Here's a nifty new website for
conspiracy buffs biographical researchers. The NNDB Mapper is an "intelligence aggregator" that tracks the activities of over 15,000 living noteworthies, and provides the curriculum vitae for nearly 10,000 dead ones. Sounds like "Who's Who," sure... but I haven't explained the nifty part yet.
The point of NNDB, one reads, is "to document the connections between people, many of which are not always obvious. A person's otherwise inexplicable behavior is often understood by examining the crowd that person has been associating with." Who attended WaPo honcho Katherine Graham's funeral party in 2001? Here's a chart. Who are the movers and shakers in San Francisco politics? Here's a chart. With what companies and organizations does Dick Cheney consort? Check it out.
You can also start your own map, which I haven't done yet.
Or you can also search the database using factoids that notables might have in common. Notables who've taken the Fifth, for example. Notables who died in 2008. Notables who were born in Boston; or in Newton, for that matter. Notables who received draft deferments during Vietnam. Even notables who have been hit with pies.
Like I said, nifty!
Via Boing Boing.
Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His last article for Ideas was about choosing Congress by lottery.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.