Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Obscurely inconsequential event makes everything else seem obscure, inconsequential

Sometimes impressionable experiences come at the most unexpected of times. Invariably, trying to transcribe an existential occurence to text is bound to leave an account that is lacking. There are no quantitative data bits or much speculative punditry below, so readers may want to save themselves a couple of minutes and move on to something else.

Yesterday, I'd arranged to ride home in the afternoon, after picking my bike up from the shop, having left my car at home. As an avid cyclist, it's a 23-mile ride I've made countless times before. In the early morning, I did twenty minutes of circuit training and a 2-mile jaunt with my younger brother, who runs cross country in high school. It's just a short late-day trip.

The afternoon rolls around. I'm out of the office and some paces later on the Cross Check fancifully deemed my black stallion. It's been too many days now, and I'm pumped.

The wind is howling out of the southwest. The road home runs from south to west, and the directional hybrids that lay between. The noise is so loud that anything in the ears is out of the question.

That lack of stimulus allows my mind more freedom, though. And as I ride, it wanders into an analogy on the 'human experience' (or life, if you prefer). I start out invigorated, taunting the deafening wind as it resists every push. I call on everything I have to keep in front of the vehicle in the left lane for as many feet as possible coming out of the traffic lights.

A few miles in, I come to a valley, where I descend for half a mile and then face a steep climb of the same distance (while Kansas is generally thought of as one big plane of flat farmland, that does not characterize the easternmost part of the state, which resembles the hilly, foresty Ozarks of neighboring Missouri more than it does the western prairie; to the right is a walking trail near my home). The wind is unrelenting, and I'm standing the entire way up. The harder I push the harder it pushes back.

While it seems like everything to get to the top, the sense of accomplishment fades quickly, as an endless array of hills become visible from the momentary perch.

As time wears on I start to wear down. The idea of slicing through the gale, forcing it to blow as strongly but from the northeast, goes from being a happy hope to ridiculous quixotry. Frustration replaces resolve. But the weariness brings its benefits. I start to employ established energy-saving techniques instead of relying on adrenaline to get me through.

I try a couple of backroads that are situated by tree and slope windbreaks. But this course has been charted before, and there isn't an easier way, even if it strikes me as so in the moment. Some lead to deadends. The wind carries me back. When I face it again, it is that much more imposing. Others wind this way and that. The 'shortcuts' are costly.

I curse the Weather Channel's meterologists, who had, the day before, forecast winds of 5-10 mph. Less than 24 hours after those predictions, its blowing constantly at three times the upper limit of that range and gusting beyond it. The cynicism briefly turns toward the stake placed in various climate models.

The sun's starting to set. As my pace slows, the sweat-drenched undershirt is starting to chill. I'm in shorts, but this late in the game, that can't be helped. I hadn't anticipated the duration, so I'm also thirsty. To the very end I'm paying for the mistakes I made in the beginning.

But I'm resigned now. The anxieties that had bounced around in my head have dissipated. As I turn north into the neighorhood's entrance, I float half a mile home on a couple of symbolic pedals. What should've taken just over an hour took more than two.

I suspect windburn as I stable the steed. The shower confirms it. It doesn't disrupt my peace of mind, though. I take care of nothing that needs doing. I just climb under the covers and quickly drift away.

I hope dying is this easy.

8 comments:

John S. Bolton said...

I have an idea for where a high correlation could be found that our professoriate would disdain to research, and that the media would not like to publicize: percent foreign-born vs. military recruitment rates in states or municipalities. Not that it wouldn't have already been done for all I know, since knowing where to send their recruiters is of importance to the government or may once have been. Having more foreign-born in a district seems to correlate very highly with lower and lower rates of recruitment per unit of population. There may even be threshold values beyond which the influence of foreign-born precipitates a steeply declining rate of recruitment per thousand, as though patriotism and high immigrant percentages were mutually antagonistic. Finders, keepers...

Audacious Epigone said...

Interesting. Any idea on how to determine recruitment rates other than just numbers of recruits? The problem with that is it would fail to, as you point out, tell us how much of that lack of recruitment is due to a lack of interest on the part of the populous in the area, and how much is due to a lack of effort by recruiters (although that proxies for the former to some extent).

John S. Bolton said...

State Military Recruitment Rates Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 November 2005
This table shows the number of military recruits and recruitment rates for each state ranked by the recruitment rate.

The recruitment rate is the number of military recruits per 1,000 of the 18-24 year old population. Branches include Army, Navy and Air Force Active Duty and Army Reserves. Other branches did not provide data and the Marines did not provide adequate data by location of recruit. Numbers are for FY2004. Data and statistics are available at zip code, school, county and state level on the NPP Database.


