Is this the hardest game on the internet? Photo courtesy of Flickr user jimmywayne

The State Highway Signs Quiz

Proceed to quiz   Most people, when they’re giving directions, describe all highways with the uncomplicated prefix “Route” (pronounced as root or rawte, according to taste). Take Route 85 for a few miles, then merge on Route 151, then south on Route 16….

On Digging In

On Digging In

“I think you can never really do something well unless you’re able to leave it and, you know, have a family and have a home, and have a place that you’re from that you’re really dug in, you know. I…

The Centroid of our Universe

In which Jeremy Miller seeks the centroid–or “the mean population center” of the U.S., “a hypothetical and highly mathematical point calculated every ten years as part of the decennial census.” The “center” of our country is a loaded concept–Miller points…

Passports

Passports

Yet another map in which Mississippi looks like the center of a black hole: See the full set of data here.

Photo by thesuperaliceflickr

Why Country Music Loves Me

[Editor’s note: This week, we’re publishing two essays on music–particularly country music–and how it shapes our identity. This essay first appeared at the Rumpus, where you can hear Emma read it out loud. She has kindly let us republish it…

50 New States

We’ve written before about how a border–just an imaginary line–can change realities. Politically, especially. Back during election season, Andrew pointed out how those state lines can be skewed. Well, artist Neil Freeman has a novel solution: let’s just make all the states have…

“The Fifteen Beds of Our Honeymoon” & “I Want to Sleep in the Belly of a Dog in Idaho”

“The Fifteen Beds of Our Honeymoon” & “I Want to Sleep in the Belly of a Dog in Idaho”

The Fifteen Beds of Our Honeymoon Our bellies were full of beef at bedtime in Amarillo.    I don’t remember John Wayne’s bed at the Apache being particularly cozy, although I did sleep through the alarm, saying “I’ve seen enough…

Born Restless

Paired with my fascination with place is a fascination with movement: there is just so much of America–so much of the world–to see, and I don’t want to miss much of it. This is something we’ve covered a good bit…

The Kingdom of Shawston

The Kingdom of Shawston

Two hundred yards from the highway and just this side of the Thurgood County line is a thicket of oaks, pines, the occasional rhododendron, and an untold amount of bramble. A stream slips through it on its way to the…

Dig a Hole to China

My roommates and I were all just comparing our common belief from childhood that a hole dug straight down would take us to China. We decided to verify this belief, and a quick Google search unveiled this map. Now that…