The most and least diverse states in the USA

The identity of the least diverse state is kind of a surprise to me. (I guess because I know almost nothing about this state.) I would have guessed New Hampshire, Vermont or Maine to be the least diverse. They are all in the running, to be sure, but not the very least.

Interesting note from the comments section:

By one measure, the most diverse neighborhood in the USA is the Mountain View section of Anchorage, AK. It’s a hodgepodge of Whites, Filipinos, Native Alaskans, resettled Sudanese refugees and Anchorage’s Little Samoa district. (Samoans like moving to Alaska. No, I don’t know why.)

Scoop’s comment:

I lived in the northern suburbs of Austin, Texas, and played volleyball every day near my house. I was the only white person in the group of 30-40 people. The others were Mexicans, South Americans, Vietnamese, a couple other Asians, one Native American, and various dark-skinned people of assorted origins (African-Americans and people from the Caribbean). Of course, those people were all in their 20s and I was the only old fart in the group. The older people I knew were all white. That contrast is an exaggerated microcosm of America.

In 1960, America was 85% non-Hispanic white. As of now, the percentage of non-Hispanic whites is about 60-62%. The implication there is that old America and young America are quite different. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites among Americans less than 18 years old is hovering around 50 and declining steadily, but the group aged 60 or more is still more than 80% white, reflecting the demographics of the era when they were born. The new diversity scares a lot of older people, as change always does.

It was the New America that elected Barack Obama. Some pundits have pointed to Obama’s election as a sign of greatly diminished racism in the USA, but that’s a conclusion drawn from a superficial view of the stats. If white people had their way, Obama would have lost re-election in a landslide. Whites voted for Romney 59-39. Obama won because non-whites voted for him by the astounding margin of 83-17. Back in the old days that massive white margin would have been enough to steamroll over even that vast surge of non-white support for Obama. The way the math works out, Romney would have won if whites had comprised 77% of the voters. Unfortunately for him, whites were only 72% of the voters. But here’s the shocking deal: as recently as 2004, when Dubya won re-election, whites WERE 77% of the voters. If the ethnic composition of 2004 had held steady until 2012, Obama would not have been re-elected, and President Romney would have been running for a second term in 2016. There would have been no President Trump. America’s changing demographics mean that political power has been altered rapidly, just in those 8 years from 2004 to 2012, and we have already seen the impact of that.

As I noted above, any change frightens people. Rapid change terrifies them.

FYI, Obama also lost the white vote in 2008, and he lost convincingly (55-43), albeit not as dramatically as in 2012.

Paul Manafort reaches ‘tentative’ plea deal with Robert Mueller

Wait a sec. Trump and Manafort may have outsmarted Mueller on this one. Paulie Numbnuts has not necessarily taken a deal. He may have just agreed to plead guilty to all the charges. That’s what I would do in his position.

That is a better option than either going to trial or agreeing to co-operate.

—- It’s better than a trial because he saves the massive legal fees he’d face from this trial plus the re-trial of the hung jury charges.

—- It’s better than an agreement to co-operate because:

* if he can avoid flipping, he can probably expect a pardon in return for his loyalty, which means freedom and no jail time on any charges, including the ones he’s already been convicted on.

* but if he trades co-operation for reduced charges or a lesser sentence, he would actually have to serve that sentence, because Trump would view co-operation as a sign of disloyalty.

I think changing his plea to guilty (with no co-operation agreement) might be the smart play, so let’s not assume he’s going to co-operate until we’ve actually seen the details.

6 Famous Quotes You See On Facebook (That Are Crazy Fake)

Updated with reader comment:

Why stop at six? The typical Facebook meme involves words superimposed over a picture of someone known for his intellect, wisdom and/or wit: Franklin, Confucius, Aristotle, Einstein, Mark Twain, Lincoln, Mencken …

Scoop’s law is this:

There’s about 99% certainty that the person pictured did not speak those words.

Scoop’s sub-laws are as follows:

A small percentage of them are reasonable paraphrases of something they actually said.

A small percentage of them are real quotes or paraphrases, but said by somebody less famous, less sympathetic, or with less gravitas. Mark Twain never said or wrote. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” I can see why this was attributed to the witty author and raconteur, since it actually is clever and wise, but it ain’t his. How do we know? Well, for one thing, Twain’s father died when he was eleven, so he couldn’t have said it speaking as himself. Given that, the quote would have had to come from one of his characters, but there is nothing similar in any of his works. With the recent release of his unpublished autobiography, just about every thought he ever had has been published.

