Visualization of 11 years of bestseller book covers, arranged by visual similarity

This interactive and zoomable graphic is available here. Hat tip: @kottke.

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The politics of prediction

Check out this survey and interactive report by Sahil Chinoy, a graphics editor for The New York Times. According to Mr Chinoy, how you answer a handful of questions is very likely to determine your political affiliation. Putting aside the unreliability of “self-reports” and social-science surveys generally (people lie!), can you guess what these “handful of questions” are? The visualization of Mr Chinoy’s survey results below should provide some clues:


Image credit: N.Y. Times

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A modest proposal for ending partisan gerrymandering

Lots of people like to complain about partisan gerrymandering. One problem with all these complaints, however, is this–what would a non-gerrymandered voting district look like? Given this problem, here’s our tentative solution: instead of relying on State legislatures to draw up the voting districts in their respective States, why not create such districts based on the area code zones already in use in each State? Consider the State of Texas, by way of example. Currently, there are 27 Congressional districts and 21 area codes in Texas. So, why can’t we just overlay 21 of these districts on the pre-existing area code zones, with the remaining six members of Texas’s House delegation chosen at-large (State-wide)?

Image result for congressional districts texas

Image result for area code map texas
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A modest proposal for the GOP: dump Trump

Although I was a lifelong member of the Republican party, I left the G.O.P. and became an Independent in the mid-2000s after a supposedly Republican President (Little Bush) and an ostensibly Republican-controlled Congress failed to curb federal spending or make any significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code. After all, what’s the point of voting for your preferred slate of candidates if they are unwilling to keep their most fundamental promises? In any case, I ended up “throwing my presidential vote away” and voted Libertarian in 2016, so my Republican friends should take my counsel with a grain of salt, but considering how radical and weak the field of Democratic presidential contenders is, conservatives don’t really need Trump to win the White House in 2020, right?

Image result for bill weld for president 2020

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Toni Morrison: today, tomorrow, forever

Toni Morrison, our national treasure; may she rest in peace. Here is her obituary, and here is a transcript of her 1993 Nobel lecture, or better yet, listen to the audio of her plaintive and poignant narrative via the YouTube clip posted above.

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With the first batch of college football games just around the corner, we want to bring star quarterback McKenzie Milton to your attention. Milton used to start for the University of Central Florida (UCF) before he was seriously injured at the end of the 2018 season, but according to this recent Associated Press report dated 5 August 2019, Milton might be joining the coaching staff at UCF. We’re familiar with the term “student-athlete”; this is the first time, however, we’ve heard of a “student coach”! Here is an extended excerpt from the AP report (edited by us for clarity): Continue reading

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Juke Green (with selfie)

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