Monday, May 31, 2010

China and the U.S.: "Frenemies"

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."*

These words could be used to describe the uncomfortable interdependent relationship between the United States and China.

The cover story for the March 22, 2010, issue of Time was "10 Ideas for the Next 10 Years". One of these ideas is that the "frenemy-ship" between the U.S. and China will shape the next decade. "China and the U.S.: The Indispensable Axis":
Rather than being cold war adversaries, however, the U.S. and China will form an indispensable axis for global governance. That doesn't mean the two will be best friends — don't expect a new special relationship similar to the U.S.-British alliance of the 20th century. There is no precedent for this unique evolving relationship, one in which the two sides will both compete and cooperate, perhaps simultaneously, as they shape and support a global system they can benefit from.
Kudos to John Hersey for for his illustration of the U.S. and China, holding hands, while never taking their eye off each other. Meanwhile the interconnected web of trade partners orbits around them.

HT to Hunter

*This has often been attributed to Sun Tzu and sometimes to Niccolò Machiavelli or Petrarch, but there are no published sources yet found which predate its use by "Michael Corleone" in The Godfather Part II (1974), written by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola: My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer. -- Wikiquote

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Friday, May 28, 2010

We Could Have Had Canada?

Earlier this month, The Daily Mail (London, UK) posted Ten of the greatest: Maps that changed the world. Number 7 on the list was the "Red Line" Map of North America, 1782-3:

This map, also known as the Mitchell Map, was used during negotiations for the Treaty of Paris that confirmed the independence of the United States and set its boundaries with the remaining British Territories in North America. Interesting, in of itself... but the caption, written by Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections at the British Library, implies much more:
This map was used by British diplomats negotiating an end to the American War of Independence in Paris. Richard Oswald, secretary to the delegation, annotated it with coloured lines to show where it was thought past treaties established the U.S./Canada border.

In the event, when drawing the northern border the Americans asked for less than expected, and in the century afterwards they tried to renegotiate.

To prevent them from seeing this embarrassing map, it was removed from the British Museum, where it had been since the 1820s, and placed in the Foreign O ffice.
I have read occasionally in history books the suggestion that Britain was ready to give up much of Canada along with their claim to the thirteen colonies... but we never asked.

How might history have turned out different if the fledgling United States included what is today Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes? Would there have been a War of 1812? Where would runaway slaves have found refuge at the end of the Underground Railroad? How would the United States have handled the Quebecois independence movements?

Via The History Tweeter


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


In Herman Melville's Moby-Dick,Captain Ahab sets himself on a quest to find and kill the White Whale. His obsession leads to his own destruction and the death of nearly all his crew. Matt Kish also has a quest. Fortunately, this one is likely to be less destructive to himself and his colleagues. (Which is a good thing, as we both work at the same library!) He has set out to create an original piece of art, an illustration on found paper, for each page of this monumental tome.
I'm working my way through the whole book in order, beginning with page 1 and ending with page 552. I'm not working ahead or jumping around to the pages I might like the most. If all goes well, I should complete this some time in March 2011. We'll see about that.
On page 20, we are introduced to the mysterious Queequeg. Initially, this harpooner from a fictional South Pacific island causes much consternation to our hero, Ishmael. Soon, however, they become fast friends.

Matt has rendered his Queequeg on a page from a discarded book that includes a map of some islands of the South Pacific and South China Sea.

Follow Matt's quest at his blog, One Drawing for Every Page of Moby-Dick

Read a recent interview with Matt on The New Yorker's Book Bench blog.

Thar' She Blows!

UPDATE 5/27: Here is another Moby-Dick/Queegueg map from Matt's gallery:

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leah Evans Map Quilts

Leah Evans is a textile artist, often using maps as part of her quilt work.

From her Artist's statement:
It is the use of maps in organizing our ideas of land that interests me most of all. Often people ask me for specifics about the places and symbols in my work. Most of my pieces are not consciously based on specific places. For me they are intimate explorations of map language and imagined landscapes. Through my research and experience I have decided that maps create more questions than they answer.

HT to Mrs. Cartophiliac


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lost: the Map

Lost, the ABC TV series about a mysterious island and the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, has its final episode on Sunday. [No spoilers here]

Dedicated fans at The Lost Map blog have carefully noted the location of important events on their replica of the island map found with the character, Rousseau.

However, the folks at The Joy of Tech comic have created a map/chart that accurately measures my interest in the series. (I couldn't care enough get past the first season.)

HT to Scott "Henry Miller" Morris

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Map Shoes on a Shirt

In the past, Cartophilia has highlighted "map shoes", but this is a first, maps on shoes on a t-shirt!

