Iowans and Alien Invasion

The Alien Invasion genre is more popular in Iowa than compared to most states, including elsewhere in the Midwest.

After being abducted by aliens a few times in a cornfield, you start to take the alien issue more seriously. Watch the movie ‘Children of the Corn’ and you’ll understand that great dangers lurk in cornfields. It’s not just dreams that are found in those fields. If you build it, you can’t be certain who or what will come.

Let’s just say that we are concerned. And we are also prepared, as another Iowan favorite is the Amateur Crime Fighters genre. Still, we are open to other possibilities, as we also like the Paranormal Romance genre. We’re undecided about the appropriate response to the unknown.

We don’t care much about the Fairy Tale genre, though. That is kid’s stuff. No one ever worries about a fairy invasion. Just don’t eat the food at the fairy banquet and you should be fine.

As for the Health & Fitness genre and the Money genre, we couldn’t care less. When the aliens invade, such mundane details of existence will be the least of our worries. Besides, the aliens offer free ‘health’ exams and, once they take over the planet, the entire monetary system won’t matter all that much.

We Iowans prefer to keep ourselves grounded with our enjoyment of the Humor genre. Maybe the aliens will turn out to have a sense of humor. Or even if not, it’s probably wise to not take things too seriously. The aliens will do what they will do.

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Popular Genres in 9 Maps
Audible.com

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Borders in Europe and the World

I’ve been reading about European history lately and came across some map videos. I thought I’d share, as they are interesting. It helps me understand what I’ve been reading.

The first one is about the past 1,000 years of European history. That is the time-frame I’ve been focusing upon, most specifically the Roman Empire.

One thing that stood out to me in my reading is how the Romans weren’t identified as Europeans in terms of culture, politics, and economics. Most of their attention was focused toward the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Near East. At the height of their power, they controlled all the land directly surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This is clearly seen as the Empire grows in the first video:

The next one also focuses on Europe with a larger time-frame. The one after that further broadens the scope to other geographical regions. I also included two other videos for the fun of it. The third one below untangles the complexity of Great Britain, United Kingdom, and England. And the last explores truly complex borders in the world.

Maps of the World: What Unites & Divides

There has been a set of amusing and edifying maps that have received some attention on the web:

40 Maps They Didn’t Teach You In School

Some I had seen before, but many were new to me. The one that caught my attention was about freedom of press. It is the type of thing that gets me thinking.

The US just gets a satisfactory rating, along with Australia, much of Europe, four countries in South America (including the large Argentina), six countries in Africa, and some of the island countries off the coast of China. Satisfactory isn’t bad, but it certainly isn’t great. A rather sad state of affairs for supposedly freedom-loving Americans.

What is more predictable are the countries that get a good rating, although not entirely predictable. Canada, of course, gets a better rating than the good ol’ US of A. Also, a large section of Northern Europe predictably rates well. Among the British Isles, it appears only Ireland has a good rating. What is mind-blowing is that Nambia in Southern Africa rates good as well.

Sadly, America is less than great. More like middling, if anything. But anyone paying attention already knew that.

In response to that map, the Washington Post put out its own sampling of maps:

40 maps that explain the world

What stands out to me is how similar the US is to many countries Americans wouldn’t identify with.

The US is a majority Christian country, like the rest of the Americas and also like the entirety of Southern Africa (the majority of the African continent, in fact). More interestingly, the US has about the same number of atheists as Argentina and Saudi Arabia.

Canada and Europe follow the typical pattern in having more gay rights than the US, but the protected freedom for gays is also higher in South America and South Africa. South America even has high rates of tolerance for gays, although less so in South Africa. The US has moderate tolerance for gays, but we just don’t believe in protecting their rights like other Americans. This tolerance rating doesn’t seem to have anything to do with religion since, for example, Canada has the same atheist rating as the US.

One would suspect that tolerance correlates to diversity. Familiarity and empathy tend to go hand in hand.

Despite being an immigrant nation, the US is only average on the ethnic diversity scale. South America and Africa are more diverse. It says a lot too that Canada is more diverse, as Canada rates better than the US on most measurements (either the American Dream emigrated North or always was there). Europe is shown as the least ethnically diverse region in the world, although Spain a country with millennia of multicultural history is more middling like the US (maybe unsurprising as more than half of the US used to be part of the Spanish Empire; then again, Hispanic Mexico is more ethnically diverse than both the US and Spain).

I must admit I feel suspicious about the ethnic diversity map because I don’t know how ethnic diversity is being defined and measured. The US might be middling simply because the population is so mixed up with ethnic intermarriages. Reading the related article, it sounds more like the researchers were measuring ethnic perception which I’m not sure is the best method. I’m thinking that what is being measured is more about whether people identify more with their nation or with their ethnic group (tribe, clan, etc). Developed countries have show more ethnic homogeneity because more people simply identify with their country.

