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Sunday, August 4, 2013

My life along the 40th parallel

As some of you may know, Baseline Rd in Boulder (where I grew up) is so-called because it runs along the 40th parallel (north). While looking at a map this morning, it hit me that I've lived pretty much my entire life within a degree or two of that line. So I did a bit of research and calculations and confirmed it. The average distance north of the equator I've lived is 39.23 degrees with a 0.77 standard deviation, with the max being 41.38 and a minimum of 37.95. If I weighted it by years lived at each location, it would zero in even closer (especially because the minimum of 37.95 was only for a year and a half). Compare that to longitude, where the spread of where I've lived is 30 degrees.

So when seen from space, I've been wandering along a more-or-less straight line back and forth across this country for 53 years. Talk about a rut. :)

10 comments:

Erin said...

That's actually an interesting observation. I don't know what it tells you about yourself or your life, but I'd bet it's informative.

I've lived in a much wider spread (Washington State to Texas), but have spent the bulk of my years ever so slightly north of the 45th parallel. I pass signs that mark it all the time.

Jim Lehmer said...

Erin, I have been trying to figure out if it "means anything" since I noticed it. I'm certainly a temperate guy, at least when it comes to climate! :)

Chaotic Hammer said...

Quite fascinating really. I don't think there's any deep cosmic significance to it, but it's a pretty nifty observation.

I've been all over the place, and don't detect any similar patterns to my locations. I think my current location in Tennessee is pretty close to the same parallel where I was living previously in California, but I've also lived in Texas and the northeastern U.S., So I don't see a consistent pattern.

Jim Lehmer said...

CH,

It's a fun experiment, at least, to think about where you've lived and see if there is any pattern.

Lynn said...

I did not know this was why Baseline is named this way...you learn something new every day. Since I have lived only 2 places: Bloomington, IN and Boulder, CO, I believe I might be in the same boat you are here, so let me know if you figure out what it means.

Jim Lehmer said...

Lynn,

HOW LONG have you lived in Boulder? :) Well, I am glad I taught you something new about it, anyway.

And yeah, the center of Bloomington shows as 39.166 on Google maps, so I'd say you are indeed "paralleling" me. :)

Meghann said...

That is fun to think about. Looking at mine, unless you count that brief summer in Utah, I've lived my entire life below the 40th.

Jim Lehmer said...

Yup, Meghann - you're a Southron.

Lynn said...

I have lived in Boulder since May of 1977 so I guess that is 36 years....

Jim Lehmer said...

Well, I am glad I taught you something new about it, then! :)