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Interesting news that in one way or another ended up here on this blog.

Texas General Information

Texas

 

Abbreviation: TX

Population: 26,448,193

Land Area: 261,797
(sq. mi.)

 

Texas is the second most populous (after California) and the second-largest of the 50 states (after Alaska) in the United States of America, and the largest state in the 48 contiguous United States. Geographically located in the South Central part of the country, Texas shares an international border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and borders the U.S. states of New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2) and a growing population of over 26.4 million residents (July 2013) [8]

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state and seventh largest in the United States. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest United States metropolitan areas, respectively. Other major cities include El Paso and Austin—the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal today.[9] The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word, “Tejas”, which means ‘friends’ in the Caddo language.[10]

Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American South and Southwest.[11] Although Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10 percent of the land area is desert.[12] Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.

The term “six flags over Texas“, as can be seen in the Grand Prairie-based large national and international amusement park operator Six Flags, came from the several nations that had ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony in Texas. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state, Texas declared its secession from the United States in early 1861, joining the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. After the war and its restoration to the Union, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.

One Texas industry that thrived after the Civil War was cattle. Due to its long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. The state’s economic fortunes changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2010 it shares the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57.[13] With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product.

Tennessee General Information

Tennessee

 

Abbreviation: TN

Population: 6,495,978

Land Area: 41,217
(sq. mi.)

Tennessee (Listeni/tɛnɨˈs/) (Cherokee: ᏔᎾᏏ) is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. Tennessee is the 36th most extensive and the 17th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state’s western border. Tennessee’s capital and second largest city is Nashville, which has a population of 624,496. Memphis is the state’s largest city, with a population of 655,155.[4]

The state of Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact generally regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachians.[5] What is now Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later part of the Southwest Territory. Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War in 1861 and the first state to be readmitted to the Union at the end of the war.[6]

Tennessee furnished more soldiers for the Confederate Army than any other state, and more soldiers for the Union Army than any other Southern state.[6] In the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from an agrarian economy to a more diversified economy, aided at times by federal entities such as the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the early 1940s, the city of Oak Ridge was established to house the Manhattan Project‘s uranium enrichment facilities, helping to build the world’s first atomic bomb.

Tennessee has played a critical role in the development of many forms of American popular music, including rock and roll, blues, country, and rockabilly. Beale Street in Memphis is considered by many to be the birthplace of the blues, with musicians such as W.C. Handy performing in its clubs as early as 1909.[7] Memphis was also home to Sun Records, where musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich began their recording careers, and where rock and roll took shape in the 1950s.[8] The 1927 Victor recording sessions in Bristol generally mark the beginning of the country music genre and the rise of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s helped make Nashville the center of the country music recording industry.[9][10] Three brick-and-mortar museums recognize Tennessee’s role in nurturing various forms of popular music: the Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, and the International Rock-A-Billy Museum in Jackson. In addition, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, an online site recognizing the development of rockabilly in which Tennessee played a crucial role, is based in Nashville.

Tennessee’s major industries include agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Poultry, soybeans, and cattle are the state’s primary agricultural products,[11] and major manufacturing exports include chemicals, transportation equipment, and electrical equipment.[12] The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation’s most visited national park, is headquartered in the eastern part of the state, and a section of the Appalachian Trail roughly follows the Tennessee-North Carolina border.[13] Other major tourist attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, the Sunsphere in Knoxville, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, the Parthenon, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and Elvis Presley’s Graceland residence and tomb in Memphis.

 

South Dakota General Information

South Dakota

 

Abbreviation: SD

Population: 844,877

Land Area: 75,885
(sq. mi.)

South Dakota Listeni/ˌsθ dəˈktə/ is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes. South Dakota is the 17th most extensive, but the 5th least populous and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Once the southern portion of the Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 159,000, is South Dakota’s largest city.

