Maps https://scienceblogs.com/ en All Roads Lead to Rome https://scienceblogs.com/catdynamics/2016/12/24/all-roads-lead-to-rome <span>All Roads Lead to Rome</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://roadstorome.moovellab.com/countries" target="_blank">Roads to Rome</a></p> <div style="width: 310px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/catdynamics/files/2016/12/0-Roads-to-Rome-Photo.jpg"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/catdynamics/files/2016/12/0-Roads-to-Rome-Photo-300x200.jpg" alt="All roads really read to Rome" width="300" height="200" class="size-medium wp-image-3934" /></a> All roads really read to Rome </div> <p>moovel lab makes funky maps,<br /> go play</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/catdynamics" lang="" about="/author/catdynamics" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">catdynamics</a></span> <span>Fri, 12/23/2016 - 18:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/random" hreflang="en">Random</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/history" hreflang="en">History</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/networks" hreflang="en">Networks</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/catdynamics/2016/12/24/all-roads-lead-to-rome%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 23 Dec 2016 23:43:20 +0000 catdynamics 66606 at https://scienceblogs.com Ask Ethan #4: Weird Astronomy Maps https://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/09/27/ask-ethan-4-weird-astronomy-maps <span>Ask Ethan #4: Weird Astronomy Maps</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><blockquote><p>"I have an existential map. It has 'You are here' written all over it." -<em>Steven Wright</em></p></blockquote> <p>So just because the <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/category/ask-ethan/">Ask Ethan</a> series is becoming way more popular than I can handle -- I've got more than 200 questions that I'm sitting on by now -- doesn't mean you should stop <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/questions-suggestions/">sending your questions</a>! There are some really good ones, and today's comes from Robert Plotner, who asks:</p> <blockquote><p>When maps of the CMB are depicted, they are shown as a flattened ovoid. How does this correlate to our view of the sky which is a sphere? For example, a global map of the Earth is either distorted to show it in two dimensions or sliced up. What actual part of the sky are we looking at when we see the CMB represented? Is it distorted to show it in two dimensions? If we are only seeing part of the sky represented, is there any missing information that could add to our understanding? Thank you.</p></blockquote> <p>Robert, of course, is talking about the famous pictures that look like this:</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/planck_cmb.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29369" alt="Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/planck_cmb-600x303.jpg" width="600" height="303" /></a> Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration. </div> <p>It might seem difficult to believe, but as unconventional as it may seem, there's actually the <strong>entire sky</strong> encoded in that image.</p> <p>Think about the Earth, if you will.</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/map_mercator.gif"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29373" alt="Image credit: IDL online help, via http://climserv.ipsl.polytechnique.fr/." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/map_mercator-600x477.gif" width="600" height="477" /></a> Image credit: IDL online help, via <a href="http://climserv.ipsl.polytechnique.fr/">http://climserv.ipsl.polytechnique.fr/</a>. </div> <p>A map like this is probably what you're used to when you visualize the Earth. Maybe if you live in the USA, you're used to the Americas being centered; maybe if you live in the U.K., you're used to the map being centered <em>just so</em> that France is cut off of both the left and right sides. In any case, this is the most common styling of maps of Earth that you're likely to find.</p> <p>It's also <em>wildly</em> inaccurate. You might be surprised to learn that Africa is more than <em>double</em> the size of Antarctica, that South America is actually <em>larger</em> than Russia, and that Australia is more than three times the size of Greenland! This is due to the fact that the Earth <em>isn't</em> a flat, 2D surface; the surface of the Earth resides on a sphere!</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/Globespin.gif"><img class="size-full wp-image-29371" alt="Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Wikiscient, using NASA's &quot;Visible Earth&quot;." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/Globespin.gif" width="600" height="600" /></a> Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Wikiscient, using NASA's "Visible Earth". </div> <p>But if you take the surface of a sphere and try to "unroll" it, or create a flat surface out of it, it doesn't work out nicely at all! Don't believe me? Take an orange, peel it (carefully), and try to lay the peel down flat on a level surface. Chances are, if you do a <em>really</em> good job, you'll end up with something like this.</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/op_goodehomolosine.png"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29372" alt="Image credit: Nathan P. Belz, M.S., E.I.; U. of Vermont." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/op_goodehomolosine-600x332.png" width="600" height="332" /></a> Image credit: Nathan P. Belz, M.S., E.I.; U. of Vermont. </div> <p>The problem is, when you take a spherical surface and try to lay it out flat, <em>something</em>'s going to give.</p> <p>If you insist on making a flat map like you're used to seeing for the surface of the Earth, you can make a completely connected map with nice grid-like (perpendicular) latitude and longitude lines, but you have to sacrifice the accuracy of area. (That type of map projection is called a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection">Mercator projection</a>.)</p> <p>You can keep the accurate area and the perpendicular latitude/longitude lines if you're willing to give up connectedness, like the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goode_homolosine_projection">Goode homolosine projection</a>, above.</p> <p>Or, you can do some sort of compromise, keeping a connected map with perpendicular latitudes/longitudes but compressing latitudes the higher they get, getting you closer to equal areas (but not quite there), as you can see below.</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/earth-map-down.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29370" alt="Image credit: Donald Smith, Jr., of @Mire; © 2002-2012 Duraspace." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/earth-map-down-600x300.jpg" width="600" height="300" /></a> Image credit: Donald Smith, Jr., of @mire labs; © 2002-2012 Duraspace. </div> <p>None of these are entirely satisfying, and they couldn't possibly be! It's impossible to keep perpendicular latitude/longitude lines, accurate areas, and a completely connected map without sacrificing something; that's because the surface of a sphere <i>isn't</i> flat, and it's impossible for it to be accurately laid flat.