Historical comparison is a relatively new weapon in the Secret War, it remains to be seen how great an effect it will have. The idea behind historical comparison is that although its impossible to miss a critical shift, superficial shifts usually pass without note. Sure every innerwalker knows the creepy impression you get when you're reading a newspaper and suddenly the articles change, but no one can possibly keep track of all the shifting histories generated by countless innerwalkers through all history.
Unless you have computers. The Ascended came up with historical comparison three years ago, and its showing good results. The idea is that since historical records kept in the Netherworld are immune to superficial shifts, by periodically taking newspapers, magazines, and databases from real time and comparing them with clean copies in the Netherworld one can determine what superficial shifts have happened in the intervening time period and in that manner figure out the course of the Secret War. You need some pretty powerful computers to pull this trick off, at the current time only the Ascended and the Architects have the tech base to pull off historical comparisons. Its very hard to figure out exactly what causes what shifts, but so far the Ascended have taken three feng shui sites because they knew the sites had recently changed hands and were therefore vulnerable, and at another point one of their sites taken by the Lotus was reclaimed almost immediatelly, since historical comparison revealed the site had been taken before conventional word could have reached them.
The Architects have taken the concept further. While the Ascended can only search for changing feng shui sites because they lack the ability to build more powerful computers, the Architects have sixty more years of technical development behind them. They can check not just for changes in sites but broad plans and more subtle historical alterations (they are aware of all the plans of the Guiding Hand revealed in "Blood of the Valiant", for example). The CDCA is currently working on a "History Tree", taking the brains of the most anal-retentive persons they can find and bonding them with arcanotech into a dedicated biocomputer that will scour history far better than their current brute force approach. Now who's going to get stuck with the job of stopping them, I wonder?
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