Friday, December 19, 2008

New Direction

The new direction I was taking at the end of my last post has seemed like an interesting enough direction that I have decided to pursue it somewhat more, and set aside the work I have been doing on history for a while. For some time, I've been frustrated that I can't seem to get to the practical, middle portions of the knowledge base.

I got a certain ways into pursuing the New Mexico direction, looking up real information for fictional characters, and decided that this was also a good approach for directing my own studies.
In the process, this turned out to give extra incentive to practical activities. I have a tendency to set aside some of the ordinary, mundane tasks of living aside until the last minute, which leads to more stress than I need to deal with. This also connects to what I've been grouping under administrative tasks, of record-keeping, financial management, so I've been working the pas two weeks on sorting the papers I keep into files. So, as a side benefit, my apartment is cleaner and looks better. I've also picked up my study of computer science, re-started my studies in Spanish, and taken a few outdoor walks, and done a little work on the history outline in the Knowledge Base to December. I've also given some time to considering community structure, and constructing maps of my local area. Yes, Google, and Mapquest, and Rand McNally all have maps on line, which is a useful geographic learning tool.

For some time, I've been speculating on renewable energy, and the various technical problems involved in the capture and storage of naturally-generated power. For a lot of purposes, we are dependent on the extraction and burning of fossil fuels for heating, motor fuel, and electricity. There are all kinds of technical problems with sources such as solar energy and wind power, since electric power is not easily stored, and the idea occurred to me some time back that one of the missing links is electrochemical fuel generation. I'm also interested in small technology, rather than the huge plants we usually use.
I was browsing the web and found that there are people who work with small, or micro scale hydroelectric power, but there isn't much off the shelf technology for it. It would not be a large technical problem, since motors and generators are in theory the same device run in different directions, but in practice, the equipment needs to be designed and optimized for a particular use. There isn't nearly the demand for a variety of small generators the way there is for small motors.
This prompted my curiosity on the generation of hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis, and again, there isn't much off-the shelf technology available for it.
This has also re-invigorated my interest in science. I took a walk down the hill near where I live, and though about the local ecology involved in a mixed deciduous forest area, in the Appalachian plateau (near the Monongahela River, resulting in a lot of hills and river and stream valleys). I'm not familiar with the various kinds of trees and plants, to that gives me some practical direction of study. This had something to do with my thoughts on hydropower, and I've also been interested in erosion. This, in turn, prompted some interest in Chemistry, and in looking up some formulas of fluid physics.

The other part if what I've been doing lately involves consideration of New Mexico, specifically Las Cruces. The State of New Mexico has promised funding for SpacePort America, contingent on five major steps. The Environmental Impact statement has been completed and the FAA/ACT has issued a license for the facility, which completes four of the five. The one remaining is to secure an "Anchor Tenant" for the spaceport, and that is expected to be completed by the end of the month. A construction management firm has been selected, and bidding for specific contracts should begin soon, with construction to begin early next year.

Several years back, when I began watching as the X-Prize was offered to prompt the development of reusable suborbital space vehicles, I noted Bert Rutan of Scaled Composites was one of the few contenders with the capability to actually build hardware, and I noted that his vehicle, SpaceShip One, carried by White Knight One, won that prize. Richard Branson founded a company called Virgin Galactic to use a new, enlarged version of that vehicle to carry paying passingers into suborbital flights. Virgin Galactic will be the anchor tenant for the spaceport, and the carrier aircraft, White Knight Two, has recently begun flight testing. I'm watching all this with some interest.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Current quarter

I've been working for the last few days mostly in the last couple of months, October and November. Some of this involves summarizing events in the United States, and in the process expanding particular states. Some of it involves creating links to education and families. This is interesting because it brings forward the possibility of categorizing events according to, say, principally economic, or principally government, or principally religious. This is still in progress, and I need to widen the links from October to fill in a few gaps, and continue with November for the most current events.

In an entirely different development, I occasionally dip back into science fiction role playing games, Traveller, to be specific, and practice world building as a way of thinking about and organizing various ideas. Although this is primarily set in the far future, It's not too hard to adapt one version of it or another to the near future, or even the present. I decided to look up information on the New Mexico Spaceport that's been under discussion, and tracked it down
to its planned location near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and see what I could see about actual progress. (New Mexico is evaluating bids from principal contractors before one is selected to manage the project, as nearly as I could tell.) In the process, I've been learning about the various tourist and other attractions and something about the city and the region.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New update

I've published the latest version of my web site. It seems that I have a misdirected link somewhere, that's causing my web site editor's link checker to reference a whole bunch of files that don't exist, but that's a nuisance rather than a real impediment.
For some time, I've been wanting to cut down on the size of the site map and break it into a number of parts, so that search engines can index it better. I started that, but I'm not nearly done yet. I mentioned that I had a connection to current events, which is good, except that development of links from the fourth quarter aren't up to what they are for earlier quarters, so I have some catching up to do.

I've also begun working on other areas. For instance, in the United States, I have about 20 of the 50 states grouped into three major regions, many of them with a place to put notes on history of the particular state, or region. I'm gradually adding provinces to China, as well.

I'm starting to make better progress at digesting the stream of disconnected facts into organized knowledge, which will give content and meaning to the knowledge base, instead of having mostly a skeletal collection of links to content-barren pages. It remains to be seen how this will go.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More recent history

I'm starting to look all the way up to the 20th century level of history to make sure that I have precedent for the aids links at lower levels. That, and the early 21st century, are being linked to types of societies as the most interesting links I'm adding. For 2008, I'm starting to make forward progress instead of just catching up. At this and lower levels, interesting links are being made to the sciences. I skipped the 2nd quarter again and went to the 3rd quarter, where I'm adding events to analyze to August 2008. I had hoped to do more analysis for September 2008, but this is coming together slowly. For the fourth quarter, I'm getting closer to the state of development I have for the third. For October 2008, I have the list of events to analyze, and am starting to break his down by countries and topics. This is one of the marks I've been looking forward to reach, so I have a pretty much continuous record from August to the present. The next goal will be to fill in the gap between where I left off last June, and August. The last few passes have gone into the future, but since by the time I got to it, I was getting worn out for the
day and not making any further progress, I skipped it for once.

I had made a list of the largest files, and I use this as a rough guide to the pages that need to be split up. Very large, fat files are much more difficult to work with. The history of sociology, or history applied to sociology, was one of those, and I've been procrastinating creating a new page with just the modern history part for some time. That wasn't quite as tough as I had been expecting, so I went ahead and separated out the modern history part of peoples of the world, and wound up writing expanded summaries of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. I also separated out modern history of Western Civilization onto a separate page, and made rather more progress on connecting biographies pages to it. The Anglic peoples section I pretty much skipped over to get to the United States, which has been nagging at me for some time. This was large enough for a split, so I separated out the sociology section to a new page and did some tweaking of the format. US History is one of the largest pages in the whole base, because so much of it has been simply copied wholesale from the fat month-by-month pages. I'm afraid it's going to get bigger before it gets shorter, but I made a start on condensing it with events of November. I also took the trouble to expand a few more state pages.

Up to this point, a good deal of my work in the knowledge base has been more or less limited to the creation of links between different pages so that I could quickly jump from one to another, and it's been at times a rather mind-numbing routine. However, all this groundwork is starting to pay off, and I will be doing more analysis and writing which requires (and permits!) actual thought, rather than semi-mechanical linking and compilation, although there will still be plenty of that, too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Catching up

For the past few days I've been working rather heavily in the current year. The late 2000s have nations pushed well ahead of where I am currently working, because I did so much on this a year agon, and then set current events aside to work on other parts of the knowledge base. However, there is still connection of other areas that needed to be done. I have set events of 2006 and 2007 aside for now, but hope to get back to them before too long. The major concentration is on events of this year, 2008. I have also set aside development of the first quarter and second quarter, though I expect to get back to this. In the third quarter, I haven't done much with July lately, but I've been working in August, adding events a day at a time. For September, my notes on events are more or elss complete, and I am working on rearranging them by nations and topics, so this will invomve more analysis and rewrite than other areas. I've been working intensively on the fourth quarter, to try to get this caught up on current events, and I have notes on them for about halfway through October. November is now up to date, as far as my principal source goes.

I have also been working with the future, including the near future, which breaks down to the current month. There are events that are scheduled but have not yet occurred in November, and a few more scheduled for December. For the next quarter, I'm looking at January, and I'm also reviewingn connections for the next year.

