Mercator projection

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pages: 481 words: 121,300

Why geography matters: three challenges facing America : climate change, the rise of China, and global terrorism by Harm J. De Blij

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agricultural Revolution, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, computer age, crony capitalism, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Khyber Pass, manufacturing employment, megacity, Mercator projection, out of africa, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS, UNCLOS

Magellan and his crew were the first to circumnavigate the world (1519-1522), building on Cabral's impressions of the coast of Brazil and proving the vastness of the Pacific; the Italian Battista Agnese's 1544 map of the world was soon renowned for its beauty as well as its novelty; and the Flemish mathematician and cartographer Gerardus Mercator formulated a grid for the evolving map of the world that allowed navigators to plot a straight-line compass bearing, the Mercator Projection (1569). This was a momentous innovation, and the name Mercator remains famous to this day—as well as another of his inventions, the concept of the atlas (which he named after a Greek titan) as a collection of maps. 23 24 WHY GEOGRAPHY MATTERS It is well to remember, however, that Europeans were not the only map-makers of the time. The Chinese were making maps perhaps 3,000 years ago, and their fleets, larger than anything Europe had floated, were plying Asian and African coasts before Magellan made his epic journey.

So nonmetric practice continues here, grooved in-eradicably into the soil. MAP PROJECTIONS This brings us to the interesting topic of map projections. Earlier 1 mentioned Mercator and his milestone navigation-friendly projection, without saying exactly what a map "projection" is but pointing out that projections inevitably distort the reality on the ground (Greenland's huge size on the Mercator projection is a case in point). The fact is that you can manipulate map projections to exaggerate, diminish, distort, and otherwise modify any representation of any part of the Earth's surface. Countries can be made to look larger, compared to others, than they really are. Places can be made to look closer to you than they really are. Maps can be used for propaganda purposes, or worse. READING MAPS AND FACING THREATS 31 Fig. 2-2 They can be used to stimulate fear, intimidation, aggression, anger, or, at the very least, misjudgments among their readers.

You can imagine this by considering an open wire grid with a light bulb at the center and a cylinder of paper wrapped around it. The parallels and meridians would throw shadows onto the paper, creating a kind of READING MAPS AND FACING THREATS 33 projection—not a usable one, but now it becomes a matter of manipulating the light source or the paper. If you put a neon tube inside, pole to pole, you would get something close to the Mercator projection. If you made a conical "hat" of the paper and put it on the Northern Hemisphere, rather than a cylinder all around the globe, you would get less distortion—but only half the world. Indeed, some projections are called "cylindrical" and others "conical." If you want to produce a comparatively low-distortion map of the United States, you would use a conical projection (Fig. 2-3). Projections designed to minimize the distortion of shape are easier to devise for limited latitudinal areas like the coterminous United States than for the world as a whole, but some remarkable, inventive projections have been created nevertheless.

 

pages: 385 words: 103,561

Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Our World by Greg Milner

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Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, Flash crash, friendly fire, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, land tenure, lone genius, Mars Rover, Mercator projection, place-making, polynesian navigation, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart grid, the map is not the territory

GPS therefore constructs its own version of the world, not a mirror image of “reality.” To represent geographic data, Google Maps uses the Mercator projection, named after the sixteenth-century cartographer Gerardus Mercator, which represents latitude and longitude as being perfectly perpendicular. Sailors and navigators liked this projection because a ship on a steady bearing was represented by a straight line on the map. As any user of etak (the ancient Pacific navigational aid, not the 1980’s proto-GPS car guidance system) will tell you, this is a view of the world completely at odds with the way parallels and meridians behave on the earth’s curved surface, and grossly distorts the size of land masses the closer they are to the poles. The Mercator projection remained popular throughout the centuries. In the 1980s, cartographical societies drafted a resolution that discouraged any further use of it, in favor of equal-area maps, which more accurately depict the relative size of land masses.

