A non-fiction text about treating your own musings like hypertext and why just about everything in the following image is wrong. Written in 2016.
Cleopatra VII Philopator, whom we today just know as Cleopatra, was born in 69 BC.
The world's most famous pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest and largest in the Giza pyramid complex, was built around 2560 BC, when the woolly mammoth, which went extinct around 1800 BC, was still alive.
Therefore, Cleopatra's birth is closer to the Moon Landing in 1969 than to the construction of what has been the world's tallest man-made structure for about 3871 years.
The first building to be taller than the Great Pyramid was the Lincoln Cathedral in the United Kingdom, which was built between 1092-1311 AC, therefore having been in construction for 219 years, about 43 times the time the construction of Burj Khalifa, today's tallest building, took.
Burj Khalifa is 829.8 meters high, and therefore about 2.5 times higher than the highest point in mainland Netherlands, the Vaalserberg, which is situated in the town of Vaals, infamous for being used by the Germans to smuggle cheap goods like coffee, cigarettes and gas after the Second World War.
The smuggling was put to an end with, among others, the abolition of trade barriers in the Benelux Union in 1969, the year of Apollo 11.
Apollo 11 might have ended in a tragedy if it hadn't been saved by a software programmed by Margaret Hamilton, who back then was aged 33.
At age 33, Cleopatra gave birth to Ptolemaios Philadelphos, her youngest child, before committing suicide six years later.
Six years after the Apollo 11 mission, Germany's bird of the year was the European golden plover, a bird without whom the Guinness World Records book might have never existed, because Hugh Beaver, the managing director of the Guinness breweries, was involved in an argument whether the golden plover or the red grouse was Europe's fastest game bird.
Birds are suspected to be the direct descendents of one maniraptoran dinosaur, which might lead to the conjecture that maybe not only avian dinosaurs had feathers.
This is probably true, as many dinosaurs, if we can believe the current state of research, were plumy, in all likelihood including the ancestors, if not even Tyrannosaurus Rex himself – probably the most popular dinosaur ever, who roamed the world between 68 to 66 Million years ago.
Therefore, he is closer to the inception of humanity than he is to the extinction of the Stegosaurus, probably the most recognizable of all prehistoric animals, who lived between 157.3 to 147.7 Million years ago.
The Stegosaurus existed 5 times as long as the Tyrannosaurus did, who himself lived ten times as long as the Homo Sapiens is in existence, namely about 200 000 years, which is about a fifth of the time a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste ought to be secure, and not even a fifth of some of the toxically radiating waste's half-life.
But even that is more than 14.000 times the life expectancy of a single human, given an average life length of 70 years, which is also the life expectancy of the sperm whale, today's world's largest toothed animal.
The most famous sperm whale is, of course, the fictitious albinistic Moby-Dick, whose story was published in 1851.
If at roughly that time someone had marked every single molecule in a liter of water and had poured it into the oceans in which sperm whales then lived, and are still living today, one could assume that the liter of marked molecules would now have distributed itself equally in the world's oceans, and if now someone was to take one random liter of the oceans to check how many marked molecules from 1851, if any, they could find in this random liter, they would find around one hundred of the marked molecules, which means that there are about a hundred times more molecules in one liter of water then there are liters of water in all the world's oceans combined.
The world's largest ocean is the Pacific, in the midst of which lie the Pitcairn islands, of which only the largest is inhabited, mostly by the direct descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty, and which is the first known place to durably introduce women's suffrage in 1838, thirteen years prior to the publication of Moby Dick.
Also, the five only survivors of the sunken Essex, one of the historical role models for Moby Dick, saved themselves on one of the smaller Pitcairn islands, Henderson.
John Adams, the last survivor of the Bounty mutineers, was born in Middlesex, which is also the name of a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, who also wrote The Marriage Plot, starring, among others, a manic depressive.
Depression now is one of the central topics of Alberto Moravia's 1960 novel La Noia, which I remember especially for its mentioning of the Scirocco, a term found again in The Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, where the Mediterranean wind from the Sahara goes so far as to becoming an early symptom of the protagonist's madness.
Thomas Mann, years before, had also written the Buddenbrooks, whose title most likely originated in Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, in which a person named Buddenbrook is mentioned. Effi Briest, superficially, is a novel about an unhappy marriage from a woman's perspective, which seems to be a favourite topic of male writers of a certain period, for within eighty years, and these are just some examples, in chronological order, La Femme de trente ans, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, Une vie, Effi Briest and Mrs Craddock have been published.
On the contrary, within the same period of time, books like Grant Allen’s The Woman Who Did, a story about a woman defying conventions and not marrying a horrible husband, but raising a daughter as a single mother, also rose to fame. Famous single mothers I can recall from memory include Erin Brockovich, Saint Helen and, again, partially, Cleopatra VII.