Sociology is going rather slowly, with all the effort in history. I've been working on developing the pages for the States in the United States, since they are so important for analyzing history. I've also picked up the program for adding states of India. I'm a little further ahead on provinces of China. I have also extended the list of cities, and I will be working on connecting these to the proper peoples. I've had intentions of going deeper into social structure and change, but haven't reached that far in my daily efforts. I haven't been working much with other areas lately, except as they are being connected to various periods of history.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Working back

Almost 30 years ago, when I returned from two years in Bolivia, I started a project of clipping
from newspapers the prominent events of the day and trying to write a continouous story based on current events. It quickly got out of hand, and I gave it up, but it was fun while it lasted.
A few years later, I tried the same thing. I've been trying to build toward that same sort of thing in the knowledge base.
Over the weekend, I've been concentrationg on a narrow slice of history; the section that deals most closely with current events. It's a challege to keep up up with, them, since so many occor on a daily basis, and at the same time I'm trying to keep up with them, I'm also trying to expand the knowledge base in other areas. I think I have enough nations and other related topics to
come closer to keeping up. At this point, it's still to be seen, whether I can succeed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early 2000s

Actually, this begins with the early 1990s, which I extended back a year to 1992, but don't have much useful content. However, I did finally adjust the site map to reflect the current pages, which have extended both backward and forward since the last update around March.
In the late 1990s, I added a nation for each year, and did some minor tweaks of the information from modern history.

For the early 2000s, the year-by year analysis has been updated to reflect events in India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. These are well worked over, but there is value in looking at the largest nations. I addded another quarter to 2004, and did some preliminary work in the quarters of 2005 getting ready to begin adding nations.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Early 21st century

I finished the last round of expanding months of 2008, and got this caught up to what I had done for the 3rd quarter of 2008. This time through, I started at the first quarter of 2005, so this was an extension backwards. I got all the way through to 2007 3rd quarter and started picking up Monts with August. I had already created a page for this before, but this time I'm checking the links and topics I let slide the first time around. I have a bit more summary in 2008, especially in the 3rd quarter now. The last time I did serious work at this level of detail in history, several months ago, I was seeing a lot of Pakistan, so now I have a better sense of what has happened there since then.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Today's developments are limited to the gradual expansion of events of the past year. I've noted that India and China have both made significant achievemts in rocketry, launching satellites. I don;t know if I've noted that China completed its third manned spacefulight, which makes it a place to be watched.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recent events and an update

I've been working mostly on recent events for the past few days. I don't know that I mentioned that I now have pretty much a continuous sequence of periods from earliest prehistory to the present, with no gaps. Not all are equally detailed, and I don't have all the content filled in, but
I have a solid backbone so that I can hange everything else on it.

For now, within history I am not going to be creating pages at any more detailed level than monthly, unless from time to time, complex, fast-moving, complex events require it.

I also pushed my way through the list of US States and now have a page for each. There isn't any content to most of them yet; that will have to get filled in later, but it's a start.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More history

I've been pretty much working in modern history for the past couple of weeks. I decided to go
through and extend the aids in each of the 20 year periods. This also means that quite a few more subjects have links to these periods, but there still isn't much depth to them. I've done the same (extending the aids) to 5 year periods of the 20th century.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I finished the review of the Sciences and published the latest round of updates to the Web, so they are all now visible.

Now I've started a new round.
For History in general, I've done a little cleaning up of the history using sociology page, distributed a few nations to the various peoples, reorganized the connections to Latin peoples and to the Middle East. For the history using institutions, there weren't many new sections in the last round, so this mostly involved starting to put the companies in better order in the economics section, and cleaning up the connections to science.

Prehistory also got a little bit of cleanup and distribution of a few particular nations. Again, the Latin peoples and Middle East benefited most from the reorganization. I didn't go into particular periods of prehistory this time.

Antiquity in general got the same treatment: a few more nations connected, and a reorganization of Latin peoples and the middle east, and the connection to sciences done a little better. Likewise, I didn't go into particular millennia of history.

All of these areas need better development of social structure and change before I go into the details of such things as religion and government, but they need to be developed and connected to more recent periods of history first.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anthropology and Personal studies

I got through the section on human geography. Some of the lower level pages hadn't been touched in two years. I didn't add much, a link or two to each, but this slow growth in the detail pages is part of the process. I got through human ecology, physical anthropology, demography, and social foundations sections as well. Many of these are so far linking back to high level areas in the sociology section.

Since I'm creating two links, that is, when I link from one page to a second, I also create a link from the second page back to the first, this means that in some cases, I do more work on a subject through the links back than I did to its page in the first place. This is helpful in speeding up pages in the neglected middle sections.

I also started in on personal studies, and did a review of biography. I didn't go much deeper on most of the various subjects that still need to be linked to biographies. Once I got the sociology and peoples sections linked, the urgency of doing biographies started to fall off, and these are being handles more indirectly now. I also did a review of he psychology section. I didn't quite get through the human body, which will be the next subject up. I'm still on track for finishing this round by the weekend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Institutions, Culture, and Anthropology

Skip a day, and thing just start piling up. I went through the government, making new connections, and developing a few more. In Economics, I had been having some trouble with how to organize the various companies. I had decided to handle them similarly to the way I've been handing nations: assigning them to industries as they come up, but I hadn't yet done much with that approach. I also added links to a couple more universities, but since these don't seem to break down into types like companies, do, I may have to rely on the geographic and regional organization. I have reached a little but further into families as well.

Going through the culture section took me a couple of days. In the Behavioral culture section, I created a number of links. The conceptual culture section was a little more pleasing: I finally have a page for philosophical schools and doctrines, and there was some satisfying progress on applied sciences. I didn't quite get to do much with math, and did less than I would have liked with literature, graphic arts, or language, but if I don't follow the program, I get really bogged down. Material culture is also an area I have been wanting to develop, so I'm pleased with what I did this time around. Some of these sections haven't been touched in almost a year, so it's really about time I did something more here.

I've begun working on Anthropology, and after an initial review, I started in on particular groups, which still lack specific detail. I'm hoping to identify significant ones from a study of history. I also started in on human geography, but only the main page so far, and not specific details.

I should be able to go through the remainder of Anthropology before too long, since this section isn't really detailed. By the end of the week, once I've finished reviews of Personal studies and Science, I should be ready to publish the updates that I've been reporting.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


In another split, I created a new history of religion page. I did minimal addition of new nations, since this is already so well advanced over other topics, but I did a little connection of social structure and change and education. I also advanced the number of biographies connected to history, about 1/4 of the way through the list.

In particular religions, I managed to create links from each division of Abrahamic religion, the major divisions of Asiatic religion, several of pagan religion, and secularism. Some of these pages hadn't been touched in a year, so this was some progress. I still don't have proper subdivisions of religious organization, practice, or belief. These will have to wait until I can start examining the particular religions in more detail.

I also reviewed the main government page. The history section is updated, but like many other history sections it lacks enough detail to make it interesting. Sociology is extended a little bit better, and connections with economics are better developed. I also did some connection of individuals to government.

Next up are details of government, and possibly economics.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Social structure and change, and institutions

I took a pass through social change, social types, and social structure. About all I can say is that I made fairly minimal progress except for connections to particular nations and various high-level pages, although including them into the development cycle was an achievement in itself...some of the lower level pages hadn't been touched since last December.
I also took the main institutions page, went into history, and updated the discussion of the histories of religion, government, economics, and educations. This is still frightfully superficial, until I can get to those subjects and dig further in. I also separated out a page for the application of sociology to institutions, so that the main page for institutions looks a little more like the main pages for history and sociology itself. I did a little bit of filling in connections to culture. I thought about adding more connections to individuals, since those are on the general program, but the list of individuals is already getting lengthy, and I want to cut it down a bit by moving some of these individuals to particular institutions.
Next up, Religion, an area I've been anxious to get back to.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Non-Western History

I did the separation of Oriental history from the rest of the discussion of Oriental peoples that I had planned. I also took a quick glance through Central Asian and Southeast Asian peoples, but didn't do much with them. Southeast Asian peoples are nearly ripe for subdivision.
I also separated out African history from African peoples. Western Africa and Eastern Africa are also nearly ripe for subdivision, but I will need to add more nations, and I'm holding back a little on this until I have more history.
I also separated American Indian history from American Indian peoples, and added a link I've been meaning to add for some time, that gives an overview of the various American Indian cultures. I expect to be going into more detail on these in the future, but didn't do much with them on this time through.
I also reviewed the Social structure and change pages. I paid special attention to giving more content to the history section, but it's still much too superficial, and I will need to go into more detail of social change, social types, and social structure. This is better connected to religion and Government, though. I'm particularly interested in a connection with mathematics that may be coming up the next round through this subject.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I did a little bit of work on connecting Hispanic peoples to history: I think it looks a little better now. I also separated out a page for Sociology of the 19th century from the 19th century page.

