Friday Fun of a statistical & architectural nature

Good morning, let’s get this week’s fun off to a suitably theatrical start – an opening that would be appropriate for, say, the awards ceremony for the best shows on Broadway? In case you haven’t seen it already, here’s Neil Patrick Harris demonstrating why he’s hosted the Tony’s more times than anyone else except Angela Lansbury. (Fact. She did it 5 times, 2013 was his fourth.)

How better to follow that American extravaganza than with an extravaganza of American data? This might not sound fun, but trust me, it’s fascinating (and not just to a research geek). The data in question relates to dialect used across the US – so ticks several of my boxes: stats, pronunciation and pretty maps – and comes to us thanks to the University of North Carolina (and The Hairpin).

Researchers asked 122 questions, from how to pronounce “aunt” to “do you say ‘expecially’ or ‘especially’?”. To British readers, this will uncover a whole host of fascinating “but why would you say THAT??” moments. Regardless of your country of origin, you ought to find the maps fun to play with – scroll down the list of questions and see how the pronunciation/dialect is spread across the USA (you can also see map breakdowns for each option). I may have discovered this while in a lecture on Saturday and my deskmate and I may have spent some time playing with it gleefully. Here’s a brilliant example:

USA Dialect Survey

Why would you refer to a beverage as a ‘coke’ if it had nothing to do with coke??

Next, it’s Friday, so surely there must be some transport fun somewhere? Fear not, my TfL geek friends have kept me amused over the last couple of days. First up, here’s a great slideshow that not only includes disused stations then and now, but also other unseen parts of the underground world of London, such as the Mail Train and my nearest disused bit of London Transport – the Kingsway Tram Tunnel.

Kingsway Tram Tunnel

Also, if you’re a Londoner, there’s some TfL fun you can join in with. In honour of the tube’s 150th birthday [how I’m longing for this year to last forever!] five Lego tube maps have been created and are on display at different stations across the network. The genius is not just that they’re made out of Lego, but that they’re different versions of the map!!

legotube 2020A glimpse of the map unveiled at King’s Cross yesterday. (Credit.)

The five versions & their locations are:

  • 1927 Stingemore map – South Kensington
  • 1933 Beck original – Piccadilly Circus
  • 1968 map – Green Park
  • Current map – Stratford
  • Futuristic map (what the network will look like in 2020) – King’s Cross St Pancras

Yes, my mind is now working out how I can hit up all five in the next week! Fear not if you can’t hope to spot them all – they’ll eventually end up at the LT museum.

There you go. Not just something fun to read while stuck in the office on a dull Friday afternoon – something fun to do over the weekend! Enjoy!


  1. A, very disappointed that we didn’t get to see the current internals of the Kingsway Tram tunnel. And that there aren’t more opportunities to view these spaces…. I would love to see inside the remains of British Museum and King William Street!

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