Pranksters setup fake passport checkpoint at the Scotland-England border

September 16, 2014 | No comments

Just days before Scots vote on whether to separate from the United Kingdom, several pranksters erected a passport checkpoint at the border between England and Scotland…

Scottish Border 1

The stunt was the brainchild of Manchester photographer Jon Parker Lee, who gathered a group of artists and designers to pull off the elaborate prank…

Scottish Border 3

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On 9/11 US fighter jets took off on a suicide mission. Meet the pilot willing to give her life…

September 11, 2014 | 2 comments

In September 2001, Heather “Lucky” Penney was a young, inexperienced F-16 pilot with the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air National Guard. As the first female pilot in her squadron, it was a dream come true; her father had served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, so when Congress opened up combat aviation to women, she was the first in line:

I signed up immediately. I wanted to be a fighter pilot like my dad.


But on that fateful Tuesday morning thirteen years ago, 26-year-old Lt. Penney was called upon to make the greatest sacrifice of her life…bring down United Airlines flight 93, no matter what. Even knowing that the pilot for one of the planes could be her own father, Penney was prepared to take them down —

We had to protect the airspace any way we could.


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The ridiculous Guantanamo Bay contract between Cuba and the US explained in under a minute

July 11, 2014 | No comments

CGP Grey dryly summarizes the strange political status of military bases and embassies, including a brief and amusingly fascinating history of Cuba’s infamous Guantanamo Bay…

You’ve heard of your state’s most liberal city. But what about its most conservative?

June 23, 2014 | 1 comment

It’s no secret that rural areas tend to be more conservative while urban enclaves are more liberal. But rather than simply generalize regional areas, what happens if we look at each town in every state to see which are the most conservative and liberal? The results may surprise you.

Political campaigns rely on data more than ever, and Clarity Campaign Labs provides the analytics campaign managers need to target the right people with those annoying fliers and phone calls.

The company has released an interesting tool called What Town Matches My Politics? After selecting your state, you can find which city best suits you politically by answering the following questions with “Agree,” “Disagree,” or “Don’t Include”…

  1. I identify with the Democrats more so than the Republicans.
  2. Abortion should be legal and accessible to all women.
  3. I attend religious services regularly.
  4. Climate change is an immediate concern that must be addressed.
  5. There should be more restrictions on purchasing and carrying guns.
  6. The government should reduce the deficit primarily by raising taxes rather than cutting services.
  7. I prefer urban areas.

Using the raw data from Clarity and removing the questions about religious services and urban areas, Business Insider analyst Andy Kiersz produced a map showing which communities in each state are the most liberal and conservative.

Digging deeper, we looked up the populations for each town. The most populated liberal city is New York, with 8,337,000 people, while the least populated town is Chama, Colorado, with just 63 residents. The most populated conservative locale is Baker, Florida, with 7,157 residents, while just 42 people call the least populated community of Dickey, North Dakota, home.

Not surprisingly, the average population of the most liberal towns is 392,872, while the average size of the most conservative towns is just 1,080. Even using the median populations there’s an enormous gap, with a median population of 108,613 for the most liberal towns and just 530 for conservative municipalities.

We’ve split the map into four sections to make it easier to read the names of the cities and towns. Locales in red are conservative while those in blue are liberal…

Northeastern United States


Southeastern United States


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Fascinating world map includes countries’ ocean territory in their borders [5 pics]

June 10, 2014 | No comments

While virtually every world map draws political borders around land masses, international law actually defines the first 200 nautical miles off the coast of any country as belonging to that nation as well. This is incredibly important, as any resources contained in the coastal stretches of these countries belong to them.

