Thursday, October 22, 2009


This blog is permanently going inactive. I'm continuing and merging with my other blog, "Confutus says", in a new "From the ground" which is tied to my web site.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More nations

At the moment, the most attractive of the various possibilities for study is pushing the connections with nations and peoples so that all the nations on the site are linked. History in general, modern history, and now classical and medieval history have reached this point, and there are a few more that are close. I'm doing these a few nations at a time, spread out among seven or eight different topics. There's a continoual temptation to expand the list of topics I want to get to, far beyond what I can reasonably accomplish in a day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rattle, Rattle

That was the feeling I got, speeding through history to add a few more nations to the major periods, and going through the centuries of modern history. I used to go through these adding one nation at a time, which was a snail's pace. Now I'm up to tortoise speed. There aren't many new insights, but this finally included some connections to what will be the early colonial period of Latin America.

The next most significant improvement was a revision of the paragraph introducing the modern history of Western Civilization, and getting that page properly linked back to the ones that refer to it. Filling proper detail for the subdivisions of Western Civilization and the specific centuries, to go to another level of detail, is only partly done.

Another one was sorting out the connections of English speaking peoples to Africa. Instead of a flat dozen nations, I have these connections sorted out by region. I still haven't reached more specific connections, but I'm getting closer.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Instead of going all the way through the nations, a project that takes a considerable length of time, I decided to just go and hit the high points of the major peoples. What I noticed this time through is that I'm doing a lot of interconnecting; adding new nations, sorting them into subgroups, and providing links to the subgroups if they aren't already there. This is often a supremely boring task to do over and over, so I try to break it up into pieces.
Yet, most sections of the knowledge base that I work on are hung up in just about this same area. It's hardly a wonder that I have a hard time getting to the nitty gritty of social analysis, or to the broad themes of religion, government, and economics, not to mention culture. I got through a round of these and I'm taking another look at history next.

And more history

I decided to do a slight variant on my "what's needed most" technique, and started again with a pass through history. This time, it led me to classical and medieval history, where I'm within a few sessions of getting the nations linked to as far as there are pages. I then went to modern history, and and that's now a firm limit. So, I went into the 18th century and linked a few nations. These seemed to open up the possibilities for further examination considerably, and the 19th century did the same. The 19th century is the period when the British Empire was the predominant world power, and the most important nations it ruled are now present and accounted for. The 20th century is getting close to the limits on nations and cities I have included, and the early 21st century is not far behind. Since the 21st century page had reached a critical limit on size, I separated most its sociology section out on a separate page as I have done for others. I've been absent from work on modern history for some time, and it felt good to get back to it.

I then went to look at sociology. Sociology in general and peoples in general didn't have much I could do with them, and I didn't add any nations this pass: I want more more backed up demand for them before I add the next batch. Western Civilization was more interesting. The only major branches I am missing now are Scandinavian peoples in prehistory and antiquity, and Scandinavian and Balkan peoples in the future. The subdivisions will be a different matter, but I will get to them eventually.

I did a little review of the history of Western Civilization, and stopped when I got to modern history; I'll save that for the next pass through. I worked somewhat on connecting nations to Western Civilization, and got through Asia and Africa. That is some important groundwork for the modern period, when I get to considering which nations established which colonies in which parts of Africa. I've never been able to keep those quite straight in my mind, except for a few.

Next was a section on Anglic, or English-speaking peoples. I did quite a bit of pigeonholing of nations into groups in that subject, too, except on this I only got to Africa and not through it. These are presented in approximately the order of relationship they bear. I finally got most of the communities on this group pushed into the United States where they are most closely connected.

I did a similar review for the United Kingdom, which doesn't have quite so many nations linked to it yet. I didn't do much with the United States on this pass, but I will be doing more in the next one. Canada and Australia are set aside. Latin peoples are up next.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update Time

After struggling with planning of what work needs to be done most and taking a couple of passes through historical periods to clean them up a little, I would up rewriting the main index page of the knowledge base, and separating out the sociology aids from prehistory and antiquity, and did an update of the whole thing last night, so all the changes I've made in the past month or so are now visible.

As soon as I did that, I promptly went back to work on the knowledge base itself, and specifically on prehistory and antiquity. I know have these to the point where and end is in sight, that is, these are almost connected to the full range of nations and peoples. There is still some work to do: For instance, the 124 nations need to have a few more that are historically significant, and in sight doesn't mean there yet. However, this will be helpful. The next major work will be reviewing history of all these nations: Very few of them have actually been inverted as the rest of the knowledge base has, to go from complex to simpler aids. In addition to reviewing their history, I also want to establish links to topics of social structure and change, and these need to have historical sketches and examples from particular peoples. There will also need to be links to the grand systems of the world; religions, government, and economics.

