The Sweet Tea Map

What divides the North from the South? Surely nothing so simple and stark as the Mason-Dixon line between Maryland and Pennsylvania. It should be something that reflects behavior and cultural norms. We might consider what the locals call a small stream. Is it a branch (southern) or a run (northern)? Appropriately, the battle referred to by the Union army as First Bull Run went by the name First Manassas Junction in the Confederacy.

Less obscurely, numerous maps have been made about the Soda/Coke boundary, south of which all carbonated beverages are termed “Coke” (we will pass over the abomination “Pop” with no further mention). As a native North Carolinian, I never called my (non-Coke) soft drink a Coke, so the Soda/Coke line never rang true with me. But I can vouch for the veracity of another beverage-centric line of demarcation: the sweet tea line. In the South, you can always count on being served sweet tea if you ask for “tea”.

The Romans stopped their northward civilizing advance into Europe wherever they could no longer cultivate grapes. It was bad enough being without olive trees, but a life without wine wasn’t worth contemplating. Perhaps Lee’s legions, stopping at a roadside inn near Gettysburg, felt the same way. “No sweet tea, boys. Let’s head on home.”

Mapping football teams with Parallax

One day as I was flying high above the Earth, as I like to do, I happened across this corner of London (Fulham, actually) wherein I spied a lovely football pitch situated thus:

“Great cows!” thought I, “all those soccer fans and not one scrap of parking! In my homeland this would not be.”

Compare this with the parking on offer at, say, Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, home of the Brady-less Patriots. It’s a stark contrast, and a good reminder that there’s no need to take public transportation as long as there’s PLENTY OF PARKING FOLKS!

This got me wondering how many fans attend that stadium in London (answer: 26,000 at full capacity). Which in turn made me wonder what team played there (answer: Fulham F.C.). Fulham plays in the Premier League, which put me on to something I’ve wondered about before. I know the names of a number of English football teams, but I have no idea where they are. Okay, Manchester United is in Manchester, but what about Arsenal? For some reason, when I last looked into this, I couldn’t find a simple map that showed what I wanted to know. I’ve since found several, but no matter, because this gave me a great opportunity to try out Parallax.

I learned about Parallax from Ben Hyde. As Ben observes, you should really watch the video to understand what Parallax does, but I would describe it like this: a search engine that carries along piles of intermediate results as you move toward your ultimate aggregated final answer. To pick a simple question: how many presidents went to West Point? It’s not a hard question to answer, but you’d have to visit a lot of Wikipedia pages to get the definitive result. Parallax lets you lasso all the presidents and then pick other questions to ask about the entire set. So we quickly discover that U.S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower went to West Point. Jimmy Carter is the only presidential graduate of the Naval Academy (John McCain went there too, for what it’s worth).

Back to English football: starting with Arsenal, I continued to the entire Premier League. From there I clicked on Arena/Stadium, and then Show results on map and voilĂ :

Wow! Now that’s what I’m talking about.