Tag Archives: states


Remember that map thingamapoop that you can color in based on where you’ve lived and how long you’ve lived there?

Probably not, ‘cause that’s not super descriptive or specific. So here’s mine from 2013.

Here’s the updated map to reflect my current state.

(Or province.)

(That was a really stupid joke, sorry.)


That’s…not as different from the 2013 one as I thought it would be, haha.

Claudia Ranks the States by Shape

This is as subjective as it is pointless. BUT SO IS MY LIFE so here we go. From best to worst.

Seriously, though. I like the shape of Idaho. I think it’s one of the more distinctive US shapes (as in, if you see it you’re like, oh, I know what state that is) and it stands out in the Western states by having quite a bit of jaggedness to it on one side.

I like Utah’s shape. Simple but distinctive. Mormons know how to do it.

This state could eat a good number of other countries. I approve.

I hate having Texas so high up on this list, but you have to admit that it’s a very distinctively-shaped state. Everyone knows which state is Texas. Except Americans.

Islands and volcanoes!

New Mexico
Nothingness and excessive heat! I like the shape, though.

Do you like 105 degree weather, hordes of drunk people, losing all your money, neon lights on everything, and a state that exists solely to wall in Las Vegas? Come to Nevada!

Arizona is home to a tiny town called “Tuba City” which automatically makes the state this high on the list.
There’s also the Grand Canyon and whatnot, but…
Tuba City.

Generic Block State A.

Generic Block State B. Why does Colorado get a slightly worse rating than Wyoming? Because Wyoming’s generic block shape is better.

Kansas has its shit together. It’s like “hey, you want a flat-ass rectangle that’s full of tornadoes, a Cfa Koppen climate and nothing else? Gotcha, bro.” Also, all the major cities sound like bird mating noises. “to-PEE-kauh!” “WIIII-chi-tauh!”

Nebraska is Kansas’ socially awkward little brother who tried to be a rectangle but forgot what a rectangle was. Either that or pushy Colorado ate that one side of the rectangle and Nebraska’s too polite to say anything.

It’s OK. Get it?!?!?!?!?!

South Dakota
“South Dakota: Stop In for a Visit or We’ll Let the Rock Presidents Eat You”

North Dakota
“North Dakota: The Obnoxious Rectangle between Montana and Minnesota. But Hey, at Least We Don’t Have Angry Rock Presidents”

Dayman. AAAAAAAAAAHHH! Fighter of the Nightman! AAAAAAAAAHHH! Champion of the sun!

Not bad. Not great, but not bad. Also, points for 1st statehood.

I like states that are shaped like their name. It looks like a soda.

I like states that are shaped like their name. It looks like an Ohio.

It’s a boot!

I like the shape, but not the silent “c.”

I’ll just leave this here:


Mississippi’s fun to spell, but that’s about all it’s got going for it.
No seriously. Look it up and it ranks first for all the “bad” things and last for all the “good” things.

The same as Mississippi, but less fun to spell.

The good: redwoods! The bad: San Francisco. They pretty much balance each other out.
Seriously, Nate and I got lost in the untamed fern-covered wilderness in Jedidiah National Park for like two hours, but felt safer during that period of time than during the 15 minutes it took us to walk to a Denny’s in Tenderloin.

Approximately 400% of my family is from Missouri. Which is the only reason why this state is listed as high as it is.

South Carolina

Cheese and weird accents? I’m for it.

I think Maine is the state a good number of people forget about when they’re asked to list all 50 states. Is it because it’s so far up there and so quiet and unassuming that no one remembers it? Poor little Maine. It’s the only state with a one-syllable name, though, so it’s got that going for it.

New Hampshire
Meh. Shaped like a lowercase “h” to make it easier to remember which of those 8,000 northeastern states it is.

See above, but shaped like a “v.”

This state will never recover from the 2000 election nonsense.

Washington: a west-to-east tour. Pacific Ocean, Seattle, outskirts of Seattle, still being stuck in Seattle seriously how the hell do you get out of this city, Fallout-esque wasteland, GO ZAGS, GO COUGS, OH GOD IT’S IDAHO TURN THE FUCK AROUND

Do you like peaches and a (currently) really terrible baseball team?
You’d better.
You’d better.




