Even I adore ya, my Victoria-aaa-a-a-a

According to Richard Florida’s latest in the Globe, I’m living in the wrong city.

1. Ottawa-Gatineau
2. Calgary
3. Whitehorse
4. Yellowknife
5. Iqaluit
6. Edmonton
7. Guelph
8. Victoria
9. Toronto
10. Montreal

Hmmm…#9, and behind some cities that I really have no desire in which to live. Also, the older you get, the better an option Toronto is for you, according to Florida: It’s #2 for families with children, #1 for empty-nesters and #2 for retirees. It doesn’t even show up in the top ten for single people. Not that I am, but that ranking says something about the city, or at least Florida’s perception of it.

I suppose I’d have to buy Who’s Your City to know exactly what criteria Florida uses. I suspect growth potential of the economy plays a large part (otherwise I can’t imagine Whitehorse-Yellowknife-Iqaluit going 3-4-5), but there are likely specific industries centered around Toronto and Montreal that would skew the scores for some people.

Anyway, having just gotten a taste of Ottawa winter (and having lived there for an entire humid-ass summer), I don’t think that #1 rating’s gonna sway me.

I still don't know what "life evaluation" means though

A few weeks ago Richard Florida’s blog ran a whole series of charts showing (American) state-by-state trends in quality-of-life indices — physical health, GDP per capita, etc. — for what Florida has famously dubbed the Creative Class, vs. the Working Class.

In this series, though, Florida wasn’t touting the advantages of the creative class so much as he was worried by the outlook for the working class.

So maybe it’s time to think twice when we hear how important it is to save “good” working class jobs.  Individually, that may well be the case. Some of these jobs pay very well, and lots of people who lose them may find it difficult, perhaps impossible, to find similar work at their pay levels

But from the point of view of society and economic development broadly, it’s important to recognize that states with large concentrations of working class jobs do very poorly in terms of wealth and well-being.

These findings distress me personally. Looking them over and over, I found myself thinking back to advice  my father – who spent more then 50 years as a worker in a Newark eyeglass factory – gave my brother and I long ago. “Boys,” he said, “I do this so you won’t have to. That’s why you have to stay in school, study hard, and go to college.” I understand much better now what he was driving at.

Me too.

Including the phone call where they pretend the band has broken up?

I’m now more than 90% of the way through my MBA program. To tell you the truth I haven’t been thinking about it much lately. I haven’t worked on it — no reading, no writing, no ‘rithmetic-ing — for about a month, but I have an assignment due six days from now, so I think I know where my weekend is headed.


Man, would I love to go to Summercase in Spain this July. I have no desire to see an outdoor music festival, but Sweet Screaming Jesus would I ever love to see Mogwai play the entire Young Team album live.


This Richard Florida blog post contains three things that shock me:

  1. there are 17 large American urban school systems which have an expected high school graduation rate of below 50%;
  2. the average for the fifty largest American cities is 51.8%;
  3. the Detroit city school district — worst in the country — projects that less than one student in four will graduate.

Toronto, by comparison, runs about 75%.

[tags]mba, mogwai, young team, summercase, richard florida, american school system[/tags]

"Immigrants, liberals, weirdos, atheists"

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve completely forgotten the whole fatblogging thing. Just as well; not much has happened since it slipped my mind back in November. Stayed pretty much the same, went up around Christmas came back down to about 224 where I’ve been sitting for weeks. The cold this past week hasn’t helped anything. I’m hoping to start running again on Tuesday, maybe.


Watched the remake of 3:10 To Yuma (imdb | rotten tomatoes) today. It was pretty good indeed. I don’t normally care much for Russell Crowe, but I think he was well-suited to this role and Christian Bale was great as always. Funny how a Brit and an Aussie would play two cowboys, no? Anyway, it was a solid film, especially if you like westerns.


This article in the New York Times [via Richard Florida] contains some interesting insights on the threats to science in the U.S.:

Many Americans remain ignorant about much of science, the board said; for example, many are unable to answer correctly when asked if the Earth moves around the Sun (it does). But they are not noticeably more ignorant than people in other developed countries except on two subjects: evolution and the Big Bang. Although these ideas are organizing principles underlying modern biology and physics, many Americans do not accept them.

“These differences probably indicate that many Americans hold religious beliefs that cause them to be skeptical of established scientific ideas,” the report said, “even when they have some basic familiarity with those ideas.”

Florida takes issue with this explanation:

This is not just a question of religion, many Americans are more than skeptical, they dislike, are fearful of and are angered by the institutions which develop science and help provide the broad eco-system of innovation. They view leading universities as places filled with “immigrants, liberals, weirdos, atheists” and so on, who’s views are antithetical to “family values.”

I’m not sure I agree with Dr. Florida’s theory, though I admit I have no data either way. It simply seems easier to accept the religious influence suggested in the article, as I know the that schism exists in the U.S. I cannot, on the other hand, figure out how the opinion described by Dr. Florida could have taken hold. I’m not saying it didn’t; I would just be stunned if it had. Stunned, and even more fearful of what’s happening south of the border.

[tags]fatblogging, 3:10 to yuma, richard florida, new york times, science, evolution, big bang[/tags]

I guess a resounding caucus win'll do that for you

Five days ago I read a post on Richard Florida’s blog, in which he pointed to an expert opinion on the upcoming US presidential elections:

Obama is going to win it all — Iowa, the nomination, the Presidency. And I think it ultimately comes down to the fact that he is a rare combination in American politics, in that he is both the “emotional” choice and the “electable” choice. … Traditionally, we’ve always had to make a tradeoff between the emotional and the electable choices … But with Obama the two sets overlap.

While that struck me as a bold claim, the author that Florida quoted is surely more knowledgeable about American politics than I, so while I couldn’t dismiss the prediction, I was certainly skeptical.

Then today I read another post on RF’s blog. Take a look at the chart in that post. As my friend Evan would say…”Shift Of Power!” Fine, these are only prediction markets (a description Florida takes a poke at, since they’re awfully reactionary) but suddenly what seemed dubious five days ago seems pretty smart now.

[tags]richard florida, barack obama, prediction markets[/tags]