What's Closer to Texas Than Texas Is to Itself?

San Diego is closer to El Paso than El Paso is to Houston. 
mostwrong / Reddit

This map shows (roughly) how large the Lone Star State is. Points in the map’s red section are closer to somewhere in Texas than the opposite sides of Texas are to each other.

That’s right: You can be in Fargo, or Atlanta, or San Diego ... and be closer to Texas than Texas is to itself.

That’s what the map above says. Texas is big.

This map comes from a Reddit thread (and via a radio station) that is brief but also worth revealing. It’s a fun read: One Redditor questions whether the original poster failed to account for the curvature of the Earth; another asks whether Cuba makes the cut.

A third does something else fun: apply the concept of the map to the even larger American state, Alaska. Though they didn’t make an image, that user volunteers:

Alaska misses Lousiana, Mississippi, Tennesee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pensylvania and everyone further away.

Alaska reaches Japan, China and North Korea (Almost South Korea and Mongolia) in Asia and Norway (Svalbard) in Europe.

But the thread’s worth reading for a final, crucial reason: It shows how maps like this, which seem increasingly popular online, get made. It shows that they have creators and an argument, and that those creators iterate them to more effectively make their point.

And it reminds us, finally, that the size of something isn’t always a meaningful metric: As the old sketch comedy show SCTV once showed, Texas pales next to Russia

Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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