What Do You Need to Do 5 Minutes of Killer Standup Comedy? This Graphic Breaks It Down

Standup comedy is an art, not a science—sort of. While it has its own formula (setup, punchline), it also has its own nuances. But it always starts with the standard 5-minute set, whether you’re doing your first open mic or your first late-night TV spot. What does it take to kill in that short amount of time? According to Comedy Evaluator Pro, an online software program that measures laughs and positive audience response during a comedy set, here’s what it takes.

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What’s the Most Popular Girl’s Name? This Video Tracks Their Evolution from 1880 to 2013

From Anna, to Jennifer and Isabella, the popularity of different girl names is always in flux. But what’s in a name? As this bubble chart animation illustrates, there’s a lot of cultural significance to how we name our girls. It tracks the changing favor of different names in America from all the way back in 1880 up to 2013. And while one name may hold the top position for a decade or two, parents are always swaying between following tradition and choosing something different or modern – eventually even the most popular names fall from the spotlight.

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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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What Would it Look Like if the Sun was Replaced by Other Stars?

There’s nothing quite like a good sunset. We flock to that colorful scene any day the weather is good. But what if it looked a bit less familiar? Graphic designer Martin Vargic wondered what it would look like if our closest star, the Sun, was replaced with other stars in the galaxy (say the tiny red dwarf Barnard’s Star, or the giant Aldebaran). Vargic set to work, creating a series of Photoshopped images which replaced our familiar Sun with others from around the galaxy.

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Here’s What the Perfect Workspace Looks Like

The work you do is greatly affected by the environment you’re in—a concept aggressively examined by architectural theorist Christopher Alexander and others in A​ Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. No one wants to work in a soul-crushing cubicle farm, yet so many companies completely overlook their own design. Even those of us who are lucky enough to work from home severely underestimate the power of our environment. What do you need to feel comfortable and productive? Here’s what the perfect workspace looks like.

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60 Years Ago, We Spent Twice as Much on Food

It’s not uncommon to get sticker shock when you see your total at the grocery store, but this little fact will make you feel much better: 60 years ago, we spent twice as much on food. Using the latest data from the USDA’s long-time tracking of food expenditures, we charted the information going back just over six decades. The trend is obvious. Out of our total disposable income, Americans are spending a much smaller share on food.

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Weed is Super Safe, and This Chart Proves It.

Washington D.C. voted to legalize marijuana last November by a landslide, with that Initiative taking effect today. While the nation’s capital won’t be the next Amsterdam, it does raise questions in the continuing debate about marijuana safety. Just how safe is smoking weed?

Ask any recreational or medical marijuana user and they’ll quickly tell you that the drug is safe (and a LOT of scientific research backs that up), but recent research is suggesting it might be even safer than we’ve thought. In findings published in the journal Scientific Reports (a research publication from Nature), researchers worked to quantify the risk of death associated with commonly used drugs when used in typical fashion.

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Charting the Downs and Ups of US Income Inequality

NPR recently released an interactive chart which clearly demonstrates the growing US income inequality over the last 100 years. But what it shows best is the two major trends the century has followed.

The scatter plot charts average income for the bottom 90% of earners on one axis, and the average income for the top 1% on the other. (For comparison purposes all figures are inflation adjusted to 2012 dollars)

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3 Striking Charts Show How Vaccines Have Impacted 20th Century Diseases

Despite the few very loud voices still claiming vaccines are dangerous (and getting a lot of attention in the process), there is overwhelming evidence that they make the world a much safer place. Take the seven interactive heat maps created by Tynan DeBold and Dov Friedman for the Wall Street Journal. Each of the three examples we’ve featured here show the number of cases before and after a vaccine was introduced. Striking isn’t it?

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Polarized Approval: Republican & Democrat Opinion of Every President Since Eisenhower

For Presidents Day, Pew Research Center produced an eye opening visualization of presidential approval over the past 62 years, ranging from the beginning of the Eisenhower administration to the latest poll for Barack Obama. Unlike most presidential approval charts, however, this one splits ratings by political party. Overall, 47% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance (up from 42% in December), but that score hides a growing polarization between Democrats and Republicans.

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