Mother Nature Network

Apr 19

[video]

Apr 18

How to find the Loch Ness Monster on your iPhoneNessie hunters scanning images of the famed Scottish lake claim there’s something in the water that can’t be explained.

How to find the Loch Ness Monster on your iPhone
Nessie hunters scanning images of the famed Scottish lake claim there’s something in the water that can’t be explained.

Recipe: Strawberry Basil SangriaUnlike many sangrias, this one is designed to showcase the wine, not cover it up.

Recipe: Strawberry Basil Sangria
Unlike many sangrias, this one is designed to showcase the wine, not cover it up.

12 quinoa recipes for any time of dayNow you can enjoy quinoa for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert with these recipes!

12 quinoa recipes for any time of day
Now you can enjoy quinoa for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert with these recipes!

[video]

16-foot great white shark spotted near Australian beachNicknamed ‘Joan of Shark,’ this 1.8-ton fish is being tracked by local officials by an electronic tag.

16-foot great white shark spotted near Australian beach
Nicknamed ‘Joan of Shark,’ this 1.8-ton fish is being tracked by local officials by an electronic tag.

mapsbynik:


Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.
Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading
Quick update: If you’re the kind of map lover who cares about cartographic accuracy, check out the new version which fixes the Gulf of California. If you save this map for your own projects, please use this one instead.
Map observations
The map tends to highlight two types of areas:
places where human habitation is physically restrictive or impossible, and
places where human habitation is prohibited by social or legal convention.
Water features such lakes, rivers, swamps and floodplains are revealed as places where it is hard for people to live. In addition, the mountains and deserts of the West, with their hostility to human survival, remain largely void of permanent population.
Of the places where settlement is prohibited, the most apparent are wilderness protection and recreational areas (such as national and state parks) and military bases. At the national and regional scales, these places appear as large green tracts surrounded by otherwise populated countryside.
At the local level, city and county parks emerge in contrast to their developed urban and suburban surroundings. At this scale, even major roads such as highways and interstates stretch like ribbons across the landscape.
Commercial and industrial areas are also likely to be green on this map. The local shopping mall, an office park, a warehouse district or a factory may have their own Census Blocks. But if people don’t live there, they will be considered “uninhabited”. So it should be noted that just because a block is unoccupied, that does not mean it is undeveloped.
Perhaps the two most notable anomalies on the map occur in Maine and the Dakotas. Northern Maine is conspicuously uninhabited. Despite being one of the earliest regions in North America to be settled by Europeans, the population there remains so low that large portions of the state’s interior have yet to be politically organized.
In the Dakotas, the border between North and South appears to be unexpectedly stark. Geographic phenomena typically do not respect artificial human boundaries. Throughout the rest of the map, state lines are often difficult to distinguish. But in the Dakotas, northern South Dakota is quite distinct from southern North Dakota. This is especially surprising considering that the county-level population density on both sides of the border is about the same at less than 10 people per square mile.
Finally, the differences between the eastern and western halves of the contiguous 48 states are particularly stark to me. In the east, with its larger population, unpopulated places are more likely to stand out on the map. In the west, the opposite is true. There, population centers stand out against the wilderness.
::
Ultimately, I made this map to show a different side of the United States. Human geographers spend so much time thinking about where people are. I thought I might bring some new insight by showing where they are not, adding contrast and context to the typical displays of the country’s population geography.
I’m sure I’ve all but scratched the surface of insight available from examining this map. There’s a lot of data here. What trends and patterns do you see?
Errata
The Gulf of California is missing from this version. I guess it got filled in while doing touch ups. Oops. There’s a link to a corrected map at the top of the post.
Some islands may be missing if they were not a part of the waterbody data sets I used.
::
©mapsbynik 2014 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Block geography and population data from U.S. Census Bureau Water body geography from National Hydrology Dataset and Natural Earth Made with Tilemill USGS National Atlas Equal Area Projection

mapsbynik:

Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population

A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.

Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading

Quick update: If you’re the kind of map lover who cares about cartographic accuracy, check out the new version which fixes the Gulf of California. If you save this map for your own projects, please use this one instead.

Map observations

The map tends to highlight two types of areas:

Water features such lakes, rivers, swamps and floodplains are revealed as places where it is hard for people to live. In addition, the mountains and deserts of the West, with their hostility to human survival, remain largely void of permanent population.

Of the places where settlement is prohibited, the most apparent are wilderness protection and recreational areas (such as national and state parks) and military bases. At the national and regional scales, these places appear as large green tracts surrounded by otherwise populated countryside.

At the local level, city and county parks emerge in contrast to their developed urban and suburban surroundings. At this scale, even major roads such as highways and interstates stretch like ribbons across the landscape.

Commercial and industrial areas are also likely to be green on this map. The local shopping mall, an office park, a warehouse district or a factory may have their own Census Blocks. But if people don’t live there, they will be considered “uninhabited”. So it should be noted that just because a block is unoccupied, that does not mean it is undeveloped.

Perhaps the two most notable anomalies on the map occur in Maine and the Dakotas. Northern Maine is conspicuously uninhabited. Despite being one of the earliest regions in North America to be settled by Europeans, the population there remains so low that large portions of the state’s interior have yet to be politically organized.

In the Dakotas, the border between North and South appears to be unexpectedly stark. Geographic phenomena typically do not respect artificial human boundaries. Throughout the rest of the map, state lines are often difficult to distinguish. But in the Dakotas, northern South Dakota is quite distinct from southern North Dakota. This is especially surprising considering that the county-level population density on both sides of the border is about the same at less than 10 people per square mile.

Finally, the differences between the eastern and western halves of the contiguous 48 states are particularly stark to me. In the east, with its larger population, unpopulated places are more likely to stand out on the map. In the west, the opposite is true. There, population centers stand out against the wilderness.

::

Ultimately, I made this map to show a different side of the United States. Human geographers spend so much time thinking about where people are. I thought I might bring some new insight by showing where they are not, adding contrast and context to the typical displays of the country’s population geography.

I’m sure I’ve all but scratched the surface of insight available from examining this map. There’s a lot of data here. What trends and patterns do you see?

Errata

::

©mapsbynik 2014
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Block geography and population data from U.S. Census Bureau
Water body geography from National Hydrology Dataset and Natural Earth
Made with Tilemill
USGS National Atlas Equal Area Projection

Solar energy after the sun has set? Scientists use nanotubes to solve the storage conundrumInnovative ‘photoswitches’ tuck away solar energy in molecules that can be endlessly re-used, no matter the time of day.

Solar energy after the sun has set? Scientists use nanotubes to solve the storage conundrum
Innovative ‘photoswitches’ tuck away solar energy in molecules that can be endlessly re-used, no matter the time of day.

The more we come to rely on the latest, greatest gadgets, the more often obsolete technology ends up in landfills, contributing to a growing environmental problem.

The more we come to rely on the latest, greatest gadgets, the more often obsolete technology ends up in landfills, contributing to a growing environmental problem.

2014 Lyrid meteor shower to peak on Earth DayOur planet is now passing through debris left by Comet Thatcher, which hasn’t visited the inner solar system since 1861. The resulting Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak on April 22, Earth Day.

2014 Lyrid meteor shower to peak on Earth Day
Our planet is now passing through debris left by Comet Thatcher, which hasn’t visited the inner solar system since 1861. The resulting Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak on April 22, Earth Day.