Monday, January 31, 2011

Southern half

Yes, I know, it's XKCD by Randall Munroe again. But, honestly, if he keeps throwing up examples like this, how can I help but post 'em? As per usual, go to this actual webcomic, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:
Also, if you read his speech at Rice, all his arguments for going to the moon work equally well as arguments for blowing up the moon, sending cloned dinosaurs into space, or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars.
We can actually put this XKCD right there next to this other one, where Munroe complains about yet another confounding cartographic convention.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Saskatchewan you to sleep

So this is part two of the Betty (by Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen) that so improbably involved the story lone about Saskatchewan from March of 2010. The rest of that week of Betty shifted to a storyline about Betty taking strategic naps in order avoid interacting with her family.  So not even these cartoonists could stick with a "riveting" Saskatchewan story line for very long, resorting instead to a story arc they hoped was less sleep-inducing.

To be fair, I'm going to include a link to the official Saskatchewan tourism website  I don't know if it will help. Saskatchewan is like a gigantic, less populated, somewhat colder Kansas... or Nebraska... or Dakotas... or any of those Midwestern states.

I'm just gonna say here and now: I do not expect to see another Saskatchewan map-themes comic as long as I run this blog.  Please try to prove me wrong.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saskatchewan again?

Let's finish off the week with some Betty, by Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen.  This will be a two-day portion of a story arc that ran in March of 2010.  The most odd thing about this I think is that it's the second post that involves a map of Saskatchewan.  Go figure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You are unamused camel

Hey, it's hump day! Let's do a camel joke. Here's a simple "you are here" gag by Hagen.  Turns out this guy does TONS of camel-themed cartoons.  The featureless "you are here" sign in the middle of the desert is common enough.  This one on a desert island isn't much different.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

South Park snake

These are from the South Park episode "Summer Sucks" from way back during the 2nd episode. Compare this to the much more recent map from the 14th season in yesterday's post and see the marked improvement in cartography... but then the quality of all the animation in South Park has generally improved over time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

South Park's Jersey

This is a still from "It's a Jersey Thing" episode of South Park, by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  This ran during this last 14th season of South Park.  I'm gonna say that, while I generally like South Park, this is one of those (many) NSFW episodes. New Jersey, and specifically characters from The Jersey Shore reality TV show, do not fare well here.  Not at all.

But at least the cartography in South Park is improving (see tomorrow).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Into you

We haven't done David Malki's Wondermark in a while.  This one's cute.  Click on the image to make it larger and more legible. There is a category of maps-in-comics gags about met refusing to ask for directions, but it's usually in relation to their relationships with their spouses

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Google Earth China

Given the state visit by the Chinese leader this week, let's have a look at a comic from about a year ago when Chan Lowe, cartoonist with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, made this cartoon at about the same time that  cartoonist Daryl Cagle made this one. I'm pretty sure the issue was concerning China's insisting on censoring/blocking Google China website, though it seems less clear to me that this was Cagle's focus.  Lowe appears to think messing with Google could result in a threat to China's very existence.  I'm not so sure.  At any rate, China has launched their own version of Google Earth.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inherit the Earth

In this episode of the webcomic Basketcasecomix by Kelly Ferguson the cockroaches win.  This control room looks more sophisticated than this one in Close to Home. But this roach is up to less good than other insects we've seen.   Didn't Myhbusters find out whether roaches would survive a nuclear holocaust? Yup.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wikileaks (finally)

Wikileaks' Official Logo
I'm a a bit overdue on this one. Because the Wikileaks logo incorporates a map, many of the rash of editorial cartoons that inevitably resulted from the controversy that Wikileaks dusted up involved a map theme... although the number which used the Wikileaks logo is actually rather few. But since there's a lot of them, I'm going to post them all, small-like, and you can click on any that you'd like to see larger (hit back to get back to this page):
Mike Luckovich

Mark Lynch
Gable (The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada)

Joel Pett (Lexington Harold-Leader)
Chavez (El Tiempo, Honduras)

John Sherffius (Boulder Camera)

If you find any more map-themed Wikileaks editorial cartoons I may have missed, please let me know.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Survey markers

Maps show up all the time in editorial cartoons.  It's not quite as common for map concepts themselves to be the news.  But with the recent tragic shooting in Tucson and the comments about "survey markers, not crosshairs", this item becomes a perfect candidate for posting on this blog.  Rather than drawing this out for days, I'm just gonna throw them all up here. Remember, these are the opinions of the cartoonists who drew these and may or may not represent any opinions I might hold.  But if you wanna discuss any of this in the comments, please feel free.  (and click on any of them in order to make them larger)
Original map from Sarah Palin's political action committee website

