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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Monday, March 06, 2006

fire dragon fruit

interesting little tidbit of distracting information for you...

i was just emailing a very good friend of mine about how i almost got run over by a scooter and a bus the other day, nearly simultaneously. i spouted about how this was a function of shear population density in taipei, which approaches ten thousand souls per square kilometer in the city center. that's 1X10^6/km^2. i went on in this email about how i wanted to take my bike to wyoming or utah or some such place for a week when i get back to the states, in order to "decompress"... to wander the wide open ranges of the american west, where you can get lost for days and never see another human.

this got me thinking: what is it to have an innate need for space? americans (and please excuse the gross generalization.. of course i mean yankee yahoos from the good ol' yoo-ess-of-ay) tend to have what's commonly known as a well defined sense of "personal space"... a sort of invisible buffer zone or "comfort zone" that occupies an area roughly 50-60cm in diameter within which we reside. This kind of information has even been documented by various authors, and can be found online if you know what you're looking for. it's commonly made fun of in the states, through things like comedy sketches of "close-talkers" and advertisements for real estate. is this need for space, this sense of being entitled to our own chunk of the universe, a result of how we live in and interact with our surroundings from birth?

my point is, take a look at cultural norms with respect to 'personal space', and the living conditions each culture endures in their home-country. Taiwan for instance: thirty-six-thousand square kilometers total land area and 23 million people. that's ~ ((2.3X10^7)people/(3.6X10^4)km^2) = 6.4X10^2 people/km^2, or 640 people per square kilometer. that's including a large amount of uninhabitable (and all but inaccessible) land like mountain peaks and river valleys. compare to Colorado... not even the entire US, but just one state. CO: only 4 million people for two-hundred-seventy-thousand square kilometers. again: ~ ((4X10^6)people/(2.7X10^5)km^2) = 16 people/km^2. that's a huge difference. it's the difference between 1,562 square meters per person vs. 62,500 square meters per person. a factor of 40.

with the shear abundance of open space available to people living in the states, it's no wonder we've acquired a taste for freedom of movement and uninhibited views. i can't say i don't miss being able to look out from my front porch at home and see 40 miles north along the frontrange of the rocky mountains... it makes the view from my balcony here of the apartment building across the alley pale in comparison (i suppose, really, there is no comparison), but it's all relative. so, in closing, i'd like to say to all my fellow yankees who whine incessantly about not having a big enough front yard or a clear enough view of their 50 acre property, suck it up and be happy you even have access to that kind of open space.

as for the title of this little post, check out the pics... this fruit is sort of like a mild tasting kiwi. it's good, but the aesthetic appeal is greater than the culinary.



楊曼妮 mani yang said...

it's quite an unique fruit right?

楊曼妮 mani yang said...

oh, speaking of the space, this is why i go to the cafe a lot...cos i do need to sense the spacious outdoor space, stay indoor really drives me crazy