random synaptic firing Archives
The sort of ideas that come to me at 1am: a deeply detailed, historical, world census 2014
Drifting to sleep, maybe asleep and resurfacing to wakefulness my mind was flitting around from idea to idea, from memory to memory. What I remember and was left fully awake with was two things: Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' stuck in my head and the notion that it ought to be possible to create a deeply detailed census of the entire world population at a point in the past, provided that point was recent enough to be reached by many genealogists, but not so recent that the world population was in the billions.
Now, the more recent a point, the more accurate the data and the greater the likelihood of living descendents, but also, the more daunting the project (due to the number of individuals described) and thus the less likely of enticing participants to join in the grand adventure.
As interested as I am personally in the year 1600, I know from my own genealogical and historical research that it is distant enough to be problematic. Jumping forward to 1750 would give an estimated world population of 700-825 million people. Or, by other estimates, of 629-961 million. That's a lot, but not an insane number of nodes. For example, using the former range, it's about the number of articles in Wikipedia in Chinese or in Portuguese.
1750 has also got the inspirational benefit of a big anniversary coming up within the probable lifetime of the participants or their children—300 years in 2050.
So, how to begin?
Infrastructure is vital. It must be incredibly robust and flexible. It must have profound internationalization support. It must allow for advancement and diversification separately of its data storage, software interfaces, and human interfaces.
Data will come in in many forms and must be clearly associated with its source, so that later conflicts on details can be weighed based on their respective supporting data.
Detail will vary wildly from broad guesses of total population in a country to general counts of categories of individuals (e.g., heads of household, taxpayers, members of the military) to detailed nodes about a specific person (both the famous and the genealogically derived).
Eventually, participants will no doubt be interested in assessing the relationships between individual nodes, thus it would be helpful to be able to retain data details (e.g., membership of an individual in a particular tracked category such as "the 12th regiment of Lord So-and-So's light horse", or "household at 123 Elm St, Anytown, New York, USA", or "inventory of the slave ship blah-de-blah", or "signatories of proclamation X".)
Such detail nodes will, of necessity, be much greater in number than the number of individuals alive because merger of them as applying to the same individual will be a more gradual and difficult process. This is a vital factor in infrastructure design.
It's used by some sources as a baseline year for the end of the pre-industrial era; rather nice as a stake in the ground for pushing back our knowledge of individual human participation.
The population of North America is only about 2 million, thus forcing U.S. participants to think about the world outside their borders (which I think is always a good thing). It also makes an enticing early goal for "near complete description", which is the best I'd expect we can hope for in any region.
Sweden begin taking a census in 1749, one of the very few countries doing so in the mid-18th century, and is thus a logical target for another "near complete description" goal. Conveniently, it's also a good country for online project participation with its highly tech-savvy population. The 1750 estimated populations of Sweden (which I'm presuming refers to its territory then, not its smaller borders now) 1.7 million or 1.78 million. (Pleasantly for me, it's also where I am pretty certain I have personal genealogical data for 1750. Been a while since I was working on my paternal grandmother's line, but I recall it going back that far and farther thanks to the good data there.)
Iceland is also promising for early population data and participation.
Now, what haven't I considered yet?
Thought which came to mind after I went back to bed:
Every part of this idea needs further definition, but particularly the area around what defines a counted individual. Chronological confirmation of someone with a citable source is a big part of it; that is, an individual for whom we have a specific record of them being born, dying, marrying, becoming a parent, or otherwise being specifically one of those alive at some point during the year 1750.
However, those records may actually be less evocative of human experience than the categoric description associated with what I'm calling, for lack of a better term, 'unmatched individual details', or 'unmadeets'. Whose story would you be most interested in, the confirmed individual "Mary Jane Smith born 1750, later the mother of Winifred Harding", or the unmadeet "one of 350 purchased slaves who rebelled on the ship King David at 5a.m. on May 8, 1750"? Which says more about what was going on in 1750?
Things that make me joyful, happy, delighted 2010Clean sheets. Good sleep. Touching my sweetie. Fun sex. Kissing. Good cheese. Watching cocktails being made well. Delicious food, prepared with care. Having a beautiful, useful, uncluttered home. Writing, when it's going well. Learning new interesting facts. Having a good answer. Seeing others getting more focused and relaxed. Green, living things. Craftsmanship. Carefulness. Stillness. Naps. Avocado. Seascapes (in person). Optional-ness. Flexibility. Making or perceiving interconnectedness. My friends or others being clever. Being clever. Kindness. Good design. Love. Floating in warm water. Sitting and reading with my sweetie or friends. Watching semi-random motions (waves, light, birds, swimmers, boats). Northern California hills in spring. Traveling light. Nerd humor.
An imperative 2007
Plugged in to fashion 2007
Need to come back with a better camera and capture this wire plugging into the skirt.
Check out this amusing speaker design at the Edinburgh Castle.
Room full of giant pigs 2007
Vitriol...united against hate. 2007
holidays with my folks 2006
Heading north at 11am with a dozen kinds of cheese.
A lovely day to drive to my folks'
Me and Beethoven on our roadtrips
along the Russian River on the way north
a stop at the Sea Ranch Chapel on the way north
Push Button For D S 2006
um, right. Dental dam on the bus. Like ya do, I suppose? 2006
Strong evidence of the genetic origin for sexual preference 2006
During my shower this morning a hair came loose and I shook it off my hand onto the shower wall for later disposal (without clogging the drain). The phallic form it took was entirely unaided by conscious design.
Kind of reminds me of old Japanese erotic art.
Continuing adventures of the big purple gorilla 2006
He's found a more gorilla-appropriate environment further down the block
Bumped into a neighbor as I was taking my picture who lives in an upper floor apartment across the street from this tree and who says he's been here about a month. I guess I need to look up more!
Right. Giant purple gorilla outside my house this morning. Fine. 2006
Animated Low Rider toy 2006
Random fire hydrant fountain 2006
This kind of epitomized the way my afternoon went yesterday.
Sunday afternoon: the Doublemint Twins ride the subway naked 2006
Please discuss. 2006
Creepy urban still life 2006
No, wait,; it's creepy.
I love the Valencia Street area window displays 2006
Town Shit 2006
I think this is my new name for errands.
Someone else's list 2004
I wonder if Bubba has been called yet?
Spotted on my way home last night after the Other Magazine 4th issue release party and reading at Modern Times bookstore:
One of those FUNERAL signs in the window of a car with personalized plates reading ONLY JOY.
um, listen. 2004
Some great graffiti I saw in Emeryville.
Photo taken January 26th, 2004. Sometimes it takes a while to get it together to take the time set up your tools. Heh.
Oh, that old excuse 2004
According to the CDC there are 1,000 to 2,000 cases of bubonic plague worldwide each year. Can you imagine having to tell your boss that you're out sick because you have bubonic plague?
I can't be the first one to have thought of this... 2003
I believe henceforth mobile phones should be referred to as mofos.