Archive for September 12th, 2009

One Month Old

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


One month old on Friday – time for her first book! Veronica joined the nightly book reading Friday with Sandra Boynton’s “Your Personal Penguin”. If you haven’t read it, take a look at Davy Jones of the Monkees singing it here.

A Matter of Perspective

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


Food for thought: how much of human history do we get to witness and influence? I’ve been surprised at how much has changed over my lifetime (cold war ends, digital age arises, billions of people freed from poverty, etc.).

My realization that the world would change around me was when I visited Seoul, Korea for the second time in 1995. I’d been there as a backpacker in winter 1987, when the city compared somewhat favorably to Delhi, India. Old buildings, narrow streets, clunky transportation. In 1995, I was in the city for an unexpected three day layover. I couldn’t recognize it. Sleek trains, wide streets, tall buildings — exactly the kind of change everyone raves about in China now. It was a shock. How much of this will I see or be a part of?

Doing some quick math, how far back does written history go? Ignoring bookkeeping records and religious texts, I’ll date the emergence of written history with Herodotus around 450BC. That gives us 2460 years of written history. I’m 46, which means I’ve personally been around for almost 2% of human history.

My father, at 86, comes to 3.5%. I’m amazed – these numbers seem very big to me.

Extending just a bit to the parts of history that I have secondary knowledge of or influence over – I’ve known people born in 1895 (Grandpa Eddie) and am currently cradling Veronica Steussy, born one month ago yesterday. Veronica might reasonably see the beginning of the 22nd Century. That span of time is 205 years – over 8% of all recorded history.

It’s a matter of perspective.

There should be a hat tip here – I read someone else do this math somewhere, but I’ve forgotten where. Probably Marginal Revolution.