In Sociology, I finished a rewrite of the history applied to sociology page, but it still looks a bit barren of real content, and I'm going to have to go through it again. I made a little more progress with history applied to peoples, through the 17th century. I also finished the connections of individuals on the Hart 100 list to peoples in general. and now can concentrate on locating them with particular civilizations. Within Western Civilization, I'm about halfway through the list. I took the history of Anglic peoples and separated that onto a new page, I did a few more pages for divisions of Hispanic American peoples. Within Asiatic peoples, I got about a third of the way through the biography list. I rearranged Middle Eastern peoples (not for the first time), and among South Asian peoples, separated out a history page. I also began creation of a series of pages for the states of India. Next up are Oriental peoples.

Time gets away

I had intentions of doing a summary of daily progress, but once I skip a day, it just sort of piles up. I've pushed connections with the early 20th century back and widened those of the early mid 20th century. Useful information doesn't really begin until the mid 20th century, and I have some widening access to the Cold War. The late-mid 20th century is also connected. In the late 20th century, the pages for a year by year record are extending to earlier times. I've also picked up the quarter-by quarter summaries beginning in 2005, and month-by-month for 2008, and I've also done some work on the future.

For sociology, I've done a little bit of updating on the history of sociology, although it's still a bit sparse on detail. I've also revised the history of peoples of the world, to include quite a bit more detail than I had before, with a little more rewriting yet to go. I'm nearly done connecting my list of biographies to peoples of the world. Western Civilization is being handled indirectly through history and other subjects, and I'm about a third of the way through lining biographies of people prominent in Western Civilization to that area. For Anglic peoples I linked a couple of biographies. I did get a number of pages for states added to the USA, and I expect to be working in those a little more.

Latin peoples are where I made a little bit more detailed progress. I decided (again) to rearrange the order I was presenting them in. I had a list of countries that hadn't yet been assigned to particular groups. French peoples no longer include just a single country. Most of the countries went to Hispanic peoples and I finally decided that a semi-historical division was in order:
Spain itself, and then Hispanic Mexican, Hispanic Colombian, Hispanic Peruvian, and Hispanic Argentine. These four groups plus Brazil make up Latin American, and part of the reason for dividing them this way is that they roughly correspond to the viceroyalties of the Spanish American Empire. There wasn't much to add to other groups of Western Civilization this time around.

Friday, September 05, 2008

New Forum

I've just converted the Independent Learning Forum to new software, and will be reorganizing it. The link on the sidebar should work correctly.

19th and early 20th century

For the 19th century in general, I made a few connections within social structure and change, institutions, culture, and anthropology. I also did a substantial amount of work with biographies, and now have all of them distributed to particular periods of the 19th century. In the divisions, I did some work with Germany. For now, I'm looking mostly at Asiatic peoples. I did some with Egypt, Turkey, and Iran that gives something of a better foundation for their importance in the 20th Century. I did some connections in Southest Asia including the Philippines and Vietnam. Yes, I decided that its history before the French occupation was looking into after all. For Thailand, I took note of when its current boundaries were settled. In Africa, Ethiopia required a little bit of study. Connections with religion, culture, and Anthropology were made.

The 20th century didn't advance connections with particular nations at the general level much, since these are all well advanced, but connections within social structure and to applied science and demography were made. Some of the particular divisions dealt with France, Turkey, Iran and Congo, and I have reached the point where I can resume working with the United Kingdom. In the early 20th century I created a stub page for the early 1910. For the early mid 20th century I have started a more solid connection to the United States.

The mid 20th century is more of a challenge, and required a little more of a careful look into the United States, Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia. I still don't have much on the World War II period, but more of the Cold War is starting to show up.

I didn't make any progress on linking individuals to other areas, except for the 19th century to particular periods, but that counts. I intend to do the same for the 18th century next time I go through it, and in the meantime do more connecting to other areas as I get to them..

For anyone looking at the Independent Learning Forum, access is temporarily shut down while I work on getting the new version up. I should have it back in another day or two.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Another round

I had intended to move away from history, but wound up starting another round of it. I started in late medieval times, mostly just checking to see which of the centuries could be advanced a bit. Only one of them, but the next round I will should be able to do more.

For the 16th century, I don't have much on the United States at all; This is the period of mostly exploration of the coast, to which I paid less attention than I might have, and has gone rather hazy in my memory. I'm doing a bit better in China, the period of the Ming dynasty, and in India, when the Mughal empire was growing. I really can't do much in Indonesia without the Dutch and the Portuguese, and it looks to be a while before I get to either of them in much detail.

For the 17th century, in the United States I'm dealing with the early colonial period. I have Brazil as a Portuguese colony, and I'm not yet much interested in it. Russia was starting to expand. In South Asia, including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the Mughal empire was at its height, but the British were starting to exert influence. China is concerned with the transition between the Ming, and the Qin (Manchu) dynasty which followed. Examination of Africa would be beginning, but there's really not much content to it yet. Basic connections to Anthropology and personal studies have been made.

For the 18th century, The history of Mexico is somewhat interesting. Germany, before the 19th century, is somewhat chaotic. Japan starts to be of some interest, but this was mostly the feudal period of isolation. The Philippines have to be better connected to Spain for me to extract much of this period, and I'm not terribly interested in Vietnam before the French period. Nigeria is mostly set aside. I am starting to link details of social structure and change to these periods, and Connections to most of the institutions have been extended.

I started to work on the history of sociology and the history of peoples, but I realized that the history of sociology is rather thin without a little more reference to peoples, and the history of peoples is a little thin without reference to particular peoples. When I got as far as Western civilization, I decided to back off and try this again later.

The program of connection of individuals to peoples is progressing; This is now about 2/3 done, and the next level of detail involves things such as Western Civilization and Asiatic peoples. Connections of individuals to African peoples or American Indian peoples is practically nonexistent. One of the things I want the knowledge base to do is to point to where the gaps are so I can fill them. I'm not quite there yet. Connection of individuals to Western civilization is about 1/3 third done, and that's involved mostly a review of what I have already accomplished. I've caught up to that part of the program so I can start extending and adding to those connections.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Earky 21st century

That takes care of the latest round of history. There's not a whole lot to report except a few more connections to anthropology and personal studies, and a slight broadening of year-by-year events since 2002.
The links to of particular individuals to peoples of the world are about halfway done now. That's still only scaffolding for the more specific links to particular peoples, but that's progress.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Recent 20th century

Within the late-mid 20th century, (1961-1980) I have more developments of the larger nations (India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Russia). Within the late 20th century, (1981-2000) I have developments for Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria, Japan, and Mexico. I've also extended year by year developments back to 1996 and have the US connected to 2000. There have been various connections to science, personal studies, and anthropology, and some to education and economics.

I also have all the individuals on my top 110 list connected to Sociology, so that's one step toward the connections to "where". There is a batch of connections to periods of the 18th century, a batch of connections to peoples of the world, and a batch of connections to institutions in general I want to examine, so there's still plenty to do there.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

20th century

I went back to working on in modern history. The 18th century didn't yield much; I did some connections with Northeast Europe, Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, Mexico which resulted in extending the Americas, particularly North America and South America, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as better connections to science, personal studies, and social structure and change.

The 19th century was a little bit more productive; I had connections to Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Iran, which mostly gave better connections to the Middle East. I did some connecting to families and social change and types.

I continued to the 20th century, and got to the mid 20th century, which includes the ability to focus more directly on 5 year periods. I like the finer level of detail, which lets me "see" such things as the Korean war.

I haven't neglected the other connections I mentioned in my last post. Each 20 year period of the 20th century now has links to all the individuals in the Hart 100 list who lived during that period; and I should soon be able to do the same for the 19th century (working backwards until I run out of pages that are linked to biography). I've also made connections for most of the people on the list to the sociology page although these connections are less directly useful, and meant mostly as scaffolding so I can connect them to particular peoples and nations later.

It is not a great surprise that this lists primarily those who were active during the early 20th century and the early mid 20th century (up to about 1940). There is only one person on the Hart 100 list who is still living.