</p> <p>This is true for a map of the (almost <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2010/11/14/weekend-diversion-save-the-wor/">plenispherical</a>) Earth, and it's true when we look up at the heavens, too.</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/Coordinate-celesti-anteprima.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29374" alt="Image credit: Massimo Mogi Vicentini of http://www.mogi-vice.com/." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/Coordinate-celesti-anteprima-600x600.jpg" width="600" height="600" /></a> Image credit: Massimo Mogi Vicentini of <a href="http://www.mogi-vice.com/">http://www.mogi-vice.com/</a>. </div> <p>So whenever we go to visualize the <em>entire</em> sky and present it in a two-dimensional format, we've <em>got</em> to sacrifice something. The only question is <strong>what</strong> it's going to be!</p> <p>Because size (or area) in astronomy is <em>so</em> important, that <em>can't</em> be something we sacrifice. It's also important to keep everything visually connected, because there are no gaps in space. So we wind up sacrificing the perpendicularity of latitude and longitude (or declination and right ascension, as we call their analogues in astronomy), and lose the accuracy of angles and shapes in order to preserve the things that are important to us. We <em>could</em> (but don't usually) do the same thing to Earth!</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/mollweide.gif"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29375" alt="Image credit: UNC Chapel Hill, via http://www.learnnc.org/." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/mollweide-600x302.gif" width="600" height="302" /></a> Image credit: UNC Chapel Hill, via <a href="http://www.learnnc.org/">http://www.learnnc.org/</a>. </div> <p>This particular projection is known as a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollweide_projection">Mollweide projection</a>, and if you remember those three things I told you about the Earth earlier:</p> <ul><li>that Africa is more than <em>double</em> the size of Antarctica,</li> <li>that South America is actually <em>larger</em> than Russia, and</li> <li>that Australia is more than three times the size of Greenland,</li> </ul><p>they're probably much easier to believe looking at a projection like this! Well, <em>this</em> is what we do to the sky -- or simply how we project it -- when we present it in a 2D visualization!</p> <p>So rather than show you a shot of the galaxy like this, which is only <em>part</em> of the sky...</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/kellmooo.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29354" alt="Image credit: Kelly Montgomery." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/kellmooo-600x398.jpg" width="600" height="398" /></a> Image credit: Kelly Montgomery. </div> <p>we show you the <em>whole thing</em>, as shown in a galacto-centric Mollweide projection!</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/2mass_allskyatlas.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29376" alt="Image credit: Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) / IPAC / Caltech &amp; UMass." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/2mass_allskyatlas-600x370.jpg" width="600" height="370" /></a> Image credit: Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) / IPAC / Caltech &amp; UMass. </div> <p>When we look in the microwave portion of the spectrum, like the Planck spacecraft did, it sees everything from all the sources in the sky, including the galactic foregrounds, the zodiacal light and dust, as well as the primordial, cosmic light from the Big Bang.</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/PLANCK_FSM_03_Black.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29377" alt="Image credit: ESA / LFI and HFI Consortia." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/PLANCK_FSM_03_Black-600x323.jpg" width="600" height="323" /></a> Image credit: ESA / LFI and HFI Consortia. </div> <p>And finally, when we subtract out those galactic foregrounds, the "average" 2.725 K blackbody temperature...</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/monopole-600x442.gif"><img class="size-full wp-image-29378" alt="Image credit: COBE DMR team, NASA." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/monopole-600x442.gif" width="600" height="442" /></a> Image credit: COBE DMR team, NASA. </div> <p>the CMB dipole, or our peculiar motion through the Universe,</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/dipole-s-600x307.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-29379" alt="Image credit: NASA / COBE science team." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/dipole-s-600x307.jpg" width="600" height="307" /></a> Image credit: NASA / COBE science team. </div> <p>that's when we can <em>finally</em> see <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/03/21/what-the-entire-universe-is-made-of-thanks-to-planck/">the important stuff from the CMB's leftover glow</a>.</p> <div style="width: 610px;display:block;margin:0 auto;"><a href="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/735681main_pia16873-43_946-7101.jpeg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-29380" alt="Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration." src="/files/startswithabang/files/2013/09/735681main_pia16873-43_946-7101-600x450.jpeg" width="600" height="450" /></a> Image credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration. </div> <p>We then break that up into its different components (using spherical harmonics), analyze it, and <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/03/27/the-science-of-the-cosmic-microwave-background/">that's how we learn about the Universe</a>! But we do <em>all</em> of it in a Mollweide projection, and that's why the maps of the sky appear in the shape they do! But there's nothing missing; you're seeing the whole sky all at once. It just takes a little getting used to.</p> <p>So <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/questions-suggestions/">keep sending your questions</a>, and I'll keep teaching you about the Universe, or whatever it is you're asking about!</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/startswithabang" lang="" about="/startswithabang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">esiegel</a></span> <span>Fri, 09/27/2013 - 11:36</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ask-ethan" hreflang="en">ask Ethan</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/astronomy-0" hreflang="en">Astronomy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/big-bang" hreflang="en">Big Bang</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/accurate" hreflang="en">accurate</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/earth" hreflang="en">Earth</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mercator" hreflang="en">mercator</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mollweide" hreflang="en">mollweide</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/sky" hreflang="en">sky</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ask-ethan" hreflang="en">ask Ethan</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521834" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380307172"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>You've mapped this out very well. Cheers. :-)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521834&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="R2-PYi823De6TDnwirGKNboeqeh7zf2PZsb7pHbXzmM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">StevoR (not verified)</span> on 27 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521834">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521835" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380308280"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Googled for:- "spherical harmonics" CMBR...