I expect to be able to carry on informed discussion of these topics. Grand themes are nice, but they seem to be hardly a topic for social chat.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sweeping through history

AGain. The look through social structure and change, and through institutions, culture, and so forth didn't take very much time at all, considering how little progress I had actually made in history. So, I started over with history in general.
After going through the nations and cities I had connected to history, I am now current. That is, all of the nations and cities that actually have pages, are now at least mentioned on the main history page, and distributed to various peoples as far as I have considered appropriate. Most of the lower-level aids to history are also developed. Rather than going through these any further, what is demanded now is to go through the divisions of history to bring them up to date.

I went through prehistory, updating connections to nations, and appropriately distributed to nations, including updates of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, and stopped with the Americas. I did similarly with Early prehistory, middle prehistory, and late prehistory, and with Antiquity.

There, I stopped. Dead stuck. I couldn't bring myself to slog through the millennia, doing a little bit of updating. I could, however, go on to classical and medieval history, modern history, and the future, adding and distributing connections to more nations and cities. So, what went wrong, and now what?

Partly, I think, I have a sense that other things need to be done, and many of these have to be connected with nations and peoples. For one, not all of the nations are present in the five major subdivisions of history, and none of them are quite caught up. For one, the nations aren't fully distributed to their various peoples: for instance, on the list of nations, there are several that belong with Western Civilization, that aren't there yet, and so with each of the other three groups.
Another is that these major peoples aren't fully connected with each other. Another is that Social structure and change doesn't have sufficient examples of nations to work with, and neither do Institutions or Culture. Another is that things like the agricultural revolution, hunting and gathering peoples, and the like are itching for me to work on them more. Another is that it feels like about time to do another update of the site, and I need to do a review of the largest files and see whether any of them need to have new pages split off in order make them more manageable.
So with all these other things competing for attention, I'm going to set the 5th millennium BC aside for now, work on a few other things, and come back to it when it begins to seem necessary and important.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Slogging around the world

Sometimes it feels like it. Going through the various countries is often much more tedious than I expect when I do an overview. Nevertheless, it has to be done. I went through Western Civilization (which as the reader may recall is still mostly Europe since I'm dealing with ancient history and prehistory), and got links to web sites for the largest nations. The Middle East required inverting a couple of countries, but I keep imigining I've done more than I actually have for most of the rest of Asia.

I did finally get to African peoples, and tackled dividing up those nations. Here, I'm dealing with modern colonial-based nations, since I have only the haziest notions of native African peoples. This wasn't so hard to set up as I thought it would be. There is a UN-recognized Geographic region of West Africa which corresponds nicely to the way I had things broken down, except that the Mahgreb region I consider part of North Africa, which I am treating as culturally part of the Middle East. I moved Cameroon to Central Africa, since it seems to fit slightly better there. That left me with three regions: Southern Coastal West Aforca, with nations on the south side of the "bulge" of Africa, the Western West Coast, witn nations mostly on the western coast of the bulge, and Interior Western Africa, mostly those land=locked nations in the interior. A had thought about dividing these up by the countries that colonized them, but this kind of division would be broken up geographically and heavily biased toward nations of French colonial origin, and give even less attention to native African peoples than one based on geographic regions. This is a rough first draft, anyway. With all nations, closer tattention will have to be given to particular peoples within them.

I also added four more cities to the city list, and got to the end of the list, so I went to the City population site to notes note which ones will be coming next.
The next part shoud go a little more quickly.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More history

I took a sweep through antiquity, and got the existing connections to European nations established and regularized. I also had most of Asia organized, and what's left involves the breaking down of Southeast Asia the way I have already mentioned. The next pass through will involve arranging peoples of Africa. I got just as far in Classical and Medieval history, except that have a connection to Balkan peoples. Still no Greece, which is going to be a pain when I get into the details. I also did the same kind of cleanup on early classical and late classical periods that I did with the four and a half millennia of antiquity.

I also started a review of Sociology. There wasn't much to it, except that I am going to be looking more at institutions and culture. For peoples of the world, I attempted a historical review, and so far, I have mostly four out of six divisions of Western Civilization, and Asia except for Southeast Asia, which I already new. I got the connections to cities as far as they have been included, which provides an incentive to start doing more of them.

I added four new nations, the Central African Republic; Moldova, Costa Rica, and New Zealand. I had to look up were Moldova is; it's wedged in between Ukraine and Romania, north of the Black Sea, and used to be part of the USSR. These are also not very high on the list of important nations I have to include, at least, not yet. I needed to finish out the list of links of Middle Eastern groups in order to categorize these, and went ahead and added links to Southeast Asian groups.

