Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hoo Has Good Ideas, Disney Movie Recommendations?




What a crappy day. Rain all morning, dreary all day, and as I'm writing this, there's a hailstorm happening. Today was definitely not good for my yearning to shoot some hoops.

On the other hand, I suppose today was good for me getting some work done. Yeah, I know it's lame, I did work on a Sunday... hey, it kept me from going insane.

The DRS responded to my FOIA request... the response was... well, somewhat helpful I suppose. They referred me to annual reports from the rehabilitation council for the state. These gave me the total numbers I needed, but still nothing broken down to the 75-mile radius I need. The DRS so graciously offered to help with that, if we're willing to pay them the cost of staff time to get the data for us. So, I decided to try this on my own, being the EXCELLENT (sarcasm) mathematician that I am. Actually, I'm a lot better than I used to be... I got an A in graduate statistics at Marshall and in my graduate research methods class.

What I tried was taking U.S. Census Bureau data to determine the population for the major towns and cities inside our coverage area. Once calculating a total population, I determined what percentage of Virginia's population that is. I hoped to use this data to extrapolate a market share for the rehabilitation center. If I know that their coverage area is a certain percentage of all of Virginia, then that same percentage of all the DRS customers served should roughly be the number of possible consumers the rehabilitation center could serve. However, the problem I face is that, when using this method, I get unrealistic numbers (like the center having more than 100 percent of the market because the possible consumers number is too low). I tried not only using city populations, but then I tried using the total populations of all the counties these cities fall within. Still, I think that is leaving out too many people within the actual service area(like perhaps some in outlying small, unincorporated locations, etc.) — that's what I think is giving me too low of a possible consumer number, but I'm not sure how to remedy the situation. I'm not sure how the DRS people would be able to figure this out either, unless they have mapping software that reads the census data, which is possible. I did find some software programs that would do this, but they all cost money too, so perhaps it will come down to what incurs the least amount of cost. These mapping software programs seem to allow the use of user-defined radii in determining populations, etc., though. Well, at any rate, I was able to determine the center's percentage of consumers served out of total rehabilitation services in the state during the past five years, so that's something, and there's now a dent in this whole thing. I know what I'm missing, it's just determining the best route to get the missing info. Anyone out there have experience with this sort of thing and have suggestions?

All of this did make for some interesting, general knowledge-enhancing side research though. If you have never visited the U.S. Census Bureau's Web site and played with the MASSIVE amount of data there, I recommend you do so. You may learn something, or at the very least, go "hmmm."

I watched Disney's The Sword in the Stone last night, of course based on T. H. White's The Once and Future King (or the first 200 pages or so of it). I must admit that I'm not much of a fan of the computer-animated cartoon movies of today (I like a few of them, some of the originals such as Toy Story). However, I also have to admit that some of those old Disney cartoons just do not entertain as well as they did when I was a kid. That being said, there are still some that just have so much fun factor, such great music and such great underlying themes (such as The Lion King) that they are forever classics. Now, I had never seen TSITS (hm, that acronym just doesn't quite work) before, and it's not quite TLK (Tlick!?!) worthy, but this is one I could watch again. It's out on DVD now, and I recommend you give it a viewing, especially if you're a fan of Camelot tales.

While watching the movie, I decided it would be cool to own an owl, thanks to Archimedes, Merlin's owl. However, I found out it is illegal to own one without a special permit, but you can adopt snowy owls and other animals in peril at the Defenders of Wildlife Web site. I am seriously considering adopting something... maybe a panther or a tiger. It's pretty inexpensive, probably would make a great gift, and you get a stuffed version of the animal (the only way you will probably get to hold one).

Well, back to the grind tomorrow... bring it on, Monday!

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