A very large percentage of them are quotes that have been altered just enough to turn the original genius into something more specific or quite inaccurate.

Inaccurate example:

Ben Franklin did not say “Those who would give up liberty for safety, deserve neither,”  because he was not an idiot. The entire purpose of human beings in creating communities, then civilizations, rather than living as hunter-gatherers, requires giving up absolute individual liberty to create safety for all. What Franklin wrote was, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither,” which is so much of a truism that it’s almost trite, but is a good reminder for all of us.

Too specific example:

H.L. Mencken did not say, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” (Nor, for that matter, did P.T. Barnum.) Mencken did say, “No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” Mencken pointed out that stupid is stupid everywhere in the world. There was no need to wrap it in red, white and blue bunting.

A large percentage of them are the opinion of the person who created the slide, who makes his Hallmark level of profundity seem recondite by attributing it to somebody respected.

A few consist of people repeating urban legends without checking the facts. Hitler and Goebbels did talk and write about “the big lie” and its effectiveness, but they were not advocating it. They were condemning the alleged use of it by the English or by Jewish people.

Reader comment:

“I can’t believe ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ (Albert Einstein) didn’t make the top of the list. I have seen really smart people use this in job interviews and paid presentations when it is so easily refutable if you look up even a moderately intelligent Einstein scholar.”

Scoop’s response:

Yes. Good one. Thanks! At various times, that quote has been wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Mark Twain. (The usual suspects! How did they miss Lincoln?) According to one source, the reliability of which I cannot vouch for, the first time it actually appeared in print was in a 1981 Narcotics Anonymous text.

“The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid”

The study recommends classifying a planet based on whether it is large enough that its gravity allows it to become spherical in shape.

“And that’s not just an arbitrary definition. It turns out this is an important milestone in the evolution of a planetary body, because apparently when it happens, it initiates active geology in the body. Pluto, for instance, has an underground ocean, a multilayer atmosphere, organic compounds, evidence of ancient lakes and multiple moons. It’s more dynamic and alive than Mars. The only planet that has more complex geology is the Earth.”

New Super-High-Resolution Map Shows Antarctica In Unprecedented Detail

Of course, it’ll be kind of difficult to download the entire thing unless your internet connection and computer can handle a single file that occupies 140 terabytes, but the site also offers strips and tiles in full resolution or various parts of the continent in reduced resolution. Even the lowest-res  material, designed for posters, is pretty great!

Somebody has finally caught the Bandit

Unfortunately, it was the Grim Reaper. Ol’ Gator McKlusky has passed on, aged 82.

Burt Reynolds was once the biggest star in Hollywood. As Mental Floss pointed out, “Every year from 1973 to 1984, Reynolds was listed as one of Quigley’s ‘Top 10 Money Makers,’ and held the top spot on the annual poll from 1978 to 1982. The only other person to boast a record five consecutive years at the top of the list is Bing Crosby, back in the 1940s.”

I thought his last film, The Last Movie Star, was touching, and he was marvelous in it, playing a fictional version of himself. There must have been a lot of dust in my eyes when I watched it!

Saudi Arabia declares online satire punishable offence

“Producing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disrupts public order, religious values and public morals through social media … will be considered a cybercrime punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($800,000).”

Glitzy property projects and financial crises tend to go hand-in-hand.

It’s probably not statistically valid, but certainly an interesting observation that unusual property projects presage a financial collapse. The two are not cause-and-effect, but there is some logic to it. Whenever property values are so elevated that traditional development projects become unprofitable, people have to find a better way to get a return on investment – like building enormous skyscrapers on a relatively small piece of land, or (in the specific case mentioned in this article) creating new inexpensive land in the form of artificial islands.

Continue reading “Glitzy property projects and financial crises tend to go hand-in-hand.”

The 6 Most Jaw-Dropping Train Routes in the World

This is really just a blog to hype travel services, but in my younger and more vulnerable years, to cite F. Scott, I used to dream of taking the Orient Express or the Trans-Siberian Railway.

I have to admit having lost enthusiasm for sitting in place while a fascinating world flashes by.  I think that’s probably because my entire life has consisted of just that.

Despite having lost my youthful enthusiasm for riding trains and giant ships, I am still mesmerized by the sight of their passing. God only knows why, but the sight of a serpentine train coiling through a valley or a massive freighter barely squeezing through a narrow lock still causes me to interrupt my life.