I also started a review of Western Civilization, which is well enough done already, and for all my sweeping, doesn't have enough new information to prompt any rewrites of the history I already have. I did get the list of nations that need to be linked almost up to the current list, and should have that on the next pass through. I also reviewed the connections to peoples, and got Asia linked up, with the new southeast Asian groups also.On the next pass, I'll do a review of Africa. I also got the list of cities of Western Civilization up to where it is current: The next pass, I intend to must most of these down into the subdivisions of Western Civilization. I didn't start these particular subdivision yet, that's the next part.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Peoples and another sweep

I tried adding more information on Italian prehistory. I've been using Wikipedia for a lot of high level, basic information, and what it has on this period is very sparse, so the next time through, I'll have to do a broader web search. I found the support for French peoples and France in the subdivisions, and for Germanic peoples and Germany, and Northeastern Europe weaker than I had thought, and so will save them for another pass. Asiatic peoples were rather on the edge of what I was considering in the historical periods, so I didn't add much, except that I did add pages for the subdivisions of Southeast Asia. I have four of them; Mainland Southeast Asia, Island or Archipelago Southeast Asia, Australia, and Polynesia. Most of these nations are just stubs, but with the increasing developments in history and parts of it, many of them will be examined more closely on the next pass through.

I added four cities to the list. This reaches the end of cities I had gained from one of my references sites, so I will need to add some more the next time I reach this. I also did a little review of social structure and change, and didn't add much, but I will have some links ready the next time I reach this subject.

In examination of Institutions, I decided to adjust the order or priorities to go from oldest (as far as I know) to youngest, so European Pagan religions will be considered. Although I would like to consider governments from largest to smallest, the largest governments are connected to modern times, and I am looking for earlier foundations. I am not certain yet how to handle economics; but I think I'm going to stick with the largest to smallest, and broaden out a little faster than I would with other areas. Corporations are useless for studying prehistory, but the industries and economic sectors I am deriving from them are important. Families will have to be set aside for much of the early parts of history, because I just don't have enough information about them.

Culture also presents something of a problem. Since I am concentrated on early history, I will have to emphasize material culture more than I would other areas, since that is the only thing available for archaeologists to study. Anthropology, personal studies, and science are important and will be brought in, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew just yet.

With this sweep done, there is little to do except begin another. With history in general, since the four nations I added weren't on the critical list, I set them aside for another sweep. I did tackled a re-examination of African peoples. East Africa has been growing and is almost ripe for subdivision. West Africa does need one, so I will be doing that when I get to those peoples. Most of the other aids to history have been developed far enough that I didn't need to do much rearranging; they will come up at appropriate times.

In Prehistory, I had left Latin peoples somewhat incomplete, with the connections of Italic peoples and Italy, and French peoples and France implied rather than explicit. I got those connected, I did the necessary rearranging of Middle Eastern nations. Other parts of Asia don't need much rearranging, but the divisions of Southeast Asia do need to be extended here, and African peoples also need some rearrangement. I took some notes on the extension of various other aids to prehistory which need to be worked on.

In Early prehistory, Western Civilization is in order as far as it is developed. The Middle East and the rest of Asia except for Southeast Asia are also in order, and African peoples need to be properly arranged. In Middle and Late Prehistory, Western civilization is now on order, and the Middle East is up for consideration.

I also did some expansion of Antiquity. Western Civilization is already in order as far as developed, and the rearrangement of the Middle East indicates that I can finally begin examination of the Sumerian and Babylonian peoples of Antiquity. I have mentioned how there are Greece and Portugal shaped holes in Western Civilization, but there has also been a Mesopotamia shaped hole in Antiquity which I can now start to fill. Asia up to Southeast Asia is also connected. I will also be taking a few cautions steps toward considering other aids. I stopped at the top of this section for now, and intend to resume with the particular millennia of antiquity.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Early history and Western Civilization

I'm starting once again at the top, which for history, means consideration of nations of the world. There wasn't much to add to Asiatic peoples, this mostly just opened up the possibilities for lower level subdivisions of history, but I reached the magic number of ten nations to prompt a subdivision of Southeast Asian and Oceanic peoples. This will be tackled later, but it offers the promise of being able to consider these in more and more significant detail. I'm also itching to include things such as the agricultural revolution, European pagan religion, and local government along with the history, but I feel as If I should move cautiously.

In Prehistory, however, Asiatic peoples opens up a requirement to re-arrange Middle Eastern peoples in preparation to go into more detail on them. I many have mentioned that inserting Italic peoples instead of Italy, French peoples instead of France directly, and Hispanic peoples instead of Spain directly is a bit of a nuisance at this early period, but these will be required when i start getting into their overseas extensions in modern times. And there are still gaping holes where Portugal and Greece ought to be, but I'm slowly getting there.
Antiquity is pretty much developing similarly, so I don't have much more comment, except that I picked up that pesky half millennium this time through.
I also picked up Classical history, which still at this point has the gaping holes, and also requires a review of Middle Eastern peoples. I did mention a batch of cities, because enough of them existed during this period for them to make a meaningful contribution to the study of peoples in classical and medieval times.

