The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene
Mark Twain once said that "God created war so that Americans would learn geography."
"On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest
on Apr 8, 2014 -
Ever been to Johnsburg, Illinois? Have you received a Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis? Maybe you left Waukegan at the slamming of the door? Or perhaps you were simply full of wonder when you left Murfreesboro. If so, the Tom Waits map
is for you.
posted by scody
on Jan 17, 2014 -
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
Twelve Mile Circle: a collection of geographical oddities and unusual places.
The site is chock-full of short, well-written pieces on fascinating geographical phenomena around the globe, ranging from time zone oddities
to islands joining the mainland
to trap streets
to roads with unusually low clearance
. Among the many categories are borders, time, international oddities, roads, elevation, water, weather, US counties and states, Canada, terrain, history, government, etc. You can view all articles (there are a lot!) on a map
posted by andrewesque
on Nov 26, 2013 -
"Have you ever dropped a stick in a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Now you can trace its journey using Streamer
." In addition to displaying the distance traveled, difference in elevation, and number of states, counties and cities the stick will pass through before reaching its outlet point, Streamer can do an upstream trace to show you which rivers and smaller streams fed into the spot where the stick was dropped. [more inside]
posted by Rykey
on Aug 28, 2013 -
How do you define the Midwest?
As part of their exhibit Reinvention in the Urban Midwest
(in most-certainly-not-in-the-Midwest Boston) Sasaki has created an online tool for people to contribute what the boundaries of the Midwest are for them. Results
can be sorted by respondents' percentage of time spent in the Midwest and state of birth. An Atlantic Cities
article shows one writer's opinion, and also links to Bill Rankin's similar Midwest mapping
project on his always-excellent Radical Cartography site. An excerpt
from The Midwest: God's Gift to Planet Earth
has a more irreverent take on mapping the region.
posted by andrewesque
on Jul 24, 2013 -
A team of economists from Harvard and UC Berkeley studying the effects of tax expenditures on economic mobility has released data showing that economic mobility in the U.S. varies dramatically between different geographic areas. The authors' website
includes a summary
of their findings. According the NY Times article
on the study, which has a nifty map and tools to play with the data, the authors only found relatively small correlations between tax credits for the poor and higher taxes on the rich and economic mobility. However, the following four factors did correlate with greater economic mobility in a region: the size and dispersion of the middle class, more two-parent households, better schools, and more civic engagement (measured through membership in religious and community groups). Matthew Yglesias comments on the study at Slate
. [more inside]
posted by Area Man
on Jul 22, 2013 -
The Memory of the Netherlands is an image library making available the online collections of museums, archives and libraries. The library provides access to images from the collections of more than one hundred institutions and includes photographs, sculptures, paintings, bronzes, pottery, modern art, drawings, stamps, posters and newspaper clippings. In addition there are also video and sound recordings to see and listen to. The Memory of the Netherlands offers an historic overview of images from exceptional collections, organized by subject to provide easy access
Search 833928 objects from 133 collections from 100 institutions
posted by infini
on Jun 22, 2013 -
Throughout human history and across the globe, whether as intimate artifacts of interpersonal relations or state-level monumental works, textiles have been imbued with political importance. Textiles can communicate and construct status, ethnicity, gender, power, taste, and wealth, and have functioned at the nexus of artistic, economic, and political achievement in human culture. As trade goods, creative medium, and social artifact, textiles have been instrumental in generating, supporting, and challenging political power.
The Textile Society of America
13th Biennial Symposium (2012) will explore the crossroads of Textiles & Politics.
posted by infini
on Jun 9, 2013 -
by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich
at the premises
of The Asiatic Society
, the Indian Museum
* is the oldest
museum in Asia and the
9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums
", considered outdated
, its Victorian Era majesty
dimmed by modernization, the grande dame
of Indian history still
manages evoke paeans
to its otherworldly
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.
It remains a wonderful time-warp
with plenty of mangy-looking
stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved
of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating
Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art
posted by infini
on Jun 7, 2013 -
In 1998, Bruce Myren bought a portable GPS unit, and began a project he had been dreaming of since 1991: photographing each of the whole longitudinal degree intersections along the 40th parallel using an 8"x10" camera.
In June, 2012, he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign
to raise money to finish the project.