In the 1980s, cartographical societies drafted a resolution that discouraged any further use of it, in favor of equal-area maps, which more accurately depict the relative size of land masses. Around the same time, the first mass-market computerized maps appeared. Some used the Mercator projection, others did not, and well into the 1990s there was no clear preference. For Google Maps, which appeared in 2005 and soon became the world’s most accessible GIS, the Mercator projection was an obvious choice. At every point on a Mercator map, “north” points in exactly the same direction, making it more suitable for panning and zooming. Although a Mercator map distorts large land masses, it accurately portrays more localized geography—the opposite of what occurs with equal-area maps. Since Google Maps is so often used as a local reference source—where is that restaurant, again?

In a strange city, with no map or GPS, we remember how many blocks we have ventured from the hotel; we locate ourselves in relation to prominent landmarks. But mostly, in the age of GPS, we don’t require the environment to locate ourselves. Imagine trying to convince a literal-minded Martian anthropologist—or the Carolinian navigator—why the first mapped image of the world many children study is the Mercator projection that is still a staple of grade-school classrooms, with its grotesque geographic distortions. Or why the X on a shopping mall’s map, labeled “you are here,” does not imply a belief that you are actually, you know, there, engraved on that map, anchored for eternity. Lewis suspected that Tevake used a reference system similar to etak, one that allowed him to conceptualize where he was in relation to islands in the region.

 

pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

Kosterlitz, Hans Krebs cycle Kuhn, Thomas Kühne, Wilhelm Kundra, Vivek Laennec, René Lamarckianism Landsteiner, Karl Langton, Christopher Lanier, Jaron Lasers Lavoisier, Antoine Lee, William Leeuwenhoek, Antonie Philips van Lehrer, Jonah Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm Lenormand, Louis-Sébastien Leonardo da Vinci Lessig, Lawrence Libby, Willard Liebig, Justus von Life, origins of simulation of Light spectrum of speed of Lightbulbs Lightning rods Lilienthal, Otto Linnaeus, Carl Lion, Alexandre Lippershey, Hans Liquid networks Lithography Lloyd, Edward Locke, John Locomotives Loewi, Otto Logarithms London cholera in Science Museum University World’s Fair (1862) Long-zoom perspective Looms, mechanization of Loschmidt, Joseph Louis XIII, King of France Lovelace, Ada Lyell, Charles Magnetism Malthus, Thomas Maps Google Mercator projection Marconi, Guglielmo Marin le Bourgeoys Mariotte, Edme Marius, Simon Martin, Odile Marx, Karl Mason, John Mason jars Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Building Mass production Mathematical symbols Mauna Kea Mauritius Maybach, Wilhelm Mayer, Marissa McClure, Frank T. McGaffey, Ives W. McKeen, William McPherson, Isaac Mellotron synthesizer Mendel, Gregor Mendeleev, Dmitri Mendelian genetics Mercator projection Mesopotamia Metabolism, relationship of size to Michelangelo Microorganisms Microscopes Microsoft Building Windows Windows Media Player Microwave ovens Microwaves Milky Way Miller, Stanley L.

PENCIL (1560) In the mid 1560s, the residents of a small village in England’s Cumbria region stumbled across a massive deposit of graphite. The community first began using the substance to mark their cattle and sheep, and ultimately hit upon wrapping a wood casing around the graphite. It would take another two hundred years for the device to be completed with the invention of the eraser. MERCATOR MAP PROJECTION (1569) Flemish mapmaker Gerard Mercator developed the Mercator projection, a cartographical depiction of the world that allowed navigators to follow rhumb lines between two locations, thus accounting for compass bearing. SUPERNOVAS AND COMETS (1572—1577) The Danish nobleman Tycho Brahe’s observation of a new star forming in 1572, and his detailed proof that the supernova was not changing position relative to other stars, undermined the prevailing orthodoxy that held that the heavens were incapable of change.

