My mother's family is from Socorro, New Mexico, which is where I'm spending my Thanksgiving vacation. Socorro is an interesting town; it's in the rural plains south of Albuquerque, a land of libertarian ethics and every man for himself. But it's also the location of New Mexico Tech, formerly the New Mexico School of Mines, a school with strong geology, physics and math programs. Many of the scientists at NM Tech came from Los Alamos, or work at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory or the Very Large Array (as seen in the movie Contact). My grandfather was the registrar at School of Mines for his entire career.
It is interesting sitting in the coffee shop here. It's a new addition to town; at the next table, there are four old men with gray beards and cowboy boots, eating scrambled eggs. And conversation is moving smoothly between national politics, football, master's theses surrounding natural selection, local Rhodes scholars, cabinet positions in the state of New Mexico, and the stock market. Yes, Socorro is a very interesting place. Just thought I'd share my amusement at how easily our stereotypes can be broken down.