Thursday, January 31, 2013

Earth's rings

What if Earth had rings like Saturn's? Somebody made a video to demonstrate what that'd look like. It's pretty neat. I think it'd be beautiful. I suspect that it'd make for constant fireballs falling from the rings into the atmosphere day and night. I also suspect that it'd make launching satellites a bit problematic, especially over the equator. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Winter in Foxtrot, by Bill Amend:

Trying to mess with Google Maps satellites (which, for most urban areas in the US, are actually independent companies flying aerial photography that they sell to Google) is a recurring theme in comics recently.  Some examples:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shorthand for learned

Like many cartoonists Greg Cravens uses here that universal symbol of learning, the globe on the desk, to emphasize the imagery of "classroom" in his comic strip The Buckets. But if the globe is too big then it begins to represent a monomaniacal madman bent on global domination.  Funny that.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Maps in Calvin & Hobbes 02: Out of order

I got these a little bit out of order.  I should have posted this one second instead of now.  But Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes is always fun no matter in what order they're viewed:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mississippi River States give you KFC chef

Somebody was looking at a map of The United States and saw a chef serving up a plate of fried chicken... Kentucky Fried Chicken to be exact.  Do you still see it when it's not diagrammed   Will you still look for it every time you see the Mississippi River states from now on?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Sadly. due to illness, Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson has been retired.  It still runs re-runs in some papers.  And it is still wonderful. This is a thing I did on swings all the time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Original trilogy story maps two-fer

I kinda messed up the two-fer post last week by overloading it so last week I left the Indiana Jones "story maps" from Gallery1988 and this week I've posted the "story mapsfor the original Star Wars trilogy by Andrew DeGraff & Bennett Slater .... and there's still time to see their show in Melrose.  Click on any image below to make it larger. By the way, this weekend I watched Empire for the first time in many years, and watched it with my son for his first time.  Still extremely fun.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode VI:  Return of the Jedi

Monday, January 21, 2013

Maps in Calvin & Hobbes 08: The car, fightening middle

This one is towards the middle of the (in)famous "Calvin rolls the family car into a ditch" storyline.  It is a perfect encapsulation of the sort of world-ending hi-jinks many people experience in their childhoods. I had forgotten the mention of maps in it, and am glad to be rediscovering them here.  Bill Watterson'sCalvin and Hobbes:

Friday, January 18, 2013

State foods

Here is a map showing at least one person's opinion about which foods are most associated with which states....not to be confused with official state foods (not a lot of states have bothered to codify that bit of legislative fluff)... or this other website's opinion of which foods are most associated with different states.  Now I'm hungry.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why are some animals transparent?

Here's an interesting video from Creature Cast about something I hadn't thought about until I saw the video and then I thought: That's amazing! Why hadn't I thought of that before? The issue is: Why are some animals transparent. And the answer, or least the discussion of the topic, is illustrated in this wonderful stop-motion animation. At about the 2-minute mark they use an animated globe for some reason... which is also extremely cool.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Indiana Jones trilogy story maps two-fer

Over at the Gallery1988 site they have for sale "story mapsfor the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies by Andrew DeGraff & Bennett Slater .... or you could go to their show in Melrose. I'll post the Star Wars triology story maps next week.  Click on any image below to make it larger.  And you could also check out some story maps that have been posted previously on this blog.

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Maps in Calvin & Hobbes 07: The car, beginning

This is the beginning of one of the most famous story arcs in the history of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. You can see where this is headed, whether or not you've ever seen this story before, even though Calvin obviously can't.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Western Refractoria

Over at the site of artist Jeffrey Beebe there is an autobiographical map of "Western Refractoria", which is full of self-reflective features and a few puns. Click on the image to view it larger. Details can be viewed here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who is Kolmogorov?

This item from xkcd by Randall Munroe is titled Kolmogorov Directions.  What does Kolmogorov have to do with maps?  Probably his mathematical work regarding topology, or the relationship of the location of things to one another.  

The "title-text" at the actual webcomic has an additional GPS-related joke in it:
People get really grumpy when they realize you're giving them directions for how to go to the store and buy a GPS.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Senkaku vs. Diayou

So there's these little islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean that both China and Japan are claiming.  And there's been a kerfuffle brewing about them for some time now.  Here's some map-themed editorial cartoons about them:
 War brewing?  Maybe not.  International tensions? yup.

...and of course the US is eyeing the situation nervously, not wanting to ruffle either side's feathers.

 ...not that this attitude is appreciated by the Japanese....or its neighbors...

Whatever ends up happening, nobody will be happy of course.

 And then there's these "Kuril Islands" and I'm not sure if these are same ones or, more likely, more islands in the north disputed by Japan and Russia.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Maps in Calvin & Hobbes 06: Curiosity

Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes here have hurtled down a hill in their now-iconic wagon so fast that they've gone into orbit.... decades before the Curiosity rover made the journey. I hope they make it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lord of all pirates.

For some time now I've been enjoying the blog "Sleep Talkin' Man", which is a site built and curated by a couple where the husband is a prodigious sleep talker.  As in almost every night he blurts out the strangest things, usually humorous (in an invective kind of way) and often profane (be warned).  There's lots of audio at the site along with the text. It's definitely worth a listen.  Here's a map-related exposition:

Very impressive pirate:
"I am the lord of all pirates! I've got the treasure map to find ALL treasure maps. Beat that, suckers!"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

60-second thought experiments

Today's map animation comes from a compilation of 60-second explanations of famous thought experiments. Specifically, the first clip comes from the explanation of Einstein's "Twin Paradox" thought experiment. It has both the earth globe and a GPS joke. The complete video is below that.