A growing number of Ted Cruz supporters are checking their smartphones every day, in an effort to gain points and make their way to the top of the "Cruz's Crew" leaderboard.
Online communities are weird. These points are seemingly worthless to the individuals earning them, beyond the in-group signalling value among "Cruz's Crew." Yet people are willing to trade their friend's (sic) contact information for them.
If this is successful as an information gathering tool, it seems likely many more (and more well polished) versions will be popping up in other campaign apps. What other domains might we see this -- maybe religious or music groups? Does its success mean we shouldn't take seriously the new branch of experimental economics that uses games to make inferences about various economic theories?
I am a big fan of maps, and have only recently begun playing around with them. I am also a big fan of ethnic food, and am going to be traveling around the U.S. a fair amount in the next couple months. In an effort to guide my search for ethnic food and get more practice with maps, I created maps of foreign born populations in the United States using Census American Community Survey data. These are pretty rudimentary, but are my first swipe.
Examining the distribution of Vietnamese people throughout the U.S. seemed like a good starting point. I enjoy Vietnamese food, and for a couple reasons the U.S. is home to a relatively large Vietnamese population. This is a simple county-level count of individuals born in Vietnam.
A few things jump out from this map. First, as expected, large urban areas on the coasts have size-able Vietnamese populations. Farther inland, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth also show up. Second, there are decent sized Vietnamese communities in smaller cities throughout the Midwest.
However, we might be worried this is more of a population density map than anything specific to Vietnamese populations. Also, the counties in southern California and Nevada are gigantic. So next up is a graph of the percentage of each county that are Vietnamese.
Notice the counties in the middle of the country where the populations are large in percentage terms: Sioux City, Omaha, some places in Kansas. These towns and cities are dominated by people of Germanic heritage. Naturally, the restaurants in these cities cater to people with Germanic palettes. Realizing there are likely good Vietnamese restaurants in these areas might offer some much needed flair.