AMERICAN RELIGION AND OPTIMISM: Americans’ emphasis on individualism and work ethic stands out in surveys of people around the world. 57% of Americans disagreed with: “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control” – far above the global median of 38%.
Wealthier nations tend to be less religious, but USA is a prominent exception. More than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, much higher than Canada (24%), Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest economies surveyed. 53% say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France.
U.S. more likely to say “today is a good day” than other rich countries (Pew Research Center)
The first influx of Irish occurred during the potato famine in 1845.
Russians in the first decade of the 20th Century was driven by anti-Semitic violence of the Russian pogroms (riots).
In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, army conscription and the forced assimilation of minority groups drove people to the U.S. in the early 1900s.
Since WWII, Central and South America and Asia have replaced Europe as the largest source of immigrants to the U.S. Immigration shrunk to almost nothing as restrictions tightened during WWII, and then gradually expanded to reach its largest extent ever in the first decade of the 21st Century.
200 Years of Immigration in the USA (Insightful Interaction)
UNIQUE JOBS BY STATE: Washington, D.C. is truly a mecca for political scientists. The district has 120 times the number of political scientists than would be expected based on the national average. Sunny Florida is home to an unusual percentage of athletes, while Hawaii has dancers and New York has fashion designers. Nevada has 32 times more gaming supervisors than the national average. And New Jersey is, for whatever reason, home to lots of marriage and family therapists.
Graphic: The United States of odd jobs (Pew Charitable Trust)
USA IN 4 PRESIDENTIAL LIFETIMES: When President Obama was born in 1961, President Herbert Hoover was still alive. When Hoover was born in 1874, President Andrew Johnson was still alive. When President Johnson was born in 1808, President John Adams was still alive. Charlie Chaplin and 50 Cent were both alive at the same time. So were the Egyptian pharaohs and the wooly mammoth. Paul Revere and Karl Marx shared a planet, just barely, as did Betty White and Alexander Graham Bell. America is only as old the lifetimes of four American presidents.
American presidential lifetimes overlapped (Philip Bump)
European Discoveries: Actual European discoveries – that is land unknown to humans before the Age of Exploration.
First discovery was by Portugal in 1418 with the greatest current population on discovered land.
Russia has the greatest total area discovered of 74,634 square km.
Islands and Ice, Mostly (Bill Rankin, 2013)
Fields of Commemoration: World War I (1914-1918) claimed over 10.5M lives. World War II (1939-1945) claimed 50M lives.
Following the end of the First World War, the poppy became a symbol of commemoration. It was among the first plants to spring to life on Europe’s devastated battlefields. Its color, reminiscent of bloodshed, and its resilient yet delicate nature evoke the human relationship to war.
TRUCK DRIVER MOST COMMON JOB: Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can’t drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can’t drive cars (yet).
The most common job in D.C. is lawyer.
Northern Virginia is full of federal contractors — many of whom work as software developers.
Most Common Job in Every State (Source: IPUMS-CPS/ University Of Minnesota; Credit: Quoctrung Bui/NPR)
GETTING BUFF BUT GOING DEAF? High-intensity fitness classes are even noisier than they were a decade ago, with indoor cycling classes topping the list of culprits, blaring tunes as loud as 99 decibels.
Adults can safely tolerate 85 decibels for up to eight hours.
The human ear can handle 91 decibels for two hours, and 94 decibels for just one hour.
A sign that it’s too loud: You experience ringing in your ears — tinnitus — after you’ve stepped out of the gym. You might also have temporary hearing loss.