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.
Bus stop still life 2007
Green Apple really does have it all 2007
Some of the finer items on the shelves at Green Apple which caught my eye as I was trading & spending past trade credit today. I did not, I regret to report, purchase Enslaved By Ducks, but that just means it's probably still waiting there for you...
Spilled buttons 2007
[posted to Flickr November 9th, 2007 with this comment:] Strange. I must have posted this to clear it off my phone, but I don't remember it hanging around on there for over a month and a half...
Graffiti of someone's favorite graffiti 2007
Personally, I'd rank panda sex higher.
It never would have occurred to me otherwise to tie these two together, but here's my mum napping as a kid with the somewhat foxish family dog and a fairly recent picture of a fox in her yard.
One thing I really enjoy about the Mac's native support for changing desktop images and dual-monitor mode is opportunities for pairings like this.
So this fire hydrant walks into a party... 2007
The Wii survey channel on "Soda" vs. "Pop" 2007
Note the outlier, Wisconsin, which favors "soda" due to the influence of its southern neighbor, Joe asserts.
"Trouble at the mill?"
"Powered by Freemasons".
My mind is still boggling.
Okay, so it isn't just me who finds the current BR colors Halloweenish 2007
Spotted in Emeryville.
Ninjas disarm here 2007
Todd is that sort of squirrel. 2007
I just noticed that Todd the Squirrel from Achewood (the web comic) is apparently of the family that modeled for this old candy, which, by the way, you can obtain at Miette on Hayes Green.
Goth alert at Nordstrand Rack
Over three feet tall
Time for an intervention
Way too damn many pillows.
Furniture shopping with Joe
We both really loved this piece.
The lovely sideboard
more city wandering 2007
Turk at Gough
Hello, Jason, from the thrift store
a San Francisco street wander 2007
To continue the theme
Um... certain level of confusion here.
Hello Shannon from your street
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