Live question #1. Who do you consider to have been the most prominent or influential individuals of the past 8 years, that is, from 2001 to the present? Why?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Almost ready

Over the past week, I've been attempting to regularize my order of development of subjects on the Knowledge Base. A couple of major developments are now pending. For one, I have pretty much connected a continuous line of history pages at 20 year intervals from 1500 to the present, and I have organized methods for updating them. There are enough nations to put a little meat on the bones of a bare skeleton of time. It's becoming necessary and important to examine major social changes, religion and government, and major elements of culture. Also, I now have historical connections for all the individuals on the Hart 100 list.
I've been hesitant to announce plans, because they have been likely to change, but the thing is close enough to being what I consider live and fully functional, that I can see how it's going to work. For one, although modern individuals are connected to centuries, about half of them l of them have been connected to individual 20 year periods. Finishing the other half will be important. That will give me connections to who and when. That's between a couple of days and a week to finish in a satisfactor manner.
Another phase is to connect these to sociology, peoples, and countries. That should take a weak or two. Another is to connect them to particular areas of effort, which will take another week or two or three. All this will gives me a connected who, what, when, and where for discussing major topics, a picture I can fill in with adding more individuals and details. From here on, I'll be reporting on the progress of this project, and actively inviting commentary on things I have left out. I'm enthused.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Latest additions

I have a new batch of updates for my web site. In science, I've gone back to do a little updating on the scciological connections within astronomy, earth science, and biology. I've also done a little on the human body and psychology. I mentioned that I had pages for the Hart 100 list done, but now I also have the 10 runners up. I've been working on their connections with history and have about 2/3 of them down to the century level so that when they lived can be found. I'm working on connecting where they lived and what they did, but that's coming along a bit more slowly. I've also done some work in the anthropology section. Human geography is starting to make progress; in some of them, the last time I worked on them was about 9 months ago. Culture is starting to develop well, and I made some useful connections in all its subdivisions. The institutions are going a little bit slower, but I have some important interconnections. I didn't do much with sociology or history this time around. I've been working on these so heavily that other connections have suffered.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Recent progress

I have been working more or less consistently on the knowledge base for the past couple of weeks. As usual, it is mostly a slow, incremental process: This time I have been concentrating more on connecting nations to topics within science, personal studies, culture, and the like.
A significant milestone, though, is that I now have individual pages for all the people mentioned in the Hart 100 list. As I may have mentioned on the biography page, this is by no means an exhaustive linking of important individuals and I would certainly dispute some of the rankings. (for instance, I don't see how John F. Kennedy ranks above Lincoln, or why Stalin, Hitler, and FDR made the list but Churchill didn't.) But it is a start.
One of the more obvious and serious deficiences of the knowledge base is that I don't have links to particular works...Many of these people are noted for what they did or invented, but many are noted for what they wrote. I've been wanting to get to a list of important litarary works, but since it's be buried in the middle of the knowledge base and hard to get to from either end, I wind up running out of steam before I get to it. There is also the fact that I want to construct it in some kind of historical order, which is hard to do. At least linking it to the important authors, which is something I can put in historical order, gives me a way to do this, so I hope to get to it soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where was I?

Oh yes. It seems I've done a full cycle of additions since I last posted, and published the lastest version to the web. I haven't done much with science, since I'm just starting to work down into its major subdivisions. I haven't done much in personal studies, either, except add several more pages that mention historical figures. I hope to do some linking of these with history in this round. The connections with anthropology don't seem especially fascinating at this point.

Since culture is such an important and neglected area, I'm going to start going into more detail on in, linking it to nations. I was going to wait until I had gone all the way through institutions, but that seems much to long to wait, and cultural subjects are more important. I'm pleased to be making more progress with economics, but several of these subjects need more detail, and while I will get to them in a couple of rounds anyway following my work with social structure and change, getting down into the nitty-gritty detail is more important. Social structure and change is shaping up fairly nicely. I'm also thinking about cautiously picking up connections with cities again.

Prehistory was a bit mechanical, although I finally have the middle east connected all the way to earliest prehistory. The nations I connected to areas of antiquity didn't produce much excitment. either. The most interesting thing going on there is that I have reopened inquiries into particular centuries of late medieval times. I had set these aside until I had 20 year divisions all the way through modern history, so getting to this point is something of a milestone of accomplishment

Modern history is approaching a level of connection that's starting to get more interesting. For various reasons, I'm personally interested in the development of economic and trading networks and religious and political philosophy and ideologies in modern times, and I need a substantial background of historical detail before I can discuss these intelligently. Nearly every period is filling in an important gap somewhere.

Details of the 16th century are still not yet far advanced. In the 17th century, having Spain connected is a big help. At the 20 year level of detail, I'm working with the giants of Asia. For the 18th century, I'm mostly working with the larger nations of Asia, but I'm also starting to make progress with Russia. The 19th century is working with some of the larger but not giant nations of Asia and America. This is still a few rounds away from having reference to the British Empire.
The 20th century is more promising than useful yet, but I'm finding the 5-year interval is giving me a much clearer and sharper view of history and international developments. The early mid 20th century still has stubs, and the mid 20th century is also just getting started. The US at 5-year intervals back to the Korean war and China at that level of detail is extending my knowledge. The late-mid 20th century is starting to include India, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan at 5 year intervals, which is providing a much clearer and sharper view of these nations. For the late 20th century, Bangladesh, post-Soviet Russia, and Nigeria in the late 1990s gives a much clearer, sharper view of what was going on. I'm also extending one year intervals so that they will include events since Sept 11 01.

Friday, July 11, 2008

20th century

In the early 20th century, I have a connection to Germany, but that isn't much use without more of Europe. The early-mid 20th century has a better connection to Egypt, but that isn't really central to the period. By the mid 20th century, I'm mostly catching up to stuff I've already done.
The finer detail at 5-year periods doesn't start to be useful until about the 1960s-1970s. Reviewing this jogs memories of events I knew about, but didn't pay close attention to. So does working with the 1980s-2000s, where I've been mostly reviewing events in South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). Starting in 1998, I've picked up going on a year-by year basis, but this doesn't have real material until about 2005, and the next few years have been connected to nations at a superficial level well ahead of where I'm working.
At this point, I stopped to review whether any of my files had grown big enough to be worth splitting. A few had. Asiatic history and the History of Western Civilization are both big enough to split, but I need to divide sociology using history and history of peoples first, and they aren't big enough. I did split China history and India history into separate pages. US history is big enough, but not well enough connected to other areas. In the process of working on history, I added another state or two to the US, and another province or so to China, and created a page for names of the states of India.
I also started around to work on connecting other areas to peoples of the world. I added more pages for individuals, but didn't do much connecting, except to India. Areas of anthropology have been connected to Asiatic peoples in general, Oriental, South, and Southeast Asian as well as Anglic peoples. Areas of culture are connected to Latin, South Asian, and African peoples. as a very general level.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

General work and history.

I did a little more inquiry into religion, but mostly went on to social structure and change. Social structure, social types, and social changes all got some attention and better connections to nations, although it's fairly plain that I'm going to need culture and institutions to do these properly.
Another round of history has the extension of Ethiopia, Turkey and Iran back into prehistory. North Africa is now extended back to earliest prehistory. Within antiquity, I extended mostly Europe into this period. This is mostly part of European prehistory, and is still obscure and controversial, in spite of all the archaeology that's been done in Europe. Classical and medieval times prompted connection to Asian pagan and African pagan religions., and some extension of Ssutheast Asia, Latin peoples, and Central Africa.
Modern history now has at least a stub for every twenty-year division since 1500, which will allow quite a bit better precision in examining classical and medieval history. The 16th century isn't much advanced yet, but in the 17th century, I've reached another milestone and US history is now pushed all the way back to the first permanent settlement; Jamestown. There are the beginnings of connections to Western Civilization, Asiatic peoples, and in particular, Oriental peoples. For the 18th century, there has been some work in extending South Asia, Southeast Asia, Anglic, and Latin peoples. For the 19th century I have connections to Northeast Europe, South Asia, the Orient, and Southeast Asia, and the beginnings of connections to Africa.
This usually tends to throw off side branches. I've begun doing a little more work on adding particular states to the United States and provinces to China. India is another country that needs more attention to its states. The 18th century repeatedly suggested connections to economics and trade.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

After finishing a round of history, I started in on various other subjects. In most areas besides history, the links to specific nations and peoples of the world are far less advanced.
The connections of my personal studies group were fairly uselessly abstract, but I took the opportunity to add a few more pages for individuals in the biography list. The added connections of various parts of anthropology to various nations also weren't very useful. The highly abstract principal areas of culture also weren't much help.
Since I was skimming the surface and not getting much in useful connections, I decided to go to a deeper level. Although I mention that I want to get into economics, I didn't get much beyond reviewing what I have already done. Government did better. I wound up connecting some of the larger nations to different areas of government, which gives some advance in content. Religion still isn't as well developed as I would want, but I got several nations to have a little more about religion in general.

