The key is finding balance:
It’s worth checking out the full paper, if only to see a bigger version of the their spreadsheet (excerpted above) showing how the vampire-vs-human population evolves, month-by-month.
This would seem to strike a horrible blow to the whole concept of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, eh? And indeed, when this study came out last year, Buffy fans worldwide wept hot, bitter tears.
But wait! The whole point behind the Buffy universe is that there’s a slayer out there killing vampires and keeping their population down. This is something the authors didn’t consider in their paper. So couldn’t a vampire killer simply slaughter vampires as fast as they’re created?
Sure — except then the math gets even more interesting.
Because the thing about the Buffy universe is that the population of vampires is reasonably stable. There are a fair number of vampires around, but not enough to overwhelm the earth. But as it turns out, if you look at that chart above, there’s a very narrow vampire-population window at which equilibrium can be kept.
That’s because powers of two increase slowly at first, then at a hellacious rate. Think of it this way: According to the numbers calculated by the academics, at month five in the year 1600, there are only 16 vampires. That’s such a paltry number than any self-respecting slayer could quickly dispatch them in a few evenings, and the vampire menace would permanently be extinguished. But at month 12 — only a few months later — the number of vampires, unchecked, rises to 2,048. That’s probably too many vampires for a slayer to squelch in a single month.
Interesting discussion in the comments too.
Hat tip to Daily Grail.
Posted in Buffy
, Joss Whedon
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