Join 3,524 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Somewhat Beyond Zero Population Growth
December 23, 2011 5:39 AM   Subscribe

The New York Times brings us the top 100 massacres, wars, and various kinds of oppression in a handy infographic. Via Crooked Timber
posted by GenjiandProust (36 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Lancet survey would put the Iraq War in the Top 70.

Not much chance the Grey Lady would slot it into the "Colonial Wars" section though.
posted by Trurl at 5:45 AM on December 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


A comment on CT points to Matthew White's original (not as pretty, but appealingly "old Web") site:

All the folks who have been quick to dismiss the input data as fanciful, without actually checking back to the author’s sources, are in for a pleasant surprise. This is not a lightweight piece of NYT fluff with competent graphic art, nor is it even a NYT recap of a casually researched pop book. Rather, it is a NYT recap of a pop book slice of a roughly 15 year labor of love by a net.fanatic, whose obsession has drawn extensive expert comment since the late Usenet era. I first encountered Matthew White’s “hemoclysm” site (which has moved around, but has always been trackable by that apt neologism) in about 2002, and have frequently used it since as an authoritative point of entry into the diverse and widely scattered published literature on this depressing subject.
posted by escabeche at 5:53 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Genghis Kahn=11% of the world's population killed? That's...astounding. Seems like a single army would have a tough time even contacting 11% of the world's population, let alone killing them all.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:56 AM on December 23, 2011


Genghis Khan beat out WWII by percentage and WWI by number.

What an asshole.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:59 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems like a single army would have a tough time even contacting 11% of the world's population, let alone killing them all.

They had ponies. Keep that in mind the next time your 9-year-old daughters begs for one.
posted by Skeptic at 6:00 AM on December 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


The Lancet survey would put the Iraq War in the Top 70.
"Sanctions against Iraq" make it into the "institutionalized oppression" category.
posted by craichead at 6:00 AM on December 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yo NY Times, I'm really happy for you, I'ma Let you finish, but the Thirty Years' war was one of the best wars of all time!
posted by Think_Long at 6:00 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I figured that a chance to discuss the graphic display of information, human misbehavior, and the New York Times was the best gift I could give Metafilter in this holiday season....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:02 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ponies or not, it takes some very special kind of work commitment to exterminate that many people with only medieval weaponry at your disposal. Ugh.
posted by Iosephus at 6:07 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ponies or not, it takes some very special kind of work commitment to exterminate that many people with only medieval weaponry at your disposal.

And considering how generously GK spread his own genes, that may explain the subsequent turn of events for Mankind...
posted by Skeptic at 6:14 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've found Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge hiding under "Democratic Kapuchea", but where is the Turkish genocide of the Armenians?
posted by hat_eater at 6:27 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kampuchea. And the Armenian genocide is accounted for on White's website. Am I missing something?
posted by hat_eater at 6:30 AM on December 23, 2011


Does the vertical arrangement within one of the category bands reflect a particular variable? Seems like it should be meaningful, but if so I can't figure out what it is.
posted by swift at 6:33 AM on December 23, 2011


Also, it seems like the interesting thing here is deaths as percentage of world population, not the absolute scale of deaths in millions. It would be cool to see a graphic that was adjusted for population inflation.
posted by swift at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2011


Genghis Kahn=11% of the world's population killed?

Presuming that most of the culled population would be males of reproductive age, who were likely replaced by the breeding abilities of his own stock, themselves likely to have been selected according to their war making tendencies, it makes me wonder how much his large-scale selective breeding program diverted the human race towards war-like tendencies.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:03 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Democratic Kapuchea

Gan bei!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:05 AM on December 23, 2011


A can of soda pop says this century will be even more horrific. Any takers?
posted by Renoroc at 7:11 AM on December 23, 2011


> where is the Turkish genocide of the Armenians?

White is showing 2 X massacres of 17 000 each.

Wikipedia says the Armenian genocide is 1 million to 5 million.

Hmmmmmm.

One thing for sure is this ain't an exact science.
posted by bukvich at 7:26 AM on December 23, 2011


Also the first five star review for White's book at Amazon says:

A fascinating and fun look at the "Heart of Darkness."

