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I made maps similar to these ones recently for a post on different methods of execution used in the U.S.

I like this type of presentation because it allows people to see the smaller states in the Northeast more easily. But as you wrote, in the NYT maps, it's hard to know which state is which because of the lack of labeling on the smaller versions.

Also I think the states could have been ordered better. South Dakota probably shouldn't be east of North Dakota. And West Virginia shouldn't be north of Virginia.

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