Best political cartoon.  Ever.

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LurrayLoopI took a ride Saturday morning up through Luray, including Fort Valley Road. One of the hairpin turns on this road is realistically posted at 5 mph. I think it safe to say that the road qualifies as technical when the speed limit is in the single digits.

Fort Valley Road is like this pretty much all the way from Front Royal to Luray. A wonderful drive that would have been even better if huge swaths of the road had not been recently graveled.

Tight right hander into the shade, front tire slipping on unseen gravel, tire catching again and inducing tank slapping front end wobble . . . pulling it out and not having to clean one’s undergarments — priceless.


Highway 211 from Luray to Sperryville – simply brilliant motorcycle road, “high crash area” notwithstanding.


Good to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Sperryville, Virginia.


Worldmapper is a wonderful collection of world maps, using equal area cartograms, where territories are re-sized on each map according to a particular variable.  For example, this is a cartogram based on geographic area, pretty similar to the traditional world map with which we are all familiar.


This cartogram is based on population.  Notice that India and China are much larger proportionally, while Canada and Australia are much smaller.  Each country’s size is shown in proportion to its relative percentage of the world population.


Some interesting comparisons can be made, such as net immigration . . .


. . . versus net emigration.


Finally, having three young daughters, I didn’t find the toy imports surprising at all.


Most imports of toys (US$ net) are to the United States, followed by the United Kingdom. Toys are fun but not necessities. Thus toy imports give an indication of disposable incomes.

The lowest imports of toys (US$ net) per person are to territories in Africa and also Tajikistan (in the Middle East).

Interestingly enough, my daughters have some toys imported from Tajikistan, though I’m not sure I consider Tajikistan part of the Middle East.

This map has been making the rounds.  (HT Coyote Blog).  The map equates the GDP of various nations with individual states in the U.S.


The map reminds me of a recent study, EU versus USA, done by Swedish researchers Dr. Fredrik Bergström and Mr. Robert Gidehag.  The study compares GDP per capita of European countries with the GDP per capita of individual U.S. states to see where the European countries would fit in the hierarchy of U.S. states.  The study contains this chart.


It turns out that Sweden, that paragon of Scandinavian socialism would slot in at 46th, right after Alabama and ahead of Oklahoma.  Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy would fair a little worse at 47th, between Oklahoma and Arkansas.  With the exception of Luxemburg (a banking sector driven anomaly), the highest EU country would be Ireland at 38th.

The study also compares retail consumption and finds similar results.  82% of U.S. households have a clothes dryer compared to only 18% in Sweden.  I can’t tell you how much my wife loves line drying clothes.