On understanding why it is the way it is -
I found myself saying,
"You can look at what they have and critique it and come up with all these ideas of what they should have built instead, but how about finding out why they ended up with what they have?”
I think there is this gap in product understanding. You can…
Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.
Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading
Quick update: If you’re the kind of map lover who cares about cartographic accuracy, check out the new version which fixes the Gulf of California. If you save this map for your own projects, please use this one instead.
The map tends to highlight two types of areas:
- places where human habitation is physically restrictive or impossible, and
- places where human habitation is prohibited by social or legal convention.
Water features such lakes, rivers, swamps and floodplains are revealed as places where it is hard for people to live. In addition, the mountains and deserts of the West, with their hostility to human survival, remain largely void of permanent population.
Of the places where settlement is prohibited, the most apparent are wilderness protection and recreational areas (such as national and state parks) and military bases. At the national and regional scales, these places appear as large green tracts surrounded by otherwise populated countryside.
At the local level, city and county parks emerge in contrast to their developed urban and suburban surroundings. At this scale, even major roads such as highways and interstates stretch like ribbons across the landscape.
Commercial and industrial areas are also likely to be green on this map. The local shopping mall, an office park, a warehouse district or a factory may have their own Census Blocks. But if people don’t live there, they will be considered “uninhabited”. So it should be noted that just because a block is unoccupied, that does not mean it is undeveloped.
Perhaps the two most notable anomalies on the map occur in Maine and the Dakotas. Northern Maine is conspicuously uninhabited. Despite being one of the earliest regions in North America to be settled by Europeans, the population there remains so low that large portions of the state’s interior have yet to be politically organized.
In the Dakotas, the border between North and South appears to be unexpectedly stark. Geographic phenomena typically do not respect artificial human boundaries. Throughout the rest of the map, state lines are often difficult to distinguish. But in the Dakotas, northern South Dakota is quite distinct from southern North Dakota. This is especially surprising considering that the county-level population density on both sides of the border is about the same at less than 10 people per square mile.
Finally, the differences between the eastern and western halves of the contiguous 48 states are particularly stark to me. In the east, with its larger population, unpopulated places are more likely to stand out on the map. In the west, the opposite is true. There, population centers stand out against the wilderness.
Ultimately, I made this map to show a different side of the United States. Human geographers spend so much time thinking about where people are. I thought I might bring some new insight by showing where they are not, adding contrast and context to the typical displays of the country’s population geography.
I’m sure I’ve all but scratched the surface of insight available from examining this map. There’s a lot of data here. What trends and patterns do you see?
- The Gulf of California is missing from this version. I guess it got filled in while doing touch ups. Oops. There’s a link to a corrected map at the top of the post.
- Some islands may be missing if they were not a part of the waterbody data sets I used.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Block geography and population data from U.S. Census Bureau
Water body geography from National Hydrology Dataset and Natural Earth
Made with Tilemill
USGS National Atlas Equal Area Projection
NYC at dusk (at Manhattan Bridge)
I gushed about The Raid a few weeks back, and just last week saw The Raid 2: Berandal at a local theater. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I think it’s the best action movie I’ve ever seen.
The Raid was as high-concept as can be, with more guns and punches than plot or dialogue. The Raid 2, to the contrary, is an ambitious crime epic, rich in both violence and story. It’s 150 minutes but never feels even slightly long. I immediately wanted to go watch it again.
I can’t remember the last time I was as in awe with a director as I currently am with Gareth Evans.
Watched this last night and totally agree. I didn’t want it to end and was sad when it did. Storyline was solid, but extraneous at times.
New York City. Going to delete this picture in 5 minutes.
Welcome to the future.
Turn your hand over, dummy, you have an email.
Why are you looking at your watch while you’re holding your goddamn phone you dipshit. Look at your phone. Not the watch. The phone.
Fine. Be that way. Touch the watch with your only hand without technology. Consider buying another phone for your non-phone hand. Perhaps it’s lonely without a phone to hold.
You recorded this with your Google Glass, didn’t you?
Why am I even asking, of course you did.
