As a result, people have to learn to repair things, make things, use a gun, do first aid, lay shingles, hang drywall, pour concrete, solder pipe, weld, change oil, replace an alternator, lay PVC pipe, etc.
People in the community learn emergency medicine and how to manage a structure or brush fire by volunteering with the local volunteer fire/EMS, because that's the only show in town.
Roads wash out in the rainy season, so 4x4 is an absolute necessity. People learn to gauge sand you can drive through in 2x4, sand you can drive through in 4x4 and sand you just can't drive through by eyeballing it.
I grew up in a very remote part of the California desert and everyone was like that. It's just what you have to do to get by because you keep finding yourself in situations where you need to call on these types of skills, and if you're living out there you have a lot of free time without interruption or distraction to learn the skills. Lots of people moved out from the city, and over the years they picked up a lot of those skills and became extremely self-sufficient.
I do all our property maintenance and repairs etc., even if I could convince a 'professional' to come out this way, the expense would be anywhere from 3X to 10X for the same job in town.
Self reliance and self-sufficiency are not new, trendy traits, it is a necessity for survival that has always been that way and it will probably never change for the people living in this part of the world.
There's a reason all of the HFT folks are using microwaves.
The voltmeter is for quick feedback on the signal level as you aim. Many high-capacity wireless radios have a connection point on the back that will adjust voltage to match the current receive signal level (measured in dBm). That's usually the fastest way to watch the signal level as you aim, especially if you're hanging off a tower while you do it.
For us, Williams Lake is the closest town with supplies. We travel in a generally northerly direction via various 'tracks' to we turn onto Chilko Lake Road, which ends up on Tatlayoko Lake road, which will in turn lead to Hwy 20. From there, it is all paved to Williams Lake.
Distance wise is not obscene but the 'tracks' i refer to can be a pain to maintain due to wash out and tree blow down etc. If that is the case it can significantly add to travel times. Winter can be good and bad depending on amount of snow or icy conditions etc. Typically, up until about January, winter driving is actually easier IMHO, as all the potholes/ditches are filled out. We use heavy duty chains on the tires if it gets too slippery and/or too much snow, this can make for a really long drive due to having to travel much slower with chains on.
There is no cell reception, we have satellite, the ISP here in Canada is called Xplornet, which I believe uses Hughesnet. Download speed is pretty good, streaming services typically work fine with SD, voice comms. can be a bit of pain with the 700ms latency. Since covid-19 with many more people working from home etc. I have noticed a significant drop in bandwidth and how spikey latency can get at times
Likewise, while he does repair things, I wouldn't say they are done well -- his electrical panel is a mess, I spent a couple weekends trying to help bring things up to code (and I'm not even an electrician), like replacing taped hand-twisted wire splices with junction boxes - the tape was melted on one of them from overheating.
He does own an impressive set of guns, but his car has a hole in it after accidentally shooting it while cleaning a loaded gun, so gun safety is not his strong suit.
He has a 4WD, but it's been a 2WD for the past couple years because he can't afford the parts needed to fix it, he cruises junkyards when he can to try to find what he needs.
His closest neighbor is a half mile away and lives in a glorified shed where the water comes in on a hose and electricity comes from a generator when he can afford to fuel it.
I can believe that there are well trained survival handymen out there who are well equipped to survive on their own, but I doubt that most isolated rural people are that well trained.
There's a lot of stuff hacked together in ways experts in the relevant fields would certainly not find beautiful. Expanding foam is probably not in the toolkit of very many master architects; most people have never read an electrical code (and in many places, there's no entity imposing one); many boats, snowmobiles, and other vehicles have been adapted in ways that would make the engineers who designed them want a drink or three.
Most of it works though, like that shell script you hacked together as a teenager from random mailing list archives to automate some task that still needs automating 15 years later. It works and it enables people to do things they could not otherwise do (the economics to support the relevant professional services wouldn't work). I see a beauty in that.
Yet somehow, I still learned how to do most of the things you list in your second paragraph before I got here.
And I have neighbors here who are completely clueless about most of those things. They survive, in some cases, by cultivating long term relationships with the right people.