I’ve never liked Oregon. I have no logical reason from this apart from just not liking the word “Oregon” and associating the state with freezing cold Pacific Ocean-adjacent beaches.

New York
Too weird of a shape, but I guess I’d have a huge chunk of the US population coming after me if I said NY sucked, so…

It’s the only ten I see!
(if the total ranking scale goes from 1 to 50 with 50 being the best)

It’s the only ken tuck ee!
That works better than Tennessee.

Rhode Island
Too small, 0/10 would not admit to Union again

New Jersey
The only good thing to come out of New Jersey was Michael Jones of Roosterteeth. That probably explains why he’s so angry all the time.


North Carolina
Too similar in shape to Virginia, 0/10 would not draw same borders again

I don’t like the name “Virginia.” Also, every time I see any reference to this state, my brain starts singing “in SIX-teen-hundred-SEV-en, we SAILED the o-pen SEA!” and I have to go through the whole damn song. It’s awful. Get rid of Virginia.

Not a fan of the shape. Not a fan of the shape at all.

Hey Michigan, why you gotta be in two parts like a weird little nerd state? Why don’t we make that upper dingle part its own state and merge North and South Dakota to make up for it? We wouldn’t even need to change the number of stars on the flag. And we would have a state named Upper Dingle. Win-win!

West Virginia
Oh, man.

Drunk cartographer, slurring heavily: I—I’mma make a state.
Cartographer’s friend: Johnathan, put the pen down. You’re drunk.
DC: NnnnnOOO! ‘Sgonna be state. A new one. Right here.
CF: That’s just a blank space on the map where the borders of existing states don’t meet. You can’t make a state there!
DC: Gonna.
CF: We can’t have a state shaped like potato, Johnathan. Imagine the embarrassment if it gets back to England!
DC: I’mma…I’mma draw it, and I’m gonna name it…Virginia.
CF: Dammit, Johnathan, we already have a Virginia.
DC: South Virginia.
CF: Virginia is below it.
DC: East Virginia.
CF: If you go east of Virginia, you’re in the Atlantic Ocean.
DC: North Virginia!
CF: …Okay, well, I suppose that kind of make s—
DC: NO! …West Virginia.
CF: *defeated sigh* All right, Johnathan. West Virginia. Fine. It’s a state. Now what?
DC: Fill it with hicks!

West Virginia sucks.

Word Mapper

This is pretty cool!

It lets you type in a word (I think it only has the most frequently used 100,000 words, though?) and will map its frequency of use in tweets (either by county or just by hotspots) across the continental US.

Here are some fun ones.

The differing distributions of “geek”, “dork”, and “nerd”:





Canada”, “Mexico”, and “America” (I would have used “United States”, but it just takes words, not phrases):






North” and “south” are nicely clustered around the states with those words in their names:







Where is Idaho?

I did a little experiment this evening (because why the hell not). I wanted to see which states Idaho is most commonly grouped with when the country is split into “regions” (because I’ve seen it put into the Pacific Northwest, the West, the North West, etc., each with different states along with it). So I went to Google Images and typed “regions of the US” to see what I could find.

I looked at 50 different maps and recorded how many times each state (apart from Idaho, of course) was grouped along with Idaho.



States like Mississippi and Louisiana and such were grouped on some map showing the nuclear regions (or something like that) of the US.

Heat map!


Heat map courtesy of here.

Interesting to see the difference in grouping frequency between our state to the east (Montana) versus the two to our west (Washington and Oregon)


Hello again from 2015!

Let’s start the year off with some interesting numbers, eh? Specifically, some numbers regarding different fields of education in the United States.


The above.gif (source) shows the field type of Bachelor’s degrees by state, ranked by top percent of degree by field. I can’t read as fast as the .gif goes, so here are the screenshots for each type of degree. Click on the piccys to make them grow.






