Archive for texas

Fifty States or DEATH!

Posted in maps, science with tags , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy


skull map of US

For me at least, Alaska steals the show, here, and well it should. One sixth of the area of the United States is in Alaska alone, and this image which portrays the states in their proportional area effectively puts things in perspective. Texas also weighs in heavily, but consider if you will that it is only a third the size of Alaska. Anyone who has taken a road trip across Texas can appreciate what that means.

The map is from the infamous Mütter Museum of Medical Oddities in Philadelphia.siamese skeleton skull I finally visited the fascinating and at times gut wrenching collection of conjoined skulls, shrunken heads, formaldehyde fingers, and pickled fetuses just days after getting back from a short trip to Alaska.

Alaska was my fiftieth state! We actually drove most of the way there and then took a ferry for the last stretch. I’ve now been to all of them and completed the 50 State Challenge before my self-imposed deadline of the end of 2010. More later on that trip, and my trip to the other archipelago state, Hawai’i.

Road Trips or Death!
Sunshine Superboy


Bier Here!

Posted in maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

So, I’m in the midwest for a board meeting this weekend. Not so much internet, but beaucoup beer! (sorry no post in a few days)


Top 10 medal-winning states are:
1. California – 474
2. Colorado – 322
3. Wisconsin – 232
4. Oregon – 170
5. Pennsylvania – 162
6. Texas – 133
7. Washington – 114
8. New York – 98
9. Missouri -90
10. Massachusetts – 76

Of course, this does not take into account the population size of the states listed here. The top 10, reshuffled to reflect the number of medals per million of inhabitants, looks quite different, reflecting a dominance by states with a strong micro-brewing tradition:

1. Colorado – 64.4
2. Oregon – 42.5
3. Wisconsin – 38.6
4. Washington – 16.2
5. Missouri – 15
6. Pennsylvania – 13.5
7. Massachusetts – 12.6
8. California – 12.8
9. Texas – 5.6
10. New York – 5.1

What else is there to say but PENNSYVANIA PRIDE!

The World is for alla yous,
Fiestaban Sunshine Superboy

For the love of God, let Texas have her way!

Posted in art & music, maps & mapping, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

“I got a timebomb in my mind mom, She’s gonna go off, but I don’t know when”


A passport to see SouthBySouthwest?!

A new poll out Friday shows that, should Texas Gov. Rick Perry decide the time is right for his state to secede, he might not have much support. Seventy-five percent of Texans would like to stay in the union, according to Rasmussen. However, a sizable minority would be with him: 18% would vote to secede, and seven percent are not sure what they’d choose. And a full 31% of Texas voters believe that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country if it wants.

And who is to stop them?! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Austin, Amarillo, and Texarkana as much as the next kid (looooooves me some Austin!), but aside from Fox and Rush Limbaugh who would both suffer from significantly diminished political power, who the fuck wouldn’t say Good Riddance and click their heels in glee? I mean, we might want to track down this dastardly fucker before it comes to complex legal extraditions, but otherwise, I say we put the lone in lonestar, non? I’ve been whining about their glut of electoral votes and U.S. House Reps since before GWB ever muttered the words “I suh-ware Ahm from Texus, not Connecticut”.

Contrast the above image with this guy:

Now, I get that it would be a liberal, NPR-listener’s dream to raise the sails and let Texas have her way. Though we’d ultimately agree, I’m not coming from the same place as the Democrats. I’m just saying that state autonomy is a good move, in the first place, Texas has an ego too big to fit into a 50 State Union (without trouncing places like Delaware, North Dakota, and California? Nah big ego, Maine). More borders is a bit of a problem, but we’ll work that out over time. Shit, we don’t have social movements for nothing. Seriously, if Governator Rick Perry wants to put this on the ballot I’ll drop ev’r thing and knock on doors down there to Get Out the secession Vote.

Although, I can think of 97 old reasons why, even if she does have the right, I might miss Texas if she goes…

The State is Yours (you can keep it!),
Sunshine Superboy

“I choo choo choose you!”

Posted in maps & mapping, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy


Why so glum? Am I like the only person who was not expecting a glorious new age of social and economic justice to roll in with the crowning inauguration of President Obama? I mean, with the way everyone from classmates of mine to neighbors on the trolley/subway, all the way up to God’s own precious gift to American Activist-Intelligensia (oops, we don’t have one, so we borrowed from Canada) known as Naomi Klein (dot com or some shit), everyone’s got like irritable bowel syndrome over how underwhelming/ corporate/ betraying/ neoliberal Captain Obama has turned out to be. The love fest is over I suppose. I guess, short of a few WTFuck cabinet appointments, I haven’t really felt surprised by the guy. He was, after all, the outcome of a punch-hole questionnaire that looked more or less like this:


Which is why this also doesn’t surprise me. Its no cause for celebration, but maybe its a glimmer of hope. Ugh, nah, that concept went bankrupt along with the AIG bailout… Anyway, I’ll paste it in along with… a map!

