The Rubber Map
One idea on which I fixated was the "rubber map." I was inspired by two books, The State of the World Atlas and The War Atlas. These presented world maps showing a great many factors, such as arms sellers, weapons spending, relative wealth, trade power, and so forth. Some of these maps were distorted in such a way as to indicate the relative standings of different countries in various dimensions. For example, the National Income map showed Japan as huge and Greenland as tiny. I thought that this would be an excellent way to graphically present a great many complex relationships. And so for weeks I struggled with algorithms, trying to find a fast scheme for reshaping nations to any desired set of sizes. After six weeks of effort, I gave up; I just couldn't come up with anything fast enough.
Know when it's time to throw in the towel on a feature.