Monday, May 11, 2009

Houston news: best cities, diversity, crime, soccer

Hey, there's a women's soccer league! Houston has to get in on this. Maybe when the Dynamo move out of UH, the women's pro team can move in.

Houston is one of the top ten best cities to live. Considering the number one city, I don't know if it's a reliable list, though.

Houston's diversity is apparently a model of future outlooks for US cities. That's right, we're demographic trend setters.

Houstonians are more happy about living here than in the past--Rice University has released their annual Houston area survey.

Although a lot of people don't believe it, Houston's violent crime rate has decreased. For some reason the article reports that the periods in question are July 2007-March 2008 and July 2008-March 2009, nine month periods. Why would you do that? It seems like Jan-Dec would make more sense. Also, I wonder what the impact of hurricanes in the area on crime are.

Scientists have found a way to strengthen spider silk using steel. That's pretty cool, no?

A handheld ultrasound smartphone? That's pretty cool. I wonder what uses people can come up with for ultrasound devices.

Plans for the Dynamo stadium are still moving forward, albeit slowly.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Helping you do your civic duty

On the same vein as one of links last time...
Sunlight Labs recently held a contest, Apps for America, in an attempt to make "Congress more accountable, interactive and transparent." The winner was Filibusted, which keeps track of senators who filibuster. It aggregates some data from GovTrack.

I'm reminded of Show Us a Better Way, a UK competition site which tries to make public information more accessible. Google also announced that they're going to make public data more searchable and accessible, but that isn't a surprise. They've been doing that for quite some time, but the US government should try out these contests.