Author Archives: Confutus

About Confutus

I am a native and resident of Arizona who doesn't thaw out until it hits 90 degrees. I call myself a self-educating generalist and my lifetime goal is to slowly and methodically learn everything. For fun, I read Science Fiction and Fantasy, and sometimes attempt writing it, although I occasionally foray into westerns, mysteries, romances, and thrillers. I'm working on writing the SF. I'm a politically conservative Mormon. I have two adult boys and a friendly ex-wife who live up north. I'm a somewhat unconventional creature of boring habit who occasionally makes unexpected sideways leaps into something different.

Obstacles

Every once or twice in a while I find the lack of development in one area of my knowledge base hinders development of another, so I have to shift my efforts until the obstacle is cleared. Right now there are three.

I have not yet connected the broad area of culture to human geography. Many of the elements of culture, such as customs, language, or technology depend on the resources of a particular area, so it is important to make the connections explicit.

The broad area of institutions is connected to biographies. I have so far identified 25 biographical figures I am connecting.

I noted at the beginning of the year that it coincided with a new 5 year period, a new 20 year period, and the need to separate the 20th century from the 21st century. This last separation is incomplete, and it’s causing some difficulty as I get late medieval history better connected to divisions of what I call anthropology. This is a temporary difficulty to be sure, but it is one I still need to work on.

And, speaking of divisions of history, although these are artificial, I have compared them to topographic contour lines on a map, which leads me to mention my cartography projects. There are about three of these still in progress at various stages. I had begun a Mercator globe style map of the entire earth, which I have set aside as incomplete. The Africa map I posed last time could possibly use a few tweaks. I am working on a similar one with more detail focused on East Africa, another similar one focused on Southern Africa, and I am seriously considering starting a new one of the Middle East.

The other stuff

My latest attempt to use my knowledge base to advance my fictional story showed quite clearly that I have been concentrating on history and nations to the neglect of other areas of knowledge. My cartography efforts haven’t yet extended to cities. As I considered beginning such as project, I noted a severe lack of connection to the activities of society and the various features and facilities that support them. That means redirecting my emphasis, again.

I had mentioned that for history in general, I had reached the point of considering biographies. After postponing this, I have begun slowly adding a few more references to particular individuals.

Peoples of the world are being connected to regions of human geography. Although institutions are being connected to regions of human geography. Although there is some overlap between the topics, the emphasis of peoples of the world is on racial or ethnic groups wherever they live, while the emphasis of human geography is on places, whoever lives there, and I find it useful to make the distinction and the connections between them explicit. I am also connecting institutions to human geography, so I can eventually do things like map religious influence, political entities, and economic markets.

There are several areas, specifically antiquity, classical and medieval history, communities, and religion that are being connected to elements of culture.

I am also connecting several other areas to economics and education. I haven’t quite made it to specific firms or schools, but that’s on the list of goals and I am getting closer to doing that.

I’ve posted it in several other areas, but here is my first effort reasonably completed map in my cartography project.

/Africa map

Filling in

For history, before I go plunging into more biographies, I am working in the major subdivisions. More work on prehistory is on hold, while I work on government in antiquity and economics and education in classical and medieval times. Connecting modern history to more details of human geography is being held up while I work on cartography, except that the 21st century is being connected more specifically to government.

Peoples of the world are being connected to culture. This includes some areas that I have long been interested in, for instance the distribution of languages of the world. Cities are being connected to institutions, which will help detail them. Social mechanics is being connected specifically to religions of the world. Institutions are also being connected to culture. Religion in general is being connected to government and economics.

I’m making progress with my map of Africa; I’m mostly done with the topography, and have major lakes and rivers sketched in.

Digging

I tend to get diverted just when I’m about to enter a new phase of the knowledge base. Lately I have been connecting modern history to elements of culture, which, from another perspective, has to do with the modern history of technology. I have also been persistently pulling Central East African peoples back through antiquity in order to give more material to early prehistory, and Arabian and Persian peoples back into prehistory.

I have also been working on expanding science, since studies of early human prehistory are so closely connected to biohistory and geohistory.

I haven’t dropped my cartographic projects. At present, I’m working on a shaded contour map of Africa, so I can identify the most important mountain ranges and regions; and eventually identify the important watercourses and major biomes.

Inching along

For history in general, I have make connections to most areas. I would like to begin filling in details of biographies, but I think I want to get the subdivisions of history a little bit better connected first. For now, still have some nations to review for connections.F

For modern history, I am making more connections to particular religions. Most of the existing denominations of Christianity are modern, so this is a useful set of connections.

For Sociology, I am making more connections to elements of culture. Peoples of the world are being connected to education.

The increasing connections to human geography are prompting me to continue my efforts in cartography. I’m not quite ready to show off my works in progress, but I should have something before too very long.

Priorities

In order to make more progress in history, I find that I need to add more biographies of prominent individuals. I had started doing this, but had set it aside because the connections to other areas were not sufficiently solid. I have been going through what I call the aids to history, making connections to elements of institutions and culture. I have now done this. I need to make connections to elements of anthropology before I can really make progress in inserting biographical figures. There is also a need to connect particular nations. This has not advanced as far as the web-based version, but I am resuming progress.

Now that history is developed enough that examination of human geography is becoming more useful and important, I have been reviving my interest in cartography. I’ve had a bit of trouble coordinating the various software tools, but I think I’m starting to figure out how to get them to work together. I hope to start including more maps to illustrate my various ideas.

