Friday, December 17, 2010
I was reading the recent NY Times article on population trends and demographic patterns in the U.S., and did the simplest view of the data - zoom out to the whole U.S. (See http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/explorer?hp?hp, zoom out as far as possible.) Some of the population groupings are pretty obvious. Considering the Far West, there is a clump down in Southern California, the Bay Area, and the Portland/Seattle clump (not that close together, but quite a bit closer than SF and LA.) Note the large, lower density population gaps between them. Why in the world would we want to make all of these, and everything west of the Mississippi, be one region? The words from the UUA about virtual communities is mostly nonsense. I say this as a software developer who spends about 50 hours a week in front of my computer, rarely goes into the office, does phone conferences with my wonderful headset/microphone - virtual communities may be a certain kind of community, but it is an attenuated community. It sort of works to get work done, but really only if you have a pre-existing relationship with the people that you are working with. We are physicial beings, living in a physical world, and time and distance matter in establishing real relationships.