I think you have to be careful with the correlation/causatio n issue when making points like this.
I've never lived out in the country, always in or on the edges of towns, 80% of anything is been willing to give it a go, the other 20% is been willing to learn from fucking it up the first time.
I genuinely don't understand people who aren't willing to learn this stuff even if they pay someone else to do it down the line (which makes sense sometimes).
I know people my age who can't rewire a plug which is frankly embarrassing.
> A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. (Time enough for Love - Heinlein)
As a rich guy I knew used to say, do what you do best, and give away all the rest.
I spent my 30s doing all the things you mentioned and more. There was some joy in it, I will admit, but I am vastly less wealthy than if I had focused on my consulting business and learned how to negotiate and supervise the outsourcing of those tasks.
I know a lot of 'do it yourself' types and none of them are wealthy. I know a lot of wealthy people and none of them are 'do it yourself' types. It sucks to admit it, because there is a lot of 'manliness' associated with self-reliance, but it is often a foolish pursuit. Comparative advantage is real and you can use it to get ahead in life.
Money is a way to get other people to do things for you.
If you are happier doing the things yourself, the money doesn't have much use.
At a certain point, gaining more wealth just doesn't matter.
The only way you can liberate yourself from this is by getting your hands dirty yourself.
You can take pride in the work you get paid for and the work you do outside of work just the same.
Wealth should not be sneered at. Wealth buys a new well for your farm. Wealth buys you tools to expand your capabilities. Wealth allows you to exploit the capabilities of society to accomplish things beyond yourself. Do you want to preserve gun or property rights so you can continue to live a self-reliant lifestyle? That takes wealth(or you can cop-out and let other people do it for you).
I am well aware of the saying "sell your time to buy the time that other people sold", but that cynically omits the benefits of comparative advantage. Most HN readers time is far more valuable than a plumber or carpenter.
Are you sure about that? A good plumber, here in Seattle, can cost $300/hour.
I think it was Penn Jillette who basically said we should most value those who we’d want around in the apocalypse. Farmers, doctors, mechanics would all be worth more than a financier. Maybe the irony is that in the coming decades they will have their comeuppance if their jobs are least likely to be automated away
On the other end of the spectrum, they gamble on tulips. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania
There's everything in-between. Factor in the universal human tendency for self-delusion, and you got tulip pushers who think they are moving the pillars of world.
The respectful position is "this isn't my speciality, it's yours, tell me what you need and I'll get out of the way."
"The time it would take me to acquire your skills is more valuable than what you'd charge to fix my problem" is acknowledging the plumber's value, not diminishing it.
You seem to be protecting a lot into a simple price comparison.
You have to do the math on this carefully though.
A lot of people think like this. I get paid $200 an hour, my electrician gets paid $100 an hour, therefore I should pay my electrician $100 and use the time I saved to make $200. But plenty of those jobs don't actually take an hour, even though that's the minimum billing time. So when they take ten minutes, you've got to pay the electrician $600 before you save enough time to make $200 yourself.
Then you've got a transaction costs problem. You called the plumber, but now you've got to let them in, explain the problem, review the invoice, submit payment. It could take the same amount of time as doing it yourself. It could take longer.
Then you've got a knowledge problem. If you take the time to understand how things work then you see warning signs, so you fix things while they're still a $5 problem instead of not understanding that it will turn into a $5000 problem. Or in reverse, not realizing that the person you're paying for services is charging you $5000 for something that could still be fixed for $5.
Then you've got a tax problem. You thought you were "making" $200, but actually half of that is going to taxes, whereas 100% of the money you're spending is actually getting spent.
The result is that the person who works more and pays for everything instead of doing it themselves has a higher annual income on paper, but less actual disposable income because they lose more than that to taxes and costs, and less free time because they're actually working more in reality.
The flaw of course is that $200 is not opportunity cost. Your time is only worth money if you’d otherwise be working. So when I get home from my 9-5 job where I make a fixed salary, and fix my faucet, that job just got done for free. There was no opportunity cost because I don’t get paid hourly and was already done with work for the day.
