Thursday, 24 November 2022

salient factor (10. 331)

Whereas the American term panhandle or bootheel might be more prevalent in certain contexts, salient is the universal descriptor for the elongated, peninsular protrusion of a national or sub-national jurisdiction into another—in turn taken from the strategic lingo of otherwise a bulge that projects into enemy territory. While falling short of the imposition of exclaves and enclaves, notable European examples include the province of Trieste, Schaffhausen in Germany and Inn, Lugano and Mendriso in Switzerland as well as on a state or department level the Gironde and Lower Franconia with many other places vying to extend their influence.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

armorial bearings

Incorporating heraldic data from Wikimedia Commons (previously) with cartographical coordination from Open Street Maps, we quite liked this developing website from Adnan Smlatiฤ‡ of European Coats of Arms, emblazons and charges that can be filtered and overlain by administrative divisions (see also) and zooming down to the most granular levels of the landed gentry. It’s a pretty cool endeavour and let’s help the creator met their stretch-goal.

Saturday, 28 August 2021


letraset press: a collection of instant lettering dry-transfer sheets (see previously) from Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals 

the woman who stared at the sun: the circumstance and contributions to astronomy of Hisako Koyama who helped hone our understanding of solar cycles 

a good walk spoiled: an in-depth look at how golf course exacerbate the housing shortage  

couch gag: a clever individual shares their construction of a miniature replica of the Simpsons’ purple television set that plays random episodes 

one week supply: a podcast discussing Damn Interesting’s curated links section 

the china syndrome: a super-tunnel simulator that illustrates the quickest, shortest routes to connecting points around the globe—see also  

tartu snail tower: the spiralling skyscraper in Estonia’s second city  

the art of letters: a typographical study from Mark Gowing

Saturday, 22 May 2021


Though admittedly probably with little practical application, we enjoyed toggling the settings and cycling through the range of cartographic projections (see previously) and scalable display options on Making Maps Out of Emojis via the always excellent Maps Mania. Watching the countries crawl across the screen pixelwise reminds me of the zero-player Game of Life.  There are atlas and globe configurations and a number of different ways to display landmasses and the oceans with sliders to shift the granularity and ensure our smaller neighbours get represented. Click through for more including how to custom code a dynamic world of one’s own.

Friday, 21 May 2021

watershed moment

Via Web Curios, we are directed towards an application for our fans in the continental United States of America (for the present) called River Runner that allows one to drop a raindrop anywhere and trace its path to the sea through run-offs, watercourses, creeks and rivers and explore the precipitation cycle drip by drip, navigating their path over the terrain and residence times through reservoir, adjacent table and flow.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021


Via the always brilliant Maps Mania, we are directed towards a gorgeous, mesmerising self-described screen-saver that smoothly and continuously pans across the city of Hamburg (previously) and every few moments transitions seamlessly into another type of relief map, visualising other data. More at the links above including a detailed demonstration and instructions on how to create one’s own curated cartographic layers.

Sunday, 16 May 2021


segmentation and targeting: A/B testing “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”—see also 

light house customer: we appreciated the chance to revisit a new and improved version Lights at Sea—via Nag on the Lake—both times  

nice.walk.ruined: award-winning global addressing scheme what3words (previously) subject to some juvenile humour with locations mapped in smutty language, both real and bespoke  

isotopia: a high-brow 1950 ballet and pantomime presented to the steering committee of the Atomic Energy Association to extol nuclear power from Weird Universe  

apartment d3: seven printed homes around the world  

l’art de payer ses dettes et de satisfaire ses crรฉanciers san dรฉbourser un sou: credit culture in nineteenth century France 

alpha version: drag and drop personal, old school websites from mmm—via Kicks Condor 

sovietwave radio: broadcasting a selection of the sub-genre’s best space age and syntho-pop—via Dark Roasted Blend 

the writers’ block: a suite in Chelsea Carlyle mansion home to Henry James, T. S. Eliot and Ian Fleming on the market

