Tag Archives: lists

Sarasota Is The Best Artsy Small City For 2012

American Style magazine puts out a list each year of the best destinations for art. The list is split by city size  — large, medium and small — and Sarasota went from #5 on the small city list in 2011 to #1 this year. Which of course means that it now holds two titles, along with the #1 beach in the country. The magazine also points out how eight cities in all three categories were located in Florida — five of them in its southwest. The other Floridian small cities were Bradenton in second place, Key West in fourth and Naples in ninth. For mid-sized cities, St. Petersburg came in first as it did last year, Tampa came in third, and Miami seventh. For big cities, Jacksonville was 15th.

LEGO Terra Cotta army at the 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival


It must be mentioned again, as it was last year, that the classification system they use for cities is ludicrous: it would be laughable if anyone in the real world labeled Miami a mid-sized city with a straight face, while calling Albuquerque, Nashville and Portland big cities. The magazine is probably using city limits to define boundaries, which leads to exactly this kind of problem. In practice, city limits mean very little, which is why the US government uses Metropolitan Statistical Areas instead. It wouldn’t hurt at all if American Style followed suit. Another problem with the lists is that they’re based on reader polls, so it’s at least somewhat of a popularity contest, especially among the smaller cities.

With those caveats, the top five cities in each category:

Big Cities:

  1. New York
  2. Washington D.C.
  3. Chicago
  4. San Francisco
  5. Boston

Mid-sized Cities:

  1. St. Petersburg, FL
  2. Dayton, OH
  3. Tampa
  4. Alexandria, VA
  5. New Orleans

Small Cities:

  1. Sarasota, FL
  2. Bradenton, FL
  3. Asheville, NC
  4. Key West
  5. Santa Fe, NM

Speaking of titles, it should be mentioned that in 2006, Sarasota was also named the meanest city in America toward the homeless, due to its no-camping law.

See also:

From American Style

Accidental Prophecies

Cracked has an article about insane coincidences that actually happened:

  • The Civil War started in Wilmer McLean‘s front yard and ended in his parlor: in 1861 the first cannonball shot of the war landed in his house in northern Virginia; a couple years later he moved 120 miles southwest, to central Virginia; by coincidence, in 1865 General Lee surrendered in McLean’s new house.
  • Ohio is the home state to the first aviators (the Wright brothers), the first American to orbit the Earth (John Glenn), the first person to set foot on the moon (Neil Armstrong), and 22 other astronauts — by far the most of any state.
  • The Battle of Midway in World War II was almost won by the Japanese until, by coincidence, American bombers from elsewhere arrived at the exact moment when all of the Japanese planes were refueling on the Japanese aircraft carriers. Within minutes, all three of them were destroyed along with all of their aircraft.
  • Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — respectively, the 2nd and 3rd Presidents of the US — died on July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years after they both signed the Declaration of Independence. The 5th President, James Monroe, also died on July 4th, in 1831. And the famous Civil War Battle of Gettysburg also ended on July 4th, in 1863.

Those are interesting coincidences, but the other two they mention are actually more like accidental prophecies.

The Cannibalism of Richard Parker

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a book called The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which is a sea-faring story that inspired Moby Dick. In it there is a part where four sailors are stranded at sea without food and water, which eventually causes them to resort to killing and eating one of the characters, Richard Parker. The book was published in 1838, but guess what happened in real life forty-six years later, in 1884? Four sailors got stranded at sea without food and water, which eventually caused them to resort to killing and eating one of their numbers, a Richard Parker.

The real life story is interesting on its own, too: the four sailors were transporting a yacht called the Mignonette from England to Australia when it sank in the South Atlantic. After almost three weeks during which all they had to eat was a turtle and two cans of turnips, and during which Richard Parker became comatose and dying after falling ill from drinking sea water, they cut his jugular and ate him. Almost another week later, they were rescued by a German ship. Two of the three survivors were put on trial for murder; the third was not part of the killing, though he did eat a lot of Mr. Parker. After a famous trial full of legal errors, the two were found guilty and sentenced to death, but due to public opinion in favor of the defendants, their sentence was commuted to six months in prison by the secretary of the UK Home Office, who is kind of like the US Attorney General.

Richard Parker's tombstone


The Unsinkable Titan(ic)

Construction of the Titanic started in 1909 and the infamous sinking happened in 1912. But fourteen years earlier, in 1898, a book came out called Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, which describes in amazing detail the sinking of a ship much like the Titanic:

  • In the book, the ship is called the Titan
  • The book describes the Titan as “unsinkable”; the media used the same word for the Titanic
  • The Titan was 800 ft long — the Titanic 883
  • The Titan displaced 75,000 tons — the Titanic 53,000
  • They both had a capacity of 3,000 people
  • They both carried less than half the number of lifeboats needed: 24 for the Titan, 20 for the Titanic
  • The Titan had 19 water-tight compartments — the Titanic, 16
  • The Titan could stay afloat with 9 flooded compartments — the Titanic, 4
  • They both hit an iceberg 400 miles from Newfoundland on an April night
  • They were both going too fast when they hit the iceberg: the Titan at 25 knots, the Titanic at 22.5
  • The Titan was carrying 2500 passengers — the Titanic, 2200
  • Both went down bow first

There are differences too: the Titan was sailing backwards from the Titanic, from the US to Britain; 710 people survived the Titanic, but only 13 survived the Titan; the Titanic took over two hours to sink, but the Titan sank within minutes; the Titan had sails to assist the engines, and the Titanic did not. Still, the similarities are astounding.

R.M.S. Titanic Embarking on Fatal Maiden Voyage


Perhaps prophets, like dinosaurs, didn’t go extinct, and instead they evolved into fiction writers. In any case, these two are way better prophets than Nostradamus.

