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.