A University of Michigan physics professor and his team have applied mathematics, geography, and visualization to show us that those blocky red states and blue states are actually a lovely, purpley, swirly, fishy looking thing.
Very briefly, this is a map of the united states, with the spatial distortion reflecting the population sizes of different counties and the relative contribution of electoral college votes (which are slightly biased toward smaller states). Red and blue votes are represented at the county level, with shades of purple to reflect the percentage of a county's votes that were republican vs. democrat (e.g., a county that voted 95% republican would appear very red, whereas a county that voted 51% republican would be purple).
For more information, go to Gastner et al.'s Web site.