Late 20th century Asia

For subdivisions of the 19th century, I have mostly been making better connections with south and southeast Asia: not ll of it, but a few of the larger nations.
The 20th century is also being better connected. Nothing up through the mid 20th century is very useful yet. but from the 1960s onward, I have wider connections. For the late 20th century, starting in the 1980s, I have, for nations such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Brazil, something a little better than the dead boring "I don't know" and "I haven't looked at this" that I tend to plug in when I'm just mechanically making connections. I'd at least like to have a name of a country's leader in a given 5 year period.
However, there is at least potentially so much politics and economics, (not to mention everything else) packed into a 5 year period that such a note is the barest hint of all the other complicated doings that are going on. That will be coming, eventually.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Latest work

Some of the recent work I've been doing in Antiquity is starting to involve parts of Western civilization at earlier and earlier times. Most of the history of European peoples before the Romans is murky and depends on archaeological evidence, which is often rather ambiguous.
For the classical and medieval period, I've been looking more at a few countries in southeast Asia and Africa. although these early forays don't have a whole lot of context of neighboring nations to them. Modern history is getting more serious attention. I'm very near to having at least stub pages for the entire 16th century, and the 17th century is starting to include a few more particular nations, though still mostly the big ones worked back from the 20th century. The 18th century has a little more detail, although a lot of the attention is going to nations such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. I' don't have the British linked to this much yet.
One of the awkward parts of the knowledge base was that, with all the emphasis I've been putting on nations, I didn't have many external links to them. I've added a bunch so that when I need quick facts on history, or population, or land area, they will be more handy.
I have started to break down a barrier that's been bothering me: that is, including more pates for the States of the US. This is partly because consideration of the 17th century has very nearly reached the founding of Jamestown and Plymouth, and I will probably want to start working individual states forward in order to add detail to US history. I've also begun adding provinces for China. I'm a little concerned that I don't have much source material for Chinese history, but I'm sure there's plenty if I look for it.
When I was working earlier in antiquity, I decided that I needed to finish a chain of historical links to pagan religion, which is now done at the 5-century level for classical and medieval history and for modern history. I also picked up something I had left behind, which was a review of Judaism through the classical and medieval period. For some reason, Islam didn't come up, nor did many of the Asiatic religions, although with the the countries in Southeast Asia in classical and mdeieval times, I've been seeing more and more references to Buddhism.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I'm Back

The last I posted here was when I was involved in my computer programming project, Intensively, for about six weeks, and then I took about a month off playing a game.
I'm now back to working on the knowledge base.

I've been working fairly intensively on connecting content to my history pages, so that they aren't all just outline. I'm starting to make some progress there: when I go from one of the bottom level periods and look at the peoples and nations, there is now enough information that I'm starting to see a flow of events. There's still a lot more to do, since some of the most important nations don't even come in until fairly far down the list. The current version has about 16 nations worked back early prehistory. Antiquity has a reasonable sampling of the origins of ancient civilization and empires, classical and medieval has a part of European history, and in modern history I'm starting to look at most of the major Western empires, as well has having a breakdown of periods by 20 years almost all the way back to 1501. As I'm looking at European countries during this period, I'm noticing more than I had done before how all the royal families are related.

This isn't exactly news to those familiar with European history, but I've always been afflicted by the who-was-involved-in-the-war-of-the-something-or-other-succession-and-I-can't-remember-which-one-it-was-or-why-I-should-care-about-it disease. But, it's a little more interesting, now that I'm starting to be be able to put it into the bigger flow of European, and world-wide events. Likewise, I've never been particularly interested in just how and when Britain got control of India in the first place, let alone such foreign places as Burma and Malaysia. But I have enough pieces in place that I'm starting to see a pattern and find the same kind of satisfaction I get doing a jigsaw puzzle.

I've also picked up a little on the 20th century, going by five year periods since World War II, which forms a major landmark in world history.

I should have an update of the site, soon.

Friday, May 02, 2008

New project

In many ways, computers and their programming are still tied to decisions that were being made when computer hardware was expensive. This is particularly true with mathematics. It has occurred to me to do some experimenting with different choices, so I started a project of emulating a sub-microprocessor, to see what I can do with different concepts.
There's not much you can do with a processor that operates on only bit of information, and not much more with one that does only has two. With three bits, however, it's possible to do a little more. I've coded the two bit version, but haven't yet tried running it. The three bit version is at the design stage, not yet written. A four bit version is in the works.
I've been pondering for some years about how to do programming with abstract mathematical objects, and how one might implement the abstract objects of set theory and other mathematical structures. I've also been thinking about how to do computer implementation of my ideas on three-valued logic. There are various ways of representing numbers: The fixed-size binary of most computers are useful for many purposes, but not all. few computers work with fractions and rational numbers, and hardly any with approximate numbers. Complex numbers are also a possibility.
There are various people who have developed packages for these things; and my C++ text offers several of these as exercises. I've also had some ideas on doing algebra with computers. However, these are all fairly special-purpose packages. What I'm interested in is common methods that are suitable for the relative novice, not for someone who has studied numerical analysis.
I also want to tie that to science, which involves more and different branches of mathematics, such as geometry, which is tied to graphics and animation.

It's one thing to have a grand vision of everything I'd like to do; it's something else again to make it a working reality. So, I've added C++ to the languages I've been studying. In C, I'm working a little on the analysis of sample programs, types of functions, statements, and data types. In BASIC, I'm also working with sample programs, output procedures, and the read-data statement pair. The if-then and goto statements together with relational expressions give me the elements for building control structures such as loops and branched statements, so that principles of structured programming can be used instead of so-called spaghetti code.
in Assembly language. I'm still digesting notes on the assembly and link phases of programming mechanics. I'm still doing analysis of specific programs, as well as exercises that can be run in DEBUG. More detailed analysis of program parts, including the header, where various types of symbolic constants can be declared, the data segment, where space is reserved for variables, and the code segment, which has the actual body of programs is being done.
I've temporarily set aside my investigations into other uses of DEBUG, the BIOS, and the operation of video hardware, but theyre ready to pick up when I feel up to it and they are important enough. I've also done a bit of condensing of my notes on data representation, and I've reached signed binary numbers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More small gains

There hasn't been much progress on my various topics in information representation, but I think I'm going to switch the order and consider characters ahead of numbers. One reason is that characters are more general, but the other is that usually, each of them takes up smaller space. I'm running across character strings more and more often in my reviews of Assembly language and C++.
I haven't made a whole lot of progress in the hardware, but I'm starting to inch into it, especially in considering video in more detail.
I'm also starting to get a little more detail on the BIOS services.
I'm getting a reasonable, workable picture of assembly. I have enough of the syntax organized to be useful, and I'm familiar with the basic data types. There are still some assembler directives to work on, but I'm making progress on program structure, and on the maechanics.
There's been less progress on BASIC or C, but still a little.

I got an Assembler version of the program I did working (though I had to look at the results in the debugger, since I still don't have output routines). I also got a BASIC Version and a C version working and running.
One of the differences between Assembly language and C is that the roles of the various operators and expressions is different. In Assembly, all the operators are applied and expressions evaluated at assembly time. In C, most of the operators are applied and expressions evaluated at run-time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Small gains

My explorations in the the explanation of video hardware and its operation today were uninspiring, especially since my principal source is seriously outdated. I use it because I want to learn the basics, the older way, in order to see how things have changed or improved.
I did a little more digging into the BIOS. I'd written down a number of the interrupt vectors, and in the process of checking them over, I found that several of them had changed: that is, there were different values in the segment part of the address. I'm not sure what the pattern is. I haven't actually tried disassembling any of them yet, although I may get around to doing that.
I did a little more organization of my notes on assembler syntax and the operations used by the assembler; Directives including symbol definition (the equates, giving names to constants ) and data definition are getting attention. Assembly language devotes more resources to the to the size of its variable than their contents, which are left up to the programmer. As far as assembly instructions I am considering mostly (unsigned, single byte or word) addition, and I'm trying to get a better handle on the various addressing modes used by the instructions. I'm also starting to work on the unconditional and conditional jumps and the call instructions.
I touched only lightly on Basic programming, with a look at the assignment (let) statement.
In C programming, I made little progress in any any one area, but more significant progress in others. The distinction between integer and floating point types is significant, again with most of the emphasis given to the integer types. Well. I'd like to have a better look at floating point arithmetic, but it's not really critical at the moment.
I also gathered some information on the phases of programming design. In the middle, implement (build) or coding stage, I sorted these out into comments; the use of descriptive names for variables and routines, and the formatting of programs, such as indentation and spacing.
I finally decided to group the execution of the program with the last phase: testing and maintenance. This is because in translated language, the assembler and compiler usually turn up a batch of syntax errors, which must be fixed. Then there are linker errors, and finally the logical errors; in which the computer finally does exactly what you told it to do, which is not necessarily the same as what you meant to tell it to do. Testing to uncover hidden bugs is a more advanced process.

I thought I'd try to implement the programming cycle for a problem I borrowed from one of my physics texts. If a man runs a four minute mile, what is his average speed in miles per hour and feet per second? The design wasn't hard for such a trivial problem, but exposed a number of difficulties.
First, in the assembler, I didn't have output methods. I know how to print a character or a string, but a number has to be translated to a character or string in order to display it. Second, several assumptions wound up being hard-coded into the program. I need to go back and document these before I do an updated version.
Methods for doing output are part of the language in BASIC: what was lacking was facilities for defining symbolic constants. Conversion factors "Feet per mile", "minutes per second", Seconds per minute" so I had to use constants.
The version I was best pleased with was the C version. I haven't tried running either the BASIC or the C version of the program yet: I was happy to get through the writing phase.