#

State

Number of Recruits

Recruitment Rate (per thousand 18-24 year-olds)

Median Household Income

Child Poverty Rate

Poverty Rate

Share of U.S. Total
-
U.S. 156,261 5.2 $43,052 18.9% 12.1%
-
1 Montana 798 8.1 $33,900 21.4% 13.9% 0.5%
2 Hawaii 920 7.3 $49,775 18.5% 9.7% 0.6%
3 Alabama 3,172 7.0 $36,771 23.0% 13.7% 2.0%
4 Oklahoma 2,639 6.8 $35,500 23.0% 14.6% 1.7%
5 South Carolina 2,870 6.7 $38,460 21.8% 12.2% 1.8%
6 Virginia 4,957 6.6 $49,974 12.2% 8.8% 3.2%
7 Alaska 486 6.6 $55,412 13.9% 8.0% 0.3%
8 Texas 15,594 6.5 $40,659 23.1% 15.5% 10.0%
9 Maine 792 6.4 $37,654 14.6% 11.2% 0.5%
10 Washington 3,942 6.2 $44,252 15.2% 10.9% 2.5%
11 Florida 9,581 6.2 $38,533 18.7% 11.5% 6.1%
12 Kansas 1,823 6.1 $42,523 14.3% 8.7% 1.2%
13 Colorado 2,767 6.1 $49,617 13.0% 9.8% 1.8%
14 Louisiana 3,043 6.0 $33,312 26.6% 17.3% 1.9%
15 Arizona 3,429 6.0 $41,554 22.0% 12.3% 2.2%
16 Missouri 3,523 6.0 $43,955 14.2% 9.4% 2.3%
17 North Carolina 4,940 6.0 $38,432 20.1% 13.1% 3.2%
18 West Virginia 1,021 5.9 $30,072 23.2% 17.5% 0.7%
19 Nebraska 1,123 5.9 $43,566 14.3% 9.3% 0.7%
20 Georgia 5,197 5.8 $43,316 18.4% 11.8% 3.3%
21 Arkansas 1,586 5.7 $32,423 29.9% 17.6% 1.0%
22 Maryland 2,924 5.6 $55,912 9.0% 7.4% 1.9%
23 Oregon 1,962 5.6 $42,704 18.3% 10.9% 1.3%
24 Idaho 846 5.4 $38,613 18.3% 12.1% 0.5%
25 Nevada 1,126 5.4 $46,289 13.1% 8.8% 0.7%
26 Indiana 3,393 5.4 $41,581 12.5% 8.7% 2.2%
27 Wyoming 307 5.4 $40,499 13.7% 10.2% 0.2%
28 New Mexico 1,094 5.3 $35,251 27.5% 17.6% 0.7%
29 Ohio 5,860 5.2 $43,332 15.7% 9.9% 3.8%
30 New Hampshire 635 5.2 $53,549 9.3% 4.9% 0.4%
31 Kentucky 2,109 5.1 $37,893 19.6% 13.1% 1.3%
32 South Dakota 437 5.0 $38,755 12.3% 11.0% 0.3%
33 Tennessee 2,896 5.0 $36,329 22.3% 13.9% 1.9%
34 Mississippi 1,610 5.0 $32,447 24.0% 16.1% 1.0%
35 Iowa 1,541 4.9 $41,827 9.9% 8.6% 1.0%
36 Pennsylvania 5,756 4.9 $43,577 14.4% 8.9% 3.7%
37 California 16,480 4.6 $48,113 20.5% 12.8% 10.5%
38 Illinois 5,738 4.6 $45,906 18.4% 11.4% 3.7%
39 Wisconsin 2,594 4.5 $46,351 13.8% 9.1% 1.7%
40 Michigan 4,360 4.4 $45,335 15.4% 10.5% 2.8%
41 Delaware 354 4.2 $50,878 14.7% 8.6% 0.2%
42 North Dakota 322 4.2 $36,717 17.8% 10.8% 0.2%
43 New York 7,523 4.1 $42,432 21.6% 13.9% 4.8%
44 Minnesota 2,008 4.0 $54,931 9.5% 6.0% 1.3%
45 New Jersey 2,749 3.7 $53,266 11.5% 7.5% 1.8%
46 Vermont 225 3.6 $41,929 14.9% 10.0% 0.1%
47 Utah 1,130 3.6 $48,537 13.9% 8.4% 0.7%
48 Puerto Rico 1,390 3.3
-

-

-
0.9%
49 Connecticut 1,019 3.3 $53,325 10.8% 7.9% 0.7%
50 Massachussets 1,957 3.3 $50,587 14.4% 9.9% 1.3%
51 District of Columbia 189 3.3 $41,313 31.5% 15.8% 0.1%
52 Rhode Island 312 2.8 $44,311 14.6% 10.5% 0.2%
53 Other 1,212
-

-

-

-
0.8%

Data were obtained from each branch of the Armed Forces through FOIA requests submitted by Peacework Magazine.

