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Parallels
3:51 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Where Is All That Excess Oil Going?

Tankers are berthed beside the Fawley oil refinery on Jan. 7, in Southampton, England. With low oil prices, some traders are buying oil and storing it in tankers, hoping the price will rise soon so they can sell it at a profit.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:57 pm

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

An exhibit called "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland" now has a webcam devoted to it. The burger was purchased in 2009.
Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:29 pm

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ice­land. Now a webcam has been devoted to the hamburger (with a side of fries), among the last sold by the American company in the country.

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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:08 pm

The name Junípero Serra is well known in California: Schools and streets are named in his honor, and statues of the 18th century Spanish missionary still stand. But Native American activists are far less enamored with the friar, saying Serra was actually an accomplice in the brutal colonization of natives. They object to Pope Francis' recent announcement that he will canonize Serra when he travels to the U.S. this fall.

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Goats and Soda
2:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

India Grows, Canada Disappears: Mapping Countries By Population

Can you find Australia and Canada? The cartogram, made by Reddit user TeaDranks, scales each country's geographic area by its population. (Click through to see the high-resolution map.)
TeaDranks via Imgur

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 7:55 pm

World maps distort — it's inherent in their design.

Take a spherical object (the Earth) and try to represent it on a flat plane (paper), and some parts of the sphere are going to get stretched. On most maps, Canada and Russia get puffed up, while countries along the equator get shrunk.

Every now and then, though, you stumble across a map that enlightens.

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Parallels
1:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

China Continues To Push The (Fake) Envelope

Some fake Apple stores like this one in Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan province, were so authentic-looking that even some of their employees didn't know they were fake.
Stephen Shaver UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:20 pm

Nobody does fake like China. In 2011, a fake Apple store popped up in the southwestern city of Kunming. It looked so authentic, even some employees thought it was real.

This year, three farmers in central China set up a fake local government.

This month, police shut down a fake bank in the eastern city of Nanjing, where depositors reportedly lost nearly $33 million.

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