A century of alien landings, in two maps

First contact movies had their Golden Age in 1980s America – now they're going global.

Credit: Dylan_Mq. Find his maps on Reddit, Twitter and Etsy.
  • The first extra-terrestrial to make contact (in a movie) appeared in 1920s Germany.
  • ET set off a wave of 'first contact' movies in the 1980s.
  • Many recent alien-landing movies are set in China and India – the future of the genre may well be Asian.
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Kosovo land swap could end conflict – or restart war

Best case: Redrawing borders leads to peace, prosperity and EU membership. But there's also a worst case.

Image: SRF
  • The Yugoslav Wars started in 1991, but never really ended.
  • Kosovo and Serbia are still enemies, and they're getting worse.
  • A proposed land swap could create peace – or reignite the conflict.
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These are the world’s longest straight lines

Researchers use algorithms to find the longest straight-line distances on land and at sea

Image: Chabukswar & Mukherjee
  • What links a small town in Portugal and a huge port city in China?
  • The answer may surprise even inhabitants of both places: the world's longest straight line over land
  • That line and its maritime equivalent were determined not by exploration but by calculation
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Map shows homicide hotspots in medieval London

Interactive map reveals the horror — and the patterns — of murder in 14th-century London.

  • This map shows the 142 murders that were committed in London from 1300 to 1340.
  • Each clickable pin reveals the grisly details as recorded in contemporary coroner's reports.
  • Then as now, stabbing was the main method of killing in London — but the murder rate was three times higher.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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