We have an ethical imperative to deploy artificially intelligent robots on the battlefield, says Jerry Kaplan. Geobiologist Hope Jahren: studying the natural world of plants helps us transcend our human form, find joy and meaning in life, and feel more at home in this world we all journey through. Siddhartha Mukherjee explores the genetics of sex and sexual identity in his new book, The Gene: An Intimate History.
In response to the attacks in Brussels, we've put together a playlist of our most experienced and insightful experts into the dark heart of ISIS. Cartograms are a subset of infographics, limited to one type of graphic representation: maps. The first set of maps labels each and every one of the states as best and worst at something.
The first map, the United States of Awesome, charts fifty things that each state of the Union is best at. The best thing that can be said about Missouri and Illinois, apparently, is that they're extremely average (8). The United States of Shame again gets most of its data from health stats, detailing the deplorable firsts of 14 states (9).
All claims are neatly backed up by references, some of them to reliable statistics, others to less scientific straw polls.


By limiting the information presented here to subjects relevant to their organisation, the makers of these two maps have produced very effective tools for communicating health and environmental concerns. The Echo Nest's Paul Lamere has correlated listening data among music service users who put their zip code address in their profiles with the relative number of streams of a given artist.
They keep soldiers off the battlefield and discriminate between civilian and military life. And where do our political convictions come from: rational deliberation, or biological determinism?
It follows from that definition that infographics are less determined by type than by purpose.
On these maps, one set of quantitative information (usually surface or distance) is replaced by another (often demographic data or electoral results).
It merely substitutes the names of US states with statistical information relevant to each of them (2). While that may excite few people, it will greatly interest political pollsters and anyone in need of a focus group. Eight states get worst marks for crime, from white-collar to violent (10), while four lead in road accidents (11). In at least one case, to paraphrase Dickens, the best of stats really is the worst of stats.


The result: a map showing each which artist enjoys the most outsized support in each state. 27, 2014: This post originally had the headline, "What's Your State's Favorite Band?" The map shows what musical artists people in each state like to listen to more than people in other states. This substitution is non-quantitative, affecting the toponymy rather than the topography of the map.
Virginia and Indiana are the states with the most birthplaces of presidents and vice-presidents, respectively. Six can be classed as economic worst cases (12), five as moral nadirs (13), two as environmental basket cases (14). The most bizarre distinctions, finally, are reserved for New Mexico (Spaceport Home), Oklahoma (Best Licence Plate) and Missouri (Bromine Production).



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