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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mystery Minnesota

Voicemail from John that I received while out of town last weekend:
"Hey Teague. Hope you're having a good weekend. I'm calling because I picked something up for you last night, and it's a little weird, but I think you might like it. I need to check with you to make sure. Give me a call when you get a chance."

What might this cryptic message be referring to? It seems that John had found, laying out at the curb, an enormous map of Minnesota with an enormous number of pins of many different colors stuck in it.

I definitely got some looks carrying it back to my place on the Metro (which was kinda hard, because it's really big). This picture doesn't really give you a full appreciation for how many pins there are stuck in it; here's a picture looking south from the comparatively sparse Iron Range.

Meanwhile, pretty much the entire Twin Cities metro area is obscured under a teeming mass of pins. They seem to be pretty closely correlated with population across the state. The question is, who left their big map of Minnesota out by the curb, and what do their pins mean? I pose this question for your speculation, dear readers -- any ideas?


Andy said...

My presumed title for the map: "Land of 10,000 One-Night Stands"

hannah said...

It seems like population at first glance, but I'm not so sure. Because besides the big blob over the Cities, I don't think it's so accurate. Surely Duluth should have more pins? I prefer to think it's something more mysterious. I haven't quite decided what yet, though I like the one-night stands idea.
Does Nofo have a pin?

My Freakwentness said...

maybe they were playing this game "pin Saint Paul" instead of "pin the donkey."

teague said...

Andy, your idea would lend itself well to being the central prop in a movie.

Hannah, to answer your question, Northfield has 17 pins. I counted Duluth, and it has about 78 pins, give or take. Also, I noticed that trusty Faribault, with 10, has fewer pins than Northfield. So, using 2000 census data, I think we can reject the population hypothesis:

17,118 pop / 17 pins = 1,007 people/pin

86,918 pop / 78 pins = 1,114 people/pin

20,818 pop / 10 pins = 2,082 people/pin

The question is, what event/feature/characteristic would show up twice as frequently in Northfield as Faribault, but about the same as Northfield in Duluth?

(Also of note: if the 1,000 people/pin turned out to be the average across the map, that would mean, based on 2000 census of 4,919,479, that my map has about 4,900 pins!)

Matthew said...

Maybe the pins lie along lines of energy, and this is an elaborate attempt to relieve Minnesota of pain via acupuncture? (or I guess voodoo is another way to go with this...)

Leandro Miguel Abrazado said...

I'm guessing the police station lost it's map. My dad's a chief cop and he has that sort of thing hanging in his office. Indicates where crime occurs.

Or maybe i'm just to gloomy to think that.

teague said...

If that is acupuncture, Minnesota has a hefty medical bill on the way...and insurance doesn't cover that alternative stuff.

Leandro, we were considering that idea, too. It might be crime, though I think the pins are too evenly spread out for that...