Should Businesses Be Required to Serve Same-Sex Couples? Americans Weigh In.

Last month Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a religious freedom law allowing businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples on religious grounds. While supporters say the law protects religious liberty for everyone, critics were quick to point out that the law would easily allow businesses to discriminate, with many people recalling “separate but equal” laws that were used to disenfranchise blacks from everyday rights until the 1960s.

Serene Desolation: Hyper-Realistic Paintings of Small Town America

Sometimes the most simple of scenes can make the most poignant of paintings. Artistic interpretations of small town America have documented the journey of the country through the years, recording societal changes in the familiar landscape as it transitioned into the modern era. Artist Rod Penner continues this tradition by painting small towns in the great state of Texas. It’s part photojournalism, part photorealism.

Happy 4th of July! American Flags from 1767 to the Present

Happy 4th of July America! In a celebratory visual fashion we think you’ll enjoy this fascinating look at the history of the old Stars and Stripes through history… in fact, back to before it was even the Stars and Stripes at all.

This patriotic print from Pop Chart Labs traces the flag through 48 versions, beginning with the star-less “Rebellious Stripes” of 1767 and finishing with the 50-star flag we’ve flown since 1960 (too bad for people who bought the 49-star version of 1959). You’ll definitely want to check out the zoomable view of this poster here.

America At Play, From the Air Above

With summer quickly approaching the northern hemisphere, and with the very best activities obviously outside under the hot sun, let’s get an overview of the situation. Alex S. MacLean, the much loved aerial photographer has been doing just that for the last decade or so. His ongoing series of photographs called Playing capture a top-down view of America’s outdoor playgrounds. From azure blue swimming pools dotted with splashing kids, to baseball diamonds maintaining “America’s favorite pastime.”

My First Rifle: Photos of Kids and Their Guns

For much of the western world, owning a gun is near unthinkable… let alone giving one to your young child. That’s part of what prompted Dutch photographer An-Sofie Kesteleyn to jump on a plane for America, just one month after seeing the tragic story of a 5-year old boy in Kentucky who killed his 2-year old sister with a practice rifle (an event which was deemed an accident).

This is a Heat Map of Individual American Debt, State-by-State

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Let the irony sink in: when discussing states with the highest amount of average debt per individual, apparently Washington, D.C. residents lead the way. According to a joint graphic put together by visual agency Column Five and global information services company Experianthe average individual debt in Washington, D.C. comes out to $30,444.

Photographs from a Sacred American Suburb

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Photographer Tom M. Johnson grew up in Lakewood, a suburban town outside of Los Angeles. After many years of traveling and living abroad, the artist now has a different view (as most people do) of his home country and town. He saw the differences, the similarities, and photographed what made his particular town unique in the world. Johnson has recently published a series called Lakewood: Portraits of a Sacred American Suburb.

We Love Friday!- Stars, Stripes, & Celebration

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The wise Abraham Lincoln once said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” All over the USA, people are showing their patriotism, celebrating their freedom, and probably eating and drinking way too much! However you celebrate- with family and friends, fireworks, parties, or just enjoying the days off of work, find time to think about what this holiday is about and be grateful for how fortunate you are. If you want to really open your eyes as to how lucky you are, try entering your income into this Global Wealth Calculator. If you make $24,000/year, you are among the top 2% richest people in the world! To see how people all over the US spent their 4th of July, we searched Instagram for this collection of people with true American spirit!

What’s in a Name? The US Atlas of True Names

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To many people, place names have a special meaning. Take California for example: to a number of people it signifies fun times, warm weather, beautiful nature and movies…. but what does the word ‘California’ actually mean? Grabbing this fascinating new map from Kalimedia, we see that ‘the Golden State’ actually means Land of the Successor, and looking closer we see San Francisco really means ‘Saint Little Frank One.’ The maps is called the Atlas of True Names, and it reveals the etymological roots, or original meanings of familiar places in the US.

Abandoned America: Neglected Architecture of the Past

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America is a young country. Attracting people from all over the world seeking new opportunities and livelihoods. The nation grew rapidly and in its growth built many buildings to accommodate the population and its needs. There were factories for jobs, schools for children, hospitals for care, and theaters for the arts. Times change though, and companies dry up; hospitals require upgrades and people migrate to other cities for work. Costing more to destroy or repair the buildings, they were fenced off and left abandoned.