Boats and Oh, No’s! In the Wake of Fernandez Death

In the wake of Jose Fernandez’ death in a tragic boating accident, I wanted to look at the statistics related to boating accidents.  On a national level, there were 626 boating deaths in 2015 (the latest data available) and a fatality rate of 5.28 per 100,000 registered boats.

From the story, it appears that the accident was a combination of excessive speed, operator inattention, and hazardous waters (boating near shore in the middle of the night just has to be considered hazardous) all of which are among the leading contributing factors of boating accidents and fatalities.
Florida, where the Fernandez accident occurred, has the most registered boats of any state, by a significant margin.


*Chart Courtesy of Knutson Casey

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but it seems that – overall – boating deaths are exceedingly rare and the fact that an accident took an exceptional athlete so young is an absolute shame.

Renovation Nation: Big Ticket Remodeling Projects on the Rise

According to a recent report by Metrostudy, the number of remodeling projects worth $1,000 or more is set to rise nearly 10 percent by 2019.

Remodeling on the Rise

What does this mean? More jobs, more money being spent on home, bathroom and kitchen remodels, and better looking home interiors across the nation. Well, that is as long as carpeted walls don’t come back into style.

Metrostudy, a well respected research and data firm focused on the real estate and housing industry, created the Residential Remodeling  Index to forecast such spending – using several economic factors known to influence the undertaking of home improvement projects. The firm expects  spending in this area to balloon to over 171 billion dollars by 2019. That’s a lotta dough, perhaps you can use your new pizza oven to bake it. ‘Cause, you know, you already remodeled your kitchen.

Houston, You’ve Got a Problem: 13 of the 20 Most Dangerous Texas Intersections are In Houston

Dangerous Intersections in Texas


I know it’s cliche to quote the famous Apollo 13 quote, but if the meme fits; use it. Houston residents are already painfully aware of the traffic problems in the city, but according to a study done by Houston attorney Brian White and data visualization firm 1 Point 21 Interactive, gridlocked roads are the least of the city’s worries.

After an analysis of over 2 million Texas DOT records, the firm found that 13 of the 20 most dangerous intersections are in Houston.  What’s more is, the problem is only getting worse, as Houston has seen a 42 percent increase in intersection related accidents and 37 percent increase in overall traffic accidents. Yikes!

Increase in Houston Crashes

35 States Have a Higher Fine for Littering Than They Do For Texting and Driving

Texting and Driving Laws

Studies have shown that those who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be in a traffic collision than those who don’t. On pure accident likelyhood, that makes if more than twice as dangerous as drunk driving.

So why do 35 states have a higher fine for littering? Because no one likes to see a proud Indian shed a single, slow-rolling tear.  But seriously, get your act together America.

10,000 Syrian Refugees Have Been Admitted to the U.S.: See Where They Went

Where in the U.S. are the 10,000 Syrian Refugees

According to the White House, the United States admitted it’s 10,000th Syrian refugee this week, raising the total to over 12,000 since the Syrian civil war began five years ago.  But where did they go? The New York Times looked into and tracked the refugees to over 231 different cities across the United States.

Syrian Refugees Admitted to the U.S. By Year

The Times found that to ease their integration, Syrian refugees are typically placed in areas that already have a higher concentration of residents of Syrian decent, a population of well over 150,000.  Newly placed refugees receive help in finding work and housing but are expected to be self sufficient  within a year.

It’s All About Execution…and Other Things As Well

Let me say something.  The death penalty is dumb.  And slow.  And really, really, F*$cking expensive.

California alone has spent over $4 billion on it since 1978.  Capital crime trials, appeals, extra security, and all the myriad of things associated with the death penalty slow the process down and cause the costs to balloon.

Now, thanks to this law firm you can compare your salary with those costs and really see exactly how expensive it can be.  Fun…

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.16.18 AM

Interestingly, they found that despite the billions spent on the death penalty, California has only executed 13 prisoners – a whopping $307.7 million per execution.


The Ups and Downs of the Great Recession

First, we had the great depression.  Then, after a series of large and small scale economic crises – along with the occasional bursting bubble (I’m looking at you dotcoms) – we had the “Great Recession” of the late 2000′s.

According to the New York Times, most of the jobs lost due to the recession have been regained but not all industries have made a full – or even partial – recovery.  By smashing 255 separate charts into one mega-ultra-fancy one, The Upshot gives us a peak at the haves and the have nots of recession recovery.

Economic Recovery


It’s quite pretty, unless you are in one of the industries that is dark red – not a good time to be in land subdivisions, bookselling or VoIP.

The most interesting take away?  The nail salon industry is WAAAAY up.  I guess people get their nails did more often in a good economy.

Get Rich or Die Early

This just in from the “I probably knew that but it’s interesting to see data to back it up” department.  Rich people live longer than poor people.  According to the New York Times (but based on a looooong study published in the Journal of the America Medical Association, America’s richest men live over 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent.

Rich People Live longer
Source: New York Times

One of the explanations for this disparity – one that is getting wider each year is simple.  Wealth buys better medical care, which allows people to live into old age. But it also makes fundamental changes in how people live. Flying in the face of the stereotype of cigar puffing, booze swilling rich folk, affluent people seem to live in healthier ways. They exercise more, smoke less, feel less stress and -despite being fat cats – are less likely to be obese.

Perhaps the most interesting take away is that where you live has a much bigger impact on the life span of the poor.  Rich people can live wherever they want and still lead long lives, while the poorest one percent in some parts of the country have life spans similar to those of people in third world countries.

Source: New York Times
Source: New York Times

Texas-Sized Crime: The Most Dangerous Cities in Texas

As the saying goes – everything is bigger in Texas.  Trucks, hair, guns and many other things hold true to that motto.

Texas criminal attorney Paul Darrow’s team took a look at the big cities in Texas (over 100k population) and gave us some “Texas-sized” charts and tables ranking the most dangerous.  SPOILER ALERT: Odessa is the worst, but Amarillo is the rapiest (seriously: over 115 rapes per 100k, when the national average is 27!)

Violent Crime Rates in Texas by City
Violent Crime Rates in Texas

Interestingly, they weighed factors like overall and violent crime (via the FBI UCR database) against size and budget of the police force as well as several socioeconomic factors.  Despite have – by far – the most overall violent crime, Houston ranks number four on the list.  This is due, according to the post, to having the largest police force and middle of the road poverty, unemployment and high school graduation rates.

If you learn one thing from this, however, let it be to carry pepper spray in Amarillo!

Can't Spell Amarillo with out the (r)A(pe).
Can’t Spell Amarillo with out the (r)A(pe).

Reach out and Touch Some-BAAAHH-dy: Beastiality Is Not Illegal In These States

Look, I love animals.  You love animals.  But we don’t LOVE animals, right?  We aren’t ready to take this relationship to the next level and get physical, are we?

Well, if you are ready, then I have some great news for you.  Beastiality – a physical expression of love between man and beast – is not EXPRESSLY illegal in 10 states:  Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Vermont, New Jersey, and New Hampshire (note: N.J. and N.H. have legislation pending).

beastiality is not illegal here:

Interestingly enough, these states also have the sexiest sheep in the nation.  Coincidence?  Ewe decide.

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