I’m a rather extreme DIYer, and I can confidently say I would not live the lifestyle I do if I paid people to repair my car, build my furniture, cook my food, mow my lawn, do all my home improvements, plumbing, electrical work, fix my electronics. All that labor adds up, especially in the expensive Bay Area. If you take what you’d otherwise spend on all that, starting say age 20, and instead put it into your retirement account you could probably retire 5-10 years early.
Wealth is worth far more than fancy cars and fine clothing. I couldn't give a shit about expensive material possessions but I think that only an utter fool would disavow themselves of wealth. Don't be conned into thinking wealth is synonymous with frivolous, ostentatious displays and vanity.
That freedom of time is all that money can ultimately provide in the best sense. However, amassing wealth by moving away from that is definitely counter-productive. Wealth is just a means to an end; if the end is already at hand it provides little to no marginal utility.
Them's the old rules. New rules: 45% of it is being willing to give it a go, 65% of it is knowing how to find the right YouTube video to watch so you don't fuck it up.
Electricity I understand and how to work safely with it, water is the same (and the outcome isn't likely to kill you) but gas, gas will blow out the walls.
It's remarkable how safe we made it actually when you think about it but all of those lessons where often learnt in blood and strife.
Honestly though YouTube and the patient people who set out to show you how to do something is great (particulary the creators), it is an amazing resource for that.
That's why it takes 110% of the time.
I can change a wall outlet or a light switch, but if I'm rewiring my house, I'm calling my brother-in-law, the electrician, just like he calls me when he wants a trumpet player. (And if he wants a guitar player, he calls my brother, not me.)
Specialization is for people in communities, which we all are whether we want to admit it or not.
Eh, I've only got so many hours on the planet, I've got a lot more spare money than spare time. I'd really rather just pay someone to fix it and spend my time doing something more fun.
I’m sure there’s a country / culture factor there, but that’s rather condescending. I’m in my thirties, and there isn’t a single place I’ve lived in as an adult where it would have been OK for me to mess with the electricity, plumbing, or even paint the walls.
I guess I'm a double embarrassment then!
Rewiring a plug is an extremely rare need..2
This is also a survival skill. There's no necessity to cultivate this in a middle-class urban environment when you can just call somebody.
In even the most developed inner cities of the US, a 30-minute response time is not unusual. A car crash with injuries, blood on the street, would certainly be top of the 911 priority list other factors like traffic often mean delays.
"In July 2019, it took the NYPD more than 20 minutes on average to respond to all of its 911 calls. This July, it was about 18 minutes."
The nearest hospital in rural areas is guaranteed to not be even a level II trauma center. So it takes 30 minutes for an ambulance to get on-scene, then maybe it's an hour drive to a trauma center (optimistic), or they're going to need to get a helicopter, which can easily be another 40 minutes of waiting.
That urban EMS crew might be shooting to load-and-go with the patient inside of ten minutes. That means even with 20-min response time they can deliver the patient to a trauma center within an hour. Out in the boondocks, the golden hour is laughable.
In the province in Ontario, where we have a few density populated communities often surrounded by large stretches of wilderness, folks are transported by helicopter in emergencies:
If you look at the list of heliports in the province, you'll see quite a number of them are at hospitals:
Including ones, like St. Mike's and Sick Kids, in high density areas where they're often at the top of high-rise towers:
There are also non-emergency patient transportation services:
Of course the point of all the above is call 911 (or the local emergency number) ASAP, the faster you can get experts involved the better.
"Dr. Mark Forrest knew he had to act fast to save the life of a man he watched go into cardiac arrest after a motorcycle accident — so he opened up the man's chest right there on the road and brought him back from the dead."
That's from the moment you finish dialing 911 until the point where the fire truck/ambulance arrives, and includes the time that you spend talking to the 911 operator etc.
1. Call time - at 9am Joe calls 911 and reports their cat has fell out of a tree.
2. Dispatch Queue Time - ideally, at 905am or quickly after the call to 911 time, Dispatcher puts this call into the stack for the police officer that works on Joes beat (let’s say normally that is Officer111). This is accompanied by a call out over the radio to Officer111 to see what he’s doing.
