Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Friday: Sin Maps

What is the greediest region in the United States? Where will you find the most individuals that indulge their lusty desires? A team from Kansas State, interested in making a splash at the annual Association of American Geographers’ meeting, created a series of maps to answer these questions and more. The team conducted a study titled "The Spatial Distribution of the Seven Deadly Sins within Nevada", first defining, then displaying the distribution of each of the seven deadly sins across the state of Nevada. However, in order to put the data into a more universal context, the team took their research a step further and applied their statistics to the entire nation.

The researchers defined each of the seven deadly sins as follows (click on the link for each of the sins to get a close up view of their respective distributions): greed (average income compared with number of people living below the poverty line); envy (total thefts [robbery, burglary, larceny, and grand theft auto] per capita); lust (number of STD cases reported per capita); gluttony (number of fast-food restaurants per capita); sloth (expenditures on art, entertainment, and recreation compared with employment); wrath (number of violent crimes (murder, assault, and rape) per capita); pride (an aggregate of the other six offenses—suggesting that pride is the root of all sin). The team then took statistical data for each of their defined sins and displayed it on a map, ranking the states from "saintly to devilish".

Though this information is extremely subjective (how does one really quantify a deadly sin?), the Kansas State researchers came up with a well-defined sin index, gave the viewer a chuckle and  left to door open for continued research (think about changing the definition for each of the sins, analyzing each of the states on a smaller scale, or even extending the scope to other countries across the globe).To read more about the team and their Seven Deadly Sins project, check out this article from the Las Vegas Sun, "One nation, seven sin".