The US 50-State Map Renamed For Countries with Similar GDP

OK, this is a little geeky, but I found this map really fun.

(click for larger view)

Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate how big the US economy really is compared to the rest of the world. This map does a good job of showing the scale of just the individual states, replacing each state with a country that has roughly the same economic size as that state.

And yet, wile a per capita GDP might give a good indication of the average wealth of citizens, a ranking of the economies on this map does serve two interesting purposes: it shows the size of US states’ economies relative to each other (California is the biggest, Wyoming the smallest), and it links those sizes with foreign economies (which are therefore also ranked: Mexico’s and Russia’s economies are about equal size, Ireland’s is twice as big as New Zealand’s).

I think the reason this amuses me so much is just the strange geographic overlay. Try playing red-state, blue-state with these country names. I was even imagining the civil war played out on this grid.

Here is a link to the full article.

Battlestar Galactica: Ronald Moore Talks about Earth

Very long and detailed interview with Ron Moore on Crave Online about Battlestar Galactica, including a lot of his thoughts about season 4.

Battlestar Galactica: Ronald Moore Talks About Earth

One of the questions I like has Moore reflecting on what he believes is the most interesting about science fiction:

CRAVE ONLINE: A lot of viewers see very specific metaphors in the show for what’s going on in the world today. Do you ever feel like fans get too literal in their own interpretations, and do you ever wish that people would just relax and enjoy the show on its own merits?

RONALD MOORE: Part of the point of science fiction, at least in its roots, was always to give the audience an allegory to present a metaphor for what was taking place in the culture. I think we’ve always enjoyed, and taken a certain satisfaction in, the fact that there are those who watch the show and assume that there is a liberal bias and those who watch the show and assume there’s a pro-military bias, and that’s how it’s supposed to work. You’re supposed to bring your own point of view to it, and then be able to extrapolate out whatever messages you want. The show tends to not be terribly definitive. We were pretty clear from the outset that this wasn’t going to be about protagonists espousing lessons and rules, and arriving at the end to save the day and tell everyone what was right and what was wrong. The line separating the protagonists and antagonists would often blur with the audience often asking themselves if they’re rooting for the right side. There’s always going to be a question mark of sorts at the end of most stories, and I think that applies to the political element as well. There really isn’t a definitive answer to anything that’s being espoused by any given story. It’s more just about the idea that there are two sides to every equation.

This is interesting to me, in particular, because this is why I’ve always been drawn to science fiction. So much of political and moral debate can unwittingly be shaped by assumptions about technology. It’s always fascinating to see how different assumptions about what is and isn’t possible can shape debate about very real human issues.