In connecting the major periods of history, I find that I need to develop modern history. I am currently reviewing the connections to Asian peoples and cities. For classical and medieval history, I am reviewing the connection to European peoples and cities.

I am also connecting the area I call sociology to elements of culture, and peoples of the world to elements of government. Overall, I’m making progress.

Scattering

My latest progress has me going in several different directions. For one, it’s been some time since I update my “history aids” file. In order to more seriously investigate religion, or government, or anything else, I have an itch to begin with the history of the subject, so after making a list of major categories of Christian denominations, the next thing to do was to connect them to history. I’ve started to do the same with government.

I still like the idea of beginning at the beginning with prehistory. A significant difficulty is that this has a lot to do with the modern Western academic establishment, which I haven’t yet studied very well.

For another, the topic of sociology has gotten too big to work all the way through it at one go. I’ve done some revising of the prehistory of sociology, but sociology also needs connections to religion and government.

For another, I’m doing something similar with history of peoples of the world, reviewing prehistory and connecting to major religions. I would like to do more with the history of communities, but I don’t really have enough much detail in prehistoric times. It makes more sense to start reviewing social mechanics.

I’ve also been working with Western Civilization, which also needs connections to religion and government, but I may want to pause and do a little more with modern history. I’m still connecting Asiatic peoples to elements of social mechanics. This is going well with attention to prehistory.

Roman Empire and Italy

My continuing review of classical history is leading me through a review of the Roman empire, where I am taking notes on the various empires and imperial dynasties from the 2nd century CE ( I use the term CE for Christian or Common era) onward. I have been vaguely familiar with Roman imperial history, but haven’t really paid much attention to it. At the same time, I am working backward through the history of Italy in the 19th century. I had become aware that Italy was unified as a country in the latter part of the century, and before that was a patchwork of kingdoms, states, and duchies, but hadn’t considered them in much detail. I still don’t have much, but incorporating some notes will fill in more gaps in my understanding of European history.

Investigation of Sociology has prompted me to a survey of Neo-Pagan religion, which originated mostly in the 19th century with revivals and reconstructions of pagan beliefs. Neo-Druidism, witchcraft, New Age religion, and revived ethnic religions seem to be the main branches. I don’t have a great deal of interest in these, but include them for completeness.

I’m not dead

I took a week to go to Nebraska to recover the stuff I left in my brother’s garage…. about 17 years ago, now. Yes, it took that long for me to finish getting it to where I am living. This eliminates one mental barrier to a project of discarding and downsizing my excess of stuff.

On the way, I stopped to visit an old High School friend. It seems that he is a Senior Research Engineer at the EVR facility associated with the University of Utah, and is working on a project which involves embedding charging facilities for electric vehicles in the roadway. Although I haven’t been a great fan of electric vehicles, this has some possibilities to make transportation more efficient.

I’m still pursing the three-pronged approach to history, and have done reviews of the 5th decamillennium BP and the 2nd century BC. This notably included expansion of the Roman republic.

The examination of sociology recently prompted more investigation of the the various branches of Christianity. This will be useful, going forward.

I also did a review of history in general, and noted that it is about time to focus more heavily on education, particularly higher education, and on conceptual culture, in particular literature, in order to make progress. In order to get to these, I need to continue working in classical history.

Three prongs

I have at various times worked with three different approaches to developing history.

One of them is to begin at the beginning. Although this is attractive for story purposes, I find that modern history, and specifically the 20th century are insufficiently developed in the areas I need most. I am also relatively unfamiliar with Africa and its history, and with stone age developments and hunting and gathering societies, so progress is slow.

The second is to work forward through history, and pull back interesting peoples or other developments from previous periods. With each pass, I develop a century a little bit more. The chief difficult with this is that I spread myself a little too thin trying to follow everything, and it goes slowly. At present, I have reached the end of antiquity. This is where I can add information, as I am using this to incorporate notes from the older web-based version of the SKB, and occasionally look up developments in specific nations that I never got around it to including in it.

The third is to work on current events. I have recently been having success with a using a plan for specific periods, what needs developing, and why? For instance, in the20th (and the 21st century so far, I have been concentrating on Western Civilization, specifically the Anglic world of Britain, North America, and Australia, more specifically on North America, and even more specifically on the United States and major regions of the United States, down to a couple of major cities. For this work, I have mostly been developing the connections among peoples and cities, concentrating on those that are most relevant to whatever I am working with. I am finding, for instance, that many of the topics for which I have a well-developed history have poor connections to peoples, cities, and and social mechanics. For the 20th and 21st century, my development of Western civilization is much stronger that my development of Asian peoples. which is something I need to work on.

At one point or other I have worked on each of these to the exclusion of the others, and progress had been frustratingly slow. Giving a little time and attention to each may be more satisfying.

For fictional development, I am starting to use GURPS City Stats to get a picture of the major cities of the world, although this will be considerably improved by adding organizations using GURPS Boardroom and Curia. The new GURPS Realm Management is also helpful in developing particular nations, parts of them or combinations of them, although it is more geared toward active play than I am interested in right now.

I have let my cartographic mapping lie fallow for a time, but there is a growing need to pick it up again.

For my fictional wizard, I am so far doing better at describing where he is traveling in any given century, but not why he is there or what he is doing. That will come later.