Map crazy!

By James Fallows

Following the recent series of thought-experiment maps about how America's internal borders should be withdrawn, this note from a reader in Shanghai:

"I always enjoy the maps by Danny Dorling at the University of Sheffield, resizing areas based on all sorts of variables, including wealth, life expectancy, etc.  http://www.worldmapper.org/
 
"Sobering "income animation" here.  It certainly lives up the its tagline "The world as you've never seen it before".

From the income animation -- first, how the display looks when showing countries "sized by people living on less than $2 per day":
ThinWorld.png


And when sized by those living on more than $200 a day:
FatWorld1.png

I won't go on forever with alternative maps -- though this a good occasion to re-mention Toby Lester's wonderful book on the history of maps, The Fourth Part of the World -- but they are useful jogs to conventional thinking. And, a further note on the "what New England" should be called question, from a one-time resident of our smallest state:
"As a native Rhode Islander, I have to note that our state is the Ocean State, and it seems too proprietary to apply to all of Southern New England. Also, while I'm not a sports fan, the Red Sox are mighty popular here in RI and southern Mass and CT, so moving that northward doesn't make sense either. How about just Southern New England, which is used a lot anyway, at least by our weathermen, and the Northeast Kingdom?"

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/01/map-crazy/34272/