Tonight I'm coming to you live from a lovely little town in southeastern North Dakota. I'm sitting on the couch in my friend's beautiful two-storey home. She's freshly married, has her own laundry machines, decorations on the wall, and an employer who gives her a salary with benefits. Ahhh... stability. Someday... someday soon, I'll have it too.
In the meantime, I'm making what I hope is my final cross-state journey tomorrow. From one side of North Dakota to the other, across 400 miles of pavement and scenery that is consistently beautiful and at times, exhaustingly empty. I'll curse at oil trucks that are impossible to pass on two-lane roads and I'll most likely drink too much iced tea and wish there weren't so many miles between potty breaks.
To pass the time, I'll talk on the phone -- at least through the places I have service. I've got phone dates scheduled with friends in Boston, Houston, Seattle, and maybe Lexington. By this time tomorrow, I'll have connected with both coasts and some stops in between.
Where do you call? Do you stick primarily to numbers near where you live? Or do you branch out and cover a lot of the nation? Or even internationally?
MIT recently completed a very cool project called "The Connected States of America," that analyzed the data from all of AT&T's mobile calls and texts and integrated it with the population of an area. From the data, they developed arbitrary boundaries of where state lines would be drawn if they were based on the number of connections from city to city.
Of course, there is a giant void in the upper midwest where there is virtually zero AT&T service. My calls tomorrow will be sent through Verizon, and even with that carrier, parts of good ol' North Dakota still lack decent service.
Check it out, if you're from a county that has data you can even get location-specfic information.