Monday, December 1, 2014

Cultural Clusters


 


If you'll notice, the eight biggest cities tend to have another smaller city reasonably close by. It was then I noticed on the Eastern map there quite a few locations where cities will be less than one hundred miles of the next one, until the pattern eventually dies out. Usually that restriction is set apart by natural barriers like mountains, but that's not always the case.

I decided to take a look at the larger maps and see which areas had at least three cities (in excess of 25,000) that were no more than 100 miles at a time. Actually, something that occurred to me was that cars were no longer a factor in this world, so driving miles wouldn't count. However, straight distance wouldn't quite tell the tale either. I basically averaged between the two to get an idea. For the most part, I didn't get any real conflict. An odd quirk though, is Grand Rapid, Michigan, which is a considerable land distance from both Chicago and Milwaukee, but much shorter when making most of the trip by water.

Perhaps the biggest chain is the found where it's found today--the Northeast Atlantic Seaboard, containing nine or so cities that so cities that are never more than 100 miles apart. Starting around Boston, it ends around either Washington DC, or depending on how you look at it, Richmond. (That is, if you count Providence and New Haven by straight distance. It would still be seven cities in the chain) The top four shortest distances between cities are found here, and even removing Providence/Boston, (the closest distance between two capitols/District Headquarters) you still find it in the top three. Of course, it's largely stretched out, as the route is some 400 miles long, but never far from the coast, with only the Delaware River cities being inland. As a result, there's definitely room for a wide racial and cultural spectrum between Boston and Washington. However, the trade network of the U.S. Mariners and close proximity of District Supervisors probably helps keep a continuity.

Next is the Mississippi basin, contains seven cities in the chain. It starts at New Orleans, and ends in Shreveport, which are both in present day Louisiana, but curiously, it requires Mississippi-based to keep the under-one hundred-streak going. The is actually rather impressive, considering how much of the area is not conductive to producing larger population densities. This is likely the result of the importance of New Orleans as a trading port and naval power, and it might be no coincidence the lower Mississippi was the base for some of the most advanced Pre-Columbian civilizations. The plurality of these cities are in Red River territory, and note that New Orleans largely practices Voodoo, so this may be the most mixed-faith culture cluster on the continent.

After that we have the Ohio River Valley, which has only four cities that are within a 100 mile chain, but two of them are some of the largest on the continent. These cities are found in present day Ohio and Kentucky, which today make up a single kingdom. There are three other cities in Ohio's borders, one Terre Haute, which is probably a frontier/defense town, (Like medieval York) and Toledo, who's closest city is rather close Detroit. These border cities may or may not feel a shared cultural heritage as the Ohio Valley triangle.

As for the rest of the Eastern U.S., the biggest cluster is around Lakes Ontario and Eerie, with three cities--Buffalo, Toronto, and Rochester. Buffalo is the only major city, but the area is rather special for being cross-coastal, and also containing a piece of Canada. The waterways probably keep it very tight, but the very cold winters keep it from becoming too large.

Then we head to the Western half the country. Its population is much smaller, and much more spread out, as there's less arable farmland, and most of this was filled in by a more modern, automobile-based world. Still, there are some smaller concentrations.

There's California, with the three cities of Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton. It's something of a mirror of Ohio, with a very concentrated triangle as none of the three cities are more than a hundred miles from each three cities.  Fresno manages to be a bit outside that range, although it's mostly accessible by river. Bakersfield and and especially Los Angles are much farther apart.

Finally, we come to the Northwest cluster, or rather clusters, as Porland and Tacoma are pretty far away from each other, and separated by mountains. The "Oregon" half has bigger cities, but the Washington part has more, including two Canadian cities, Victoria, and Vancouver, basically showing how in the new world order of Medieval America, former arbitrary borders don't matter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Comparing States

 For fun, I thought I'd do a comparison of to the population today's states, withe the population of those given areas in the Medieval America world. No, the whole continent has plummeted by roughly four fifths, or 80% or so, however this is not an across-the board number. Some places have seen their populations plunge even deeper, while others have been relatively more relaxed in their decreases. For instance, by comparison, Canada has seen more than an 86% percent decrease in population. As a rule, I have not included any states that have completely reverted to nomadism, since that would seem a little difficult to gague with the populations in flux. Just assume at times the tables will be a little bit different for states like New Mexico and Utah, which have small, settled communities surrounded by herdsmen. All in all, these are somewhat approximate figures, but they do give you an idea. So why do some states fare worse than others?

