South Florida has recently welcomed a visitor from a more advanced civilization: the American Northeast. Mind you, this one wasn't captured by one of our tribes and dragged here for interrogation. His spaceship did not crash-land here. Rather, William Haseltine, a "scientist, businessman and philanthropist," came to South Florida of his own volition to help the biotech firm Scripps cut the ribbon on its new research facility in Jupiter, seen here. Haseltine tells his fellow Northeasterners:
Florida is, of course, a great place to visit in the middle of a northern winter. The weather was balmy and clear, the surf soft and inviting. Just as alluring was the state's new position at the forefront of both biomedical science and economic renewal.
He credits our Sunshine State for its "Texas-style bet on biotechnology" and raves about all the shiny new research toys and apple-cheeked scientists at the new Scripps campus. But...
For now, the buoyant optimism of the nascent biomedical research institutes stands in sharp contrast to the eerie quiet of South Florida. In Miami, construction cranes hang still and silent above half-completed towers. The shining new residential buildings that dot the landscape seem empty and forlorn. In Boca Raton, the mood is similar. Traffic in Palm Beach has vanished. The mood at the Country Club is funereal, and the talk is of bereavement sessions for Madoff victims. Charity balls and auctions have mostly been canceled. Small groups gather for private dinners where bands once played for parties of thousands. Rumors swirl -- are one third of the houses in Palm Beach really for sale? -- and hopes of a rapid recovery seem distant. Let us hope that biotechnology will lead the way to renewed growth in Florida.
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A short time later, he was eaten by zombies.