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday outlined plans for a high-speed rail network he said would change the way Americans travel, drawing comparisons to the 1950s creation of the interstate highway system.

Obama was careful to point out that his plan was only a down payment on an ambitious plan that, if realized, could connect Chicago and St. Louis, Orlando and Miami, Portland and Seattle and dozens of other metropolitan areas around the country with high-speed trains.

There’s no guarantee that the nation has the political will _ Congress has often tried to reduce support for Amtrak _ or the hundreds of billions of dollars and decades it would take to build a comprehensive fast rail system.

“This is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future,” Obama said during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is adjacent to the White House. “It is happening right now. It’s been happening for decades. The problem is it’s been happening elsewhere, not here.”

The United States trails other developed countries in developing high-speed rail. [duh.] The Spanish can travel the 386 miles from Madrid to Barcelona at speeds averaging almost 150 miles per hour. Japan’s Shinkansen links its major cities at speeds averaging 180 mph and France’s TGV train averages about 133 mph in carrying passengers from Paris to Lyon.

The only U.S. rail service that meets the Federal Railroad Administration’s 110 mph threshold to qualify as high-speed rail is Amtrak’s 9-year-old Acela Express route connecting Boston to Washington, D.C.


Initially, regional transportation offices will compete for the $8 billion included in the $787 billion economic stimulus spending package for high-speed rail, bolstered by $1 billion a year for five years requested in the federal budget.

The $8 billion is part of $64 billion in the stimulus package for roads, bridges, rail and transit, what Obama called “the most sweeping investment in our infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.”

Obama said the first round of money would go to upgrading and increasing speeds on existing lines where people could quickly be put to work. The second and third phases would focus on high-speed rail planning and money to jump-start corridors not yet ready for construction. The Transportation Department is to announce first-round grants before the end of the summer.

Obama said a mature high-speed rail system would reduce demand for foreign oil and eliminate more than 6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year _ equivalent to removing 1 million cars from the roads.

Any region could present a long-range plan, he said, although the stimulus money can go only to the 10 major corridors designated by the Federal Railroad Administration and covering lines in Texas, California, Florida, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, the Southeast, northern New England, Pennsylvania and New York.


The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, joining Chicago and 11 other metropolitan areas within 400 miles, is a front-runner. The governors of eight Midwest states wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood this week appealing for money for the region, one of the hardest hit by the recession.

Howard Learner, president of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, a group promoting the rail network, said that with about $2 billion of the stimulus money they could complete or upgrade lines linking Chicago with St. Louis, Detroit and Milwaukee-Madison.

“It’s a way of solving our global warming problems that also creates jobs and provides a boost to the economy,” he said.

But the competition will be fierce. [hey-y!]

“We are very jazzed about it,” said Karen Parsons, executive director of the Southern High-Speed Rail Commission. She said preliminary numbers showed that they could increase capacity and speed on the existing New Orleans-Baton Rouge line for about $150 million to $200 million, and for $500 million they could expand service from New Orleans to Mobile, Ala.

Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said his state has a plan to build 800 miles of track for trains running 220 mph, at a cost of about $45 billion. He said the state may ask for about $4 billion from the federal government to work on lines between San Francisco and San Jose and Los Angeles and Anaheim.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement that his state leads others because they’re as self-centered and elitist as he is voters last November approved nearly $10 billion in state bonds for high-speed rail. “With a boost from our federal partners, nearly 40 million Californians and millions of travelers from around the world will be able to experience the reality of America’s first high-speed rail system.”

the Acela Train at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia

the Acela Train at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia

Chris Lippincott, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, said his office was excited about advancing plans to build high-speed lines from San Antonio to Dallas and then up to Little Rock and Tulsa. But he added that the “nation’s rail needs will exceed a single injection of money,” citing estimates that just staying even with current level of congestion in his state will cost $313 billion over the next 20 years.

Some say the investment is too small, Obama acknowledged. “But this is just a first step. We know this is going to be a long-term project,” he said.

I love that we live in a world where enough of you will get the reference for the title of this post. Rather than cross my arms in unsympathetic pity for the rest of you, I’ll let you in on the joke. Just click the magic embedded tube below my signout- and don’t say I never did anything nice for ya. Besides, I almost titled the post “Training for Change” which would have been a pun to top them all, but only like 87 people in a particular zip code or two of West Philadelphia (and a few scattered radical quakers in other parts of the continent) would have gotten that reference.


Sunshine Superboy