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….

Photo by ER Post

To Boldly Go

A few minutes into the new Star Trek movie, I had to stifle a giggle. Jim Kirk, captain of a space vessel capable of blipping straight across the galaxy, pulls out his “communicator,” a far-future version of the cell phone. And it…

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…

Brad in Brooklyn

Well, it’s taken me a week or so, but I finally heard “Accidental Racist.” Maybe that’s because I live way out here, in a part of the world that hardly counts. But we’ll get to that later. A short re-cap:…

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…

Photo by Frank DiBona


Ronnie Deveraux would die alone in the woods in Meteroa more by accident than a god’s hand. Ronnie grew up near rivers, and the stink of the Tallahatchie and Yazoo blew downwind on his childhood. His mother gave him blue…



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

Photo by Darla Hueske

Country Shit

[Editor’s note: This week, we’re publishing two essays on music–particularly country music–and how it shapes our identity. This essay is a response to “Why Country Music Loves Me,” by Emma Eisenberg, which you can read here.] When I was a…

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…