The answers are 15 mph and 22 ft per second: sure I can do it by hand, but the question is, can I get the computer to do it? Then, for any given distance? Any given time? Distances, time, and speed given in whatever units I like? Then, what if the speed and distance or given, or speed and time? And what if the speed varies? What about other physical quantities,
While the programs may be trivial, they are first steps toward a larger goal. One of the reasons I faltered in my progress in science was that I hated the drudge work of doing conversions between systems of units. If I can get the computer to do it for me, I can go on to more interesting concepts. At least, that's the idea.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

They still work

Late last night I picked one of my books on numerical methods in C, and found a reference to how floating point numbers are treated in the PC family. I was looking for information on how they are formatted for calculations on the old 8087 math coproccessor and its descendants which were incorporated into later Intel processors, but I didn't find it. I didn't fund as much as I wanted to on numerical methods in general, but I do have book back in Nebraska on the subject. However, information on floating point calculations at the machine level is pretty sparse in all my available materials.

Most of what I looked carefully at in C was rehashing things I've already studied, and likewise with C, Progress in assembly also fairly minimal. I'm inching toward being able to use the BIOS routines, which also brings in looking at the interrupt vector table in low memory.
The larger accomplishment came in testing out the mechanics of programming on the three languages I am working on right now.

The night before last I downloaded Turbo C from the internet, and in the process of trying to set it up, accidentally erased everything that wasn't in a separate directory from my C: drive. I tried to undelete it, and found that Win98 doesn't include the undelete command that Dos 5 used to, and since I hadn't gone through the recycle bin. Those files may be theoretically recoverable, but I'm not counting on it. But they included the autoexec.bat file, which set up my assembler TASM for use: I'm not big on mixing working files with those that the assembler itself uses, so I uses a separate work directory. I also recall a config.sys file, which I think tells DOS how to set up my CD, but I may be able to get that back another way. On the positive side, I did get Turbo C set up.

So, I tried everything out. I had several sample programs available for testing: Assembly language. I also had some experience with what can go wrong with assembly language: First, about four typos kept the program from a program from assembling at all, then it wouldn't terminate properly. I rebooted in DOS mode and tried it there, and after it did what it was supposed to, instead of quitting like a well behaved program should, it started giving me garbage on the screen. The, after a keypress, more garbage. What??? So after another reboot, I went back to the source (for the fourth time.. and found it. Instead of the DOS exit routine at interrupt 21 hex, I had sent it to 21 decimal, which was used on the original IBM-PC to set up for cassette tape services. I have no idea what that routine does now except Nothing Good if you call on it by accident.

The trial of BASIC (GW BASIC if you must know) worked well, except for my dyslexia of the fingers, until I was done and wanted to exit the interpreter. Quit didn't work. Exit didn't work. Bye didn't work. Stop didn't work. So another reboot and a hunt on the Internet for the documentation I'd noticed but glanced over last week. Oh. System is the magic word. Well, that wouldn't have occurred to me.
The trial of Turbo C worked better. I This was the compiler I used to learn C, so I was already roughly familiar with its quirks (once I remembered how to send the compiler output into my working directory instead of mixing it up with the compiler's own files). One of the sample programs used an escape code to create a "beep" sound. So, I wondered, will I get a beep?
No such luck. Down with the beepy DOS, up with the musical"Windows" sound. Could I get something else?...maybe, if wanted to do it bad enough to figure out how.
So, I've refreshed myself on the mechanics. Now, If I only had some creativity...

Moving on to physics, I did a little review of mechanics and the mathematical preliminaries. This is the kind of thing that tends to lead me off on tangents, so I'll mention it more later.
Sometime way back when, I picked up a copy of the chemistry textbook I used in high school. No, the fundamentals of chemistry haven't changed as much in 40 years as the state of the art in computer hardware, but a glance through the contents suggested that some concepts I've been a bit fuzzy about are more clearly explained there than in some more recent college-level textbooks.

I've noticed that I've included some computer jargon. Sorry, there's no help for it: I've reached a point where I baffle the beginners and bore the professionals by belaboring the obvious.

PS. One of the sample programs was one for calculating the worth of your weight in gold. So I had to know. I looked up the current price on the internet and modified the program accordingly, put myself on the scale, and came up at just under 5 million dollars.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back from hiatus

For the past month I've added nothing to this blog, because I've been intensively involved in, well, a self-education (or rather re-education) project. My brother has sent me some of my personal library which has been sitting in his garage in Nebraska, and it included about half my computer programming reference library. Another box of books included most of my physics and chemistry references.
So, I've been absorbed in reviewing my computer programming. My skills are old and rusty and somewhat behind the times..actually, I've been 5-10 years behind the technology since the 1970s, and struggle to catch up. I've updated the "About" page on the SKB site to include more of my intellectual history, as well as links to my studies on logic and science fictional world building. I intend to create a "Poor Man's Computing" page to include information on older languages and systems that have been abandoned by the Micro$oft empire in its pursued of the latest and best technology.
Also, since I have my physics and chemistry references now available, I may be doing more work on those sections rather than the history which has been my primary interest for the past while.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More nations

I;ve added several nations to the knowledge base, and in the process reached a milestone. I've been unhappy with my division of "latin peoples" for some time, but I wanted ten in the category before I split it. I finally reached that, so my studies of Western civilization will now go rather better.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


One of the frustrating things about trying to do history or intnernational studies of any kind is that I've been adding countries in pretty much strict order of population. That isn't working. Some of the historically most interesting countries, for instance those with a long written history or widespread international political or economical influence, are not the most populous. That means thas that the practical utility of the knowledge base is badly crippled: I can't even talk intelligently about the early 20th century of India without reference to the British empire, or Indonesia without the Netherlands, and although there are plenty of nations in Latin America, I haven't had enough of them listed to distinguish french-speaking from portuguse-speaking countries.
I did some connecting of biographies to the particular 20 year periods of the 19th century, and some additional connections of biographies to particular individuals. I know from having done this analysis before that with my current listing, this is going to be rather heavily biased toward 19th century Britain. Fine, I can fix that by looking more carefully at other nations and periods, but I'll have a starting point to work from, For now, however, the frustration with trying to do European history without Austria, Hungary, or even Greece is just too much. When it comes to literature or mathematics, or even techniques of building construction...I surrender. Strict order of population has to go. I've been creepy crawling with adding nations: Time to put on some speed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Science and back to history

I decided to take a break from history and do some work on science, and completed a bunch of categories that had been unfinished and hanging. However, after a few days of this I decided that it wasn't being driven by the actual needs of the rest of the base and went back to history.

I also decided that adding just one nation at a time was much too painfully slow and inefficient, especially since their order of historical importance is only weakly connected to their size in population. Since I don't have a ranking in order of historical importance, and it would be a real challenge to come up with one, I've decided to go back to taking them in bigger chunks.
I started that with prehistory, and found that I hadn't worked all the various blocks of nations back that far. Same with classical and medieval history, although I added enough realize that m classical and medieval overview of western civilization was bad, and rewrote that. I got all the various blocks of nations connected to modern history, so that part's fixed.
So, going into detail of modern history. I started with the 17th century, and went ahead and finished adding pages for the 20 year subdivisions. I have this done for 4 of the 5 centuries of the modern era, and I'm anxious to get this finished up. I'm also inching backwards through the 18th century and added more nations. I started adding some biographical references to the 20 year pages of the 19th century and I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Still more history

I've gone through the classical and medieval periods of history, linking another nation to each period, and expanding a bit on histories of associated peoples in the process. I've also done the same for most of modern history up to the 1960s.
This time, I've also taken a look at the biography pages associated with each period. I noted that there were a few that I hadn't touched since I created them four years ago. That's an excessively long time to be waiting to get around to it, and I don't yet have a great deal to add to each person, but I'm getting closer.
A reader sent me a link to information to the Archimedes Palimpsest which was recovered and is being examined by scholars. If I were interested in the detailed parsing of Greek mathematical text (a fantasy which has occured to me at various times), I would love to follow it up more closely. For now, I'm just going to have to file it under "Interesting. Someday, maybe, if I live long enough, I might get around to that". But, seeing how long it's taken to get back around to Thomas Edison who has been in the Knowledge Base almost from the beginning, I'm not promising anything.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Another round of history

I'm really, really going to sit down and start going through other areas more carefully.

