June 14th


The I’m getting down into serious research now. I have completed all the basic pages, their images, and their primary text contents. Now I have to come up with the actual numbers to use. This involves lots of digging on the web. At least nowadays I have the web as a resource — back in 1990, when I did the original BotP, I had to rely on books, and many of the numbers I wanted were not available, so I had to deduce them indirectly.

Unfortunately, the research is messy, because there are many contradictory sources and different definitions and measurements. There’s great data for anything American, because the USA has excellent statistical databases. However, the USA is not at all representative of conditions around the world, so its data is all but useless. I did just stumble upon the World Health Organization, which has excellent data. I’ve downloaded a ton of reports and am now sifting through those.

As always, the problem of how to slice the pie of causal factors is tricky. For example, I currently have Sulfur Dioxide Emissions and NOx Emissions leading to Lung Disease Deaths which add to Northern Deaths. That’s not truly representative of the situation; the worst air pollution is in the Third World. So I am now considering three factors (Sulfur Dioxide Emissions, NOx Emissions, and Particulate Emissions) causing Air Pollution, which in turn leads to Lung Disease Deaths, which affect both North and South.

I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t have two versions of everything: a Northern version and a Southern version. After all, air pollution standards in the North are already quite strict and hence deaths from lung disease are lower than in the South. However, there are still lots of such deaths in the Northern countries, mostly from coal burning. And there’s also the problem of establishing point standards for Northern lives versus Southern Lives.

Perhaps I should have a separate page for Northern Population and Southern Population. This would allow me to allocate deaths from a common cause (such as Air Pollution) differentially, based on both population differences and the assumption that Northern countries have stricter environmental standards than Southern countries.

Anyway, all this research is forcing me to rethink my basic page structure.