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Florida geographically is HUGE. This means a lot of different cultures. Assuming the panhandle is anything like key west is just plain wrong. Tallahassee, Tampa, Orlando, Melbourne, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Miami, and the Keys might as well be entirely different countries.
This company is located in Dania Beach in Broward county. I defy you to find good ol' boy values and cheap real estate in Broward.
1) It seems to be popular in the scientific community, especially with non-programmers. In my experience, scientists will learn a language they like and use it their whole careers. It's the same reason R is still going strong.
2) There's an active community of volunteers. A sense of community can take something average and make it very popular.
3) Large companies use it. Google being the most notable.
Most of the scripting languages mentioned (and I got on the bandwagon for many of them) never really #1 and #3. They have community for awhile, but it fades away as the next big thing comes around. Python's community is as active as ever.
Next up "Windows vs Linux: Is the king still supreme?" or "Coke vs Pepsi: Do we have a changing of the guards?"
I remember an elementary school teacher of mine in the 90's telling us that sex with chimps was the most likely reason HIV jumped species. We all giggled, but I'm sure there are many from that classroom that still believe it today.
FWIW, I went to an ABET accredited school and an assembler course was still required.