Category Archives: Panopticonic

The Internet Others and the Art of Never Not Always Responding

Living and working on the internet provides many interesting and resistive conundrums. You want to share information, and learn things, and try to propagate knowledge forward with some semblance of permanency and purpose; but there are always — The Others — also online, who appear to live to thwart any attempt at compulsive fact collecting. Sure, we all know the Comments Troll — but there are other ugly demons that abound, just waiting to leap at you and waste all your time.

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Quantifying Ubiquity: You Are Eight in Eight Million

There is a fun old saying — “You’re One in a Million” — that is meant to convey a specialness using data-driven facts.  What I find most interesting in the million specialness is how absolutely non-special you are depending where you happen to live in the world.

For example, in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska — with a population of 160,000 while I was growing up — I was super-extra-crispy special, because it would take 6.25 times my city’s population to make me unique one time in a million tries.

In New York City, the story is different. There are currently 8.3 million people in The Big City — and that means my specialness is drained in the larger lake from my small pond pool of the Midwest.

Instead of being “One in a Million” in NYC, I’m now, actually, eight in 8.3 million — and that’s a pretty sobering number.

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