So, for instance, suppose I want to get some of that free land in Marquette, Kansas, but I don’t have a car or bicycle. Google will provide directions, a total of 314 segments for the 766-mile trip. Google estimates it’ll take me 10 days and 10 hours, which works out to just over 3 miles per hour. I guess they assume I sleepwalk, but take breaks occasionally. I don’t imagine their database worries about whether there are sidewalks, but they do say “Walking directions are in beta. Use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas.”
I just discovered that the U S Census Bureau has issued a new Atlas, which they say is their first since 1925. (The press release is dated January 31, did everyone else already know about this?) It’s downloadable chapter by chapter as pdf’s, which is great since it costs $165 in hardcopy. This is not new data, but a compilation of stuff that was already available, though I suppose many of the maps are newly-prepared. One might ask why it takes almost eight years after census day to prepare a report, but this one will not.
My favorite section, so far, is Chapter 2 on population distribution. There’s a map showing when each county reached its maximum population. For hundreds, it was more than 50 years ago. Other county-level maps show population changes since 1980. These maps should be persuasive to any rational person who fears that the U. S. is becoming overpopulated. It is unfortunate that the Atlas doesn’t contain tabulations to go with the maps, so I cannot tell you how many counties reached their peak population before 1960, nor by how much the total population of these counties has declined since the peak.