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Nathan Hansen's column: It's safe, here in the neon mist

Last month a real estate research site called sent me a press release announcing that it had found Rosemount to be the second-safest city in Minnesota with more than 10,000. Farmington ranked ninth in the same survey, which was based on the number of violent crimes per resident. Numbers were from 2012.

The Movoto blog bills itself as “The Lighter Side of Real Estate.” I’m not sure I’d call a city-by-city statistical breakdown of violent criminal offenses light, exactly, but I guess it’s nice to be recognized for something positive. And if we want to move up next year, all we have to do is go punch a few chumps over in Lakeville.

(Please do not go chump-punching in Lakeville. In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not worth it.)

The release never made it into our paper, but I was reminded of it last week when I saw the investigative work being done by another real estate-related site, this one called estately.

Estately, apparently having some free time on its hands and no uncompleted levels on Angry Birds, ran a bunch of what seem to be randomly-selected search terms through Google Trends and took notes on which state did the most searching for them. Minnesotans, for example, searched for the term, “Women’s National Basketball Association” more than residents in any other state. Presumably they had heard rumors about a winning team in the state and were pretty sure someone was playing a prank on them.

Minnesotans also were tops in searches for the terms Rollerblading and personal injury lawyer. I assume those two are related.

Some of the results make sense. Iowa was tops in searches for corn, bacon and Drake (the university, presumably, and not the rapper). Idaho had the most searches for potato, but also for caramel corn, bigfoot and unicorns. They like a good hearty starch in the northwest, but they’re also pretty psyched about mythical creatures. And possibly puffy rainbow stickers. Although, that’s just a guess.

Maine had the most searches for both growing marijuana and how to roll a joint, so apparently everybody in the state has just discovered pot. Time to stock up on Doritos, Maine grocery stores.

Other results were a little more surprising. Utah, of all places, had the most searches for “Kama Sutra.” Go Mormons, I guess.

South Dakota only came out on top with one of the search terms the site tried: Nickelback. You do not want to borrow music from anyone in South Dakota.

Estately appears to deal exclusively in posts that allow it to superimpose words on a map of the United States. Its most recent entry before it started digging through Google results was “If Every State Was Renamed Using Anagrams.” For North Dakota, it came up with Drank a Tooth. New Hampshire became Hip Name Shrew.

For Minnesota, they settled on No Inmates, for some reason, and not A Neon Mist. Or Moan Stein.

They pretty much nailed it with Wisconsin, though. Apparently America’s Dairyland is an anagram for Cows in Sin.

Thanks to this site, I know Minnesota ranks pretty squarely in the middle of states with the most hippies, and that we are not particularly taco crazed. We are less nerdy than any neighboring state but South Dakota. And we ranked 49th in the country when it comes to Kim Kardashian fandom. Apparently only Vermont is more indifferent than we are to the new Mrs. Kanye West.

If you’re starting to worry this is not a serious exercise, take heart. There is some significant sociological research on display.

The site also claims that the famous moustache that best represents Minnesota belongs to the Swedish Chef.

I’m sure it was all very scientific.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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