America's real state boundaries
A physicist has taken the data from "Where's George?" and mapped out where Americans appear to do most of our business with one another. Not surprisingly, Texas is like a giant free-standing economy, and Iowa is half-like three separate states...but at the same time, half-like one mega-state in combination with Nebraska. Minnesota and the Dakotas are like one giant state, too. Pretty interesting sociology and cartography.
Our economic condition, summarized
GDP (gross domestic product) is growing somewhere in the neighborhood of 2% a year. While it's not shrinking or in a standstill, it's not a particularly swift growth rate. Meanwhile, Americans are saving about 4% of personal income. Again, better than nothing (which is literally how low the rate was just a few years ago), but again, not anything that merits a fireworks show. Residential construction is in a boom again after going through a depression, and businesses seem to be doing a lot of investment.
Lincoln (Nebraska) has the nation's highest level of well-being
Natural gas: From 19% of US electricity generation to 30% in half a decade
Natural gas is so phenomenally cheap right now that it's displacing other sources of fuel for electrical generation, especially coal. Over time, the price can't remain as low as it is -- but for now, it's subsidizing America's economy by providing cheaper power than we otherwise would be getting. What's important now: Finding a way to bridge between current fossil-fuel power sources and future non-fossil ones, using what we have available right now.
Google collects before-and-after photos from the Japanese tsunami
They've created a site in the name of "Memories for the Future" that collects a combination of user-submitted photos as well as Google Street View shots in order to document life before and after the event. It's a single instance of what will end up being a much larger industry in the future: Documentation of how things looked in time. Right now, you can use services like Google Earth and Street View to see what things looked like at some relatively-recent instant in the past. But pictures of the same town may have been taken at totally different times, and differ considerably from, say, satellite or aerial shots of the same locations. What's needed is not just a geographical index (allowing users to search for a specific place) but also a temporal one (that specific place on or about a certain time). We're probably a long way from that.
Google announces winners of its promotion to get Google Glass first