#282: “No one knows how many people live in the country of Bhutan. As of 1975, no census had ever been taken.”

Times have changed.

Seems like about thirty years ago, Bhutan was this crazy remote country that was closed off from the rest of the world, at least according to the book. But times have changed, of course. In 2005, a census was indeed taken in Bhutan. Furthermore, the 2011 estimate for Bhutan’s population is 708,427, making it 165th in the world in terms of population.

Related to the last fact, Bhutan apparently has less people than Alaska does.

tempoprestissimo asked:

Hey there MPOC! I was having a discussion with a friend the other day and was wondering if you or your followers could give me some input, because we're not really qualified to know what the heck we're talking about.We were talking about people of color populations in the UK in medieval times, and about how London probably had tons of races living in it because of how huge it was but someplace like Edinburgh which had a much smaller population and presumably less trade would result in less POC?

I’m a little confused because the way you’ve worded your question, it reads like so: “Bigger cities have more people, and smaller cities have fewer people, right?” Trade doesn’t really come into that.

As for the UK specifically, trade isn’t going to be as relevant because people of color had already been living there since it was part of the Roman Empire. For example, York isn’t especially massive but it’s estimated the population in the 3rd century A.D. was about 20% of African descent. There’s also the fact that the Roman government often sent military personnel into retirement in provinces that they were not originally from, presumably to cut down on trained military forces deciding to take back their homelands and what have you.

So if you consider “medieval times” to begin after the fall of the Roman Empire, you’re actually starting out with a fairly mixed population. If you’re looking at trade being a factor in creating a more racially diverse population, this is something a lot more relevant for medieval Italy. If you’re looking at warfare and occupation being a factor for creating a more diverse population, medieval Spain is going to be more of an example of that. That’s of course in addition to the whole part-of-an-Empire starting population as well.

Classical demography is an inexact science at best, but it does exist. And I am quite sure people won’t stop asking me to somehow make a definitive statement on how many people of color were present in “medieval Europe”, as if there CAN be an answer to such a question! But don’t fall prey to assuming that there is only one factor in thinking about these things-there are many different factors that affect historical populations in any place, at any point during history, just as is the case today.

The study, published November 4 in Science, analyzed the genealogies of settlers in Canada’s Charlevoix Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean region, northeast of Quebec City. Since the colony’s initiation in 1608, it underwent several waves of geographic expansion. The researchers, led by population geneticist Laurent Excoffier of the University of Montreal, looked at the colony’s marriage and birth records between 1686 and 1960. The analysis found that families living on the edges of the expansions had 20 percent more children than families living at the settlement’s core. They also married one year earlier, on average, and contributed up to four times more genes to the region’s current population.

Unless the world changes the way it deals with vulnerability disasters and climate change, “there’s going to be an increasing number of places where dealing with these disasters is going to be more and more difficult,” van Aalst said in a telephone interview. And in those cases, sometimes the most sensible option, he said, “may be to leave those places.” Such locations are likely to be in poorer countries, he said, but the middle class may be affected in those regions, which aren’t specifically identified in the report. And even in some developed northern regions of the world, such as Canada, Russia and Greenland, cities might need to move because of weather extremes and sea level rise from man-made warming, van Aalst said. In places like van Aalst’s native Netherlands, citizens will have to learn how to handle new weather problems, in this case heat waves.

World News: Think the weather’s gone wild? It’s about to get worse, warns climate experts - not only that population is rapidly increasing (even while fertility is apparently dropping), but there’s less and less space available for us and the planet is less hospitable..

9thdegreeburn replied to your post: blue-popsicle asked:Hi, i don’t k…

Didn’t the Romans prize Germanic people and Slavs more anyway? And not in terms of skin color. They were just more valued as slaves


What you’re talking about is an idea derived from how the Greeks basically believed that the further away your country (and climate) of origin was from Greece, the more barbaric you were. Then, there were some Greek writers, philosophers, whatever, who adhered to the whole “climate=personality type” school of determinism.

That’s an interpretation of evidence.

You can go back to the sources in the OP and see what they’re talking about, basically. It’s just ethnocentrism, but like, cultural, not racial.

The problem comes in with the Renaissance, and even further into the European Enlightenment, when the train wreck of “revival of Classical” and “a desperate need to justify chattel slavery and colonialism” got warped into the re-interpetation of geographical origin+climate=biological determinism/personality . They were literally mistranslating and extrapolating on documents that were like thousands of years old to try and justify race-based chattel slavery, and putting forth their own “climate” based theories (by Montesquieu and G.W.F. Hegel, notably).