"Walk Instead" from Threadless Tees:

Unfortunately, this one is sold out... but you can find other amazing Tees at Threadless

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Europe in Detail, American (or Swedish?) Style

German Carto-fan, Rudolf, sent this funny map to me. It is an "American version of Europe in detail."

Click on image for readable version.

Poking fun at the average American's lack of geographic knowledge is fair game... In fact, I think this map has FAR MORE detail about Europe than the average American has ever really given any thought.

I pointed out the fact that there were no notes about Belgium and a few other countries on the map. He made up his own on the spot:
Belgium: Part of France and Netherlands, economy runs on "Manniken Pis" souvenirs.
Austria: Folk who like pronouncing A like in puking
Slovakia: sheep cheese and bacon for all meals
Malta: more churches than police
(Belgians, Austrians, Slovakians and Maltese, direct your complaints to Rudolf... Everyone else direct your complaints to, where you can find this and other amusing "US View of the World" maps.)

UPDATE 5/14: I agree with the commenters below... this map has been mislabeled. I think it was probably created by a European, most likely a Swede.


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Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Mexico Soap Fail

From FAIL Blog

UPDATE 5/10: Apparently not an "epic fail"... New Mexico Soap is the name of the company, and they have a line of state shaped soaps. Via The Map Room.

I still think it is pretty poor marketing...


Friday, May 7, 2010

Let Emily Explain the UK Elections

Yesterday, the United Kingdom's general election ended in hung parliament. No party achieved a majority of seats. As usual the BBC offers some very nice interactive maps to illustrate the election results, as well as an informative flow-chart to explain what happens next.

Optionally, you can click on "Proportional View" to see constituencies in equal size:

Or click on "Play Intro", to have Emily explain how to use the interactive maps:

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Map Tatoos

As you all know, I love maps. However, my love for maps does have its limits. For example I do not love maps so much as to tattoo one permanently on my body. These cartophiles take their love for maps to the next level...
Here is a young lady who loves her state of Maine.Via Black Maps
If this woman needs to find her way around Chicago by rail, she need only look down.

Via The Map Room

Don't mess with her Texas:

Via People of WalMart

This man loves his home state of Florida so much, he doesn't mind being easy to pick out in a line up:

From The Most Memorable Criminals of 2009

I'm sure the Chairman would be proud of this Comrade:

Via Frankylicious

Finally, who needs a wardrobe, when you have your own map to Narnia?

Via Atlas(t)

UPDATE 5/6: Anyedge says, "I have a robinson projection of the whole globe on my left deltoid"

Thanks for the pic. Any other Carto-Tattoo-philes with photos to share?

Also, I removed the Sao Paulo "tattoo"... see comments.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Arizona: Scorpions in Aspic

The State of Arizona has been in the news a bit lately, what with all the talk about how their new anti-illegal immigrant laws might lead to racial profiling by the the Arizonastaatspolizei.
"Show me your papers!"
But as always, where there's politics, there are also maps!

Princess Sparkle Pony
has been blogging about his life growing up in Arizona, including map memorabilia.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the 4th Be With You

Today is International Star Wars Day!

Not to be confused with Geek Pride Day on May 25.

To ensure that you don't get lost while making the "Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs", here is your Star Wars Galactic Road Map:

May the 4th Be With You


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Monday, May 3, 2010

Gambling on Ohio

Last year, irritated that so many of our gambling dollars were going to the surrounding states of Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow casinos in specific locations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo. Unfortunately, Columbus decided they didn't like the location of their casino, and want to move it to another part of town. This of course requires yet another amendment to our constitution.

Here is a mappish advertisement I received in the mail last week:

Personally, I'm all in favor of keeping the money of our statistically challenged citizens within the state.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day! May Day!

May 1.

May Day.

In most nations of the world May Day is celebrated as International Workers' Day or Labour Day. Only two countries do not:

In the United States and Canada, Labor (or Labour) Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September, so as to not be associated with all those REDS on May 1.

Of course, celebrations of May Day date back long before labor movements. Exactly one half year since November 1 means the end of winter weather (for the northern hemisphere) and serves as a call for celebration. Perhaps a romp around the Maypole.
May I make my fond excuses for the lateness of the hour,
but we accept your invitation, and we bring you Beltane's flower.
For the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did lay will heed the song that calls them back.

In the Society for Creative Anacronism, May 1 is the first day of the new year. Reckoning from the founding of the Society in 1967 C.E., today is the first day of Anno Societatis (A.S.) XLV (45).

"May Day! May Day!" is an internationally recognized distress signal (from the French from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come (and) help me").

HT to Rudolf for the map.