Incorporating these coastal areas, known as Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), architects Rafi Segal and Yonatan Cohen created a world map for openDemocracy to reflect the extended borders of every country in the world…

(Click images for larger versions…)

World Map

Of course, many countries have less than 200 miles between them, so various treaties between these nations govern who controls these waters. In some cases, the map reflects open disagreements, such as the dispute between Brunei, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

In other cases there are regions of joint control, such as the waters surrounding the Serranilla Bank and nearby Bajo Nuevo Bank in the Caribbean Sea. In this region, there’s a combination of shared rights and open disputes between Colombia, Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States over how exactly to administer several partially submerged coral reefs. Most disputes are related to tiny, desolate, uninhabited islands, as the nation governing these remote islands controls the surrounding waters.

All of these disputed regions are in constant flux as countries battle for control of the ocean’s resources, so their statuses are bound to change with time. However, this map, updated within the last year, offers some perspective for how much maritime territory each country actually controls.

Here are several close-ups of more crowded waters around the world, where the sea disappears in a mass of political boundaries…

Caribbean Sea

World Map Caribbean

For comparison, here’s the map of the Caribbean Sea that we’re used to seeing…

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Politically incorrect California mayor spoke his mind a bit too freely about bullying

May 19, 2014 | 1 comment

Cameron Hamilton, the mayor of Porterville, California, is in hot water with a fair portion of his constituents after saying in a recent council meeting that he’s tired of what a trendy issue bullying is and that most of it would be solved if the victims would just “grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves”…

(via ABC30)

While everyone can agree that bullying is bad, the question of what to do about it remains at issue. What was on the table at this meeting was whether or not Porterville should offer student-run “safe zones” where kids who feel bullied can find help.

Obviously, it’s fair to discuss the pros and cons of this specific strategy to mitigate bullying. However, if Hamilton, as the sole voice against it wants to be heard, he may want to work on his tact and nuance…just a bit.

Every crazy thing Idaho biker Harley Brown said during the bizarre GOP gubernatorial debate

May 16, 2014 | 2 comments

In addition to two typical candidates, the recent Idaho GOP primary debate featured a pair of fringe candidates, Harley Brown and Walt Bayes, whose head-scratching comments instantly generated nationwide attention.

Bayes was plenty bizarre himself, but it was the statements from Brown, dressed in a leather motorcycle jacket and hat, that were especially notable for their ridiculousness bordering on insanity.

Here are his comments in full from the 57-minute debate. They are all comedy gold…

To summarize, here are a few of Harley Brown’s positions…

On how he’ll govern…

As it says in my motorcycle club, “Hey diddle fiddle right up the middle,” that’s my style.

On why he’s running for governor…

I need practice! Practice! I don’t wanna say stuff [when I'm president] like, “Sorry if our bombing caused you any inconvenience.” So I wanna work in the Little Leagues as a governor. And you have your choice, folks — a cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker, or a normal guy. Take your pick.

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Sometimes C-SPAN isn’t boring, like when a congressman gets caught eating his earwax…

May 14, 2014 | 1 comment

U.S. House Judiciary Committee meetings aren’t exactly exciting, but there are still better places Florida Representative Joe Garcia could have chosen to pick, inspect, and then nibble on his earwax…

(via Fail Blog)

Obama defends heckler’s right to free speech — “You kinda screwed up my ending…but that’s OK”

May 9, 2014 | No comments

At a fundraising dinner for tech leaders last night, President Obama made a speech about the importance of keeping the Democrats in control of the House and Senate. As he was making his closing remarks, a heckler piped up…

Obama’s response was, of course, lighthearted, even congenial. It remains uncertain, however, whether his security’s response to the interruption was quite so measured.

You should know what “net neutrality” is. If you don’t, here’s a quick, fun way to catch up…

May 5, 2014 | 2 comments

We’ve all heard the term “net neutrality,” with most of the internet telling us to oppose it. But a lot of us are still confused about what the term even means.

CGP Grey’s quick video is all you need to feel like a know-it-all about this hot-button issue…

Now that you know what net neutrality is, you can let the FCC know what you think or petition the White House to provide an official response on the issue.