I love looking at maps, old and current, and think they are the greatest thing to have around somewhere in your living space. We have a couple in our kitchen including a big political world map. The other day we were saying it would be great to have a better sense of when countries were established, which empires belonged to which empires, etc.
Well it turns out there is a great visual way to do that too and while there are lots of great ones around the net (wikipedia’s timeline page is a good place to start) but I like timelines.info
* I like the beginning part of this TED talk by Parag Khanna where he sketches out how much the map of our world changed over the 20th century. Did you know that in 1945 there were only 100 countries? Now there are ~200 (the exact number is apparently debatable).