3. Officer acknowledge time - usually along with the radio call-out from dispatch, 905am, the event record for Joe and his cat appear on the screen for all the officers in the district. Let’s say Officer111 is at a car crash, and cannot respond. The event record is still on all Officer screens, and Dispatch asks one of the district officers to go help Joe and his fallen cat. Nearby Officer112 “accepts” the call (via radio and on their laptop). It is 906am when Officer112 accepts the task. He is are now enroute (at 906am)
4. Arrival time - it takes Officer112 14 minutes to get to the scene because it is not his beat and he was in traffic. He pulls up at 920am.
5. Clear time - at 930am, the cat is taken off in an ambulance, and Officer112 tells dispatch over the radio to clear him off the fallen cat call.
Dispatch delay - diff between call recieved and being put into the queue
Response time - time from Officer acknowledgement in the queue to arrival time. In some cases it will be recorded with a timestamp when Officer says enroute.
Cleared time - arrival to clear.
My point is the response time is often tricker than it seems. May be straightforward in this case, but mainly wanted to point it out for other readers.
So you have to be able to control arterial bleeds and take care of lots of stuff that in the city you may not need to worry about because an ambulance will be there in 30 minutes.
My memory is that there are classes with two all-day weekends and evenings during week. But I can't find the detailed schedule. So ~10 days.
Pretty normal stuff out in the sticks.
Your link talks about Antarctica, not Alaska.
Wikipedia: The operation started at 02:00 local time on 1 May with the help of a driver and meteorologist, who provided instruments and held a mirror so Rogozov could observe areas not directly visible. Rogozov lay in a semi-reclining position, half-turned to his left side. A solution of 0.5% novocaine was used for local anesthesia of the abdominal wall. Rogozov made a 10–12 cm incision of the abdominal wall, but while opening the peritoneum he accidentally cut the cecum and had to suture it. Then he exposed the appendix. According to his report, the appendix was found to have a dark stain at its base, and Rogozov estimated it would have burst within a day. The appendix was resected and antibiotics were applied directly into the peritoneal cavity. General weakness and nausea developed about 30–40 minutes after the start of the operation so that short pauses for rest were repeatedly needed after that. By about 04:00 the operation was complete.
But it is a fascinating story, thank you for bringing it up!
That's pretty far out; I think that's pretty extreme. At least in Idaho/WA IMO (different geography and settlement pattern, prolly). But your point is still valid for the bulk of rural US - you just gotta know how to deal, because the cavalry is a ways out and expensive.
If you're in Amargosa, Shoshone, Tecopa, Wonder Valley, Lanfair Valley, Kelso, Amboy, Cadiz, Fenner, etc., it's a long way off from anything.
Pop open Gooogle maps and try to find the nearest dispatch location for an ambulance to Fenner, and then put that into perspective with the amount of traffic on the I-40 corridor. CHP can call an airship, but I've seen burn patients sit dying for an hour while waiting for a helicopter to become available for dispatch.
People adapt to their environments, if you have to fix your car in the country, you learn to fix your car. If you have to fix your car in the city, you learn to schmooze the repair guy into giving you a better deal.
It took 25 minutes for the EMTs to arrive. But that is because the nearest EMT team was not on another call. Otherwise, it could have take 45-60 minutes to get a team from the next nearest town/county.
Later that day on the way home to Seattle we stopped at an urgent care to get stitches for $175.
Though, I am seriously thinking about getting an AED to keep out there.
You can do it in a week, living on-site.
Edit: There's also a component on helicopter operations, such as laying out a landing site for when things get really spicy.
Statistically, less people, fewer emergencies, but that's not much comfort when you're the one having a statistically unlikely emergency!
And not necessarily only rural parts:
I love the mountains and freedom they offered me, the lessons they taught me, and the beauty and solitude from an exhausting world they provided. After the war when I became an atheist, I would tell others in the community when they asked me to go to church that the mountains are my church.
