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Monday, March 22, 2010

Amazed, you'll be....

Believe it or not, there is more going on than just March Madness, Brackets, and Health care Reform.

There is also the US Census taking place.

Now how does this tie into Sports and Stocks?

Read on, and you will find out....

First of all the US Census is comprised of only 10 simple questions and you can not fill them out online. So if you get an email saying click here to complete the census, don't, it's a scam.

The questions are done via paper forms, and in some cases, census takers who go door to door or call (after completing the form if there are any questions or incomplete answers).

NOTE: A census taker must follow-up in person with every address that doesn't mail back the form in order to obtain the responses. So, this fact alone should motivate folks to fill out the form and mail it back.

The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for things like:
Job training centers
Senior centers
Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
Emergency services
The data collected by the census also help determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Obviously the more accurate the data, hopefully, the more efficient government will be in allocating these funds and programs.

Distilled demographic data also benefits businesses. Here is one such example...

When an owner of 48 Subway stores throughout Arizona looks at the data, he can realize that in west Phoenix, where there is a large Hispanic presence, Fanta would be a big seller. In suburban Tucson, home to a lot of families with children, Hi-C pink lemonade sells well. Populations with a lot of older folks, on the other hand, seem to prefer root beer and Cherry Coke. Soda selection isn't just a question of regional tastes, but a major revenue driver. Sandwich price points like the $5 Footlong may bring customers into the store, but selling added drinks -- that's where you make the money.

Here, someone has taken census data, combined it with business / market knowledge, and applied the result to help boost business returns. And for any publicly traded stock, this would improve the performance of the stock in terms of quarterly profits and returns on investments.

This got me into thinking that there are obvious limitations to only ten questions and paper format of the US Census. There must be a ton of other information already out there, available, (such as the marketing knowledge of the Subway owner) which could be useful information.

Also, there should be more efficient ways of accurately collecting and analyzing data on a regular basis and it probably already exists.

Heck, we already pay taxes, both federally and locally, so the government already has primary and dependent information as well as ages and location of those of us who pay taxes.

Note: Right about this time in my thought process my cell phone rang.

Almost everyone I know has some sort of electronic communication device which they carry with them almost everywhere.

Residency information, Names, ages, family members (see "friends and family" promotions) could be collected as well as GPS information.

Not to mention that there are a ton of "social networking sites" out there which also have various information available.

Now I am not advocating disclosing specific information, that would be illegal. But the data could be mined and distilled, as census data is, to produce statistics, which can be disclosed.

Oh, and speaking of Cell phones...

Note to Tiger: Leave your Phone or PDA home at the masters. We don't care whether or not you win or lose, but guaranteed, the media will care if anybody sees you texting while playing golf!

Of course, we could all just get tiny little micro chips implanted in us and all that sort of information could be collected instantaneously. And don't worry about the cost of the procedure, I'm sure it would be covered under the new Universal Health care Reform Act.

Sorry, I digress just a bit... Now on to the rest of my Census post...

Then I got into thinking that there must be other country census's taken and I wondered what sort of data they collected.

For instance, in NZ, they collect data on similar things such as the USA, but they also collect data on Religion, Incomes, Education, and a whole lot more!

And right about then my wife forwarded me an email about a guy who got an Official UK apology from the UK Job office about Anti-Jedi Discrimination.

A believer in the Jedi religion won an apology from a job center that threw him out for refusing to remove his hood.

They apologized, adding: "We are committed to provide a customer service which embraces diversity and respects customers' religion."

Chris said: "I was just standing up for my beliefs. Muslims can walk around in whatever religious gear they like, so why can't I?"

Clicking on the link for the official Jedi Religion Homepage...

It states that the NZ Census considers such religious classifications as "Wicca" to be valid but that Jediism is not.

Perhaps if more census data was collected here in the United States there could be more and better representation of the population and accurate demographics for all.

After all, I bet there are some Jedi believers here among us now and we don't even know it.

See, I told you I could tie sports, stocks, health care and census together all in one post!

Amazed, you are :-)


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