Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cosmic Clock from 3-2-1 Contact

This is an animation by Al Jarnow. that I remember from that fantastic pioneering PBS show 3-2-1 Contact. I remember being blown away by this animation.  It blasted open my concept of time and the vast temporal scales in which geology played itself out. It's My memory associates seeing this animation at around the same time I saw Carl Sagan's Cosmos (which you can now watch on Hulu).  Finding old episodes of 3-2-1 Contact is fairly easy too... however it turns out that my favorite geology professor in college, Richard Hazlett, was featured in a 3-2-1 Contact segment on volcanoes.  I remember watching that episode as a kid but I could never have possibly imagined that the guy would ever have been my teacher.  I've tried off and on for years to find that 3-2-1 Contact segment, but I've not been able to.  If anybody out there knows how to get that, or knows somebody who happens to have the entire run of 3-2-1 Contact episodes I'd be thrilled to have an opportunity to find that clip.  It'd mean a lot to me. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What once was New York

These are images from an article of 100-year-old illustrations from The New York Times Magazine featured in an article on Slate:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two-fer merit badges

Today's two-fer: merit badges!

The first two are the official Boy Scouts of America merit badges for Geology and Orienteering (i.e. using a compass) respectively. 

There's also the brand-spanking-new-for-2011 merit badge for geocaching:
Then there's the imitators.  First the virtual imitators, from some artwork that ran with a Popular Science article on Five Contests That Recognize The Science Achievements of the Everyman

And then there's the actual imitators:
Nerd Merit Badges that you can actually buy, but are in no way affiliated with the BSA (shown = the BoingBoing merit badge)  They also have a collection of them specifically for Foursquare

And finally, the Fanboy Legion merit badges, also for sale:

I'm sure a quick internet search could find many. many more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mapping hell

This is from the webcomic Pibgorn, by Brooke McEldowney, who also does 9 Chickweed Lane. Pibgorn is actually the fairy dressed as death (not the hell beast) in that middle panel and is looking quite unlike herself. Of course Geoff there is completely out of his element... or is he? Pibgorn storylines tend to be ridiculously long and protracted... or at least ridiculous. But entertaining. Brooke did a Pibgorn adaptation of A Midsummer's Night Dream a few years back that was fun.

But Pibgorn story arcs very often end up in hell and so here we are again, this time with a map theme.

The next installment in this particular story arc arguably also continues the mapping hell theme, but I'm not entirely convinced that it does. You decide:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sizing up America

This may well be connected to yesterday's Peters Projection subject.  This is a story related on the internet of a person who may very well have been confused by a Peters Projection... however if this was indeed an antique map maybe it was older than the Peters Projection... so it could be they were looking at something more like this (and what a controversy this ignited!):

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peters Projection

I didn't watch The West Wing. I suspect I would have enjoyed it. But I don't have time to go back and do that at this point.

However, here, as promised, is a fun, very-appropriate-for-this-blog excerpt from The West Wing that discusses "The Peters Projection". I have no idea what other sub-plots and inside jokes are going on in this clip, but it's great that something so thoroughly geographically wonky would show up in a prime-time show:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mohorovičić discontinuity (Earth's Moho mojo)

From Randall Munroe's XKCD. This one hits close to my heart because I am a geologist by training as was my father... who underwent an life-ending event a year ago.  So maybe this should be taken as a fond remembrance of him .

I'll have to agree with Munroe's sentiment here: Contemplating what lies beneath... and how thin the crust actually is... can be quite unnerving... in the most bewilderingly fascinating kind of way.  So turning to this animation as a kind of zen relaxation technique seems appropriate.

At the actual webcomic, hovering over the image reveals this additional message in the "title-text":

If you're a geologist or geophysicist and you don't introduce yourself by saying your name, then gesturing downward and saying "... and I study that", I don't know what you're doing with your life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Magellan two-fer

Here's two rather strange references to Magellan, the first person to [lead a crew of men most of the way to] circumnavigate the globe [unless one believes that Zheng He did it 100 years earlier].

The first example is from Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley. It's from a story arc where Bucky's nemesis, Fungo the ferret, who lives next door (which Bucky the cat refers to as a weasel) cut his way into Bucky's closet and walled-off Bucky's closet on Bucky's side of the apartment, rendering it invisible. While Bucky didn't do anything in particular to deserve such a prank, it is still fair to say that due to Bucky's general demeanor, Bucky deserved it.  This reminds me of a prank that I read about that took place at Caltech where one student left for the weekend to visit his girlfriend.  While he was gone the other students in the hallway removed the guy's dorm room door, walled it off, painted it, and even installed a fully-functioning wall light that matched the lighting in the rest of the hallway where the door used to be. When the guy came back he was first, confused, then amused, and then angry as he asked what they'd done to his door... to which the perpetrators innocently responded, "Who are you?".  He found a hammer and started aggressively looking for his doorway, so the other students called the police.  He finally found his doorway and discovered that he couldn't open the door because the perpetrators had gone so far as to stuff the room so full of crumpled-up computer paper. As he tried pulling out enough of the paper to squeeze his way into the room the other students started putting the paper back into the room through other openings he had made. And yet this barely registers on the list of more epic Caltech pranks. Hijacking the 1961 Rose Bowl half-time show and "borrowing" an Air Force jet probably top that list.

