Trains, Planes, and Automobiles: A Comparison (Kind of)

Travelling by plane can often be a hassle because getting from the airport to the destination is not always easy. Suffice it to say your humble author has—on a few occasions—been almost stranded at Philadelphia International because of no way to get where I was going. A lot of that comes down to poor public transit options. In my cases, it mostly stemmed from terrible weather delaying my flight until the wee hours of the morning after which train service stops.

Thankfully, Five Thirty Eight took a look at the public transit vs. car options for various cities/airports and seeing which option is faster. Ultimately Philly is awarded an honourable mention because the R1 (what some people now call the Airport Line) is convenient if your timing is right. Mine, obviously, has never been.

Travel times to downtowns
Travel times to downtowns

Credit for the piece goes to Allison McCann.

Board Games

On New Year’s Eve, well technically in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, the group with which I was spending the holiday broke out Settlers of Catan. We played that game—and drank a few bottles of champagne—until 04.00. My experience of playing the game—not necessarily the part about being inebriated on New Year’s Eve—bears out the increasing popularity of board games. This article from FiveThirtyEight seeks to understand what makes particular board games popular. And, because I am mentioning it on this blog, it has a few charts worth noting.

Game ratings organised by year of introduction
Game ratings organised by year of introduction

Credit for the piece goes to Rasmus Greve.

Stop the Music

I get that a lot of you like Christmas. That’s great. But for those of not terribly attached to it for more than the days off work, listening to music can switch from being relaxing to aggravating right quick. Thankfully we have FiveThirtyEight to examine just how ridiculous this all-Christmas-all-the-time trend has become.

The combined plays of two Christmas songs
The combined plays of two Christmas songs

Credit for the piece goes to Walt Hickey.

The 76ers Are a Terrible Basketball Team

The Philadelphia 76ers are a terrible basketball team. FiveThirtyEight details the deficiencies of the team in this small table. Icons represent characteristics that can be either positive or negative. They are then placed within the table to quickly show how awful the team is. My favourite is the icon for poor player.

Just terrible
Just terrible

Credit for the piece goes to the FiveThirtyEight graphics department.

How Late is Fashionable?

The weekend has come and gone. And with it undoubtedly some house parties. But the looming question over any such party is when will the guests arrive. To answer that Five Thirty Eight took a look at one joint birthday party and here are the results.

One party's arrival times
One party’s arrival times

Credit for the piece goes to Walt Hickey.

Farewell, Summer (Jobs)

Sorry (American) folks, but Labour Day just came and went. And for us (Americans) that means summer has “officially” ended. Back in the day, for your humble author, that meant preparing to wrap up my summer employment at the Jersey Shore. The Sidewalk Sale was the great clearing of summer stock and most of us teenagers’ last working day. Fast-forward a decade and it turns out most teenagers are no longer working summer jobs. Five Thirty Eight put together a small set of graphics to support an article explaining the decline. (It’s not all recession-related.)

Teen employment in summer by gender
Teen employment in summer by gender

Welcome to autumn, folks.

Credit for the piece goes to Ben Casselman.

Scrabble Scores

Turns out that a large vocabulary is not necessarily what wins you games of Scrabble. Instead it has more to do with probabilities and statistics of values assigned to letters. Five Thirty Eight has a nice piece that charts the high scores of Scrabble games.

Scrabble scores of the 2013 championship
Scrabble scores of the 2013 championship

Credit for the piece goes to Oliver Roeder.

Defining the Midwest

Last Friday, we looked at how one individual defined the state of Florida. Today, we look at how FiveThirtyEight attempted to get lots of people to define the Midwest.

Defining the midwest
Defining the midwest

Personally, as someone from Philadelphia I tend to side with the author of the article, Walter Hickey. He writes he’s “from New York, and [he] generally consider[s] anything west of Philadelphia the Midwest.” That’s pretty much the truth.

And if you like this piece, check out the subsequent piece on defining the South.

Credit for the piece goes to Allison McCann. 

Strolling into Work…

…forty minutes late with an iced coffee? It’s what we millennials do since we don’t understand that time exists between 04.00 and 10.30. Don’t believe me? Well, Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight crunched the numbers and it turns out that there is some truth in the humour. Cities with a younger, more millennial workforce tend to see workdays start later.

Selected cities in the Eastern and Central time zones
Selected cities in the Eastern and Central time zones

Credit for the piece goes to Allison McCann.