s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: On average

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On average

Mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot is supposed to have quipped "I was born in Poland and raised in France, so I am, on average, German."

Having spent most of my live in Utah, but the last four years in Illinois and Maine, I am, on average, a Coloradan. (From somewhere in Routt County, to be precise.)

Where are you from?

(n.b. I calculated this by averaging and the latitude and longitude of the places I've lived after weighting them by how long I've lived there, which would tend to bias my answer towards the north, due to the uneven spacing between lines of longitude. However, Urbana and Provo are actually at almost the exact same latitude and I've spent 93% of of my life in either one or the other, so I trust that Maine is not exerting an undue influence. Someone who had spent, say, 18 months as far north as Sweden would be well advised not to take the same mathematical shortcut.)


At August 12, 2009 7:10 PM, Blogger Logan said...

OMG non-Euclidean surface!

At August 12, 2009 9:31 PM, Blogger Katya said...

Heh. I know! It took me forever to work out the math even to verify that my current system is, in fact, north-biased. (My gut instinct said yes, but I wanted to back it up with the math, all the same.)

Of course, if you converted all of the latitudes and longitudes to x,y,z coordinates, you could find the average quite easily, and you wouldn't have to deal with the non-Euclidian bits. (Of course, your answer could end up being underground, so, convert back to polar coordinates and find the closest surface point? Would that work?)

At August 13, 2009 3:32 PM, Blogger Melyngoch said...

Don't worry. I never take mathematical shortcuts. Ever. I don't even use calculators.

At August 15, 2009 2:14 PM, Blogger Joseph Smidt said...

Awesome blog. I've lived 8 years in San Diego, CA. One year in Texas, two in NC, 3 in Washington, 4 in Virginia, 4 in Utah, 2 in between Alabama and Florida (You win if you can guess why I would spend 2 years travling all around a region of the US), and the last couple years here in Irvine, CA.

I'm not going to do the math, but lets just say on average I am somewhere in the solar system the earth has left behind.


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