Then I stumbled on this map. And I thought, "What is going on here?" If you haven't seen this before, take a few moments to study it and see if you can figure out the key.
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The First Right Answer: It turns out that it's an "economic production equivalence" map. The country whose name is inside of each state has a GDP that is approximately the same as the state in which it is placed.
For example, California and France have approximately the same GDP. Some of the "equations" are off by as much as 20%, but I think this map paints a fascinating picture, namely one of the US as an economic powerhouse.
I just love it when someone's able to show me something that I've seen many times before in a fresh way!
The Second Right Answer: By joining together states and countries with similar GDPs, the map creator (perhaps inadvertently) has given us a big plate of "forced connections" to stimulate our thinking. This is one of the places I go with it:
the cultures of the two places?
Iran + Alabama = ? (Would Bear Bryant have been the Ayatollah)
Netherlands + Pennsylvania = ?
Algeria + West Virginia = ?
Oregon + Israel = ?
Creative exercise: What connections can you make between the above states and countries?