Archive for geography

Scandinavia, For the Win!!!

Posted in humor, maps, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy

for those of you who relished Bartor, the Transit Dragon of Doom, (my friends’ clever map of the BART system of the SF Bay Area), get a load of this!

I present, Scandinavia, FTW!

map monster scandinavia

This map is a fun, internal critique of the sometimes puzzling geography of Scandinavia, cuz, people- Denmark (the little blue guy) really is considered part of Scandinavia. And yet that being so… isn’t it really somewhat of a geo-political FAIL…?

not to mention that Greenland is part of Denmark… sheesh.
Still, you gotta love this map! Its pretty cute for a FAIL!

For the Win!
Sunshine Superboy


Dungeons and Prisons (and crazy Governors gone bananas)

Posted in art & music, humor, politics, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy

boy oh boy. you go on one short break and all hell, damnation, and twelve-sided die break loose…

given how prisons, borders, geeks and geography have been frequent themes on the blog, I had to make sure y’all caught wind of (at least) the following two stories.

this gem, from Le New York Times:

Prisons can restrict the rights of inmates to nerd out, a federal appeals court has found.

In an opinion issued on Monday , a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected the claims in a lawsuit challenging a ban on the game Dungeons & Dragons by the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin.

The suit was brought by a prisoner, Kevin T. Singer, who argued that his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the prison’s decision to ban the game and confiscate his books and other materials, including a 96-page handwritten manuscript he had created for the game.

Mr. Singer, “a D&D enthusiast since childhood,” according to the court’s opinion, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for bludgeoning and stabbing his sister’s boyfriend to death.

Prison officials said they had banned the game at the recommendation of the prison’s specialist on gangs, who said it could lead to gang behavior and fantasies about escape.

Dungeons & Dragons could “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior,” prison officials said in court. That could make it more difficult to rehabilitate prisoners and could endanger public safety, they said.

The court, which is based in Chicago, acknowledged that there was no evidence of marauding gangs spurred to their acts of destruction by swinging imaginary mauls, but it ruled nonetheless that the prison’s decision was “rationally related” to legitimate goals of prison administration.

Well, and then since we’re all just losing our damn minds, Governor Schwarzenegger figured he’d get in on the crazy

Speaking before the Sacramento Press Club on Monday, the governor suggested that the state’s economic emergency might be offset by shipping prisoners off to Mexico.

Schwarzenegger, who recently announced his intention to privatize California’s dangerously bloated prison system, evidently sees shipping prisoners south of the border as a win-win when it comes to his immigration headaches. Citing the sizable population of undocumented immigrants behind bars in California, the governor briefly described his idea:

“We pay them to build the prisons down in Mexico and then we have those undocumented immigrants be down there in a prison. … And all this, it would be half the cost to build the prisons and half the cost to run the prisons,” Schwarzenegger said, predicting it would save the state $1 billion that could be spent on higher education.

The remarks were met with confusion by state officials, not only because they were, well, confusing, but because it seemed to be the first time anyone had heard about the idea. Apparently, his own spokesman did not know where exactly Schwarzenegger came up with it

Come up with whatever wack-ass schemes need be, but it should be known that, right there with the ex-felons, the geeks shall inherit the earth.

Up Up and Away,
Sunshine Superboy

oh, and PS, any band that says “rise through the pain let the sun rise again” and “for today! the everlasting eternal sun!” and has nothing to do with jesus christ, totally rules. share a posi moment with me please:

(that high note in the last 5 seconds in like the most ridiculous and triumphant moment since destroying the One ring at Mount Doom!)

Bucky, Tattoos, and New Cartographic Directions

Posted in maps, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

My man-crush, Mr.Buckminster Fuller:

The projection used for the world map in question, also known as the “Dymaxion Map,” was created by Buckminster Fuller, distinguished mathematician, inventor and 20th century visionary. The map began as a sketch, “The One-Town World” in 1927. “By 1954, after working on the map for several decades,” Fuller finally had a “satisfactory deck plan of the six and one half sextillion tons Spaceship Earth.”

The Dymaxion Map is the only flat map of the entire surface of the earth that reveals our planet as it really is an island in one ocean without any visible distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents.

Traditional world maps reinforce the elements that separate humanity and fail to highlight the patterns and relationships emerging from the ever evolving and accelerating process of globalization. Instead of serving as “a precise means for seeing the world from the dynamic, cosmic and comprehensive viewpoint,” the maps we use still cause humanity to “appear inherently disassociated, remote, self-interestedly preoccupied with the political concept of its got to be you or me; there is not enough for both.”

