Other lists

As background to my Annotated list of perceived instances of chance, this page tries to indicate what the list is trying to, by exhibiting lists in other topics compiled by other people which I find satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Note these lists are supposed to be "representative" of some much large domain, rather than exhaustive.

List #1. A Sampling of Tree of Life Pages: 99 groups of species, intended to show some of the diversity of the Tree of Life.

Comments. This is a great illustration of just what I'm trying to do. Of course it's conceptually easier, in that biologists have spent several hundred years working toward an explicit complete classification of species, so compiling such a list is just an exercise in selection judgement -- a bit like compiling a list of 15 U.S. cities "representing the diversity of U.S. cities" from a given list of all cities. In most contexts, like our context of Probability, there is no existing complete list to select from.

List #2. After the Stone Age: 89 representative innovations in Technology, Culture, Ideology, from Civilization IV

Advanced Flight Aesthetics Agriculture Alphabet Animal Husbandry Archery Artillery Assembly Line Astronomy
Banking Biology Bronze Working Calendar Civil Service Code of Laws Combustion Communism Compass
Composites Computers Constitution Construction Corporation Currency Democracy Divine Right Drama
Ecology Economics Education Electricity Engineering Fascism Feudalism Fiber Optics Fishing
Fission Flight Fusion Genetics Guilds Gunpowder Horseback Riding Hunting Industrialism
Iron Working Laser Liberalism Literature Machinery Masonry Mass Media Mathematics Medicine
Meditation Metal Casting Military Science Military Tradition Mining Monarchy Monotheism Music Mysticism
Nationalism Optics Paper Philosophy Physics Plastics Polytheism Pottery Priesthood
Printing Press Radio Railroad Refrigeration Replaceable Parts Rifling Robotics Rocketry Sailing
Satellites Scientific Method Steam Power Steel Superconductors Theology The Wheel Writing

Comments. Lists like this are fun, in that you instantly want to argue with parts of it -- some items don't seem important enough for a "top 100" list, and you can think of important items that were omitted. The exact choice of items is somewhat arbitrary, but the list as a whole seems to me rather sensible; I guess that any other sensible list would either
(i) have substantial overlap with this list
or (ii) have some manifestly different bias toward type of item chosen.

List #3. 58 Instances of Luck

Comments. As noted in the linked paper, this is an implicit list, all the (mostly hypothetical) illustrations of luck from several chapters of a monograph about Luck. Such implicit lists, which the author presumably never examined as a totality, tend to have a haphazard and biased quality, not representative of the diversity of the topic under consideration.

List #4. How Is America Going To End? The top 144 scenarios.

Comments. Pure speculation, of course, but requires some thought. A perhaps more interesting speculative exercise, unfortunately not available online, is the list of 50 possible solutions to the Fermi paradox.