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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blue-Green and Red Clouds on Sunday Night

NASA Rocket Launch Will Create Blue-Green and Red Clouds on Sunday

NASA
On June 11, East Coast skywatchers may be in for a lovely show Sunday night, as NASA launches a sounding rocket and brightly colored vapor clouds into the night.

The (dog-inspired?) Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket is an information-gathering craft laden with instruments to capture information about our atmosphere and ionosphere. Its path will follow a sharp U-shaped trajectory, launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, soaring miles into the sky, peaking, then falling back to Earth and plunging into the Atlantic Ocean.

The launch is scheduled to occur between 9:04 and 9:19 p.m. EDT. Experts estimate that the flight will take about eight minutes from start to finish. Approximately four or five minutes after the rocket takes off, NASA will deploy 10 soda can–sized canisters full of reactive chemicals. The cans will burst 96 to 124 miles in the air, producing enormous, vibrant blooms of harmless red and blue-green clouds formed by the interaction of barium, strontium, and cupric-oxide. (These are commonly found in fireworks.) If the weather cooperates, these vapor tracers should be visible from New York to North Carolina and westward into Virginia.
NASA
Scientists will track the movement and dissipation of the clouds to understand how particles and air are flowing through the sky above us. Deploying the vapor tracers at a distance from the rocket should help provide an even fuller picture of just what’s going on up there.

You can catch it via Ustream or on the project’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Full article here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rise of Cities Across the Globe, 3700BC to 2000AD

Since I'm interested in most things regarding maps this was kinda cool. This goes along with the world population map from a while back.

Last year, a Yale-led research project produced an innovative dataset that mapped the history of urban settlements. Covering a 6,000 year period, the project traced the location and size of cities across the world, starting in 3700 BC (when the first known urban dwellings emerged in Sumer) and continuing through 2000 AD. Done by Yale’s Meredith Reba.

The Yale dataset was originally published in Scientific Data in 2016.

You can read more about the mapping of urban settlements at this Yale website.

And in this day and age what doesn't get turned into a youtube video.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Star Wars - Happy 40th

Almost forgot the date. Star Wars was first released on May 25th, 1977. Today marks it's 40th anniversary.

From a prior post;

The very first Star Wars poster by Brothers Hildebrandt, 1976, before the film was introduced;

A Treasury of Rare and Weird Star Wars Posters From Around the World
(via Posterwire)




A New Hope, Italy, 1977, by Michelangelo Papuzza

(via Space 1970)




A New Hope, Romania, 1977

(via gk)




A New Hope, Israel, 1977




(via eBay)
A New Hope, Japan, 1977

(via Star Wars Aficionado)




A New Hope, US, 1977, Drew Struzan

(via Posterwire)




A New Hope, Poland, 1978, by Jakub Erol

(via eBay)




A New Hope, Hungary, 1979, by András Felvidéki

(via Star Wars Klub)




A New Hope, Hungary, 1979, by Tibor Helényi

(via Star Wars Klub)




The Empire Strikes Back, Hong Kong, 1980

(via Retro-Futurism)




The Empire Strikes Back, France, 1980

(via Mauvais-Genres)




The Empire Strikes Back, Japan, 1980

(via Classic Star Wars)




The Empire Strikes Back, Japan, 1980, Noriyoshi Ohrai

(via Filmonpaper)




The Empire Strikes Back, Turkey, 1980

(via Sci-Fi Movie Posters)




The Empire Strikes Back, Hong Kong, 1980

(via Cinemasterpieces)




The Empire Strikes Back, Germany, 1980

(via The Star Wars Trilogy)




The Empire Strikes Back, Romania, 1981

(via gk)




The Empire Strikes Back, Hungary, 1982, by Tibor Helényi

(via Star Wars Klub)




The Empire Strikes Back, Poland, 1982, Jakub Erol

(via Polishposter)




The Empire Strikes Back, Poland, 1983, Miroslaw Lakomski

(via Polishposter)




Return of the Jedi, Hungary, 1984, by Tibor Helényi

(via Star Wars Klub)




Return of the Jedi, Turkey, 1983

(via Sci-Fi Movie Posters)




Return of the Jedi, Poland, 1984, Witold Dybowski

(via Rowsdowr)




Russia, 1990, by Yury Bokser and Alexander Chantsev

(via eBay)




Russia, 1990, by Yury Bokser and Alexander Chantsev

(via Anywhen)




Russia, 1990, by Yury Bokser and Alexander Chantsev

(via Mean Sheets)



Russia, 1990, by Yury Bokser and Alexander Chantsev

(via Heritage Auctions)

AD&D Core Books Megabundle Sale

OSR Extravaganza Sale @ DriveThruRPG.comFor those who might not have heard about it in their newsfeeds yet, there is a 8 book megabundle sale on the AD&D Core Book PDF's. Currently only $14.95 vs the usual $75.

Here are the books that you get in the bundle:





Dungeon Master's Guide [Premium Edition]











Dungeoneer's Survival Guide












Fiend Folio












Monster Manual [Premium Edition]











Monster Manual II











Oriental Adventures











Player's Handbook [Premium Edition]












Wilderness Survival Guide






FYI if you've already bought some of these titles previously, you'll get a discount for that title.

Now, for me, the Survival Guides are not Core Rules but that's just personal preference. Also the Deities and Demigods is missing from this which I do consider core rules. YMMV.
Still a great bargain if you don't have some or all of these yet. Plus there's the BECMI Known World bundle as well if that's your cup of tea. Plus a whole bunch of other things worth checking out.