Wednesday, September 30, 2009


By Joe di Chiarro. Are these doctors looking at an EKG, businessmen looking at a financial chart, or geographers looking at a route. Mybe it can't be the geographers since they'd almost certainly be able to make some conclusions on such a geographic layout. Is this, maybe, a look at the path of one of the kids from Family Circus?

My 7-year-old's comment on seeing this: "Hey! We do that at school!. Just not as messy."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What about Gondwana

This is another item available at "Busted Tees. Thanks again to Jon Proctor for tipping me off to this site. And, hey, if anybody wants to get me this shirt, I'm an XXL.
For more outstanding awesomeness, this link goes to a time-lapse simulation of the earth's tectonic plates floating around over the course of 650 million years, including 250 million years into the future, which, fortunately for this T-shirt, is when the Earth's land masses will, in fact, all come together in giant ring around a tremendously diminished Atlantic Ocean. Pangea II here we come!
I very much hope I'm around to see it (I'm not really joking).

Monday, September 28, 2009


This ran in 2007. Since then Mike Peters has quit referring to this technology as On-star, but more accurately as GPS. On-star still exists, of course, but it's still a car-only-based device, at least as far as I know. On-star seems like a rather expensive service to operate.
Regardless, there have been a number of On-star-themed spoofs that are rather funny (easy to find on any Internet search of "On-star Spoof")

Friday, September 25, 2009

Not landmines

It'd be funnier if it was abandoned landmines... funnier in a much more gruesome and tragic kind of way of course. This one is by Andrew Toos.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This is one from August 2009 by Brian Gable of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. I think I like the one by Paresh better. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New York-stan

'Tis a comment, of course, on the names of Central Asian nations, which were suddenly thrust upon the American consciousness a few months earlier. Here's a complete list of nations which end in "stan":
  • Afghanistan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Pakistan
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
Relaxing the rules slightly, there are a number of other entities that could potentially also qualify as "-stans":
  • Bashkortostan: "Subject of Russia" acting as an ethnic autonomy
  • Dagestan: "Subject of Russia" acting as an ethnic autonomy
  • East Turkestan is actually Xinjiang province in China and has a government in exile
  • Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province inside Tajikistan
  • Hayastan is an alternative name for Armenia
  • Hindustan: In the Kashmiri language this is the name for India
  • Iraqi Kurdistan: This is a federal region inside Iraq, but the Kurds would dearly love to have their own nation of "Kurdistan". But the idea isn't popular in the region.
  • Karakalpakstan: Autonomous republic inside Uzbekistan
  • Tatarstan: "Subject of Russia" acting as an ethnic autonomy
Relax the rules a little more, to allow any nation who's name ends in "-an", and this still adds a few more nations in the region:
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bhutan
  • Iran
  • Jordan
  • Oman
  • Sudan
But that could make the rules too loose, since it could also include the following:
  • Cayman Islands (Part of the British Commonwealth)
  • Golan (disputed by Israel, Syria, and Palestine)
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Part of the British Commonwealth)
  • Taiwan (claimed by China)
  • Vatican City

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shortcut to peace

This is one from August 2009 by Paresh Nath of The Khaleej Times in Dubai. Captures the situation in Afghanistan fairly well, no?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Old maps

Let's hear it for Jack Ziegler in the New Yorker, everybody!

When was the last time the world saw a war that actually changed borders? Kosovo? I guess the Russian-Georgian scuffle kinda, sorta did that... I suppose.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Kansas

Does it surprise anybody that there'd be a GPS-based joke that'd reference Dorothy and pals, the most lost girl in literature? Or is it simply a surprise that this joke hasn't been done sooner? Thank you Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You are paranoid

In the background is a map directory for the zoo the Bucket family here is visiting. And, yes, it even has a "you are here" identifier. But this is a rare comic in that it includes a "you are here" feature which doesn't happen to be the center of the joke. And thus I've introduced y'all to The Buckets, the hilarious strip by Greg Cravens. narcissism

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Redistricting is one of those few fascinating political games that allows geography to take a front seat in politics.  This cartoon by Scott Stantis of the Chicago Tribune as the long aftermath of the redistricting events in Texas finally played themselves out.  The Republicans in the Texas State legislature gained enough of a majority to try redistricting without waiting around for the 10-year Census.  That prompted legal challenges that went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that this was OK. There's been various attempts to reform this redistricting process.  Here's some interesting ideas.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Gerrymander

This may very well be one of the most famous and enduring editorial cartoons of all time. Drawn by Gilbert Stuart in 1812, It was a critique of the extents to which politicians will go to protect their seats, by manipulating voting districts to include areas predominantly populated by their own supporters. This cartoon is in fact where the term gerrymandering comes from.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Let it...