South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. The state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and socially distinct halfs, known to residents as “East River” and “West River“.[7] Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state’s population, and fertile soil in this area is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains, are located in the southwest part of the state. The Black Hills are sacred to the Sioux. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is located there. Other attractions in the southwest include Badlands and Wind Cave national parks, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and historic Deadwood. South Dakota experiences a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The ecology of the state features species typical of a North American grassland biome.

Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers caused conflict that triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 50s for agriculture and defense, and an industrialization of agriculture which has much reduced family farming.

While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely dominated by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the most recent 12 presidential elections. Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in areas, including biomedical research and alternative energy fuels, to attract and retain residents. South Dakota’s history and rural character still strongly influence the culture of the state.

 

South Carolina General Information

South Carolina

 

Abbreviation: SC

Population: 4,774,839

Land Area: 30,109
(sq. mi.)

South Carolina Listeni/ˌsθ kærəˈlnə/ is a state in the Southeastern United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was the first of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution.

South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, and the 8th state to ratify the US Constitution on May 23, 1788. South Carolina later became the first state to vote to secede from the Union which it did on December 20, 1860. It was readmitted to the United States on June 25, 1868.[note 1]

South Carolina is the 40th most extensive and the 24th most populous of the 50 United States. South Carolina comprises 46 counties. The capital and largest city of the state is Columbia, while the largest MSA is Greenville.

 

Rhode Island General Information

Rhode Island

 

Abbreviation: RI

Population: 1,051,511

Land Area: 1,045
(sq. mi.)

 

Rhode Island (Listeni/ˌrd ˈlɨnd/ or /rɵˈdlɨnd/), officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,[6] is a state in the New England region of the United States. Rhode Island is the smallest in area, the eighth least populous, but the second most densely populated of the 50 US states behind New Jersey. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York’s Long Island to the southwest.

Rhode Island was the first of the 13 original colonies to declare independence from British rule, declaring itself independent on May 4, 1776, two months before any other colony. The State was also the last of the thirteen original colonies to ratify the United States Constitution.[7][8]

Rhode Island’s official nickname is “The Ocean State”, a reference to the State’s geography, since Rhode Island has several large bays and inlets that amount to about 14% of its total area. Its land area is 1,045 square miles (2,710 km2), but its total area is significantly larger.

Pennsylvania General Information

Pennsylvania

 

Abbreviation: PA

Population: 12,773,801

Land Area: 44,817
(sq. mi.)

 

Pennsylvania Listeni/ˌpɛnsɨlˈvnjə/, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, and the Great Lakes region. The state borders Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and Ontario, Canada to the northwest, New York to the north and New Jersey to the east. The Appalachian Mountains run through the middle of the state.

Pennsylvania is the 33rd most extensive, the 6th most populous, and the 9th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state’s four most populous cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Erie. The state capital is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km) of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km)[5] of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. The state is one of the 13 original founding states of the U.S.

Oregon General Information

Oregon

 

Abbreviation: OR

Population: 3,930,065

Land Area: 95,997
(sq. mi.)

 

Oregon (Listeni/ˈɒrɨɡən/ ORR-ə-gən)[7] is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon’s northern and eastern boundaries, respectively. The area was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before the arrival of traders, explorers, and settlers who formed an autonomous government in Oregon Country in 1843. The Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859.

Oregon is the 9th most expansive and the 27th most populous of the 50 United States. Salem is the state’s capital and third-most-populous city; Portland is the most populous. Portland is the 28th largest U.S. city, with a population of 603,106 (2012 estimate) and a metro population of 2,262,605 (2011 estimate), the 23rd largest U.S. metro area. The valley of the Willamette River in western Oregon is the state’s most densely populated area and is home to eight of the 10 most populous cities.