I also began a sweep through sociology. The application of history is rather weak at this point, because so far, only peoples are very well developed. There isn't much new to say about the history of peoples at this point. In Nations, I decided to go ahead and add four more to the list: United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Singapore, and Croatia, none of which are on my list of must-haves, but I might as well get them out of the way. I also started a sweep through Western Civilization. The history is pretty much under control, and developing sociology requires that I look at nations and peoples that are connected to it. I overdid it a bit, and Now need to slow down and collect some of these nations into regions. Anglic peoples have a reasonably solid backbone of history, and so does the UK, and from Classical and medieval times on, London gets connected as well. I began a sweep through history of Latin peoples, and except for the missing Portugal, that's in reasonably good order. I went through Italian peoples as well, but now I need to stop and look more closely at the prehistory of Italy, which as I recall, was rather sparse the last time I looked at it. That's where I'll pick up again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shifting again

After about a week when I doing more surfing of the web, and visiting sites repeatedly to see if there was anything new, I decided that the follow-the links approach was really going too slow, and it was boring and not very exciting. One of the things I do in such times is to take a few notes on what it is that I want to do.
I'm a great fan of the grand, sweeping overview, the thrilling possibilities of new connections just barely seen. I live for the moments when I can see how everything connects, fits together, and make sense.
And then comes the mundane reality when I try to put this vision into words and links, and then is where the gaps, and the missing pieces, and I haven't got to that part yet, and so forth starts to intrude. So I go back into the trenches to fill in the gaps and make the links work.

So, where I am right now. It ought to be well established that history requires that I work with the various peoples of the world, and so far, that means nations. So, one part of what I'm doing needs to extend the nations. Have I ever mentioned that I dislike alphabetical order? Sometimes it is the best way of looking things up, but other times, it isn't. I do have over 100 different nations on the list, but some of the smaller-but-important ones, like Greece or Israel or Ireland, tend to get pushed way down that list, and I haven't got there yet. And I don't like to just go adding nations. Most of my areas have huge backlog of nations I don't have connected yet. So, before I go adding new ones, I need to finish categorizing the ones I have.

But, when I've just distributed a dozen or so of them to the four major groups of peoples, I create a bit of "I'll get to it later". I went through the sociology-applied to history page and got Western Civilization straightened out. Goody. But now it's later for Asiatic peoples, and once I've done it to history, I need to go out to each of its subdivisions, create links to nations and parcel them out among peoples. So the grand sweeping world vision has a couple of chairs in the path of the broom.

I tend to go back and forth on History, whether I want to start from the beginning and go forward, or start from the present and work back. Sometimes I do one, sometimes the other, and sometimes I do both at the same time. How's that for being mixed up? This time, I've decided to go for the beginning to forward, and see how that goes for a while. Fine, but because I've been working on the later parts of history, the first section, Prehistory, doesn't have a complete list of nations and they aren't distributed to the proper peoples.

Western Civilization in Prehistory doesn't have a full set of links, because Greece and Sweden are so far down the list in terms of their modern population that they haven't prompted a creation of Balkan peoples or Scandinavian peoples, and you can't do Western Civilization properly at any time before about 1400 without mentioning Greece. Fine. I'll add to nations. In the meantime, I need to straighten out what I do have for Prehistory. But...wait, I can't just pile on nations for Prehistory, because that a bigger pile up of Asiatic nations waiting to be distributed than there was for History in general. Which is fine, because Asia was more important than Europe was in Prehistoric times anyway. But I still have to stop and do the sorting, which goes along with my having to do it.

But this is really just too broad to be really meaningful. I need to break down prehistory itself and work on its subdivisions, which starts the whole thing over in with early Prehistory. Oh, I can't forget about the connections with modern history, because a great deal of what we know about prehistory came from studies that were done in the 19th century and 20th century, so I can't intelligently talk about who said what (such as where do these technical terms like upper paleolithic come from and what do they mean), without more than the bare-bones outline of the 19th century I have now..but I haven't got that far in my study of history yet. In the mean time, I'm going through Western Civilization (which is dreadfully incomplete as it is, because I have fewer nations to work with) and I find that that part isn't sorted out the way it is for the broader categories...As in, I still have to create links to particular nations like Spain, and I can't say much about it anyway because I've never looked in any depth at Spanish prehistory, except for maybe something about cave paintings which date to middle Prehistory anyway, and that needs to be approached from Spain anyway, which is primarily classified in a whole different section from history, so I need to straighten that all up. Except when I go to add Spain, (and shouldn't I include Portugal along with Spain, Italy, and France? Wait, that's way down on the list of nations too), It should properly go in a Hispanic nations category...never mind that Spain is a modern nation and didn't exist as such until after the collapse of the Roman empire, but the classifications of the Hispanic nations weren't needed until after the Spanish Conquest following Columbus. so Hispanic and Spain are, for this period, practically the same, so there's some duplication...
And now I get to go through similar stuff for Middle Prehistory, and Antiquity (yep, all four and a half Millennia of it), and I haven't even started in Classical and medieval times, where things get interesting, or modern times, where they get even more complications.
And besides that, Early prehistory covers a huge time span, and I'm not doing it any justice by not subdividing it. except that's so far down the list of things that eventually need to be subdivided that I'm not even going to think about it this year.

I consider that I'm doing well to finally have a review of Anglic peoples, and British Isles that mentioned each of the four major historical periods and their second order subdivisions.

