Most Distinctive Obituary Euphemism for 'Died' in Each State


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If you’re an American alive today, chances are you’ve heard or used one of over 100 different euphemisms for death. A common reason many people don’t just say someone has “died” is a desire to not want to appear too harsh. This happens not just in everyday conversation, but also in obituaries we read in newspapers and increasingly online.

Are some expressions for dying more prevalent in obituaries than others? Are there regional variations? To find out the answers to these questions, I reached out to Legacy.com, a leading online provider of paid death notices. According to the data they provided, in 2015, they hosted 2,408,142 obituaries across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of those, 1,341,870 included one of their 10 most common euphemisms, or the word died.

The top term is unsurprising. “Passed away” was used in 32.5 percent of all obituaries and topped the national list. In every single state, it was either “passed away” or “died” (20.6 percent nationwide at #2) that was used most often. The relative prevalence of each of these terms paints a much more diverse picture, however.

Using a similar methodology to the “Most Distinctive Causes of Death” map, I calculated the difference between the regional and national prevalence of each term. The highest value gives the phrase that is most “characteristic” to that state. As it turns out, some terms are used comparatively more often than others depending on where you’ve died—or at least where your obituary is published.

Graphic by Chloe Effron 

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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The Most Popular TV Show to Binge-Watch During Quarantine in Each State

Is this the face of a man watching The Vampire Diaries? If he's in Montana, the answer is probably yes.
Is this the face of a man watching The Vampire Diaries? If he's in Montana, the answer is probably yes.
gpointstudio/iStock via Getty Images

With few places to go and even fewer people to see, many of us are spending our time in quarantine baking bread, taking virtual tours, and sitting in front of the television for hours. To find out what everyone’s choosing to binge-watch, CableTV.com surveyed almost 7000 viewers across the nation, analyzed the search volume for their responses with Google Trends, and used all of that data to create a map that reveals each state’s most-watched show.

While Netflix’s bizarre true crime docuseries Tiger King and reality dating competition Too Hot to Handle did appear in some surveys, neither they—nor any other new short-lived series—landed in first place for any state. Instead, most people appear to be indulging in nostalgic sitcoms or catching up on critically acclaimed dramas from the recent past (or present).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Friends is the clear winner, coming in first in 13 states in just about every corner of the country, including Texas, California, Florida, and New York. Not only can 10 seasons with Rachel, Joey, and the rest of the gang keep you busy for 121 hours, but the upcoming Friends reunion makes this an even better time for a full rewatch. It’s not the only sitcom on the map: Gilmore Girls, The Office, and Rick and Morty all earned a handful of states each.

map of most watched TV shows in quarantine
Apparently, all it took to make Delawareans finally decide to watch Game of Thrones was a months-long quarantine.
CableTV.com

Other people seem to be using quarantine as an opportunity to commit to TV shows that their friends have probably been begging them to watch for ages. For residents of Washington, D.C. and New Mexico, it’s Breaking Bad, while people in Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, and West Virginia are finally pressing play on The Walking Dead. Based on this study, it looks like most states were already all caught up on Game of Thrones before quarantine—and some people probably rewatched the series just last year to prepare for the final season—but it did rank first in Delaware.

The map isn’t without a few surprises. Missourians, for example, are split between bingeing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Ozark; and folks in Washington and Oregon are apparently all in on Star Trek.

You can see the full list and find out more about the study here.