Bad numbers: Even as the economy as a whole begins to shake off the frost, Alabama is facing a sudden chill. Columbia Law School Professor Ronald Mann discovered in a recent analysis that Alabama counties had the highest average rates of bankruptcy in the nation in December. Baldwin County, home of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, had the highest filing rate in the nation with 3,876 filing per million people. Keep in mind that those numbers only represent proportions and not actual figures. Baldwin County’s population is only around 170,000. Still, Alabama contains the two counties with the highest filing rates in the nation. With prosperity returning at long last, Alabama still falls short. But who knows. Maybe this is the year that Alabama will finally rise up from the darkness. Maybe.
Ross Bridge acclaim: It isn’t difficult to find a place where the locals claim that it’s the best place to live in the world. It’s a classic big fish story, and everywhere seems to have one. But now Ross Bridge, a community in Hoover, can make the claim with some legitimacy. Ross Bridge was recently awarded the 2010 National Association of Home Builder’s Best in American Living Platinum Award for a Community. The “classic American resort town” beat out other communities across the country to take home the award. The community is still being developed, and homes are on sale for anywhere from $170,000 to over $1 million. It’s probably best to act now though. It’s not every day you get a chance to live in the genuine best town in the country.
Keep it together, Egypt: During most of the time the United States has been active in the Middle East, several countries in the region have gotten frequent suspicious glances (I’m looking at you, Iran). Thankfully, there’s been relatively little to be concerned about on the other side of the Red Sea. Egypt has remained relatively calm and friendly in a region known for violent extremists. Unfortunately, that might not be true forever. Tunisia, near-neighbor to Egypt, faced political unrest last month and finally, last week, the government dissolved. The turmoil in Tunisia is making many people nervous that the revolutionary spirit might spread across borders. With Egypt situated at a nexus of conflict in the Middle East, the United States can only hope that they’ll keep holding the line.
What are the launch coordinates, Paris? In the limelight this week are all the beautiful people, but not for the typical reasons. A study conducted by the London School of Economics found that more attractive men and women have higher IQs on average than their Plain Jane counterparts. In fact, the study found that, through a population of 52,000 men and women in the United States and the United Kingdom, attractive men score 13.6 points above average and attractive women score 11.4 points higher than average. The finding makes sense on an evolutionary level. Intelligent people are more likely to be successful and, therefore, marry a beautiful spouse. Of course, as we all know, beauty does not always equal intelligence. Paris Hilton is no rocket scientist, and an engineer’s convention doesn’t exactly look like Fashion Week in Milan. You play with the cards you’re dealt.