We’re the men, and here’s the map.
May 10, 2024 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Jay Foreman and Mark Cooper-Jones, an English comedian with an interest in geography and a former geography teacher who's also very funny, are the Map Men ("...Map Men, Map Map Map Men Men" 🎵 ), whose highly entertaining YouTube channel is chock full of educational cartographic goodness. Try any of their (27) videos at random, or all of them—even the ads are worth watching. Their recent episodes on undersea internet cables and country codes wouldn't be a bad place to start for the extremely online.

And when you're done with those, there's Jay Foreman's 15 episodes of Unfinished London and 8 episodes of Politics Unboringed (for UK definitions of "unboringed"). Hours of fun! (N.B. Approximately 6 hours and 36 minutes of fun.)
posted by rory (20 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really want to say "unboringed" to rhyme with "oranged".

Anyway I've been following this channel for a while and it's both entertaining and interesting. Highly recommended.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:53 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


It was the beginning of the internet.
posted by AlSweigart at 2:44 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Although I must say it's always bugged me that there are 3 "map"s but only 2 "men"s at the end of the theme tune.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:46 PM on May 10


Pretend one of the "map"s is a verb?
posted by ver at 4:09 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Big fan of Map Men and also Rob Words.
posted by potent_cyprus at 4:46 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Great post. I am a big fan of Jay Foreman. Nice to see him still getting love. My favourite moment from Unfinished London. (Warning: a bit shouty).

Interesting fact, his brother is beatboxer and DJ Beardyman, seen here with Tom Scott.
posted by Probabilitics at 5:37 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Well, that was a very disappointing video on country code TLDs. They just shrug away digital colonialism and proclaim that the explosion of top level domains by rent-seeking registrars is because domain names are defunct and should be hidden from the user. I don't want to uncritically absorb a word of anything these guys have to say.
posted by Johnny Lawn and Garden at 6:05 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Well, that was a very disappointing video on country code TLDs. They just shrug away digital colonialism and proclaim that the explosion of top level domains by rent-seeking registrars is because domain names are defunct and should be hidden from the user. I don't want to uncritically absorb a word of anything these guys have to say.

(whispers right in your ear) ok
posted by Sebmojo at 6:51 PM on May 10 [12 favorites]


I love maps. Thanks for this.
However, ads are never worth watching.
MAP MAP MAP MAP MAP
posted by not_on_display at 7:59 PM on May 10


Map Men and The Tim Traveler fill a very similar niche that I love. Any other suggestions of series in a similar vein?
posted by thecjm at 8:04 PM on May 10


Well, that was a very disappointing video on country code TLDs. They just shrug away digital colonialism and proclaim that the explosion of top level domains by rent-seeking registrars is because domain names are defunct and should be hidden from the user.

They’re quite correct. The days of typing a URL in are largely past us, and encoding the name of your site in a DNS address is more of a gimmick than anything else. For example, I have no idea what the URL for their online shopping page is, and I don’t really think I will ever care. I will just type their name into a search bar and click on the response.

Particularly in these days of REST, URLs contain a enormous raft of things that are of no interest at all to the user. It’s not clear to me why hostnames or in particular their TLD should be an exception.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:50 PM on May 10


The days of typing a URL in are largely past us, and encoding the name of your site in a DNS address is more of a gimmick than anything else.

I mean, I certainly got here by going to my favorite commercial search engine - who definitely doesn't use domain names or URLs to index or rank their content, only pure IP-based content indexing! - by searching for "dismissive takes about value of and issues with TLDs".

It of course then pointed me to https://54.203.56.158/203667/Were-the-men-and-heres-the-map - which immediately failed to load because while TLS supports IPs as a SAN ['Alternative Name' meaning secondary to one of those pesky hostname + TLD combos for which the certificate was issued] virtually nobody actually does that, and then I got a 404 after ignoring the certificate warning presumably because AWS has no idea which site I'm actually asking it about.
posted by 1xdevnet at 9:40 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Hey, I'm all about the not-wanting-to-uncritically-absorption; that's a good approach to anything you read, watch or hear. Personally, though, I don't tend to demand as much detail from a ten-minute video by two comedians as I would from a longform article or book or decades of intimate knowledge gained from having been extremely online.

Try the ones on enclaves and exclaves and the world's squarest country instead.
posted by rory at 12:21 AM on May 11 [8 favorites]


Tell Me No Lies: Particularly in these days of REST, URLs contain a enormous raft of things that are of no interest at all to the user. It’s not clear to me why hostnames or in particular their TLD should be an exception.

There are a number of layers needed to connect your local computer to the many servers involved in a contemporary web interaction. One of which is securing the link to a server certified to represent the service at the domain, and another involves connecting you to the load balancers and eventual servers that respond to your address. You might create another service that layers these things differently but the legacy brought about this state of affairs and isn't going away soon. This legacy cares not for our incomprehension or desire for more efficient links.

Additionally, I edited the URL's below to use generic-www rather than m.youtube.com links supplied in my phone's web browser.

Aside: I enjoyed the English Place Name Pronunciation and English Counties videos I'm astounded there's not sea of previouslies, eg the sea-cable video previously, and Jay Foreman refusing to cycle in London previously.
posted by k3ninho at 7:24 AM on May 11


A channel in the same genre as MapMen and TimTraveller: join Paul Whitewick as he [and sometimes his missus] bumbles along abandonned / disused roads and railways with a map in one hand and a GoPro in the other. UK only I think.
posted by BobTheScientist at 7:47 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Y There are a number of layers needed to connect your local computer to the many servers involved in a contemporary web interaction. One of which is securing the link to a server certified to represent the service at the domain, and another involves connecting you to the load balancers and eventual servers that respond to your address

Both of which are completely automated actions that the average user does not know or care about.

I’m not arguing for dumping DNS any more than I’m arguing for dumping IP addresses. I am saying that, much like IP addresses, we have passed the point where the vast majority of users need to directly interact with them in any way. Or even find them useful.

Perhaps it’s because I live outside the US but when I want to go to Home Depot’s website I have zero interest in what domain they happened to grab here. I type “Home depot Mexico” in the search bar and I am there. Same with every other brand, global or local. The hostname may be useful for the underpinnings in the same way IP addresses are, and yet I care about neither.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:58 AM on May 11


Oh, I love these guys. And, yes, the ads are worth watching. I'll likely never use the products they're touting, but they're entertaining as can be. And the map stuff is fascinating as hell. Big fan!
posted by grubi at 6:30 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Mod note: After looking around, we found this post to be absolutely delightful and have added it to the sidebar and Best Of blog!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 6:56 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Side Bar, Side Bar, Side Side Side Bar Bar!
posted by rory at 4:22 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the sidebar, missed this but love the Map Men!
posted by ellieBOA at 6:32 AM on May 16


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