Barkeater Lake, by Fake Rockstar (aka Corey Randolph) the "anti-comic about "a fake story about real people living in a fake town". With erratic updates, this webcomic spends most of its time careening wildly between various psychedelic half-baked (yet still hilarious) plot lines (if they can be called that). If he spent more time on this venture it could be even more nutty goodness.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Like home

Family circus here is doing the "scale" joke that is fairly common for map-related comics. However, if this post worked correctly then there should be a special animation on the globe, thanks to Dean's comic booth blog. Warning on that link, it's occasionally NSFW.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Profit margin

In case you can't read the caption, it says "It has yet to turn a profit". The lame pun here would be "It has yet to turn a prophet". But that wouldn't have been very New Yorker-y.

Although, come to think of it, if it hasn't turned a profit yet, it may soon. From this excellent "This American Life" podcast about the financial mess, there was a discussion of the amount of money on the entire planet. It took until the year 2000 for humanity to accumulate a grand total of $36 trillion. Then, from 2000 to 2006, the total glonal amount of money added another $44 trillion, for a grand total of $80 trillion. Then the financial crisis hit and from 2006 to now, that global pile of money sent to.., $83 trillion. That's right. Despite the mess the humans still added $3 trillion. Even at that slower "global recession" pace, that's still adding well over $100 per person per year to global wealth. Imagine what would happen if the global economy actually starts heating up again. In the 10 years before the global recession hit over 100 million people climbed up beyond the global poverty level. That's faster than population growth (which is slowing). We could actually be closing in on the end of poverty. Would that qualify as turning a profit for God?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mall navigation

...Except that I think malls may have less longevity than GPS. I dunno, but it just seems like malls are moving out of favor. Sure, there's still an obscene number of them. But the new shopping mega-complexes being built that I've seen are a move away from the giant central mall concept and more towards a giant "marketplace" concept... that actually, to me, looks like nothing more than a glorified strip mall, but they're called "Lifestyle Centers". Whatever. I avoid them all. Actually, my idea for a "shopping center" is this: Use a GIS to match each and every business within a 1-mile radius of each address. Then mail to each address a thing that looks like a mall directory, but it's actually just a map of their neighborhood with all of the shops/businesses color-coded by category "clothing, grocery, hardware, etc.). I wouldn't be surprised if it generated a decent amount of new (and possibly lasting) commerce for local businesses. Enough new tax revenue, anyway, to justify the expense of the venture, I dare say. So any city GIS-ers out there reading this: Consider that a freebie.

2 more things though: At Disneyland one day my cousin said that I was so tall whenever we were out and about in a crowded place it'd be simple enough to just tell everybody to "Meet back at Christian". And Baldo is a pretty darn good strip. Available in the original Spanish too!

Monday, September 7, 2009


See, I think this one is a miss. If the previous owner hadNav (European for GPS) then he wouldn't have trashed the car. So wither the Sat Nav

The more important thing here is to note that the European "GPS" is now fully operational and it is cheaper to use and more accurate than the US version. But that's OK because, after fighting about it for years, the European and US GNSS community all agreed to let two systems be compatible and work together.

That's right, I said GNSS. So now it's time for a few more glossary terms. "GNSS" = Global Navigation Satellite System and can be applied to any such system. "GPS" = "Global Positioning Satellite or System" and should only refer to the US system. The European system, by the way, is called "Galileo" (since it became fully operational in the 400th anniversary of Mr. Galilei's earth-shattering telescopic activities.
been using the Sat doesn't work, or the sleazy car salesman is speaking sarcastically, which makes him terrifically bad at his job.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Your flat girlfriend

This one ran on my birthday in 2008. And it's about one of my favorite cartographic urban legends (BTW, if a legend is hundreds of years old, can it still be described as urban?). That being, of course, that anybody in Columbus' time believed the Earth was flat (nobody did. The roundness of the Earth was well-established thousands of years at least prior to C.C.). I've addressed that falsehood and its origins here

Bugs Bunny's take on this argument is funnier. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Different blue oval

This ran on August 18th, 2009, which I believe was in the middle of the Cash for Clunkers. program. But that program isn't getting referenced here. This is actually a bit dated, then, since it references the bailout of the auto industry from several months previous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Boeing, Boeing, ...

This is a print ad from 1959 for Boeing. The large caption is "Fast friend of over three-quarters of a million passengers." Remember when that might have seemed like a big number? Given the number of flights daily around the world (80k - 90k) and Boeing's massive presence in the airliner industry, there could easily be 3/4 million passengers on Boeing planes in the sky at any given time. But I'll bet none of them are on 707s

The rest of the copy reads:
One flight aboard the Boing 707, and you know why this xxxx jetxxxx is the most popular airliner in aviation history. xxxx [can't make out very much of this] xxxx More than three-quarters of a million passengers have already enjoyed this tranquil, but exhilerating, new way to travel. Make your next trip by Boeing 707!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009