And this is just one day's sample. So why do I go through all the hassle of trying to set up and sort out tangles like this? Well, It's like I said, I have this grand, sweeping vision that, when I stop to review it, gets me out of bed in the morning...

Monday, April 20, 2009

And more progress

In the past week, I've been reviewing links from history in general to government and economics. There hasn't been much progress in prehistory or antiquity, but classical and medieval history has prompted a few more development within Western Civilization. For Modern history, I have finished up a round of looking at institutions, and gone well into areas of culture. The 18th century reached the end of a short cycle and began a longer one. The 19th century has also begun a new cycle, and the 20th century still a longer one. These will soon be prompting more developments in nations and peoples of the world.

Sociology has been in some demand, which has prompted the examination of links in economics, education, families, and behavioral culture. Peoples of the world have been somewhat less demanded, but have gone through social structure and change and into religion. Particular nations have been making connections to groups of Latin American peoples. Western Civilization has been going through reviews of history, and most of the groups within it have been touched. Asiatic peoples also have had a brief review of modern history, and several groups within it have been lightly considered. Communities have moved into consideration of institutions, and several areas within social structure and change have been lightly considered.

Institutions in general have been in considerable demand, and prompted a pass through history. Religion in has focused on Western civilization and Asiatic peoples, and most of the subtopics have been touched. Government has been considering connections to religion, and most of its subdivisions have been touched. Economics has begun to expand references to particular corporations, education has begun to include references to particular schools, and families have been lightly touched.

Culture has been lightly considered, compared to the other major topics, and the references have been to Western and Asiatic peoples. Most of the topics with it have been lightly considered. There has been little demand for Anthropology, or personal studies. Science reached the end of a cycle and began a new one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More progress

I meant to do something closer to a daily update of my prograss, but that hasn't been working.
History has been moving fairly rapidly; I reviewed connections to social structure and change, religion, and am at present looking through government. Prehistory, antiquity, classical and medieval history including the late medieval period, modern history including the 20th century, and the future have each had a little work done in them, but a great deal.

Sociology has prompted prog progress in government and parts of economics, but hasn't been going as fast as it was earlier. More progress has come in specific peoples, where I have been working through history and into connections with social structure and change. I have also finished a cucle of development of Western Civilization and begun another. Anglic and Latin peoples and Asiatic peoples have had some development. There has been a little progress with communities, and Social structure and change also finished a cycle, and I started another.

Istitutions in general have been referred to often enough to finish a major cycle of development and begin another. Religion has had a little development, and I inverted several pages and added them to the development program; Orthodoxy, Buddhism, and Taoism. Government has had a little development, and Diplomacy, heads of state, and executive systems have been brought into the program. Economic networks and Wal-Mart have also been included.

There was comparatively little development in Anthropology or in personal studies, except for bringing in social structure and change. Physical geography, Solar System astronomy, Chemistry, and physics have been inverted and added to the program, which means that all the second-order subdivisions have development in place.

Over a dozen areas are hanging on the edge of finishing a cycle so a new one can begin.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

More progress

The history section started moving again. Calls to areas of social changes produced two mew pages, on cultural innovation and institutional change in society. I also reviewed three of the major types of society. Prehistory has been calling on areas of anthropology, and is getting close to the start of another cycle. Classical and medieval history is just beginning another cycle with connections to other history. In modern history, I have been reviewing connections to government, and I'm now beginning to review connections to economics. The 16th, 17th, and 18th century have been touched. For the 19th century, I have been reviewing connections to anthropology. This is a approaching a review, also. The 20th century is progressing through culture at an introductory level. the late-mid 20th century, late 20th century, and early 21st century have only been touched.

Sociology in general has continued moving through particular governments. Peoples have been in even greater demand, and I have gone almost entirely through modern history, which accounts for much of the development of that subject. For nations, beginning a new cycle meant that I incorporated a number of nations in the alphabetical order, and copied my list of nations in order of population into the document I use for the development plan, for future reference. I've been adhering to that list a little too strictly, and I want to focus more on peoples. Western Civilization and the United Kingdom were only touched, and communities likewise. Several areas within social structure and change were lightly touched also.

Institutions in general have been connected to material culture and the beginnings of anthropology, and will be up for a review before too much longer. I have somewhat rethought the priorities on investigation of material culture, but those will be adjusted in the next round of development. Religion was only barely touched. There has been somewhat more focus on particular governments. Colonial empires came to the end of a cycle, which has been restarted, and World Government has also begun a new cycle. The UN has been brought into the development program. A couple of areas of economics, and families have been touched.

Culture in general was only lightly touched. Behavioral culture was connected to areas of anthropology, and should be up for a review before long. A couple of areas of conceptual culture, and several areas of material culture were touched lightly.

Anthropology finished a review of how institutions apply, and began one of culture. Particular groups are also approaching a review, and Human geography was referred to often enough to go through its links with history and start sociology. Human ecology was only touched.

