Roll Over Mercator: Awesome map shows the unreasonable effectiveness of mixture models

I’m not gonna link to all the great xkcd drawings cos if I did, I’d just be linking to xkcd every day, but today’s is just too good to pass by:

He could’ve thrown in some Pacific islands and Scandinavia too, but it’s amazing in any case.

The relevant statistical point here is how good the approximation is! Each continent is coded by just four degrees of freedom (size, rotation, and location in two dimensions).

Just another instance of Neumann’s elephant principle.