Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What is a State's Shaw Index?

I've been doing a little research this afternoon which has mainly consisted of collecting a lot of data on the different states in these United States of America.  As I collected the data, I thought I would give my own rankings of the states.
I asked three questions.  Does the state have enough beer?  Is the state Blue enough? What are the state's religious attitudes?  Since I wanted the Shaw Index of a state to be out of 10 points, I weighted each question at 5, 3, and 2 respectively in terms of importance.  

The beer index was computed by first finding data on breweries per capita for each state.  The smallest was 0.2 and the largest was 6.3.  So, I subtracted 0.2 from every value and divided by 0.61 to make my index out of 10 points.  Oregon scored 10 points on this one.  Mississippi scored 0.  

My Democratic Advantage Index was computed by first finding the percentage of democrats or those that lean democrat minus the percentage of republicans or those that lean republican.  The minimum value was -35.5, and the maximum value was 21.8.  So, I added 35.5 to every value and divided by 5.73 to make my index out of 10 points. Massachusetts scored a 10, while Wyoming scored 0. 

My religious index was computed by first finding the percentage of individuals in the state who are NOT Religious and subtracted the percentage of individuals in the state that are VERY religious.  This gave a minimum value of -51 and a maximum value of 34.  So, I added 51 to every value and divided by 8.5 to make the index out of 10 points.  Vermont scored 10 points, while Mississippi scored 0.  

And finally, the Shaw Index of each state was computed using the weights I mentioned previously.  Here are the top 10 and bottom 10 states and their respective Shaw Index scores. 

Top Ten
1. Vermont 9.619603468
2. Oregon 8.608007391
3. Maine 7.442944054
4. Colorado 6.909343808
5. Washington 6.783063307
6. Montana 6.241676806
7. Alaska 5.840852843
8. Massachusetts 5.396142719
9. New Hampshire 5.176209061
10. California 4.89817385

Bottom 10 
1. Utah 1.099424942
2. Mississippi 1.429319372
3. Alabama 1.49611798
4. Tennessee 2.006263537
5. Louisiana 2.149722064
6. Georgia 2.218384688
7. Oklahoma 2.21904608
8. Arkansas 2.282781079
9. South Carolina 2.28290427
10. Texas 2.465057783

Montana and Alaska having a higher Shaw Index than California seems surprising.  It is also surprising that California has a Shaw Index lower than 5.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Take Me to Broadchurch

Broadchurch is a TV program with 8 episodes from BBC America.  I just finished it a few days ago.  After watching the first episode, I was able to confidently recommend it to all of my Facebook friends.  Now that I've experienced the entire first season, I stand behind that recommendation.

This TV series gives the viewer a brand new experience, and is not your everyday cop show.  When I found out that it was about the murder of a small boy in a coastal town, I immediately thought of The Killing.  In fact, there are several similarities to The Killing, in that we slowly uncover secrets behind all these prime suspects and get a decent hook from episode to episode.  The only difference is that it isn't dragged out into 13 episodes, where plot twist after plot twist begins to feel like a reach.  We get a similar, but much better experience in 8.

Broadchurch invests several episodes (maybe 2 too many) in developing several characters.  The setting is gorgeous and the camera work is excellent.  The investment you put into the first 7 episodes will be worth it, when you ride the roller coaster of pain and emotion that is the 8th episode.  Never has a TV program took me on that kind of ride.

Several TV shows have tried to take me on this kind of ride, but it is usually one of reflection after the show is over.  In discussion afterwards, I can reflect on what several characters were feeling at different points along the show (if I want to).  This is not necessary with Broadchurch.  Indeed, I felt all of these emotions in the last episode.  This is the success of Broadchurch.

How would you feel if...

  • you found out you lived with a killer?
  • you found someone close to you was living with a killer? How is it possible that they wouldn't know?
  • you found out you were adopted? 
  • and on top of that, your biological father was a pedophile? 
  • all you wanted in your whole being was to catch the killer, but in finally reaching your goal, you ruin innocent lives?
  • there was no reason why the killer is the way he/she is? 
Every episode of Broadchurch is top notch.  However, all of these feelings culminate in the last episode, at which point you realize that this was what you were watching it for in the first place. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Followers: Let Me Dote On You

I have 3 followers of The Shaw Show.  Let me dote on them a while.  We'll start with my first follower: my cousin Joe Weeks.

Joe's birthday was yesterday, and I forgot to wish him a happy birthday.  This really was pathetic of me, since he didn't forget to wish me a happy birthday two days ago when it was mine.  Although we were born exactly 365 days apart, the leap year of 1976 caused us to have birthdays a day apart.

