Saturday, November 11, 2017

Navigating the Top 100 NPR SF/Fantasy Books

Source.
As much of an avid reader that think I am, there are still several works on here I have not yet gotten to. The decision tree makes it so much easier for anyone looking for their particular flavor in reading material. Have at it all you avid readers.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Veni, Vidi, Dead: A Death Map of Roman Emperors

For more on the Roman Empire, its leaders and their deaths, check out the Totalus Rankium Twitter feed and podcast. Causes of death graph found here on Reddit.


Original Article

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Hobbit Turns 80

via TOR.com
It was exactly 80 years ago that Bilbo went There and Back Again for the first time. Bilbo, the bravest little hobbit of them all.
And in two short months the Rank&Bass animated version will turn 40.



A quick note for hardcore fans of The Hobbit—those like me who reread and try to encourage others to read it—you should know that the excellent The Prancing Pony Podcast is about to embark on an in-depth discussion of the book, with each episode dedicated to a chapter.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The 38 States of America



Original article here.
Probably nobody reading this can remember the last time the map of the United States underwent any major change. For decades, the boundaries have remained pretty fixed. And yet the map, as we know it, shouldn't necessarily be considered set in stone.

Back in 1973, George Etzel Pearcy, a California State University geography professor, proposed re-drawing the map of the nation, reducing the number of states to 38, and giving each state a different name. In his creative reworking of things, California would be split into two states--"El Dorado" and "San Gabriel". Texas would divide into "Alamo" and also "Shawnee" (along with remnants of Oklahoma). And the Dakotas would fuse into one big "Dakota." In case you're wondering, Pearcy chose the names by polling geography students.

The logic behind the new map was explained in a 1975 edition of The People's Almanac.

Why the need for a new map? Pearcy states that many of the early surveys that drew up our boundaries were done while the areas were scarcely populated. Thus, it was convenient to determine boundaries by using the land's physical features, such as rivers and mountain ranges, or by using a simple system of latitude and longitude.... The practicality of old established State lines is questionable in light of America's ever-growing cities and the increasing mobility of its citizens. Metropolitan New York, for example, stretches into 2 adjacent States. Other city populations which cross State lines are Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City. The "straddling" of State lines causes economic and political problems. Who should pay for a rapid transit system in St. Louis? Only those citizens within the boundaries of Missouri, or all residents of St. Louis's metropolitan area, including those who reach over into the State of Illinois?...

When Pearcy realigned the U.S., he gave high priority to population density, location of cities, lines of transportation, land relief, and size and shape of individual States. Whenever possible lines are located in less populated areas. In the West, the desert, semidesert, or mountainous areas provided an easy method for division. In the East, however, where areas of scarce population are harder to determine, Pearcy drew lines "trying to avoid the thicker clusters of settlement." Each major city which fell into the "straddling" category is neatly tucked within the boundaries of a new State. Pearcy tried to place a major metropolitan area in the center of each State. St. Louis is in the center of the State of Osage, Chicago is centered in the State of Dearborn. When this method proved impossible, as with coastal Los Angeles, the city is still located so as to be easily accessible from all parts of the State...

According to Rob Lammle, writing in Mental Floss, Pearcy initially got support from "economists, geographers, and even a few politicians." But the proposal--mainly outlined in a book called A 38 State U.S.A.--eventually withered in Washington, the place where ideas, both good and bad, go to die.

Below you can watch an animation showing how the US map has changed in 200 years.





Friday, July 14, 2017

Galaxy Magazine Free Online

The ID guide for the top authors of 1952.
Along with Astounding and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy Magazine was one of the more important science fiction digests in the 20th century. Ray Bradbury wrote for it-- an early version of  Fahrenheit 451 appeared in its pages--as did Heinlein, Asimov, Pohl, Sturgeon, Cordwainer Smith, Vance, and numerous others.

Now a fairly decent collection of issues (355 in all) is available for your reading pleasure at archive.org for free. It’s not the complete run of the magazine yet, but it’s pretty close.

Just 2 of the stories you can start off with would be the Ray Bradbury story (“The Fireman”), or Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Puppet Masters.”


Friday, June 30, 2017

All the Rivers & Streams in the U.S. Shown in Rainbow Colors

A data visualization to behold



A beautifully rendered multi-color map. Created by Hungarian geographer and map-designer Robert Szucs, using open-source QGIS software, the high resolution map above shows:
all the permanent and temporary streams and rivers of the contiguous 48 states in beautiful rainbow colours, divided into catchment areas. It shows Strahler Stream Order Classification. The higher the stream order, the thicker the line.

When you look at the map, you'll see, as The Washington Post observes,
 "Every river in a color drains to the same river, which then drains into the ocean. The giant basin in the middle of the country is the Mississippi River basin. Major rivers like the Ohio and the Missouri drain into the behemoth."
Pretty cool.
Imugr gallery of originals.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Tediously Accurate Map of the Solar System

A really cool representation of how empty space is. Follow the link below, and grab your favorite drink 'cause it'll take a while to go through all the planets.

If the moon were only 1 pixel.