Ectoplasm and Enumeration
The Art of Statistics
On June 8, 1887, Herman Hollerith, founder of the company that was to become IBM, applied for patent #395, 781 for his punched card calculator for what he called the Art of Compiling Statistics. His innovation would cut the processing time of the 1890 census considerably and set the stage for his many later inventions.
On June 8, 1949, an FBI report, sourced by “confidential informants,” listed names of suspected Communist Party members, including Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni, and Edward G. Robinson; the very same day George Orwell’s novel 1984 was published.
Ghostbusters was released on June 8th in the actual year 1984. According to Pew research, 18% of Americans have seen a ghost. People alive right now only represent 7% of all the people that have ever lived.
Ghost in the Machine:
I have always loved the description of ghosts in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (this is for real my favorite book, in spite of previous admissions).
June 8th is the birthday of many shining stars, including Kayne West, Barbara Bush, Frank Lloyd Wright, Nancy Sinatra, and Joan Rivers.
In a bit of French history I just learned, Robespierre attempted to launch a new religion in post-revolutionary France with the first national festival of the Cult of the Supreme Being on June 8, 1794. I am hoping something got lost in translation with that name. Unfortunately for Robespierre, it did not catch on, and he was sent to the Guillotine a little more than a year later.
Sincerest of thanks to E.L. Murdworderer, who has edited my last few posts, and deserves all of the credit for the noticeable reduction in post typos, and none of the blame for any that still linger.
For the weekend:
Watch the Ghostbusters series while eating s’mores, adding marshmallows exponentially depending on which one you are on.
Want to do some sleuthing yourself? Here is a helpful blog post that I did not write about pragmatically using statistics to hunt for ghosts. For all those ghost sightings, the supernatural didn’t make the top 10 of America’s top fears in 2017. You’re going to be just fine. From ghost attacks that is. The rest of it is anybody’s guess.