One of the first things you notice in Washington, D.C., is the humidity.
Even after living for years in Hawaii — itself a warm, humid place compared to much of the country — Washington in late August and early September is extraordinarily muggy. The city was apparently built on former swampland, and it shows.
Forgive the awkward meteorological lead-in, but if the humidity is what people notice here in the nation’s capital, what do they notice about Hawaii?
Last month, a blogger decided to find out what people presuppose about each of the 50 states by typing “Why is [state] so” into her Google search and marking down what the autocomplete algorithm suggested as a likely question.
Fun experiment, and it seems to jibe with reality. For Washington, D.C., the top four suggestions for me this afternoon are: “humid,” “hot,” “Democratic,” and “black.” That last one is presumably a reference to the fact that, until recently, African-Americans were in the majority here.
For Hawaii, the top four are “expensive,” “liberal,” “warm,” and “hot.” (The blogger last month had “beautiful” as one of her four, replacing “warm.” Not sure if that’s a function of our unique browsing histories or if the algorithm has shifted since she did her experiment.)
Though Civil Beat has devoted few pixels to the heat index, we’ve extensively covered the price of paradise and one-party dominance in Hawaii. So it seems popular opinion about the islands is spot-on. The autocomplete results also show the similarities between Hawaii and Washington, D.C., which will become more apparent to me as I learn more about my new home.
What are people assuming about the other 49 states? Click over to “No Upside” to find out.
— Michael Levine