All that said, I doubt it will last. There is a huge influx of people (not just retirees, but refugees from the coastal cities) who would be considered rich into mountain communities, driving out the locals by prices and changing the demographic hugely. I keep a close eye on land for sale and land parcels that used to be huge are starting to be divided into 5 acre parcels and sold off... I can already see the distant future of this, turning mountain towns into you have to be rich towns like Aspen, and it makes me very sad.
I can't wait till we have independent space travel, which is when I believe the frontier spirit will be reborn again. Humanity will need it then again! Alas, I probably won't live that long.
This cultural divide has deep roots in the power struggle that was created when the people who settled the Appalachian's figured out that converting fields of corn into distilled bottles of whisky was far more profitable since it could travel infinitely farther without spoilage along the trade routes.
They were "dirt poor" prior to this because they could generate fresh produce that had a limited scope and value on the market.
That's when the war on stills began and there was a very thorough campaign of misinformation about how "dumb hillbillies" were going to blow themselves up/make everyone blind trying to operate a simple still.
It was really about the potential shift in economic power if that region was able to leverage vast lands for growing and creating highly profitable alcohol that could be sold across the country.
That campaign/lobby was so effective that it still resonates to this day.
Also, totally get the condescension you speak of. "Oh. You do your own <plumbing,welding,lawn, automotive,...>! How quaint."
"rugged individualists" always seem to care a lot about how they are viewed by "coastal elites". We'd all be a lot happier if we cared less about how we are viewed by others.
I keep having this semi-irrational fear that the SV startup I work for will found out I'm not "one of them" and fire me for cultural differences.
Firearms are just one such cultural flashpoint, where "don't ask don't tell" is really the only modus operandi for those surviving inside the SV monoculture.
I wouldn't worry too much about a large influx of people, there's more than enough land to accommodate the little influx - there aren't quite so many people who move up into the mountains and those can make a decent community and a healthy local economy. You can even migrate further into the wilderness, yes it sucks that you are forced to but there's a silver lining to all this.
On your point about space travel, it doesn’t even have to be that far. The moon or mars aren’t that terribly far on conventional rockets. If we could terraform mars for our arrival, though, that would be cool. Maybe this unlocks another explosion of population growth, similar to the industrial revolution and improvements in medicine?
You can still see some of these early mountain towns today--some are practically unchanged from what they looked like 100 years ago.
The cities were not what we would call safe. If you are living in total poverty inside a city without access to any real services, that empty field doesn't seem so bad. The "free land" thing was also a plus. Rather than risk-takers, they were more akin to desperate opportunists.
Getting to America was no easy. Families of 5 kids would leave, 2 would die on the way (if you got a cold on board the sailors would throw you overboard to ensure it didn't spread), then a third would be sold as an indentured servant (only slightly better than a slave, and it would only last 7 years - but no way to contact them after the 7 years were up). Then you have to find a place to live...
Curious, do you have a source for this?
We know that a large number of families left Europe with more kids than they arrived with, and disease was a problem. But I'm not enough of a historian to know how to find a source for any of that.
But I have to say—I saw a lot of posturing that way more than real pioneering mindset. Calgary has been a very developed city for a long time, and no stranger to the exact same comforts and luxuries they associate with the other out east. I didn't encounter the DIY approach you did. Most were contented to take large payouts from the oil industry and its waterfall spending and take that as validation. I grew up with tales from family members who moved there about how adventurous they were and described themselves as "mavericks" while reality was a lot of three-martini lunches in upscale restaurants. I saw more of an enterprising, DIY spirit in people working in the film industry here in Toronto than I did in Calgary. (And that's not me praising Toronto). Being of ... "lower means" in Calgary isn't as fun. Hell, if I hadn't made friends with some bartenders I might not have been able to get out for a few beers as often when it was ~$8-$10 a pint back then. And then there's NE Calgary... of which Fubar† is not an entirely exaggerated depiction in my experience. Then again, that character is pretty much the same as my experience growing up in rural Ontario.
I say that with a kind heart because I met some great people while I lived there, and I miss the place. Calgary is a great town, but I just didn't see what you described there. I saw shadows of it at best—mostly in murals and ornate cowboy hats. Though—I do appreciate the pride in it.