Dude’s work on an innovative projection for representations of the Earth’s landmasses was the inspiration for one of my tattoos. Captain Fuller’s map:


A new technique for unpeeling the Earth’s skin and displaying it on a flat surface provides a fresh perspective on geography, making it possible to create maps that string out the continents for easy comparison, or lump together the world’s oceans into one huge mass of water surrounded by coastlines.

“Myriahedral projection” was developed by Jack van Wijk
, a computer scientist at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

“The basic idea is surprisingly simple,” says van Wijk. His algorithms divide the globe’s surface into small polygons that are unfolded into a flat map, just as a cube can be unfolded into six squares.

Cartographers have tried this trick before; van Wijk’s innovation is to up the number of polygons from just a few to thousands. He has coined the word “myriahedral” to describe it, a combination of “myriad” with “polyhedron”, the name for polygonal 3D shapes.

Warping reality

The mathematical impossibility of flattening the surface of a sphere has long troubled mapmakers. “Consider peeling an orange and trying to flatten it out,” says van Wijk. “The surface has to distort or crack.”

Some solutions distort the size of the continents while roughly preserving their shape – the familiar Mercator projection, for instance, makes Europe and North America disproportionately large compared with Africa. Others, like the Peters projection, keep landmasses at the correct relative sizes, at the expense of warping their shapes.

An ideal map would combine the best properties of both, but that is only possible by inserting gaps into the Earth’s surface, resulting in a map with confusing interruptions. Van Wijk’s method makes it possible to direct those cuts in a way that minimises such confusion.

Maps of significance

When generating a map he assigns a “weighting” to each edge on the polyhedron to signal its importance, influencing the placement of the cuts or folds. All the maps are equally accurate, but tweaking the weightings gives dramatically different results.

Assigning more significance to landmass gives a map of all the continents in a line, similar to Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map. Making oceans more important than land produces one giant sea surrounded by the world’s coastlines.

“Now and then you make an unexpected discovery,” says van Wijk. A map that separates land from sea as far as possible, leaving the continents marooned away from a sinuous watery mass, was one such serendipitous result of playing with the algorithm’s parameters.

Projection means prize

“His approach was fresh and innovative,” says Kenneth Field, editor of the British Cartographic Society’s The Cartographic Journal, which recently gave van Wijk the Henry Johns award, which recognises the best mapmaking research paper each year. “He managed to achieve a projection that reduces angular deformation to an absolute minimum and preserves area – not an easy trick,” adds Field, “it was a unanimous decision to give him the prize.”

Van Wijk attributes his success to being somewhat of an outsider. Cartographers typically seek single formulae that can be used to transform the entire globe, he says, while computer scientists look for algorithms that work in small steps and can be more adaptable.

I’m gonna update this post with a picture of this nonsense I have on my right arm for the rest of my life (ps, its rules!). I’m working with limited technology (on the road in Brazil), but I will deliver on this promise. Aight!

Up Up and Away,
Sunshine Superboy

Pan-African Space Station

Posted in anthropology, art & music, race, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

There Are Other Worlds Out There They Never Told You About…

pass-facebook-copy_2 For a few more weeks, you can jam out to the sounds of streaming Pan African Space Station Radio. Check it outs!!!

The Pan African Space Station (PASS) is a 30-day music intervention from September 12 – October 12, on radio and the internet, as well as venues across greater Cape Town. It is an opportunity for Capetonians and visitors to engage up-close with the rich and complex web of creative expression which binds Africans across the globe.
PASS is also an exploration of and an intervention into spatial and cultural ghettos in the city and how to link them physically (through the music venues) and conceptually (on radio and the internet). Now in its second year, PASS continues its cross-cultural and cyber-spatial exploration, bringing together diverse pan-African sounds from ancient grooves to future hip-hop.3947868049_85771440e7_m


PASS radio, a unique freeform radio station, is back with 30 days of cutting edge music streamed live online. The station features themed shows, live performances and readings, debates, sound art, speeches, interviews and much more.
In the build-up to the festival, throughout September, the daily radio programme includes a free, live performance at PASS studios on Long Street. These live sessions run between 7-9pm and are curated by guest musicians, DJs and artists, including world-renowned, Montreal based groove archaeologist DJ Andy Williams.3955517532_89ffe7d89b
Other highlights on this year’s broadcast programme include Songs for Biko, a 24-hour praise party for Steve Biko on 12 Sept (Biko Day) and Songs for Bheki, a musical tribute to the late philosopher and musician Bheki Mseleku, which closes the live music component on October 4.


