Posts Tagged ‘railroad’

US States vs Capitals: Median Household Income

Posted in America on March 10th, 2016 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

The other day I took a train from NYC to Philadelphia. As I passed through the somewhat desolate station in Trenton, NJ, I wondered to myself: How do states' capitals' median household incomes compare to the states themselves? What states are "richer" or "poorer" than their capital cities?

With the help of data from the US Census FactFinder, I put together this map to answer the question. At one end of the scale is Hartford, CT, whose $29313 median household income is only 41.9% of the state's median household income of $69899. At the opposite end is Juneau, AK, whose $84750 MHI is 118% of the state's $71829.

Median Household Incomes of US Capitals versus their States

Only seventeen states have a median household income above that of the state, whereas the remaining 33 capitals lag behind the state's median. On average, state capital MHIs are 90% of their states. And finally, Washington DC, not included in this map, has a $69235 MHI, 129.5% of the overall United States MHI of $53482.

I don't know if there's any conclusions to draw from this. Since this has to do with capital city limits only, there's a possibility that suburbs could influence the findings immensely. (I've been to West Hartford, CT, for example, and found it to be very nice. But it's not the capital of the state, only a directly neighboring city.) Similarly, should there even be a conclusion to be drawn? Austin is a college town with a lot of technology, so it finds itself slightly better off than Texas as a whole. Albany is a Rust Belt city whose industries have been mostly left behind by the changing economy, so perhaps in the past it would have beaten NY as a whole, but today doesn't hold up. In any case, if there's one thing I enjoy, it's answering interesting data-based questions. Raw data below:

US Capitals Median Income Raw Data

Ticket to Ride

Posted in Sports and Games on May 2nd, 2012 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

Yet another game that does not show game play on the front cover. Instead we have a motley crew of people who dress in one color running around a train.It's been a while since I've reviewed any Spiel des Jahres games, but this is the ninth in the series.

Ticket to Ride (by Alan R. Moon) was a gift but it took a while before we finally played it for the first time. I had seen people play it in the past, and in every case, it looked awesome. So when we played it, I was happy that this was in fact the case. Some highlights:

Learning Curve – this game is really quick and easy to pick up. Unlike some Spiel des Jahres games, the rule book is two pages and it takes only minutes to set up and learn the game. The rules are simple and not convoluted, yet the game is still complex enough to be interesting.

Replayability – because the goals are randomly distributed, this game seems to have almost infinite replayability. We only played once, but I can't see a way in which we would be easily bored; the game changes based on goals, and also based on the cards you draw during the game.

Healthy randomness – generally I'm anti-luck in board games, but in this case the only randomness is what cards are drawn. However, this is mitigated by a face-up area of train cards (decreasing the randomness, though not eliminating it), by a lot of ways to get around needing very specific cards, and by the ability to discard strategy cards whenever they are chosen.

Narrative/game play – the story that accompanies the game is fun, but the game play is the real strength. It moves fast, and though not everyone is involved at every turn, turns are short enough that you are not bored waiting for others. And because turns are short, no one can run away with a victory early on, giving the illusion, if not necessarily the fact, that everyone is in the game at all times.

I was very impressed with Ticket to Ride, and I look forward to playing it again soon. It is clearly a well-developed game and I can see why it won the Spiel des Jahres. I highly recommend it.

The High Line

Posted in Travel on August 22nd, 2011 by Nathan – Be the first to comment

The High Line was once an above-ground train route in NYC that brought freight to the third floor of Chelsea factories. As trucks slowly became the primary means of freight into New York, it became unused, eventually falling into disrepair until it faced demolition.

Some community members decided that, rather than the city destroying the High Line and turning it into yet another dilapidated part of Chelsea, it would make a great park. So construction began, and in June, the High Line opened officially as a new park space.

So Rebecca and I checked it out yesterday and I can report that it’s pretty cool. There’s lots of art including hilarious audio messages at the water fountains (the voice is cold and metallic but the message is encouraging – amusing contrast), great walking, water fixtures for children to play in, benches, and great views.

I recommend making it out to the High Line. It’s a neat new park. It does surprise me that it took an effort to turn it into a park rather than simply demolishing it. The choice is just so obvious now that it’s done, and so much of Chelsea just lies in unused ruins. Adding, not subtracting, is the only way to clean up the rest of the area.