The Best of States, the Worst of States
These maps show the best and worst qualities of all fifty states in the US, and all European countries.
If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all: with advice like that, we'd only have two of the four maps below.
Using a wide range of statistics, the maps show what each state is best at, and worst at, for both the US and the EU.
It must be said that some of the best-in-class examples sound like backhanded compliments. Really, Cyprus? Best at handling euro coins & notes, that's your stand-out quality? And Hawaii, Least likely to collide with a deer? Well, duh. There are no native deer on Hawaii (1).
But there's plenty more to snicker about, or marvel at, on these maps.
What each US state is best at
Some qualities seem self-evident. Washington state, most bicycle-friendly? Oregon, most craft breweries per capita? Wisconsin, biggest cheese producer? I'll buy that.
Other best-in-class qualities of the but-of-course kind include: Alaska, most pilots per capita; Arizona, sunniest state; Georgia, top peanut producer; Michigan, most lighthouses; Colorado, least obese.
Many labels reflect the positive attitude of that state's citizens: South Carolina, most polite; Utah, most charitable; Iowa, lowest divorce rate; Kansas, most teenage volunteers; Ohio, most library visits per capita; Vermont, most frequent exercises.
But for quite a few states it seems like it was a struggle to come up with something genuinely nice: Wyoming, lowest rate of syphilis (despite the proximity of North Dakota, biggest penises); Montana, longest cat lifespans; Alabama, most concealed carry licenses; Virginia, most vanity license plates; Tennessee, largest walleye ever caught.
What each US state is worst at
Few things please us more than another person's flaws and failures - hence reality TV. This less than commendable tendency also explains why this map is much more eye-catching than the one above.
Just as a warm-up, some traffic horror: Illinois, most rail accidents; Pennsylvania, worst bridges; Idaho, worst drivers; Montana, most traffic fatalities per capita (how do those two categories not overlap?); Florida, most recreational boat accidents; Maine, fewest heliports (sounds like a one-percenter problem, though).
Other worst-in-class qualities reflect badly on the moral fibre of each state's citizens, although arguably not to the same degree. Alabama's most child smokers seems worse than Oklahoma's lowest produce consumption. Delaware's fewest regular exercisers sound less malign than next-door Maryland's worst at incarcerating the elderly. And Nevada's highest divorce rate is preferable over Wyoming's highest suicide rate.
Some labels sound like reverse-backhanded compliments. Utah, nerdiest state? Good for you. North Dakota, least visited? More of your state to yourself! Nebraska, least furniture manufacturing? If that's the worst thing you can come up with...
But some labels are genuinely disturbing. Visit Indiana, state with most meth incidents? Only if we have to. How about Missouri, home of the worst puppy mills in the land, or Kentucky, worst state to be an animal overall? Perhaps not. And definitely not Kansas, state with the ugliest scenery.
What each EU state is best at
France is the Colorado of Europe: both places have the lowest obesity rate within their respective Unions. And Iowa and Ireland have the lowest divorce rates in the US and EU, respectively. But most European best-ofs don't have an equivalent on the American map, leaving us to wonder: Which US state is the twin of Portugal, top cork producer in the EU? And where in America do they have the most work experience with robots, as in Slovakia?
Danes regularly top the lists of happiest people in the world; perhaps not unconnected to the fact that they're the dancingest, singingest people in Europe.
Many Europeans excel at being good to the environment, and their place in it: Belgians recycle most, Estonians waste least, the Dutch quit smoking the most, and the British kill each other the least.
The Germans are Europe's happiest workers, the Italians live the longest and the Austrians are the least likely to be unemployed. Bulgaria has the cheapest electricity, and Slovenia the fewest teen moms. And Greece, much maligned of late? At least it has the lowest rate of tuberculosis.
What Each EU state is worst at
The rosy picture painted by the statistics above has a Dorian Gray-like twin, bringing out Europe's ugly side.
Let's hope an apple a day keeps the doctor away: Poland produces most of the former, but has fewest of the latter. The Netherlands has the highest share of cyclist deaths among road fatalities. Perhaps it's all those ex-smokers trying to shape up.
The Czech Republic (or, newly, Czechia) is the best at drinking beer but, disconcertingly, also has more slavery than anywhere else in the EU. If Hungarians have the lowest illegal spend in Europe, perhaps it's because they have less to spend per se: nobody pays more in VAT.
Lithuania has more secondary school graduates than anywhere else in Europe, but also higher suicide rates. And those Danes? They're the Mainers of Europe, stuck with the continent's biggest first-world problem: fewest Zaras per capita.
(1) Axis deer, native to India, were introduced on Molokai and Oahu in 1868, Lanai in 1920 and Maui in 1959. But their numbers are kept in check through targeted hunting. There were no axis deer on the Big Island until four were illegally introduced in 2009. Their offspring is actively being eradicated under the aegis of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee. This Facebook page monitors axis deer sightings on Big Island.
Strange Map #781
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Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.
Scientists discover the inner workings of an effect that will lead to a new generation of devices.
- Researchers discover a method of extracting previously unavailable information from superconductors.
