Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The world as expressed through the medium of swimming pools

It's long been true that wealth accumulates in some places, and becomes stretched thin in others. This inequitable arrangement is usually expressed in terms of things like food and clean water and money and access to healthcare.

But, thanks to the wonder that is Google Earth, I can show you that the same thing applies to swimming pools.

They need to be outdoor pools. The indoor ones don't really show up too well on Google Earth.

First of all, somewhere where they're doing alright for themselves, thank you very much.

Beverly Hills.

 Here you can see that every home is equipped with a reasonably sized and fully functional swimming pool. A testament to the cult of the individual, and evidence of the concentration of wealth.

Next up, Cuba. A so called "Communist" nation, and thanks to various embargoes, an economic backwater. Swimming pools are thin on the ground here, but they do exist.

This is the Nacionalé hotel in Havana. On the left you can see it has a shaped pool. Ideal for splashing around and lounging. If you can afford it, you can play. To the right and higher up is a rectangular pool. For more disciplined, less decadent swimmers. Overflow water from these pools runs down a hill, over a cliff, and into the pool to the right of the picture. Any old Tom, Dick or Harriet can wander in from the street and wet their elbows in this pool. So the swimming experience here is communal. Yet everyone is catered for. The rich get the pick of the facilities, but the poor huddled masses get at least something.

Finally, Freetown, in Sierra Leone, is just 8 degrees North of the Equator. It's hot, and humid, and the locals would surely enjoy splashing around in a sparkling blue pool of clear cool water.

As you can see, there are no swimming pools. Not one. The locals, if they want to splash around, will just have to wait until it rains, and find a puddle.

Of course, I didn't have to travel half way around the world to find such a place. Just a few miles down the road from Beverly Hills, in East Los Angeles, you'll find the same story as in Freetown: People live closer together, and they don't have swimming pools.

Now, when it comes to water itself, things tend to flatten out. Put a big pile of water in one place, and no water next to it, and before too long, unless you do something to maintain this situation, the water will spread out into the bit with no water, and eventually both places will have an equal height of the stuff.

Same with the air around us. In some places, the air is at a higher pressure than at other places. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the air rushes to redistribute itself equally. The laws of physics are egalitarian like that.

So why aren't the swimming pools of Beverly Hills full of people from East Los Angeles, who have no pools of their own?

Arise ye swimmers from your slumbers.

driving lessons in Wirral?

1 comment:

Pete said...

As you have previously Google Earthed my apartment block, you may remember it has a fair-sized swimming pool about 35m long, I guesstimate. There are 500 rooms but approx. 40% may be unoccupied at any given time. The swimming pool regularly goes out of action, i.e. green and stagnant. I would say it is usable for 55% of the time. So, using a mathematical formula, how affluent am I?