</p> <p>Hit a wall of mathematics<br /> If anyone knows of an online idiot guide please let me know here :)</p> <p>BTW Ethan, I always check the "Notify me of followup comments via E-Mail" box when I comment, but it doesn't work.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521835&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="mHVtxVZaDHXW6V4hDuKCbf_YIkT41y1QlEzZCk5353U"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Michael Fisher (not verified)</span> on 27 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521835">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521836" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380323708"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@2 Michael Fisher</p> <p>The short version:</p> <p>Think of Fourier analysis, any function on the real line can be written as a sum of sines and cosines of varying frequencies and amplitudes. Studying those frequencies and amplitudes (the spectrum) can tell you something about the function. High amplitude low frequency (co)sines tell you there are repeating large scale patterns. High frequency means lower scale patterns.</p> <p>Spherical harmonics does the same, but for functions on a sphere. The functions are a bit more complicated, as they have to fit on the surface of a sphere as opposed to a line, but the spectrum again gives you information about whether there are large or small scale patterns.</p> <p>The long version: A 2nd or 3rd year calculus textbook should give a detailed explanation.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521836&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="lznPitsGp7xRkBW3VEVULamV6zMMd3H20rIlpmkufq8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert (not verified)</span> on 27 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521836">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521837" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380334843"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>test</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521837&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="KeV7x4_B3nx_An1gGdXmlehuv9x-XtNoC1gj6ii8Bj8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">derek (not verified)</span> on 27 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521837">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521838" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380335110"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"just so that France is cut off of both the left and right sides" </p> <p>I don't get how that would work, given that the UK and France are at largely the same longitudes. </p> <p>I'm also puzzled by the recent growing trend of nasty remarks about the British in American blogs. Is this related to the recent vote against bombing Syria? Are we now the new Freedom Fries?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521838&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="GCHObYfehxItHMz3b99GHvli4KTiKdi1ovoRsagPa8A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">derek (not verified)</span> on 27 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521838">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521839" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380345711"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Map projections! I love them.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521839&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="eDeu1qbFQ4LvWfHLb56-uJXamUVIlS-gY3-7TZ-Xuqs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert H. Olley (not verified)</span> on 28 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521839">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="33" id="comment-1521840" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380351797"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Michael @2,</p> <p>You might want to check out the 11th image (the animated one) in this post here, that shows a breakdown into spherical harmonics: <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/03/27/the-science-of-the-cosmic-microwave-background/">http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/03/27/the-science-of-the-c…</a></p> <p>derek @5,</p> <p>I had a professor in college who taught geophysics, and one day he showed a map of the Earth (in a Mercator projection) that ended on the left side right where the center line comes down on the third image I showed you here, and picked up again on the right with Ireland, Portugal, and the western tip of Africa. (The prof was French.) When I asked him where England was, he just went on to the next slide.</p> <p>As for the growing trend of nasty remarks about the British in American blogs...? I haven't noticed it, but maybe we read different blogs? I certainly don't harbor any ill-will towards the British; that was a remark aimed at the long-standing contempt the British and French had (and in many ways, still have) for one another. Out of line to you?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521840&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="7ZfOEizIc43wR7gsmhOaRcVF4B2K9U0sfC1Kd2vaPfk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/startswithabang" lang="" about="/startswithabang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">esiegel</a> on 28 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521840">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/startswithabang"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/startswithabang" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/pictures/pastey-120x120_0.jpg?itok=sjrB9UJU" width="100" height="100" alt="Profile picture for user esiegel" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521841" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380353157"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Being a draftsman with an obsessive compulsion for accuracy, I had to come to terms with the inaccuracies of cartological projections long ago. In spite of my experience, I still had problems visualizing the CMB map from the time the first one was published. I found that looking at a Mollweide projection of the earth immediately before viewing the CMB map always makes the CMB immensely more coherent.</p> <p>I wonder how the Flat Earth Society ever deals with this. I know they suffered a major blow when they learned their membership had gone global.