For now, I'm back to prehistory and antiquity. Although there is some slow but steady progress at broadening the connections to various nations, there haven't been any really enlightening developments: Just more detailing of what I don't know. I have been making more connections to social structure and to families. The next time through I should have a little more to say about religions, government, and culture.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I've been meaning to make a progress report, but haven't managed it yet. I ran into a wall again when I moved beyond history, so I starded something a little different. When I got partway through history, I swiched to so a summary of what I was doing in particular other areas, which helped quite a bit.
Within Early prehistory, I added a link to Pakistan. Since Brazil wasn't inhabited yet, it pushes Indonesia into Asia and India to South Asia. I now have connections to all the areas of social structure and change, and, somewhat reluctantly, families. I'm considering customs, language and speech, and (since I've already linked foodstuffs) tools and technology. I could probably make more progress here if I considered human geography, human ecology, and physical anthropology, but there hasn't been quite the demand for those areas.
Within middle prehistory, I added a link to Bangladesh, which pushed Pakistan into Asia and Indonesia into Southeast Asia. Indonesia has to have been at least partly inhabited, since Austrialia was peopled during this period, but I haven't yet found any details.
Within Late prehistory, I added a link to Russia, which pushed Bangladesh into Asia and Pakistan into South Asia. I haven't specifically named Megarh as the neolithic site, but that's the earliest one that has come up. I know that there were earlier and larger settlements in the Middle East, but I haven't gone that far back in their history.

In antiquity, there are more nations listed than I have properly integrated into particular periods of history
To the 5th millennium BC, I added Nigeria, which pushes Russia into Western Civilization, which now has a minimal presence to the beginning of antiquity.
To the 4th millennium BC, I added Japan, which pushes Nigeria into African peoples, which now have at least a minimal presence here.
To the 3rd millennium BC, I added Mexico, which pushes Japan into Asiatic peoples, and Bangladesh into South Asian peoples. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about that country or region in the Bronze age.
To the 2nd millennium BC, I added the Philippines. This pushes Mexico into the American Indians, and Brazil gives me reason to add to South American Indians.
To the early first millennium, I added Vietnam, which pushes the Philippines into Asia, and Japan into Oriental peoples.

Classical and medieval history has peoples and communities connected more than they have been integrated into the subdivisions.
To early classical history, I added Germany, which pushes Vietnam into Asia and the Philippines to Southeast Asia.
To late classicl history, I added Egypt, which pushed Germany into Western civilization, and aallowed Russia to prompt the addition of Northeast European peoples to it for that period.
To early medieval history, I added Ethiopia, which pushes Egypt into Asia, and Vietnam to Southeast Asia. A little more useful was the addition of Dacca, which seems to have been founded about this time.
To late medieval history, I added Turkey, which pushes Ethiopia into Africa, and Nigeria into Western Africa, which was now linked.
At this point, I turned from adding more nations to history into more detailed consideration of particular peoples. I finally searched for, and found a site which gives information on American Indian cultures and languages, which will be useful as I do more development of this area. I also did a little bit of long-overdue linking of cities to particular peoples and a few nations.
I've begun making links from social change, social types, and social structure pages to particular nations, so that should have something to work with.
I didn't make much notworthy progress among the social isntitutions, but in the material culture area, I have at least subdivisions sketches out for all its areas except one, and that should be coming soon. I've also reordered the topics within that subject.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Modern history

Mostly what I accomplished this time around was to add cities to the various peoples in the various centuries of the period, as well as pretty much the same batch of standard links. Also started going into more detail into particular periods, and while several 20 year slices from the 18th century on got more development, there wasn't much new information added. Likewise when I went into 5 year periods from the late 1960s. The next round through history should go a bit faster, since I won't have to add so many city links.

For now, I've started again on Sociology, which doesn't need many new links, until particular periods are better developed. I want to do a little bit more generalizing on modern history. Peoples also require few links, but the history of peoples is a bit bare compared to what I have developed in other sections, so I will want to expand on this a little starting in antiquity. For Asia, I split out the Asian history section from the main Asia page. I'm almost ready to do the same for the Western Civilization history, except that hasn't been growing so fast, and it's going to by noticeably more incomplete.
I had taken links to history almost entirely out of the communities page, since it was far overdeveloped compared to the actual number of communities I had linked. I've started to put some of those links back in, since various periods of history now actually do have particular cities linked to them. I also inserted a number of links to peoples and nations, since some of these now have links to particular cities. I'm starting in on Social structure and change next.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Antiquity to Classical again

I've been going through the subdivisions and, withough mentioning them individually, adding links to human ecology, Asian geography, foodstuffs, language, customs, education, particular governments, Abrahamic religion and Asiatic religion, and social types. I've also been going through and picking up references to cities. There aren't many as old as the early first millennium BC, but there is another one or two in each successive period. I'll be mostly relying on these to guide whether to subdivide particular nations, eventually. In roughly the late medieval period, I've made a few more connections of specific cities to specific nations, which is helping give them detail. The connections to Abrahamic and Asiatic religion are starting to give a reasonable outline sketch of their history.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Prehistory plus

I came back around to to the top level and started in with history again. This time, I added a few links to the main history page: languages of the world, customs, and economic production.
Prehistory now has links to foodstuffs, language, customs, occupations, economic activity, and pagan religion.
Early prehistory has links to biohistory and the human body,
Middle prehistory has links to geohistory, biohistory, the human body, demography, Asian geography, foodstuffs, language, customs, and social types: a significant expansion of it. I also added a link to Pakistan, which pushes Brazil to the Americas and the United States to North American Indians.
Late prehistory has links to geohistory, biohistory, the human body, Demography, Asian geography, foodstuffs, language, customs, education, and social types. I added a link to Bangladesh, which pushes Pakistan into Asia and Indonesia into Southeast Asia.

This time, I decided to divert from the straight pursuit of history and look at the targets of these links, especially those that have more than one link to them.
Within Earth science, there is a link to the planets, within Astronomy. Geohistory got a link to atmospheric science, in preparation for study of climate change. The Cenozoic got a link to Sociology, so that eventually I can start looking at national resource, for instance.
I didn't see any obvious resources for biology or biohistory, but Cenozoic life got a link to institutions.
I didn't see any need to expand the main Personal studies page, but the Human body page got links to biological behavior, religion, and communities.
Likewise, I saw no need to expand the main Anthropology page, but demography got a critical link to the human life cycle, human geography got linked to ecology, which opens up the possibility of biogeography, and Asian geography was linked to science and human ecology
The culture page got a couple of long-overdue links to Middle prehistory and late prehistory. Material culture has been short on specific examples, so I started linking to cities, beginning with Tokyo. Foodstuffs also need specific examples, so I started linking that to communities and nations. Conceptual culture also got linked to Tokyo, and language to religion. Behavioral culture got links to New York City and Indonesia, while customs got a link to peoples of the world, and occupations a link to religion
Within Institutions,I skipped the main page. Education got links to New York City and Indonesia. Economics got an important link to social types, and economic activities got a link to culture that I have been wanting to make for what seems like ages.
A lot of these links were made in the reverse direction as well, so I'm not going to trouble to track them all.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I don't get it

I had intended to do quite a bit of work among peoples of the world, but when it got right dow to it, my energy and interest fizzled. I didn't find Asian peoples in general all that significant, nor Western civilization, or even social chage and types. I found myself skipping over government and economics, and only a token movement at occupations within the area of behavioral culture, nothing in anthropology or personal studies or science. Instead, my attention is turning back to history, and its finer divisions.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Modern history

I didn't see a while lot to add to mdern history's main page that eeither hasn't been, or doesn't need to be added to the main history level first. The particular centuries are a different matter.
In the 16th century, I added or reviewed links to human geography, occupations, education, and social types I also added a link to Ethiopia, which pushes Egypt into Asia and Vietnam into Southeast Asia.
For the 17th century, I added links to the same first four subjects. There would have been a link to Turkey, but that was already in place. But it pushes Ethiopia into Africa and Nigeria into Western Africa, which weren't in place yet.
For the 18th century, I added links to those same first four subjects. There would have been a link to Iran, which pushed Turkey into Asia and Egypt into the Middle East, if those weren't already in place. This is also the leading edge of progress backward into the past. Most of the page I liked to were already in place and developed to where I wanted them, there wasn't much real progress.

For the 19th century, I expanded the connection to human geography, and added one to occupations. The others were already sufficiently developed. This already had a link to Thailand, so there wasn't need to add one.
The mid 19th century got a link to religion, to Tokyo, and to the United States. (The Mexican War, for anyone keeping track). Adding cities at the same time I add nations will complicate things a bit, but hopefully not too much.
The late-mid 19th century got a link to behavioral culture and government. From this point, I'm adding links to cities that ought to be there if I had been adding cities from the start, so Tokyo and Seoul. Adding China pushes the United States into Western Civilization and American Indian peoples: the US Civil war and reconstruction go in this period.
The Late 19th century has links to Conceptual and behavioral culture and to government: Most of the others I wanted were already in place. Adding Mexico City pushed Tokyo and Seoul into Asia, and adding India to the list of nations pushed China into Asia. This was the period when China came close to being carved up by European powers.

