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A More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Japanese Design Award

To design a map of the world is no easy task. Because maps represent the spherical Earth in 2D form, they cannot help but be distorted, which is why Greenland and Antarctica usually look far more gigantic than they really are, while Africa appears vastly smaller than its true size. The AuthaGraph World Map tries to correct these issues, showing the world closer to how it actually is in all its spherical glory.

Created by Hajime Narukawa at Keio University's Graduate School of Media and Governance in Tokyo, the design just won the grand prize from Japan’s Good Design Award as Spoon & Tamago reports. It beat out over 1000 entries in a variety of categories. 

Unlike the Mercator projection, the 1569 mapping technique that you'd probably recognize from the world maps you saw in school, the continents on the AuthaGraph aren’t lined up straight across—they’re angled in a way that provides a more accurate representation of the distances between them. “AuthaGraph faithfully represents all oceans [and] continents, including the neglected Antarctica,” according to the Good Design Awards, and provides “an advanced precise perspective of our planet.” No longer does Africa look the same size as North America, or Antarctica look like one of the biggest continents (it’s smaller than everything but Europe and Australia).

The map—which is used in Japanese textbooks—can be fit into different shapes without losing its accuracy, and AuthaGraph sells paper assembly kits where you can fold it from a sphere to a cone to a flat map, mimicking the way the projection itself is made.

[h/t Spoon & Tamago]

All images courtesy AuthaGraph.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular '90s Sitcom in Each State

Do you have the same taste in TV as the majority of the people in your state? The folks over at satellite provider USDish.com put together a map of the most popular '90s sitcom in each of the 50 states.

The company's data is from Google search interest from 2004 to the present, capturing the tail end of the run of some of these shows and the beginning of an era of fans constantly watching reruns on TV. It's no surprise that the universally popular Friends dominates the map, with 13 states claiming it as their most-watched show. It is not, however, New York's most-watched show: fellow New York City-set series Seinfeld has that honor. Out of the Friends contingent, six are states in the Midwest: perhaps these viewers are dreaming of leaving cornfields behind and moving to The City That Never Sleeps.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air came in second as the favorite of four states (Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) plus Washington, D.C. Weirdly, Pennsylvania isn't in this group: Pennsylvanians' fave program is Step by Step. It's also the only state to choose Step by Step. Guess they really love family in PA!

There are a few other instances in which a show is claimed by the state in which it's set: Washington loves Seattle-centric Frasier; Ohio roots for the Cleveland-set Drew Carey Show; and Wisconsin can't stop watching That '70s Show, which is set in fictional Point Place, Wisconsin.

Utah supports 3rd Rock from the Sun, which makes sense given that the state is a hotbed for UFO sightings. What about California, home of Hollywood and the beautiful people in the film and TV biz? Well, those beautiful people like to watch yellow cartoon people. That's right, The Simpsons is Cali's most-loved show.

See the map below and visit USDish.com for an in-depth look at the data.

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