy to listen to a wide range of classics, from Also sparch Zarathustra to Led Zeppelin III, is a fact less universally recognized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...