Friday, September 30, 2011

Wrong Georgia on my mind

In truth, this is an easy one for the U.S. resident geography novice to mix up.... though less excusable for a news organization. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

PO Box Manifest Destiny

Posted: Visualizing US expansion through post offices. from Derek Watkins on Vimeo.

What with all the recent woes being experienced by the U.S. Postal Service, I figured I'd post this animation that shows the expansion of the U.S. by way of mapping U.S. Post Offices.

So if post offices start closing does that mean the U.S. is shrinking?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Solitaire Biff

Here's a Book of Biff comic by Chris Hallbeck, that includes a blue-marble Earth globe thing that allows this to barely qualify for this maps-in-comics blog.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pizza Two-fer

  Today's two-fer Tuesday involves pizza... and space!
First we have Maximumble, which is another webcomic by Chris Hallbeck, who also does Book of Biff

Then we have Perry Bible Fellowship (warning: occasionally NSFW), which is drawn by Nicholas Gurewitch and others..

Friday, September 23, 2011

Snape GPS

This is a Facebook conversation about what it'd be like to have Professor Severus Snape (aka Alan Rickman) as the voice on one's GPS unit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nuke It!

Today's map animation Thursday is interactive again... but in that satisfactorily and educationally destructive sort of way.  Head on over to Carlos Labs' Ground Zero website and see what happens when you drop a selection of nuclear weapons on any area searchable in Google Maps.  And if that's not enough for ya, then hit it with a K-T boundary scale asteroid.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

World of corporations

Some time ago we did a two-fer involving parodies of/homages to that iconic drawing by Saul Steinberg that was the cover of the March 29, 1976 issue of The New Yorker entitled "View of the World from 9th Avenue". One of the artists featured was and item from Ruben Bolling's "Tom the Dancing Bug" series with a "Post 9-11 View of the World from 9th Avenue" featuring ground zero in the foreground.

Today we have another example of Ruben Bolling's work, also from his Tom the Dancing Bug series, this time as commentary on the Citizens United Supreme Court case which ... has stirred up some more controversy of late (click to make it larger if need be:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Maphead two-fer

Today happens to be the day that Ken Jennings (of longest-running-Jeopardy-champion-but-lost-to-a-super-computer fame) starts selling his new book Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks. This review of it on seems to think it's pretty good. Here's the cover:

Now I just want to say here that I'm not a follower of Ken Jennings, nor a follower of Jeopardy (a word I've never been able to spell correctly without a spell-checker).... although I have been frequently enough mistaken as a Jeopardy fan (though I did once have a co-worker who was a Jeopardy contestant).  I don't dislike either, I've just not found any reason to devote time to them. 

...Unless today's two-fer counts. (If I were smarter about this I'd figure out how to make sure any pass-through clicks to the Amazon book results in a tiny little pay-back to my blog's monetization account... I'll figure that out eventually... meanwhile, please buy my geology timescale watch!).

Anyway, I thought I'd start out with what might possibly be the most famous map head: Globey, from Pee Wee's Playhouse:

Again, this is not a show I ever watched... although this time I'm definitely not a fan... I mean, I can appreciate what he was trying to do, but it simply never appealed to me.

Now, another map head some of y'all might have seen is the one that has been on the Cirque du Soleil website for a while:
 I almost feel bad, however, allowing either this Cirque du Soleil image or Pee Wee's Globey to play second fiddle to a Ken Jennings post, simply because either of them are fun enough to deserve their own posts.

But who I genuinely feel bad for is Lesley Howarth, author of the "Maphead" series of novels:

 I have no idea whether these are any good. I just feel bad for her that her works will now be overshadowed by Ken Jennings' "trivial" work (pun intended).  It's possible that Jenning's book is of greater literary value.  I would imagine, however, that Ms. Howarth is in greater need of financial success.  But maybe the buzz around Jennings' book will get Howarth a little notice and a few incidental click purchases (by the way, there are three books in her series, I was only able to find map-related images for the first and last ones).

So while we're on the subject of obscure starving artists, here's a very "Map head" themed work from 1984 by David Wojnarowicz:

And after that we just get into random results for a Google Image search of "Maphead":

And, finally, there's a "Maphead book blog", that appears to simply be a book review blog that's only rarely map-related.... and another one that is:

Monday, September 19, 2011

You are Retail

Today we shall debut the work of Norm Feuti, artist of "Retail", with a "you are here" gag. This webcomic and comic might be just the thing for your employed-in-retail friends.  Is it me or is that mall kinda on the small side?

Mr. Feuti does other stuff too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tree win... or is it?