 

pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

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Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

Mapmakers may make all these choices with the best of intentions, but the result is still, even if unconsciously, to reinforce some particular view of the world. I distinctly remember not believing, when my parents first told me, that Brazil was actually five times the size of Alaska. On the map of my bedroom wall, I could see with my own eyes that they were virtually twins! That’s because my map was drawn according to the venerable Mercator Projection. In 1569, the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator drew a world map using a cylindrical projection that would neatly render a rhumb line—a ship’s course in a constant direction, like west or north-northeast—as a straight line.* The problem is that this kind of projection inflates the polar regions way out of proportion—in fact, on such a map, the poles can never even be drawn, because they’re an infinite distance from the Equator.† Mercator maps were still used everywhere when I was growing up—classrooms, nightly newscasts, stamps, government briefing rooms—and so my generation grew up thinking that Greenland was bigger than Africa, since Greenland is oversized fourteenfold on Mercator maps.

The geographer Arthur Robinson compared Peters’s continents to “wet, ragged long winter underwear hung out to dry on the Arctic Circle.” But if Peters’s goal was to shock, it worked on me. I stared at the map endlessly, marveling at the big, muscular Africa dominating its center and the anemic Russia and Alaska hugging the North Pole. I’d been told that the maps I knew were lying to me about the globe, but it was quite another thing to see the evidence with my own eyes. You can trace the decline of the Mercator Projection by looking at the set changes on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” faux newscast. The world outline map behind the newscasters was an acromegalic Mercator back in the Dan Aykroyd/Jane Curtin era, but under Dennis Miller it was replaced with a less absurd, modified Mercator called the Miller (no relation) cylindrical projection. Today the map behind Seth Meyers is an equirectangular projection called the plate carrée, useless for oceangoing but popular among computer mappers.

Today the map behind Seth Meyers is an equirectangular projection called the plate carrée, useless for oceangoing but popular among computer mappers. But the Mercator map of our childhoods, though less visible today, is far from extinct. For example, use Google to bring up a map of your street or your city. Now zoom all the way out—yup, all the way, so the entire planet is on the map. See how Antarctica now looks bigger than every other continent put together? That’s right: Google Maps still uses a Mercator Projection.* The Mercator and Gall-Peters: Greenland’s favorite and least favorite map projections, respectively So it’s easy to quibble with McClendon’s assertion that everything on Google’s maps is unimpeachably true in some epistemological sense.† In some ways, it’s as full of judgment calls and compromises as any other map. What he really means is that Google Earth is more convincing, more compelling, than a paper map and that this immersiveness gives it a unique ability to change the way we see the world.

 

pages: 314 words: 83,631

Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum

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air freight, cable laying ship, call centre, global village, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, inflight wifi, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, Network effects, New Urbanism, packet switching, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, urban planning, WikiLeaks

With help from the tech support people in Germany, the pressman finally coaxed the giant machine to life, and its vibrations shook the door frames—un-cha, un-cha, un-cha. “I hear paper!” Krisetya cheered. A test print had been lain out on a large easel lit with klieg lights, like an operating table. Krisetya pulled off his thick-framed glasses and placed a magnifying loupe to his eye. I stood just over his shoulder, squinting at the bright lights, struggling to take in the world this map portrayed. It was a Mercator projection, with the continents drawn in heavy black and the international boundaries etched, like afterthoughts, by thin scores. Rigid red and yellow lines striped the Atlantic and Pacific, jagged around the southern continents, and converged in key places: north and south of New York City, in the southwest of England, the straits near Taiwan, and the Red Sea—so tightly there that they formed a single thick mark.

