## Island Puzzle

Assume the landmasses of Eurafrasia, America, Antarctica, and Australia don’t count as islands.

1) Find a US state for which the majority of its area is on islands xor the majority of its population is on islands.

2) Find a country for which the majority of its area is on islands xor the majority of its population is on islands.

3) Find a US county for which the majority of its area is on islands xor the majority of its population is on islands.

## US Representative Apportionment, but Performed upon the Countries of the World

What if the world had a representative body among the countries that operated on the apportionment rules of the US House of Representatives?

The following map shows the distribution of representatives to UN-recognized countries from running the Huntington-Hill algorithm for an assembly of 1650 representatives. (I arrived at 1650 via scaling extrapolation from the number of entities represented (not population) for the US House.) Each representative represents approximately 4.7 million people.

Slightly less than half the world’s countries get allotted 1 representative. Taiwan is not recognized by the UN, but Taiwan would have 5 representatives upon inclusion. Hong Kong, if included, would have 2 representatives.

These reduced numbers could be helpful for remembering ballpark relative populations of countries.

## Highway System Directional Orientation Exceptions

The Interstate Highway System, the US Highway System, and the California State Highway System are all systems in which (primary) highways are numbered with odd numbers if they are north-south routes and even numbers if they are east-west routes. In many schemes, though, there are exceptions, and parity of highway number is no exception. In the below chart, I color each highway in these systems green if the parity of the highway number correctly tells the highway’s dominant orientation, and red if it fails to.

Note that I didn’t bother to indicate this for Interstate and US highways numbered above 99 and 101 respectively, as those numbers are explicitly reserved for a different numbering schematic. I also parenthesized several highways to indicate similar and other reasons the highways shouldn’t be counted in this analysis.

I also chose to use “SN” and “WE” to indicate highway direction, contrary to the English-established phrases “north-south” and “east-west” to instead reflect the direction of conventional mileage indication and exit numbering.

## Map of US Representatives’ Endorsements in the Democratic Primary

This map colors the 68 US congressional districts for which the representative of the district has already endorsed a candidate for the upcoming Democratic primary election. It does not include endorsements for candidates that have received congressional endorsements but have already dropped out of the race, of which there were three: Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Eric Swalwell.

This map was created using mapchart.

## Geopolitical Spiciness Tiers

### ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ Tier

China (People’s Republic)
China (Republic)
Israel
Palestine

India
Pakistan
Russia

### ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ Tier

Iran
Korea (Democratic People’s Republic)
Turkey

Armenia
United Kingdom

Belgium
Cyprus
Egypt
France
Georgia
Iraq
Japan
Korea (Republic)
Kosovo
Saudi Arabia
Ukraine
United States

### ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ Tier

Afghanistan
Cuba
Greece
Lebanon
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Qatar
Serbia
South Sudan
Spain
Syria
United Arab Emirates
Venezuela

### ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ðŸŒ¶ Tier

Azerbaijan
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brunei
Colombia
Djibouti
Indonesia
Ireland
Italy
Libya
Malaysia
Norway
Philippines
Portugal
Sudan
Vietnam
Yemen

## Where We’re Headed: the Next Electoral / Congressional Apportionment

The next census is soon here. Where are we headed for how the distribution of representatives and electoral votes are shaping up?

For an estimation, I took the US Census Bureau’s numbers for last census and a recent Census Bureau population estimate, and extrapolated along the trend to calculate populations at the next census, and here’s where this estimation ends up.

Losses:
Rhode Island loses 1 electoral vote, from 4 to 3.
West Virginia loses 1 electoral vote, from 5 to 4.
Alabama loses 1 electoral vote, from 9 to 8.
Minnesota loses 1 electoral vote, from 10 to 9.
Michigan loses 1 electoral vote, from 16 to 15.
Ohio loses 1 electoral vote, from 18 to 17.
Illinois loses 1 electoral vote, from 20 to 19.
Pennsylvania loses 1 electoral vote, from 20 to 19.
New York loses 1 electoral vote, from 29 to 28.

Gains:
Oregon gains 1 electoral vote, from 7 to 8.
Colorado gains 1 electoral vote, from 9 to 10.
Arizona gains 1 electoral vote, from 11 to 12.
North Carolina gains 1 electoral vote, from 15 to 16.
Florida gains 2 electoral votes, from 29 to 31.
Texas gains 3 electoral votes, from 38 to 41.

Here’s all this as a map (the background coloring is the Obama-Romney election):

The closest alternative electoral vote loss is California losing 1, from 55 to 54.

The closest alternative electoral vote gain is Montana gaining 1, from 3 to 4.

## The MBTA Map, and Unexpected Detail

If you live in the Boston area, I have a geographical mind-jogger for you.

Considering only light and heavy rail stations (so, including the five colored lines, but excluding buses and the commuter rail):

1) Which station is the closest to the geographical midpoint between Alewife and Braintree?
2) Which station is the closest to the geographical midpoint between Forest Hills and Oak Grove?
3) Which station is the closest to the geographical midpoint between Lechmere and Riverside?
4) Which station is the closest to the geographical midpoint between Bowdoin and Wonderland?
5) Which station is the closest to the geographical midpoint between Chelsea and Dudley?

And you could look at the map above, because it won’t help you much.

If you’re familiar with several metro/subway maps, you probably know by now that they aren’t drawn to scale. The MBTA, however, has a feature that several other system maps also have that might make one think the map is remotely to scale: it depicts bodies of water in the system area.

And not only does it bother to depict the water, it bothers to depict it with substantial accuracy: the shape of the waterways on the map really do resemble the actual geographic shapes of the coastline and the rivers to a surprising level of detail. It even bothers to clarify the lagoon at Castle Island.

On the other hand, the actual rail lines are nowhere near that straight.

So here’s a question: does the accuracy of water details give the map reader a false impression of geographic accuracy in the rail lines depicted?

In any case, it’s quite impressive that one map manages to juxtapose such a careful attention to accuracy in bodies of water with such a bare-bones depiction of the system lines, a discrepancy in detail that feels like a challenge to achieve.

To what degree of discrepancy? Well, here’s the answers.

1) Fields Corner is closest to halfway between Alewife and Braintree.
2) Kendall is closest to halfway between Forest Hills and Oak Grove.
3) Boston College is closest to halfway between Lechmere and Riverside.
4) Wood Island is closest to halfway between Bowdoin and Wonderland.
5) Haymarket is closest to halfway between Chelsea and Dudley.