My SymiWillRoyalty on Symi 19/03/2008, 01:33

Have you all been enjoying the Live Webcam on the SymiGreece page? The project is undergoing feasibility testing at the moment and you're all the guinea pigs we're testing it on. When it's up & running, you'll find it here . So far SymiGreece has broadcast the Greek music night at Kantirimi Bar last Saturday, and some day and night views the past two days. The broadband connection on Symi is not the most reliable, so if you find the cam just gives the message "buffering" a lot, this is the fault of OTE, the Greek Telecom company. Hopefully in the near future, when they get around to upgrading the broadband on Symi, it can be a more regular (maybe even permanent!) feature. Maybe there'll even be more than one cam to choose from!

I'm not on Symi at the moment but the first daytime broadcast yesterday had the cam perched on my balcony. The view below was broadcast all afternoon and until midnight-ish

Watching the palm tree blowing in the wind and the car lights around the harbour tugged at my heart. I really do much prefer Symi to the UK as a place to live. When Claudia has finished school, maybe we'll make the move to Symi a permanent one.

I know I've shown it before, but if the webcam is rotated 30 degrees, you would see this...

...and another 20 degrees and you'd get this...

It's the nicest view to have when doing a Sudoku.

Anyway...this blog is a bit of a digression from Symi things. I told Jord and Jo something last week when I was on Symi that surprised them (it took a bit to convince them I wasn't pulling their leg!) and I thought I'd share it with the rest of you by posting here on the MySymi site. I'm afraid it involves a little bit of maths, though nothing more complicated than multiplying by two!

We all have two parents. We also have four grandparents, and for those of us whose parents aren't cousins (or siblings!) they are four different people. Going back more generations, we all have eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents, and so on. If you were to go back thirty five generations, your number of great-great-etcetera-grandparents is just 2x2x2x...x2 (that's 35 2s!) which is 34,359,738,368, just over 34 billion.

I'm sure you'll notice a problem here. There are about 6 billion people in the World today, so how could there have been 34 billion people, 35 generations ago? There weren't, of course. Thirty-five generations back in time will take us to round about the 11th Century. The population of the World then was about 320 million which is about 1/100th of the 34 billion ancestors we're looking for.

Where, then, are our 34 billion 11th Century ancestors? There's only one answer that makes any sense. Many of our ancestors are our ancestors many, many times over....each of them must appear on average at least 100 different times on different branches of our family tree.

Let's go back in time to the middle of the 11th Century...1066 will do, an important date in the history of Western Europe. William, Duke of Normandy, invaded England with his armies, killed the Saxon King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, and was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. At the end of his reign, William had fathered four children that we know of, the youngest being Henry who, in due course, became King Henry I of England. In his turn, Henry had 2 legitimate children and at least a whopping 21 illegitimate ones . Henry liked to spread it about a bit, it seems, and wasn't at all embarrassed about it either. Before 100 years had passed since the Battle of Hastings, William had over 150 descendants.

I'll now get to the point of all of this. Ask yourself this question: Is it feasible that NONE of William's 150 descendants appear on your own family tree given that we've already seen that all your ancestors alive at the time need to be there about 100 times each? Of course not. The probability of this is, to say the least, quite small. If you bothered to sit down and calculate it, you'll find that you're more likely to win the Lottery every month for a year than to NOT be descended from William the long as there has been at least some mixing with "White European" blood in your family tree in the past three hundred years or so.

As well as William, you can be certain that you're descended from King Harold too...and Geoffrey Chaucer, Pope Clement IV, Atilla the Hun, Good King Wenceslas, the Prophet Mohammed, and quite likely Lucrezia Borgia. If you also believe the Bible is accurate when Matthew 13:55 says "Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, a brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Aren't His sisters our neighbors here?" then you're a descendant of Mary too.

Jord asked me how far back in time we'd have to go to find someone who was an ancestor of both of us. About the time of Henry VIII will do. Jord found this very reassuring.


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