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Follow the Money to a New Map of the USA

Ever got a dollar bill stamped with a Where's George stamp? It's a fun game to most people, where they can enter a banknote's serial number to track where it has been, but to theoretical physicist Dirk Brockman, they represent data on money - and therefore human - mobility.

In 2006, after crunching the data, Brockman came up with a completely different map of the United States, where states' geographic boundaries melt away and are replaced with financial ones. Here's the map he created when he, well, followed the money:

Theoretical physicist Dirk Brockmann used the dollar bill tracking site Where’s George to see how money moves, and create new state boundaries based on our economies. The darker the blue lines, the less likely it is a dollar bill will have crossed it.

Read more over at this article by Stan Alcorn over at Co.Exist: Link


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Excellent point, Cortez. Alex, thank-you for the second map. Now we can examine the mismatch between the borders and wonder about the economic associations they imply.
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This is interesting. I wonder if there is enough data to view the same information for metropolitan areas. As well, I am interested in the last location of bills before they disappear.
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Up until about 20 years ago, that thick blue line on the Kentucky-Tennessee border didn't exist. Kentucky thought drinking was a sin and prohibited it most places, but everyone went to Tennessee to get beer and liquor. Meanwhile, Tennessee thought gambling was a sin, and outlawed it, but everyone went to Kentucky to buy lottery tickets and bet on the horses. Now each state embraces both sins, and trade has settled down.
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