Racial tolerance is a good measure for comparison. In this, the US and Canada are the same (and also Australia, the other British-founded country). So is most of the rest of the Americas, Central and South. Europe is a mixed bag. Spain has a fair amount of racial tolerance. The most tolerant in Europe are Britain and most northern countries. Interestingly, once again South Africa fits in here as well. Pakistan for some reason also rates well in racial tolerance.

The welcoming to foreigners map offers a different perspective. Racial tolerance may only apply to races within one’s country. Canada seems to be the only country in the world, as far as I can tell from the maps, that rates highly both on racially tolerance and welcoming to foreigners. Canada is beginning to sound like utopia. That said, countries like Mexico, Brazil and South Africa also rate fairly well on both. The US, like Spain, is only middling on this measure. Argentina is one of those countries that, while racially tolerant, isn’t friendly to strangers. The map shows some surprising locations that apparently would be good places to travel in or move to: Turkey, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and a few others.

Some other maps are truly bizarre in their implications.

Why the heck do all the countries in the Americas rate highly emotional?

The US and Canada are one big mass of emotional expressiveness. Another blot of emotion is found down in South America with El Salvador being the second most emotional country in the world. All the countries in the Americas are just plain emotional. Most of the rest of the world is emotionally frigid in comparison. There are some exceptions, though. Like always, Africa is a mix with Angola being highly emotional. The Arab United Emirates and Oman pop up again, along with somewhat higher ratings for many Middle Eastern countries. The Phillipines, former colony of Spain and the US, also rates high (the most emotional country in the world) along with relatively high ratings for the other nearby island countries and Australia (plus, the nearby Southern Asian countries). In Europe, the countries that stand out for their emotionality are France, Spain and Ireland (it’s hard to tell from the map, but it looks like Belgium also rates high).

There are two patterns here that interest me. First, Spanish and English speaking countries tend to be highly emotional. The US gets a double dose on this account. Canada similarly gets a double dose with British and French influence. Second, post-Soviet countries are among the most emotionally stoic. Emotion in Europe appears to generally increase as you move West. The reason for these patterns is not entirely clear to me. Why would the English language correlate to emotionality? The English people aren’t known for emotional effusiveness. On the scale, the English are just moderately emotional. Maybe there is something about the Celtic influence as Ireland rates highly. English-speaking countries like the US do have large amounts of Irish ancestry. Ireland would also relate to France and Spain for the Irish originate from the Basque who live in the border region of those two countries. This might explain an element of the low ratings of the post-Soviet countries for the Celtic populations were most concentrated in Western Europe.

The other odd map is that of feeling loved or not. It seems to fit almost perfectly to the emotional map. The countries that tend to have high rates of emotional expressiveness also tend to have high rates of feeling loved. Maybe that isn’t so odd, after all. How can you know that you’re loved if no one expresses love to you? Anyway, the Americas are one big love-fest.

I purposely saved the Muslim maps for last.

Some Muslim countries want democracy and others less so. Quite a few of the Muslim countries in Africa say they prefer democracy to a strong leader. The same is found with Turkey and Tajikistan along with the Southeast Asian islands and peninsula. However, on either side of Tajikistan are two countries (Kyrgizstan and Pakistan) that are unfriendly to democracy. The Middle East overall is mostly averaging in its support or lack thereof for democracy.

The map of perceived religious conflict within a country is almost a mirror opposite of the pro-democracy map. Does the perceived religious conflict cause a lack of support for democracy? Or vice versa?

The third and final Muslim map shows why generalizing about all Muslims is problematic. It is a map about honor killings, specifically whether they are never justified over female sexual offenses. A few Muslim countries are apparently evenly split between those who say it is never justified and those who disagree. It looks like there are only five Muslim countries with a clear majority who think such vigilante justice is sometimes or always justified. However, most of the Muslim countries rated here have a majority supporting the view that is never justified.

Maps Are Fun: US Data

Valparaiso University in Northern Indiana has a website where they maintain some pages of resources with great maps. I’ve often made use of their page of religious distribution maps, having just based a post on the religious adherents map. However, I hadn’t previously explored the full array of maps they have, in which a lot of info is contained and elegantly conveyed.

I’ll begin with the ethnic groups maps which match many of the religious maps as ethnicity and religion tend to go hand in hand; one interesting pattern being how some of the border states in the Upper South include religious groups more typical of the North such as Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish; from the culture regions maps page, there are three maps that show the Midlands influence of the Midwest and Upper South: Diffusion of the Midland CultureColonial Culture Hearths, and Contemporary Culture Areas. I’ve used the ethnic groups maps before, such as with my post on the North/South divide. Some patterns begin to appear when you look across the almost 50 ethnic groups maps available. Some of the patterns are predictable, but it is surprising where some ethnic groups are found and not.

