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List of 20 Simple, Distinct Colors

In making my latest project (soon to be revealed!) I came across a problem. The challenge was to color-code 20 different rail lines for a metro system diagram, and I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time choosing the colors. No matter what I did, some colors were too similar and could be easily confused. […]

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Mexico’s urban pileups

Print this map at your local print center! Just send me a few bucks through this link and I’ll send the crisp high-res file straight to your email. For Venmo, email me at trub@uchicago.edu. I appreciate all the support. The US-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed, and one of the longest, in the world. The difference in development between […]

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US cities: cheap and open-minded

Context: on Quora, I was asked, “What is the cheapest and most open-minded city in the United States?“ Tl;dr: Louisville, Kentucky – aka “Where sobriety goes to die” or “The Southernmost Northern City”. Wow, cheapest AND most open-minded… this is not easy to measure. For “cheapest” I assume you mean cost of living, which I […]

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Standalone US Cities

Recently I had a random thought: why is it that some city articles on Wikipedia are called, for example, Nashville, Tennessee – while others are simply, Seattle or Dallas? Is Nashville simply not culturally significant enough to stand on its own, without the cumbersome state identifier? Wikipedia has extensive policy about the article names for geographical locations, […]

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Why is San Jose’s airport so close to downtown?

This is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. In the background is downtown Washington, D.C. Reagan National is approximately a 1–1.5 hr walk from the White House, depending on which part of the airport you start in. This happens to be roughly the same as the walking time between San Jose International and the center of […]

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UChicago over Stanford?

UChicago is higher ranked than Stanford (US News) because UChicago is better at generating the right stats for the methodology. You could call it gaming the system, but that’s a little unfair since it’s not all deliberate. According to Parchment.com’s statistics, about one in three students choose UChicago over Stanford, if admitted to both. Here’s […]

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Why does England have so many more people than Scotland and Wales?

It’s mostly a matter of physical geography. Take a look at this satellite image of the British Isles, without any borders. Right away you can see where the hilly and mountainous terrain is – mostly in Great Britain’s north and west. Mountainous terrain gives you benefits as well as drawbacks: The rugged land is more […]

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