Archive for the ‘Geographically Correct’ Category

Akamai state of the internet 2011

Think your Internet connection is slow? Or ever wonder which country is hogging the most the IP addresses? Akamai—which offers services to speeds the delivery of subscribing sites—released a nifty map-based visualization of a handful of Internet-related statistics along with their annual “State of the Internet” report.

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Food chronology

It’s no secret the U.S.—and increasingly other countries—have a problem with obesity. Part of it is what we eat and how many calories we think it has (often far more than suspect), but another is when we eat it. Food consumed later in the day tends to be less healthy, and skipping a good breakfast portends an even unhealthier day.

The infographic linked above illustrates the what and when of global eating habits. Green swells dominate the day, but unhealthy midnight snacks blossom after dark. Think about that on your next trip to the fridge.


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GDP country-state pairing

There’s no doubt that the United States is the world’s largest economy, but what about its constituent state? California, for example, is the world’s eight or ninth largest economy, depending on whom you ask. Curious about the rest? The Economist has you covered with a great map that identifies which country comes closest to matching a state GDP-to-GDP. While it may seem shocking that Vermont most closely matches up with Yemen, an impoverished developing nation, keep in mind that the map uses simple GDP, not GDP per person. The flip side of the map identifies which countries are closest in population to each state.

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Tomato, tomahto, let's call the whole thing off

To anyone who has travelled around the English speaking world, it’s immediately apparent that there are probably hundreds of interpretations of the language. Even within the United States, with its powerful and omnipresent media, regional and local accents persist, and according to some experts are growing even more distinct. If you’ve ever wondered who in North America speaks in what way, your prayers have been answered. A linguist has produced a detailed (if aesthetically deficient) map of the continent’s varied takes on the English language.

The work is not peer-reviewed (the map-maker claims this project is a hobby), but the results are fascinating. For example, residents of the Mat-Su Valley just north of Anchorage, Alaska—Sarah Palin included—speak similarly to residents of Fargo, ND, or Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Also interesting is the way many west Texans sound like residents of southern Appalachia, despite the stark difference in landscapes and long distance between the two. Looking at the map reveals differences on much smaller scales, too. Big established metropolitan areas can showcase a variety of accents. New York certainly stands out, but so to does the San Francisco Bay Area. Residents of Berkeley, for example, say “on” different from natives in neighboring Oakland.

There’s also a more scholarly site that not only catalogs English accents in North America, but across different continents. It even has audio samples of different speakers reciting a stock paragraph so you can get an idea of how people from different regions sound.

Gulliver at The Economist posted a blurb about the North American accent map in his column, and as justification he cites a few articles that claim accents may be advantageous or detrimental to business dealings, depending on the parties involved. It seems like a bit of a stretch, but if it let him bring this cool map to our attention, I guess I’ll bite.

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Facebook friendship map

Facebook has mapped itself. An intern in the engineering department was exploring the geographic relationship between a users and their friends, surmising that most friends will live close by. Indeed, that’s what he saw. Cities that have a large number of friendships between them were connected with bright white lines, while those with fewer friendships were paired with dim blue lines.

The map’s bright spots largely mirror major population centers, with a few caveats. Places that lack Internet access are obviously missing from the map (large portions of Africa, for example), but most conspicuous in its absence is China and its growing population of Internet users. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong stand out as bright spots in eastern Asia, but China appears as a void on the map. Not too surprising, given the Chinese government’s rocky history with the site and Chinese users’ preference for the homegrown QQ.

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global accessibility map

You can get there from here. At least if you live within spitting distance of a big city, as a new map of global accessibility makes abundantly clear. The map’s glowing webs of terrestrial connectivity and thin wisps of sea borne traffic paint a picture of a strikingly connected world.

So it may surprise (or delight) some to discover that there are still isolated places where travel time to a large city is measured in days, not hours. Still, the scales are tipped towards connectedness—95 percent of the world’s population live on just ten percent of the land, but only ten percent of the Earth’s land area is more than two days from a city of 50,000 or more people. Though some inhabitants of those areas are just a mouse-click away from the Internet, it’s clear that physical connectivity still matters greatly in the flow of goods and ideas.

Geographers at the European Union’s Global Environmental Monitoring Unit compiled eleven data sources to create a “friction” map of the world. Here friction is not the literal coefficient of friction of a particular place on the globe, but rather a measure of travel difficulty to population centers based on the data they had available, including road networks, water bodies, elevation, and more. Imagine if the map were a table top onto which water was sprinkled. Population centers would be depressions in the table’s surface into which water would pool, while transportation corridors would be steeply sloped groves that would channel the water toward the depressions. Areas where travel is difficult would be nearly flat, causing the water to pool on the surface.

The geographers created the map for the World Bank Development Report 2009, which examines the effects of geographic concentration on income and production.

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Map of U.S. unemployment June 2010

The U.S. unemployment rate continues to languish between nine and ten percent, but that nationwide statistic obscures the wide variation in joblessness across the country. California’s Central Valley has been one of the hardest hit, with 15 to 20 percent unemployment. Parts of the South have fared even worse—many counties have more than 20 percent joblessness. But the recession appears to have lost its teeth in the nation’s breadbasket. In most counties in Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota, less than five percent of the workforce is out of a job. And while much of the country has added jobs over the last year, many areas have not been so lucky. Take a look at the New York Times interactive map on unemployment for more.


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