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This CDC study looks at sleeplessness rates by states. Oregon does pretty well, with only 8.8% of the population reporting insufficient sleep for 30 out of the past 30 days. (That's pretty severe, every night?!?) I don't know about other states that also have a low incidence of this problem, but for me, it's soothing to hear gentle rain thumping on the skylights at night. I think Eddie Rabbit had it right: I love a rainy night.
While MSP certainly has a good claim to the top spot, Forbes uses a pretty weird methodology. All of the metro areas are ranked ordinally in four categories (violent crime rate, traffic fatality rate, workplace fatality rate, and natural disaster risk). The ordinal rankings are then added together, and the lower the overall score, the better.
So, first of all, the ordinal ranking can obscure big differences between seemingly close metro areas. In crime rate, for example, what if the per capital crime rates (per 1000) are something like #1 (1.1), #2 (2.5), and #3 (2.6)? The simple ordinal ranking doesn't take into account how much better #1 is than #2, and how trivial the difference between #2 and #3 is.
Second, what exactly is "natural risk disaster"? The West Coast areas get slaughtered in this category, with Portland the least bad at #25, then San Diego (#26), and everything else in the 30s. Presumably, this is anticipating major earthquakes or something, as well as wildfires and mudslides in southern California, I guess. But it seems awfully weird to be making 1/4 of the ranking based on something that you can't really estimate with precision.
Even if you could, what's the death toll from earthquakes? Focusing just on the Los Angeles & San Diego areas in the last 50 years, the only quakes with fatalities were the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which caused 72 deaths, the 1987 Whittier Narrows quake, which killed three people, and 1971 Sylmar temblor, which killed 65 people. (I'm not counting ones like the 1992 Landers quake, which did kill three people, but none in the L.A. or San Diego metro areas.) So, that's 140 people over 50 years, or less than 3 per year.
Granted, ~3 per year on average is greater than that you'd expect from, say, tornados, but the risks posed by natural disasters like earthquakes seem miniscule compared to traffic fatalities and violent crime. In Los Angeles County, there were 168 murders, 233 rapes, 1910 robberies, and 5148 assaults reported in 2008. Granted, L.A. County is not the same thing as L.A. metro area, but that only means that we'd expect even more violent crimes in the latter. In short, the number of deaths via violent crime in L.A. dwarfs that caused on average by earthquakes.
And it's not as if L.A.'s violent crime rate is off the charts -- it's ranked #21, so just one spot above average. Yet, the ~3 earthquake deaths (on average) per year is weighted the same as the 168 murders in 2008 in terms of significance, even though violent crime actually carries more than 50 times the numerical weight in reality.
I think the same criticism could be made about workplace fatalities. The number of people who die in workplace fatalities can't be that high compared to violent crime or traffic, so equating the ranking in this category with that in any other is also silly.
Now, if you focus on the two categories that seem most significant to me -- violent crime and traffic -- and re-rank using Forbes' criteria (in other words, still summed ordinal rankings), the new top 5 looks like this:
1. Portland (#1 in crime, #5 in traffic); total 6
2. San Jose, CA (#2 in crime, #6 in traffic); total 8
3. Seattle (#3 in crime, #8 in traffic); total 11
3. Boston (#10 in crime, #1 in traffic); total 11
5. New York (#11 in crime, #2 in traffic); total 13
I have to admit, I am quite surprised to see Boston and New York do so well, but I guess my impressions of Boston are colored by a 1987 visit where I nearly got run over 5 times in 30 minutes as a pedestrian, before I learned that the drivers didn't think pedestrians had the right of way. And my impression of New York is pretty much colored by the movie "Escape from New York" . . . . Anyway, seeing the relatively smaller Pacific Northwest cities and San Jose atop the list does make some sense to me!
This is pretty weird -- the model who was picture in the supposedly Photoshopped Ralph Lauren ad is 5'10" and 120 lbs, and she says she was fired for being "too fat." Wha???
It just happens that when I started college, I was 5'10" and 120 lbs. No one considered me overweight. I was extremely skinny, and stayed that way the entire year in part because I ran cross-country. No freshman 15 for me, which means someone else gained 30 lbs to balance me out!
Now, I realize that weight for males versus females isn't directly translatable, because men are supposed to have more heavy muscle mass. Still, I gained that mythical 15 pounds over the next four years so that I was 5'10" and 135 lbs when I graduated. I was still considered very skinny. By the time I started law school four years after college, I was 5'10" and 150 lbs. I'm pretty sure that my law school classmates would remember that I was still skinny back then. So even if you can't compare men and women directly, I gained 30 lbs between my weight at the beginning of college to when I went to law school, and I was skinny the whole time. I just can't see how a woman could possibly be considered fat at 5'10" and 120 lbs. I think maybe the term we are looking for is "too skinny"?
TV Guide has an interesting column titled "Is Jay Leno Killing NBC?," that basically wonders whether NBC's decision to give the weeknight 10-11 pm time slot to Jay Leno has doomed the network.
To recap -- a few years ago, NBC announced that Conan O'Brien, host of "The Late Show with Conan O'Brien," would take over as host of "The Tonight Show" in 2009. Jay Leno, who had been host of "The Tonight Show" since the early 1990s, was apparently going to be put out to the pasture, except that Leno wasn't ready to retire. Since Leno routinely beat his competition (David Letterman) in the late night ratings, he was a hot commodity for other networks, and there were serious talks about bringing him over to ABC. To keep Leno, NBC offered him a 5-night-a-week prime time show that he could develop as he saw fit, which meant he was basically taking his version of "The Tonight Show" to prime time: same skits, same monologue, same soft celebrity interviews.
You couldn't expect him to match the ratings of scripted shows, but then NBC's been essentially a disaster in that department, and -- this is the key thing -- an hour of Leno would be A LOT cheaper to produce than an hour of a scripted show. So NBC expected big cost-savings as a result of airing Leno, even if he didn't boost ratings.
One problem is that the NBC affiliates (that is, the local markets) aren't happy at all, because Leno is delivering smaller audiences to the late night local news . . . .
But what the TV Guide article crystallized for me is basically how *bad* NBC's other shows have become. When I was in my formative years in the 1980s, it seemed like NBC was THE network, with "The Cosby Show," "Cheers," "The A-Team," "Family Ties," "Miami Vice," and "L.A. Law." NBC dominated in the 1990s as well with that Thursday night block of "Seinfeld," "Friends," "Mad About You," and "ER" -- whatever it aired in the middle of that group did well, even when the shows sucked (ahem, "Caroline in the City," "The Single Guy").
But now? Bleech. My boys are starting to like football, so I actually had "Sunday Night Football" on last night. Apart from that . . . it's pretty barren as far as the Peacock network goes on my TiVo. CBS has the best reality TV shows ("Survivor" and "The Amazing Race"), Fox has the best thriller/dramas ("24," "Fringe") as well as "So You Think You Can Dance," and ABC has some interesting serial shows ("Lost," "FlashForward") and the predictable but amusing "Castle." It just goes to underline how desperate NBC has become that airing Leno five nights a week in prime time may make sense from a financial standpoint.