So, that idea comes more from the 1700s-1800s in Europe than Ancient Greece or Rome. I recommend some of Frank M. Snowden’s scholarship, not on history, but historiography, and his documentation of the translations of documents from the ancient world:

Modern scholars have at times suggested that the Greeks regarded the Negro’s physical appearance as ugly and that the Greeks saw something comic in many artistic representations of the Negro type. Nothing in Greek literature, however, warrants such an assumption.

Not only did many racist historians use biased language in their work, but even used racial slurs in place of terms like “Aethiops”, which was a neutral term (meaning “Ethiopian”) used as a synonym for “Black person”. In his conclusion, he places the blame for this projection of modern racist attitudes squarely where they belong: the shoulders of his “fellow” academics:

Unless other evidence is brought to light, we cannot place the onus of “color-prejudice” on the ancient Greeks, as some scholars have done. The attitude of the ancient Greeks toward the Negro is epitomized, as this paper has shown, by Menander, who insists that it makes no difference whether one is an Ethiopian or a Scythian; natural bent, not race, determines nobility. The evidence of both art and literature seems to indicate that Menander was representing not merely the philosophic hope of an idealist, but that he was reflecting rather an attitude which had its roots deeply imbedded in the social subsoil of contemporary society.

The idea that “whiter” slaves were “more highly prized” is a kind of last gasp of the dominating racist narratives that continue to be perpetuated in academia. It’s a further bowdlerization of Ancient Greek texts that mention everything on race from aesthetics, to politics, to  early forms of sciences or biology.


Population 7 billion

With the worldwide population expected to exceed seven billion in 2011, National Geographic magazine offers a 7-part series examining specific challenges and solutions to the issues we face. The magazine introduces the series with its January cover story “7 Billion,” offering a broad overview of demographic trends that got us to today and will impact us all tomorrow. The first in-depth story will appear in the March issue, focusing on humans’ impact on the planet’s geology. Other stories will follow throughout 2011.

New York’s Mexican Community Is Growing Fast

Researchers at the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies of CUNY predict that there will be more Mexicans in NYC than Puerto Ricans or Dominicans by 2025.

Here’s more information on where in NYC Mexicans live: 30.5% reside in Brooklyn, 26.8% in Queens, 24.4% in the Bronx, 14% in Manhattan, and only 4.4% live in Staten Island.

Read the Full Report Here

All this journalistic analysis around the ‘Nones’ as the demise of religion. But so many of them are ethically and spiritually passionate. The new non-religious represent the evolution of faith, not its demise. They will restore the great traditions to their own deepest truths.
—  Krista Tippett, who offered these tweets this morning in response to the many reports resulting from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s study, "Nones" on the Rise.

U.S. Regions Exhibit Distinct Personalities, Research Reveals

“This analysis challenges the standard methods of dividing up the country on the basis of economic factors, voting patterns, cultural stereotypes or geography that appear to have become ingrained in the way people think about the United States,” said lead author Peter J. Rentfrow, PhD, of the University of Cambridge. “At the same time, it reinforces some of the traditional beliefs that some areas of the country are friendlier than others, while some are more creative.”  

The researchers analyzed the personality traits of more than 1.5 million people. Through various online forums/media (e.g., Facebook and survey panels), participants answered questions about their psychological traits and demographics, including their state of residence. The researchers identified three psychological profiles based on five broad dimensions of personality — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism — also known as the “Big Five” personality traits. When the researchers overlaid the findings on a national map, they found certain psychological profiles were predominant in three distinct geographic areas. The data were collected over 12 years in five samples with participants from the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Overall, the samples were nationally representative in terms of gender and ethnicity, with the exception of a larger proportion of young people. 

While I think this is is pretty interesting, I disagree with the statement I bolded in the first paragraph. It doesn’t challenge standard methods so much as it adds another dimension that researchers should account for in their models. Some caveats: 1) causality is not accounted for in their model, so the researchers are not able to distinguish whether the pre-established environment causes personality differences between regions or if personality creates the environment; 2) There is a large selection issue. People move, and frequently. Are people self-selecting into these regions? None of those issues are accounted for in the research. 

Interesting nonetheless. 

So how accurate is this map?