Now, people from outside the city—that's a bit different. One funny story about that: I had a buddy/coworker from Pincher Creek who'd fed himself during college in Lethbridge by hunting a couple of bucks with his friends and getting steaks and sausages made up, and froze them for the year (because I'm pretty sure the only other grocery they bought was bad whiskey and a lot of beer). Smart guy, too. He could have got along anywhere. Maybe he is now. Not sure where he's at.
† the films
That's like someone from New York moving to Denver and claiming they're rugged individualists.
One had their trials and strengths moving from Derry, NI during the troubles but mavericks they were not!
WTF? Early stages? The highways have been paved. The electrical lines have been run. Modern military bases. Highspeed internet. Cellphone coverage. Universal healthcare. Universities. Alberta is well past the "early stages" of development.
Again, lots of people don't see that sort of development as inevitable. There is even a movement in Alberta specifically to return land from a developed to a more natural wild state, particularly the tar sands. Alberta is is not "still uninhabited", rather other parts of the planet still have yet to protect their wild areas. "Development" and progress can mean reducing human impact on the land.
Sounds romantic but is it the truth? I understand that immigration was spearheaded by entrepreneurs who published guides to the new land and advertised in the homeland. You can see some of the spirit in foreign graduate students - they follow recommendations and usually have a very good idea what they are getting themselves into.
Very. In fact many books about the rise of new migrants into the Mid-west are documented with immense amounts of violence at the hands of native plain tribes, specifically the Comanche  who were no joke the most well refined killing force on horseback on Earth not seen since the Mongolians in their peak.
It a really fascinating, and bloody history. I live in Colorado, which is where the Arapahoe tribe was centered and much is named after them to this day. After I arrived I looked into who they were and what they did which was marked with a before-and-after with an alliance with the Lakota, Dakota, and Cheyenne tribes who only together were able to push the Comanche back to the Southern Plains as the Comanche did not care who they raided and everything was fair game.
Its pretty insane to think that not that long ago this mainly raiding nomadic tribe had the influence they did on this continent, and many Western settlers were lured into the Midwest/South only to suffer a hapless fate as so many and were captured, killed, raped, enslaved. And acted as a sort of buffer kill zone while settlement further south in Texas was taking place.
While I'm not trying to marginalize the plight of Native Americans, I even actively directly helped them with my fintech startup as my co-founder made it a priority to do so, I cannot help but think that this current political atmosphere has been very ignorant view on just what exactly was taking place as Western migration was taking place, and the amount of countless stories of barbaric violence that will never be told because no one lived to tell about it.
It doesn't justify the violence that has come since from Westerners, but it also should be noted that the thing we should be against is institutionalized violence and not just hyper-focus on those acts of a certain racial/ethnic group in Society but ask how we got here and what to do about it moving forward.
lured? The natives ( comanche, lakota, dakota, cheyenne, etc ) didn't want western "settlers" on their land. Especially since the midwest and southwest natives already knew about the genocide committed against the natives along the east coast by the "settlers".
> It doesn't justify the violence that has come since from Westerners
Violence? It's called genocide/extermination. Lets not mince words here.
Just remember that most "history" books, even those recommended by joe rogan, are highly biased and tend to paint a highly subjective "story". Also, there is incentive to "hype" things for a targeted audience.
For much of the trip there wasn't even speed signs posted, let alone cell phone service. The temperature was over 100 degrees outside. More than a few times I wondered what might happen if we ran out of gas
I have a lot of respect for our early pioneers. People were definitely made of a different material back then. Your whole life packed up in a wagon, and it's do or die.
Most of which were full of lies and criminal exaggerations. That's why "Springfield" is the most popular town name in the US. What else would a new farmer want more than a field with its own water supply?
The consequences of this are not always 'positive' as the book Fantasyland argues:
> In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.
> Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.
An hour-long talk by the author:
Many early settlers were criminals. I wonder if that personality selection shines through.
> "Openness is a strong predictor of residential mobility," said Götz. "A willingness to move your life in pursuit of goals such as economic affluence and personal freedom drove many original North American frontier settlers."
> those who left their early mountain home are still consistently less agreeable, conscientious and extravert, although no such effects were observed for neuroticism and openness.