The second example is from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, by Zach Weiner. I can't even begin to try to explain what the devil this means. But Mr. Weiner often goes for the absurdist punchline.That little black-and-white extra image is the extra comic Mr. Weiner tends to toss in for fun, or to get that extra little punchline jab.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recacluating the apocalypse

It's beginning to look like "Recalculating" type gags are becoming faily common. This will be the fifth one that I've posted so far, this time from Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller.

There is a decent chance that this comic was written in response to the recent "End of the world on May 21st, 2011" silliness that happened recently.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harvest time

Pick-your-own berries season is starting up in my neck of the woods as the delicious strawberries get to ripening (assuming there's enough sun... which is a big "if" this year).  But I'm not going to be using this map to find any you-pick farms.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grover's corner of geography

Ah, Sesame Street, how I love thee. And here is a wonderful, glorious example of Grover having fun with geography... and SOUTH America. By the way, is that the Peters projection on that map? More on that next week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Supervillain origin stories

Stuart Immonen illustrated the origin stories of the great DC supervillains in the style of Winsor McCay, of Little Nemo in Slumberland fame. This is one of the pages, depicting the second half of The Toyman's origin story (I hadn't heard of the Toyman) which, conveniently enough, includes a globe.  Here's the rest:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eviction notice two-fer

So this cartoon by Tony Zuvela with the blue-marble view of Earth from space is a fairly run-of-the-mill God-reconsidering-his-creation gag:

Image removed. Link here.

When a second cartoonist, this time Jon Herman, comes up with this other cartoon independently of the other one, it's just weird:

Image removed. Link here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blood vessels of Lisbon

Let's do another animated map thingy from Pedro Cruz (who did that awesome declining empires animation I posted a few weeks back).

This one shows how the travel times on the streets of Lisbon, Portugal change over the course of the day.  Cruz' website actually has a whole lot of information and videos on how he did this. Among the related videos are his "Morphing City" video which was derived from work similar to this Lisbon thing (see the second embedded video posted below). It's fairly fascinating work.  

Lisbon's blood vessels from Pedro M Cruz on Vimeo.

The Morphing City from Pedro M Cruz on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Theoretical museum

So this installment of Subnormality by Winston Rowntree is pretty fun and includes a few different maps.  As per usual, it's very wordy.  Worth the read though.  And be sure to click on it to see a larger, legible version because there's a large horde of fun details in almost every panel on this one.Have fun!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Looks like.... Two-fer

Last week was the obvious "Italy looks like a boot" two-fer.  This week's two-fer requires more imagination and some doodling:

I have no idea who did these, but they're certainly fun.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dinosaur Comics

Dinosaur Comics by Ryan North is a webcomic that has been running since 2003.  In each and every installment the artwork is exactly the same.  Only the dialog changes.  This installment, from 2004, involved a map, specifically a treasure map. It was actually guest written by one Per Jorner, who was filling in for North for several episodes during that time.  Oddly enough, the installment from the day before was also geographically-related (see below).  I don't think that happens often with Dinosaur Comics.  But I'm not sure 'cause I don't follow this one at all.  I'm not entirely sure how I stumbled across this one in the first place. But from what I gather it's fairly popular.... in some circles... I guess....

By the way, like XKCD, at the actual webcomic, there is an extra "title-text" message that pops up while hovering over the image:

see, it's ironic both because he destroyed the treasure markers and because the trees would have been chopped down to build the cabins.
Here's the one from the previous day (click on any image to make it bigger and easier to read):

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ziggy saver

Ziggy, by Tom Wilson.  Does anybody even buy screensavers anymore?  Even in 2009 when this ran, what was the global market for screensavers, $2?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mapping emotions

This one is a very interesting, very interactive animated map/art project called "We Feel Fine" by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar that "[harvests] human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved [and] using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of [ways]"

Here's some instructions to get you to the map functions:
  • Go to
  • Click on the "Open We Feel Fine" button
    • A separate browser window will open with the We Feel Fine applet.  You can pause and explore here for a bit before moving on.
  • In the lower right-hand corner thee will be an alliterative menu.  Choose the "Mobs" option
  • A second menu column will appear.  Choose the "Locations" options from that menu to map the emotion dots on a world map.  
  • There is a "Locations" item in the menu bar along the top of the applet that can be used to narrow down the dot-mapping to a specific country, or even a state (though I've had a little trouble with the state function)
 You may also consider experimenting with the "Weather" menu item along that top menu bar.... or any of the others. This is an incredibly fascinating interactive experience that can be loads of fun.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Circus in Chitown

Let's do tame with a Family Circus from 2006 by Jeff and Bill Keane. Of course we now know that neither Mrs. O'Leary nor her cow had anything at all to do with starting that fire.Way to perpetuate discriminatory stereotypes you ovoid-headed kids!

The thing that bugs me about this is the copyright laws which obligated the Keanes to have PJ there with the generic "Cubbies" pennant instead of "Cubs" which would have made some kind of sense.  MLB might want to consider laying off the fan art.