Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cracks in the Antarctic Ice

We all know global warming is a hoax because of fossil fuel industry funded science. However, if it was real one thing we might see are growing cracks in the Antarctic ice shelves. One such crack is forcing the British Antarctic Survey to move their research station inland. The survey's site has a nice map showing the extent of the crack and the new site. 
The station was designed in modular units so they can be towed across the ice. The work is proceeding now in advance of the upcoming Antarctic winter.  You can click the image above for more detail but here is a zoomed in view of the chasm that threatens the current location. This crack in the ice was dormant until a few years ago.
A second crack 17 km north of the station recently appeared. These cracks could cause a large iceberg to calve. The station is being moved 23 km inland which should put it out of the danger zone for a while. For more info see the British Antarctic Survey's web site.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


John G. Drury (1907-1988) created a series of "Mem-O-Maps" for World War II soldiers. To kill time on the ship returning from the Pacific he used his experience with Army charts to draw maps of Japan with scenes known to GI's. The map featured bright colors, amusing images and optimistically removed all sense of devastation.

Fellow soldiers asked for their own copies. By the time they landed ashore he had sold 232 copies* of these maps and came home with an idea to turn this into a business. The legend had blank spaces with instructions on how a soldier could customize the map with their own details.
He created maps for Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hawaii and Europe. Some details from the Europe map include someone pissing on Germany,
and this detail of Paris showing a naked woman symbolizing the La Roulotte night club along with a pig next to an alley referencing the Pigalle neighborhood where the club was located.
*These images and information are all from Barron Maps. For more maps and much more detail about Drury and his company see their blog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Oh the Places You Should Know

Oh the Places You Should Know is an Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language place name map of southwestern British Columbia.The non-profit Kwi Awt Stelmexw created it as a means to reclaim Squamish language and cultural identity. The map is for education and advocacy, and not intended to make any claims on the land.
The map has clickable icons, listing the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh name, pronunciation, meaning and a description of the location. The main region covers the Howe Sound and the Vancouver area's Burrard Inlet and English Bay coasts. Early transportation was primarily by canoe so most place names were given to landmarks and locations visible from the water.
The region includes downtown Vancouver. The beach at the foot of Denman St was "good under foot." I was there once and I do remember it being good under my feet.
Many of the names were collected from a 1937 Sḵwx̱wú7mesh place names map developed by the City of Vancouver and August Jack Khatsalano of the Squamish Nation. An update of the map is available for purchase here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Freak Out!

I missed this earlier in the year but 2016 was the 50th anniversary of "Freak Out!" - the first album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Early pressings of the album contained a fake ad for a "Freak Out Hot Spots Map" for visitors to Los Angeles.
This map is an extremely rare collectors item and there are not many good images online. RecordMecca once had a copy, but it is listed as sold. Here's a more clear detail  from their page.

It is a basic street map annotated with popular restaurants and clubs as well as areas of police activity or in Zappa's words:
"where the heat has been busting frequently, with tips on safety in police terror situations." 
"See the hapless trustees in their stenciled shirts washing HIS cars. Hear bold Aryan operatives rave about longhair freakos and the last John Birch meeting at 720 N. San Vincente Blvd"
 Other details include the Freak Sanctuary in Laurel Canyon, various numbered ghettos and the cultural desert-an area that roughly corresponds to the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood but may be meant to include the rest of the LA metro area. Also, those weird symbols that look like chess pieces to me are supposed to be atomic blasts and they represent busts by the LAPD. A full listing of the numbered locations on the map can be seen in the Frank Zappa Newspaper.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ships Under San Francisco

A recent post on BoingBoing (via FoundSF) shows this map of ships buried under San Francisco's streets.
The area that is now the Financial District was once Yerba Buena Cove, a busy harbor teeming with ships during the Gold Rush. Many of were abandoned as the harbor began to be filled in. Recent construction projects have uncovered some of these ships. Here is an 1851 map from the FoundSF page showing the harbor being filled in. The original coastline is depicted as well as the old wharves.$1851-cove-map-closeup.jpg
The original map is from 2000 by Roy Fillon. FoundSF does not give details about the source for Fillon's map but they do show a nice, retro-looking adaptation of the map by Sam Manera.
The FoundSF article includes links to pages about two of the ships that were converted to other uses, one as a hotel and another as a jail.$niantic.jpg

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The CIA is Watching Elephants Too

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently declassified a bunch of their maps. You can see them on their flickr page. The most strikingly unusual one is this map of elephant populations in Africa.
The map is dense with information, yet fairly easy to interpret. Each country is given a 2013 population estimate with an elephant sized accordingly. Elephant range is shaded in gray and places where dead elephants have been found are color coded by the 2011 CITES index-a ratio of natural deaths to deaths by poaching. Areas with heavy poaching have red dots. However, the map might benefit from proportional dots  - below the dot for the 31 deaths is the same size as the dots representing 1.
They also have a well done map showing ivory smuggling figures and destinations based on seizures.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Under a Black Cloud!
This map is part of a paper addressed to the Republican National Convention of 1884. The purpose was to complain about the Northern Pacific Railroad holding title to "unearned" lands. These lands were granted to the railroad company for the purpose of constructing rail and telegraph links from Lake Superior to Puget Sound. The grants were made in 1869-70. By this date (1883) the company had only built a few small trunk lines, possibly just to keep their hold on the land in black above.

These lands were unavailable to homesteaders as long as the railroad held them. The company was accused of using stealth tactics to hang onto huge amounts of valuable coal and timber lands.
"The head of every true American should hang in shame that hair-splitting Congressmen have been found who, regardless of the duties of their office, have, at the command of their corporation masters, supported this contention by their arguments, their votes and their obstructive tactics."
The paper seeks a clear position of the party. "They do not want meaningless phrases or equivocal expressions, but earnest, honest words and work."
The map shows 40 and 50-mile limits from the proposed main and trunk lines in black as land unavailable to the public-"the crooked, tortuous and angular course of the railroad lines being only parallel by conduct of the Company itself."
Here is the edge of the "black cloud."