Monday, June 8, 2009

Social networking

I want to see this temporally. But, for now, it's a great snapshot.

Social networking sites are, of course, quite language-based (it's easier to add a friend when you receive an email in your own language) because social networks are language based. But, still, very interesting. I've still yet to hear a good explanation as to why Orkut is the site of choice in India and Brazil (where Google moved Orkut's management), two seemingly disparate markets. I think it shows two things. One, social networks are built from the ground up, in several different formats and, two, despite the popularity of Facebook, there's no real killer app (otherwise, why wouldn't Brazil and India succumb to Facebookization?). Yet.

(And, no, it's not Twitter)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The alluvial, meandering Mississippi

Up here in Minnesota, the Mississippi hasn't changed much in the last few thousand years. The only major difference, recently, is that the river had eroded Saint Anthony Falls several miles upstream from the end of the last ice age on, going at a rate of a few feet per year until the Army Corps (and others) put a stop to that in the late 1800s. (Had it kept on keepin' on, it would have eroded through a harder layer of limestone on top which ended and probably become a series of rapids, which is not good for navigation or for water power.)

Otherwise, the amphitheater in Minnehaha Park is the old course of the river (before it straightened out under the Ford Bridge), but that, of course, happened thousands of years ago.

Down south, on the other hand, the river is quite a bit more malleable, anywhere in its delta, which extends for hundreds of miles south of Cairo (where the Ohio dumps in). Look, for example (and there are many) at Columbus, Kentucky:

View Larger Map

See how part of Kentucky lies across the river? We can probably date that to sometime between the 1600s and the 1800s (depending on when the border was set; and how it was related to the Louisiana Purchase). And this happens up and down the river.

The Army Corps has put out maps of these changes, which are colorful and splendid. Radical Cartography stitched them all together (which, I can tell you, is not a whole lot of fun to do).

Here's a peek (warning, the linked file is pretty big):

And they have the whole river available (well, from Cairo to Louisiana. Very cool stuff.

All via James.

Fast food maps, and the urbanity of Starbucks

Some great maps from

That's Mickey D's.

Here's starbucks (appropriately in coffee brown):

It sure does seem that Starbucks are more concentrated in urban areas than McDonalds. Except in Washington state, but, of course, that's Starbucks's home—every hamlet probably has one.

I'd love to see these maps for Dunkin Donuts, amongst others.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If the colors were red and blue …

… would this look like an election map?

(via Map Scroll)

(click to enlarge)

That appears to be well correlated. I'm not Nate Silver (UPDATE: He went in to way more analysis than me) and it is late, so I'll leave the analysis for another time.

Edit: So I wrote some cursory analysis in a comment elsewhere, I figured I'd post it here:

More specifically, states where Obama far outperformed what the HDI would predict were New Mexico, Nevada, Maine and Oregon. He also did in Vermont and Hawaii, but mainly because of his strength there. In addition, amongst the states clustered at the top of the HDI scale, there are two clusters, one where he outperformed (60% of the vote or more) and where he performed around predicted (50-55% of the vote).

This is mainly because there is little variation amongst the HDI amongst high-scoring states. The top 20 states, which are above the US average of .950 (these are larger states, which is why only 20 are above) range from .950 to .962. There is a lot more variation lower down; while the top 20 states fall in to .012, the bottom 30 span .151.

The states where Obama underperformed what the HDI would predict were Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah (note that he underperformed here by far more than he outperformed in any state). It is the southern states which are clustered with both low HDIs and low Obama vote totals.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Housing Bubble in the Inland Empire

Now, why would anyone want to live in the Inland Empire? It sort of beats me, but then again, I am very geographically biased. This video, however, has some amazing 3-D maps of the growth of house prices east of Los Angeles in the last 10 years, when they skyrocketed and then plummeted.

The conclusions (different neighborhoods were affected differently and the housing wealth was redistributed dramatically) are interesting but the mapping—most of it in the first about 1:30 to 4:00—is what makes this video worth watching.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More to come soon

For now, enjoy