24,495 unusual names from the Social Security Death Master File

Photo via Wikipedia.

Below are the full lists of unusual names from my recent article for mental_floss. To keep the article at a digestible length, only a small portion of the names were used. However, some readers may wish to dig deeper.

1,560 identical first and last names

4,344 names where the last name starts with the first name

2,201 names where the last name ends with the first name

16,308 names where the last name rhymes with the first name

46 people with a last name 16 characters or longer

20 odd first and last name combinations

16 unfortunate last name and first initial combinations

Source: My data source is the Social Security Death Master File, courtesy of SSDMF.INFO. The list is widely used as a death verification tool, but a fraction of a percent of the individuals are added erroneously while still alive. 80% of these are people who were born 1930 or earlier. 

The top 5 most distinctive last names by state

Most Distinctive Last Names by State

Infographic courtesy of mental_floss

In addition to the above map and article for mental_floss, below is a list of the top 5 most distinctive last names by state. This is a larger subset of the same data. To keep the map readable, only the most distinctive last name for each state was used for the infographic. However, some readers may wish to dig deeper.

Methodology: The starting point is the top 250 most prevalent last names based on the nationwide total. From these 250 names, the “distinctive ratio” is calculated as follows for each last name in every state + DC: (last name prevalence in state) / (last name prevalence in US). The higher the distinctive ratio, the more “distinctive” a last name is considered for the purposes of this analysis.

The last name with the highest distinctive ratio in each state is what is on the map. The top 5 highest are shown in the list.

My data source is the Social Security Death Master File, courtesy of SSDMF.INFO. The list is widely used as a death verification tool, but a fraction of a percent of the individuals are added erroneously while still alive. 80% of these are people who were born 1930 or earlier. The geographic distribution is derived from the three digit social security number prefix for individuals with a year of birth 2010 or earlier. That is prior to the year when the SSA implemented randomization. Strictly speaking, this represents the state in the mailing address on the social security number application form, which is not always the state of birth or state of residence.

Luxembourg prime minister responds to homophobic tweet by Greek politician

Xavier Bettel

Xavier Bettel Royal Wedding 2012 cropped” by Denis Probst – Own work, archive Denis Probst. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-lu via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel announced he was marrying his partner Gauthier Destenay.

Yesterday, Greek MP Nikos Nikolopoulos tweeted the below in response to the announcement. Mr. Nikolopoulos was elected in 2012 under the ruling New Democracy party ticket where he had spent his entire political career up to that point until he resigned from his cabinet appointment shortly thereafter.

Nikos Nikolopoulos tweet about Xavier Bettel Continue reading

My March 2014 interview with Graham Phillips

In early March, I had the pleasure of interviewing journalist Graham Phillips about the situation in Ukraine. I translated a portion of the interview for publication at VICE Greece at the time. In the months since then, he’s continued to report from Ukraine, and recently made a move from RT to the Russian РЕН ТВ channel.

The original reason I reached out to Graham was because he was the photographer of a widely circulated picture of Svoboda leader Oleg Tyagnibok doing what appeared to be a Nazi salute. However, he took the time to answer broader questions about Svoboda, Stepan Bandera, and Euromaidan among other things. I always thought it would be a shame to keep the March interview in English to myself, so I’m publishing it here in full. Continue reading

Infant mortality and stillbirths in Greece 1932-2012

Map of Greece with a box grid superimposed in a spherical shape

Two of the most often cited health statistics about the period of the Greek economic crisis are below:

  • Infant mortality rate increased by 43.1% from 2008 (2.65) – 2010 (3.80)
  • Rate of stillbirth increased by 22.2% from 2008 (3.31) – 2011 (4.05)

Since it appears that there is a bit of confusion as to where these numbers originate, I looked into it. The primary source is the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.) and the figures are accurate. Below is a chart with all of the available data from EL.STAT. on the infant mortality and stillbirth rates in Greece and includes data from 1932 to 2012.

Good news: the infant mortality rate has gone down for the past two years and was 2.92 in 2012, making it the second lowest in recorded history (2008 being the lowest).

Bad news: the 2012 stillbirth rate of 4.44 is 34.1% higher than it was in 2008 (its lowest recorded point), indicating that the reversal of the preceding decades long decline in the stillbirth rate is not yet over.

