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Old 09-30-2010, 02:56 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,765 posts, read 10,665,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by still_waiting View Post
If you did not know anything about the succesion, it would not be obvious, point blank period end of story. It's one of those things that becomes "obvious" after the fact. They even have a phrase for that...something like hindsight being 20/20

I could quiz you on other "obvious" occurences map-wise in the U.S. that if you did not know any background information about it, it wouldn't be obvious.

Discussion over.

Show me an example of two political entities, which combine to form one of the most commonly known symetrical geometric figures, but which are split by an irregular line or natural feature, which did NOT originate more or less the way Arlington County did. I'm sure there are some, I am curious though how they originated. If I knew more historical processes that could generate the result we observe, I would not think that the historical process we observe is "obvious". I do not deny that I am not familiar with all the historic process that might generate certain shapes for political entities.

 
Old 09-30-2010, 02:57 PM
 
259 posts, read 446,049 times
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Stephen, there is a difference between making inferences and educated guesses and things being "obvious". Let's not pretend that that isn't true.

Now one could based upon the imagery come up with more than a few inferences while not knowing the political history/nature of the boundaries. One is that the boundary could have been primarily influenced by topographical occurences such as the Potomac. That is because it is a "hard" feature. It is plain to see with imagery and or a map. Political features are in a sense arbitrary, and only background history/knowledge would allow something of the sort to be "obvious".

Fact of the matter is that a lot of the boundaries in the US were influenced greatly by topography especially in the formative years, then later political considerations became more of a factor. An example of topographic boundaries is Missisippi and Alabama taking land originally Florida's in order to have access to the Gulf of Mexico. And example of political considerations when pertaining to boundaries is the arc shaped nothern border of Delaware, and also the states affected by the 36-30 Parallel that is associated with the Missouri Compromise. While an educated guess could have been made as far as MS and AL and the Gulf, without any knowledge of the 36 30 Parallel it would be nearly impossible to guess why Texas has a panhandle. That is the point I was trying to make. Obvious in some cases depends on how familiar/knowledgeable you are with a specific subject.

This
 
Old 09-30-2010, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Orange Hunt Estates, W. Springfield
628 posts, read 1,722,544 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
another interesting factoid

I think the border runs along the VA side of the river, so most of the river is IN maryland/DC which creates issues with water rights.
This border fact resulted in slot machines being accessible from Virginia when they were legal in MD several decades ago. As I understand, piers were built into the river from certain Virginia Potomac River banks with structures housing the slots over the river on the piers. Colonial Beach, VA was famous for this. Here's an excerpt from the history of Colonial Beach as cited in Wikipedia (I know, I know!) :

The town began to gradually decline as the automobile made travel to more distant ocean beaches more feasible. However, because gambling was legal in Maryland and the Maryland state line ends at the low-water mark of Virginia's Potomac River shore, from 1949[6] to 1958,[7] Colonial Beach offered slot machines in pier casinos extending into Maryland waters. This temporarily revitalized the town although it was sometimes called "the poor man's Las Vegas."[5] However, the piers burned in the 1960s in a devastating fire and the town continued to decline.[4]
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:09 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,765 posts, read 10,665,143 times
Reputation: 2487
Quote:
Originally Posted by still_waiting View Post
Stephen, there is a difference between making inferences and educated guesses and things being "obvious". Let's not pretend that that isn't true.

Now one could based upon the imagery come up with more than a few inferences while not knowing the political history/nature of the boundaries. One is that the boundary could have been primarily influenced by topographical occurences such as the Potomac. That is because it is a "hard" feature. It is plain to see with imagery and or a map. Political features are in a sense arbitrary, and only background history/knowledge would allow something of the sort to be "obvious".

Fact of the matter is that a lot of the boundaries in the US were influenced greatly by topography especially in the formative years, then later political considerations became more of a factor. An example of topographic boundaries is Missisippi and Alabama taking land originally Florida's in order to have access to the Gulf of Mexico. And example of political considerations when pertaining to boundaries is the arc shaped nothern border of Delaware, and also the states affected by the 36-30 Parallel that is associated with the Missouri Compromise. While an educated guess could have been made as far as MS and AL and the Gulf, without any knowledge of the 36 30 Parallel it would be nearly impossible to guess why Texas has a panhandle. That is the point I was trying to make. Obvious in some cases depends on how familiar/knowledgeable you are with a specific subject.