John S. Bolton said...

Top 20 Counties by Recruitment Rate Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 November 2005
The table below shows the top 20 counties in the U.S. according to highest military recruitment rates. The recruitment rate is the number of military recruits per 1,000 of the 18-24 year old population. Branches include Army, Navy and Air Force Active Duty and Army Reserves. Other branches did not provide data and the Marines did not provide adequate data by location of recruit. Numbers are for FY2004.

Data and statistics are available at zip code, school, county and state level on the NPP Database.

State County Number of Recruits Recruitment Rate (per thousand of 18-24 year olds Median Household Income Child Poverty Rate Poverty Rate
Texas Terrell County 4 46.5 $27,032 22.1% 17.4%
Colorado Jackson County 4 29.6 $31,369 18.2% 13.6%
Kansas Geary County 66 28.0 $31,986 17.1% 10.4%
Pennsylvania Sullivan County 16 24.5 $30,572 14.9% 11.5%
Montana Mineral County 9 24.3 $29,100 29.0% 18.2%
Georgia Taliaferro County 4 22.5 $22,558 30.7% 23.3%
Virginia Martinsville city 27 22.4 $27,692 24.5% 17.5%
Nebraska Greeley County 5 21.7 $29,285 17.7% 13.8%
Virginia Galax city 12 21.7 $28,059 26.0% 17.7%
Texas Cochran County 8 20.4 $26,810 31.5% 21.7%
Mississippi Montgomery County 23 19.6 $25,098 32.4% 22.8%
Illinois Pope County 10 18.6 $30,160 18.0% 15.0%
Iowa Monroe County 13 17.9 $35,219 13.6% 11.5%
Virginia Covington city 9 17.6 $31,566 18.0% 12.4%
North Dakota Grant County 4 17.4 $24,035 25.7% 18.2%
Texas Sabine County 14 17.2 $27,836 27.1% 17.7%
Missouri Iron County 17 16.8 $26,492 24.9% 17.0%
Missouri Knox County 6 16.5 $27,285 23.1% 16.2%
Kansas Wabaunsee County 12 16.5 $41,902 8.8% 7.9%
Kentucky Hancock County 12 16.5 $40,324 13.3% 9.9%

Data were obtained from the individual branches of the military through FOIA requests submitted by Peacework Magazine.

John S. Bolton said...

The above were copied from:
//www.nationalpriorities.org/militaryrecruitment
the search page of which has many other tables of this kind. It's a left group trying to show how the poor are being exploited by the military. There are much larger differences between jurisdictions than show on the state data.

John S. Bolton said...

More found searching for' military recruitment by state'
"CONTACT: National Priorities Project
Anita Dancs, Research Director
413-584-9556 (o); 413-253-7760 (cell)
anita@nationalpriorities.org

Military Recruiters Enlist Lower and Middle Income Youth
Online Tool Allows Journalists/Activists to Analyze Data by High School, County, Zip Code, Race, Ethnicity, Gender


WASHINGTON - November 1 - Lower and middle-income communities experience higher military enlistment rates than higher income areas, according to a new analysis released today by the non-partisan National Priorities Project (NPP).

This analysis is a result of an expanded NPP Database which now includes 2004 military recruitment numbers for different branches of the armed services broken down by high school, zip code, county and state. Data is also available by race/ethnicity and gender. A snapshot analysis and overview of the military recruitment data, which includes charts and tables, is at www.nationalpriorities.org/militaryrecruitment. To find information on a particular high school, county, zip code or state, go to www.nationalpriorities.org/database".

John S. Bolton said...

As to your point about a possible concentration of recruitment resources in traditionally easy districts, while avoiding the more difficult ones; that seems very unlikely when the comparison is of rural to urban areas, counties etc. The recruitment expenditures are $4 billion which includes advertising and staff, all components being systematically more efficient for each increment larger a district's populace is, other factors being equal.

Audacious Epigone said...

Wow, thanks for that!