Native Americans have some predictable patterns. They are found mostly in the West and there is that concentration in Oklahoma, but right next to Oklahoma is Texas which is empty of Native Americans despite being nearly surrounded by states with concentrations of them. There are intriguing clumps of Native Americans in North Carolina which makes sense if you know the history, and that interests me as much of my family came through there. North Carolina and contiguous states form the area of Native American mixed ancestry. One of my North Carolina and Appalachian family lines has a name (Tolliver) that is found among some Melungeons. What many people don’t think about, though, is that there are also a fair amount of Native Americans in the Upper Midwest.

One of the more interesting maps is that of leading minority group by county. The Solid South isn’t just about party politics. Even their minorities lack much diversity, at least in terms which ethnic minorities dominate. All across the North, on the other hand, has a vast diversity of minorities. The only part of the South that has much minority diversity is the the border states of the Upper South which were influenced by similar migration patterns as the Midwest. Actually, the map is deceiving. The Midwest isn’t just about ethnic diversity, but a particular kind of multiculturalism. This map shows where ethnic groups have maintained coherency in a particular area, counties in this case. That was a common settlement pattern in the Midwest where a single ethnic group would settle together in the same county, town or neighborhood. Going to the culture regions maps page, there are two maps that clarify this. The concentration of ethnic islands are in the Western Midwest, the Upper Midwest and in one area of Texas. The other map showing a border area of Minnesota and Wisconsin gives a clear example of how these ethnic islands cluster together.

There is a subset of the maps that offer a fascinating viewpoint: absence of particular ethnic groups. However, it isn’t an entirely fair portrayal. Absence is defined as having fewer than 25 members of an ethnic group in counties. Some counties have an absence of large populations in the first place and so you have to take these maps with a grain of salt. With that in mind:

The absence of Native Americans/Alaska Natives and the absence of Asians is mostly found in a corridor starting in Texas going up to North Dakota, including surrounding states and with significant areas of the South, both Upper South and Deep South. The only partial exception in the corridor is Oklahoma that has an absence of Asians but not of Natives Americans/Alaska Natives. Florida similarly is an exception to the patterns of the South. As for absence of Blacks, the same pattern holds except for the Deep South, of course.  Absence of Hispanics is a much smaller area, though, with it almost entirely being located in the Mid-Northwest with its greatest concentration in the most northern states. This same area has an absence of minorities of all varieties.

When you look at the Percent Mexican map, the obvious pattern is shown which about everyone knows without looking at any map. However, the Midwest has a fair amount of Mexicans as well, especially Illinois with Chicago. In Iowa, there are 8 counties with 13-26% of the population being Mexican; and it is similar for Minnesota, but not Wisconsin. What stuck out to me is that there are 4% or less in the entire Northeast.

The Northeast, in general, isn’t lacking in ethnic diversity. There is the typical pattern of ethnic diversity that the Northeast shares with the Midwest (because of the influence of the multicultural tradition of the Mid-Atlantic states going back to the Middle Colonies). Beyond that, there is an odd similarity between the specific ethnic groups of the North and the the specific ethnic groups of Florida with the Southern region in between being almost entirely empty of these ethnic groups; also, California and Texas often though not always fits in with this pattern, specifically in terms of the migration pattern that went from the Midwest to California and Texas: GermanDutch, CzechSwedish, Lebanese, Hungarian, Polish, Ukranian, RussianItalian, Greek, Arab, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Korean, and maybe others could be added as well. In some cases, this pattern shows a link of the Northeast and/or the North with Louisiana (because of the Canadian influence), along with some of that connection to Florida and the West Coast: French and French Canadians. The Northeast sometimes and the Midwest more often, especially the Upper Midwest, also matches up with all those other Northern European ethnic groups that particularly became concentrated mostly in the furthest north states and all away over to the Northwest — along with those Northern European ethnic groups already listed above, often along with Eastern European ethnic groups: Scandanavian, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, and Finnish.

All of those ethnic groups I just listed are miniscule minorities in the South, excepting for some of the Gulf of Mexico states of Florida, Louisiana and Texas which were originally part of the Spanish Empire. There was another pattern in the South that really stands out. It’s not just about who is and isn’t in the South, but who is and isn’t in particular areas of the South. Where Blacks and African Americans are most concentrated is precisely where there is a scarcity of Scots-Irish, Scottish and Irish; and vice versa. I can’t recollect any other regional pattern that so starkly mirrors that inverse relation in the South.

