2017 January 26

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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

The Doomsday Clock Is Reset: Closest To Midnight Since The 1950s

"The minute hand on the Doomsday Clock ticked closer to midnight Thursday, as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said it's seeing an increase in dangers to humanity, from climate change to nuclear warfare. The group took the "unprecedented" step of moving the clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, to leave it at 2 1/2 minutes away."

"The setting is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1953, when scientists moved it to two minutes from midnight after seeing both the U.S. and the Soviet Union test hydrogen bombs. It remained at that mark until 1960."

Albany County Municipalities – Percent Population Change, 1970-2015

This graph shows the percent population change by decade in each decade, from 1970s to 2010s. As you can see in the past five years the population changes have been fairly minimal in our county, but in the 1970s there were big changes -- especially in the Village of Green Island, which literally saw 1/5th of the village demolished to build the Collar City Bridge into Troy. Albany was still losing population in 1970s from the South Mall Construction, along with rising crime rates downtown. State government is not growing, so it's unlikely to see much of a population boom in our county in the foreseeable future, and indeed as more people move to warmer climates and larger metropolitan areas, Albany County may eventually start losing population in future decades.

Data Source: Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 11.0 [Database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. 2016. http://doi.org/10.18128/D050.V11.0.

One of the stupidest things I’ve heard coming out of Congress for sometime is the idea of de-funding the American Community Survey or ending the requirement that filling out census forms as a mandatory action. Census forms aren’t difficult to fill out and provide an essential source of information for businesses, governments, researchers and not-for-profits.

Without accurate community demographics, it’s hard for a business to know where to locate or who to target for marketing. Government programs that target poverty or concerns impacting certain minority groups would be impossible to implement. Interested people couldn’t learn about their community, and politicians couldn’t communicate with interested audiences.

Some people think the census should be voluntary. Some people don’t feel comfortable discussing their income, their race, or the condition of their housing. But already the surveys protect individual privacy, and laws prohibit any use of the census survey responses except for releasing aggregated data. Only after 70 years do individual survey responses become public for use of historical – beyond most people’s lifetimes.

And to protect survey responses, the Census Bureau never asks the most sensitive questions – it never asks about your religion, your guns, or what you do in bed. Instead it asks about relevant demographic information, that is essential to know from a both business and public perspective.

Albany County Municipal Population, 1970-2015

One of the great things about using interactive graphs if you can look at trends over time. This map shows has the population of each municipality in Albany County since 1970. The cities have seen their population shrink at the slow but steady growth of the suburban towns and rural towns.

Data Source: Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 11.0 [Database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. 2016. http://doi.org/10.18128/D050.V11.0.

Map: NYS Counties Population Cartogram

Map: NYS Counties Population Cartogram

New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. New York is the 27th-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 7th-most densely populated of the 50 United States. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Ontario to the west and north, and Quebec to the north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State to distinguish it from New York City.

Good evening! Monster Pothole at South Swan and Washington Ave has gotten another batch of cold patch. Should take away the fun of watching the buses and cars dodging it until the next time the plows tear it up. 

A fairly pleasant evening with some breaks in the clouds showing the colors of dusk. Partly cloudy and 43 degrees in City of Albany. Breezy, 17 mph breeze from the west with gusts up to 29 mph. I’m sure there will be less breeze when I get out of the blustery downtown.  The skies will clear Sunday around 4 pm. We had some brief periods of clearing today but for the most part it was pretty cloudy. 

Traffic is quite backed up heading out of the city. I’m surprised because lately it’s been good since they adjusted the timing at the stop light. Maybe there is a crash or more likely somebody just pulled over to make a phone call and everybody has to gawk. 

Waning Crescent Moon tonight with 5% illuminated. The moon will rise around 5:25 am. Basically call it a new moon.   The official New Moon is on Saturday night with mostly cloudy expected. The Full “Snow” Moon is on Saturday, February 11th. The sun will rise at 7:13 am with the first light at 6:43 am, which is 54 seconds earlier then yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 11 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 12 seconds over last night.

Tonight will have scattered rain and snow showers before midnight, then a slight chance of snow showers after 2am.   Mostly cloudy, with a low of 33 degrees at 6am. Again, very mild for January with temperatures a19 degrees above normal. Breezy, with a west wind 11 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. In 2016, it got down to 20 degrees under partly cloudy skies. The record low of -23 occurred back in 1994.

Right now, a split verdict on the weekend. Saturday, mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. West wind 10 to 13 mph. Sunday, partly sunny, with a high near 34.Typical average high for the weekend is 31 degrees.

In four weeks on February 23 the sun will be setting at 5:38 pm, which is 36 minutes later then tonight. In 2016 on that day, we had snow and temperatures between 38 and 17 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 37 and 19 degrees. The record high of 62 degrees was set back in 1984.

Looking ahead, Ground Hog Day is Next Thursday, Memorial Day Weekend is in 4 months and Start of June is in 18 weeks. It will be here before you know it. 

Medical Debt Often Leads To Collection Agencies’ Calls

The study by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 59 percent of people who reported they had been contacted by a debt collector said it was for medical services. Telecommunications bills were the second most common type of overdue bill for which debt collectors pursued payment, at 37 percent, and utilities were third, reported by 28 percent.

Unlike other types of debt, people with medical debt were prevalent across a range of income levels, credit scores and ages. A poll conducted in 2015 by NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that many people with health insurance still struggle to pay medical bills. Some 26 percent said health care expenses have taken a serious toll on family finances.

Excerpt from Appalachia: A Report by the President’s Appalachian Regional Commission, 1964

“In the future, Appalachia’s potential of timberland, fossil energy and recreational water and wilderness will be required for the satisfaction of our national goals. But further resource activity in the region if uncoordinated in its timing or its relationship to human and social capital could repeat the pattern and make little more than a piecemeal improvement of the Appalachian social and economic infrastructure.”

“Appalachia’s millions of people, whose material and social betterment the focus and end of all development effort, are also the region’s prime resource. Their individual distress is today a national liability: but their pooled personal hopes, talents and resourcefulness is a reservoir of creative energy the Nation can no longer afford to ignore.”

“The Appalachian people have no desire to abandon their traditional home, but whether they leave or stay, their continuing distress compounds a double loss for both the region and the Nation — the cost of welfare maintenance and the loss of productive vigor.”