Every day millions of Americans travel across bridges without giving any thought to the structural integrity of that bridge. Why should we worry? I mean, we vote for and pay politicians to ensure that the roads we travel on every day are safe, right? Well, the United States Bureau of Transportation Statistics just released a report on bridge safety in the United States and some of the numbers are disturbing.

For example, in the states of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Iowa, and South Dakota more than 20% of the bridges are in a structurally deficient condition. In the interactive map below, the problem seems to be more prevalent in the Midwest and, to a lesser extent, the Northeast.

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The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program that is designed to provide low-cost or free meals to those children whose parents are unable to afford to purchase the meals at full price. The program has been in place since 1946, when it was signed into law by President Harry Truman. Since then, millions of children have benefitted from the program.

I spent some time looking at the numbers and noticed that some of the wealthiest states also have some of the highest participation rates in the National School Lunch Program. Take note of North Dakota in the chart below. They have the highest real income per capita in the nation at $57,367 for 2012, and they also have the highest participation rate in the school lunch program at 86.11%.

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This morning, WalMart’s CEO announced a comprehensive pay increase for hourly associates along with a boost in benefits and new training programs to help employees advance in their careers.

The move is expected to cost $1 billion to the company. This is a very large amount of money, but some are saying that it is not enough and only a very small amount compared to the size of WalMart. Others are saying that this is a great move by the company and will be just what the U.S. economy needs to turn the corner.

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Yes, you read that correctly. One way. No return. The remainder of your life on Mars. Out of more than 200,000 applicants , 24 will be trained for the mission and 4 will make the trip. The following 100 people will have the opportunity to earn a one-way trip to Mars, thanks to Mars One.

After taking a look at the list, I have noticed a few interesting things about this daring group of people.

The vast majority of them are from the United States. 33 to be exact. Australia is in second with 7 and there is a three-way tie between Russia, South Africa, and the U.K. for third place with 5 candidates each.

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Every year the FBI publishes its Crime in the United States report, in which they compile the volume and rate of violent and property crime offenses for the nation and by state. I have spent some time going over the numbers and looking for trends in the data for the year 2013. The first thing that really caught my attention is the relationship between the number of police officers and the occurrence of violent crime in each state. To normalize the data, I compared both metrics per every 100,000 residents of each state. What I have found is that the states with the most police officers also have the highest rate of violent crime. I am fully aware that correlation does not always equal causation, so I am not trying to imply that the presence of police officers cause crime. It does appear that police officers are staffed reactively. Meaning that police officers are hired to combat rising or elevated crime rates.

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There is a new study out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The report takes a comprehensive look at the major causes of crashes on the highways of the United States. Among the topics covered include impaired driving, speeding, and drowsy driving. Every one of these topics are very serious and the cause of many accidents. However, after looking through some of the tables at the end of the report I noticed something interesting regarding cell phone use and texting.

Respondents to the survey consisted of persons 16 years of age and older who indicated that they have driven a vehicle at least once in the past 30 days. One of the questions the researchers asked of the respondents is whether they had used a mobile phone to type and or send a text message or email while driving. The one surprising thing that I noticed is the age group that had the highest incidence of using a cell phone while driving was not the youngest. The group that actually used their cellphones while driving was the 25-39 age groups. In almost every category, the 16-18 age group used their phones at nearly half the rate of their older counterparts. This certainly contrasts with the stereotype of the irresponsible teenager going down the road paying more attention to Instagram than the traffic ahead of them.

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Every year ESPN studies and ranks the top graduating high school football players in the United States. As of yesterday, the class for 2015 has been finalized and I have put together an interactive map to help see where these young athletes will play ball at the next level.

There are two menus at the top. One to filter based on the players’ home state, and the other to filter based on the University. The filters can be used one at a time or simultaneously. The map and list below will update automatically upon selection.

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With College Football National Signing Day 2015 in the books, I thought it would be interesting to see how successful the top recruiting classes since 2005 have been.

Included are the top 50 teams according to their recruiting score from 24/7 Sports.The interactive scatter chart below shows the relationship between each team’s recruiting score and their winning percentage for the subsequent season.

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Super Bowl XLIX saw Tom Brady become only the second Player in Super Bowl history to win the MVP award three times. His first was way back in 2002, the second was two years later in 2004, and the third was just a few hours ago in Super Bowl 49. The other 3-time MVP was Joe Montana, who won in 1982, 1985, and 1990. This is not the only thing they have in common, though. They both were not high picks in the NFL Draft. Brady was drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 NFL Draft, placing 199th overall, and Joe Montana was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1979 NFL Draft, placing 82nd overall. This is even more amazing when you see that over 58% of all Super Bowl MVP winners were drafted in the 1st round.

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