California County Naming

California has a curiously high count of misleadingly named counties. Most of this odd naming is due to historical span of counties being different from current spans due to new counties splitting off and forming and the such, but it’s still interesting to think about how everything came about in Californian county names, which in many cases upon present view are pretty absurd.

Let’s start from the north. California has a Lassen County, but Mt. Lassen is not in it, and in fact is in Shasta County. Mt. Shasta, meanwhile, is in Siskiyou County.

There is a Nevada County in California, but this is really because the Nevada refers here to the original etymology of the word as “snowy,” which is further evidenced by the fact that it is next to Sierra County, which, incidentally, has the lowest share of the Sierra Nevada out of all counties that have a part of it (and Nevada County the next lowest share). So much for Sierra.

To the west of Nevada County, we have Yuba County, but Yuba City is actually the county seat of Sutter County. Sutter County also has the most representative buttes in California, not Butte County.

Just to the south of Nevada County, we have Placer County, but Placerville isn’t in it; it is the county seat of El Dorado County.

Then we have Alpine County, which is quite far from the town of Alpine, CA.

Calaveras County has no share of the Calaveras Fault, and, being in the Sierra Nevada, is not even close to it. Incidentally, Calaveras County’s county seat, the town of San Andreas, is no closer to the San Andreas Fault.

Finally, Kings County and Imperial County are ironically two of the poorest counties in California.

I could also mention some minor nuances, like how many counties are named for one of the less prominent cities of the county (Santa Clara/San Jose; Tulare/Visalia; Orange/Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, etc.), as well as the fact that Amador Valley High School is far from Amador County, which is in the Sierra Nevada. Incidentally, on the subject of high schools, there is a Fremont High School, but it’s in Sunnyvale, not Fremont. There is also a Fremont Union High School District that includes Fremont High School, as well as Cupertino High, Homestead High, Lynbrook High, and Monta Vista High, none of which are in Fremont. Cupertino High, however, is indeed in Cupertino. Congratulations.

On “White and Nerdy”: Personal “Comparison”

Okay, so as evidenced by the number of fingers that got pointed at me in AP Physics C today, Weird Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” apparently refers much to me. Of course, I haven’t heard that song before today, and the song goes too fast for me to figure out what it means, so I had to listen to it quite a few times to get it. Now that I have, I am completely confused by why people find me similar to the person described in the song…I’m pretty sure I even have to put quotation marks around “comparison,” as I have done in the title.

Okay, so comparison through all the items:

1) White—nope.

2) Nerdy—definitely.

3) First in my class here at MIT—not possible. Not even top 5% at Mission.

4) Champion at D&D—I didn’t even know what D&D stood for, although I got it on my first guess. Jo’s disappointed frown was spectacular.

5) MC Escher favorite MC—what does MC stand for? E/c? MATHCOUNTS? Because I’m pretty sure most people know only one Maurits Cornelius (I have a feeling I even spelled that incorrectly—yup, it’s actually Cornelis).

6) Earl Grey tea—what’s that?

7) “My rims never spin; to the contrary,// You’ll find that they’re quite stationary”—I have no idea what this means.

8) All action figures being cherry—true, but only because the set of my action figures is the empty set. I have no idea what this “cherry” is.

9) Stephen Hawking’s in my library—yes. A Brief History of Time.

10) Pimped out MySpace page—What does “pimped out” mean? In any case, I don’t have a MySpace.

11) π to a thousand places—only know 61. Not only that, I fail to see how knowing π to a thousand places is nerdy.

12) Still wear braces—no. And while I had braces, I absolutely hated it. Hated the pain, hated the inconvenience, hated the symbolism. In fact, I am vehemently against the usage of braces and actually destroyed my retainer by throwing it across the room after my mom got ridiculously annoying about it when I had worn it for five months.

13) Sandwiches with mayonnaise—barely ever. I much prefer (honey) mustard. And how is this a sign of nerdiness?

14) Minesweeper wiz—okay, okay. But the most I’ve played in a row is only about two and a half hours. There’s a point after which the hand starts to really hurt.

15) Ran all killer apps—what does this mean?

16) Number one at Pascal—the programming language? I know no (legitimate) programming language.

17) Vector calculus just for fun—I much prefer Combinatorics, Number Theory, and Abstract Algebra.

18) No gat—*looks up “gat”*…true.

19) Got a soldering gun—nope.

20) “Happy Days” is my favorite theme song—I don’t even know what that is. 

21) Butt kicker at ping-pong—nope. 

22) Acing all trivia quizzes—only likely if it’s geography, chemistry, geology, or astronomy. 

23) Fluent in Javascript—no. 

24) Fluent in Klingon—what’s that? 

25) Rolling on Segway—don’t have one. 

26) Browsin’, inspectin’—oh, a lot. 

27) X-Men comics—so I’ve collected zero. I don’t even know any of the X-Men except “Beast,” and only because I.G. (who may or may not be more nerdy than me, but is definitely more white) said out of the X-Men I was most like “Beast.” Not sure if that’s a good thing. 

28) Protecting pens in pockets—I rarely put pens in pockets. They tend to accidentally stab and hurt. 

29) Ergonomic keyboard—definitely no. 

30) Writable media—what? 

31) Editing Wikipedia—no, although I am an administrator and editor of Missionpedia. Also, I do spend a lot of time on Wikipedia, even if I don’t edit it. 

32) Holy Grail memorized—no, I don’t know what it is. I don’t want to know what it is. 

33) Business doin’ websites—not close. 

34) HTML—nope. 

35) Home page for dog—haven’t made a home page; haven’t got a dog. 

36) Fanny pack—what’s a fanny pack? 

37) Sale at The Gap—I’ve never bought anything from there before. 

38) Spend nights with bubble wrap—nope. 

39) AV/Glee/Chess—No idea what the first two are. Third I hate more than braces. 

40) Kirk/picard—who are these people? 

41) Renaissance Faire—what is this? 

42) Name on underwear—nope. 

7.5/42 is 17.9%. Yup, I don’t get it.

So somehow this is the 42nd post on my blog. Refraction angle in degrees to make a rainbow.