He completed it last December, 21 years after conception: The Fortieth Parallel [more inside]
posted by 1367
on May 10, 2013 -
First noticed by westerners in 1965, when the Gemini-4 spacecraft flew over northwest Africa
(alternate source, with link to uncompressed TIF
| in Earth photographs from Gemini III, IV, and V
on Archive.org), the Richat Structure
in the Sahara desert of west–central Mauritania
resembles an impact crater or a circular target (or a possible Atlantis
, or Plato's circular city
, or maybe an open-pit mine
), but is a naturally occurring 40-50 km (25-30 mi) geologic dome that has eroded over time
. It's large enough that, when seen in person
, the scale of the geography is hard to capture
. But it is quite impressive
when seen from space
posted by filthy light thief
on Feb 12, 2013 -
"Cheever wasn't the only one who found inspiration at the Writers' Project [NYT]
. Others included Conrad Aiken, Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Arna Bontemps, Malcolm Cowley, Edward Dahlberg, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, Kenneth Patchen, Philip Rahv, Kenneth Rexroth, Harold Rosenberg, Studs Terkel, Margaret Walker, Richard Wright and Frank Yerby. These federal employees produced what would become the renowned American Guide Series, comprising volumes for each of the 48 states
that then existed, as well as Alaska."
posted by Iridic
on Feb 12, 2013 -
The Geography of Abortion Access
- Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic.
posted by Artw
on Jan 24, 2013 -
"Every day a PHP script picks a random spot on the land mass of Earth. The nearest photo to that spot is posted here
posted by Iridic
on Jan 10, 2013 -
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.
December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities
-- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino
. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan
, the explorer Marco Polo
describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities
, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes
, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading
. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 30, 2012 -
Ron Blakey makes paleogeographic maps of the ancient world.
The paleogeographic maps show the varied landscapes of the ancient Earth through hundreds of millions of years of geologic time, including distribution of ancient shallow seas, deep ocean basins, mountain ranges, coastal plains, and continental interiors. Tectonic features shown include subduction zones, island arcs, mid-ocean ridges and accreting terranes.
posted by zamboni
on Dec 5, 2012 -
As Americans, we pick a place to live and then figure out how to get where we need to go. If no way exists, we build it. Roads, arterials, highways, Interstates, and so on. Flexible and distributed transportation networks are really the only solution compatible with that way of thinking. Trains, which rely on a strong central network, never had a chance. We were destined for the automobile all the way back in 1787, when we first decided to carve up the countryside into tidy squares. Town, Section, Range, and the Transportation Psychology of a Nation [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee
on Nov 30, 2012 -
“I stole this book from the library ages ago…”Behind the Curtain (AKA OMG Marvin K. Redpost is a girl!)
“Fourth grade” I say, watching them huddled together in the mirror.
“…one of those Marvin K. Redpost books. He kisses his elbow one day and when he wakes up the next morning he's a girl.”
“I meant to make you take it back but I bet we still have it.”
“My mom's cataloging fifteen years of gender-bending in one week.” She says, rolling her eyes.... “Seriously Mom, how did you NOT know?”
She will ask me this a hundred times. I will ask myself a hundred more and still never I didn't have a good answer then and I don't now. Perhaps we simply see what we expect to see and write off anything that doesn't fit into the little boxes we put people into. Or perhaps she'd learned to mask and over-correct, to hide so well that by the time those distinctions matter, I could not see her until she tore down that wall. I wish I'd known sooner.
is one of the funnier excerpts from The Complicated Geography of Alice
, a memoir in progress.
posted by carsonb
on Nov 25, 2012 -
Anyone familiar with the contemporary Russian humorous folklore (jokelore, or in Russian anekdoty) knows that one of the most popular series of such jokes revolves around the Chukchis, the native people of Chukotka, the most remote northeast corner of Russia. These jokes, especially popular in 1990s and 2000s, fit the international genre of ethnic stupidity jokes . . .
posted by jason's_planet
on Nov 10, 2012 -
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films
were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating
, preparing for being drafted
, and shyness
, as well as to children on following the law
, the value of quietness in school
, and appreciating our parents
. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health
, what kind of people live in America
, how to keep a job
, supervising women workers
, the nature of capitalism
, and the plantation System in Southern life
. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives
as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Nov 1, 2012 -