Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The spread of tobacco across the Middle East

The "New World" - a world that had existed for centuries of course, with indigenous inhabitants, before it was "discovered" by Spanish and English explorers during the 1500s - gave the "Old World" and "the East" many products.... not the least of which was tobacco.

In the "New World" tobacco was smoked in a variety of small pipes, or in cigars or cigarettes. The indigenous peoples used these for their religious ceremonies.

When the British brought tobacco to the lands of the Middle East such as Persia (now known as Iran) the tobacco was too harsh to be inhaled frequently, so an inventor somewhere in that region invented the water pipe, in which the smoke from burning tobacco was filtered, making it more palatable.

Modern day Iran - notice it is located to the north east of Africa.  Can you identify the countries surrounding it?

Smoking from a water pipe, or hookah, became popular in the 1500s and continues to do so today.

When people from the Middle East began emigrating to England and the United States in the 1800s, they brought the water pipe with then, although it never achieved the popularity that cigarettes and cigars did.

Today, however, the use of electronic, portable hookahs - hookah sticks or hookah pens as they are called is increasing. Instead of using tobacco, people use fruit flavored liquids which are vaporized and then inhaled.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Just where are Mason County and Pierce County?

Plumbers in Mason county and plumbers in Pierce county can be found by searching for them on the internet. But just where are these two counties?

According to Wikipedia:
Mason County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population was 60,699.  The county seat and only incorporated city is Shelton. The county was formed out of King County on March 13, 1854. Originally named Sawamish County, it took its present name in 1864 in honor of Charles H. Mason, the first Secretary of Washington Territory.

Mason County comprises the Shelton, WA Micropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Seattle-Tacoma, WA Combined Statistical Area.

So, what's that terminology mean?

1. What is an incorporated city?

2. What is a Micropolitan statistical area?

3. What is a Combined Statistical area?

I'm glad you asked!

1. A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body, including cities, counties, towns, townships, charter townships, villages, and boroughs. When such a municipality wants to become a self-governing entity, under the laws of the state or province in which they are located. Often, this event is marked by the award or declaration of a municipal charter.

2. A United States Micropolitan Statistical Areas is an urban area based around an urban cluster  with a population of 10,000 to 49,999. The micropolitan area designation was created in 2003. Like the better-known metropolitan area, a micropolitan area is a geographic entity used for statistical purposes based on counties and county-equivalents.

The OMB (Office of Management and Budget) has identified 576 micropolitan areas in the United States. The term "micropolitan" became popular in the 1990s to describe growing population centers in the United States that are removed from larger cities, in some cases by 100 miles or more. Lower land and labor costs have led some micropolitan areas to develop many housing subdivisions and suburban cultures similar to those found in larger metropolitan areas.

3. A Combined Statistical Area (CSA) is a grouping of adjacent metropolitan and/or micropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States and Puerto Rico. The United States Office of Management and Budget defines combined statistical areas based on social and economic ties measured by commuting patterns between adjacent MSAs.

The areas that combine retain their own designations as metropolitan or micropolitan statistical areas within the larger combined statistical area. The primary distinguishing factor between a CSA and an MSA is that the social and economic ties between the individual MSAs within a CSA are at lower levels than between the counties within an MSA. CSAs represent multiple metropolitan or micropolitan areas that have a moderate degree of employment interchange. CSAs often represent regions with overlapping labor and media markets.

(When working with government entities, you must get used to acronyms.)

Whenever you do a search for businesses in your area, and it doesn't have to be plumbers in Mason county or plumbers in Pierce county, always give a thought to what you can learn during that search!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pop quiz: What is Mt. Baker's claim to fame?

From Wikipedia

Mount Baker also called Kulshan, is an active glaciated andesitic stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the North Cascades of Washington State in the United States. Mount Baker has the second-most thermally active crater in the Cascade Range after Mount Saint Helens.

After Mount Rainier, Mount Baker is the most heavily glaciated of the Cascade Range volcanoes; the volume of snow and ice on Mount Baker, 0.43 cu mi (1.79 km3) is greater than that of all the other Cascades volcanoes (except Rainier) combined. It is also one of the snowiest places in the world; in 1999, Mount Baker Ski Area, located 14 km (8.7 mi) to the northeast, set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season—1,140 in (2,900 cm).

I'm planning  a 50-state trip next year, and of course must start in Washington state, work my way down to California, then start the journey back north again through.... what state?

I was looking for Mt. Baker lodgings on the web and came across Snowater lodge, which is quite close to Mt. Baker - being located on the Nooksack River.

The thing about this lodge - in fact probably every timeshare rental in Washington state in this area, is that there's not going to be any internet. That is going to be a shock to the system!  But, after a year of working hard doing research on geography, I'm going to need a break from the internet.

So make note of Mt. Baker lodgings, and plan your own virtual trip around the United States.