It was a hot day in the middle of summer when I met John Gilbert in the barrel-vaulted lobby of 32 Avenue of the Americas. Gilbert is chief operating officer of Rudin Management, the great family-owned New York City real estate company that in 1999 became only the second owner, after AT&T, of 32 Avenue of the Americas. He was an imposing figure in crisp white shirtsleeves and silk power tie—a startling change from the network engineers in their hoodies. He stood beneath a lobby mosaic: an ocher-tinged Mercator projection beneath which is written the building’s motto: “Telephone wires and radio unite to make neighbors of nations.” “Why is radio in there?” Gilbert asked rhetorically, still gripping my hand. “When this building opened, there were no transatlantic telephone cables, only radios on buoys. Then, in 1955, this was built.” He handed me a palm-sized copper cylinder, like a bloated penny, remarkably heavy and dense: a souvenir cut of the very first transatlantic telephone cable, called TAT-1, that connected the United States by wire to Europe for the first time.

 

pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Inspired in part by the war gaming that planners engaged in to prepare for the hot battlefields of World War II and the colder, yet protracted conflicts with the Soviet Union that followed, the World Game was a revamping of these strategies to think about how best to use resources to ensure planetary happiness. Often laid out on the unfolded polyhedron of Fuller’s own Dymaxion map, the game used a synergistic rather than competitive play strategy to determine ways to best harness the natural resources of the planet. Fuller’s map gives a better sense of the relative sizes of the continents than the usual Mercator projections, and even more subversively does not have a natural “up” or “down” that de-privileges people’s usual expectations of maps and the sense of space that they project. Fuller maintained that the goal was to “make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” The World Game was a product of postscarcity thinking and 1960s’ utopianism, played without benefit of networks and computer simulations, but its essential message—that humans working together have the 73 CHAPTER 3 potential to craft a better world—resonates, and more than ever looks like a prototype for the networked effects of simulation and participation.26 Running Room or Play Space?

 

pages: 220 words: 75,651

The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman

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airport security, Mercator projection, out of africa

The Siguntang, I soon discovered, was packed with people just like him. “I need a break,” he said. “I’ve been working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, for six months straight, and I quit because they weren’t paying us enough. We were supposed to have one day a week off, but we didn’t.” He’d been working on a dredging barge creating The World, a miniature land of islands in the shape of a Mercator projection of the world’s continents on which vacation villas for the rich would be built, with a crew of Iranians and Filipinos. “In Dubai I never saw an Arab,” he said. “Indians, Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Indonesians only.” Over the years he’d worked in Singapore, in Brunei, on oil rigs off the island of Kalimantan, and he straddled worlds. He was a Toraja, a once fierce race of seafarers who lived in stylized wooden houses with upturned roofs, carried out elaborate funeral rituals and interred their dead in family caves.

 

pages: 264 words: 79,589

Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground by Kevin Poulsen

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Apple II, Brian Krebs, Burning Man, corporate governance, dumpster diving, Exxon Valdez, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, index card, McMansion, Mercator projection, offshore financial centre, packet switching, pirate software, Ponzi scheme, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, traffic fines, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, Zipcar

A marquee at the entrance gave top billing to the Cowboy Country Saloon, and below that it was the usual south Los Angeles mix: a liquor store, a pawnshop, a nail salon. And one more that was less usual: UBuyWeRush—the only retail sign in Los Angeles that was also a handle on CarderPlanet and Shadowcrew. He walked into the front office, where an empty reception window suggested the sixty-cent-per-square-foot space had once been a medical clinic. On the wall a Mercator projection map of the world bristled with pushpins. Then Chris was greeted warmly by UBuy himself, Cesar Carrenza. Cesar had come to the underground by a circuitous course. He graduated from the DeVry Institute in 2001 with a degree in computer programming, hoping to get an Internet job. When he couldn’t find one, he decided to try his hand as an independent businessman on the Web. From an ad in the Daily Commerce, he learned about an upcoming auction at a public storage facility in Long Beach, where the owners were selling off the contents of abandoned lockers.

 

Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day by John H. Johnson

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Black Swan, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, obamacare, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, wikimedia commons, Yogi Berra

It did this by using straight lines to represent the path a ship could take without changing ­course—​­a novel approach that made it much easier for ship captains to deliver their goods. This mapmaking technique required some finagling on Mercator’s part, since a sailor’s direct path on a ­three-​­dimensional globe doesn’t automatically translate to a straight line on a ­t wo-​­dimensional map. But Mercator figured out how to do it, and enjoyed the fame and fortune that followed.1 221158 i-xiv 1-210 r4ga.indd  83 2/8/16  5:58:50 PM 84 E V E R Y D ATA Figure 6‑1  A Mercator projection. Licensed under the Creative Commons ­Attribution-​­Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Created by user $200inaire on Wikimedia Commons. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercator_Blank_Map​ _World.png#filelinks) Figure 6‑2  For comparison purposes, here’s a Winkel tripel projection. Licensed under the Creative Commons ­Attribution-​­Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Created by user Hellerick on Wikimedia Commons.

 

pages: 414 words: 105,153

Ringworld by Larry Niven

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dark matter, gravity well, Mercator projection, supervolcano

It looked like something done with a Build-A-City set, by a child too young to know what he was doing. Nessus had been steering when they left Zignamuclickclick. Later he had turned the fleet over to Speaker. They had flown all night. Now, overhead, a brighter glow along one edge of the central shadow square showed that dawn was near. Sometime during these past hours, Louis had found a way to visualize the scale of the Ringworld. It involved a Mercator projection of the planet Earth—a common, rectangular, classroom wall map—but with the equator drawn to one-to-one scale. One could relief-sculpt such a map, so that standing near the equator would be exactly like standing on the real Earth. But one could draw forty such maps, edge to edge, across the width of the Ringworld. Such a map would be greater in area than the Earth. But one could map it into the Ringworld’s topography, and look away for a moment, and never be able to find it again.

 

pages: 302 words: 91,517

Baghdad Without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz

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Ayatollah Khomeini, Donald Trump, Khartoum Gordon, Mercator projection, trade route

Mahn at the Information Ministry in Baghdad: a small glass globe containing an inch of dirt and a tiny Iraqi flag, commemorating Iraq's “liberation” of a strategic peninsula called Faw. The globe's wooden base bore an inscription that read: “The Earth of Faw Mixed with Blood of Iraqi Martyrs.” It was destined for the mantelpiece in London. I hit on the television to keep me company while I packed. The English-language news began as it always did, with a crude Mercator projection of the Middle East and an off-speed medley of Arab tunes. An anchorman began reading the AP wire in halting English. There was shelling again in Beirut. Something about hostages in the Bekaa Valley. A new American plan for Middle East peace. And the Israelis had shot dead two more Palestinians in Gaza. I wondered for a moment if Egyptian TV, through oversight or impoverishment, had simply rebroadcast a tape of the news from two years before.

 

pages: 349 words: 27,507

E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Berlin Wall, British Empire, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mercator projection, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Thorstein Veblen, V2 rocket

. : Textbooks usually say that a speeding car’s length will be contracted, shrinking to the thickness of tissue paper. But although a direct application of the contraction factor from the note on page 249 would suggest this to be the case, what actually occurs is more subtle, due to such effects as the way light coming from different parts of the car must be emitted at different times. Distortions are similar to the way the three-dimensional Earth gets skewed when it’s converted into two-dimensional Mercator projections for maps. 83 The Global Positioning System . . . : Along with the corrections applied to GPS satellite signals that do stem from special relativity, substantial effects are also due to general relativistic considerations, as is well surveyed in Clifford M. Will, Was Einstein Right: Putting General Relativity to the Test (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). I love the idea that millions of people, holding GPS receivers at one time or another, have wrapped their hands around devices that contain miniaturized transpositions of the logical sequences that once occurred in Einstein’s brain. 84 . . . the label relativity . . . : Einstein never used the phrase theory of relativity in his original 1905 paper; this was only suggested by Planck and others a year later.