Every other year or so there are reports of Cleopatra’s and Antony’s graves being discovered, but as of yet, there is no waterproof record. And given that a body weighing, let’s say, sixty kilograms, consists of six times ten to the power of twenty-seven atoms, which is a six followed by twenty-seven zeros, and the whole earth approximately is made of one point thirty-three times ten to the power of fifty, that is a 133 followed by 48 zeros, from a mathematical point of view, one could say that the likelihood of finding either one of the two mummies just rises in the moment their bodies dissolve instead of staying in the same place for a couple of thousand years; that is, given their molecules had been marked. For that unlikely case, time is on the researchers’ side, but not because it’s a helpful character in general.
Time is not a nice person; I know because the sign said it; time can be generous but ultimately time is indifferent – these are some lyrics by Pase Rock he contributed to an album by Jun Seba, better known under his artist name Nujabes, who was a Japanese hip hop producer and DJ who, in 2005, released an album titled Modal Soul, featuring, aside from Pase Rock, Terry Callier singing the lyrics for the song Ordinary Joe.
Callier was an American jazz, soul and folk guitarist and singer-songwriter who also was a computer programmer at the University of Chicago because his music slipped into obscurity for almost a decade. Nujabes was about thirty years his junior and died more than two years prior to Callier; while Callier passed away in 2012 due to cancer, Seba was involved in a traffic accident in 2010, 19 days after his 36th birthday, which means he was born in 1974.
Also born in 1974, and an audiophile of its own, was Mutassim Gaddafi, who was one of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s sons, as well as the ex-longterm-boyfriend of Vanessa Hessler, better known as the face of DSL provider Alice, who was fired by Telefónica Europe for her connections to and positive utterances about the Gaddafi family in 2011, shortly after Mutassim’s death, a year after the death of Jun Seba, and another year before the death of Terry Callier.
Hessler was the face of Alice for 7 years, and born in 1988, that means she wasn’t only about 14 years the junior of her ex-boyfriend, but also, when starting to be “Alice”, 15 years old.
While now everybody distances themselves from the Gaddafi clan, the celebrities who attended Mutassim’s parties either on payroll or as guests, or who worked for the family on other occasions include Beyoncé, Usher, Jay-Z, Russell Simmons, Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias, Nelly Furtado and Lindsay Lohan.
Mutassim Gaddafi and Nujabes died aged 36, the current age of Daryush Valizadeh, better known as Roosh V, once world-famous pickup artist, internet bully, antifeminist anti-Semitic homophobe and rape legalization proponent – on private property, whatever that means – with more than a dozen books published, holding lovely titles such as: Bang Poland: How To Make Love To Polish Girls In Poland, or: Don’t Bang Latvia: How to Sleep With Latvian Women in Latvia Without Getting Scammed, and a cult following of about twenty-thousand people. Also, he lives in his mum’s basement. His opinion on single mothers is quite a predictable one.
Roosh is a core component of the Manosphere, a specific part of the Internet dividing itself into Men’s Rights Activists, Men Going Their Own Way, called MGTOWs, Red Pillers, pickup artists, but also Gamergaters, White Nationalists, people wanting to lower the age of consent to twelve and an army of guys who think that false rape allegations are the central problem of the Western world.
It is this kind of environment Elliot Rodger, the shooter of the 2014 Isla Vista killings that caused the #NotAllMen and #YesAllWomen hashtags, was a part of. In parts of this side of the net, and even outside of that cesspool, he is celebrated as the hero of the Incels, men self-identifying as people living in an involuntary celibate.
In Rodger’s manifesto My Twisted World, descriptions of his experiences in World of Warcraft, an otherwise rather artless video game, take up big chunks of the text.
This game’s peak in subscriptions was in 2010, when the game had 12 Million active players, which is about one fifth of 1% of the world’s population back then. This might sound impressive, if it weren’t for Facebook, which in March 2015 had 1.44 billion active users, which is about 1/5 of the world population in total. Numbers like these make concepts like Six Degrees of Separation sound kind of reasonable, but the small-world experiment by Stanley Milgram, on which the whole theory is based, basically failed. Of the packages 60 random people were asked to send to someone they knew personally to finally reach one specific person they did not know, three reached their target, which for Milgram was success.
When the experiment was repeated and special attention paid to race relations, the success rates split up another time. As Judith Kleinfeld put it: The results suggest again that, far from living in a small, inter-connected world, we live in a world with racial barriers.
However, the experiments took place in 1967 and 1970, so there is a chance that by now, we are easier to reach for one another.
Knowing that time travel will probably never exist, I still long for another installment of this experiment asking us to reach certain historical figures. I’d really like to find out how many steps it would take me to send a package to Cleopatra.
n (dot) bodyproblem (at) tutanota (dot) com