- The study builds on a 19th-century discovery by physicist Edward Hall.
- The research promises to lead to a new generation of semiconductor materials and devices.
Credit: Gunawan/Nature magazine
Students who think the world is just cheat less, but they need to experience justice to feel that way.
- Students in German and Turkish universities who believed the world is just cheated less than their pessimistic peers.
- The tendency to think the world is just is related to the occurence of experiences of justice.
- The findings may prove useful in helping students adjust to college life.
The world is just? That’s news to a lot of people.<p>The study is the most recent addition to a long line of work focusing on the belief in justice, our behavior, and our reactions to evidence that might suggest injustice occasionally occurs. This study focuses on a personal belief in a just world, (PBJW) rather than a general belief in a just world (GBJW). The difference between them must be highlighted.</p><p>GBJW is the stance that justice prevails all over the world and that people tend to get what they deserve. PBJW is more focused on the individual's social environment and their belief that they tend to be treated justly. While several studies show PBJW correlates with a higher sense of well-being and a variety of other positive effects, a high GBJW is associated with less life satisfaction, negative behavior, and callousness towards the suffering of <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-1-4939-3216-0" target="_blank">others</a>. This study controlled for GBJW, and focused on PBJW as much as possible. </p><p>To assure that culture was not a factor, the study included students at universities in both Germany and Turkey. </p><p>The researchers gave students at the four participating universities a series of questionnaires that asked if they ever cheated in class, if they perceived the world to be just, if they though that justice always prevailed everywhere, their tendencies towards socially appropriate behavior, their life satisfaction, and if they felt like they were treated justly by their teachers and fellow students. </p><p>The answers were statistically analyzed for relationships. While some of the connections seem trivially true, others were surprising. <strong></strong></p><p>PBJW turned out to only be an indirect predictor of if a student was likely to cheat. Both a belief in a just world and a lower likelihood of cheating were mediated by the justice experiences of the students, with more of these positive experiences lowering the rate of cheating and improving their belief in justice. This was also associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. </p><p>These effects existed across all demographics in both countries. </p>
What does this mean? Is a belief in justice a self-fulfilling prophecy?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6oMv-azHNCA" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>In a way, it seems to be. People who have reason to think the world is just to them tend to interpret events in a way to sustain that belief and behave in a just manner. In a larger sense, the take away from this study is that experiences of justice, both from peers and instructors, is vital to student's wellbeing and understanding that the rules that exist about cheating are part of a larger, legitimate, system. </p><p>The researchers, citing previous studies on the perception of justice, note that "justice experiences (1) signal that university students are esteemed members of their social group, which in turn conveys feelings of belonging and social inclusion and (2) motivate them to accept and observe university rules and norms. These cognitive processes may thus strengthen their well-being and decrease the likelihood that they cheat."</p><p>The authors also suggest that if you want people (not only students) to act justly; consider treating them with "civility, respect, and dignity."</p><p>Sometimes, all it can take to help somebody act virtuously is to treat them well. Likewise, people treated harshly can rarely find reason to play by rules that don't protect them. The findings of this study will certainly add to the literature on how we perceive justice in the world around us, but might also help us remember that there are real consequences to our actions which can be much larger than we imagine. <strong></strong></p>
This could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
- The reason children suffer less from the novel coronavirus has remained mysterious.
- Researchers identified a cytokine, IL-17A, which appears to protect children from the ravages of COVID-19.
- This cytokine response could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
A member of staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a child's temperature at the Harris Academy's Shortland's school on June 04, 2020 in London, England.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images<p>Experts don't want to place kids at the back of the line, regardless of how strong their immune systems appear. At least one company, Moderna, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-vaccine-for-kids-moderna-plans-pediatric-trial-2020-9" target="_blank">hopes to begin testing</a> vaccines in pediatric volunteers by year's end.</p><p>Innate immune response is especially high during childhood (compared to adaptive immunity). This makes evolutionary sense: nature wants an animal to survive until its ready to procreate. Turns out the children in the study possessed high levels of cytokines that boost their immune response. The biggest impact is made by IL-17A, which appears to protect the youngest cohort from the ravages of the coronavirus. </p><p>While both age groups produced antibodies to fight off the infamous spike protein, adults that produce neutralizing antibodies actually suffer a <em>worse</em> fate. Herold says this "over-vigorous adaptive immune response" might promote inflammation, triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). </p><p>This matters for vaccine development. As Herold says, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Our adult COVID-19 patients who fared poorly had high levels of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that convalescent plasma—which is rich in neutralizing antibodies—may not help adults who have already developed signs of ARDS. By contrast, therapies that boost innate immune responses early in the course of the disease may be especially beneficial."</p><p>Herold says current vaccine trials are focused on boosting neutralizing-antibody levels. With this new information, researchers may want to work on vaccines that boost the innate immune response instead. </p><p>With <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html" target="_blank">at least 55 vaccine trials</a> underway, every piece of data matters. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Researchers from the University of Toronto published a new map of cancer cells' genetic defenses against treatment.