Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Net Migration in the US

An interesting interactive migration map from Forbes shows net migration for 2008 for every county in the US:

us migration map

You can see migration to a given county from any other county in the country. E.g., 66 people moved from Dane County, WI (Madison) in 2008, and 34 moved in the opposite direction. Or: 149 people moved from Harris County, TX (Houston) to Queens, NY, but 449 made the opposite trip. Also, this being Forbes, matters economic are considered integral, so per capita income for migrants is also shown. This is pretty interesting, actually, as it is suggestive of the sort of moving involved: the average income for folks making the leap between high-tech hubs San Mateo, CA and Travis County, TX (Austin) was $74,500. For those moving from Cameron County, TX on the Mexican border to Clark County, NV (Las Vegas) it was just $12,900.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Has BP Ruined the Entire Atlantic Basin?

This video paints a dismaying picture:

Via Mother Jones, which says:
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) just released this horrifying animation of how ocean currents may carry all the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. According to their computer modeling of currents and the oil, the spill "might soon extend along thousands of miles of the Atlantic coast and open ocean as early as this summer."

"I've had a lot of people ask me, 'Will the oil reach Florida?'" says NCAR scientist Synte Peacock in a statement accompanying the animation, which he worked on. "Actually, our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood."

The models show oil hitting Florida's Atlantic coast within a few weeks, then moving north as far as about Cape Hatteras, N.C., before heading east.
One question I haven't seen answered is: at what level of dispersion is the oil no longer harmful? I assume that if a hundred million gallons were distributed evenly throughout the world's oceans, it wouldn't even be noticeable, and would biodegrade in no time. But somewhere between that, and the actual conditions we have - giant plumes and enormous sheens concentrated in the northern Gulf of Mexico - is the threshhold beyond which dispersion takes care of the problem. I don't know what that threshhold is - whether, for instance, the quantities shown swirling about in the mid-Atlantic in this animation would still be dangerous to ecosystems. At the least, though, this looks bad for pretty much the entire coast of Florida.