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A troubled bridge over water

Cable TV funnyman Jon Stewart took Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to task about the George Washington Bridge scandal in which Christie aides deliberately created traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., by blocking bridge access lanes. In a two-hour news conference, Gov. Christie said he had no foreknowledge about the plot.

Jon Stewart’s four-minute bit was among the funniest “takes” on the scandal that hijacked headlines almost all week:

Earlier in the week, Stewart did an 8-minute monologue that was equally as hilarious. View it here, but be cautioned – Stewart uses “adult” language.

A bird’s eye view

Betsy Mason and Gregg Miller have assembled a collection of unusual maps from various sources including NOAA, The Washington Map Society, and the New York Public Library.

“Great maps were everywhere in 2013. Some seemed destined to go viral. Some were stunning to see. Others had noble intentions and interesting stories to tell. Lots were made by people who aren’t professional mappers,” they wrote.

“The million-plus amateur cartographers who volunteer their time to plot roads, streets and even shrubbery for Open Street Map were busier than ever this year,” they wrote. “The beautiful map above, created by MapBox, shows how the database has grown since its inception in 2004. Hot pink areas are newly mapped, blue and green areas are older. (There’s a zoomable version on Mapbox’s website). OSM’s database of more than 21 million miles of roads and 78 million buildings keeps finding new uses, such as helping first responders to disasters like this year’s typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.”

Mapping out where we are we going

It’s not only birds that migrate. This map produced by Atlas Van Lines shows the moving, or migration patterns of households, based on 77,308 interstate and cross-border household-goods relocations from Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013.

“The highest number of moves occurred in California, Texas and Florida. Regional trends show the most significant changes occurred in the Northern and Western states while the Southern and Midwestern states saw very little change.”

Click here to see the stats.

Mapping out the 2014 Senate Election predictions

Election Projection, a website that is observing its tenth anniversary has shown an amazing degree of accuracy in predicting winners and losers in electoral races.

Political analyst Scott Elliott writes: “In 2004, my formula projected Bush would win 289 electoral votes. He won 286.

“Formulas for the 2006 mid-term Senate and House elections proved to be better than my hunches – they picked the GOP to lose the House and the Senate. In fact, my formula’s projection for the Senate picked every seat correctly and missed only Minnesota among the gubernatorial races.”

In 2008, Elliott’s formula projected a solid victory for Barack Obama – though he did even better than Elliott’s numbers suggested by taking North Carolina and Indiana.

In 2010, Election Projection’s House projections were closer than any other major prognosticating website, predicting that Republicans would net 64 new seats, a monumental shift in the balance of power. When all the votes were counted, they had gained 63.

In 2012, Election Projection foretold Obama’s re-election, missing only Florida in the process. At 49/50 correct, 2012 was EP’s best presidential prognostication so far. EP’s Senate projections ended up at 31 out of 33 correct.

“And I missed just one governor’s race (Montana), though there were a limited number of gubernatorial contests that year (11),” Elliott touted. “Finally, the House projections here gave Democrats a small gain of 2 seats, slightly underestimating them. They ended up with an 8-seat net gain.”

Elliott’s most recent projections for the 2014 U.S. Senate race anticipates a two-seat gain for Republicans, and a two-seat loss for Democrats.

“That number (two) will grow as I finish out the Senate race previews. South Dakota and West Virginia are still to come – that makes at least four with North Carolina another great possibility,” Elliott claims. “Plus, I currently have Alaska and Louisiana as DEM holds. They both could flip, and that would bring the total to seven as long as Kentucky and Georgia stay red.”

Elliiott’s bottom line? “I’d put the chance of taking the Senate somewhere around even money.”

We’ll take that bet.

Look! Up in the air!

Here’s a handy-dandy drone survival guide with tactics for hiding from drones and interfering with the drones’ sensors.

“The Drone Survival Guide is collected and translated as a form of civil initiative, not for profit and without government or commercial funding and/or support,” reads the accompanying text.

Want to know more? Read the FAQ.

I spy

They know where we’ve been.

Your home or office WiFi can be spied upon from as far away as eight miles. A gadget used by the National Security Administration (NSA) called “Nightstand,” is a custom Linux-powered device that, by exploiting Windows systems, can compromise WiFi networks to insert spy software. Great for military use. But how about us folks here at home?

Speaking of gadgets, researchers have come up with micro-windmills to power yours.

And while we’re on the tech topic, here’s why you should cover your iPhone and laptop cameras.

Aw, beans!

A humorous look at a TV spot for America’s favorite food. It’s a gas!

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