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….

"Down to the Sea." Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Higher Latitudes: Rockwell Kent on Monhegan Island

“Truly I loved that little world, Monhegan.  Small, sea-girt island that it was, a seeming floating speck in the infinitude of the sea and sky, one was as though driven to seek refuge from the impendent cosmic immensity in a…

The Gherkin in London

There and Back Again

February 1 I am now booked for four domestic and international trips over the next two months: Seattle, India, Boston, England. Some for work, some for pleasure, some for both. Lately, my life has seemed like a train on the…

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…

Reflections on running and the terror attacks

Last Friday, with one Boston Marathon bombing suspect dead and the other subject to a massive manhunt, I left their picture open on my laptop all day. I wasn’t even in the U.S. when the bombing occurred, but a kind…



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

Nerd at the Window

Nerd at the Window

Ever since Dad treated us kids to a flight in a small plane, I’ve lived for the days I can glue my face to a window, cramp every muscle in my neck, and survey the earth as we begin our…

Photo by Evan Gregg


Sometime last spring, I was driving through northern Minnesota when the road I was on passed over a small waterway. It was an unremarkable little brook lazily worming through the forest, but a sign on the shoulder identified it as…

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…