From October 1 – 4 2009, PASS II plays host to genre-busting music outfits from global Africa dedicated to exploring new musical territory. The line-up features Kora maestro Toumani Diabate; Queen of Ndebele music, guitarist Nothembi Mkhwebane; 9-piece, Chicago-based jazz troubadours Hypnotic Brass Ensemble; Cameroonian funk-master Franck Biyong and his Massak Afroletric Orchestra; Zanzibar’s legendary taarab orchestra and social club, the Culture Musical Club; Ras_G & the Afrikan from his El-Ay, Western Sahara space base; and Ghanaian Pidgin rapper Wanlov the Kubulor.

PASS II also features a series of new collaborations between South African musicians: Barry van Zyl’s southern African sound-rhythm stew, Baboti are joined by jazz vocalist and trombone player Siya Makuzeni; and politically engaged, slamming jazz upstarts uDaba perform with spoken-word author Kgafela oa Magogodi. Some of the continent’s most esteemed selectors, including Dar es Salaam’s DJ Yusuf Mahmoud and Cape Town’s own Fong Kong Bantu Soundsystem are also making appearances. In addition, the festival includes a collaborative, experimental chorale work based on the novella War Chorale by pioneering Chilean writer Fernando Alegria, with composition and direction by jazz guitarist Bheki Khoza.
The live music component PASS takes place in a series of different venues across greater Cape Town, engaging diverse together audiences and provoking new forms of creative expression and social mobilization that foreground history and memory as well as agency and difference. Audiences will travel from St Georges Cathedral, the Centre for the Book and the Slave Church in the city centre to Guga S’thebe in Langa and All Nations Club in Salt River.

thanks to my Capetonian peops for passing all this info along! You can stay in the loop from afar thru the Pan African Space Station blog!

who no know go know,
Sunshine Superboy


Riding While White in the NYC Subway

Posted in maps, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

a white person (whom I know and love) shared this with me.

crossposted from RaceWire


Welcome to New York.

Despite the growing numbers of young cosmopolitan white people moving into historically Black, Latino, and Asian neighborhoods in search of cheap rent, good food, and street cred, here’s a guide created by a white man that maps out white New York City.

This map, though intended for white folks, can be used by people of color who live in the unmarked areas because the last stops on these lines should be where white people exit and seats are available for you to sit down. If they don’t get off, maybe you should remind them that they missed their last stop.

Cyber Spaces, Social Geographies

Posted in anthropology, humor, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

care of the math/sarcasm/romance & language blogger geniuses, and my friend Shamrock who passed this along for us here at blackmaps:
a Map of Online Communities!

In case you can’t see it on yr fancy mini laptop, the main banner says
MAP OF ONLINE COMMUNITIES and related points of interest- geographic area represents estimated size of membership. No the survey info that informs this is not exhaustive or complete, but if you’re even thinking that you are totally missing the brilliance of this anyway!

if you clicked above to that blog, the following quote is floating on the original map

I’m waiting for the day when, if you tell someone ‘I’m from the internet’, instead of laughing they just ask ‘oh, what part?

kindred spirits me lovelies.

I mean, there is seriously a bay that says here be anthropomorphic dragons!!!

Right up me alley I’d say. (someone changed their facebook language to pirate english recently…)

The internets have been democratized! Live it up!
Sunshine Superboy

today’s bonus? my #1 ‘thank god the internet is in my life’ (instead of tv) moment of the week:

this is serious stuff folks. serious.


Posted in anthropology, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

Humbly Submitted, Your Subway Map of Our Shared World:
world-metro-map-2005 Now is that sexy, or what?! Not your cup of tea? Não e seu praia? Don’t try and tell me I’m the only metrôsexual in the room. Well, at least there’s Mark, if I can presume which kinda maps turn him on.

Mark Ovenden is my co-pilot! Or maybe there’s just a pretty decent statistical probability that we’ve ridden on the same train at the same time. What was that? Oh, who the hell is Mark Ovenden? He wrote this book, a delicious compendium of subway maps the world over, and is credited with creating the map above. metro-maps_cover-2

Maps in the book are categorised loosely depending on the amount of both recent and historic maps available for one city’s system. All the collected maps are discussed against Mark Ovendens ideal map, the London Underground system map. Mark wants map makers to use equal distances between stations and 45 degree lines to call a map good.