Thursday, 6 May 2021

in the margins

The always interesting Maps Mania acquaints us with the artistic collaboration of Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain that reformats the distortion of map projections and polar flare (see previously) in a visually immediate, typographical fashion in The World, Justified. One can arrange the dots on the screen where all the latitudinal paragraphs are aligned to see the differences in distribution in landmass along the compass points.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021


sensory deprivation: science fiction author Hugo Gernsbeck invented an isolation helmet to eliminate distractions  

while my guitar gently weeps: Prince performs a mind-blowing solo during a 2004 induction ceremony for George Harrison into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 

๐Ÿ†Ž: revolutionary way to use thirty-year-old gaming controls (see also) to reach new heights in high-scores

seti@home: project Breakthrough Listen seemingly revives the spectre of Fermi’s Paradox  

gratitude journal: tiled grid of things to be thankful for from Kira Street inspires one to make one’s own mood board  

urban renewal: colour-coded maps like stained glass help one visualise how cities age and grow 

; vs –: duelling punctuation preferences of famous authors


The first of a pair of research satellite reflectors—LAGEOS, from Laser Geometric Environmental Observation Survey, was launched on this day in 1976 (the partner mission was launched in 1992) placing the aluminium covered brass sphere, dimpled and looking like an oversized golf ball, in an extremely stable orbit. The enduring experiment is designed to aid with satellite orientation and terrestrial distances with the highest precision available, due to their regular circumnavigation of the Earth.  Approaching the period of a natural satellite, these artificial moons are expected to remain in orbit for over eight million years and contain a time-capsule, message in a bottle (see previously) for future Earth civilizations once it does re-enter the atmosphere, fast-forwarding continental drift to show their expected arrangement at that point in the future as compared to the present and page Pangaea accompanied by a binary calendar with the launch date starting as year zero.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

moraines and drumlins

Via Maps Mania, we are confronted with the profound and consequential loss of the world’s glacial cover visualised with an animated comparison of ninety of the planet’s largest and best surveyed moving, dense bodies of ice (see previously) on the march and on the retreat. Scientists project that the rate of melting will double by the next decade and will contribute some twenty percent to sea-level rise rather than being the natural water towers and frozen reservoirs that they were meant to be.

Thursday, 29 April 2021


Via Things Magazine, we learn that phantom islands and trap streets may be making a resurgence in an awful and insurmountable way with deepfake satellite imagery, with making a Potemkin neighbourhood be it for misrouting traffic, boosting property value, lowering tax liability or for disguising a nuclear refinement plant or concentration camp an easier task that creating a passably convincing human—not to mention undermining useful demographics and economic trends that can be gleaned by such monitoring as well as engendering distrust in what previously was accepted as irrefutable evidence. Artificial intelligence and generative adversarial networks are able to create virtual empires and dystopias to dupe us all.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

native land

Via the morning news, we discover this interactive map of the world, which instead of the usual geopolitical boarders and boundaries rather presents us with overlays of the territories and ranges of indigenous peoples. One can toggle to see native endonyms and treaties between aboriginal populations and colonisers and settlers, encouraging one to think critically about place and displacement.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

mappi mundi

On this day in 1507, humanist and cartographer Martin Waldseemรผller—whom also went by the Latinised form of his name Hylacomylus (forest-lake miller)—together with his collaborator Matthias Ringmann, published their map featuring the new world, significantly portraying South America as a continent separate from Asia and naming portions of the New World America after explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The academy that Waldseemรผller and Ringmann founded in Saint-Diรฉ with the patronage of the Duke of Lorraine came in possession of a booklet that gave a rather heroic and sensational account of the voyages of Vespucci in the western Atlantic and the two scholars carried forward that credit in a short treatise with atlases and a world map as a primer on cosmography (Cosmographiรฆ Introductio) that spanned from the familiar to the antipodes that were predicted in Antiquity. Ringmann actually, persuasively championed the toponym America, arguing: “I see no reason why anyone could disaaprove of a name derived of that Amerigo, the discoverer and a man of sagacity—with suitable forms being Amerige, meaning land of Amerigo, or America, especially since both Europe and Asia have women’s names.” Europa was raped by Zeus in the form of a bull and gave birth to the Minotaur. Hesione was a Trojan princess and distressed damsel for Hercules to save from a sea monster and blamed indirectly for the Trojan War—Hercules helping himself to the fine horses that Zeus sent in compensation for the abduction of Ganymede and causing strife among the gods. Classically referred to as Libya, Africa was considered to have a feminine ethnonym as well. The original world map was believed lost until a copy was found in Schloss Wolfegg in Austria in 1901 and purchased by the US Library of Congress (pictured)—though other uncut gores to be assembled into globes survive.

