Graphic Designer Visualizes America's Major Rivers as Subway Routes

Theo Rindos
Theo Rindos

Mark Twain spent his early years navigating America's winding waterways, but the steamboat pilot-turned-author was also a fan of modern transportation: He was one of the first passengers to ride the London Underground's longest tube line—the Central Line—when it first opened in 1900. Needless to say, Twain would probably be a fan of the map below, which visualizes U.S. rivers as subway lines.

A map depicting U.S. rivers as subway routes, by graphic designer Theo Rindos
Theo Rindos

 
 

A map depicting U.S. rivers as subway routes, by graphic designer Theo Rindos
Theo Rindos

Created by graphic designer Theo Rindos (and spotted by CityLab), the map is inspired by Harry Beck's original London Tube map from the 1930s. It's based on data culled from the U.S. Geological Survey, Google Maps, and Wikipedia.

"I have always been fascinated by transit maps and river systems, and I thought, 'Why not put them together?'" Rindos tells Mental Floss. Beck's design style "has been kind of a staple for many city transit systems because it's so easy to understand and is so beautiful. The rivers of the United States are complex, and I wanted to see if I could achieve a similar outcome."

The source of each river is denoted with a solid-colored circle. White circles indicate where these waterways converge and split, and neighboring cities and towns are marked as "stations." That said, the map doesn't feature every single U.S. river: It includes ones important to the transportation and shipping sectors, but for aesthetic reasons, Rindos opted to leave out awkwardly shaped rivers and turned smaller ones into bus routes.

You can purchase Rindos' map here, or visit the designer's website to learn more about his work.

[h/t CityLab]

Ohio Company’s Glow-in-the-Dark Gear Makes Firefighters Safer on the Job

iStock/gorodenkoff
iStock/gorodenkoff

Firefighting tools are designed to keep users safe from flames, smoke, and falling debris—but heavy-duty gear won't help them navigate a burning building when the power fails. Zachary Green, a volunteer firefighter and former Marine Corps infantryman, came up with a way to illuminate rescuers' paths using glow-in-the-dark technology, as Cincinnati's WCPO reports.

The innovative safety tools manufactured by Green's Ohio-based company MN8 LumAware utilize maintenance-free phosphorescent light. Phosphorescent materials don't require batteries, light bulbs, or electricity, and they charge themselves when they're exposed to ambient light throughout the day. That means if a blaze or some other accident causes power in a building to fail, phosphorescent objects can act as potentially life-saving light sources.

One of the first products Green invented was a phosphorescent helmet band that makes firefighter helmets visible in the dark. Today, MN8 LumAware sells glow-in-the-dark exit signs, stairwell labels, floor arrows, and tape for illuminating handrails, doorways, and floors. The products are not only useful for occupants, but also for emergency responders who need to get in and out of buildings in a hurry.

In 2019, MN8 LumAware received the presidential “E” award from the Department of Commerce for showing an impressive increase in exports over a four-year period.

[h/t WCPO]

World’s Tiniest McDonald’s Opens in Sweden, Welcomes Bees as Customers

iStock/William Jones-Warner
iStock/William Jones-Warner

McDonald's has opened stores in an old train car, an airplane, and an oversized Happy Meal box. This new project from the corporation has many of the features of a regular restaurant—down to the posters advertising special menu items—but it's different in a major way. Instead of catering to human clientele, this miniature McDonald's is designed to attract bees.

McDonald's Sweden collaborated with the creative agency NORD DDB to build the branded beehive for World Bee Day on May 20, AdWeek reports. From the outside, the model is a replica of a McDonald's restaurant, with drive-thru windows, outdoor seating, and the golden arches presiding above it all. But instead of a counter and a tables, the interior is filled with frames where bees can build their wax. It's being billed as "the world's smallest McDonald's," but according to NORD DDB, it's still big enough to house thousands of bees.

The fast-food beehive is a nod to an initiative gaining traction at McDonald's in Sweden. Some McDonald's restaurants have installed beehives on their roofs and started replacing the grass on their properties with flowers to attract the pollinators. Global bee populations have declined at alarming rates in recent years due to pesticides, disease, and climate change, and the beehive project from McDonald's Sweden is just one creative way people are trying to give bees a boost.

This particular beehive won't be housed above a burger joint. On May 21, it was auctioned off to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

[h/t AdWeek]

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