Saturday, July 20, 2019

Apollo 11

Every Harrowing Second of the Apollo 11 Landing Revisited in a New NASA Video: It Took Place 50 Years Ago (July 20, 1969)

To get a better sense of why the endeavor was so earthshaking, and how it almost didn’t happen, watch the video above, “Apollo 11: The Complete Descent.” Part of NASA’s Apollo Flight Journal collection, the 20-minute narrated documentary of the descent and landing provides a "detailed account of every second of the Apollo 11 descent and landing." It “combines data from the onboard computer for altitude and pitch angle, 16mm film that was shot throughout the descent at 6 frames per second,” and audio transmissions from the astronauts and mission control.

“Most people knew that going to the moon was risky,” Pyle writes, “but few, very few, knew the scope of the dangers that the crew faced.” Fifty years later, we can almost—with only the devices in our pockets—see and hear the original moon shot the way those first few did.

via Kottke

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Dr. Who - Free all Month

A quick fyi: This month, Twitch is presenting a marathon streaming of classic Doctor Who episodes. Continuing through January 25th, they plan to broadcast "11 to 12 hours of new episodes per day (~27 episodes), repeating once so you can catch Doctor Who nearly 24 hours a day, every day..." Stream the episodes right here on Twitch.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Greyhawk Underdark Updated

It's been quite a while since I posted my updates to, at that time FtF campaign, delve into the Underdark. My online Roll20 campaign is now half way through the Giants series, and so it was time to re-visit those maps.
I had originally re-done Denis' Encyclopedia Subterranica maps at that time, but I'm still not completely 100% happy with it. Since the original module is already in the old-school blue, and the other scans I have of the Underdark maps from the various Into the Depths modules aren't quite high enough resolution for the online game, I did the next best thing. Now any normal/sane person would have just fired up their scanner and used any of the many modules he owns of this product to get a better, higher resolution image, but noooo, not this guy. Fired up the imaging software instead and went in and redid the map in a closer adaptation of the original maps found in the published works. Don't get me wrong, I liked the others maps out there, just had to make one I was satisfied with.

Here are the results from that little side trip into OCD-land. While it's doubtful the time spent resulted in any great contribution to this already overdone [and some cases better done] map, it nevertheless made me happy about the results achieved. Now to get on with the all the battlemaps for all those many encounters listed on the map. [heavy sigh]

Edit; Since things can always be tweaked now that there is a template to work from, changed out the b&w for colored passages on the map.

Since I already had the hand drawn maps from the Trading Grounds done went ahead and did that first. These are only for my personal online game on Roll20 and meant as an example of my hack job at putting together maps.

This from the original below

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Byzantine Empire Illustrations

A great deal of the Byzantine Empire of the mid-15th century lives on in the work of the French illustrator Antoine Helbert. You can see some of Helbert's work on his site, which is divided into two sections: one for scenes of Byzantium, and one for the architecture of Byzantium. The latter category, images from which you see here, includes such world-famous landmarks as Hagia Sophia, Boukoleon Palace, and the Great Palace of Constantinople — the city now known as Istanbul, Turkey.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Medieval Trade Routes

From Martin Jan Månsson, a graduate student in Spatial Planning at the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. Not studying cartography nor history, Månsson has produced this very detailed map of trading routes during the Middle Ages. (You can download the map in high resolution here.)

I can only assume that instead of working on his dissertation he found this to be much more fascinating. Can't really say I blame him.

“I think trade routes and topography explains world history in the most concise way,” Månsson explains in the very small print at the map’s lower right corner. “By simply studying the map, one can understand why some areas were especially important--and remained successful even up to modern times.”

The map covers some 200 years, spanning both 11th and 12th centuries, and “depicts the main trading arteries of the high Middle Ages, just after the decline of the Vikings and before the rise of the Mongols, the Hansa and well before the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope.”

It also shows the complex routes already available to Africa and Asia, and the areas where Muslim and Christian traders would meet. The open-to-trade Song Dynasty ruled China, and the competitive kingdoms in the Indonesia region provided both Muslims and Europeans with spice.

Looking like a railway map, Månsson’s work shows how interconnected we really were back in the Middle Ages, from Greenland in the west to Kikai and Kagoshima in the East, from Arkhangelsk in the frozen north to Sofala in modern-day Mozambique.

Månsson credits Wikipedia for a majority of the basic work, but also lists 20 other sources for this detailed work, including The Silk Road by Valerie Hanson, Across Africa and Arabia by Irene M. Franck and David M. Brownstone.