2796: Real Estate Analysis

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Real Estate Analysis
Mars does get a good score on 'noise levels' and 'scenic views,' but the school district ranking isn't great; the only teacher--the Perseverance rover--is too busy with rock samples to teach more than the occasional weekend class.
Title text: Mars does get a good score on 'noise levels' and 'scenic views,' but the school district ranking isn't great; the only teacher--the Perseverance rover--is too busy with rock samples to teach more than the occasional weekend class.


This comic shows a chart ranking locations in our solar system (the eight currently recognised planets and Earth's own moon) along two scales: their walkability and their proximity to shops and restaurants. As this is a "real estate analysis", this comic mocks real life "real estate analyses" for people who are looking for a new home. Walkability measures the ease of walking as a form of transportation in an area (often related to how urban that area is), and is measured by metrics like the 100-point walk score, with higher numbers representing easier and safer walking. Proximity to commercial shops and eating establishments can likewise be a factor for potential residents looking for a convenient living environment. While no units are provided, proximity can be defined as a number that increases with decreasing distance.

Earth is rated as highly walkable, probably because humans can walk on much of its surface without immediate & continuous existential need for environmental survival gear (so far), and due to the gravity on its surface. Earth also rates high on the "proximity to shops and restaurants" scale because its surface hosts all commercial establishments known to humans; most businesses are within a few building stories of the surface, though some "shops" on airplanes are up to several kilometers above it.

All other locations are rated as completely unwalkable, and remote from any shops or restaurants. The next closest body, the Moon, typically around 384,400 km away from Earth, is about five orders of magnitude further from shops and restaurants than anywhere on Earth. (A dozen people have actually walked on the Moon, more or less, but none have actually walked to the Moon, or to wherever else they may want to go from there.) Venus is 108 million km away while Uranus is 2.9 billion, so all these bodies' clustering near the origin on the proximity scale masks a large difference in accessibility. The gas giants Jupiter and Saturn are assessed marginally higher walkability scores than the solid Mercury (where temperatures are extreme, but do briefly pass through the range survivable for humans as the planet rotates); maybe their less-hostile (and, in the case of Ganymede and Titan, physically larger) moons are taken into account here.

Based on Earth's high score on both metrics, Randall makes the claim "I get why this place is so popular". Most humans would agree with Earth being preferable (no human is known to have permanently inhabited any celestial body besides Earth[1]), but would be more concerned with local differences in livability.

Additionally, the chart also displays the importance of choosing the right scales and data for data representation, because not only does the chart provide no information at all, as the vast surface of earth is marked at the same point; but it also does not provide sensical data, which can be seen by the chart seeming to show a slightly larger proximity to shops for Mercury and Venus than the Moon, which is just plain absurd.

Walkability scores on websites such as https://www.walkscore.com consider proximity to restaurants, groceries, and shopping (among other factors, such as proximity to parks, schools, and culture and entertainment venues), so it would be fairly unusual for a location to score high on walkability but low on proximity to shops and restaurants, or vice versa.

The title text comments that Mars did score high on the 'noise levels' and 'scenic views' scores. Generally, lower noise levels help maintain a calm and relaxed lifestyle, and are therefore a desirable quality for real estate. Due to it having a thinner atmosphere and (almost) zero sources of manmade noise, Mars is incredibly quiet (though not entirely silent). However, this extreme lack of noise may turn out to be detrimental to human wellbeing. Access to scenic areas is also generally seen as a positive when assessing property, and the large, barren scenery of Mars has been abundantly documented by the several rovers sent to its surface, resulting in widespread fascination with its serene landscapes (though the ever-present dust, and the need to deal with it, mars the serenity somewhat). Again, though, the sheer emptiness of the landscape might turn out to be a negative rather than a positive.

It then states the 'school district' ranking (proximity to a good schooling system, which is also desirable, especially to families) is rather poor on account of there being only one available teacher - the rover Perseverance - and it being too busy with its rock samples. Perseverance is (at the time of this comic's publication) a still-active Mars rover whose main purpose is to examine minerals from Mars' surface and scan them for signs compatible with ancient life: while it could hypothetically serve as a teacher (using its memory banks as teaching material, for instance), doing so would greatly interfere with its main mission if done regularly.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[A graph is shown. Both axes have a label with an arrow and 10 visible ticks.]
Y-axis: Walkability score
X-axis: Proximity to shops and restaurants
[Labels of multiple dots at around (0, 0), clockwise:]
Mars, The Moon, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter
[Label of a dot at roughly (9.5, 9.5):]
[Caption below the panel:]
After doing a real estate analysis, I get why this place is so popular.

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I suspect the hover text is reference to the song ‘Rocket Man’ and the lyric ‘Mars ‘ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids’ but I’m not sure it’s strong enough to include. Thoughts? 16:10, 30 June 2023 (UTC)

I don't know if that would be my first interpretation, but it's not necessarily wrong. Feel free to add it! (This wiki is supposed to include multiple interpretations if they exist.) DownGoer (talk) 17:32, 30 June 2023 (UTC)
It seems like a bit of a stretch to me. BunsenH (talk) 23:33, 30 June 2023 (UTC)

He omitted Pluto, but included the Moon, which isn't any kind of planet. Furthermore, the Moon should get a much higher score on proximity to shops than all the other planets (it's only 250K miles away, versus hundreds of millions of miles). Barmar (talk) 18:33, 30 June 2023 (UTC)

Massive disrespect to Pluto :( 18:37, 30 June 2023 (UTC)
The Moon is okay but there's no atmosphere. 21:18, 30 June 2023 (UTC)
For atmosphere, you really want to look into Venus and the gas giants (cool name for a band?). Pluto, on the other hand, has a lot of heart. 12:24, 1 July 2023 (UTC)
He also omitted Sol. More people have worshipped it than Earth, so it's even more glaring than Pluto. 23:53, 30 June 2023 (UTC)

Isn't "proximity to shops and restaurants" a significant contributor to most "walkability score[s]"? It seems weird that the x and y axes are confounded in such an obvious way, is there a deeper message? JohnHawkinson (talk) 21:16, 30 June 2023 (UTC)

If I live across the street from a store, but that street’s a busy highway, I’d say I lived near a store, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to walk there. Intara (talk) 05:42, 1 July 2023 (UTC)
Sure. It's not the only contributor. Just a significant one. JohnHawkinson (talk) 00:48, 2 July 2023 (UTC)
That reminds me of my vacation in Egypt with the hotel being "in front on a fastfood". Sure the McDonalds was right in front, but there was a double-three-lines highway, making the line-of-sight proximity totally irrelevant. 07:35, 3 July 2023 (UTC)
There are several algorithms for converting a basis for an inner product space to an ortho-normal basis for the space. 16:24, 7 July 2023 (UTC)

The moon and Mercury should also be pretty good in the "low noise" and "scenic" scales. Depending on whether one wants to count radio noise, and the effects of the magnetic tornadoes on Mercury. BunsenH (talk) 23:33, 30 June 2023 (UTC)

You really can't walk on most of the surface. More than 70% is water.

Hold my wine... -- Jesus (talk) 01:18-02:23, 25 December 1 (UTC)

I'm not convinced that the total silence of Mars would be desirable. Humans have evolved in an environment where some level of noise is expected - complete silence might well quickly lead to some significantly deleterious mental effects. (Of course, the complete isolation from other humans wouldn't help either.) 09:25, 3 July 2023 (UTC)

It is indeed hard to distinguish the non-Earth bodies from each other. A logarithmic scale might help ;-) Jkshapiro (talk) 14:47, 9 June 2024 (UTC)