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All the Plastic Ever Produced, Visualized

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Humanity has a plastic problem. The cheap, durable material has become a vital part of our vehicles, food packaging, and even the inner structures of our homes. We’ve already produced 8.3 billion metric tons of the stuff, and most of it is sitting in landfills where it could take centuries to break down.

In early 2017, a study published in the journal Science Advances highlighted the literal weight of this growing issue. Researchers calculated that the bulk of all the plastic that’s been made by humans is equivalent to that of 25,000 Empire State Buildings or 80 million blue whales. Of that, only 9 percent has been recycled. The amount of plastic waste currently trashing our planet adds up to 6.3 billion metric tons, and the researchers don’t see our plastic addiction getting any less severe in the near future. By 2050, the plastic in our landfills is expected to hit 12 billion metric tons. You can see more alarming statistics from the study in the infographic below.

Infographic showing plastic production statistics.
University of Georgia, Janet A Beckley

Of all the trash we produce, plastic is some of the toughest to get rid of [PDF]. Scientists are looking into solutions, such as plastic-chomping caterpillars and germs, but for now consumers can do the planet a favor by investing in more reusable goods.

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Mapped: The 10 Airports Where You’re Most Likely to Get Stuck Over Thanksgiving
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Every year, some unlucky Americans end up stranded at U.S. airports trying to get home for Thanksgiving. But your risk of getting stuck at the airport for hours on end varies depending on where you’re flying. Using five years of data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Elite Fixtures collected statistics on the worst airports to travel through around the Thanksgiving holiday, a time when airports are traditionally at their busiest.

The results show that delays aren't necessarily tied to the airports where the weather tends to be worst or those that see the most passengers. What airline you are flying, whether you’re on a regional flight, and the route you’re traveling can all affect your likelihood of getting stuck, and so the percentage of short-haul flights or the number of, say, Delta flights out of a certain airport might affect its overall score negatively. Still, you might want to avoid airports like Chicago’s Midway or the Oakland airport. Good luck with Houston or Dallas, too.

Below, the 10 worst:

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How Your Job Can Predict Whether Or Not You’ll Get Divorced
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These days, divorce is actually on the wane—2016 marked a nearly 40-year low in U.S. divorces—but whether or not you and your beloved spouse eventually part ways isn’t entirely up to fate. While individual relationships are all unique, statistically, there are demographic and other factors that influence whether or not a couple will divorce, from no-brainers like whether or not you’re willing to share chores equitably to more subtle factors like whether one partner smokes.

Your job matters too, as statistician Nathan Yau found in his analysis of 2015 data from the Census Bureau’s 5-year American Community Survey. As Business Insider and Entrepreneur report, the data shows that there can be vastly different divorce statistics when you’re talking about the marriages of bartenders and those of physical therapists, for instance.

A graph shows blue clusters plotting the links between income levels and divorce rates in different jobs.
Nathan Yau // Flowing Data

That doesn’t mean that going to work in a physical therapy office somehow better equips you for marriage than tending bar. Higher incomes and education levels, both intimately tied to your job, are also correlated with lower divorce rates. Sure, maybe the fact that flight attendants have to be away from their families for their job plays into their high divorce rates, but perhaps the type of person who wants to be a flight attendant might also be less inclined to settle down compared to people who dream of being an actuary.

Where does your job fall? Here are 10 fields with the lowest divorce rates surveyed:

1. Actuaries: 17 percent
2. Physical scientists: 18.9 percent
3. Medical and life scientists: 19.6 percent
4. Clergy: 19.8 percent
5. Software developers, applications and systems software: 20.3 percent
6. Physical therapists: 20.7 percent
7. Optometrists: 20.8 percent
8. Chemical engineers: 21.1 percent
9. Directors of religious activities and education: 21.3 percent
10. Physicians and surgeons: 21.8 percent

And here are the 10 highest-divorcing industries:

1. Gaming managers: 52.9 percent
2. Bartenders: 52.7 percent
3. Flight attendants: 50.5 percent
4. Gaming services workers: 50.3 percent
5. Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic: 50.1 percent
6. Switchboard operators: 49.7 percent
7. Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic: 49.6 percent
8. Telemarketers: 49.2 percent
9. Textile knitting and weaving machine operators: 48.9 percent
10. Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders: 48.8 percent

Explore the data further on Flowing Data.

[h/t Business Insider]

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