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Old 04-09-2024, 03:16 PM   #11
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lawrence, KS
Default Re: Miskatonic notes

Looking further, I've counted approximately 900 buildings on the large map of Arkham whose size and placement suggests that they're residential. The map says that there are about 36 thousand Arkhamites. Doing the arithmetic, I find 40 occupants per residence. That's much too high for houses, and even for boarding houses. It might just about work if every housing unit were an apartment complex with a dozen units (plus dormitories on the university campus).

I think I'm going to have to take this as a visually attractive map that's not numerically accurate. I can treat the listed residences, businesses, and inhabitants as a playable sample of a much larger universe.

Yet another demonstration that game writers can't do math any better than science fiction writers.
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Old 04-09-2024, 04:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
On further reading of Arkham, I see that it has a population of ca. 36,000. However, it has several grade schools, with a total listed student population of ca. 1260 in eight grades, and two high schools, with 650 students in four grades.

Assuming that all the children of elementary age are in school, I find that about 1/28 of the population is in that eight-year range. That suggests a total age range of 224 years! Either Arkhamites live extraordinarily long lives, or they're failing to maintain their numbers, producing a scanty population of children.

Also, 650 students in four grades is equivalent to 1300 in eight grades, which implies that all the elementary school students go on to high school, something that was not typical of the 1920s.

Finally, some of the described elementary schools are quite small; the smallest has only 120 students, or 15 per grade.

Putting all this together, I think that Chaosium's editors failed to check that their stated numbers made sense.

For a quick patch, I think I might triple the sizes of all the grade schools, to get a total of 3780 students. That would have about 10.5% of the city in that age range, which works out to a typical lifespan of 76 years, a bit long for the 1920s, but not absurdly long. It also gives about one-third of students going to high school, with the others getting jobs around age 14, or, in a few cases, being privately tutored or sent to boarding schools or the like.
I'm really not following. Are we assuming some "typical" age distribution in a college town? And how does the number of children in school affect the average lifespan of its occupants? Does having two children mean I'm fated to have a longer life than my parents, who had five?
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Old 04-09-2024, 06:08 PM   #13
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

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Originally Posted by Irish Wolf View Post
I'm really not following. Are we assuming some "typical" age distribution in a college town? And how does the number of children in school affect the average lifespan of its occupants? Does having two children mean I'm fated to have a longer life than my parents, who had five?
The total population of Arkham is 36,404. I've estimated the Miskatonic University student population as around 2500. That doesn't make a huge difference to the age distribution. Even if it was two and a half times that size, the general population would still be around 30,000, and they'd have a roughly typical age distribution.

Of course in your one family there could easily be fluctuations away from the typical distribution. But in a large population there's a statistical average; that's why insurance works. If you have a population with an equilibrium distribution, then the fraction of the population that dies annually is the multiplicative inverse of the typical lifespan in years, and the number of births is equal to the number of deaths. And by 1922, child mortality had declined a fair bit, though it was high enough so that I shouldn't have disregarded it, about 185/1000 in the first five years.

Treating the distribution as an equilibrium is only an approximation. But I don't think it was drastically far from equilibrium. A doubling time of 50 years gives 1.4% excess births over deaths. The Great War took men away, but only for a couple of years, and many of them would have begotten children before leaving. There was a short depression in 1919-1920, but Harding's economic policies seem to have resulted in its not being prolonged; on the other hand, the economic optimism of the 1920s probably hadn't yet taken off big time. So I'm prepared to take the equilibrium distribution as a gamable approximation. All of those fluctuations would have affected the preschool population rather than the grade school enrollment, anyway.

I'll have to refigure with the true child mortality rate, though, and see what numbers drop out.

Refiguring: Having 1260 students in eight grades, with a mortality of .185 in the first five years, gives about 193 births annually. Equating that to deaths, and with a population of 36,404, gives an annual mortality of .0053 for the total population, which implies an average lifespan of 188 years. If I triple the elementary school population, I get an average lifespan of 62.8 years, which isn't ridiculous. If Social Security had been invented then, the average man would have died a couple of years too soon to collect, which I understand was how social security systems were originally designed, all the way back to Bismarck.

All of these figures are approximations. But 188 years is much too long; 62.8 years is in the right range—which is all I'm looking for.
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Old 05-06-2024, 11:51 AM   #14
Alden Loveshade
 
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Default Re: Miskatonic notes

I don't know if this would help you or not. But if you're looking for another Miskatonic professor, there's my alleged step-brother. He received an annual honor also bestowed on, and accepted by, Steve Jackson, S. John Ross, Michael E. Brown, Dr. Demento, R. Crumb, Alan Moore....

https://discordia.fandom.com/wiki/Dr._Sinister_Craven
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