Road Trip! Randy Olson Calculated The Optimal Trip to U.S. Landmarks in 48 States

Remember that viral story about the most efficient way to find Waldo? Well, Randy Olson is back with something that could save you more than time hunting for the right guy wearing red and white stripes – this one will save you fuel. With the help of Tracy Staedter from Discovery News, he’s created an interesting exercise in efficient road tripping, charting the optimal route around the 48 contiguous U.S. states stopping at national landmarks all along the way.

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If The Moon and Mars Had Oceans, What Would They Look Like?

Humans have long dreamt of living on other planets, but last time we checked they weren’t too keen on setting up permanent residence on the red dusty plains of Mars or even on a Moon mountain. The climate on those two celestial bodies isn’t exactly inviting – but there are plenty of people who dream of changing that. Terraforming is the theoretical process of modifying a planet to make it more Earth-like, and these two fascinating maps from data scientist Seth Kadish show what it could look like on Mars and the Moon.

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How Much Does It Cost to Live In Each of the World’s Countries?

How much does it cost to live in Sweden? How about Morocco or Japan? You can’t just compare exchange rates to figure that out. You need people on the ground reporting on how much they pay for a loaf of bread, an apartment or a glass of beer in Stockholm, Fez and Tokyo. That’s what Numbeo has been doing for years, creating a cost of living database with a lot of help from people all around the world. Movehub recently took that information and created a fantastic series of maps comparing how expensive it is to live in all the world’s countries. How does yours measure up?

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Flowing Maps Explore the City’s Impact on the Local Environment

Digital artist and illustrator Istvan has created a series of maps which artfully imagine the affect of cities and their human inhabitants on the local environment. His colorful images aren’t scientific in nature, but rather a personal exploration of what it might look like if the energies of the metropolis flowed out of the city itself.

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Fanny Hands Lane & Sally’s Bottom: Maps of Britain’s Slightly Rude and Just Plain Silly Place Names

If you’ve ever hopped off a flight to London and taken the Underground into the city, you were treated to something remarkably British. Over the loudspeaker a soothing voice announces without a bit of a giggle, that you are on the train bound for… Cockfosters. It’s a name that would raise most english speaker’s eyebrows, but not the English themselves. Welcome to Great Britain, home of very silly names.

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This Annual Report was Hand Sewn With Love

Unless you’re obsessed with tables of numbers, most annual reports are about as thrilling as… well, tables and numbers. Add some well honed creativity however, and they can be seriously compelling. Take this example from the women empowering crew at Krochet Kids. In this case, the report’s art and even data visualizations are very appropriately hand sewn with thread – and it’s beautiful.

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Jennifers and Michaels: Two Maps Reveal the Most Popular Girls and Boys Names Over 6 Decades

If you’ve ever been in a class surrounded by people with the same name, they were probably on this map. Jezabel put together two utterly fascinating GIFs tracking the most popular boys and girls names over the last six decades – and it’s an epic battle of popularity.

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How Scotland Voted, Council by Council

It’s official, the Scottish have chosen to stay with the United Kingdom after the historic vote on September 18th. Just how close was the decision? A margin of 55% voted to stay with the UK, while 45% voted for Scottish independence, with a large 85% of voters turning out. It was a decisive victory for those wanting to retain the connection to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and as this map from The Economist details, most of Scotland’s 32 councils supported the No vote.

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Mapping the Surface Area of Other Solid Surfaces in Our Solar System

You’re probably familiar with visualizations comparing the relative size of the planets, but this visualization is different. xkcd has created a map-like look at the solid surfaces of the Solar System, stitched together like countries on a single continent. The graphic includes planets, moons, asteroids and dwarf planets, but leaves out dust, small rocks and large gaseous planets like Jupiter and Saturn. It’s a revealing look at the size of our neighbors.

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After English and Spanish, What’s the Most Common Language in Your State?

Did you know German is the third most spoken language in Colorado, or that it’s Hmong in Minnesota? What’s the third most spoken language in your state?

This map is too interesting. Yes, most people in the US speak English in daily life, followed down the list by Spanish in all but seven states… but what comes third? This map from Slate details some surprising results and points to drastically different histories of immigration across the US.

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