I have difficulty reconciling these statements.
- mountain dwellers have higher openness to experience
- openness to experience is a predictor for residential mobility
- but the people who move away from mountain regions _don't_ have higher openness to experience (but stay disagreeable, unconscientious and introverted)?
I would have expected the selection bias to show up in the other direction: I would expect the people who stay put to have lower openness to experience, and the people who move to have higher openness to experience.
They can't afford to take more risks.
Not sure if you'd expect liberal people to seed the place and conservative genetics to evolve.
Or conservative genetics to seed the place and stay strong.
As a person who was born and raised in the Midwest, just where are these mountainous regions they speak of in the Midwest? There's the black hills and that's pretty much it. I wonder what definition of the Midwest the University of Cambridge is using, cause it sounds like they are talking about the intermountain west, not the midwest.
I've typically heard of us referred to as the Western US (as opposed to the West Coast).
I'm not from the area, but once I started visiting and doing business in Utah, I found it was pretty common. Once I became familiar with it, I noticed it more and more.
It’s interesting to me to look around and see so much of my local culture influenced by our largely shared Scottish ancestry while simultaneously realizing that so few people here really know much about it.
If you're right and that's the definition some people use, I'm not surprised they're confused. Considering I see most people using "midwest" referring to places like Ohio and Michigan.
I've always preferred "Great Plains" when trying to describe my general location to folks online. You say "I live in the midwest" and everyone seems to assume you're in Ohio or Indiana or thereabouts. Nope, I'm in South Dakota. America's a big place, y'all. The middle of Colorado is where I draw the line - west of there you're not Midwest or Great Plains, you're in The West.
I agree with your western boundary, though I'd probably just call it "The Rockies" myself, and let Nevadans and Utahns get absorbed either into "West Coast" or "Southwest" as they personally desire.
This system does create some problems for e.g. Missouri & Arkansas, which are in the confluence of 3-4 other regions, and you have to accept that Pennsylvania and New York get cut in half, but it's what my brain has settled on.
I don't agree with "Midwest" where people place it on the east side, though. Take Pittsburgh, for instance. Look at a map, people. It's not "west", and it's not even "mid". It's East. "Mid" starts at Chicago.
(Pittsburgh was once midwest, but it's not 1870 any more.)
See also: Almost every single BBC News report ever filed.
I'm sure we're not worth distinguishing. Outside of the cities, we're all just barbarian backwaters.
An old but relevant meme titled "how non-Americans see america":
There's also Seattle, a wet place filled with radio psychiatrists.
And the place down the bottom where they make meth in big underground factories.
That's about it though.
(Being serious, I think it's probably a bit less of a thing nowadays, but when I was a kid my impression of the US was very much that it was ~three cities plus a scary bit in the south somewhere).
Maybe kind of interesting, but extremely prone to misinterpetation, over-generalization, and potentially prejudice.
Conclusions should take additional care, but populations are different in important ways.
I agree -- they might be onto something here, but you have to be careful or your reasoning can be misled.
These questions are complex. The premises and framing are critical. The surrounding evidence that's not measured is probably much more important than whatever the scientist is able to actually measure.
All living beings, including humans, are a mix of strengths and weaknesses in careful balance. If a martian scientist were to look at humans they would probably say something like:
"Not very strong, not very fast, eats a lot, no armor, horns, or poison. Can't fly. We predict that wolves will hunt them to extinction in a few decades."
But obviously the martians didn't measure our brains. Evolution of living beings tends to create these exceptions that throw off simpistic analysis.
What are you forgetting to measure that will completely throw off your conclusions?
> It should be noted that the magnitude of the effects is generally quite small and the overall explanatory power of the models is modest. However, complex psychological phenomena, such as personality, are likely to be influenced by hundreds, if not thousands, of factors, so small effects are to be expected especially when examined in the uncontrolled context of real-world settings ... our research shows that an increase of one standard deviation in mountainousness is associated with a change of approximately 1% in personality, which may seem insignificant. However, when scaled to hundreds of thousands of people, such an increase would translate into substantial changes ...