I've been with the same auto insurance provider for about three years now, but that doesn't stop me from shopping around every six months to see if I can get a better deal.
I can say, with confidence, that Allstate has never been in my top three in terms of affordable quotes. And now I think I know why: the company needs to overcharge us to pay for ridiculously bad studies like its annual Allstate America's Best Driver's Report that was just released.
How else can you explain the following "findings"?
* Tucson is this country's 20th-safest community, and somehow the safest among all mid-size (population 500K-750K)
* Phoenix is the safest U.S. city with more than a million people.
* Mesa is the safest one with a population of 250-500K.
This is apparently the ninth straight year Phoenix has been the safest "big" city for driving. Whether this includes the myriad of freeways in Maricopa County, which based on tweets from the Arizona Department of Transportation are almost in a perpetual state of crash-related gridlock, is unknown.
And maybe Tucson's info is based on summer driving, when there are no college students or snowbirds here. You know, when people are much less likely to drive because their hands will burn on the steering wheel?
In fact, the way Allstate comes up with its rankings doesn't seem clear. It says they're based on insurance claims submitted and processed during a set time period, but considering the number of instances where people I know have gotten little dings and didn't report it, this approach seems fundamentally flawed.
Maybe it's based only on claims made to Allstate. And if that's the case, since I mentioned before how expensive Allstate's rates have been when I've looked them up, maybe the nine people in Arizona who have Allstate just don't ever drive their cars.
In case you were wondering, No. 1 on the list is Fort Collins, Colo. In case you were on the fence about moving to that college town and needed something to push you in one direction or another.
Traditional smartest cities rankings often use indirect measures—college education being the most common—to extrapolate intelligence. While there is value to this well-worn metric, most of us can agree that not only are degrees unequal across institutions and eras, but college degrees aren’t the final word on intelligence. Here in Lumosity’s local San Francisco metro area, for example, we rub elbows with college dropouts Mark Zuckerburg and Steve Wozniak—sound familiar?
So instead of college degrees, Lumosity concentrated on a new measure of intelligence: Brain Performance Index, or BPI. Generated as a number, BPI is a snapshot of a person’s cognitive abilities at the precise moment they complete a Lumosity exercise. What’s more, BPI is calculated based on data from 400 million global gameplays, making it an incredibly rich source of information available only to Lumosity. Because BPI is a more direct measure—and a potentially more accurate portrayal of actual cognitive ability—Lumosity scientists compared over 1,000,000 initial overall BPI scores to compile a ranked list of the smartest cities in America.
There are only two posts so far, but a new subcategory on link-sharing behemoth Reddit has been set up to shame Tucson's inconsiderate drivers.
Here's what will apparently get you in trouble:
Parking in places not meant for vehicles.
Parking in handicap spaces without proof of ability to do so.
Parking too damn close to other vehicles.
Parking in any failtacular way.
Driving like an asshat.
Leaving children/pets/Elderly locked up in your parked vehicle in the hot sun without AC. (Seriously, if you do this, you're a douche).
Hindering the normal flow of traffic.
Anything else along these lines.
The good news if you're terrible at operating a vehicle? The admin asks that posters remove personal or identifying information on the photos. So, you feel the shame, friends and family who know you well enough to recognize your car can give you funny looks, and the general public is unlikely to find you and engage in Steven Seagal-style vigilante justice. Everyone wins!
So says the Princeton Review, which within its annual 'Best Colleges' report included a ranking of the top 20 party schools in America.
Sadly, the University of Arizona did not return to the list for 2014, despite a number of high-profile and near-deadly raging keggers put on by Australian exchange students and recorded for posterity by upstart student promotion outfit Blacked Out Media.
Arizona hasn't been on the Princeton Review list since 2010, while it hasn't made it on the even more (!) prestigious list released by Playboy in more than a decade. (NOTE: That classy publication is set to release it's 2013 list in the next few months, so let's all keep our fingers crossed)
The UA is set to start up again in the next two weeks, and with the 2013-14 school year will come the opening of a number of high-profile (and, in the case of Level, at Speedway and Park, high-rise) student complexes, expect a big push to get the Wildcats back on the rankings list.
That smoke you saw early this morning on your commute along Interstate 10 to work? That was a generation's worth of plans and hard work wafting into the Tucson sky.
Fire gutted an 8,000-square foot custom home on West Green Street, northwest of I-10 and 22nd, on Monday morning, turning black the clock on a construction project that has been ongoing since 1995.
The love child of local small business owner Jose Herrera, the three-story 'Green House' as it came to be known caught fire just after 6 a.m. When firefighters arrived not long after, the flames were so bad the approach quickly became a defensive one that was meant mostly to stop the fire from spreading to other properties.
The Green House, which could easily be seen rising up from above its one-story neighbors in Barrio Kroeger as you drove along I-10, was finally starting to show some progress in the last few months after years of almost laying dormant as Herrera struggled to finance and get proper permits for the project.
Tucson Fire has not determined the cause of the fire, which caused no injuries to either area residents or the 23 firefighters from 10 units that were called out to battle the blaze.
I had a chance to speak with Herrera about four years ago when working on a story about his dream home for another (ahem) publication, and despite all of the hurdles he'd faced to build the structure he still seemed optimistic. Who knows if that'll be the case now.
So we're clear, that's actually a pretty terrible thing. Go us?
According to Coed Magazine (itself an honorable model of taste and restraint, featuring a story on the "40 Sexiest Mila Kunis GIFs"), our beloved state of copper, cactus and citrus — among other "c" words — features two locations among the nation's 15 trashiest spring break destinations.
Which kinda makes sense, when you check out Coed Magazine's criteria for selection, which consists of "Girls Gone Wild, bike weeks, Hooters, tattoo parlors, etc." And they've handily included local liquor laws, so you know when bars close and whether or not you can walk around with open containers (such as when you and your bros feel like rolling down the street with an open sixer of BL 'Numz).
With that in mind, let's check out the blurbs for Lake Havasu and Scottsdale (which are accompanied by handy slideshows, for those who are interested in the details of this spring break debauchery — so they can more easily combat it, of course):
#13: Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale is to Phoenix as South Beach is to Miami—it’s essentially the wilder extension of Arizona’s capital. Unless you happen to have the same Spring Break as ASU (located next door to Scottsdale in Tempe), there’s a good chance that you’ll see a lot of college revelers out and about.
Don’t expect to come to Scottsdale though if you’re looking to rage during the day. Locals tend to use the daylight hours working on their tans and uploading shitty gossip to the blog TheDirty. Instead, they tend to come out at night where they can spend absurd amounts of money in nightclubs.
#6: Lake Havasu, AZ
Anytime you see videos of drunk American women dancing or stripping on a boat, it’s a safe bet to assume you’re watching footage of Lake Havasu. As one of the premiere (we use that word lightly) destinations for West Coast Spring Breakers, you’re always guaranteed to see some ridiculous stuff here. Nipple tassles and tattoos are par for the course once things start getting rowdy. The only price of admission you have to pay is securing a working boat.
I'm so, so damn proud. Good job, folks.
If you're so inclined, check out the full list of, uh, "winners" at coedmagazine.com.
The hotel ballroom is transformed into the Kingdom of Sweets for high tea with the Tucson Arizona… More