gopher state

A Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus casually walking down the road.

Their burrows provide refuge for between 300 and 450 different species. Pretty big impact for little dudes, eh? 

I am currently going through random bits of footage I shot whilst back in Florida so hopefully sometime soon I will have a little video of my time there. :)

Politico ranks Minnesota tied for best state

In the midst of a Minnesota winter, it’s nice to know you’re number one.

The national political publication Politico ranked Minnesota the best state of the union to live in Tuesday. Well, actually, they ranked two states at #1: The Gopher State and the Granite State, New Hampshire.

Last year, Politico ranked Minnesota the second-best state, behind New Hampshire. Minnesota edged upward this year based on improvements in employment, infant mortality and the obesity rate this year, the publication stated. Mississippi ranked last for the second year in a row (a slot which had previously earned the publication a letter of dissent from Mississippi’s governor).

The rankings are based on 14 separate criteria (note: weather isn’t one of them), including:

— per capita income (Minnesota is 7th, at $30,913)

— lowest unemployment (8th, at 3.7 percent)

— percent above poverty level (9th, at 89.5 percent)

— home ownership (2nd, at 72.5 percent)

— percent of high school graduates (2nd, at 92.1 percent)

— life expectancy (2nd, at 81.1)

— (fewest) infant deaths per 1000 births (5th, at 4.49)

— percent of obese residents (5th, at 22 percent)

— average 8th grade math score (4th, at 295)

— average 8th grade reading score (10th, at 271)

— GINI index (income inequality) (11th, at .45)

— lowest violent crime rate per 100,000 (9th, at 223.2)

— percent employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) jobs (13th, at 6.1 percent)

— “wellbeing” score: 4th, at 69.7