Personal studies were also only touched, and there were no references to science at all, in today's development. With the number of areas approaching a new-cycle review, both of these should be getting more attention soon.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Latest progress

History in general is not demanded nearly so much as it was a couple of weeks ago: the principal focus has shifted, as it properly should, to particular periods of history. Processes of change haven't been developed enough to be very useful to history this time around. There has been minor advance in middle prehistory For antiquity, there are rather few communities that date to this period. Analysis using social structure and change is rather superficial at this point. The 3rd, 2nd, and early first millennia have each had connections to various peoples to review. Classical and medieval history reached the end of a cycle, and I have a new program outlined for it. The late medieval period also reached the end of a cycle, and I have started a new cycle of examining its aids. Modern history and its subdivisions haven't been heavily demanded.

There is a continuing push for examination of sociology, I have progressed from examining religion, and begun examining government. There has also been a demand for peoples of the world, which has been pushing history, so I may be doing more with modern history in the next day or few. For nations, I reached the end of a cycle, but haven't yet begun a new one. There has been only a little work in Western Civilization, and none in any other peoples since the last post. Communities reached the end of a cycle and I have begun a new one, with some exploration of history. Social structure and change has been barely touched. Social change processes are early in a development cycle. Antiquity is a very broad area to attempt to apply to this.

There has also been progress in examining the institutions: I finished a pass through how conceptual culture applies to them. Religion is in a historical review, but there is not a lot of detail to add. Religious organization, practice, and belief have been touched, mostly by request from sociology. Government has also been rather lightly touched, and so have economics and education.

Within culture, I am reviewing connections to Western Civilization, and there has been some limited progress in behavioral, conceptual, and material culture, which has been reviewed as projected in the last post. Anthropology, personal studies, and science have all been touched, but there hasn't been substantial work in them.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

More notes

As well as surrendering voluntary control, I've also given up on complete predictability.
I've been going though Asiatic peoples in support of history in general. I've finished this cycle's consideration of history in support of sociology, and I am now looking at the institutions. I finished a cycle of aids for peoples of the world and begun a new one, so this will give my more support of history. Institutions in general are now being considered by using culture. Particular governments have finished a cycle of development and I have begun another. Culture in general is finished with the historical review for this cycle, and I am looking at sociology. Anthropology is working through institutions. The personal studies section has finished a review of aids, and I have begun another cycle, starting as usual with history.

Abrahamic religion, secularism, schools, material culture, and biography are on the edge of requiring new reviews using other aids. Others are fairly close, but not quite as close as these. However, a surge of demand may move one of them into being considered first.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Voluntary control

I realized when I woke up this morning that, with the demand-driven development program, I have more or less surrendered direct voluntary control of where the knowledge base is going. Instead, the selection of which topics to develop next, and how fast, is being driven by the internal logic and collective needs of the various subjects. I have some control over that internal logic when I complete a cycle of development for the aids to a given subject, and outline a new cycle selecting which topics to develop or add the next time around. So far, I'm still doing a lot of inverting the order of topics being considered, with only a sprinkling of new links or pages.

History in general has not been moving as fast as it was: except with nations that are being newly reconsidered at this point in the cycle, there hasn't been much demand for it. However, classical and medieval history and modern history have been demanded more heavily. Prehistory is about in the middle of a cycle, Antiquity near the beginning of one, classical and medieval history near the end of one, and modern history near the beginning of one, with development in the near future to be focused on the Institutions. The 20th century and studies of the future are about in the middle of their development cycles.

Sociology in general is using history, now up to modern history, as its principal aid, and is still fairly heavily demanded. Peoples of the world are not quite as much demanded, but are approaching the end of a cycle. Although I haven't been demanding nations very heavily, I am somewhat surprised to see how slowly they are actually going. Western Civilization is about in the middle of a development cycle, and Asiatic peoples at the beginning of one, with African and American Indian peoples in the early parts of short, slow moving cycles. Communities are approaching the end of one development cycle, and the beginning of a new one, and social structure and change a little bit ahead of them.

Institutions have been moderately demanded, and are now finishing with a review of social structure and change, and are about to go through a review of how culture applies. I have just begin a new cycle for Religion, government is in the early stages of one, at history, and Economics has just begun once. Education and family are in the middle of shorter, slower moving cycles.

Culture is at the beginning of large cycle of development, at present focused on history. The major areas of behavioral culture and conceptual culture are in the middle of development cycles. Material culture is at the end of one, about to start a new one.

Anthropology in general is in the middle of a comparatively short and slow moving cycle. Particular groups haven't been heavily demanded, but human geography has been in fairly strong demand. Personal studies have been moving very slowly, but I am almost at the end of a development cycle, about to begin a new one. Biography is also close to a new development cycle. Science hasn't been called for much and is moving slowly, about in the middle of a new cycle.