This

I am sorry I used the word obvious. There must be a softer word - strongly suggestive. I do think its pretty clear to anyone with a vague knowledge of nature that there are few natural forms that would generate a boundary like the limits between Arlington and Fairfax County (IE two straight lines meeting at a right angle)?
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:13 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,765 posts, read 10,665,143 times
Reputation: 2487
Quote:
Originally Posted by still_waiting View Post
Stephen, there is a difference between making inferences and educated guesses and things being "obvious". Let's not pretend that that isn't true.

Now one could based upon the imagery come up with more than a few inferences while not knowing the political history/nature of the boundaries. One is that the boundary could have been primarily influenced by topographical occurences such as the Potomac. That is because it is a "hard" feature. It is plain to see with imagery and or a map. Political features are in a sense arbitrary, and only background history/knowledge would allow something of the sort to be "obvious".

Fact of the matter is that a lot of the boundaries in the US were influenced greatly by topography especially in the formative years, then later political considerations became more of a factor. An example of topographic boundaries is Missisippi and Alabama taking land originally Florida's in order to have access to the Gulf of Mexico. And example of political considerations when pertaining to boundaries is the arc shaped nothern border of Delaware, and also the states affected by the 36-30 Parallel that is associated with the Missouri Compromise. While an educated guess could have been made as far as MS and AL and the Gulf, without any knowledge of the 36 30 Parallel it would be nearly impossible to guess why Texas has a panhandle. That is the point I was trying to make. Obvious in some cases depends on how familiar/knowledgeable you are with a specific subject.

This

I am not sure though why any of that contradicts the following statement "that DC Plus Arlington plus Alexandria form a near perfect square is strongsuggestive/obvious/almost obvious that they were at one time part of the same entity, which was defined to be square shaped" .
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:25 PM
 
259 posts, read 446,049 times
Reputation: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
I am sorry I used the word obvious. There must be a softer word - strongly suggestive. I do think its pretty clear to anyone with a vague knowledge of nature that there are few natural forms that would generate a boundary like the limits between Arlington and Fairfax County (IE two straight lines meeting at a right angle)?
Yes ok, but I am speaking specifically of how it may not be so obvious that Arlington and Alexandria were once a part of DC if one did not know that they were once a part of DC by looking at a map. At least for me that was because I inferred that the boundary was drawn as a result of the Potomac River.

I have a decent working knowledge of Washington DC overall, but I will admit to not knowing some of the more specific history, which is why I was pretty excited when I learned that Arl and Alex were once a part of the District yesterday. I was like wow!!! that's interesting to know. That "revelation" has spurred me to inquire more about the specific history of the area...especially since I am brand new to the DC Metro area.

All of this explaining is the result of someone stating that it was obvious that they were once a part of the District. What is obvious is relative to the observer for a variety of reasons.
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:37 PM
 
259 posts, read 446,049 times
Reputation: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
I am not sure though why any of that contradicts the following statement "that DC Plus Arlington plus Alexandria form a near perfect square is strongsuggestive/obvious/almost obvious that they were at one time part of the same entity, which was defined to be square shaped" .

First of all there is no such thing as a near perfect square, either it is a square or it isn't. With political features such as political boundaries you cannot necessarily say one entity was once a part of another entity due to shape alone.
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:43 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,765 posts, read 10,665,143 times
Reputation: 2487
Quote:
Originally Posted by still_waiting View Post
First of all there is no such thing as a near perfect square, either it is a square or it isn't. With political features such as political boundaries you cannot necessarily say one entity was once a part of another entity due to shape alone.
It has three right angles, and four straight sides, and the SE side and SW side WOULD (obviously?) make a fourth right angle if the straight parts of them were extended to meet (instead of being broken up where old town is).

I am not sure the right word for that, but there must be one other than "it ain't actually a square". A square with a bite taken out of it?

Again, I am not sure what historical process would have generated that, other than something closely resembling what actually took place.

What else do YOU think could have created the Arlington - Fairfax County lines?
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:45 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,765 posts, read 10,665,143 times
Reputation: 2487
Quote:
Originally Posted by still_waiting View Post
First of all there is no such thing as a near perfect square, either it is a square or it isn't. With political features such as political boundaries you cannot necessarily say one entity was once a part of another entity due to shape alone.

And I do not say "shape alone" I say shape, plus a very rudimentary understanding of local political history. IE not necessarily knowing about retrocession, but knowing that Virginia (unlike, I suppose, some western and northern states) didn't tend to create counties bounded by straight lines and right angles, and that for them to have created one right next to DC which also had straight lines and right angles, would have been a very odd coincidence.
 
Old 09-30-2010, 03:48 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,765 posts, read 10,665,143 times
Reputation: 2487
still waiting, do you ever do jigsaw puzzles?
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