April 13, 2007 - Pool of Ed
There was a time a while back where having a swimming pool in your back yard was living La Vida California - pool parties, barbeques by the pool, floating on a rubber raft while you sipped on your Harvey Wallbanger, and kids doing cannonballs off the diving board. That's why everyone moved to California, isn't it?
Well, the days of California Uber Alles are gone. Today, homeowners spend a lot of time with their big toes in the water before they jump off the high dive into getting a pool. There are liability concerns, maintenance costs, and problems when you sell. Some people just won't buy any house with a pool.
Yesterday, the dedicated staff of edhat.com counted pools in a local neighborhood. The neighborhood we chose was in Goleta - the area bounded by Fairview and Patterson between Calle Real and Cathedral Oaks. We chose this particular neighborhood because it's filled with traditional suburban tract homes, wide streets where kids used to play, and lots of pools. We also picked this neighborhood because it is a rectangular region, one that is easy to keep track of on an online map showing satellite images.
You see this pool play was really an exercise in using online images. As you probably know, websites these days not only show you streets and parks, but they also show you aerial photographs of your own backyard - and your neighbors' backyards, too. In fact, we were able to scan the online maps to find 112 swimming pools in the area defined. With a little more detail, we might have caught a few skinny-dippers, too.
On the online maps, you can also see boats parked on the street, backyards where the lawn isn't green, and vegetable gardens. Privacy is really just a myth. With the cameras the government has they can count the number of hairs on your head (if they want to).
As we said, we counted 112 pools. Of course, there is a possibility that we missed some. Here's a link to a Microsoft map showing the ones we found. The pushpins don't always line up exactly, but you can match them up pretty well. At the risk of making a wrong decision, we will award the daily t-shirt to Lyuba who, with a guess of 114, came the closest to our number. Lyuba wins an Edhat t-shirt.