Psychology and Social Sciences:


Science and Engineering-Related:




Biological, Agriculture, and Environmental Science:


Liberal Arts and History:


Literature and Language:


Computers, Mathematics, and Statistics:


Visual and Performing Arts:




Physical and Related Sciences:


Idaho’s good at Communications and Ag…and not much else, haha.

Maps (they don’t love you like I love youuuuuuuuuuu…)

Well this was cool to do.


What the colors represent:

  • Red: states/provinces where I’ve not spent much time or seen very much.
  • Amber: states/provinces where I’ve at least slept and seen some sights.
  • Blue: states/provinces I’ve spent a lot of time in or seen a fair amount of.
  • Green: states/provinces I’ve spent a great deal of time in on multiple visits.

I like how I’ve been all over the West Coast and the Great Lakes area, but very few other places (I went to Boston for that APS conference in May 2010; my grandparents used to live in St. Louis).

I also realized after making this that I’ve also been to Washington, D.C., but since that’s its own thing and not technically in a state, I decided to leave it as it is.

If you click here, you can make one of your own!


The United States of Craigslist (Part II)

Ahoy, readers!

As I was falling asleep last night I thought up another (dinky) analysis I could run on the Craigslist data.

Question of interest: what state(s) had the highest proportion of Craigslist personal ads compared to their total population? Easy little analysis, I know, but it’s a fun thing to look at.

So here we go!

This map shows a gradient from white to deep purple. States that are whiter have a lower proportion of Craigslist ads with respect to the total state population. States that are a deeper purple, therefore, have a HIGHER proportion of Craigslist ads with respect to the total state population.

The three states with the lowest proportion of Craigslist ads:
Mississippi (0.019%)
West Virginia (0.021%)
Iowa (0.023%)

The three states with the highest proportion of Craigslist ads:
Washington, D.C. (1.055%)
Nevada (0.18%)
Hawaii (0.167%)

And yes, I realize Alaska and Hawaii aren’t on this map (and weren’t on the original US of Craigslist post either). Sorry about that. I’d remedy that, but it’s late and I want to go read some fanfic before I go to sleep. Hawaii’s the same color as Nevada; Alaska’s the same color as Illinois.


Holy crap, it’s a blog not posted at 1 AM!

So while I was doing research today (read: “as R was working hard running my code and I was just sitting there”), I decided to see if I could draw the US and all the continental states from memory. First I made a sketch to see if I could even get close, then I made an actual drawing with ink so you could see all my little screw ups (aka, the entire eastern seaboard).

Rough sketch = epic fail.

Apparently, in my mind, the Midwest is an even bigger expanse of nothing than it is in real life, the Great Lakes are a palm tree, West Virginia is a scribble, and New England is experiencing severe continental drift along the state border lines.

So I tried again, using just my rough sketch for reference, and I think this is substantially better:

The proportions (and some locations) really start to suck east of the Mississippi River, but at least I didn’t miss anything. Indiana and Ohio look crappy ‘cause I screwed up that general area and just went with it. The rest look crappy ‘cause I don’t know what they look like…in particular, I couldn’t for the life of me remember how the hell West Virginia is shaped, so I just kinda threw it on there where there was a gap in the states yet and called it good. Hahaha, Wisconsin is so deformed, but I got the Great Lakes right (edit: I also just realized I forgot to put the tail on the “g” so it looks like I wrote “Lake Michican.” You’d be surprised how often I forget to complete letters before moving on to the next one. Or maybe you wouldn’t, it is me, after all).

I’d try to draw Canada, but pfft. I know the names of the provinces and territories, I know where BC, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia are, but that’s about the extent of my Canadian geography knowledge.

I also have no idea when it was the last time I looked at a US map, Canadian map…or a map of anything aside from the bus routes, for that matter.

So there you go.

Conclusion: I like square states.

“Oh for the love of god, Idaho!”

Give it a shot—see if you can name all 50 states in less than 10 minutes. If you learned that damn elementary state song I keep hearing about, that’s cheating.

It’s harder than you think, especially when you get 49 of them in less than 3 minutes but then spend the last seven minutes trying to figure out the last one.


Stupid Vermont.