Good news fellow cartophiles: Strange Maps‘ Frank Jacobs has been absorbed, Nate Silver-like, by the NYT! Even better news: the original blog remains active simultaneous to Jacobs’ new blog, which focuses specifically on geographic minutia rather than SM’s cartographic oddities. It does retain, however, Jacobs’ mastery of the useless fun fact, which was the true heart of the original, but now dealt out twice as often.
As a quick sampling, the new blog details the origins of Afghanistan and Namibia’s exceedingly distended panhandles (British skullduggery and German incompetence, respectively), discusses the perverse effects of the partition of Cyprus, and, my personal favorite, outlines how ancient boundaries in Central Europe recur throughout history. Did you know, for instance, that the Iron Curtain in Germany followed the old boundary between German and Slavic settlements prior to the Crusades (fun fact: Berlin, the site of Hitler’s planned testament to the Germannic Fatherland, comes from the Slavic word for swamp)? Or that Polish elections divide along the boundary between East Prussia and the old Russian client state in Warsaw? Finally, he disintered one of my favorite finds on the internet: a catalogue of the biggest lake on island on a lake (etc.).
Update: via SM, a rather Palinesque map of the good ol’ US of A: