Thursday, 11 November 2021

9x9

silent haitch: the voicing of this letter is “still a significant shibboleth”—a look at h based on modern usage and notes on wh by Alfred Leach  

kinship and pedigree: genealogical mapping shows historic spread and retreat of surnames for British Isles and much of Europe 

rural free delivery: a superb, thematic collection of vintage picture postcards—via Things Magazine  

zeta reticulans: a tarot deck from Miguel Romero features the history of UFOlogy  

ั‚ะต ัะฐะผั‹ะต ะบะฐั€ั‚ะธะฝะบะธ: collection of avant-garde children’s book illustrations from the USSR 

retromod: Hyundai brings back its 1986 luxury Grandeur with a fully electric powertrain 

trebuchet: another start-up envisions flinging satellites into space via spinning centrifuge—see previously  

get lost losers: a rock band flotilla entertaining the cargo crews stuck in the seemingly insurmountable backlog waiting to unload containers at the ports of Los Angeles

agent of chaos: agnotology, the study of deliberate spreading of confusion

Monday, 8 November 2021

l'arbe du tรฉnรฉrรฉ

Sadly destroyed by a careless truck driver hitting the only landmark in a hundred mile radius sometime earlier in the year, the remains of the solitary acacia, considered among the most isolated in the world, the Tree of Tรฉnรฉrรฉ, a guide for decades for caravans embarking on or returning from crossing the Sahara, were collected a put on display in the National Museum of Niger in Niamey on this day in 1973. Incredibly, the tree was included on maps of the desert, even at scales of millions-to-one. Memorialised in popular culture (see also), the tree’s story and metal sculpture that now stands in its place were featured prominently in the 2006 film La Gran Final on the 2002 FIFA World Cup final between Germany and Brazil and the challenges for a group of nomadic Tuareg to find the power and reception (using the monument as an antenna) to watch the match.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

travels into several remote nations of the world. in four parts.

Through his amanuensis and alter-ego Lemuel Gulliver (First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, see previously here, here and here), Anglo-Irish author and clergyman Jonathan Swift published his multipart novel satirizing social foibles and the obsession with travelogue through London-based printer Benjamin Motte on this day in 1726. An instant best-seller with widespread and ingrained cultural influences and literary legacy, Gulliver’s Travels explores petty and doctrinaire differences magnified, the inherent innocence or corrupt state of human nature and a reinstatement of the struggle between Modernity and Antiquity and associated totems and taboos, each part opposed to the themes explored in the preceding-macrocosm, microcosm, insight, innocence.

Friday, 22 October 2021

distinguished hydrography

Hosted by Washington, DC, delegates gathered from twenty-six countries for the International Meridian Conference adopted the resolution on this day in 1884 that made the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (see previously here and here) the prime “meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world.The resolution was passed but not without some abstentions and serious objections—foremost being France, which until settling on the compromise term Coordinated Universal Time in 1978, did not refer to the selection as GMT but rather “Paris mean time, retarded by nine minutes and twenty-one seconds.” Contrary to popular belief, the meeting did not establish time zones.  Also making it a universal convention to begin astronomical and nautical days at the stroke of midnight, the summit coincided with the enactment of the Longitude Act of 1714 from Queen Anne, establishing a board of judges and prize monies for anyone coming up with a practical way to accurately measure whereabouts on the y-axis while at sea.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

7x7

anamorphosis: a sixteenth century optical illusion in a work by Hans Holbein the Younger 

๐Ÿ’ง: the first episode on the Weirdness of Water, presented by the Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry  

uncharted: the region in Greece that was historically so inaccessible it was named Agrafa, literally off the maps—via Messy Messy Chic  

a people’s archive of sinking and melting: artefacts documenting the climate crisis  

odonym: a suite of applications to explore the toponymical decisions behind street names—see also 

fiat geld: origins of the trillion dollar coin  

spice like us: the geopolitics of nutmeg informed by its reputed efficacy against the plague

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

7x7

roll out the barrel: eighteen spots that celebrate beer 

what fresh hell is this: a 1894, illustrated updating of Dante’s Inferno  

contraption: a soothing pinball drop render—see also   

kurzgesagt: a guided tour of our Solar System, unsere zu Hause im Weltall  

sifl & olly: the United States of Whatever (1999) 

landsat 9: a retrospective look at how the past five decades of satellite imagery has informed and transformed our world view 

klosterbrauerei: a visit with Germany’s last beer-brewing nun—see also

Saturday, 21 August 2021

scunthorpe dilemma

In tribute to a dear friend recently deceased, one individual has pledged to make a sojourn on moped across a circuit of UK settlements and in some cases streets with what’s generally deemed the rudest toponyms and odonyms to be found on the map in order, we learn via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump, to raise funds to combat the cancer his friend succumbed to.

The charity tour begins in the ancient hamlet of Shitteron in Dorset whose name means “farmstead on a stream used as an open sewer.” Be sure to check out the links above to see the entire itinerary and explore a global map of unfortunate, purple place names, including Fucking, Austria and how you can support their cause. The title refers to the over-zealous censorship of internet traffic monitors flagging substrings of text (the above and others) out-of-context.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

terra incognito

Via the always brilliant Maps Mania, we are treated to a thorough-going survey of the interventions and fillers that cartographers of the past used to cover gaps in their geographical knowledge (see also here, here and here) informed of course by their contemporary understanding of the world and what possibilities it supported. Another technique applied to atlas obscura were the bordering clouds of Edward Quin’s 1830 historical gazetteer with receding overcast skies paralleling humanity’s growing world-view.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

7x7

70% cรดte d’ivoire, 66% cyprus, 65% republic of ireland: doodle world flags and let a computer guess—via Web Curios  

peaky finders: a selection of interactive mapping application still functional and chugging along a decade later  

cult of the sun: a look at the Athon, a 1980 Lamborghini concept car  

ss experiment: an unsuccessful ferry, powered by eight horses on a treadmill  

astronomia: a lovely antique deck of playing cards with celestial charts and information on the planets and stars 

flsa: US congressional representation introducing legislation for a four-day work week—see previously here and here  

google doodle: a selection of the best commemorative banners—via Things Magazine

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

7x7

imprint and intaglio: a treasury of antique book illustrations—via Swiss Miss  

antipodes: find the furthest populated place away from your home town—via ibฤซdem  

endless loop: a superb collection of vintage Japanese cassette tapes and related accessories  

dolce come il sale: an Italian town furnishes the Pope with an annual delivery of gourmet salt  

full-house: the Guardian profiles the outdoor venue in Cornwall, the Minack Theatre, as it welcomes back audiences  

down periscope: the Viewfinder installation affords visitors to Sydney’s coast a look at the roiling ocean below  

etidorhpa: John Uri Lloyd’s 1895 pharmacologically inspired science fantasy novel

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

7x7

snuck out in the middle of the night: The Onion forecasted the West’s hasty departure from Afghanistan a decade ago 

fjรถgurra daga vinnuviku: a pilot experiment reducing what’s defined as full-time a stupendous success in Iceland  

nine seasons: geniuses from the Hood Internet (see previously) remixed the Seinfeld theme with a hit song from every year it aired 

carriage shift: a LEGO typewriter inspired by the model of the toy’s creator  

subrident: a story told with some edifying vocabulary words  

15-minute cities: natural language map queries 

low-level pokemon, normally easily defeated, stuck guarding locations, perhaps indefinitely: augmented reality sites abandoned at Bagram Airbase

Friday, 18 June 2021

8x8

here fishy, fishy, fishy: a tale of a talking fishing lure and sixty counts of mail fraud  

goldenrod: behind-the-scenes footage of droids C3PO and R2-D2 trying on their costumes  

plastic tracker: monitor the likely course of one’s discarded waste to the seas—see also—via Maps Mania 

discothek: a commercial photographer captured the golden age of nightclubs with all their eccentricities and exuberance  

juneteenth: America gets a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of chattel enslavement in the United States  

downfall: dรฉgringolade n. a rapidly deterioration of circumstance or position, from the French to take a sudden tumble 

foreign exchange: a beautiful animated short of grains of sand and fiat currency explores the tenuous, specious agreements that underpin capitalism and the global economy  

the most compact, neatest, cheapest, and durable reel on the market: advertising niche that distresses and antiques modern sundries