Saturday, 24 April 2021


Courtesy of the New Shelton wet/dry, we are directed towards this helpful and thorough-going comparative resource of map projections (see previously here, here and here) from Jason Davies that covers the range of interrupted maps, two-dimensional flatten of the globe focused on choice areas of less interest that go far beyond the Spilhaus or transverse Mercator projection that’s a favourite television news studio wall-hanging to butterfly maps, the Berghaus Star, Foucaut’s Stereographoc equivalency globe, the loxodrome and the pictured geopolitical bounding box with animation and interactive features.

Monday, 19 April 2021


Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we discover the latest suite of features from Google Earth—which has been giving us a privileged perspective on our planet for fifteen years now—includes a chronological dial that allows one to peer into the past four decades of satellite telemetry with a cache of some twenty-four million archived images (see also here and here) to better visualise the toll that de-forestation, desertification, intensive mining and agriculture, urban-sprawl, pollution and global warming takes on the environment.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

terra nullis

Via Super Punch, we learn about the Debatable Lands, a tract along the English and Scottish border whose ownership or allegiance was questionable (and doubtful either kingdom could or would want to stake a claim) whose name, despite aptly suggesting disputed grounds comes from the Old English word battable—that is, pasture land suitable for fattening up cattle. Between the rivers Esk and Sark, people could act with impunity in this place beyond the reach of the law and outside the jurisdiction of either England or Scotland under conditions that spanned three centuries until finally annexed by James VI of Scotland in 1590.

Friday, 19 March 2021


centre of attention: country-focused map world map projections (see previously)  

foia follies: celebrating the worst in US government transparency  

double-bongcloud: top chess players making bizarrely risky openings—via Kottke  

the positively true adventures of the alleged texas cheerleader-murdering mom: fifty year old charged with harassment for producing deepfakes to defame her daughter’s competition and get them kicked off the squad 

letterlocked: using x-ray technology and artificial intelligence (see also) to read historical epistolary works without destroying them 

house of the muses: a search engine that finds visual correspondence among masterpieces in world-class art museums via Open Culture  

terra incognita: a sonic sea chart of phantom islands (previously here and here)—via Things Magazine

Thursday, 18 March 2021


gambrinus/ninkasi: five-thousand-year old industrial scale brewery in Egypt makes archaeologist rethink the history of beer, previously believed only to be made on a large scale with Christian monasteries  

star-fiend: one member of the pool of “human computers” realised that there were galaxies beyond our own by studying depth of field on photographic plates with a magnifying glass rather than a telescope  

pod squad: whales collaborated and learned to outsmart their human hunters in the nineteenth century—via Kottke, blogging for twenty-three years now 

dyi: join Van Neistat, The Spirited Man, for some fantasy fixing  

maslenitsa: celebrating Shrovetide ahead of Orthodox Lent  

vier-farben-satz: Colorbrewer generates ideal schemes for maps and data visualisations

Friday, 12 March 2021


Via Language Hat, we are referred to a cartographic website called mapologies that specialise in linguistic, dialectical demarcation (see also here and here), like the Apfel-Appel line. It was not only engrossing to see the shifting sentiment, etymologies and root languages (like this toasting map of Europe) but also the distribution of use for a certain item or animal, like the multiple Spanish words for popcorn across the language’s Sprachraum, as attested by the saying “No two popcorns are called the same,” unsurprising as maize is native to the Americas but nonetheless the variety is striking.