In the 20th century, most of what I wanted to add had already been added, but France would have been the next nation.
The Early 20th century included new links to material culture, economics, and an update of links to it from social structure and change and social change pages. Since many nations had already been added, This would have included Indonesia, pushing India to Asiatic peoples and China into Oriental peoples. Adding New York City would push Mexico City into Western Civilization and American Indian peoples.
The early-mid 20th century included new links to all three major areas of culture, economics, and the updates from social structure and change, and social change pages. Adding Bombay would push New York City into Western Civilization. Adding Brazil would push Indonesia into Asiatic peoples and India into South Asian peoples.
The mid 20th century got the links to and from other ares I mentioned with the previous period. Adding Delhi would push Bombay into Asiatic peoples, which would push Seoul into Oriental peoples. Adding Pakistan would push Brazil into Western Civilization, which would push the USs into Anglic peoples, and it would also put Brazil with American Indian peoples, and the United States into the North American Indians.
The late-mid 20th century got the same batch of other areas linked. Adding Sao Paulo to the city list, pushed Delhi into Asia, and Bombay into South Asia. Adding Bangladesh would push Pakistan into Asiatic peoples, which would push Indonesia into Southeast Asia. This has the effect of calling to attention that I have mostly ignored the recent history of Pakistan, so there's a gap I want to make up when I next look at Pakistan.
The late 20th century was already linked to most of the areas I wanted to add. Adding Shanghai would have the effect of pushing Sao Paulo into Western civilization. Adding Russia would push Bangladesh into Asiatic peoples and Pakistan into South Asian peoples.
The early 21st century already has all the links I wanted to add. Adding Los Angeles would push Shanghai into Asiatic peoples, which would push Delhi into south Asia, and Bombay into India, where it rightly belongs, which creates a solid link between a nation and a city for this particular period. Adding Nigeria pushed Russia into Western civilization and Brazil into Latin peoples (Also bringing Mexico City with it).

With this pass through history done, I'm in a better position than before to turn to study of what I call Sociology.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Antiquity to medieval, revisited.

On another passs through the antiquity section of the knowledge base, I did some linking of the main antiquity page to physical geography.
For the 5th millennium BC, I have new links to human geography, to conceptual and material culture, to economics, particular religions, and social change. I added Bangladesh, which pushes Pakistan into Asia and Indonesia into Southeast Asia. I also revised the information on Pakistan just a little, but the decription of findings at one archaeological site reminds me that I need to add links to information on occupations to history and sociology.
For the 4th millennium BC, I added mostly the same links, added one to Russia, which pushes Bangladesh into Asia and Pakistan into South Asia.
For the 3rd millennium BC, I added mostly the same links, but went into specific detail on pagan religions, plus one to Nigeria, which pushes Russia into Western Civilization. I might have spent some time in the Harappan civilization, but decided to wait and do that at a later time
For the 2nd millennium BC, I had mostly the same links to add, plus one to Japan, which pushes Nigeria into African peoples.
For the early first millennium BC, I had mostly the same links to add, plus one to Mexico, which pushes Japan into Asia and Bangladesh into South Asia.

For Classical and medieval history, I added a link to Asian geography, one to occupations, and one to recreation and entertainment.
For links to early classical history, I added the same links as for the 3rd millennium BC, except for adding a link to the Philippines, which pushes Mexico into American Indians, and Brazil into South American peoples.
For links to late classical history, I added the same links as for early clasical, except for adding a link to Vietnam, which pushes the Philippines into Asia and Japan into Oriental peoples.
For links to early medieval history, I switched a little. Human geography still, and occupations, but education, since economics was already connected, and I didn't extend particular religions: I'll do that next time through. I added a link. I also added Germany, which pushed Vietnam into Asia and the Philippines into Southeast Asian peoples.
For links to to late medieval history, I did most of the same links as for Early medieval history, plus one to Egypt, which pushes Germany into Western Civilization and Russia into Northeast European peoples.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I had intended to go through the Sociology and Institutions sections more thoroughly, but when It came down to it, none of them really caught my attention with things I had was really interested in looking at. So, I started over in history, with prehistory. This time, though, there are a few teeth in the subject.
In reviewing what I have in prehistory, I was reminded that I wanted to connect this better to human geography, and with the emphasis on Asiatic countries that's been been given to it, to Asian geography in particular. That subject's been hanging incomplete for a while, so I added an East Asia page, and linked prehistory to it. I also found reason to link to the hunting and gathering societies page.
In Early prehistory, I made connections to Geohistory, and to Asian geography. I also added Indonesia, which pushes India into Asiatic peoples, but that's as far as I was going to go with this, because at this point in history, I'm not sure there was the same kind of cultural division that is seen later.
In Middle prehistory I added links to Human geography, Behavioral and conceptual culture, and social change. I added a link to Brazil, which pushes Indonesia into Asia and India into South Asian peoples, This provided a little incentive to add links to Asian geography to Sociology and Peoples pages, as well as to Asiatic peoples.
In Late prhistory, I added the same batch of geographical and cultural links, and social change. Adding Pakistan pushed Brazil into American Indian peoples, and the United States into North American peoples. Some of the characteristics of the peoples added to Pakistan suggested that I do something I've been wanting to do for a while: create a new page for food-related occupations, History is now linked to this. In the use of sociology in history, I also created a link to horticultural societies, which in turn have a link to Culture that will prove useful.

Classical to present

After filling in more links to sites dealing with the classical and medieval period, I did a little more development of particular sections.
In Early classical history, I added links to areas of culture, to government, and particular religions. I addeded a new link to Mexico, which pushed Japan into Asia, and Bangladesh into South Asia. The link to mexico will eventually lead to Meso-American history, but that still needs some development.
In Late classical history, I added the same kinds of links to other areas, a new link to the Philippines, which pushed Mexico into American Indian peoples.
In Early medieval history, I added the same kinds of links to other areas, and a new link to Vietnam, which pushed the Philippines into Asia, and Japan into Oriental peoples.
In Late medieval history, I added the same kinds of links to to other areas, and a new link to Germany, which pushed Vietnam into Asia, and the Philippines into Southeast Asia.

In Modern history, I found that I already have a number of links to other sites, so I skipped the general page and went straight to particular centuries.
For the 16th century, I added links to areas of culture, government, and particular religions, and added Egypt to the list of nations. During this period, this was under the rule of the Ottoman empire which I haven't discussed, yet, but that's coming. This addition pushed Germany into Western civilization, which pushed Mexico into Latin peoples (Since the Spanish Conquest began in this century)
For the 17th century, I added the same kind of links. I also added Ethiopia to this century's list of nations, which pushed Egypt into Asia, and Vetnam into Southeast Asia.

For the 18th century, I added the same kinds of links to other areas, and added Turkey to this century's list of nations, which pushed Ethiopia into Africa, and Nigeria into Western Africa.
Since modern history is getting another level of detail, I reviewed the status of pages I added some time ago, the late-mid 18th century and the late 18th century. There isn't much to add yet.

For the 19th century, most of the links to culture and institutions had already been added.
Iran would be added to the list of nations, which pushed Turkey into Asia, and Egypt into the Middle East. This division will be worked backinto earlier and earlier periods as I progress.
Most of the divisions of the 19th century were being expanded a little. For the Late-mid 19th century, I have a connection to the US which includes the Civil War era.
For the late i9th century, I added a connection to China, which includes its near partition among nations of western civilization, and moved the United States as an example of Western civilization, and American Indian peoples.

The 20th century is already well developed in other ways: This would include discussion of Thailand, which would push Iran into Asia and Turkey into the Middle East if this were not already done.
For the early 20th century, I added a connection to India with its agitation for home rule or independence from Britain, which pushed China into Asiatic peoples. Western nations were no longer trying to carve up China amongst themselves, and I'm not sure why. This is a question for further study.
For the early-mid 20th century, I added a connection to Indonesia (Still called the Dutch East Indies, at this point), which pushed India into Asiatic peoples, and China into the Oriental peoples group.
For the mid 20th century, I haved a connection to Brazil, which pushes Indonesia into Asia, and India into South Asian peoples.
For the late-mid 20th century, this would have a connection to Pakistan if it were not already developed, pushing Brazil into Western civilization and the US into Anglic peoples, and also Brazil into American Indian peoples and the US into North American Indians.
For the late 20th century, if this were not already done, adding Bangladesh would push Pakistan into Asia and Indonesia into Southeast Asia.
For the early 21st century, if it were not already done, adding Russia would push Bangladesh into Asia and Pakistan into Southeast Asia. This concludes the latest foray into history, but I will be back to it before too long.