Posts Tagged ‘automobiles’

Psst! Want to read a brilliant, scintillating anecdote? In that case, this isn’t the best blog post for you to check out

October 31, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2016

On the most recent episode of MEMwrites.wordpress.com:

Hurricane Matthew was sweeping along the coast of the Carolinas; the Triangle got some rain — at times heavy rain — along with some flooding and a bit of wind. But otherwise, little weather-related drama took place in my part of the Old North State.

I arrived at the coffee shop without incident and settled in for some hot tea, a snack and a bit of computing.

When the shop closed, I reapplied all my clothing, packed up my computer and headed south toward Ninth Street. Night had more or less fallen, but the wind seemed to have died down a bit, and the rain was unremarkable.

It’s at this point, by the way, that something interesting — but not too interesting — happened. I’ll describe it in a separate post.

And now: The interesting-but-not-too-interesting thing that happened!

By way of context, Joe Van Gogh in Durham, N.C., is located on what I think of as being the ground level of a two-story building on Broad Street. As one moves west toward Broad Street, the earth rises and crests. The upshot of this is that the building’s other level is lower — that is, a basement space. The exterior wall of the lower level is exposed to open air on the east side but effectively buried beneath the sidewalk on the west side.

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The sky observed while driving: Notes from a November afternoon and twilight on the road

November 19, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 19, 2014

On Tuesday, I drove down from the New York metropolitan area to Durham, North Carolina. A little before 4 p.m., while I was motoring south on Interstate 95 in central Virginia, I noticed that a cloud was creating a rainbow.

The sky was mostly clear, but one cloud hung relatively low in front of me. The edges to my right — the trailing edges, I presume — were wispy, and these tendrils of vapor were refracting light from the late-afternoon sun. Small patches of red, yellow and blue faintly shimmered. It was a beautiful and strange sight to behold.

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The parking lot and the stealth engine

October 1, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 1, 2014

There’s a shopping center in Durham called the Bull City Market; it’s bounded on the south by West Main Street and on the east by Broad Street, both of which are major roads. The shopping center’s anchor tenant is Whole Foods, which occupies most of the building. The parking lot is nearly always crowded and difficult to negotiate in a car, so when I visit, I usually park on Iredell Street on the center’s back side.

I did that on Monday afternoon, leaving my car beside St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church and ambling south on Iredell on my way to Mad Hatter Bakeshop and Cafe. I hadn’t walked that way in a while, so my eyes were drawn to the fusion Asian restaurant as I strolled; it didn’t seem busy, and I wondered if it had closed.

As I drew abreast with the restaurant entrance, I noticed something out of place. A metal garbage can was sitting in a parking spot nearest the door, blocking any use of the space by vehicles. This seemed to have been a deliberate move made by someone in charge of the restaurant or the shopping center, although I wasn’t entirely sure why.

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Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 4

December 25, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the fourth and likely final post in a series presenting excerpts from these Centers for Disease Control publications. (The first two entries appeared on Thursday and Friday of last week; the third, on Monday of this week.)

Please enjoy these data on 2009 American deaths:

• There were 5,005 deaths listed as having unspecified intent, meaning authorities could not determine whether the fatalities were intentional or accidental. Of those, 232 involved gunfire.

• Of 25,562 falling deaths, 18 were homicides and 67 had undetermined intent.

• There were 4,211 drownings, most accidental. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 3

December 24, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the third post in a series presenting excerpts from the report. (Here are links to Thursday’s and Friday’s fatality fact roundups.) I’ll probably put up one final fact-filled entry on Tuesday.

Without further delay, we now present the following 2009 death data:

• Murder claimed 5.5 lives per 100,000 Americans. The three highest rates are for these age brackets: 15 to 24 (11.3 deaths per 100,000), 25 to 34 (10.2) and, astonishingly, those younger than 1 (7.4). Those aged 5 to 14 were least vulnerable (0.8).

• The District of Columbia had the nation’s highest homicide rate, with 135 killings translating to 22.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate of 5.5 was less than a fourth of the district’s tally.

• D.C.’s 111 gun deaths, including suicides, homicides and accidents, also made for the nation’s highest rate, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate was 10.2. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 2

December 21, 2012

Yesterday, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the second post in a series presenting excerpts from the report.

I’m planning to post more items containing 2009 death data on Monday and Tuesday of next week; the first item went live Thursday evening. And now, some additional fatality facts:

• A child born in 2009 had an expected life span of 78.5 years. The rate was 76 years for males and 80.9 years for females. For all races, females have longer expected life spans than males.

• A black child born in 2009 was expected to live 74.5 years; a white child, 78.8 years; a Hispanic child, 81.2 years; a non-Hispanic black child, 74.2 years.

• Alzheimer’s disease was first recognized as a cause of death in the late 1970s. It is now the nation’s sixth-leading taker of lives, claiming 79,003 victims in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

On firearms and firearm fatalities

December 20, 2012

Author’s note: This entry was initially posted on the afternoon of Dec. 20. It was extended and re-posted later the same afternoon. Slight edits were also made to the original text. Thank you for reading! MEM

***

The 117-page report compiled by the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control provides detailed breakdowns by age, race and sex for more than 100 different causes of death in the 2009 calendar year.

The nation tallied 2,437,163 deaths that year, with a number of predictable causes leading the way. Heart disease was the top culprit, claiming nearly 600,000 people. Malignant neoplasms, or cancers, finished in second place by ending just shy of 568,000 lives. Chronic lung disease and various ailments that stop or limit blood flow to the brain respectively notched 137,353 and 128,842 deaths.

Accidents or unintentional injuries were responsible for 118,021 fatalities, ranking fifth on the list. Eight of the next 10 causes are diseases, except for suicide (No. 10, 36,909) and assault or homicide (No. 15, 16,799).

Incidentally, the government’s catch-all category, covering all but the top 15 causes of death, accounted for 469,367 deaths, or around 19.3 percent of the total.

These rather dry tables drew my interest because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members. They were all killed by multiple gunshot wounds, like victim No. 27, the shooter’s mother, who was slain in her own bed. (The suspect also dispatched himself with a bullet.)

This horrific event has prompted Americans to begin debating gun safety with a fervor that has perhaps never been matched. It’s resuscitated a great deal of argument over this old saw: “Guns don’t kill people, people do.”

Yet a superficial reading of government statistics indicates that guns do in fact kill.

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