 Here's an interesting pattern created from a clear cut... It's kinda sad, although that's a deciduous tree shape cut into an obviously conifer forest. One could almost imagine that it's a very, very cruel act of vandalism by the deciduous tree forces upon the conifer tree community. 

You gotta wonder whether the trees that were chopped down to make the pattern above were used to make this woodpile:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dimension animation

Here's a nifty little video from New Scientist magazine that explains how we can know our world is in 3D. The cartoony animation of it is just perfect.There's actually a whole collection of these 1-minute physics animations

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Generational directions 2

The Buckets by Greg Cravens on getting directions.  Does this seem familiar?  Maybe it's because about a year ago I posted the very similar one on giving directions:
At least one of them still seems to be using Mapquest.

By the way, about that sullen teenager who is simply complaining about not having a smartphone,  that presents a perfect opportunity to mention my most favorite recent quote about teenagers... from an article on evolutionary computing. The computer scientist was explaining his experience working with a self-learning software program and how the results were often less than useful:

"It's like arguing with a teenager, ... It just keeps coming back with things that are irrelevant."

That's just beyond perfect.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Introducing Maximumble two-fer

For this week's two-fer Tuesday we'll introduce Maximumble, which is another webcomic by Chris Hallbeck, who also does Book of Biff.  He started this webcomic late last year and so far has done several installments which could be considered map-related... or at least show a clompse of the globe of Earth from space.  Let's have a look see:

 OK, so maybe this isn't Earth so much as a stand-in for Krypton? But it's some rather disturbing humor.

 Actually, that's probably not Earth either. It's just some alien planet getting accidentally toasted by a departing exo-biologist... which is also funny in a sick way.... and, no, I'm not sure why all of these have to do with planetary destruction.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Doghouse infographic

The Doghouse Diaries is a webcomic by William Samari, Ray Yamartino, and Rafaan Anvari.  Like xkcd it's mainly stick figures... also like xkcd it has title text when the mouse hovers over the original comic.  This one says "... 75,000 people will receive a high five, but only 6 of those people will actually deserve it."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why does South America fail so often?

Today we have 2 failures in geography, both at the expense of South America:
I'm not even sure how the map above could possibly have been so badly messed up.  Any software that could possibly have had the functionality necessary to map species distribution should certainly have had the major continents positioned correctly, right?

I have no idea why South America gets misidentified so regularly, but it seems to happen a lot:
This next one isn't misidentified, but it is misplaced: 

Maybe that earthquake in Chile last year had a bigger effect on plate tectonics than we thought?

At least Grover shows South America some major love.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Axis of anything

This week's animated map Thursday is an interactive online art piece by Golan Levine. Go to the site (click here) and select any 3 countries and the map will tell you what they can be an axis of. Here, for example, we have Greece, Turkey & Hungary, which comprise the "Axis of oil-producing, pepper-producing, US-bullet-buying, border-disputing, former Ottoman, former Roman countries"... of course what I was actually going for was "Axis of countries whose names sound very food-related in English"

This art piece was created in 2002 after George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech.  More information about the piece is here. More interactive artwork by Mr. Levine is at his "Flong" site (I particularly like The Secret Life of Numbers, but I'm not entirely sure why). ... and a presentation by Mr. Levine at TED.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Puppies always win

This is from Perry Bible Fellowship (warning: occasionally NSFW), which is drawn by Nicholas Gurewitch and a number of different artists, including Evan Keogh, Jordan Morris, and Albert Birney.

The truly odd thing is that this is the third map-related comic that I've posted that has involved puppies, although, granted, the others were slightly more map-related. 
Lost puppy

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Girl Genius two-fer

Today, in honor of Girl Genius winning the Hugo award for the Best Graphic Story for the third year in a row (read the graphic acceptance speech... and the other one in 2009) I'm doing a Girl Genius Tuesday Two-fer... Which is tough because there's actually a LOT to choose from.  Phil and Kaja Foglio have mentioned maps several times in their Girl Genius webcomic and occasionally have drawn some rather beautiful maps.  So I think I'll do two sets: An amazing 3D scale model battle map, and an amazing 3D virtual map (and an extra set at the end). Here goes:

The first is a simply spectacular depiction of a scale model map of the town of Mechanicsburg, home of the artificially intelligent and homicidal Castle Heterodyne, which is under siege/protection by the Baron Wulfenbach, as well as under attack by practically every other fighting force in Europa, as the power struggle rages to see whether there is, in fact, a new Heterodyne heiress. This amazing map, by the way, is in one of the many, many chambers inside the ridiculously vast flying Castle Wulfenbach airship.

