Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Italian boot Two-fer

The image of Italy as a high-heeled boot is practically inescapable. However that imagery has effectively only been possible since the unification of Italy in 1861, made possible largely through the efforts of King Victor Emmanuel II and the soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi, both giants in the history of modern Italy (and not just 'cause of that epic 'stache). Oh, sure, the Italian peninsula has always looked like that. But it has only occasionally been unified and mapped in such a way as to make the boot shape so clearly obvious (perpetually in mid-kick at the island of Sicily I might add).

Thus this 1860 cartoon, by Sir John Tenniel, captures the imagery perfectly as one of history's more memorable political cartoons.  There was actually originally a caption on this cartoon "Right leg in the boot at last" with an additional line, spoken by the Garibaldi character, that says "If it won't go on, sire, try a little more powder".  The double meaning possibly being talcum or gun powder.

Of course the imagery of Italy as a boot has come in handy for political cartoonists ever since. Among the most recent is this one by Wilfred Hildonen entitled "Berlusconi the Invulnerable" commenting on the perpetually embattled octogenarian prime minister who, despite countless suspicious activities and accusations, can't seem to be removed from power.  

And don't forget the separatist movement in northern Italy which desires to make Italy less of a boot and more of a high-heeled shoe by creating the independent nation of Padania.

There are countless examples of this Italy-as-boot imagery:  How many more can y'all find?
An actual boot that has a map of Italy on it. Wow!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Beetle memorial

I'm actually going to try to be thematic here and post this item that's roughly on-topic for Memorial Day.  This, of course, is Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker.  This may be the first time I've ever seen a Beetle Bailey strip with actual fighting going on.  Usually the characters seem to be engaged in endless training exercises, if that (assuming, of course, that Beetle getting beat to a pulp on a regular basis constitutes a training exercise).

Of course Beetle didn't sart out in the military.  The strip ran for quite a while with Beetle and his friends in their original college habitat.  But what was supposed to be a short-lived story arc in the military turned out to be career... which Beetle probably technically should have retired from a decade or two ago.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jet ski across

I'm not sure why this particular direction could possibly come up.  Fortunately one only has to jet ski across the Sea of Japan/East China Sea (depending on who's doing the naming), not the entire Pacific.

By the way, this still works.  In Google Maps enter Japan and China into the from and to fields for searching directions and this "Jet ski..." direction still comes up.  Can't imagine why.  I suppose it could be an anti-piracy item.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Animate Android

Watch this animated map of activated Android devices from October 2008 through January 2011.

Then compare it with this map of the extent of radio ownership in 1936:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don't Panic! Underground graffiti

 Somebody has been putting humorous stickers on the directory maps in the London Underground.  Here's the ongoing Tumblr for it: http://stickersonthecentralline.tumblr.com/

And, by the way, Happy Towel Day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Doonesbury Two-fer... multi-fer

Don't miss the fun extended two-fer at the end of this post!

For today's Tuesday Two-fer I'm just going to post the entire story arc from Doonesbury about the idea to use celebrity voices to give directions on consumer-grade GPS devices.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Meek

This one is a new discovery for me: "The Meek" by Der-shing Helmer, aka Alexds1.  It's an online graphic novel that has been running for a while.  It's getting towards the end of chapter 3 and the story is effectively only beginning.  It wouldn't take too long to get caught up and then check in every few weeks.  The part of the story arc that involves a map starts here (kinda NSFW warning): http://www.meekcomic.com/2009/04/11/chapter-1-page-17/, but the story itself starts here: http://www.meekcomic.com/2008/12/27/chapter-1-cover/.  It's a captivating story so far, but it left off with the map stuff back in chapter 1... though that is a cartographer our heroine is attempting to recruit there for her quest so it's reasonable to expect the map stuff to show up again later.  Enjoy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm Batman

Batman lives in Turkey apparently.

... and a reference to one of my favorite ads: 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

1000 years of battles

This one is rather violent: 1000 years of battles animated.  The explosions are sized to represent the number of casualties.

Actually I have few problems with this one. I don't think it adequately includes all the battles that actually happened. This seems to be rather Eurocentric, with too little representation of battles outside of Europe. While I'll grant that Europe has seen lots of mindless destruction for the last thousand years, I gotta think that the rest of the world wasn't that much better. But the animation has a justifiably massive finale.

The other problem I have is that because it effectively represents straight up body count it skews the scale of the conflagrations. The millions killed in the World Wars is impressive, but 500,000 dead in Napolean's march/retreat on/from Russia has a far larger impact when the world's population was much, much smaller.

What I'd love to see is a combination of this map with the other 1000 years of history animated map that I posted a while ago so that the battles can be seen in combination with the changing borders.  Of course then it's kind of a couple steps away from being a video game, although the game play would be somewhat pre-determined.

