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  1. An excellent, quick overview of map projections and scale by Michael Pidwirny of UBC. 
  2. And now that you appreciate something about the differences and history behind map projections, you may be amused as I am by this explanation by webcomic XKCD: What Your Favorite Map Projection Says About You. This makes me laugh every time I read it. Also: The bottom of the page has DETAILED explanations, and further links, for each projection! It's awesome and terrifying when people funnier than me are also smarter/better-informed than me. 
  3. And because people won't stop mentioning it: The West Wing had an episode in which one of the sub-plots was a meeting with cartographers requesting that we stop using the Mercator projection. I don't love this as much as everyone else does, but here you go: 

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