Via TPM, this Duke project is cool:
This animated interpretation accentuates certain phenomena: the breadth and duration of support for Roosevelt, the shift from a Democratic to a Republican South, the move from an ostensibly east-west division to the contemporary coasts-versus-heartland division, and the stability of the latter.
More broadly, this video is a reminder that what constitutes “politics as usual” is always in flux, shifting sometimes abruptly. The landscape of American politics is constantly evolving, as members of the two great parties battle for electoral supremacy.
Reader DW pointed me toward this blog, a salve to the tortured OCD mind:
I love the blog's design, too. Very...neat.
Diane will understand why Wired editor Jonah Lehrer keeps his crappy GPS. Not because her GPS is crappy, but because "Jack" talks to her:
I have a complicated relationship with my GPS unit. On the one hand, it rarely works. Here's what happened the last time I turned it on. First, there was a five minute delay while it searched for the satellite signal. Then, it couldn't find the street I was searching for. Then, it found the street but lost the satellite signal. Then, it regained the signal but sent me in the wrong direction. And then, after I'd already gotten accurate directions off my phone, the GPS unit finally decided that it knew where I was going. In other words, the device sucks.
But here's the funny part: I still use the device every time I'm even a little lost or unsure of where I'm going. In fact, I sometimes turn the machine on even when I know exactly where I'm headed. Why? I'm not quite sure. Although the device drives me crazy, and I'm constantly complaining about it (see above), I also enjoy interacting with that posh British voice emanating from the gadget, as it mispronounces every street name and tells me to take the wrong turn. When I'm alone in the car, the stupid piece of plastic feels like a companion.
... Why, then, am I so indulgent of my GPS unit? The answer, I think, has to do with the facade of agency. This machine speaks to me, calmly telling me where to go and why it's failing to telling me where to go. Sometimes, when the gadget is really struggling, I get the sense that it wants to apologize, that it feels bad it's so utterly ineffective.
For the record, "Jack" is Australian. And I have to laugh the way "he" reacts when Diane decides to follow a different route than Jack plotted for her: he seems to sigh and, with the patience of someone training a puppy, tells her he's "recalculating." We really aren't far away from Genuine People Personalities, are we?
What will they think of next. Now you can get a pair of 2GB USB cufflinks in silver or gold. They're maybe a little pricey ($195), but I do have a birthday coming up...
Via Strange Maps comes a field outside Minden, Neb., shaped like...well, like Nebraska:
Strange Maps writes:
Is Nebraska Field a coincidence, then? When not being centrally irrigated, each of the mile-by-mile blocks is often divided into smaller fields, mostly rectangular but not really symmetrical. That sort of describes the shape of Nebraska – but still, chances of a field mimicking it so perfectly seem very remote indeed.
Nebraska is rectangular in an oblong sort of way, with straight borders everywhere except in the east, where it is bounded by the Missouri River. An immediately recognisable feature on its western border is the square chunk bitten out by Colorado, allowing that state to be completely rectangular.
The field mimics all these shapes: the straight lines north, west and south, the indentation in the southwest, the slightly slanting eastern border, near what looks like a little, elongated lake. And all in the right proportions too.
So: coincidence or design? It has to be one or the other.
Pretty cool, though.