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521841&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="MvqBE15e5Qbm3TiSsCIJ621RTnNGQsnE1WKwos8NXbo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MandoZink (not verified)</span> on 28 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521841">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521842" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380354545"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It seems that the information which is sacrificed in the Mollweide projection is depth (range, distance, etc.). In the projection of the entire sky, there is no way to determine the distance from our position to any point on the map, nor the three dimensional space between any two points on the map.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521842&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="fCcKxws2YfYKzSctgATXXu58zsuP6hmlJYFCvayKBz0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Maineiac (not verified)</span> on 28 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521842">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521843" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380407365"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Seems to me we should have an answer for this in the form of computer map applications. Bye-bye flat maps, hello virtual globe that you can spin until you find what you're looking for, and then zoom in on it in a particular manner that's related to your purpose for looking at it. </p> <p>If you're looking to chart navigation or airline routes, you get one type of view. If you're looking for the relationship between sizes of land masses, you get something else, etc. etc. </p> <p>(Don't anyone say Google Earth, there must be something else that's viable for educational purposes without having to patronize a surveillance monster with a budget many times that of NSA.)</p> <p>OTOH for classroom use there is something inherently valuable about an actual physical globe. (As a useful side-effect, it viscerally reinforces the point that the Earth is finite.)</p> <p>As for maps of the universe, how'bout a "reverse globe" software application, where your point of view is from the surface of Earth looking outward?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521843&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="oZ65NLago3DD-mYARzCzHFZeH1cwL60Vy0I3csdgKWc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">G (not verified)</span> on 28 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521843">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521844" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380428507"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>MandoZink: I don't know about the Flat Earth Society. But the Flat Universe Society are having some problems with all those diehards who think the universe doesn't have an edge!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521844&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="UykIBTpB4DL5VmxthjmP1wrP7k1TM60qEXT0MxmoaA0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">John Duffield (not verified)</span> on 29 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521844">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521845" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380509777"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The map projection issue was also covered very nicely in The West Wing (season 2, episode 16).</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521845&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="x-Labf8r0BRdYDtnNs3QaVCPkULE2hpP_fpgfBU50l4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Chris Beach (not verified)</span> on 29 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521845">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521846" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380513253"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>G,</p> <p>Certainly there's something satisfying about a physical globe. It's the only way to represent the entire earth completely accurately. Any graphical representation that you can pull up on a computer monitor is still a 2D projection of a 3D sphere, and therefore must contain some distortion. Only the actual 3D globe can represent the earth without distortion.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521846&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="JZLiGtxnusbAhU4Nq5AqboZnfnIDiQVtc-ARn875tqA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sean T (not verified)</span> on 29 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521846">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521847" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380518307"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Choosing your map projection is a matter of choosing the right tool for the job. If you are sailing a ship, and you don't have access to radio (Loran) or GPS location technology, then you want a map that is conformal (so that shapes are locally preserved) and that maps a course of constant compass heading to a straight line, so that you can be confident you are sailing toward the Southampton harbor (or whatever your destination is) rather than a bunch of rocks that will destroy your ship. Thus you want a Mercator projection, because that is the only projection that satisfies those two properties. But on a global scale, the Mercator projection is usually the wrong choice, because scales are distorted at high latitudes; its widespread use is the result of a British empire dependent on global scale shipping. For astrophysical applications, where preserving area is the overriding concern, the Mollweide projection is a better choice.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521847&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="2Kuid9zdisuvh1m0m9uUitoK6dqKP1xZES2OjxWE7a8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Eric Lund (not verified)</span> on 30 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521847">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521848" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380538416"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Growing up in Australia, my dad bought <a href="http://flourish.org/upsidedownmap/mcarthur-large.jpg">this map</a> as soon as it came out.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521848&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="9tnPZnwZUJTVxQkCa3Rmfe-XtKGt5MDKTPop98mHL5Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">eric (not verified)</span> on 30 Sep 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521848">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1521849" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1380750583"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Isn't that 2MASS map an Aitoff projection?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1521849&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="_tAtGgGQlqaoThL9rL-2KFRpeHx-ljqVU-iQ5urzVcA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Narad (not verified)</span> on 02 Oct 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-1521849">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/startswithabang/2013/09/27/ask-ethan-4-weird-astronomy-maps%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 15:36:32 +0000 esiegel 35704 at https://scienceblogs.com The Canals of Mars https://scienceblogs.com/universe/2012/09/28/the-canals-of-mars <span>The Canals of Mars</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The space-heads among you have undoubtedly heard about the Curiosity rover's <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16156.html">first significant discovery</a>: the remnants of an ancient streambed on Mars, which would seem to indicate the presence of water in the planet's history. This jagged pile of alluvial rock and dust <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/692073main_Grotzinger-1-closeup-pia16156.jpg">may not look like much</a>, but it brings to mind one of my favorite pieces of Martian historical arcana.