Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The End of Electoral Maps As We Know Them?

In a move that could make the Electoral College (and electoral maps) obsolete, CBS News is reporting that Massachusetts may join five other states in changing the way their electoral votes will be cast in a presidential election.

Under the law, all 12 of Massachusetts' electoral votes will go to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationally. However, it will not go into effect until enough states have signed onto the plan to ensure that at least half of the nation's electoral votes -- 270 out of 538 -- go to the candidate who won the popular vote.

Actually, I like this idea, as it will make everyone's vote count, and reduce the clout that certain large and small states carry. But I would miss those 50 state colored maps.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


[It has been far too long since Cartophilia has visited Michael5000's Forgotten Lands. Today he posted an update to the forgotten Mediterranean land of Bahar, which inspired me to create some maps.]


Capital: Djiranda
Population: 2,200,000 (1996 estimate)
Area: 54,000 km2
Independence: 1971

Economy: Major exports include Mediterranean agricultural products (grapes, dates, wheat), fish, and some oil. There is a growing industrial sector, of which leading products are glass, machine parts, and sporting equipment. Bahar’s currency, the Baharian lira has been pegged to the Euro since 2005.
Per Capita Income: US$11,530
Languages: English (official), Turkish, Greek, Arabic
Literacy Rate: 77%

A lush, fertile coastal land nestled against the mountains of Asia Minor, Bahar has always been, as Woodrow Wilson observed, “too rich to be free. She is forever coveted by her mighty neighbors” (Greenberg, American Mediterranean Policy and Practice, 1900-1940). Throughout recorded history, Bahar has been subject to a parade of empires: Greek, Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, British, French, Italian (during the Second World War), and finally, until 1971, the British again.

Because of this “Colonial Tradition,” and despite four decades of independence, neither the world at large nor many of Bahar’s own citizens are accustomed to thinking of this small nation as a truly sovereign country. Still absent on most modern maps, Bahar is one of only four countries not to host a U.S. diplomatic mission as of 2010. Even within the capital, Djiranda, one sees few national flags or symbols, and “arguments in the tobacco bars and town plazas are more likely to be about the relative merits of football teams or fishing grounds than about national politics” (Fisher, Bahar and the Colonial Tradition).

Djiranda is one of a string of walled, whitewashed towns built up the steep cliffs that rise from the Mediterranean shore. Although modern stores and factories have been built inland, the alleys, plazas, homes, and storefronts within town walls look much as they have for centuries. Few tourists know to look for Bahar, but those who have spent time there typically rhapsodize over the beauty and charm of these ancient but vibrant ports. Djiranda, however, does have the reputation of being a difficult city for the casual visitor to navigate. Lacking the grand public buildings of most capitals – Bahar’s parliament meets in a nondescript office building facing a narrow side street – the city lacks obvious, immediately recognizable landmarks to navigate by.

Wine pressed from the grapes grown on the south-facing slopes of Bahar’s coastal hills has been declared among the world’s best by many leading authorities. Unfortunately, because production is still small-scale and largely structured to supply the domestic market, few enthusiasts have had a chance to sample the products of Bahar’s vintners.

Flag: The three colors of Bahar’s flag are green, white, and black. The green field represents the agricultural underpinnings of Baharian society. The white stripe represents the sea, which Baharians consider to be not blue but clear. The black field, according to government literature, represents “our national mourning for four millennia of imperialist oppression.” When informed of this symbolism by this writer, one typical Baharian shrugged and replied “independent or not, it matters little.”

National Anthem: “Our Freedom We Hold Sacred.”

Other Forgotten Lands on Cartophilia.

From Cartophiliac:

So, I created those two maps above, but I'm not quite happy with them. Bahar just looks too large. However, I tried to approximate the actual area in km2 that M5K used. So I created this map, below, that manages to nestle into the Turkish coast unobtrusively. Dear Readers, which version do you prefer?

Mega-Bonus points for anyone who can identify the geographic source for the shape of Bahar. A clue is in the text.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Global Leakage has been in the news lately because of big exposé of American military documents from the war in Afghanistan. Some have suggested that the impact of these documents could be as great as the release of the Vietnam War era Pentagon Papers.

WikiLeaks describes themselves as a "public service designed to protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public." They believe that "transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies."