Drew Sheneman
Paul Szep

Ed Stein

Martyn Turner
Steve Benson

Don Wright

Randall Enos
David Fitzsimons

Steve Breen
Vic Harville

And if you find any more which I may have missed, please let me know

Friday, January 14, 2011

Worst case

We'll finish the week with another XKCD by Randall Munroe.  That map of Louisiana is nice, but somewhat inaccurate.  I had a geology professor in college who could accurately draw a very quick California coastline on a chalkboard in a single swipe.  Always impressive. 
 Go to the actual xckd site, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:
To get serious analyses of hurricanes and oil slicks, see Jeff Masters' blog. To get serious discussions of worst-case scenario thinking, see Bruce Schneier's blog. To get enough Vitamin D, don't read any blogs and go outside instead.
So here's Jeff Master's blog, and Bruce Schneier's blog.  And I'm going to step outside for a bit ...even though it's cold, cloudy, windy, threatening to snow, and in winter it's impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun if you live north of Phoenix because the sun never gets high enough in the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere.... it's just that going outside sometimes is a good thing to do no matter what.  You should do the same. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

XKCD Depth

So, just like yesterday's post, click on this this XKCD by Randall Munroe in order to make it bigger and more legible.  It's very appropriate and kinda funny that for this one the explanation is up top and the cleverest little joke is at the bottom (which is opposite from yesterday's post), though there's plenty of funny in between.  By the way, to understand that bottom-most joke, it might help to know about Brian Greene (or, farther up the scale, Peter Norton, or, if you must, Rick Astley)

Go to this actual webcomic, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:  
The Planck length is another thousand or two pixels below the comic.
You could look up "Planck length" on Wikipedia, but I think the link that I alluded to yesterday will do a better job explaining it (and might help clarify the Brian Greene joke too).  The link goes to a website with the title "The scale of the Universe" and it is mind-puddlingly grandiose in it's ambition and simplicity.  

Munroe did this "Depth" drawing just a few days after he did his "Height" drawing from yesterday.  They do make for a wonderful matching set.  That "Scale of the Universe" site, however, is the natural extension of both and is an incredibly engrossing diversion.  There's two things about it that I want to point out as particularly fascinating:
First, there is a LOT more to explore on the smaller end of the scale than on the larger end.  Going all the way to the larger end of the scale there's known objects all the way up, without much in the way of gaps in orders of magnitude.  But going to the small end, one goes through about 10 orders of magnitude where there is nothing known that can be mentioned/labeled.  Now, granted, this is largely due to the fact that we at least know that those smaller orders of magnitude exist, even if we don't know what's there yet.  By definition, there's nothing larger than The Universe at the larger end of the scale... unless there's multiverses and other devastatingly large things.  They even recently discovered evidence that there may in fact be other universes out there, which is literally impossible for the definition of "universe" to deal with, but that's simply a limitation of language.  So the larger end of the scale could, in fact, go as far out as the smaller end of the scale goes, or maybe even infinitely farther, though I suspect that might not be true because the concept of "depth" or "distance" may have no meaning once one leave the boundaries of one universe... which, is, of course, impossible anyway.  So it's kinda odd that the smaller end of the scale, where there is the "Planck's Length" limit as to how small things can get, is the end that's less explored... though I have less than no idea how it'd be even remotely possible to explore that far, what with Heisenberg's uncertainty principal and the difficulty in manufacturing a small enough sensor.

The second thing that I noticed is probably grossly anthropocentric in the worst way, but I'll mention it anyway:  It's amazing that humans are so close to the center of the entire scale. The very center of this scale seems to be around the millimeter range, which is still very much in the realm of standard human interaction.  This second thing may, in fact, be merely a subset of the first thing... or it may just be a figment of the numbers and/or labels/language we've come up with to explain all of this.  At the very least it suggests that humans have explored much more of the larger end of things than the smaller end of things.  The bigger question, however, is whether this expansive scale is, in fact, centered around that millimeter range, (which would be an astoundingly bizarre coincidence) or if it this scale of things looks this way merely because we're the observers and thus it naturally centers around us and what we can observe.  In other words, if we were several orders of magnitude larger or smaller, the scale would be centered/oriented differently.  But how would beings that much larger or smaller than ourselves exist in such a way as to accomplish this kind of intellectual pursuit? 

Since we're talking about so many impossible things anyway, might as well finish up with this bit from the second installment of that most wonderful trilogy-of-six-books: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering.
It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (wioll haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe.
This is, many would say, impossible.
In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on-eat) sumptuous meals whilst watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.
This is, many would say, equally impossible.
You can arrive (mayan arivan on-when) for any sitting you like without prior (late fore-when) reservation because you can book retrospectively, as it were when you return to your own time. (you can have on-book haventa forewhen presooning returningwenta retrohome.)
This is, many would now insist, absolutely impossible.
At the Restaurant you can meet and dine with (mayan meetan con with dinan on when) a fascinating cross-section of the entire population of space and time.
This, it can be explained patiently, is also impossible.
You can visit it as many times as you like (mayan on-visit re-onvisiting ... and so on — for further tense-corrections consult Dr Streetmentioner's book) and be sure of never meeting yourself, because of the embarrassment this usually causes.
This, even if the rest were true, which it isn't, is patently impossible, say the doubters.
All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for.
This, many claim, is not merely impossible but clearly insane, which is why the advertising executives of the star system of Bastablon came up with this slogan: "If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

XKCD Height

You're going to have to click on this XKCD by Randall Munroe in order to make it even remotely legible. First scroll all the way to the bottom for the explanation, and then read it carefully all the way up. And read it all you should because there's a LOT packed into this drawing, not just all the little artistic jokes that he threw in there, but also the sheer information of it all (and don't forget to notice the one at the upper right-most corner of the drawing).  