Sunday, 13 June 2021

roadside attractions and where to find them

Via friend of the blog Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to discover there), we are directed to a dual-posting from Maps Mania that features interactive charts of two very prolific travellers and photographers whose documentary work we’ve explored before in the US Library of Congress’ story map of the Roadside America as captured through the trips of John Margolies (see previously). From another perspective perhaps but with equal energy and enthusiasm and from overlapping eras, philanthropist and banker Albert Kahn in his Les Archives de la Planรจte project (1909 – 1931) dispatched dozens photographers to points all across the globe to record historical heritage that war and progress threatened to overcome—now classified and curated as pin-drops on a map that spans over fifty countries on five continents, featuring this 1924 image of the imperial castle of Cochem. Much more to explore at the links above.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

hippodamian plan

Via the always excellent Maps Mania, we are referred to a mapping project that twins cities based on similarities and correspondences found in the layout of their streets and boulevards. Medium to larger populated areas from all over the world can be found—Wiesbaden’s road network (see previously) sharing some features with Luxembourg, Singapore, Lviv, Haifa and Bologna. I wonder if visitors exchanging towns would have a better sense of orientation and be able to intuit their way around. As far I can tell, none of these arterially similar cities are also Sister Cities (Stรคdtepartnerschaft, Jumelage). As opposed to a more organic ordering of streets, the title refers to the grid arrangement we fancy as a very modern and tidy imposition, for the eponymous city-planner of ancient Greek Miletus.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

toponymy

Via Web Curios (a lot more to see here), we are presented with this sophisticated name generator, which draws from a randomised list of English place-names—suburban area, villages, hamlets (see previously)—to suggest an ideal company name for one’s venture or concern. Barcheston Moneystone, LLP. Play with the toggle buttons and let us know the name of your next partnership.

Friday, 28 May 2021

8x8

pier 54: Thomas Heatherwick’s Little Island on the Hudson off NYC’s Meatpacking District opens to the public 

al fresco: limited edition Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to take picnicking 

cosmism: the cosmic religion of Nikolai Fyodorov that inspired and informed Soviet space-faring aspirations  

astronomicum cรฆsareum: a beautifully illustrated scientific text from 1540  

circle of friends: a visualisation of the intimates that one can socially maintain—see previously  

rollercoaster tycoon: an engineer explains the different types of amusement park rides  

pole of inaccessibility: plotting when the ISS crew are one’s closest neighbours when one lives near Point Nemo  

project plywood: non-profit Worthless Studios transforms discarded materials used to board up storefronts from inclement weather and civil unrest into art

Sunday, 23 May 2021

home counties

Via Language Hat, we are directed towards a map of the historic counties of the nations of the United Kingdom with the toponymic nomenclatures (see also here and here) revealed, which despite being from a lending institution seems pretty accurate. Click through to enlarge. We especially enjoyed learning that Peeblesshire (Tweeddale, Siorrachd nam Pรนballan) means the place with tents, Buteshire (Siorrachd Bhรฒid in the Firth of Clyde) means Island of Fire and that Cheshire is simply Roman Town.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

7x7

triangulate your influences: maps of the USA and UK with cities and towns represented by their most prominent or notorious natives—via Things Magazine  

don’t go jason waterfalls: a medley of misquotations, a lot of which are new to us too—see also

unbranded: gorgeous images of Tokyo digitally denuded of cables and signage by Rumi Ando—via Present /&/ Correct  

map app: create custom vintage style maps of anywhere at any historical period—via Web Curios 

 *: a historical style symbol (previously)—via Stan Carey  

princeself: an affirming survey and guide to neo-pronouns—via ibฤซdem  

muchmusic: a fun, nationally sourced soundtrack for the Canadian census