 

pages: 317 words: 107,653

A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams by Michael Pollan

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A Pattern Language, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, dematerialisation, Frank Gehry, interchangeable parts, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, place-making, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, The Great Good Place, urban renewal

Now I knew fir, how the rub of oil elicits its fine salmon hue, and how the small, tight knots in an ordinary two-by-four will fluster the calm sweep of its grain. White pine blushes faintly pink, swirling here and there with nuttier streaks of heartwood, and as the permanent wetting of the oil brought forward the sweeping grain and figuration of my ash, I could make out beneath the desk’s finish what looked like a half-dozen baseball bats flattened out in a kind of Mercator projection. There are boards in this building already as familiar to me as the skin on the back of my hand. HABITABLE FURNITURE Two and half years ago, when I mentioned to Charlie that I conceived of my building as a piece of furniture, all I had in mind was a particular scale and a tightly ordered, ship-shape layout—certainly not an intricate wooden interior that I would end up sanding and oiling and rubbing every square inch of by hand.

 

pages: 309 words: 100,573

Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections by Patrick Smith

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airline deregulation, airport security, Atul Gawande, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collective bargaining, inflight wifi, low cost carrier, Maui Hawaii, Mercator projection, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, race to the bottom, Skype, Tenerife airport disaster

These routes won’t make sense if you’re looking at a traditional flat map, because when the earth is crushed from its natural round state into a horizontal one, it becomes distorted as the divisions of latitude and longitude stretch apart. (Depending on the layout used—what cartographers call “projection”—the distortion can be grotesque. Kids grow up believing that Greenland is about ten times larger than it really is, thanks to the preposterous polar dimensions of the commonly used Mercator projection.) If you have a globe handy, however, the logic of great circles is very apparent. Measuring with a piece of string, it’s obvious that the shortest distance between New York and Hong Kong, for instance, is not westerly, as it would seem on a map, but pretty much straight north, up into the Arctic, and then straight south. Over the top, in other words. That’s the extreme, but the principle applies to many long-range pairings, and this is why passengers between America and Europe discover themselves not just high up, but high up—over Newfoundland, Labrador, and occasionally the icy realm of Greenland.

 

pages: 542 words: 163,735

The City and the Stars / The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke

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British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Mercator projection, Stephen Hawking

He knew that Phobos, the inner moon, had been used as a base ever since the first expedition had reached Mars. Only 6,000 kilometers from the surface of the planet, and with a gravity less than a thousandth of Earth’s, it was ideal for this purpose. The Ares was due to dock in less than a week, and already Mars was a small disc showing numerous surface markings even to the naked eye. Gibson had borrowed a large Mercator projection of the planet and had begun to learn the names of its chief features— names that had been given, most of them, more than a century ago by astronomers who had certainly never dreamed that men would one day use them as part of their normal lives. How poetical those old mapmakers had been when they had ransacked mythology! Even to look at those words on the map was to set the blood pounding in the veins— Deucalion, Elysium, Eumenides, Arcadia, Atlantis, Utopia, Eos….

 

pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

BOX: Rivers over Borders How to Negotiate with Nature BOX: Measuring the Supply Chain’s Footprint Location, Location, Location CONCLUSION: FROM CONNECTIVITY TO RESILIENCE A New Moral Compass Networks That Run Themselves Building a Borderless World Recommended Sites and Tools for Mapping Map Insert Dedication Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Map Credits and Sources By Parag Khanna About the Author PROLOGUE The natural consequence of any obsession is passing it on to one’s children. I’ve been collecting globes, maps, and other geographic artifacts since my itinerant childhood. Thus it is hardly a coincidence to have been writing portions of this book while methodically assembling a thousand-piece world map with my daughter. The map is a Mercator projection, named for the sixteenth-century Flemish geographer who sought to make maps more useful for navigation but in the process massively distorted the scale of the extreme latitudes. Hence my daughter exclaiming, “Greenland is so big!” (While also wondering why it was colored orange.) Africa was the easiest continent to piece together: With fifty-four countries, each little jigsaw shape was full of clues such as contrasting national colors and city names.