Extreme Climates:

Probably the easiest to pick up on, there are places in America there are just not as hospitable without the heat or water, meaning populations of former urban hubs like the Twin Cities or Phoenix were scattered to the winds. But even places like Florida and Texas can be unbearable--much of the southern population boom of the latter half of the 20th century was due to the invention of air conditioning. Obviously, there's not a lot of mobility, so much of the deep south isn't going to completely dissipate, but there aren't going to be as many major metropolises--your Houston, your Phoenix, your Miamis, etc. Likewise, the colder cities like Boston or Minneapolis don't remain strong urban arteries. The limited agricultural possibilities, to say nothing of schematics of keeping populations war, through the harsh northern winters. One could say the Northeast has mainted the metropolitan areas it has is due to the history of contiguous urbanization in the 20th century, and the intervention of the Non-Denominational Church.


Decreased Urbanization:

Obviously, a less industrial society means a smaller population, but it also means smaller cities, and in turn, cities being a less signifigant portion of the population. Farmers make up to 90% of the population in medeival times. Cities in the modern period are able to defy limitations--make buildings taller, ferry garbage away, import resources. However, with a medieival level of techology, there's a much lower ceiling on how many people can live in a given space. With less emphasis on metropolises, states are now confined to the limits of 100 or so per square mile. With this, we've seen a  steep decline in much of the smaller (and first to industrialize) states of the the northeast, versus the larger states of the deep south. New York City today has a population of 8 million--more than any former state, and most medieval kingdoms! If you remove New York City's population from that of the state, the decline goes from 84% to 72%. The former borders of New York still contain a healthy 3 million (the most outside the Ohio Valley) but there are simple geographic limitations. Compare New Jersey, which saw a heavy 90% decline, with Mississippi, which has the lowest. New Jersey, in the modern day, is the U.S.'s most densely populated state, absorbing much of New York and Philadelphia's metropolitan area. Even in Medieval America the area that was once New Jersey is very densely populated, but it is very small--smaller than some New England states. Mississippi saw the most level decline, because it's very large, and already pretty rural--none of its cities are amongst the 100 largest in the country.


"Frontier Effect":

As you can see, I haven't even bothered to include much of the prairie states. One reason is that as the grasslands are now inhabited by nomads, even gauging the exact population is a futile effort. White estimates there are some three million herdsmen on the grassland. (With another million or so in the desert) With seven states that have completely turned ton pastoralism, (and Wyoming all, but), we have 375,000 per state on average--probably less considering that doesn't include Texas and Canada. Not so much for the Dakotas, Montana, or Wyoming (Which, during a busy enough season, may see occupation that rivals it present day population), but a heavy hit for the two farm states of Nebraska and Kansas, and especially Colorado, who set itself as the epicenter of the Rocky Mountains. Obviously, the biggest cause of deprecation out here is the oft-mentioned hordes of Cowboys, who won't let farms or cities dot their territories. However, it should also be noted that with less coasts or navigable rivers, transportation is much slower and potential immigration and trade networks aren't able to form the confluence that makes up cities. Likewise, with no oil industry or heavy mining reduces the importance such places had in the Industrial age. Ultimately, civilization peters out until we get to Salt Lake City and the rivers of the Southwest.

Florida: 200%
Arizona: 96%
Minnesota: 94%
Massachusetts: 94%
Utah: 93%
California: 92%
Texas: 92-88%
New Jersey: 90%
Rhode Island: 85%
New Mexico: 85%
New York: 84%
Washington: 83%
Vermont: 80%
Maryland: 80%
Wyoming: 80%
Pennyslvania: 78%
New Hampshire: 75%
Virginia: 75%
Georgia: 75%
Oregon: 75%
North Carolina: 74%
Iowa: 73%
Illinois:72%
Michigan: 71%
Conneticut: 68%
Idaho: 68%
South Carolina: 67%
Tennesse: 66%
Wisconsin: 66%
West Virginia: 65%
Louisiana: 65%
Ohio: 63%
Missouri 62%
Indiana 58%
Maine: 55%
Kentucky: 37%
Arkansas: 37%
Alabama: 37%
Mississippi: 13%

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cities

I've done the work of ranking the cities by size

Tier One: New Orleans, Cincinnati, Portland

The "Big Three". New Orleans, Cincinatti, and Portland would make up a big three, with Sacramento smaller than the other three, but bigger than any other city. Cincinnati would be the largest city in the midwest. It's status as a "northern" city is up for debate, it seems to be directly where north and south in America meet. It is the largest city in the Non-Denominational world. Interestingly, the first tier of cities is the only one that doesn't have a Non-Denominational majority. New Orleans is the largest city in the south, and the largest coastal city. Portland is largest city in the west.

