August 7, 1964: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

August 7, 2007

August 7 is the 43rd anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the resolution which authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to move troops into South Vietnam to defend U.S. interests.

The resolution passed Congress after what appeared to be attacks on two U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.  At the time, and now, evidence is weak that such attacks took place.

Santayana’s ghost looks on in wonder.

Structurally deficient bridges in your state? See this cool tool

August 7, 2007

How does your state rank in terms of “structurally deficient bridges?” You can get a per capita report and comparison at this site chock full of statistics comparing states:


Rank States Amount (top to bottom)
#1 Oklahoma: 21.331 per 10,000 people  
#2 Iowa: 17.965 per 10,000 people  
#3 Nebraska: 14.828 per 10,000 people  
#4 South Dakota: 13.493 per 10,000 people  
#5 North Dakota: 13.021 per 10,000 people  
#6 Mississippi: 12.67 per 10,000 people  
#7 Kansas: 12.038 per 10,000 people  
#8 Missouri: 9.094 per 10,000 people  
#9 Wyoming: 8.266 per 10,000 people  
#10 Vermont: 7.881 per 10,000 people  
#11 Montana: 6.231 per 10,000 people  
#12 West Virginia: 5.95 per 10,000 people  
#13 Alabama: 5.678 per 10,000 people  
#14 Louisiana: 4.908 per 10,000 people  
#15 Arkansas: 4.904 per 10,000 people  
#16 Pennsylvania: 4.404 per 10,000 people  
#17 Indiana: 3.366 per 10,000 people  
#18 Wisconsin: 3.183 per 10,000 people  
#19 South Carolina: 2.914 per 10,000 people  
#20 Kentucky: 2.815 per 10,000 people  
#21 New Hampshire: 2.802 per 10,000 people  
#22 Tennessee: 2.772 per 10,000 people  
#23 Maine: 2.762 per 10,000 people  
#24 North Carolina: 2.724 per 10,000 people  
#25 Ohio: 2.712 per 10,000 people  
#26 Minnesota: 2.283 per 10,000 people  
#27 Alaska: 2.17 per 10,000 people  
#28 Idaho: 2.148 per 10,000 people  
#29 New Mexico: 2.012 per 10,000 people  
#30 Illinois: 1.913 per 10,000 people  
#31 Michigan: 1.789 per 10,000 people  
#32 Rhode Island: 1.775 per 10,000 people  
#33 Oregon: 1.541 per 10,000 people  
#34 Virginia: 1.534 per 10,000 people  
#35 Georgia: 1.432 per 10,000 people  
#36 Hawaii: 1.216 per 10,000 people  
#37 Texas: 1.215 per 10,000 people  
#38 New York: 1.16 per 10,000 people  
#39 Utah: 1.093 per 10,000 people  
#40 New Jersey: 0.98 per 10,000 people  
#41 Massachusetts: 0.975 per 10,000 people  
#42 Connecticut: 0.966 per 10,000 people  
#43 Colorado: 0.855 per 10,000 people  
#44 California: 0.805 per 10,000 people  
#45 Maryland: 0.745 per 10,000 people  
#46 Washington: 0.693 per 10,000 people  
#47 Delaware: 0.498 per 10,000 people  
#48 District of Columbia: 0.345 per 10,000 people  
#49 Arizona: 0.286 per 10,000 people  
#50 Nevada: 0.257 per 10,000 people  
#51 Florida: 0.178 per 10,000 people  
  Weighted average: 4.3 per 10,000 people  

DEFINITION: Number of bridges which are structurally deficient. Per capita figures expressed per 10,000 population.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, National Bridge Inventory: Deficient Bridges by State and Highway System, Washington, DC: 2004 via StateMaster

This site has oodles and oodles of great statistics, and a few tools to pull them out and compare. I have not even scratched the surface of utility for the site.

Welcome to StateMaster, a unique statistical database which allows you to research and compare a multitude of different data on US states. We have compiled information from various primary sources such as the US Census Bureau, the FBI, and the National Center for Educational Statistics. More than just a mere collection of various data, StateMaster goes beyond the numbers to provide you with visualization technology like pie charts, maps, graphs and scatterplots. We also have thousands of map and flag images, state profiles, and correlations.

We have stats on everything from toothless residents to percentage of carpoolers. Our database is increasing all the time, so be sure to check back with us regularly.

If you are interested in data on an international scale, be sure to check out NationMaster, our sister site and the world’s largest central database for comparing countries.

What other uses can you find?

Update your list of Utah mine disasters

August 7, 2007

When I put together the addendum list of disasters, to append to the Popular Science list of ten worst natural disasters in the last century in the U.S., I found it difficult to make a natural cutoff of mine disasters. From growing up in Utah I recalled the 1924 Castle Gate mine fire, which was covered fleetingly in Utah history texts, but became relevant during the 1963 potash mine incident. Local newspapers opened their archives, people who had roles in the incidents gave new interviews, and history came alive in the newspapers for a brief period.

A few years later, when I worked public policy for Utah politicians, in discussions of mine safety and the expansion of coal mining, I discovered that the history of Utah accidents had once again slipped from general public recall, and from the text books.

Once again, an accident of unbelievable proportions occurred in a massive coal mine in Utah, in an out-of-the-way place; a handful of people are trapped, and the nation hopes for their safety and prays for their rescue.

To its credit, the Salt Lake Tribune opened its archives again, and provides some historical context; somebody will need this list of Utah mine accidents in a few months, so I preserve it below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

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