 

pages: 570 words: 151,609

Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White, Richard Truly

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Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Maui Hawaii, Mercator projection, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket

Soon Young and Crippen would be the only two people who knew whether or not they were alive or dead. His movement restricted by the layers of his Nomex pressure suit, Young reached forward to the coaming above the instrument panel and punched a button to switch the orbiter’s body flap from manual to automatic. SIXTY-THREE Houston, 1981 Inside Mission Control there was tension you could chew. The Mercator projection world map that had recorded Columbia’s orbital track around the globe on big screens in front of the consoles was taken down. In its place went a graphic showing the Shuttle’s velocity and ground track across the Pacific toward the West Coast. The former was also included in the flight dynamics data displayed in front of Joe Allen and Rick Hauck at CapCom. But for sixteen minutes, from the point when hot plasma gas engulfed the Shuttle, there was nothing.

 

pages: 913 words: 299,770

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

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affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, death of newspapers, desegregation, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, friendly fire, full employment, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, land reform, Mercator projection, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, very high income, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

The historian’s distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual. Furthermore, this ideological interest is not openly expressed in the way a mapmaker’s technical interest is obvious (“This is a Mercator projection for long-range navigation—for short-range, you’d better use a different projection”). No, it is presented as if all readers of history had a common interest which historians serve to the best of their ability. This is not intentional deception; the historian has been trained in a society in which education and knowledge are put forward as technical problems of excellence and not as tools for contending social classes, races, nations.

 

pages: 1,197 words: 304,245

The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, clockwork universe, Commentariolus, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, germ theory of disease, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge economy, lone genius, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, QWERTY keyboard, Republic of Letters, spice trade, spinning jenny, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Loth to goe up the hill, or labour thus To goe to heaven, we make heaven come to us.82 European world maps placed Europe at the centre, but when the Chinese were shown a world map by Matteo Ricci and complained that China should be at the centre, he promptly produced a new map which did just that.xix Mercator’s projection (1599), when used to produce a world map, shrinks countries close to the equator and makes the northern countries appear much larger than they really are, but this is an entirely accidental consequence of constructing a projection which enables a course plotted on a chart to be used directly for navigational purposes; the Mercator projection, which shows a three-dimensional globe on a flat surface, distorts distances in order to preserve accuracy when it comes to directions. These maps were originally intended as tools for sailors, not assertions of European supremacy; they look like ideological statements only to people who do not use them for navigation. Moreover, until the eighteenth century, cartographers were mainly interested in producing maps for the purposes of navigation.

 

pages: 1,773 words: 486,685

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker

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agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, friendly fire, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Khyber Pass, Mercator projection, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Republic of Letters, South China Sea, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, World Values Survey

The Ming emperors ruled over far more subjects than anyone else (Fig. 16).4 Nevertheless in spring 1644 the dynasty's northern capital, Beijing, fell twice: first to an army of rebels from the northwest, and a few weeks later to Manchu invaders from the northeast, who drove out the rebels. The victors then undertook campaigns of conquest that eventually created a state twice as large as Ming China and endured for two centuries. No other political change in the mid-seventeenth century affected so many people, caused so much damage, or created such lasting consequences. 16. Ming China and its neighbours. Most maps of East Asia use Mercator's projection, which increases the size of Ming China compared with the steppes where the Manchu dynasty achieved dominance in the early seventeenth century. In 1644, the Great Wall failed to protect Beijing (the Ming northern capital) from capture, first by a bandit army from the west and then by the Manchus from the north. Nanjing (the southern capital) fell the following year. Manchus versus Ming The late Ming regime suffered from three endemic weaknesses.