Weekly Links

Millennials Hate Fruit, But Love Eggs (They’re Also More Educated and Paid Less Than Older Generations)

Land Use/Environment

Sandstorms: The Tsunamis of Land

From The Atlantic. Sandstorms are both beautiful and terrifying. They can simply be a wall of quickly moving sand across the landscape or they can take the shape of a cyclonic storm spinning over the desert. Though less dangerous than tsunamis, sandstorm are similar in that they quickly inundate everything in their path.

The Atlantic put together a beautiful photo gallery ranging from images of walls of sand hundreds of feet high moving into downtown Phoenix to satellite images of hurricane-like sandstorms spinning over Africa. Several weeks ago we posted NASA’s simulation of how tropical cyclones and other atmospheric forces can spread sand, dust, aerosols, and other particles thousands of miles across the world.

Phoenix Sandstorm

Sandstorm Moving Over Phoenix. Image Credit: Alan Stark


Law/Urban Planning

Children Can Finally Walk the Streets Alone in Utah

From The Washington Post. Last week Utah passed a “Free-Range Parenting” law designed to exempt from the definition of child neglect certain activities including walking to and from school and local shops without parental supervision. Exemption, though, is based on the child being of “sufficient age and maturity” to do these activities alone. The lack of a clear definition allows the analysis of neglect to be on a case-by-case basis, which is similar to other tort laws (things like negligence, nuisance, etc.).

Utah lawmakers said they were motivated to pass the law from reports of unreasonable arrests and citations of parents in other states, though they acknowledged that such citations are rare. Despite fear-mongering from news outlets and some politicians, America’s cities have experienced historically low crime rates for many years. Children are much more likely to be injured in a car accident than to be abducted by a stranger. Drivers are likely the biggest threat to children walking the streets alone, particularly in suburban areas where intersections are larger and cars are travelling at high speeds.

Buford Highway

Buford Highway in Atlanta is probably not the best place for younger children to be walking around unsupervised. Image Credit: Thomson200



America’s Quietest Roads

From GeoTab. Speaking of roads, the data firm Geo Tab put together a list of the least-traveled roads in each state. They also created a list of the most scenic, least traveled roads in America.

Unsurprisingly, the top three most-scenic, least traveled roads are out west, but the east coast is well represented.

Colonial Parkway, Virginia

Virginia’s Colonial Parkway. Image Credit: Rogerd



Millennials Hate Fruit, But Love Eggs (They’re Also More Educated and Paid Less Than Older Generations)

From Associated Press, NonProfit Vote, The Hill, and the Bureau of Labor StatisticsAsking what Millennials think about any given issue is like asking about the Beltline in a discussion that involves Atlanta; society requires us to ask these questions to an absurd degree. There is no exact definition of the term”Millennial,” but it generally refers to those people born between the early 1980’s and the late 1990’s/early 2000’s.

While talking about Millennials has become tiresome, it is important to understand the issues and problems facing each generation. Millennials have faced harsh criticism from older generations for being lazy and buying too many avocados and bread and then recklessly combining the avocados with the toasted bread. Criticism of a younger generation by an older generation is hardly new, though. However, recent hard data and poll numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Associated Press show the criticism of Millennials to be largely without merit.

Milliennials work longer hours and take fewer vacation days than older generations. They’re more educated, have more debt (due to that education), are paid less, have higher housing costs, and are less likely to have a job with health insurance and retirement benefits compared to older generations at the same age. Interestingly, Millennials spend more on fresh vegetables and eggs than older generations, but older generations spend more on fresh fruit. Millennials do spend 6 percent more of their income on take-out food than older generations, but spend fewer actual dollars than older generations on that take-out food.

Politically, Millennials are not fans of Donald Trump. In the 2016 election, Mr. Trump did, however, receive a larger percentage of votes from Millennials than Mitt Romney did in the 2012 presidential election (though both received far fewer votes than the Democratic candidates). A recent poll by the Associated Press of Americans aged 15-34, shows that 67 percent disapprove of Mr. Trump with 47 percent strongly disapproving. Only 4 percent of respondents believed that elected officials cared a great deal about their issues.

Fortunately for Mr. Trump and incumbent elected officials, young people have low voter turnout rates. According to Nonprofit Vote, in the 2014 midterm elections only 24 percent of eligible voters between ages 18 and 29 voted. However, the AP poll asked respondents to indicate how likely there were to vote in the 2018 midterm elections using a scale of 0-10 with 10 indicating they were certain to vote. Thirty-four percent responded with a 10 while an additional 37 percent responded with numbers between 5 and 9.

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