Megan Gambino unearths the first map to bear the name “New England,” published by Captain John Smith in 1616:
In his new book, A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas and the Founding of America, [Peter] Firstbrook argues that historians have largely underestimated Smith’s contribution to New England. While scholars focus on his saving Jamestown in its first two harsh winters and being saved by Pocahontas, they perhaps haven’t given him the credit he deserves for passionately promoting the settlement of the northeast. After establishing and leading the Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1609, Smith returned to London, where he gathered notes from his exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and published his 1612 map of Virginia. He yearned for another adventure in America and finally returned in 1614.
When Smith was mapping New England, the English, French, Spanish and Dutch had settled in North America. Each of these European powers could have expanded, ultimately making the continent a conglomerate of similarly sized colonies. But, by the 1630s, after Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were established, the English dominated the East Coast—in large part, Firstbrook claims, because of Smith’s map, book and his ardent endorsement of New England back in Britain. “Were it not for his authentic representation of what the region was like, I don’t think it would be anywhere near as popular,” says Firstbrook. “He was the most important person in terms of making North America part of the English speaking world.”
Amanda Taub highlights the work data journos at The Guardian have been doing with Wikileaks’ Iraq War logs. Each red dot on the above map – the screenshot seen above only shows one corner of Baghdad, but the project covers the whole country – represents one of some 60,000 combat-related fatal incidents (mostly IEDs) between 2004 and 2009, representing more than 100,000 deaths. And that’s not even the whole story, as Taub points out:
[T]he true extent of the violence is much worse: the map likely only shows a small fraction of the attacks from that period. The database the map is drawn from does not include deaths from criminal activity, or those that were initiated by Coalition or Iraqi forces. And many deaths may not have been officially tallied. That means that the real total is almost certainly much higher. But even seeing the number of attacks recorded here shows how devastating this war has been to Baghdad’s civilians, who must now face even more attacks.
Leaf peepers, rejoice – above is a chronological data map that shows when and where fall brings peak foliage. Click here for the interactive version.
Niraj Chokshi illustrates how the best states for female workers are in the Northeast:
Massachusetts had the highest score [for women’s earnings and employment] among states, according to the analysis of four factors conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (D.C. scored even higher, though many argue it is better compared to other cities.) All but four of the 10 highest-scoring states – Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado and Virginia – were in the Northeast. Sixteen states earned a B- or higher. West Virginia ranked dead last and, along with Alabama, received an F. The composite scores, excluding D.C., ranged from 68.5 to 90.5, on a hundred-point scale.
The four factors analyzed to develop the composite scores were: median annual earnings (for full-time, year-round women workers); the earnings ratio between men and women (again, for full-time, year-round women workers); the share of women in the workforce; and the share of women in managerial or professional jobs.
Reed Jordan spotlights our schools’ racial segregation:
Despite our country’s growing diversity, our public schools provide little contact between white students and students of color. We’ve mapped data about the racial composition of U.S. public schools to shed light on today’s patterns at the county level. These maps show that America’s public schools are highly segregated by race and income, with the declining share of white students typically concentrated in schools with other white students and the growing share of Latino students concentrated into low-income public schools with other students of color.
In every state but New Mexico and Hawaii, the average white student attends a school that is majority white. This is unsurprising for large swaths of the Northwest, Great Plains, Upper Midwest and Northeast, which are home to very few kids of color. But even in diverse states like Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York, few white children attend diverse schools.
Yglesias digs up a creation by Redditor nonmetuammori that maps out, based on World Bank data, how much the economies of different countries depend on natural resources. Matt comments:
The news that, say, Saudi Arabia depends heavily on its oil wealth probably won’t shock you. What really jumps out here, however, is that most of the people who live in countries that have a low resource contribution to GDP live in rich countries (the USA, Japan, Germany, France) not in countries that lack natural resources. Places like Canada and Australia that have high incomes and resource-dependent economies take up a fair amount of space on the map but they have very little population density. There are more people in Italy than in Australia and Canada combined.
Every phone call Obama has made to another world leader so far this year. Max Fisher captions:
The most significant detail here is Europe: Obama’s phone calls in 2014 have been overwhelmingly with European leaders. This just goes to show how much the Ukraine crisis has come to dominate US foreign policy this year. Tellingly, the foreign leader whom Obama has called most frequently is, by far, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. That may surprise you — US-German relations are probably not the first topic that comes to mind when you think about US foreign policy — but it makes sense given the Ukraine crisis. The German leader is the most influential figure within the European Union, and the EU is the body with the most power to help Ukraine and to punish Russia for its role in the crisis.