For a few noteworthy developments, I have put a couple of specific biographies in the cycle for development of religion, although it may be a while before I get to them. For some time, I have been rather irritated that my development plans couldn't get to the connections between economics and material culture, but these are now (or soon will be) better established. I continue.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Latest progress

The need-driven approach is starting to produce more results than just turning the base upside down. At present, I am going through the links of history to various nations and peoples. In prehistory, I am at present emphasizing links to the social institutions. For antiquity, I am just about to review the links, to see which ones I want to emphasize for this period. For the classical and medieval period, I am linking to the stocial institutions. I've been going through the links from modern history rather rapidly, and right now, I'm working through the various peoples of the world. There hasn't been much demand for studies of the future.

The sociology section has been getting quite a bit of demand, so I have been revisiting quite a few of these links, and I'm currently reviewing applications of anthropology. Peoples are also in demand, and there I'm reviewing links to culture. There hasn't been much demand for particular nations; this will probably come later. For Western Civilization, I am reviewing links to the social institutions. Anglic peoples and Latin peoples have been most heavily demanded, with Germanic and Northeast Europan lagging somewhat. I am also close to a signficant review of Asiatic peoples, and the Middle East is notably important. Links to communities and social structure and change have not yet resulted in heavy demand for these subjects.

The Institutions section has been had some demand, and I am at present working through peoples of the world. Religion is coming close to a substantial review. Government isn't far away, and neither is economics. Education and families will take a little longer.

I have recently done a significant review of how to develop the Culture section, and the connections to history are still missing pieces out of the middle. Behavioral and material culture are growing substantially, and I recently did an expansion of conceptual culture

Anthropolog is going slowly, but I am starting to review its history. The human geography section has been demanded more heavily than usual, and here is where I actually have a couple of new pages, in European geography. Personal studies and science are also being developed.

When I started going through the links from history, I started taking notes on what sections were being inverted, revised, linked, or created. So far, the most progress has been within sociology, with institutions and culture roughly tied for second place. There isn't quite yet enough new material to publish the latest version to the web: I'm planning that for when I have gone through the links from history.

Friday, March 06, 2009

More inversion

In spite of the lack of updates, neither this blog nor the knowledge base has died.
I've been steadily working on the inversion project. So far, things seem to be flowing nicely. I just published the latest version.

One of the difficulties keep struggling with is that my process of development has seemed too rigidly mechanical, where a natural flow of topics according to how they are related to one another would probably be more useful. Some topics are more closely related than others.
So far, this approach seems to be working. For instance, in history, the emphasis is on modern history, and on the 20th century in particular. In discussion of the various peoples of the world, I have been emphasizing Western civilization, and Europe in particular. Development of the institutions still has a heavy emphasis on religion, but that seems to be under developed anyway. Cultural topics, which have been hard for me to get to because they are in the middle are developing better. One of the first new pages prompted by this version is in the area of European geography. I haven't worked down to the personal studies or biography much yet, that may take a little longer. The sciences are a bit slower to develop.

Visits to the knowledge base have been declining over the past few months, probably because I haven't put many updates up. I revised the site map somewhat, to try to make it easier for search engines and the like to index it. I suppose I'll see if that helps.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More inversion

I've set aside the microindustry project for now. After a friend came over and we made a hobo stove, the weather here turned very cold, and then snowy. Perhaps in a few weeks or a month, I'll venture out to try it out.

That same friend noted that, as big as the knowledge base has grown, turning the whole thing upside-down will take some time. I hate to delay adding new pages and new links, but I'm trying to relax the strict formalism that has made work on the project feel like so unsatisfying so much of the time. I'm working with history both backward from the present and forward from antiquity, because different subjects emphasize different parts of it.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I'm still working on the inversion project for the knowledge base. So far, I've followed this down through science, physics, mechanics, and particle mechanics to improve the content and links of this section; I had last worked on it last February.