I am not buying this book.
posted by bukvich at 7:50 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


oh, come on. Nothing screams "fun for the whole family" like tales of man-made mass death.
posted by craichead at 7:58 AM on December 23, 2011


Remember, History is written by the Victors... or the longest-term survivors. So any list of the Worst will be suspect, especially from the historical-revisionists-in-process NYT. (At least it wasn't the WSJ, who right now are trying to switch from overcounting Mao's atrocities to undercounting them)

Still, let me be the first to contribute a mass


.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:29 AM on December 23, 2011


They list gladiators under "institutional oppression" when it so clearly falls under the category of sport.
posted by three blind mice at 8:40 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I saw the title "Atrocities Timeline" in the URL, I immediately thought of my new Facebook profile page.
posted by bicyclefish at 8:41 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing screams "fun for the whole family" like tales of man-made mass death.

And just in time for Christmas!
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:53 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's kind of blurry on my iPad. Is the holocaust lumped in with WW II? I would have expected it to be separated somehow.

(scary sidenote; auto correct tried to turn WW II into WW III)
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:05 AM on December 23, 2011


You know who else had ponies...
posted by cmoj at 9:27 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And also: White's critique of wikipedia is quite good.

Link.

It is a pity he tries to make jokes out of mass murder. The man is clearly smart though very not-right-in-the-head.
posted by bukvich at 9:48 AM on December 23, 2011


Ghengis Khan is even more chilling when you consider that some estimates for limited nuclear war would result in less death, percentage-wise, than his campaigns. (E.g., this estimate of a global thermonuclear war in 1988, basically the worst-case scenario for a Cold War apocalypse, estimates 7% immediate worldwide casualties, although admittedly the long-term outlook is more like 20%.)

But still, to only be slightly preferable to large-scale nuclear war, using basically medieval weapons, is terrifying.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:50 AM on December 23, 2011


Has anyone here read White's book or are we just condemning him to sociopathy sight unseen?
posted by Copronymus at 10:01 AM on December 23, 2011


it makes me wonder how much his large-scale selective breeding program diverted the human race towards war-like tendencies.

I doubt it did at all. Mankind was just as bloodthirsty before the 13th century.
posted by spaltavian at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2011


scary sidenote; auto correct tried to turn WW II into WW III

It's begun! The machines are revolting!
posted by formless at 12:20 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Both here and on Necrometrics I don't see any mention of the White Lotus Rebelion in China. It resulted in 20ish million deaths, so I would think it merits a spot.

If you ever wondered why the CCP bothers to repress Falun Gong and other such groups, reading about the White Lotus, Taiping, and other spiritually tinged rebellions throughout Chinese history definately provides some perspective on the reasoning involved.
posted by Winnemac at 2:47 PM on December 23, 2011


it makes me wonder how much his large-scale selective breeding program diverted the human race towards war-like tendencies.

The idea that bloodthirstiness is a primarily genetic trait is, um, debatable at best.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:53 PM on December 23, 2011


The idea that bloodthirstiness is a primarily genetic trait is, um, debatable at best.
posted by AdamCSnider


A presentation of various man made dog breeds, and their variable bloodthirstiness, would be a hard exhibit to overcome in that debate, I'd think. Maybe it would be hard to find where each gene is, but rat terriers are gonna chase rats, and bite them, independent of their upbringing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:05 PM on December 23, 2011


A presentation of various man made dog breeds, and their variable bloodthirstiness

You would have a difficult time presenting that, at least that simplistically. Perceptions of various dog breeds has changed over time (the current negative perception of the American Bull Terrier being perhaps the most striking), and I have heard fairly compelling arguments that much of what the public popularly attributes to dog breed "personalities" particularly as concerns aggression is socially constructed by how the dogs are treated, who they're owned by, etc. At the very least there are a host of confounding factors that you would be confronted with.

I'm personally open to the idea of epigenetics, but dog breed characteristics are not necessarily a safe place to jump off from.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:02 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scientists calculate Ghengis Khan's carbon footprint
posted by homunculus at 12:00 AM on December 24, 2011


« Older Conceived at the Global Irish Economic Forum in 20...  |  The Millions 2011: A Year in R... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments