Catching up on interesting links from the past week.

Balkanized North America Map (thumbnail)Balkanized North America: what if every region that started independent had stayed that way, and every region that threatened to secede from the US or Canada had succeeded? (via ***Dave)

Enter Sandman: Who wrote “Footprints”? You’ve probably read the poem, or heard it, in which the narrator dreams of walking along a beach with God, and looking back and noting how many sets of footprints there are at different points in their life. It turns out at least four people claim authorship. (via Neil Gaiman)

Lunar UnicycleRetro-Future: To the Stars! Science-fiction illustrations from 1930–1970, many of them from Soviet/Eastern Bloc countries. (via Slashdot, though I noticed it popped up again today on The Beat)

My Son’s Food Allergies: Danger Every Day: An essay on a family dealing with their toddler’s serious (i.e. life-threatening) food allergies. I am so glad I didn’t have things this bad when I was younger. Fortunately for me, mine didn’t get really dangerous until I was around 17 or 18—just in time to go off to college and get exposed to all kinds of strange food! (Found on CNN)

Citizens Against Ugly Street Spam (CAUSS): volunteer group that tears down unsightly (and illegal) signs stapled to telephone poles and such. I saw their site a few years ago, but had no idea that they were not only still around, but had expanded to multiple cities. (again, via ***Dave)

Leave it to MapQuest to remind you that the nearby railroad actually is the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (and immediately lodge the song into your mind).

Actually, I’m also reminded of a Forbidden Broadway bit on a musical version of Anna Karenina, which finished with the parody, “On the Ashkabad, Tblisi and the Kiev Express.”

Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that we went out to see The Musical of Musicals: The Musical last night at the Laguna Playhouse. (It’s a musical, by the way.) It features a cast of four performing the same melodrama plot five times, once each in the styles of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander & Ebb. The musical styles were dead on, the show was hilarious in its own right, and it was packed with in-jokes so if you’ve seen enough of the shows they’re lampooning, it’s even better.

OK, one more election-related post. This one comes from The Big Picture, and features links to various maps of election results. Comparisons of state vs. county maps, looks at which candidates were favored by people in other countries, comparisons to past elections and to pre-Civil War America… and of course the comedy (including the redistricted Jesusland and the United States of Canada).

Interestingly, it’s missing the county-by-county Purple America, though it does have a link to the state-by-state one.

Found via WebWord.

Veeery interesting! By now everyone’s seen maps colored in red/blue by state, which make the vote look very regional (the South and Midwest pull red, and the northeast, the West Coast, and the Great Lakes area pull blue). A map by county makes the country look extremely red, until you realize that many of the blue counties are the more populous ones, highlighting the fact that the split is primarily urban/rural.

A Princeton professor has taken the election results and produced a shaded map by county, with a full red-purple-blue continuum. Looking at this map, it’s clear we’re a lot more integrated than we think we are.

Thumbnail of map

Hat tip: from a comment on