</p> <p>For a time in the late 19th century, it was believed that there were canals on Mars.</p> <p>The Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who observed Mars in 1877, was the first to describe, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Martian_canals">name</a>, and <a href="http://planetologia.elte.hu/ipcd/ipcd.html?cim=schiaparelli_mars_maps">lovingly illustrate</a> mysterious straight lines along its equatorial regions, which he called <em>canali</em>. Viewed with the telescopes of the day, in brief instances of still air amidst the optical strangeness of atmosphere, Mars was tough to figure. There are areas which appear darker or lighter (these are called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo_feature">Albedo features</a>); to an enthusiastic observer, it was easy to speculate of continents, oceans, or even straight-line canals.</p> <p>Beset by the same optical illusions, many astronomers seconded Schiaparelli's observations. The maps of the day show a Mars riven with peculiar webs and lines–lines which successive high-resolution mapping of the planet have definitively shown do not exist. The mechanism that caused this illusion appears to be internal: faced with a shifting landscape of foggy forms, glimpsed at through simple lenses of glass through the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_seeing">refractive index of Earth's atmosphere</a>, the human brain tends to impose order.</p> <p>The persistence of belief in Martian canals is often attributed to a linguistic fluke, that the Italian <em>canali, </em>meaning "channel" (or watercourse, and not necessarily of unnatural origin), was mistranslated to the English "canal." I really love this narrative of language shaping reality, but unfortunately it's the astronomical equivalent of an urban legend. "Canal," in fact, was used in the earliest English accounts, and Schiaparelli made no move to correct the misunderstanding, if he was aware of it.</p> <p>Still, astronomers ran with the idea. The Irish astronomer <a href="http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?bibcode=1959IrAJ....5..173M&amp;db_key=AST&amp;page_ind=3&amp;data_type=GIF&amp;type=SCREEN_VIEW&amp;classic=YES">Charles E. Burton made beautiful sketches of the lines</a>, and (according to an unsubstantiated Wikipedia entry) speculated that they were ley lines used by Martian sorcerers. The American Percival Lowell, who founded the <a href="http://www.lowell.edu">Lowell Observatory</a> in 1894, made the most committed speculations on the subject. Despite ramping scientific skepticism to the contrary, Lowell almost single-handedly popularized the notion of the canals as proof that the planet once sustained intelligent life. His drawings of the canals look like Italian Futurist masterworks or the spacey doodles of Joan Miró.</p> <p><a href="/files/universe/files/2012/09/canalslowell.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-413" title="canalslowell" src="/files/universe/files/2012/09/canalslowell.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="281" /></a></p> <blockquote><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>"That Mars is inhabited by beings of some sort of other we may consider as certain as it is uncertain what those beings may be." </strong><br /><strong>– Percival Lowell</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>In his books (sample titles: <em>Mars and its Canals, Mars as the Abode of Life</em>), Lowell put forth a theory that the canals were visible traces of an dwindling civilization's attempts to tap the planet's polar icecaps. The late 19th century was a period of great canal-building on the home planet–the Suez and Panama Canals were both freshly dug at the end of the 1800s–and so the dreamy hypothesis that Schiaparelli's <em>canali</em> were irrigation canals made by intelligent beings resonated with the cultural imagination.</p> <p>Later, Percival Lowell began to notice similar phenomena on Venus; simultaneously, as telescopes and astronomical technique developed, his theories were objectively discounted. <a href="http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/3306251.html?page=1&amp;c=y">More recent scholarship</a> suggests that Lowell was merely observing projections of the vein structure of his own eyeball, a known nuisance among planetary observers using very high magnification. This would explain, among other things, the phenomenon's consistency across two far-flung planets in our Solar System.</p> <p>Given the symbolic parallels between outer space and inner space in many cultures, the fact that Percival Lowell spent an entire career mapping the strucure of his own retinas while believing them to be interplanetary ruins is very nearly mystical.</p> <p><a href="/files/universe/files/2012/09/canalseye.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-414" title="canalseye" src="/files/universe/files/2012/09/canalseye.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="286" /></a></p> <p>As it turns out, there really are <em>canali, </em>or watercourses, on Mars–but that's just another marvelous instance of life imitating art. As for art imitating life, well, despite the fact that his scientific study was for nought, we can credit Lowell's inverted astronomy with the origin of a lasting trope within the science fiction of the early half of the 20th century. His "vision," if you will, of a dying Mars–and an ancient culture fighting to survive in its arid deserts–persisted in the works of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008JF8MXK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008JF8MXK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">Edgar Rice Burroughs</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345493184/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0345493184&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">Robert Heinlein</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DFHAPS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002DFHAPS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">C.S. Lewis</a>, to name only a few. One might even argue that Lowell's theories about water scarcity form the basis of a broader conceit about aliens coming to Earth to pillage our resources, in which case he is the unwitting progenitor of everything from <em>The War of the Worlds </em>to <em>Mars Attacks. </em></p> <p>But back to the canals: Ray Bradbury, in <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451678193/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1451678193&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">The Martian Chronicles</a></em>, had them flow with poetic "green liquors" and "lavender wine" under the yellow sun. Later, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0547572573/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0547572573&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">Philip K. Dick</a> would imagine despotic Water Workers' Unions controlling access to the little sustenance the Martian canals eked across the harsh Martian landscape. It's a broad spectrum, certainly, but many of the romantic associations we hold to Mars–the sense that it hangs in space like a ghost, a ruined sibling of Earth–are derived from these literary reveries, nearly all of which can be traced back to bad eyesight and illusions.