As a bit of personal background, I was growing up in the 1960s when the environment was becoming an important topic, and I developed something of an interest in renewable resources that can be done on a small scale, sustainable basis. I'm also interested in innovation and doing things as inexpensively as possible.
So, the wooded hillside that I've mentioned that I live next to (downhill from me, fortunately) is economically entirely unproductive, or it would be if anything were done on a large scale. It's too small for conventional forestry or logging, which would leave nothing but an ugly, barren hillside. It's too steep for agriculture, or building. There isn't much that can be done in the way of conventional forestry or logging, or agriculture; especially since I don't own the area and don't have the rights, or know-how, or equipment. What it does have is brush (including the multiflora rose I mentioned last post), fallen trees and tree branches, and trash (I've seen a vacuum cleaner, a lawnmower, and various tires) . If I can figure out what can be usefully done with this, it should be extensible I've seen a lot of property more or like this around town.
On a small scale, I can do some unobtrusive experiments. I mentioned the bush I've pretty much cut down, but it has many neighbors just like it. I talked a bit about it about that species to a friend who is a professor of agriculture at WVU and runs a farm in his spare time, and confirms my impression of it as a pestiferous species. What do I do with it once I prune it down to the roots? It would seem to be only fit for burning.
The question is, burning how and where? When I was playing around with information from New Mexico, and I came across creosote bushes (a species I'm familiar with from Arizona where I was raised), I was wondering what can be done with them. I was thinking about aromatic oils, and whether they could be extracted, and I came across mention of distillation. Distillation? of wood? so I looked at that a little bit, and moved on, in the process noting that it was once a chief source of methanol, wood alcohol. Well, methanol is one of the simpler organic compounds, so I've been running across it in my studies of organic chemistry.
So, I was doing some study of small woodburning stoves, wood combustion and pyrolysis, and distillation, all of which are more or less related in theory, and after sleeping on this for a few nights, came up with an experiment I want to try.
The ordinary burning of wood doesn't directly burn the wood at first. What it does is force it to give off combustible gases, which in turn heat the wood further, driving off more gases, until at length nothing is left but ash. The temperature depends on the composition of the wood in question, and on the rate of mixture with the oxygen in the air, which would be rapidly depleted
if there were not some kind of air flow. This is usually supplied by a chimney: The burned gases get hot, less dense, rise, and create an airflow. The difficulty is that this combustion is incomplete. The exhaust gas (smoke) contains not only air, somewhat depleted in oxygen, and the end products of water and carbon dioxide, but it also contains carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, ranging from the simplest to the heaviest; many of which are somewhat toxic and irritating and unburned particles of fuel. More efficient combustion occurs when there is a better mix of air and fuel, and when combustion takes place at higher temperatures.
Much a similar process occurs when wood is simply heated in the absence of oxygen; it gives off combustible gases, some organic liquids, and leaves charcoal behind. Producer gas, wood alcohol, and charcoal have been produced for centuries. Charcoal is interesting, because it's a renewable resource, and something of a substitute for coal. However, producing it is an old technology and rather wasteful of wood.
So, in the interest of efficiency, I've decided to experiment with a device in two parts: one a stove, where the primary interest is in combustion, efficient burning, and heat, which drives the other part, the oxygen-free destructive distillation of wood. This should yield combustible gases, which in the absence of good gas handling material, I can feed back into the stove. However, before burning these gases, I want to extract some of the volatile organic compounds, at least those which are liquid at normal atmospheric temperatures, and range from tars to alcohols. The solid should be charcoal, which can in theory be used to experiment with glassworking and metalworking.
However, all this is theoretical, and to make an idea like this work, I need to do some experiments and observations. I've asked another friend if he would be willing to help me make a hobo stove, as the first stage of this experiment, so I can get started.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Partly as a result of the alternative approach to study I mentioned in my last post, I decided I needed to invert the knowledge base, or turn it upside down. That means, in this case, going from more complex to simpler. In the various breakdowns I've used for working on it, things seem to go more easily if I do it that way. However, I'm beginning at the science end, so it's something of a hybrid.

In informal explorations of the local neighborhood, I've taken an interest in the local biology. It's the middle of the winter, so what I see most deals with biology, and particularly plants. I started attacking a bush with pruning clippers in order to clear a path down the hill so I can follow the runoff from my apartment's parking lot. This had the thorns (technically prickles) of a rose, so I spent a few hours searching the internet, and came up with a probable identification, Rosa multiflora. This bush had the high, arching branches associated with this species, abundant prickles (although some of its neighbors are more so). I couldn't find the clusters of tiny rose hips associated with this species at first, but found some the next time I attacked it.
Since the multiflora rose is now regarded as a pestiferous intrusive species ( it was intentional introduced some 80 years ago) , I figure no one's going to complain if I cut a few of them to pieces. I've been wanting to make contact with someone to give me help in plant identification, so I finally tracked down one of the county extension agents (by phone), and luckily got hold of one. Based on my description of the plant and where it was growing, he agreed with me that that's probably what it is, but a definite confirmation will have to wait a couple of weeks until everyone is back from vacation.

As part of my look at small scale, inexpensive industry, I started looking at stoves for heating. I'm not interested in the home scale, I'm interested for now in experimental, small scale heaters. There are some varieties that run on small branches and twigs, but since I rent and don't have property or much of a budget for tools and supplies, these aren't much use to me. This led me into what is called the pyrolysis, or destructive distillation of wood, and I got a quick review of the chemistry and physics of wood combustion. This interests me for several reasons, from both theoretical and applied points of view.

I'm taking a number of passes through science history, and started with modern history, concentrating on the 16th century. I expanded this century into 20 year periods, and so far have Copernicus and Kepler as major figures. I've looked briefly at the application of Sociology and institutions. I'm also taking a look at expanding other areas of science.

Part of the motivation came from a renewed interest in chemistry. My version of the periodic table is now filled out, and I'm in the revising the appearance of the alphabetical list of elements.
I've also created a few more compound pages, including the simplest organic compounds, those with only one carbon atom, although I have notes on those with two carbon atoms. Organic chemistry gets very complicated, very fast, as the size of the carbon skeleton goes up.

In the process of filling out more details for the particular compounds, I found myself looking for physical properties, which suggests a review of physics, and thus led round about to deciding to invert the whole knowledge base. I started this with mechanics, particle mechanics in particular, but I will want to consider this in more detail.