And that brings us to Steven Pinker's remarkable presentation about the myth of violence (synopsis: We're not nearly as violent as we used to be, and we're getting better)

Want to see Pinker animated?  Try this (not the same talk as above, but still very groovy)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I'm working with some friends investigating the practicality of creating a non-profit that can provide GIS resources to small communities.  This installment of Corey Rudolph's short-lived-but-hilarious Barkeater Lake seems apropos.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Earth 2-fer

Who would have thought that  Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller would have a two-fer with Alley Oop, by Jack & Carole Bender. And yet here we are, with the connection being, of all things, the "Earth 2" concept. The children in this Non Sequitur story arc are visiting their friend Lars on his Earth 2 which, just like the one in Alley Oop, is identical to Earth, but escaped detection all these years by orbiting directly opposite from our Earth.

Of course if it actually existed the new Solar Dynamics Observatory would probably have seen it by now.

Click on any of the images to make them larder and more legible.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good luck

I'm just going to be somewhat selfish today and use today's post to wish myself good luck.  I have an important job interview this afternoon for a position I'm very keen on getting as it'd be a GIS professional's dream come true. So while the last while has indeed felt like the intersection this road sign is depicting, I'm hoping I'll be able to successfully navigate my way through this.  So wish me luck if you're so inclined.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Google zombie apocalypse

What happens when you put zombies into Google's Streetview?  You get Streetview Zombie Apocalypse, a hyper-personalized mash-up game where the player runs away from zombies in Google's Streetview by Mike Lecher at Wondertonic.  We'll count this as this week's Animated Map Thursday.  I'm not big on zombies. I just don't find the premise even remotely plausible.  Of course why I have that attitude towards zombies but find dragons completely compelling makes no sense.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Buckets plan

This one might still be from the same story arc from last summer from The Buckets by Greg Cravens.This one was from the end of September, while the others were from the end of August/Beginning of September. My wife just finished a big long road trip last week so this hits very close to home.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recalculating two-fer (three-fer)

Today's Two-fer comes in the form of the "Recalculating" gag associated with consumer-grade GPS units. These cartoons are all from The New Yorker, and are by Robert Leighton (December 2010), David Sipress (April 2011), and Roz Chast (October 2010) respectively. Is there a chance that this gag will become as common as the "You are here" gag? Will the directory maps necessary for "You are here" gags to be relevant become a thing of the past, like buggy whips?

Don't forget this one about the Titanic from a few months ago.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Osama bin Laden

Steve Benson

Lalo Alcaraz
I didn't think there'd be that much in the way of map-related comics pertaining to last weekend's dramatic turn of events, and for the most part there wasn't.  I've only seen these two by Benson and Alcaraz.  But that doesn't mean Osama bin Laden hasn't made appearances in map-related comics before.

Speaking of current events, ya think Mr. Alcaraz here was using survey markers?

Friday, May 6, 2011

What happened to Iceland?

Here's another item from Failblog.org.  Iceland is somewhat misplaced.... although I'm not sure what's going on with that inset, which doesn't appear to extend far enough west or north to show where Iceland should be.  I didn't realize Iceland's dramatic economic crash had disoriented that nationthis much.

By the way, my friend Heather who submitted yesterday's item for animated map Thursday also recommended this fun map-related blog: Cartogrammar Blog

Have fun!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Magic woids

Let's do some Bugs Bunny again, shall we?

My friend Heather submitted This 1963 Bugs Bunny cartoon "Transylvania 6-5000" for the blog citing the geographically mislocated superstar rabbit. While he does do his iconic burrowing long distances to open the show, Bugs Bunny doesn't pop out of the ground with the idiosyncratic reference to a "wrong toin at Albaqoiquey".

Heather also pointed out that in the magic duel at the end of the cartoon Bugs Bunny wins by using odd place names rather than the stereotypical magic words, Newport News and Walla Walla Washington being the most potent.

I gotta admit, when I was little this particular Bugs Bunny cartoon scared the crap outa me.

While I was looking up the embed code for this video I found another Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Napoleon Bunny-part", that appears to have the most map-related gags of any Bugs Bunny cartoon ever made:

There's the tunneling and "wrong toin" gag at the beginning of course, but then there's at least two more gag sequences focused entirely upon Napoleon's battle map.

Do enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Burnin' for attention

Walt Handlesman

Stuart Carlson

Nick Anderson

Mike Luckovich
A few weeks ago Pastor Terry Jones of Florida followed through with a Qu'ran burning publicity stunt, the one he was threatening to perform a few months ago on the 9-11 Anniversary.  This had predictably negative results... and inspired several rather similar editorial cartoons.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wisconsin cow

Here's Calvin Grondahl again, this time commenting on the recent events in Wisconsin.  Does this cow look familiar to you?  It should.  It's probably related to some other cows that have been featured in this blog:
Most notably these: http://blueskygis.blogspot.com/2010/12/cow-world.html

For those of you keeping track, Wisconsin isn't a newly mentioned state for this blog.  It made an appearance before.