Oregon contains a diverse landscape including the windswept Pacific coastline, the volcanoes of the rugged and glaciated Cascade Mountain Range, many waterfalls (including Multnomah Falls), dense evergreen forests, mixed forests and deciduous forests at lower elevations, and high desert across much of the eastern portion of the state, extending into the Great Basin. The tall Douglas firs and redwoods along the rainy Western Oregon coast contrast with the lower density and fire-prone pine tree and juniper forests covering portions of the eastern half of the state. Alder trees are common in the west and fix nitrogen for the conifers; aspen groves are common in eastern Oregon. Stretching east from Central Oregon, the state also includes semi-arid shrublands, prairies, deserts, steppes, and meadows. Mount Hood is the highest point in the state at 11,249 feet (3,429 m). Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in Oregon.

Oklahoma General Information

Oklahoma

 

Abbreviation: OK

Population: 3,850,568

Land Area: 68,667
(sq. mi.)

Oklahoma Listeni/ˌkləˈhmə/[4] (Pawnee: Uukuhuúwa,[5] Cayuga: Gahnawiyoˀgeh[6]) is a state located in the Southern United States.[7] Oklahoma is the 20th most extensive and the 28th most populous of the 50 United States. The state’s name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning “red people”.[8] It is also known informally by its nickname, The Sooner State, honoring the European settlers, and the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889 which opened the door for white settlement in America’s Indian Territory. The name was settled upon statehood, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged and Indian was dropped from the name. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the union. Its residents are known as Oklahomans or, informally “Okies”, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

A major producer of natural gas, oil, and agriculture, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology.[9] In 2007, it had one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, ranking among the top states in per capita income growth and gross domestic product growth.[10][11] Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma’s primary economic anchors, with nearly two thirds of Oklahomans living within their metropolitan statistical areas.[12]

With small mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains and the U.S. Interior Highlands—a region especially prone to severe weather.[13] In addition to having a prevalence of English, German, Scottish, Scotch-Irish and Native American ancestry, more than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma,[14] second only to California.

Oklahoma is located on a confluence of three major American cultural regions and historically served as a route for cattle drives, a destination for southern settlers, and a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans.

Ohio General Information

Ohio

Abbreviation: OH

Population: 11,570,808

Land Area: 40,948
(sq. mi.)

Ohio Listeni/ˈh./ is a state in the Midwestern United States. Ohio is the 34th largest (by area), the 7th most populous, and the 10th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state’s capital and largest city is Columbus.

The name “Ohio” originated from Iroquois word ohi-yo’, meaning “great river” or “large creek”.[17][18][19][20] The state, originally partitioned from the Northwest Territory, was admitted to the Union as the 17th state (and the first under the Northwest Ordinance) on March 1, 1803.[9][21] Although there are conflicting narratives regarding the origin of the nickname, Ohio is historically known as the “Buckeye State” (relating to the Ohio buckeye tree) and Ohioans are also known as “Buckeyes”.[2]

The government of Ohio is composed of the executive branch, led by the Governor; the legislative branch, which comprises the Ohio General Assembly; and the judicial branch, which is led by the Supreme Court. Currently, Ohio occupies 16 seats in the United States House of Representatives.[22] Ohio is known for its status as both a swing state[23] and a bellwether[23] in national elections.

 

North Dakota General Information

North Dakota

Abbreviation: ND

Population: 723,393

Land Area: 68,976
(sq. mi.)

 

North Dakota Listeni/ˌnɔrθ dəˈktə/ is the 39th state of the United States, having been admitted to the union on November 2, 1889. It is located in the Upper Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the north, the states of Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west.[5] The state capitol is located in Bismarck and the largest city is Fargo. Currently, North Dakota is the 19th most extensive but the 3rd least populous and the 4th least densely populated of the 50 United States.

The primary public universities are located in Grand Forks and Fargo. The U.S. Air Force operates air bases near Minot and Grand Forks.

North Dakota has weathered the Great Recession with a boom in natural resources, particularly a boom in oil extraction from the Bakken formation, which lies beneath the western part of the state.[6] The development has driven strong job and population growth, and low unemployment.[7][8]