Eocasea martini: Scientists Discover Oldest Known Ancestor of Land Herbivores
Today In History
‘Alice Walker, poet and activist, received the “Pulitzer Prize” in fiction for The Color Purple on this date April 17, 1983.’
(photo: Alice Walker)
- CARTER Magazine
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
Rome was Founded 100 Years Earlier than Thought
It has been reported that new archeological finds have pushed back the age of Rome. A team of archeologists discovered the remains of a wall built to channel water, which dates back to the ninth century BC.
Media attention has focused on the fact that the dating is significantly earlier than the traditional idea that Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC by the twins Romulus and Remus. With Rome due to celebrate its 2,767th birthday, the timing makes for a particularly good story.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/rome-was-founded-100-years-earlier-thought
IT’S MID-APRIL, I’M DONE WITH THIS.
- by Dr. Elizabeth Keenan (Fordham University)
"These days, everyone knows academia is a bad boyfriend (or girlfriend, depending on your sexual preference). Everyone has their own tale about how it keeps pulling them back in, with tantalizing offers of interviews and seductive whispers of funding, and then crushing their hopes into the tiny shards of a broken career.
This isn’t one of those columns. No, this is a column about having “The Talk.” Not the imaginary one you have with the academy itself—the one in which you finally kick it to the curb. I mean the one you’ll have repeatedly with everyone you’ve known professionally in the past decade of your life.
See, there’s a difference between bad relationships and academia. When you finally escape a bad relationship, most of your friends will suddenly confess, “I never liked him/her anyway!” Or they’ll join you in a round (or six) while you cry in your beer. They won’t tell you, “Well, why don’t you just give it another year? He’s a really nice guy when he isn’t ignoring you!” Or: “Surely if you just tried to make it work, she would stop cheating.”
And yet, in academia, you hear those things all the time. As soon as you tell someone, “I’m thinking of leaving,” they’ll come back at you with a list of reasons you should stay, give it another year, try harder, and maybe a job will open up. People who try to keep you in academia mean well: Either they have succeeded and don’t understand why you haven’t, or they’re in the same position as you and they’re terrified of leaving. But that doesn’t make talking to them any easier.
This can make the transition out of academia cripplingly lonely, especially if a lot of your friends and mentors are still on the inside. (And then there’s the problem that your friends outside academia won’t be able to relate, though they will try. At least some of them will buy you drinks.)” (read more).
***The problem is, whenever I think I’ll stay out for good, I realise that finding a non-academic job that’s an actual career job, not just a pay the rent and hope for the best job, is no easier to find than an academic job.
Helianthus annuus ~ Watercolour on paper
This was a birthday gift for a friend, quicker than my usual approach. Been a long time since I’ve done a watercolour! Been super busy at class, cramming new concepts into my brain. Doing this sunflower was pretty relaxing.