Joe and I represent the youngest of the cousins on my mothers (Weeks) side of the family.  My mother was the youngest of 10 children, so it is not surprising that I am the youngest of the cousins.  However, Joe's father, my uncle Jim, was the oldest of 10 children.  So, it is rather interesting that he produced the second youngest of the cousins.   Jim also produced the oldest of the cousins, older than my mom in fact.

Joe and I were born in the same Chinese Zodiac year (Jan. 31, 1976-Feb. 17, 1977), which makes us both Dragons.  According to those place mats at the Chinese restaurants, which are far from accurate, I was a Snake.  I thought I was a Snake for the longest time in my life.  Honestly, my life didn't change much when I realized I was a Dragon instead.  But, it was a fun realization.

Joe is an awesome photographer.  He is an amazing thinker.  Because of his wonderful ability to critically think about the world, Joe and I can sit and talk for hours.  Joe is very family centered and cares very deeply for family.  He is as kind a man as any I know.  Thanks for following me, Joe.

Amanda comes next.  Amanda believed in me.  She is the reason I began serving on the board for the United Way of Adair County.  I remember being floored by the amount of passion she brought (and continues to bring) to the United Way.  

Amanda often tells me she is a big fan of The Shaw Show.  She often refers to Erin and me as one of her favorite couples.  She knows how to make me feel good about myself, and can put a smile on my face.

Amanda attended her last United Way Board meeting Tuesday, and it felt like the end of a legacy.  She did so much for the United Way and will continue to do so behind the scenes. By inviting me to the board, Amanda indirectly gave me new goals to pursue, new paths to explore, and something very positive with which to fill a void in my life that I didn't even realize was present.

Thanks for being you, Amanda.  You're superhuman with a super awesome blog.

Then there is Jonathan.  I call him Chops, now.  His wife is Scrappy.  They were given these names on MBT3, our first major trip together.  I remember sitting in the Steak 'n Shake on our way home, and telling both them that we wanted to keep them.  We continue to reign.

Jonathan is ambitious, motivated, driven, and extremely talented.  He has a system that keeps him supremely organized.  He is very witty, and funny at all the right moments.

Chops has made me feel important to a degree higher than I previously imagined possible.  He hasn't accomplished this through flattery either, but through action.  I talk about brewing beer.  He thinks he should try it, too. Then he tries it and makes good beer.  I talk about riding my bike across Iowa,  He thinks he should try that, too.  Then he rides the next two RAGBRAIs.

Anybody can tell me, "hey, that's great, you rode your bike across Iowa.... good job."  But what kind of friend hops on a bike, trains his ass off, and rides it with you?  (He describes it much better here.)  I pale in comparison.  Jonathan has been in the top of my friend list for quite a while.  Regardless of where life takes me, he will definitely remain there.  Put 'er there, bro.

Thanks for being my followers.  You're the best.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Craft Beer Culture: Continue Like Nothing Happened

American Homebrewers Association members enjoy the bi-monthly Zymurgy magazine.  In the Jan/Feb 2015 issue, on page 54, there is a recipe called the Citra Nupti-Ale.  This was put together for a wedding reception as a gift to the bride and groom.  Anyway, I purchased the ingredients and made it last night.

While I made it, I pondered over the Budweiser commercial that they played during the Super Bowl that took some jabs at craft beer.  The knee jerk reaction I felt was the desire to punch somebody in the face really hard.  If you haven't watched it yet, here it is.  I encourage you to dislike it (as of 2/5/2015, 2:13pm it has 976 likes and 7079 dislikes).  

I'm usually one to really enjoy a good Budweiser commercial.  They are very good.  However, the usual response I hear from my craft beer loving friends after watching a delightful advertisement from Bud is "That was really good... but I still won't drink Budweiser."

Then, there was this.  When you really think about it, this is a pretty brilliant move by Budweiser.  They lost us a long time ago.  They know it.  But they have also figured out that what is really damaging them is how alluring the craft beer culture is.  Indeed, we're fun loving people who genuinely love beer (and not just light American lagers), and encourage others to try something different than their usual American Lager.

There have been several occasions when I'm among craft beer lovers, but there is that outlying person  or persons who just wants to drink their light American lager.  Many don't give a shit what we think, but there are a few of these people who physically show and feel some kind of guilt that they're not taking a risk and trying some new things. This demographic of people teetering between their regular Bud or Bud Light and experimenting are exactly the people to which Budweiser needs to cater.

This commercial was meant to make those that like their lagers feel comfortable and cool in their decision, so that they can keep on making that decision without feeling guilty.  In order to pull it off successfully, they had to throw some punches and make an effort of painting us, the craft beer lovers, as some sissy elitists.

The craft beer culture has never been about hating Budweiser.  Now that Budweiser has punched us in the gut, they may succeed in changing that.  We should all stop and consider if that may have been their intent.