Is Wikilieaks performing a service or are they a danger to national security? I have no comment here, but I do approve of their logo.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yakkos Nations of the World

A while back, Wakko, one of the Animaniacs, taught us all how to remember the State Capitols. Now, here is his brother(?) Yakko to teach us all the names of all the nations on the Earth:

Slower, so you can memorize it:

But don't stop at just the Earth... Learn your way around the Solar System:

... And the Universe!:

Finally, the ultimate authority on The Meaning of Life, Monty Python:


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SpringStreets Map

If the "Boss" gives you directions to E Street, you had better follow them...

Paste Magazine today highlights this Springstreets Map, designed by Dan Cassaro. It is a map of New Jersey based soley on Bruce Springsteen lyrics, with over 200 references...

Don't get yourself turned around on "Thunder Road" or get lost in "Jungleland", and maybe together we'll go down to "The River."

Poster size maps for sale at the Springstreets shop.

HT to Phil

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8-Bit City Maps

Look out! Here comes Pac Man! Or maybe the Centipede! Space Invaders!...

Brett Camper has created zoomable 8-bit maps of ten cities, including New York, San Francisco, Detroit and Seattle:

More info at Mashable.

HT to Phil and Hunter


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

T-Shirt Tuesday: Beastly Planet

Planet Earth... it's where the wild things are... what's left of them.

In this T-shirt illustration, created by Richard A. Catron, animals are used to to create the continents. Each Beast is native to that part of the world. The Panda represents China, a polar bear in the Arctic, koala in Australia, etc.

(Bear with me here...)

"Beastly Planet" from Threadless Tees

What is T-Shirt Tuesday?

Other map T-shirts on Cartophilia

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Iberian Map Decor

Apartment Therapy offers 10 Unconventional Map Decor Ideas. Great decorating ideas for any cartophile.

In honor of the big World Cup win, here are two with an Iberian flavor...

First this lamp shade made from a tourist map of Barcelona. The creator, Chez Larsson offers some comments on his creation on his Flickr page.

Next is a coffee table decorated with a portion of a large Portugal and Spain road map.

The creator, "marajane01", offers step by step instructions (however images appear to be missing...)

HT to Carto-Niece, Faith!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Defending Fortress America

Last month, on The Electoral Map, Patrick Ottenhoff reflected on the recent meetings between United States President Barack Obama and the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Things are so chummy they had burgers and are tweeting to each other. However things have not always been so warm between the two nations. During the Cold War, fears of a Soviet invasion fueled anti-communist rhetoric, and patriotic films about defending America from invasion (see Red Dawn). Maps like this invasion plan from a Yugoslavian newspaper didn't help things any, I'm sure:

This map immediately reminded me of a board game I played a year or so ago. Fortress America was published in 1986 by Milton Bradley as part of their Gamemaster series (which also included Axis & Allies)

Fortress America
depicts a near-future time when the United States is the last defender in a world fallen to the Communist horde. The Chinese attack from the west, Soviets attack from the East and Nicaraguans from the south! Can the Americans hold out until the Star Wars Strategic Defense system can be activated?

It was actually a pretty good war game, that pits one player as the Americans, against one to three other players as the invaders. The game is long out of print and is today a collector's item.


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alaska5000 and Brazilian Inflated View

Just a couple map postcards from my carto-friends:

Michael5000 recently did the cruise-to-Alaska thing and very thoughtfully send this postcard to me:

Steve sent this postcard to me that he picked up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil? It is for the Casa Bonomi, a bakery/café. It gives us one of those "inflated views" with the nearby Río Amazonas, and then the islands of Cuba and Greenland off in the distance, not far from Norteamérica:

Thank you, Steve and Michael!

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

T-Shirt Tuesday: The Way of the Heart - Via Light Rail

Last week I featured a t-shirt that show's the way to a man's heart... literally.

However, if you don't feel like walking there, you can take the train, via the Metropolitan Cardiac Authority.

"Follow It" from Threadless Tees

What is T-Shirt Tuesday?

Other map T-shirts on Cartophilia

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Failed States: The Metrics of Decay

The July/August 2010 issue of Foreign Policy is "The Bad Guy" issue... Apparently the "Axis of Evil" has been replaced with "The Committee to Destroy the World." Some of the worst dictators, leading the worst nations of the world.

Included in this issue is the 2010 Failed States Index:
This year's index draws on 90,000 publicly available sources to analyze 177 countries and rate them on 12 metrics of state decay -- from refugee flows to economic implosion, human rights violations to security threats. Taken together, a country's performance on this battery of indicators tells us how stable -- or unstable -- it is.

Holding steady at number one for the third year in a row, the winner and still champion of the failed states, Somalia!

Via Coming Anarchy

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