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  • feedwordpress 09:01:43 on 2018/02/06 Permalink
    Tags: Aldine Press, demographics, , , italic, libelli portatiles, Manutius, , , semicolon,   

    ‘Demography is destiny”*… 


    I think we can all benefit from knowing a little more about others who aren’t like us (or who are), no matter how small the tidbits. In the graphic below, select sex, age group, and race to see the demographics of others.

    The percentages are based on estimates from the 2016 American Community Survey. Each grid represents 100 percent, and each cell represents a percentage point…

    The always-illuminating Nathan Yau— Flowing Data– presents an interactive portrait of life in the U.S., sortable by age, gender, and ethnicity; check it out at “The Demographics of Others.”

    * Ben Wattenberg and Richard M. Scammon, paraphrasing Heraclitus in The Real Majority: An Extraordinary Examination of the American Electorate (Often mis-attributed to Auguste Comte– who died before the word “demography” was first cited in print.)


    As we put ourselves in perspective, we might spare a thought for Aldus Pius Manutius (AKA Aldo Manuzio); he died on this date in 1515.  A Venetian humanist, scholar, and educator, he became a printer and publisher in his forties when he helped found the Aldine Press.  In the books he published, he introduced a standardized system of punctuation and use of the semicolon; he designed many fonts, and introduced italic type (which he named for Italy); and he popularized the libelli portatiles, or portable little (specifically) classic books: small-format volumes that could be easily carried and read anywhere.



  • feedwordpress 08:01:30 on 2017/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: Asia, chronology, demographics, , GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, , , Royal Observatory, ,   

    “You are not stuck in traffic. You ARE traffic.”*… 


    We’ve used 2016 information on population. There are now at least 3.8 billion people living inside the highlighted circle, and that’s not even including the tally from countries that are partially in the circle like Pakistan or Russia.

    The circle holds 22 of the world’s 37 megacities – massive cities that hold at least 10 million inhabitants. It also includes the five most populous cities on the planet: Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul, Karachi, and Shanghai, which alone combine to hold 144.5 million people.

    This geographical region also holds many of the emerging markets of the future, countries that the World Economic Forum expects will lead global growth in years to come. Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, and Bangladesh are in the area highlighted, and Pakistan is partially there as well.

    As a website called BrilliantMaps explains, there are some other subtleties to the circle that are worth detailing. The circle contains a lot of people, but it also has:

    The highest mountain (Everest)

    The deepest ocean trench (Mariana)

    More Muslims than outside of it.

    More Hindus than outside of it.

    More Buddhists than outside of it.

    More communists than outside of it.

    The least sparsely populated country on earth (Mongolia)…

    See the infographic in tits entirety at “The Majority of the World’s Population Lives in This Circle.”

    * TomTom SATNAV Advertisement


    As we contemplate concentration, we might recall that it was on this date in 1880 that Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)– the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London–  was officially adopted by Parliament.  Originally set-up to aid naval navigation (in the calculation of longitude), Greenwich had been the national (and imperial) center for time since 1675.  In 1847, GMT became the standard for British Railroads, and quickly became the de facto standard for all other purposes.  The 1880 Act simply made de jure what had become de facto.

    GMT became the international civil time standard, but was superseded in that function (in 1960) by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).



  • feedwordpress 08:01:53 on 2017/07/12 Permalink
    Tags: , demographics, , , , In Praise of Folly, , , ,   

    “Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me”*… 


    As war has ravaged Somalia, its people have continued to flee

    new visualization shows the flow of refugees around the world from 2000 to 2015, and makes the lesser-known story in Africa–and in places like Sri Lanka in 2006 or Colombia in 2007–as obvious as what has been happening more recently in Syria. Each yellow dot represents 17 refugees leaving a country, and each red dot represents refugees arriving somewhere else. (The full version of the map, too large to display here, represents every single refugee in the world with a dot.)…

    Explore the data (and see an animation) at “Watch The Movements Of Every Refugee On Earth Since The Year 2000.”

    Pair with “Who Came to America, and When.”

    * Carlos Fuentes


    As we follow the flows, we might spare a thought for Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, better known simply as Erasmus; he died on this date in 1536.  A Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, translator, and theologian, probably best remembered for his book In Praise of Folly, he was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance, the first editor of the New Testament (“Do unto others…”), and an important figure in patristics and classical literature.  Among fellow scholars and philosophers he was– and is– known as the “Prince of the Humanists.”

    Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam (1523) by Hans Holbein the Younger




  • feedwordpress 08:01:18 on 2017/06/04 Permalink
    Tags: demographics, , , milestone, , state of the world, , , Worldometers, Zero Milestone   

    “The only lasting truth is Change”*… 


    A running tally of world population, plus telling (and similarly constantly-updated) statistics on government and economics, society and media, the environment, food, water, energy, and health, all derived from sources including the United Nations Population Division, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank: Worldometers.

    * Octavia E. Butler


    As we watch the world tick by, we might recall that it was on this date in 1923 that the Zero Milestone was dedicated just south of the White House at the north edge of the Ellipse, within President’s Park.  Intended as the initial milestone from which all road distances in the United States should be reckoned, at present only roads in the Washington, D.C. area have distances measured from it.



  • feedwordpress 08:01:24 on 2017/03/31 Permalink
    Tags: , demographics, , , , hukou, , ,   

    “The first problem of living is to minimize friction with the crowds that surround you on all sides”*… 


    China, the country with the largest population in the world, has just found another 14 million people, equal to about one percent of its population of 1.37 billion

    Note that 14 million people is a group larger than the populations of 124 of the world’s 197 countries– then read the full story at: “China keeps finding millions of people who never officially existed.)

    * Isaac Asimov


    As we emphasize enrollment, we might tip the plumed birthday bonnet to Rene Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician who thought and therefore was.  He was born on this date in 1596.

    Many contemporaries (perhaps most notably, Pascal) rejected his famous conclusion, the dualist separation of mind and body; more (Voltaire, et al.), since.  But Descartes’ emphasis on method and analysis, his disciplined integration of philosophy and physical science, his insistence on the importance of consciousness in epistemology, and perhaps most fundamentally, his the questioning of tradition and authority had a transformative– and lasting– effect on Western thought, and has earned him the “title” of Father of Modern Philosophy.

    “In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn than to contemplate.”
    – Rene Descartes

    Frans Hals’ portrait of Descartes, c. 1649


  • feedwordpress 09:01:50 on 2017/03/12 Permalink
    Tags: Deleuze, demographics, , , , , , , Tarde,   

    “What a piece of work is a man!”*… 


    A two-minute look at demographics, habits, living conditions, and more if only 100 people lived on Earth in the same cultural and social patterns as the 7.4 billion who actually do:

    [Happily, while most of the info here check out as solid, the poverty numbers in this video seem to be based on data from around 2012; things have got better since then: if 15 people in 100 spent $US1.90 a day or less in 2012, by 2015 that number was down to 10. Back in 1981, according to World Bank data, the corresponding number was over 40.]

    * Shakespeare, Hamlet


    As we note that “it takes a village,” we might send carefully-observed birthday greetings to Gabriel Tarde; he was born on this date in 1843.  A French sociologist, criminologist, and social psychologist, he conceived society as based on small psychological interactions (“intermental activity”) among individuals (much as if it were chemistry), the fundamental forces being imitation and innovation.

    While this theory of social interaction– which emphasized the individual in an aggregate of persons– brought Tarde into conflict with Émile Durkheim (who conceived of society as a collective unity), Tarde had an formative influence on the thinking of psychologists and social theorists from Sigmund Freud to Everett Rogers.  Now, for all his sins, Tarde seems to be in process of being re-discovered as a harbinger of postmodern French theory, particularly as influenced by the social philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.





  • feedwordpress 09:01:10 on 2017/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: demographics, family tree, geneology, , infant mortality, largest family tree, , Sara Josephine Baker, ,   

    “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors”*… 


    Your family tree might contain a few curious revelations. It might alert you to the existence of long-lost third cousins. It might tell you your 10-times-great-grandfather once bought a chunk of Brooklyn. It might reveal that you have royal blood. But when family trees includes millions of people—maybe even tens of millions of people—then we’re beyond the realm of individual stories.

    When genealogies get so big, they’re not just the story of a family anymore; they contain the stories of whole countries and, at the risk of sounding grandiose, even all of humanity…

    The story of the largest family tree so far found– 13 million people. (And yes, that includes Kevin Bacon.): “What Can You Do With the World’s Largest Family Tree?