Tier Two: Sacramento, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Salt Lake City, Louisville

Sacramento is the largest city in California, and is actually the only city in its size range. It's larger than any other city but "the big three" (and could be put in the first tier as "The Big Four". Philadelphia and Buffalo are the largest "northern" cities. Philadelphia is the largest city to be connected to the Atlantic Seaboard (although it's still somewhat inland), and the largest city east of the Appalachian mountains. It's also the only top ten city of industrial America to comparable in rank to Medieval America. Buffalo is the largest city of the Great Lakes, and there is no city north of it that exceeds it in size. Salt Lake City is the largest city west of the Mississippi and east of the Cascades. Louisville is the largest "second city", that is, it the largest city still superseded by another city in its kingdom. (Cincinnati in Ohio)

Tier Three: Augusta, Seattle, Albuquerque, Shreveport, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit, Montgomery

This one of very interesting. One, that some maps have Augusta as larger than Louisville. The other is the there are maps which make Albuquerque and Shreveport larger than Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit and Montgomery even though main maps have them equal in size. In any case, Augusta is the largest Non-Denominational city of the south. Seattle is the largest city to actually touch the Pacific Ocean. Shreveport is most western city of the Non-Denominational region. Montgomery is the largest city to serve as headquarters to a Non-Denominational District Supervisor.

Tier Four: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Memphis, Boston, Savannah, St Louis, Albany, Natchez, Pocatello, Eugene, Lexington

Boston and Albany (both District HQ's) are both the most Nothern cities in excess of 65,000, and no city in the eastern half of the former U.S. exceeds 25,000. Lexington completes the "Ohio triangle".

Tier Five: Pittsburgh, Fresno, Nashville, Rochester, Fresno, Santa Fe, Mobile, Dayton, Richmond, Trenton, Toledo, Vancouver, Columbus, Vicksburg, Fayetteville, Casper, Evansville, Columbia

Santa Fe is the most eastern city of western America. Vancouver is the largest city in what was Canada, and (presumably), the most northern city in excess of 25,000. Casper is the most isolated city on the continent, the farthest from any city in excess of 25,000. Conversely, Trenton seems to the closest city to another city, at least in the 25,000 range, though there's an unnamed city below Philadelphia, possibly Wilmington. In any case, this area is probably the most urbanized on the continent.

Tier Six: Washington DC, Toronto, Washington, El Paso, Providence, Little Rock, Baton Rouge, Charleston, Monroe, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Victoria, Bakersfield, Provo, Stockton, Knoxville, Chillicothe, Alexandria, Terra Haute, Syraceuse, New Haven, Boise, Salem, Tacoma

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Morphing to Folklore

Avatar: Exteremly simple. The popularity of the movie is tied with its biggest criticism--, that it's a very simply, tried and true formula, seen in everything from Dances With Wolves to Fern Gully. Translating it from other space to some kind of fairy land would be no trouble at all. A bunch of sparkly, nature-loving people riding dragons and defending themselves from heavily armed oppressors would certainly translate. The question of course, is how the hero would find himself in a navi body, but stories like this usually don't sweat those details.

Titanic: Obviously, this story would be told amongst generations as something akin to the Atlantis myth. The Titanic would be talked about even without the influence of the movie, but the star-crossed love story would also be very enduring. It might be interesting to see plays staged with "I'm king of the world" passed on with the same familiarity as "y tu, Brutus".

Avengers: Very simple--it's a story of the world's greatest heroes teaming up against does which are not dissimilar to ogres and dragons. Captain America, Iron Man and Hawkeye have very translatable medeival counterparts, and I've talked before about how the Hulk could be worked in. I don't know if Thor would be used as a character, due to his pagan nature, but some fine-tuning/replacing him with another hero would be simple. I can actually see this being a case of more and more heroes being added to the narrative as centuries go on. In times like this, character development and plot schematics are less important than it just being exciting.

The Dark Knight: More well-plotted than the Avengers, perhaps too much so, I can't see the events of this movie being staged at a play or told around campfires. The premise of Baman, and that he would battle someone called "The Joker", that could easily happen. The Batman myths in general could be spun into something new, but the particular plot of this, less likely.

Star Wars: Star Wars draws on so many fairy tale conceits, that the only major difference is, that it takes place IN SPACE. Therefore, one is left to wonder how much would be intact, and how much would be scavenged. Yoda, Darth Vader, they're all large parts of the cultural fabric. The battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader culminating in the revelation as his father is definitely remembered (it should be mentioned that scene is in neither of the Star Wars movies that are on the top ten list. perhaps I should talk about franchises?)

