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)

Miss two weeks and they pull the rug out from under you:

…the cast, crew, writers and producers of Angel deserve to be able to wrap up the series in a way befitting a classic television series and that is why we went to Joss to let him know that this would be the last year of the series on The WB

At least the WB had the decency to let them know in time to do some sort of wrap-up, unlike the way certain other shows were treated by channels that shall not be named.

Unfortunately we live in a world where the offbeat has to make way for the mainstream. I don’t care if the WB puts up some new “reality” show, as long as I can find the kind of shows I like to watch. With so many hundreds of cable and satellite stations available, you’d think there’d be room for shows like VR.5 and Crusade.

Still, Angel managed five years, which is pretty damn respectable – especially in the modern era of cancelling shows without even airing half a season.

Joss Whedon sums up the perils of producing anything that strays too far from the beaten path:

“Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I took the road less traveled by
I totally shoulda took the road
that had all those people on it.