The map gallery of language is a great way to get past the superficial Melting Pot view of America. Many non-English languages have been spoken throughout American history and many of these languages remain spoken in the original settlement areas of the respective ethnic groups.

Native American speakers are where you’d expect them to be as that is where the US government put Native Americans. On the West Coast and in the Southwest, there are the unsurprising concentrations of non-English speakers, specifically Spanish speakers and Chinese speakers; along with the unsurprising concentration of the former in Florida and the more surprising significant numbers of the latter in the Northeast as well. There is that pattern I’ve pointed out before connecting the Northeast and Lousiana with French speakers which also includes the pattern connecting the Northeast and Florida. There is another pattern connecting German speakers, Scandinavian speakers and Russian speakers which is generally in the North, especially with the first two in the Upper Midwest, while the latter two are found in some concentration in the Northeast, in Florida and on the West Coast.

The North overall has the highest diversity of non-English languages spoken at home, even though it is the Southwest with the highest numbers of non-English speakers. This shows the long lasting tradition of multiculturalism in the North, a tradition especially in the Upper Midwest of which the average American is oblivious. Multiculturalism doesn’t just happen on accident. By way of laws, communities decide to either allow or disallow diversity. The states that have no state language legislation are all in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, Northwest and Southwest. The South stands out in contrast with being a solid block of English only states.

The politics maps page further strengthens these regional distinctions, thus showing the relationship between cultural traditions and political traditions. The political regions maps shows the boundaries of the regions and identifies the main theme of each, and those boundaries follow the standard flows of migration and settlement.

Closely aligned with state language legislation, states without capital punishment are all in the North and mostly in the Upper Midwest, those easygoing kindly people of Northern European ancestry. Among states with capital punishment, those with more than 20 executions since 1973 are mostly in the Deep South with some in the Southwest.

This relates to states with strong traditions of participatory democracy and those without. The highest concentration of voting population are in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana and Oregon; or to put in terms of ethnic groups: English related to the Puritans, Northern Europeans and French. To put it in the terms of standard racial groupings in America, non-Hispanic Whites fit the pattern of the general population, but even non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics have higher rates of voting in the North than in the South. Blacks in many Northern states, specifically those states with higher rates of Northern European ancestry, have higher voting rates than whites in many Southern states.

This interestingly aligns with something I noted in a previous post. The average IQ in the North is higher than the average IQ in the South. That just fits the typical North/South divide that can be found in all kinds of data. It’s rather predictable in that the Northern states on average have better public education systems and healthier populations, two things among many others that improve IQ. Where it gets really interesting is when broken down into race. Here is what I wrote in that above post:

black populations in some Northern states have on average higher IQs than black populations in Southern states. And, even more significantly, white populations in many Northern states have on average higher IQs than white populations in Southern states (excluding Texas). So, doing comparisons just within single races, there are IQ differences that show a North/South divide for both black and white populations. However, the difference is most clear for white populations. This can only be explained, as far as I can tell, by poverty being the central factor in IQ differences. Blacks experience higher rates than whites of poverty in all states, but whites mostly just experience high rates of poverty in the South.

This is further corroborated by the fact that rural Southern Whites have higher rates of violence than even Blacks, whether in the South or North, including inner city Blacks. I included analysis of this in my post about the North/South divide. A more detailed analysis can be found in the book Culture of Honor by Richard E. Nisbett and Dov Cohen. Just yesterday I randomly came across two interesting posts about this topic by hbd chick which consider this from an inherited genetics perspective: “culture” of honor and hatfields and mccoys. This isn’t just academic to me as I spent many years in the South. I remember, while in a South Carolina public high school, how often kids got in fights or otherwise acted aggressively confrontational. It never occurred to me at the time that such behavior wasn’t normal, since I never went to high school anywhere else and so had no comparison.

As I’ve noted many times before, the South has lower rates of health as shown by diverse indicators: obesity, diabetes, STDs, childhood hunger, etc. Along these lines, there is a socio-economics maps page. The North has the highest median family income and low percentage of adults lacking a high school diploma. The Upper Midwest has the lowest percentage of divorced adults in the country.

There is an apparent connection between a healthy democracy, a healthy society/community and a healthy population. The regions with the highest rates of Northern European ancestry show this connection most clearly. The obvious next thought is to consider the fact that Northern European countries also show this same health connection; for example, Germany and Finland.

I think I covered nearly every map in the Valparaiso University collection. I could have gone further into the religion maps, but I’ve already explored them enough elsewhere. The nice thing about maps is that it just shows you the data. Many connections can be made by the discerning observer and many possibilities can be conjectured. So, don’t just take my word for it.