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/cevans" lang="" about="/author/cevans" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cevans</a></span> <span>Fri, 09/28/2012 - 17:31</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/geology" hreflang="en">Geology</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/human" hreflang="en">Human</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/planets" hreflang="en">Planets</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/space-0" hreflang="en">space</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/astronomy-0" hreflang="en">Astronomy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/canals-mars" hreflang="en">Canals of Mars</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/eyes" hreflang="en">Eyes</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/giovanni-schiaparelli" hreflang="en">Giovanni Schiaparelli</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/history" hreflang="en">History</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mars" hreflang="en">Mars</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/percival-lowell" hreflang="en">Percival Lowell</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/rivers" hreflang="en">Rivers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/water-mars" hreflang="en">Water on Mars</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/space-0" hreflang="en">space</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2511312" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1348902018"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Although it makes a good story to blame the appearance of canals on Mars on one man's bad eyesight, it doesn't reflect history accurately. Lowell was far from the only observer to see the canals, and maps with similar features were drawn by others: Schiaparelli, of course, but also Antoniadi (early in his career), Douglass, Pickering, Williams, and many others.</p> <p>As Antoniadi showed over several decades of work with the Meudon refractor, the surface of Mars is covered with many small and low-contrast surface features. As human eyes view these features through the ever-changing atmosphere, they often perceive linear features running from one darkish spot to another -- even though no such linear features really exist. The human visual system apparently has a quirk for imposing some sort of order on the chaotic and ephemeral image.</p> <p>It would be more fair to blame the human visual system for the many reports of Martian canals, not the bad eyesight of Percival Lowell alone.</p> <p>On the other hand, Lowell's reports of canals on the disk of Venus cannot be attributed to this facet of the brain, as there are certainly no faint features to be seen in its atmosphere. So, if you wish to draw analogies between the tracks of blood vessels on the human retina and linear features seen on planetary disks, please restrict your discussion to Venus.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511312&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="lbRreKnQBfe4_N4oaQyMUN8NkL1upnnfxnK_xwfZJt8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Michael Richmond (not verified)</span> on 29 Sep 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511312">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="389" id="comment-2511313" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1348905264"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hi Michael,</p> <p>You make some great points, and I've edited the piece for clarity in the light of your comments. For what it's worth, I'm not pinning the belief in canals single-handedly on Lowell, just tracing a historical line from his eyesight to the forward-thinking "vision" of our cultural imagination of Mars. After all, it's Lowell's harebrained theories–that the "canals" he saw were signs of an intelligent, but dying, civilization–that fed the popular imagination, forming the basis of the fictional representation of Mars today. </p> <p>Thanks again for your fine-toothed fact-checking.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511313&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="9518wAaeiMpkBhAniVfobHeKYE_yfSwdK37YWJqe8JY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/cevans" lang="" about="/author/cevans" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cevans</a> on 29 Sep 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511313">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/cevans"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/cevans" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2511314" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1348910138"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There's no doubt that Lowell's ideas were both wrong and enormously influential, so your basic point stands, of course. </p> <p>By the way, if you happen to have the chance to hold Lowell's books in your hands and read them, please do -- you'll find that they are beautiful examples of the bookmaker's art. The current prices for copies are in the high hundreds of dollars, and for good reason.</p> <p>I do wish that more scientists had the time and the money that Lowell had, so that they could produce monographs on their own favorite topics.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511314&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="KM0IR7jhqnkibhvaYmiJT-OB91MJdqc6g7MpjJJRRko"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Michael Richmond (not verified)</span> on 29 Sep 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511314">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="389" id="comment-2511315" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1349081460"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Michael, if the handful of Lowell's illustrations of Mars that can be found online are any indicator, I'm certain his books are lovely!