Albert (2005) proposed a groundbreaking new method for demographic study. For those whose browsers do not support hyperlinks, let me summarize briefly: Albert showed that simply finding the string “I live in” within the American National Corpus, and quantifying the list of nouns which follow this string, yields an accurate count of Americans, grouped by their places of residence.
Extending Albert’s methodology just a teensy weensy bit yields a surprising insight into the machinations of government, as I will now demonstrate.
Finding myself in somewhat of a hurry to find a dissertation topic before my graduate credits in Speculative Computational Linguistics expire, I read Albert’s article in Speculative Grammarian and hit upon the idea of studying a computational linguistic topic more interesting than static populations
Furthermore, using a universal search engine, rather than a nation-
As is frequently the case with research conceived in momentary brilliance, the results were startling.
Well, not all of the results. The top three results, actually, were unstartling. “China” was by far the largest point of origin, followed closely by “India” and “Manila.” The immigration rates of these three countries are well-
However, startling (and amazing) results did obtain, in areas that neither I nor the SpecGram graduate school’s minigrant agency predicted.
For one thing, there is a fascinating list of places from which nobody has ever moved. That is, these locations never appeared as the prepositional objects in the “I am from” construction. These include the following: Pasadena, Mexico City, Nirvana, Manitoba, Malvenas, and Washington, D.C. We might conclude that, like the Hotel California, these are places from which one is never permitted to leave, or that human beings are constitutionally incapable of doing so. I was startled by this result.
More startling still, however, is the following fact. This research methodology turned up a number of places that are not, according to my research, included on any map or in any gazetteer. That is, many people are from places that our governments are not telling us about.
My research turned up the following list of previously unknown places: next door, space, poem, your worst nightmare, titov, plastic, the black eyed peas, and the future.
Clearly, these places exist, and yet our map-
Therefore, I propose that immediate steps be taken, preferably at the United Nations, to ensure that government transparency triumphs, that veils of silence are lifted, that maps are suitably and accurately corrected, and that these points of origin
May I have my degree now, please, Mr. Jones?