Thursday, September 04, 2003

I lived in Kansas and Missouri for 2 years, and I can now say that Indiana and Illinois really are as flat as everybody thinks Kansas is. Kansas actually is a rolling hillscape. What I saw from the plane this morning truly was as flat as a... well, flatter than a pancake... as flat as a table top.

By and large, the rural landscape is no less manmade than the urban. Perfectly rectangular farms stretch out as far as the eye can see. Most roads are located exactly along section lines. You can even see the occasional trapezoid and wedge shaped sections that had to be inserted to make up for the fact that the earth isn't really flat.

Highways, railroads, and what looked like canals cut across the grid at non-right angles, but even these were mostly straight. Only lakes and rivers inject any chaos into the otherwise orderly picture.