Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wait, Come back, I was only Kidding

While people are having a wonderful time boycotting Arizona to protest their “Ask & Tell” policy on people who look like illegal immigrants, there’s an interesting story in the June 7 Newsweek by Arian Campos-Flores.

Seems that the fertility rate in Mexico is in decline due to an aggressive government policy on family planning, increased education for women, etc. So the demographics in Mexico are changing and their “excess” young baby-bulge population will soon wane and instead of excess workers looking for work, Mexico will end up in equilibrium and if the birth rate continues to drop, will end up in the same pickle America is now: overrun with aging baby boomers.

According to Gordon Hanson, and economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the 1960’s “the baby boom ended in the U.S., but it continued for another two decades in Mexico. So in the 1980s and 1990s, there were fewer new U.S. workers looking for jobs but more Mexicans. On top of that, in 1982 the Mexican economy suffered a debt crisis followed by nearly two decades of sluggish growth. The American economy, on the other hand, performed far better, especially in the mid-to late 1990s, when it was humming at full throttle and hungry for foreign labor. “If you look back at the last two to three decades, it was really an exceptional period,” says Hanson.

“In the coming years, the politics of immigration could be completely scrambled: Mexican migration will taper off further just as baby boomers begin retiring, in 2012. USC’s [Dowell] Meyers predicts that the American labor force will start shrinking in some parts of the country by 2015, and that as boomers reach old age they’ll create even more demand for workers: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona starts pleading for Mexican workers who can help them in their retirement homes,” he says. “The potential here is to totally reverse our attitudes toward Mexican immigration.” It’s hard to imagine right now, but if the numbers hold up, the crisis on our borders may end up abating on its own.”

Well, isn’t that the way? You get what you wish for and suddenly it isn’t what you want or need. Dang! So instead of hollering about Mexicans, maybe all us American Baby Boomers might start re-thinking job pools and just who’s gonna mow their lawn or change their diapers in a few years.

Take a left at the huge pothole and don’t’ call me in the morning.

This story is simply too delicious to miss: Lauren Rosenberg downloaded a Google map then followed the map to a busy four-lane boulevard without any sidewalks that wasn’t safe for pedestrians but our Dear Ms. Rosenberg continued blithely onto the busy road “on a pitch black night and received multiple bone fractures that required six weeks of rehabilitation” after getting hit by a car. And now she’s suing Google. Her lawyer said that Google’s map “created a trap with walking instructions that people rely on. She relied on it and thought she should cross the street.”

A busy boulevard, in pitch dark, filled with rushing cars. And apparently she didn’t stop and say, like most people do using Google maps, “THIS MAP SUCKS! WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING? I’M GONNA FIND A BETTER ROUTE SINCE THIS CROSSING IS LIKE TOTALLY UNSAFE!”

But no. Cross the street then call the lawyer.

Google claims they have a disclaimer on their website to the effect that circumstances can change and the maps may not be up to date. And if you’ve used Google maps, you already know that the maps are often goofy and will send you the wrong way or the long way around so the people you’re visiting always ask, “Why the heck did you take that rout?” and you reply, “Google,” and they say, “Ah, yes, of course, Google.” And, of course, no Google map can’t possibly be up to date vis a vis road repairs, washed out bridges, and other such unsafe areas.

In short, maps are marks on a piece of paper. They’re abstract symbolic representations of a reality that may no longer exist. Mental constructs, really. And for most of us, they only act as a vague outline. But not to our young Ms. Rosenberg. Apparently, the map was concrete gospel and now she has a lawyer and a lawsuit.

Ya gotta laugh. And wonder how her attorney would have framed a legal case if she’d been walking down the street with her Google map clutched in front of her nose and fell into a pothole.


Alon Perlman said...

I'm not sure which Chinese philosopher came up with this one 4000 years ago -
The map is not the territory.
Good thing she was not carrying a 1980's(90's?) McDonalds coffee cup unlabled as to its Hotness.
I feel sorry for the driver of the vehicle involved.

On a business trip in one of the states between the coasts. I was returning on a different route and was within 10 miles of the airport. No exits in sight, no friendly farmstead to stop by to hear-"Waeil, You jist caint get there from heya"
I had an idea of where it was, I could had turned into a crow and flown there.

Instead I was in a rental car and was using the GPS. I was fairly panicked since with 30% travel More trips were stacked up.
Still, I had time for a chuckle as the blue Arrow on the screen (representing me and the car) left the gray roadway and started out across yellow fields.

I might not had been in Kansus anymore.

Word verification: ofuse
Yep that fits. Map-abuse

Mike Green said...

Well, don't ever underestimate the stupidity.
I've done a bit of wandering around lately with a Garmin GPS (We named it the Gremlin) although it can be useful for addresses in a city (you will get there eventually) the thing can get you in heap big trouble if you don't back it up with a good map (preferably a topo).
Case in point. If you are on the Oregon coast just north of the border and want to go to, lets say just about anywhere else in the continental US thats East it will try to send you down the Rogue River Road.
Folks get lost out there, it's gravel with no signs, lots of logging spurs, some people got stuck out there a few years back and died, yep, following a GPS.
(Alon, if you even suspect that your in Kansas, you are already lost)

Churadogs said...

Mike, that's interesting, re the deadly dirt road. I have to presume Google is working off other maps that may or may not indicate paving or other necessary stuff. For example, on the Carrizo Plains the road south from the monument is indicated on a map, BUT you really need to check in with the rangers at the National Monument visitor's center to find out if (and when) the county had scraped the road since it's subject to flash floods & etc. We took that road south recently after asking at the center and even though the road had been recently scrapped, it was still a pretty, uh, interesting trip. So, yeah, the map isn't the territory.

Ron said...

On their web site, the Pozo Saloon actually tells their customers, "Do not use the internet for directions to our venue."

The owners found out the internet directions were sending people coming from the Bakersfield area, up and over the (dirt) Pozo Summit, and, Ann, if you think the roads are rough in the Carrizo Plains, try taking a sedan over the Pozo summit.

No Bueno.

That Google case is kinda scary, though. Does that mean that any web site that includes a map can now be sued just because someone is too stupid to read it?

"Hey, your map said that an inch is ten miles, but it's actually eleven miles, and I got in an accident in that 11th mile, therefore the accident is your fault."


Churadogs said...

Ron, Yep, I've done the Pozo to 58 over the summit . Amazing, scary trip and like all in-the-middle-of-nowhere-on-a-strange-road trips, always funny because just as you think you're lost and trapped and all alone in the middle of the wilderness and you'll die and your car and body will never be found, up from the other direction comes a car or a biker or a gaggle of laughing cyclists which gives one hope that one may be near civilization.

another doozie of a road is the straight-down-off-the-mountain from Hunter Liggit/that mission out there, STRAIGHT down, down, down to Hwy 1 somewhere north of Ragged Point. Whew!