Many thanks to Dr. Kentikelenis for pointing me in the right direction. Continue reading

Violent AFP photo reveals all that is wrong with Facebook’s nudity policy

AFP posted the below image earlier today on their Facebook page. It shows a topless FEMEN activist in Crimea in visible pain and anguish while she is being strangled by an unidentified man while another man watches smiling. However, there is a white box where AFP digitally removed her nipple from the image along with a note in the caption that says “(photo censored as per Facebook rules)”.

Apparently, Facebook’s “Community Standards” allow for images of unarmed women being brutally assaulted as long their nipples aren’t showing.

Photo showing a man strangling a Femen activist around the throat in front of Crimea's parliament during a pro-Russian rally today. The woman's nipple is missing from the picture  AFP Photo: Alexander Nemenov (photo censored as per Facebook rules)

Source: AFP Facebook page /Alexander Nemenov

Continue reading

10 month suspended sentence for “Elder Pastitsios”

Phlippos Loizos administrator of the "Elder Pastitsios" facebook page

Source: tvxs.gr

Philippos Loizos, the 29 year old administrator of the “Elder Pastitsios” facebook page today received a 10 month suspended sentence for the charge of “insulting religion”, according to reports in Greek media. The same reports state that he will be appealing the decision and will not serve any time in prison. As of right now, the facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/gerontas.pastitsios/ is not online.

I had previously written in detail about the “Elder Pastitsios” case here.

Report in English: EnetEnglish.gr
Reports in Greek: tvxs.grkoutipandoras.gr

Merkel channels Tsipras

Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel

Source: Zarpa.gr

January 22, 2013: Greek opposition leader Alexis Tsipras translated remarks during Q & A at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC:

The day after a country like Greece leaves the Euro, the very next country that will seek to leave the eurozone would be our friends and allies, Germany. We know this very well and they know it as well.

December 19, 2013: German chancellor Angela Merkel translated remarks during EU Summit talks in Brussels:

We discussed whether Greece should leave the eurozone and how if that happened we would all have to abandon it at a later date.

“Kiss-in” protest by same sex couples held during religious ceremony in Greece

picture of "kiss in" protest on January 6 in Piraeus, Greece

Source: news247.gr

Per today’s English language edition of Greek newspaper Kathimerini:

Epiphany, a public holiday in Greece, was marked by a traditional religious ceremony at Piraeus, where gay couples protested against the port city’s ultra-conservative bishop, Seraphim.

Accoridng to Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper, several gay couples kissed as Seraphim conducted the blessing of the waters, throwing a crucifix into the sea. They also handed out leaflets reading: “Love is not a sin”.

Seraphim is known for his homophobic and anti-Semetic statements. He recently opposed plans to extend legislation allowing unmarried couples to have their partnership legally recognized to same-sex couples.

He said that any other relationship, barring that between a male and a female, “is a unnatural aberration not even observed in animals.”

Protesters have set up the twitter hashtag #PoustiRiot, a play on the name of Russian group “Pussy Riot” and the Greek slur for gay people “Pousti”. Links to some of Bishop Serapheim’s incendiary comments can also be found in both Greek and English at http://poustiriot.blogspot.com.

Is Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei reading Dan Dare?

γραφικό με τον Dan Dare και το λογότυπο της Συνωμοσίας Πηρύνων της Φωτιάς | Dan Dare graphic with logo of the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei logo

This is a translation of a post I originally published in Greek on December 31, 2013.

On July 12 2013, the Hellenic Police announced that -among other items- they had confiscated “books with anarchist content” (press release in Greek) during a raid for the arrest of two people suspected to be members of the “Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF)” group.

However, maybe the authorities should be on the lookout for a different type of literature in their investigations.

According to published manifestos that have been attributed to the group, “Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF)” have conducted operations with two different names in 2013. First, there was the “Phoenix Project” (Σχέδιο “Φοίνικας” in Greek), followed a few weeks ago by the “Green Nemesis Project” (Σχέδιο “Πράσινη Νέμεσις” in Greek).

I’m not in a position to know if this is simply a coincidence, but very close variants of the above names have been used elsewhere in the past. Specifically, in the British science fiction comic book series Dan Dare. Below are the group’s published posters with the two above project names as well as Dan Dare artwork with the “Phoenix Mission” and “Green Nemesis” storylines: Continue reading