From Cracked


Where Not To Live

Forbes has a list of the ten metropolitan areas that have the highest violent crime rates. They only counted areas with more than 200,000 people since crime in smaller ones tends to fluctuate too much, and they used FBI data from 2010 on murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

If you’re wondering what “forcible rape” is, it’s just regular rape: in legalese, they distinguish between rape and sleeping with a minor by calling them forcible rape and statutory rape; kind of like distinguishing between beating someone up and wrestling with your younger friend by calling them forcible assault and statutory assault — because the minor can’t consent to wrestling.

Photo by David Boyle


Anyway, here are the areas with the highest violent crime, along with the rates per 100,000:

  1. Detroit, MI (1,111) — consistently one of the most dangerous cities in America
  2. Memphis, TN (1,006) — and you thought it was all country music and grits
  3. Springfield, IL (855) — yeah, New York and LA aren’t even on this list, but Springfield is. If you’ve never looked at a map wondering if that’s where the Simpsons live (it’s not), the city is in southern Illinois, pretty close to St. Louis (which is also surprisingly absent from this list).
  4. Flint, MI (827) — both the #1 and #4 spots: way to go, auto industry.
  5. Anchorage, AK (813) — and you thought it was all loggers and soldiers. Oh wait…
  6. Lubbock, TX (808) — the middle of nowhere in northwest Texas has 280,000 people and apparently a lot of violence
  7. Stockton, CA (805) — there’s a trend developing here with places you’ve never heard of; this one’s just east of the San Francisco Bay area.
  8. Tallahassee, FL (775) — home of Florida State University and its Seminoles, so this makes sense.
  9. Las Vegas, NV (763) — what’s surprising isn’t that it’s on the list, but how low it is; you know, since its economy is based on gambling, sex and drugs.
  10. Rockford, IL (760) — another name with no fame; it might as well be in Wisconsin, but it’s a little northwest of Chicago.

So what have we learned? First, big cities aren’t all that bad. Second, medium-town, USA is not all that good. Third, Michigan and Illinois are not friendly places. Fourth, the Northeast, the Northwest and Hawaii are the only parts of the country not in the top ten. And finally, even the worst violent crime rate is still just 1%, meaning that the difference between Detroit and Provo, UT (by far the safest place) is that nothing happened to 98.9% of the people in one, and nothing happened to 99.9% in the other. You can see the complete data set on the FBI website.

From Forbes and the FBI

Florida Gators Are Smart And Romantic

Assuming buying a lot of books in general means you’re well-read and smart, and buying romantic books, movies, music and — ahem — paraphernalia means you’re romantic, then Gainesville, the venerable home of the University of Florida (go Gators!) has a lot of smart and romantic people. Amazon has access to a lot of data on what people buy, and last year they released a list of the top 20 most romantic cities, on which Gainesville was sixth. This year, they released a list of the top 20 most well-read cities, on which Gainesville was eighth.

The lists, however, contained all but two of the same cities in somewhat different orders… so maybe these 20 cities just buy a lot of stuff from Amazon? The CS Monitor notes that many of the cities on these lists are home to major universities, and maybe they’re actually measuring how affluent or educated their population is. Whatever underlying trait is responsible for these lists though, it seems to be a good thing.

Ranking Most Romantic Cities Most Well-Read Cities
1 Alexandria, VA Cambridge, MA
2 Miami, FL Alexandria, VA
3 Cambridge, MA Berkley, CA
4 Ann Arbor, MI Ann Arbor, MI
5 Berkley, CA Boulder, CO
6 Gainesville, FL Miami, FL
7 Arlington, VA Salt Lake City, UT
8 Salt Lake City, UT Gainesville, FL
9 Pittsburgh, PA Seattle, WA
10 Orlando, FL Arlington, VA
11 Washington, DC Knoxville, TN
12 Bellevue, WA Orlando, FL
13 Seattle, WA Pittsburgh, PA
14 Richmond, VA Washington, DC
15 Cincinnati, OH Bellevue, WA
16 Knoxville, TN Columbia, SC
17 Columbia, MO St. Louis, MO
18 Tallahassee, FL Cincinnati, OH
19 Columbia, SC Portland, OR
20 Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA

Via The Christian Science Monitor

Sarasota Among Top 25 Arts Destinations For 2011

American Style magazine has a somewhat confusing list of arts destinations — it says there are 25 of them, but separately lists the top 25 big cities, mid-sized cities and small cities: 75 total. More so, it seems to go by the strict definition of city limits which places for example, Miami in the mid-size class while Tucson is in the big class; nevermind that the county Miami’s in is almost three times as populous as the one that claims Tucson; and that no one in their right mind would call Miami a mid-sized city and put it in the same class as Colorado Springs. Perhaps next time they should go by Metropolitan Statistical Area, hmmm?

Sarasota Opera


But misguided classification aside, Sarasota was 5th on the list of small cities. Florida made a big splash in general, however: St. Petersburg was 1st among the mid-sized cities, Tampa 7th, and Miami 10th; Key West was 7th among the small cities, Bradenton was 10th, and Naples was 18th. Below, the top five in each category; the lists are compiled from a poll of the magazine’s readers.

Big Cities:

  1. New York
  2. Chicago
  3. Washington D.C.
  4. San Francisco
  5. Boston

Mid-sized Cities:

  1. St. Petersburg, FL
  2. Savannah, GA
  3. New Orleans
  4. Charleston, SC
  5. Scottsdale, AZ

Small Cities:

  1. Asheville, NC
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Gloucester, MA
  4. Saugatuck, MI
  5. Sarasota, FL

From American Style, via The Herald-Tribune