A grand effort, and one I had daydreamed about compiling myself before I’d ever heard of Ovenden, yet his analysis in the metrô atlas doesn’t come out quite the way mine would. And thats not just because London is not my ideal underground.

First of all, mine would be much more ethnographic– like situating the history and ridership of the subways, who is on it, how is it used, how do the rails figure into metropolitan everyday life, who designed vs who built it, and of course of course some first person anecdotes about taking these subways.

Like, for example the São Paulo Metrô:
Ahem. A historicized slice from another blogger:

7.2.08 – By C.J. Schexnayder

The motto of the Brazilian city of São Paulo translates as “I am not led, I lead,” but on the streets of the sprawling metropolis it has become increasingly hard to get anywhere at all. The population of greater São Paulo is nearing 20 million residents, making it the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the world. The increasing population and boom in business has overloaded the city’s transportation infrastructure, making relatively short jaunts into nightmares of endurance. More than 6 million vehicles clogged the city’s streets last year, making movement through major routes and popular side streets almost impossible at peak periods.

The scope of the problem is evident on the roof of every major building: Helicopter pads have become common features of the city’s skyline. According to a recent story in the Guardian newspaper, São Paulo’s fleet of 469 helicopters is now the largest of any city in the world.

To address the situation, the government is moving on two massive infrastructure projects: upgrading the city’s public transportation system and construction of an immense highway ring around the metropolitan area.

The Metrô de São Paulo saw its ridership jump almost 9% last year to a record 919 million—an average of 3.23 million people every day. The surge in passengers began in 2005 when state government integrated the CPTM system of subway trains with the city’s bus system. Between 2004 and 2007 the number of riders increased more than 30%.

I might supplement this with my story of four wild horses. This past “summer” (winter in Brazil) I was riding the São Paulo Metrô and had just changed trains on my way to the Consolacão stop under Avenida Paulista, which is like I dunno, New York’s 34th St meets San Francisco’s Market Street. Out of nowhere these sorta frumpy adolescent kids (think mathletes)stepped onto the same train and my eyes fell instantly transfixed by this one kid’s sweater. Seriously, I’m struggling just to recall the frizzy un-kept math-hair and the cute shoe-gazer sneakers he and his friends all donned. There was no irony to the fashion discretion of these fellow riders. But focusing now on this central teen rider- right there emblazoned- nah more like- crocheted on his lusciously deep green sweater were the thick necks, the bold faces, the flowing mane of four white (outlined?) horse heads. Nestled together on his stitched chest.

Just the heads.

Fuck, I’m totally failing to convey how amazing this sweater was, but I was about dez reis shy of cajoling this kid into swapping the sweater for whatever the hell I was wearing (plus a little cash to sweeten the deal) right then and there.

Actually, the essence of the sweater kinda reminds me of the album cover for (one of my new favoritest bands), This Town Needs Guns. Only imagine it in just green and white and like a total zoom in on the heads.this town needs guns Meh, it gives the impression at least.

Anyway, I got stagefright, which is to say that my stop came up before I could work up the nerve to negotiate for the most amazing sweater I’ve ever laid my astigmatized eyes on. But if by chance you find yourself in Sao Paulo (for the love of Deus, don’t lose yourself in Sampa) and happen to spy a glorious rake harras herd of horses embroidered on some emerald pullover, by all means, hassle the wearer and acquire it and I’ll make it worth your while (half my kingdom, as the saying goes…) Believe me, the Consolacão Metrô stop gets me anxious to this very day. ::sigh::

So thats something for qualitative. Quantitatively, which is ostensibly what Ovenden is going for, I prefer the Wanda Wanders metric of Metro Map evaluation:

Anyways, I’ll probably blog more about different subway experiences in the futuro, but I hope you enjoy your time on your local undergrounds, and stop by soon, ya hear?

The World is Yours, (for about $2-$3 flat fee these days),
Sunshine Superboy

ps- if you haven’t heard about the nonsense obnoxious MTA fare hikes coming May 31st, you should (click on that orange bit) read up on the situation and enjoy the already unreasonable but relatively cheaper $2 rate while you can!

Also, as a bonus, here is a music clip from this math rock band, This Town Needs Guns of their song, 26 is Dancier than 4. I get that most of you won’t be that into it, I just felt like I should share what I’m geeking out about these days 😛