Alaska’s Staggering Size

October 30, 2013

Size Of Alaska

With a whopping area of 663,300 square miles, Alaska might occupy a small amount of space in our national consciousness. It makes up for that, however, by comprising around 17% of the United States’ total area.

Upward Mobility In America

October 29, 2013

Upward Mobility In America

If you want your child to have a shot at entering a higher tier of the socioeconomic echelon, you might not want to settle down in the South. It’s not so much about big or small cities as it is, well, segregation. Says Harvard economics professor Raj Chetty,

We find that some of the highest mobility places in America are smaller towns rather than the biggest cities … What’s happening in those communities is they’re producing these very successful kids, even kids from low-income families.

And they end up leaving those communities typically, moving to bigger cities and being very successful in the broader American economy. But they’re being produced in these smaller towns…take a place like Atlanta … it’s a very residentially segregated city, where low-income people are living in neighborhoods that are quite separated physically from higher income. And the public transportation’s not great. And so that was a common characteristic that we found of many places of low rates of upward mobility.

The Incredible Evolution Of France’s Borders

October 3, 2013

Evolution Of French Borders

Like so many other superpowers, France–the largest country in Western Europe–had to undergo a series of rapid territory squabbles and handovers before becoming the high-culture capital it is today.

Our Planet’s Vegetation

August 9, 2013

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization: “Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth’s surface is a dynamic green. Data from the VIIRS sensor aboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite is able to detect these subtle differences in greenness. The resources on this page highlight our ever-changing planet, using highly detailed vegetation index data from the satellite, developed by scientists at NOAA. The darkest green areas are the lushest in vegetation, while the pale colors are sparse in vegetation cover either due to snow, drought, rock, or urban areas. Satellite data from April 2012 to April 2013 was used to generate these animations and images.”

The Gerrymandered Fourth District Of Illinois

July 21, 2013

Fourth District Of Illinois Map

Dubbed by many as “earmuffs” given its strange appearance, The Economist calls Illinois’ fourth congressional district one of the most strangely drawn and gerrymandered congressional districts in the country. Crammed into these two tiny swaths of land are a vast amount of left-leaning Latinos–primarily of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent.

Some of its proponents argue that this drawing-out was done to give Latinos guaranteed congressional representation; meanwhile, its many critics suggest that this is just an incredibly dramatic example of “packing”, a term used to describe the technique of squeezing a minority into a single district so that their power is minimized and their votes don’t “negatively” affect election outcomes in other parts of town. It’s worth adding that the Hispanic population is growing rapidly in Chicago–so much so that one “guaranteed” representative in Congress might not be enough.

Pangea With Current Borders

July 11, 2013

Map Pangea With Current Borders

India has gone on quite the adventure, and the country hasn’t tired yet. Presently, the Indian plate is crashing into Southern Asia at a rate of around 5 centimeters per year, which will inevitably add to the Himalayas’ already staggering stature.