Steve Sailer asks an excellent question in response to an excellent, concise West Hunter article.
I find it useful to store in my head a number of highly stylized but reasonably accurate interconnected numbers.
For example: 4 million is a useful round number estimate of the number of Americans of any particular age: newborns, 4th-graders, 21-year-olds, etc. If the average person lives to be 80, you can multiply 4 million by 80 and get 320 million, which isn’t too far off the total population. That simple little web of numbers makes it hard to make order of magnitude mistakes, as this NYT article fell prey to. (If I forget either 4 million or 320 million, I can get to the forgotten number using the remembered number and a life expectancy of 80 years.)
What other numbers do you find useful to memorize to give yourself a still point in the turning world?
What Are the Most Useful Data Points to Memorize?
You could probably get an entire blog out of this subject. Every time a country takes over the news, you could do a roundup of basic facts in concrete terms. E.g. Syria has roughly the same population as the state of New York and about 50% more land area.
I’m going to be collecting my favorites from the comment thread and posting them by category. Probably the Dread Ilk could have done better but it’s a great start.
My contribution was “There were less than ten righteous men in Sodom and Gomorrah combined,” because I’m a ray of sunshine in a bleak world.