It’s my birthday! I’m not 111, although I do feel that way at times. I have a beautiful family, a good job, a successful (yet not financially beneficial) map blog, a house, a big movie collection, and a car with 100,600 miles on it (at least it’s paid off). Yupp, my life is pretty great! My driver’s license expired today so I had to go and get it renewed yesterday. I went on a break in the afternoon and, miraculously, the entire task took only 20 minutes. I bring it up, however, because of the REAL ID Act (2013). Map 183 shows the status of each state’s compliance with the Act.
The states in green are currently compliant with the REAL ID Act. That means residents sporting identification from these states can continue to move freely anywhere in this country where travel or access to Federal facilities might require a picture ID. States in yellow are currently allowed the same freedom under short term extensions. Six of the yellow states have until June 6th, 2017 to make the necessary changes to their state-issued IDs in order to become compliant; Alaska, California, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia. The rest of the yellow states have until October 10th. The seven states in red are not currently in compliance but four of them (Kentucky, Maine, Montana, and Pennsylvania) have an extension through January 30th, a mere 12 days away. The remaining three states (Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington) have not been granted any extension as of this post and have technically been out of compliance since the end of 2015. The Federal Government just hasn’t enforced the REAL ID Act in full so far. Technically, Federal facilities could have denied me and my Minnesota driver’s license (both the old and the recently renewed one) access for two years now. We’ve been granted temporary reprieve until the end of January but then, residents of the three states could need a passport or other Federally-issued identification to fly domestically or enter nuclear power plants (you know, if you visit those often). It is not clear when the drop-dead date is when the IDs will be guaranteed to not get you access but one source says it’s not until January, 2018.
So now that you’ve heard all about compliance, what exactly does this Act attempt to accomplish? Non-compliant states are being barred because they don’t meet the federal government’s minimum security standards for state-issued identification. These minimum standards require verifying every ID applicant’s identity, putting anti-counterfeit technology into the production of the physical card, and conducting background checks on the people issuing the driver’s licenses. I do not know why my home state of Minnesota has not made an effort to accommodate these requirements enough to gain an extension much less full compliance, but I will be making an inquiry soon as Beth and I fly to Houston next month.
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Map 184 is of Indonesia and the volcanoes therein. I don’t have any particular reason to show you a map of the volcanoes in Indonesia other than I searched online for maps related to birthdays and this was on page four.
Looking at this map of little red triangles you might be realizing Indonesia has a lot of volcanoes! I knew the Ring of Fire existed but I didn’t previously know it stretched into Indonesia. Sure, everyone has heard of Krakatau but how many of you knew Indonesia has 127 active volcanoes (as of 2012). You can learn more about each of them at Volcano Discovery. Similar to Hawaii and the Philippines, Indonesia’s many islands were formed in part due to volcanic activity.
According to Wikipedia, at least five million people live within the danger zone of one of Indonesia’s active volcanoes alone. There are presumably millions of people throughout the planet living under the same danger. Just look at the Ring of Fire map and notice all the large population centers. I know the plot of the movie Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche where an active volcano springs up in Los Angeles is far-fetched but I know something like that is impossible where I live. We simply don’t have the geologic makeup for that type of activity here in Minnesota. I am glad I don’t live within the danger zone of an active volcano or within several hundred miles of the nearest dormant volcano. The largest mall in the United States and no burning lava death. Minnesota is pretty great!
If you’d like to make my map blog financially beneficial to me, please private message me. 😉
Bonus Map Link: Rare Atlas Found by Norway’s National Library… and Reddit
Bonus Birthday Link: How Common is Your Birthday?