This drawing is related to yesterday's because the drawing concept of representing scale logarithmically is somewhat similar, though in this one Munroe made a much more thorough effort at the accuracy of the scale

Go to this actual webcomic, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:  
Interestingly, on a true vertical log plot, I think the Eiffel Tower's sides really would be straight lines. 
 Now, to be fair, I gotta put this link here in this post, but it'll be even better if you click on it tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

XKCD Lament

Here's another XKCD by Randall Munroe with a programming theme.  Turns out that Mr. Munroe gave up his love affair with Perl (here and here) some time later when he discovered Python (though he re-visited Perl again at least once more here).
Clicking on the image will make it larger and easier to read. Go to this actual webcomic, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says
Some say the world will end in fire; some say in segfaults..
The title on this XKCD post is "With apologies to Robert Frost".  So here's the poem by Frost that Munroe is apologizing for imitating:

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

Before noticing that title and without knowing enough about poetry I initially thought this might be referencing the final stanza of T. S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" poem This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper. (of course without Wikipedia I wouldn't have been able to come up with either that author nor that title.  I could only vaguely remember the "...but a whimper" line).

We're gonna do 2 things now.  First, point out that today is 1-11-11.  That's not going to happen again for another 100 years.  We'll have 11-11-11 in merely 304 days, and we'll make a bigger deal of it then.  And next year there will be 12-12-12, as well as 1-2-12.  However I think 1-11-11 is worth noting for purely trivial numerological reasons.  

Second, we're going to do a series of related XKCDs this week... because they're all related and they're fun.  So get ready for tomorrow's

Monday, January 10, 2011

I relish callipygian posteriors and I am unable to prevaricate

This is Jef Mallet again giving us another brilliant map-related Frazz strip (click on the image to make it larger and more legible). It kinda shares its concerns about the state of geography education with other posts I've made about geography education. To save you a little bit of trouble with Google, here's Callipygia (kinda useful word, no?)... which means this post is most related to this more apocalyptic one.

Gotta love it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Online communities II

I posted about an older version of this "Online Communities" map from xkcd by Randall Munroe some time ago.  There is a new version and it's even more breath-taking in its scope than before.  Clicking on it will make it bigger and more legible, however it may be necessary to just go to go to the xkcd site and look at it there. Of course when there, hover over the image, and there will be an additional message in the "title-text" . This one says:
Best trivia I learned while working on this: 'Man, Farmville is so huge! Do you realize it's the second-biggest browser-based social-networking-centered farming game in the WORLD?' Then you wait for the listener to do a double-take.
I had to look this one up. Due to its dominance in China and Taiwan, "Happy Farm" is bigger than "Farmville". It's hosted on the massive instant messenger service in Asia, Tencent QQ which has capped new members to 2 million per day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blast off

This is from March 2010 and is a Red and Rover by Brian Basset, who also does Adam@Home... or at least he did.  A couple years ago the artwork on Adam@Home changed subtly but noticeably.  I don't think it's Basset's work anymore. I like it less.  I like the artwork here in Red and Rover better and this one is just great, though it does have some Calvin & Hobbes overtones, right?

There are quite a few dog-and-boy comics out there right now:
  • Red and Rover of course
  • Dog eat Doug (boy is actually a baby who never talks)
  • Bleeker: the Rechargable Dog (electronic dog, but still)
  • Cow and Boy (different animal, same concept)
  • Lio (often does "squid and boy" gags)
  • Non Sequitur (if we can count Lio's frequent antics with his squid, we can count Danae's frequent antics with her talking horse... as well as her younger sister's talking dog)
  • Calvin & Hobbes (which is, of course the gold standard, now retired, but still available in re-runs)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Orienteering in the Orient

The first post I made of Simon Bond's work was clever and artistic.  This one makes no sense.  If all you can see is a horizon line and three little dots, that's it.  Are those supposed to be The Three Wise Men?  It's a pun for pun's sake and the drawing, what there is of it, doesn't seem to add anything to the joke, if there is one.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Water, water everywhere

Let's start the year with Jim Toomey's Sherman's Lagoon.  For some reason the mindless tossing of the Earth ball in this strip makes me happy, even if the joke in the comic is mean.