ET: interestingly, ET has kind of disappeared from the pular consciousness recently, it almost invokes the 80's as a decade. Likewise, I think a part of it has kind of slipped through the cracks,man's it's not bombastic enough to be one of the quintessential "b-movies", but it's not a straight drama either, so it's probably rather orphaned, fanbase-wise. Also, like with Star Wars, there's the "alien" factor,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Language

Modern Americans often take the myriad of languages in the world for granted. As one of the largest nations, both geographically and population-wise, and bordered by a neighbor with largely the same mutual language, and as a very young nation who's population expanded as mass communication started, it often does not occur to them what a strange situation this is. However, in the new medieval society, this linguistic homogeneity broke down very fast. Even in industrial times, colloquialisms and slang would occur between regions that were not very far from one another. With most people not traveling more than 25 miles in a single lifetime, nor reading or writing, or even watching the same language being spoken on television every night, it was inevitable that communities would entrench further into their own idiosyncrasies. In fact, there was sometimes even an incentive as to be able to block outsiders from the conversation. Also, since most of the population was illiterate, people learned to speak their native tongue phonetically, which even accents saw the various languages drift further and further away.

However, it should be said most languages on the continent share a common root. Most of them in medieval American classify broadly under "germanic, of which American English is. In fact, English is still spoken as a lingua franca in many places, and is still, more or less, what is spoken amongst the citizens of the United States and the clergy of the non-demoninational Church. Still, various Non-English speakers have influenced dialects here and there. Between the Great Lakes and New England, the French-speaking Quebecois have left their mark on he surround regions. Likewise, the Portuguese and Brazillian minority of New England has seen much of Massachusetts influenced by the Portuguese language. And of course, the Cajun and Creole has had a hand in how the Gulf Coast is spoken. Areas with large Hispanic or African-American populations would also take their own course, linguistically

Usually the mutations in words would start with say, "th" sounds slowly fade and be replaced by "d" and solid "t" sounds in New Jersey. In Texas, unusual turns of phrases like "might could" would see synonyms, conjugation and pronunciation would turn "It's possible" into a whole other language.

It should also be said that the rhotic vs. non-rhotic accents of America have sort of split the American languages in an interesting way. "R"'s are less likely to be used in words found in the coastal areas, and more commonly seen in the mountain and inland tongues.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Folklore

Darth Vader: A fallen star warrior, Vader is both a fierce warlord and a powerful wizard, locked inside a suit of black armor. The wind is said to be his breath, the thunder his voice. He possesses a fiery sword and the ability to rob those of their breath from a distance. His daughter is Mara,mthe redheaded witch. In a case of great irony, his son is Luke Skywalker, one of the greatest heroes.

Green Giant: It is said those who are overcome with great rage become Hulks, large, angry beast men of great destruction and little reason. The best-known is the Green Giant, a protector of the forest who can be appeased by farmers who take care of the earth. Largely the most benevolent of the Hulks, he still a fearsome engine of destruction should his anger be roused.

Elvis: King of the Rock Elves, magical beings possessed of a great musical talent. Elvis is said to pass as a mortal minstrel, but those with a good ear will suspect that he walks among us. Elvis sightings are very common, but not always believed.

Jessica: Called the Queen of Rabbits, it's believed Jessica was a fertility goddess at some point. Jessica is a being composed of light and rainbow, and is said to be a being of such allure, no man can resist her. It's said she has many beasts in her thrall, and give them the gift of speech.

Joker: An evil, laughing clown, who is the embodiment of debauchery and irresponsibility. Those who succumb to manic fits are said to be possessed by him. It is said the best way to escape evil Joker madness is to read scripture and hold a spartan, modest lifestyle. Ballads tell of those who have experienced unbelievable tragedy, become dark knights, are impervious to his seductive madness.

Jabba: When people pass by the swamps, they wonder if that awful stench is Jabba, a corpulent disgusting creature, with an insatiable appetite for food, good, spices, and of course, women. Jabba is infamous for his whisking away of beautiful women to serve as his concubines. He made the mistake one day, though, of capturing Leia, the intended of Luke Skywalker.

Man of Steel: the greatest champion of all, the mysterious Man of Steel possesses a range of qualities that can only be described as...super. There is nobody faster, stronger, or possessed of keener senses--he can even see through walls. He wears a red cape that allows him to fly, or at least jump towers in a a single bound. His great power is matched only by his virtue, and he carries no weapons. Americans cite him as an example of superiority, as many tales tell of his besting pagan warriors like Hercules, Thor, and even the princess of the Amazons, who he took as a wife.

Spiderman: A young man explored an enchanted forest, where he was bitten by a spider, giving him t speed, the ability to scale walls, and the knowledge to spin webs. However, an act of selfishness cost him the life of his uncle, so the spiderman was forced to atone for his neglect. This dark, weird hero, travels through the shadows taking on goblins, wizards and reptiles, performing great heroic feats, but never to enjoy glory as penance.

Yoda: If you are in a swamp and see a tiny green man, heed what he has to say. He is the wisest of all beings, even though he speaks in riddles and a strange way of talking which is hard to interpret. But to listen to Yoda is to find the path of light. Many of the mightiest star warriors count his as their teacher, including the wizard Ben who himself is regarded as one the great mentors.