Oct 292012
 

Founded in 2001 to study the societal implications of the internet, the Oxford Internet Institute has a growing collection of data visualizations that sketch out the state of information proliferation worldwide.

Below we have a Time-series of the Distribution of Biographies on Wikipedia over the Last Five Centuries, which provides a startling reminder of how many people are still not part of the conversation.

To see how far our globalization has yet to go, check out the OII’s charts on Academic Knowledge and Language, User-generated Content in Google and A Geography of Twitter.

Oct 262012
 

When it comes to prisons in the United States, the thing that really sticks out is how increasingly prone we are to put people in them.

And the worst part is, who is really going to stop and ask why?  It’s so much easier to assume they all deserve it.  Because, you know, everyone knows life isn’t fair, except when the courts are involved.

Yep, we’re all just a bunch of people getting exactly what we deserve!

[Chart from Wikipedia, Video via exp.lore.com]

The Date as Fiction

 Posted by on October 24, 2012
Oct 242012
 

The next time you wake from a long nap in a strange place and are told it is thousands of years earlier or later than you’d expect, it will most likely, and most unfortunately, not be thanks to time travel.  That is, unless you’re flexible enough to qualify the use of a different calendar as such, in which case, go wild…

[Chart from the 2012 Wikipedia entry]

Oct 222012
 

Back in 1880, if you weren’t a farmer or a laborer…

Actually, if you lived in the United States back in 1880, you were probably a farmer or laborer.  Or a domestic servant.

That is, if you had a job in the first place.

For more shop talk from the 1880 Statistical Atlas of the United States, check out the more rarefied occupations in trade and transportation and manufacturing and mining or learn more about your future past in agriculture and professional and personal services.

[Image from Brooklyn Brainery‘s A Handsome Atlas]

Oct 102012
 

How many countries does it take to screw in a light bulb manufacture the packaging for a television?

(click image for interactive map)

Magellan would be proud.

Explore Sourcemap to find out the international cooperation going into iPhones, Ben & Jerry’s, Chicken of the Sea Light Tuna and more!

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

 Posted by on October 8, 2012
Oct 082012
 

The problem with holidays given a specific date, such as the 4th of July or December 25th, is that they regularly fall in the middle of the week.  While Wednesday is a fine day to take off if you’re sick or need to run some errands, calling it a holiday can be a bit of a stretch.  Most weekends don’t even earn the title, so what are we supposed to do with one day, have a parade?

Of all the problems in the world, this one was addressed by Congress back in 1968.  With the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day were turned into guaranteed three-day weekends.

Although Congress changed their tune on Veterans Day, returning it to November 11th in 1975, we still enjoy four Monday holidays, including Labor Day, thanks to this Act.  The catch of course is: They are uniform Mondays.  If you’ve ever spent one returning from a trip, you know they can fall short of feeling like a holiday too.  After all, it’s still a Monday.

Sometimes you can’t win for losing, but when the idea is to make everything the same, …  well, it wasn’t much of an idea to begin with.  And speaking of, you can help make the next change in our holiday schedule by supporting the effort to turn Columbus Day into Exploration Day!  For the why try Boing Boing, otherwise head on over to ExplorationDayUSA.org to find out what you can do.

[Image from the National Archives]

Oct 032012
 

Ancient oracles have such an excellent sense of humor.  When asked about the New York Times article, Do Exercise Programs Help Children Stay Fit?, the I Ching simply replied…

The message here is for the adults of course.  And the adults understand too, though without quite getting it.

“Kids naturally love to run around and play,” Dr. Booth said. “But they’re just not doing it as much now. And we don’t know why. So what we really need to understand is, what’s happening to our kids that makes them quit wanting to play?”

Unfortunately the doc wants to do something about it, instead of keeping still, as the I Ching suggests.  If children naturally play, it’s something the adults are already doing that is draining the life from these youngsters. The process should be to stop doing stuff to these kids until they get their groove back.  Instead, things like this are being said…

But none of these suggestions will be easy to put in place, Dr. Booth said, or inexpensive, and all will require scientific validation. No one expected, after all, that well-designed exercise interventions for children would prove to be so ineffective.

… Wait…

No one expected, after all, that well-designed exercise interventions for children would prove to be so ineffective.

Really?

Well then here’s some exceptionally good advice for kids: Run!

[Reading via Psychic Science]
[Previously on ACM – Ask the I Ching: Has ‘Europe’ Failed?]

The October of Shocking Revelations

 Posted by on October 1, 2012
Oct 012012
 

If you’ve got ‘em, rip ‘em!

That is, if you’ve got an Ape Con Myth 2012 Novelty Rip-Off Calendar, October is upon us…

Good thing we have 31 days to think about that.

Meanwhile, despite the Maya Long Count Calendar drawing ever closer to the end of the current b’ak’tun on December 21st, Ape Con Myth has taken a leap of faith and commenced production on a 2013 calendar.

In honor of the world probably not ending this year, we’re making the last calendar you’ll ever need.

Sign up here to find out when it is ready!