Paul Ryan, Asshole of the Day for March 6, 2014
by Shauna Wright (Follow @goldengateblond)
If you’ve been paying attention to politics at all over the past few years, you’ve no doubt noticed the GOP sliding into an abyss of abject stupidity and stunning, breathtaking insensitivity. And just when you think they’ve tapped those wells dry, they find a way (fracking, probably) to squeeze just a little more out of them.
For example, behold onetime GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan, who just today told the assembled crowd of mouth-breathers at CPAC that if only poor kids’ parents loved them more, they wouldn’t need free lunch programs to feed them.
He made this point while telling a story that was supposed to give us all the sads: a “young boy from a very poor family” who got government-funded free lunches at school but was totally bummed out about it.
“He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids,” Ryan said, adding, “He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
You know what, Paul Ryan? I’ve been that kid. And on behalf of all those kids, fuck you.
I was raised in Southern California by a single mother, who had me young and struggled to support us. When I was about 5, a teacher friend of hers told her I was extraordinarily bright and stressed the importance of getting me in the right schools to nurture that.
The closest and best public school district was, naturally, in a wealthy area. But my mom somehow found an apartment she could afford there, and the next thing I knew, she’d packed me, our cat and what few belongings we had into her beat-up VW Bug and off we went.
My mom’s friend was right – the school was phenomenal. I still remember those teachers. They were warm and encouraging and supportive, and never made me feel like the underprivileged kid.
And yes, I got government-sponsored breakfasts and lunches. But contrary to Paul Ryan’s story, it was not a reenactment of a Dickens novel. No dirt-smudged faces. No gruel. No moonfaced moppets begging for more.
Look, I knew my circumstances were different than the other kids somehow, but no one shamed me. And no one shamed my mother, who worked her ass off so her kid could go to the best school possible. (You want love, Paul? Put THAT in a brown paper bag, you smug, condescending douchebag.)
Fast forward a few years and I went on to become the first woman in my family to graduate from college. These days, I make a nice living and pay back into the same government system that helped me get where I am now. And I’m happy to do it.
Because somewhere there’s a little girl whose single mom is doing the best she can – and I’ll be damned if I’m going to make it any harder for them than it has to be. But Paul Ryan wants to make it harder, and that’s why he is the Asshole of the Day.
It is Paul Ryan's second time being named Asshole of the Day. His previous win was for insisting on concessions in order to vote to pay for the budget that he himself negotiated and took credit for.
Full story: Raw Story
UPDATE: Turns out the anecdote about the little boy wasn’t about a kid getting a government subsidized lunch!
Shauna Wright (@goldengateblond) spends her days writing and editing things for cash and prizes, and you can find her dishing celebrity snark on the regular at Blabberazzi.com.
This man is an idiotic asshole in every way. I was an underprivileged American kid too, raised by a single father who supported a family of 5 on two jobs and still qualified for both food stamps and the free lunch program for me. And that program was a blessing. Every day I got a hot meal that I otherwise likely would have had to do without at the worst of that time, and it did not make me feel like an outsider because dozens of other students also went through the lunch line each day. Some were paying full price, some were on half-price and some were free, but nobody cared which was which. We just wanted to get to whatever table our friends were at and have our lunch and go play before the bell rang. There were no sad looks at the bagged lunches. In fact, when I took my lunch to school, I typically envied those who didn’t get a squashed PBJ every single day of the week, which I got because the jumbo containers of peanut butter and jelly lasted the longest and were on the approved list of food-stamp products. Paul Ryan can just shut the hell up because he clearly never experienced the situation he’s bleating about.
Even if that little boy does want a brown bagged lunch instead and even if he has somehow conflated the idea that getting one means you’re loved - because kids do think things like that because they aren’t old enough to understand how finances work, especially if those things are promoted by the cultural environment they’re immersed in - I am sure as hell he’d rather have that third meal a day than nothing which is the only actual option available if his free lunches go away. He’s not getting a brown bagged lunch because if his parents could afford it he would already have it. Encouraging the idea that only a homemade lunch means he’s properly loved is just going to make children whose parents can’t afford it feel even worse.
Banksy flower by Naolito
This won the race for Sagan
(Source: inrng, via beyondthepeloton)