Tunisia, why are you turning your nose up like that at poor Sicily? Who can you possibly think you're better than? You're where George Lucas was allowed to have a camera.
You remember that picture where if you looked at it one way it was a haggard old lady and if you looked at it the other way it was a beautiful woman? I just looked at the old lady face in Alaska upside down and it looked like an upside-down old lady.
On April 13th of this year, the name Irene was officially retired from the list of Atlantic Basin Hurricane names. In all, six Hurricane Irenes have raged around the Atlantic, but there won't be a seventh. The screenshot here, taken from NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks (a complete timehole of an application) shows all of the past Atlantic Irenes.* Irene 1971 actually hopped across Nicaragua to become a Pacific storm, Hurricane Olivia, something that's happened only a handful of times in recorded meteorological history: Irene-Olivia was the first named storm to do so. Irene 1981 struck France. Then Irene 2011 rolled up the East Coast last summer. Clearly, [...]
If I ruled the world, or at least a publishing company, all books would contain as much supplementary information as possible. Nonfiction, fiction—doesn't matter. Every work would have an appendix filled with diagrams, background information, digressions and anecdata. And of course, maps. Lots and lots of maps. This predilection probably sprang from the books I read as a kid—books like The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hobbit and The Princesss Bride—all of which feature engaging maps that serve as gateways to imaginary lands. Here, say these maps, you're in this other world now.
So we’ve all scanned Google Earth for the Indian ship-breaking beaches, or the rows of planes in aircraft boneyards, or the abandoned and overgrown town of Chernobyl. But toxic, garbage-y sites aren’t always limited to exotic, remote locales—sometimes they’re right past our backyards. Sometimes they’re even under our backyards.
In 1972, two million tires, clustered into groups with metal clips, were dumped into the ocean in a two birds/one stone attempt to clean up the landscape encourage natural reef growth. Instead, the well-intentioned ecologists created a 50-foot diameter dead zone a mile off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Area marine life was forced [...]
Here’s this morning’s weather map, straight from the Weather Channel website. What do we see? Well, it's going to be a purple line in California, typical for this time of year. Mountain West will see a lot of Hs—how nice for them! And the lumpy, blue-and-red line down the East Coast will stay for the remainder of the week into the weekend. Wait, what? Okay, so maybe when you look at a weather map you have a vague sense of what's being indicated. Like, "hmm, those green clouds look ominous." But how did they get there? And what's going on with those other lines, letters and bumps?
The infamous Grenada invasion of 1983 was, in addition to everything else that went wrong, hindered by a wildly out-of-date British map. The map predated the construction of the Richmond Hill Insane Asylum, and in the resulting air strikes the hospital was bombed and a number of patients and staff members killed.
Welcome to the world of cartographic errors, misjudgments and deceptions. Sometimes it's the map that's wrong—sometimes the blame lies with the map's reader. For example, back in 1988, the Philippine media announced that neighboring Malaysia had taken ownership of a group of six small islands in the south of the country. The Turtle Islands, small and [...]