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511315&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="MhDwDw2Q768OzJN_1_YFj0Saf_u6B82lImBN4yrpp5s"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/cevans" lang="" about="/author/cevans" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cevans</a> on 01 Oct 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511315">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/cevans"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/cevans" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/universe/2012/09/28/the-canals-of-mars%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 28 Sep 2012 21:31:40 +0000 cevans 150692 at https://scienceblogs.com Tubes: A Journey To the Center of the Internet https://scienceblogs.com/universe/2012/07/10/tubes <span>Tubes: A Journey To the Center of the Internet</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>William Gibson, first in his novel <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060539828/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0060539828&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">Burning Chrome</a></em> and then later in the seminal <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0441012035/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0441012035&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">Neuromancer</a></em>, both coined and defined "cyberspace" as "a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators." His novels predate the universal adoption of  the World Wide Web as a communication matrix, and his psychedelic fantasy of cyberspace–a kind of semantic space navigated by users in virtual-reality, where information takes form as navigable structures–is not quite (yet) our web, but he <em>was</em> correct in his estimation of the network as a hallucination.</p> <p>Most of us know, on some foggy level, that the internet is made of <em>stuff. </em>We're not sure what, exactly, but we imagine cables are involved, and distant buildings full of computers. The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuromancer">consensual hallucination</a> of our time is our willful ignorance of these tangibles. We perceive and treat the Internet as though it were inchoate; the trend of the moment is precisely to imagine it as a cloud, which summons visions of tensile webs of information floating, ethereal, in the sky. Like a lot of things we can't see, we shelve it in the firmament and forget about it.</p> <p>This is where journalist Andrew Blum comes in, with his excellent new book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061994936/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0061994936&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=spacan03-20">Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet</a>–</em>to pull the cables down from the ceiling, if you will, and thrust them in our faces. Blum's opening gambit is a simple question: "When your Internet cable leaves your living room, where does it go?" To find the answer, he literally follows the cables out of the back of his router and across the world, to see a fiber-optic cable being dragged onto a Portuguese beach, to massively secretive Google data centers in the rural US, and to the major internet meeting-points of Europe.</p> <p>He takes great pains to continually remind us <em>why </em>his journey is interesting, which I understand. Done any other way and his tireless visits to internet exchanges, router manufacturers, and nondescript industrial buildings worldwide might be the most boring travelogue in the history of the genre. The Internet, as it turns out, isn't spectacular, nor is it built for tourism; Blum, in traveling halfway across the planet to look at a blinking router in a closet in Frankfurt, is as disappointed at the Internet's lack of fanfare as you might imagine. But he still stares at the green lights, the yellow network cables, feels the drone of machinery around him, and he drums it in: <em>these are tactile pieces of the thing! Pay attention! </em></p> <p><em></em>This disconnect between the network on the ground and its imagined form is the emotional center of the book, the uncanny friction that propels Blum along the titular tubes. I commend him for making it personal: in a rental car parked outside a landing station in Porthcurno, England, a few hundred yards from a cable that runs under a cow-field before plunging across the Atlantic ocean all the way to America, Blum's quotidian experiences as a networked person–video chatting with the kids, updating an editor via email–seem particularly surreal, and it makes our cobbled-together cyber-culture particularly fascinating.</p> <p><a href="/files/universe/files/2012/07/Undersea-Cables.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-307" title="Undersea-Cables" src="/files/universe/files/2012/07/Undersea-Cables.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="319" /></a></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061994936/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=spacan03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0061994936">Tubes</a> </em>might have well been called "<em>Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About the Internet But Were Afraid to Ask." </em>What boggled me while reading <em>Tubes </em>was the shocking, almost rudimentary simplicity of the Internet. It's cables. Cables strung, overland and undersea, all around the world, literally–or as network engineers say, logically<em>–</em>connecting our devices to one another. You call up a web page hosted in Singapore, and the bits, in the form of inconceivably fast beams of light, travel on fiber-optic rails all the way from South-East Asia to your actual computer. Which: OK, sure, of course. But also, <em>did you actually know that</em>?</p> <p>Unless one of the waypoints in that journey is dependent on satellite Internet, those bits never leave the surface of the planet; which is to say, contrary to popular abstraction, no clouds are involved in The Cloud. And yet the movement towards thinking about the Internet in such abstract terms shows no signs of slowing. As another one of our <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke">great science fiction prophets</a> already warned us, sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.</p> <p>Blum cites the near-universal ignorance of the Internet's inner workings as something definitive about this moment in technological history, and it certainly serves as <em>Tubes' </em>human interest angle. But, of course, alienation from the whole is a byproduct of technological innovation that has been with us since the industrial revolution. Most people didn't know how their telegrams, radios, or pocket-watches worked, either; even if they did, those individual technologies were only pieces of a greater, ever-shifting mass of unimaginable truths. Although we gratefully interface with those parts of our technology that cater to our monkey hands, what is contained inside the plastic and metal boxes that dot our world is largely beyond us. In the case of the Internet, we take for granted that someone knows how it works–which I learned from <em>Tubes</em> is a surprisingly small group of people, incidentally–and we throw ourselves, emotional, into the resulting <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0670022152/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=spacan03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0670022152">technium</a>.</p> <p><a href="/files/universe/files/2012/07/monkeyhands1.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-306" title="monkeyhands" src="/files/universe/files/2012/07/monkeyhands1.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></a></p> <p>Technology, in short, is a mindfuck.</p> <p>And beyond being a mindfuck, the essence of technology is precisely its transparency. Great tools melt into the background. They always have. It's a question of design, of course; the more accurately the need is met, the more efficiently the tool parlays human strength into machine strength, the more it becomes an extension of its user. This is true for both the rudimentary and complex. A pen is practically invisible–just what you reach for, unthinkingly, to make a note. The internet is invisible in the same way, and not because of pandemic human ignorance. Because it's a <em>tool</em>, and in being the most efficient one the race has ever cooked up, is also the most sublime.