Over at Wired, Samuel Arbesman writes about a very, very interesting exercise in data visualization. Detailing the history of Jewish expulsion in Europe and weather patterns, there are some compelling conclusions about how the two might be related across the course of several hundred years.
Well, here’s a doozy of a dataset: 700 years of European Jewish persecutions and expulsions. Forming the basis for a thought-provoking paper on SSRN titled “From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800“—it explores whether there is a relationship between weather and growing season and the likelihood that the Jewish community would be expelled—is this incredibly detailed dataset culled from the Encyclopaedia Judaica.
The dataset itself is not public, but if it were, conspiracy theorists would have a field day. And I suppose some academics too. Nevertheless, it’s worth a look.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.