    * Edmund Burke


    As we ruminate on roots, we might spare a thought for Sara Josephine Baker; she died on this date in 1945. A physician and public health pioneer, she was active especially in the immigrant communities of New York City.  In 1917, she noted that babies born in the United States faced a higher mortality rate than soldiers fighting in World War I, and undertook her fight against the damage that widespread urban poverty and ignorance caused to children, especially newborns.  She founded the Bureau of Child Hygiene after visiting mothers on the lower east side, was appointed assistant to the Commissioner for Public Health of New York City, then headed the city’s Department of Health in Hell’s Kitchen for 25 years.  Among many other initiatives, she set up free milk clinics, licensed midwives, and taught the use of silver nitrate to prevent blindness in newborns.

    She is also known for (twice) tracking down Mary Mallon, the infamous index case known as Typhoid Mary.



  • feedwordpress 09:01:12 on 2016/11/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia, demographics, , , , Screwtape Letters, ,   

    “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition”*… 


    The idea that American life is increasingly transient and uprooted is a myth: people are moving less, but worrying more.

    In 1971, the great Carole King sang: ‘So far away/ Doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?’ Thirty years later, the editors of The New York Times explained that families in the United States are changing because of ‘the ever-growing mobility of Americans’. And in 2010, a psychologist argued that ‘an increased rate of residential mobility played a role in the historical shift’ toward individualism. It’s a common US lament that human bonds are fraying because people are moving around more and more. Americans fear the fracturing of communities that constant moving seems to bring.

    Yet when King sang, Americans had been moving around less and less for generations. That decline was even more obvious when the Times editorial appeared in 2001, and it has continued to decline through the 2010s. The increasingly mobile US is a myth that refuses to move on…

    More on this widespread misapprehension– and what it means– in “The great settling down.”

    * James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room


    As we tend the roots we’ve put down, we might recall that it was on this date in 1963 that we lost two greats of imaginative literature:

    C.S. Lewis, the novelist The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and others), poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist (Mere Christianity).

    And Aldous Huxley, the writer, novelist, philosopher best remembered for Brave New World.

    Neither passing was much remarked at the time, as they happened on the same day as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


  • feedwordpress 08:01:46 on 2016/09/22 Permalink
    Tags: , Beloit, , demographics, Emancipation Proclamation, freshmen, generations, , Minset List,   

    “It’s hard for me to get used to these changing times. I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.”*… 

    This fall’s entering college students, the class of 2020, were born in 1998 and cannot remember a time when they had to wait for anything. They also can’t recall a time when the United States was not at war, or when someone named Bush or Clinton was not running for office.

    Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students about to enter college.

    In their lifetimes they have always had eBay and iMacs, and India and Pakistan have always had the bomb. The Sopranos and SpongeBob SquarePants have always been part of popular culture, Gretzky and Elway have always been retired, and Vladimir Putin has always been in charge in the Kremlin.

    And although they think of themselves as a powerful generation—Sanders voters, consumers—they are faced with the prospect of student loan debt and of robots and foreigners taking their jobs making them feel anxious and weak…

    This year’s Mindset List

    * George Burns


    As we muster to matriculate, we might recall that it was on this date in 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln signed the (preliminary) Emancipation Proclamation, announcing that if the rebel states did not end the fighting and rejoin the Union by January 1, 1863, all slaves in those states would be free.  No Confederate state capitulated, and on the first day of 1863, President Lincoln issued the Proclamation declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

    Despite it’s expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, of course, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

    Still, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war.  After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops expanded the domain of freedom.  Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators.  By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.

    “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln,” by Francis Bicknell Carpenter



  • feedwordpress 08:01:32 on 2016/06/07 Permalink
    Tags: capitalization, demographics, , , , minorities, Negro, , , ,   

    “The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here”*… 


    The United States of America is a country of immigrants. That’s the cliche we know, but don’t always take to heart. Especially, during this political season…

    Helpful background at “Where Are All the People in the United States From?

    * Chuck Palahniuk, Choke


    As we ruminate on roots, we might recall that it was on this date in 1930 (though some sources locate it on March 7 of that year), that The New York Times revised its style sheet to normalize the capitalization of “Negro” in its pages, a change that it memorialized in a editorial…

    The New York Times now joins many of the leading Southern newspapers as well as most of the Northern in according this recognition. In our “style book” “Negro” is now added to the list of words to be capitalized. It is not merely a typographical change; it is an act in recognition of racial self-respect for those who have been for generations in “the lower case.”

    [More here]

    Sociologist, historian, activist, and author W.E.B. Du Bois, who led the fight for capitalization



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