The next set is part of the story arc where our heroine Agatha Clay/Heterodyne is in her broken ancestral artificially intelligent and homicidal castle looking for a 3D map of the castle that will show them where further repairs need to be made:
With her are Violetta, an elite Smoke Knight who serves the Sturmvoraus family, Tarvek Sturmvoraus, Prince of Sturmhalten, and heir to the throne of the Storm King (well, he's the actual Storm King now, since his father was killed by his clank-daughter just before he tried to restore Agatha's mother/The Other into Agatha's body/mind), also Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, Tarvek's rival, and heir to the aforementioned Baron Wulfenbach's European Empire (his dad might also be dead).... Also Agatha is carrying the severed head of Otilia, the Muse of Protection ...only that's not actually Otilia, it's actually another copy of the Castle Heterodyne's fractured, and somewhat insane, identity. The identity of Otilia was actually Madam Von Pinn, nanny (not kidding), who ripped apart Agatha's adoptive parents, but who's identity has since been transferred into into a giant mechanical cat. ...Is this a great story or what!

Gil there in the bottom panels is getting abducted by a psychedelic Audrey II-esque plant.   

 So after their ordeal with the plant (and another hyper run-in with the Heterodyne pretender, Zola), Tarvek and Agatha get around to looking for the 3D map in the library... now where could it be...?

 ...under the rug? (by the way, here's the episode of Agatha talking to The Castle the first time 'round)

Ah! There it is! That's a pretty neato 3D steampunk map, wouldn't ya say?

Now to find the secret control room... right...about!

... and with a few repairs, the lovely 3D map's looking much, much better, yes?  By the way, that rather battered gentleman is Airman HiggsYa know, Higgs.... He has a map too...

...apparently.... Let's see, this is before the 3D map, and just after Zola has escaped and caused a collapse that sealed off Agatha-as-The-Other, Tarvek, Gil, & Violetta in Lucrezia/The Other's old secret sub-sub-sub basement lab, separating them from the rest of their crew, which includes Higgs, Zeetha (the green one, Princess of the Lost City of Skifander), Molech VonZinzer, Theopholous DuMedd, Sleipnir O'Hara, and Professor Diaz in the tall hat (who I think ends up dead later... I don't quite remember).

 ...right... he's got a "map". ...and that cat thing in the coat is Krosp, Emperor of Cats.

Well, that more than sums it up for today's map-related Girl Genius extravaganza. There's a few more but we'll take a break and get to those later.  Meanwhile I recommend heading over to Girl Genius and starting from the beginning of the story and enjoy the whole way through.  It's very worth it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

To job security

Brevity by Guy Endore-Kaiser & Rodd Perry.  On this Labor Day, here's to job security in the cartography business... although Albania is not so much likely to split in two as possibly annex Kosovo... but that'd still accomplish the same level of job security.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fail map week roundup

I'm going to do a round-up of the week's posts for today's Fail[/Win] Friday.  Since this week we covered both hurricanes and Libya I'll put up a collection of Libya and hurricane images from

We'll do the hurricane first, wherein the hurricane was apparently so powerful that it relocated a number of major eastern U.S. cities.  Boston is now in Maine, Washington DC is in New YorkNew York City is in New Hampshire, Virginia Beach is in New Jersey, and Wilmington is in Maryland.

I suppose part of the reason the rebels can't find Gadhafi/Gaddafi might have to do with where they're looking for him?

The labels on this one indicate that it also is Libya-related, though the map is supposed to be showing the reporter's location in Cario, Egypt... which it obviously is not.  This is, of course, another example of accidentally using the default coordinates on the digital map

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Animated earthquake Tweet map

Well of course I'm going to post an animated map of the earthquake. But this one is different in that it shows when and where Tweets that mentioned the earthquake popped up.

And of course that speaks directly to this post, where XKCD's Randall Munroe depicted the concept of how the spread of information about an earthquake event can out-pace the speed of the event itself.  Mr. Munroe actually blogged about that cartoon and this earthquake and tells this great story:
I once heard a story (originally told by Kevin Young) about Gerson Goldhaber, who was a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He was talking on the phone with another physicist at SLAC near Stanford University near the end of the day on Tuesday, October 17, 1989. The SLAC physicist suddenly interrupted with, “Gerson, I have to go! There’s a very big earthquake happening!” and then hung up. So Gerson stepped out into a group of people in the hall, made a big show of yawning and checking his watch, then said, “Aren’t we about due for an earthquake?” Before anyone could respond, the Loma Prieta earthquake reached Berkeley, and he became a legend.

And, for your convenience, there's the post with the interactive map of the Christchurch New Zealand earthquake...
...and the post with the animated map of the Japan earthquake & tsunami.

By the way, I got the above Tweet earthquake animation from this article on Boing Boing.