</p> <p>Andrew Blum's book should be required reading, if only because it brings a basic pragmatism to our conversation about the Internet–a conversation couched in weird fuzzy rhetoric that can be partially attributed to a lack of network literacy.The media theorist Douglas Rushkoff famously urged netizens to "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159376426X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=spacan03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=159376426X">program or be programmed</a>." But here the issue is beyond just programming; even grasping the reins of software, we can't control the horse. The horse exists, as an infrastructure with a bucking life of its own, secret and public, broken to serve its users, subservient to its whisperers, and forever strangely wild.</p> <p> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Related: </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/6/14/to-visit-the-internet-you-must-leave-the-internet-an-interview-with-tubes-author-andrew-blum">To Visit the Internet You Must First Leave the Internet</a>, an interview with Andrew Blum on <a href="http://motherboard.vice.com/">Motherboard</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwyJGzZmBe8&amp;feature=player_embedded">There and Back Again: A Packet's Tale</a>, courtesy of the <a href="http://worldsciencefestival.com/">World Science Festival</a></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/cevans" lang="" about="/author/cevans" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cevans</a></span> <span>Tue, 07/10/2012 - 14:51</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/internet" hreflang="en">Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/review" hreflang="en">Review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/systems" hreflang="en">systems</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/technology" hreflang="en">Technology</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/andrew-blum" hreflang="en">Andrew Blum</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/book-review" hreflang="en">book review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cyberspace" hreflang="en">cyberspace</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/douglas-rushkoff" hreflang="en">Douglas Rushkoff</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ecco-books" hreflang="en">Ecco Books</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tubes" hreflang="en">Tubes</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tubes-journey-center-internet" hreflang="en">Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/william-gibson" hreflang="en">William Gibson</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/systems" hreflang="en">systems</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/technology" hreflang="en">Technology</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2511308" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1342441566"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Nice review, Claire, and SUCH a great book! Required reading indeed.</p> <p>FYI, that book and conversations with Blum and others inspired me to make a little explainer video about the physical path of a data packet whenever you do something as simple as load a single web page: <a href="http://boingboing.net/2012/06/06/fing-internet-how-does-it.html">http://boingboing.net/2012/06/06/fing-internet-how-does-it.html</a></p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511308&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="mPjN86ZhlCEKiIEBn5-DUOqP6X6VR_gvLffkfOdN-iY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greg Boustead (not verified)</span> on 16 Jul 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511308">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="389" id="comment-2511309" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1342445831"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Awesome video, Greg!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511309&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="vFlIjxvQrhFoPIyWRfJh89GO0rEv8-F6uANrDvLfhaw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/cevans" lang="" about="/author/cevans" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cevans</a> on 16 Jul 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511309">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/cevans"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/cevans" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-2511310" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1365583052"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"Technology, in short, is a mindfuck." . Exactly.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2511310&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="tS3WRQWsXaC5Bly7ahiYs0-uyNuEmuQi7DmXsJdNWwQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Shoaib Ramay (not verified)</span> on 10 Apr 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/9802/feed#comment-2511310">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/universe/2012/07/10/tubes%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 18:51:22 +0000 cevans 150691 at https://scienceblogs.com Seeing the invisible? There's an app for that https://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/09/08/seeing-the-invisible-theres-an <span>Seeing the invisible? There&#039;s an app for that</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><iframe width="510" height="316" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6lQ0Ny9ue3k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> This <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lQ0Ny9ue3k">video</a> from <a href="http://xperiastudio.com/">Xperia Studio</a> very effectively conveys how data visualization can both leverage and challenge our conceptions of "reality." The night sky we've seen since childhood, like everything else we see, is just a tiny slice of the spectrum - only what we can perceive with our limited physiology. An app that lets us "see" otherwise invisible wavelengths is not merely a prosthesis that cleverly enhances our sensory perceptions, it's a tool to expand our worldview, by reminding us that what we see is only a limited subset of the whole: we could as easily see quite a different world, and quite a different night sky. </p> <p>Full disclosure: I'm mad that I can't get this app for my iPhone! But if you're an Android user, you can try the free<a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.lbi.iu"> Invisible Universe app </a>here. </p> <p>If you can't get the app, you can still enjoy the video, which is really very pretty in the best "science-is-awesome" sense. Josh Peek nicely captures the addictive nature of research: "probably every six months or so, I get the sort of hair-standing-on end thrill of knowing something new about the universe that nobody else knows yet." Yes, I remember that feeling . . . except the things I discovered involved screwed-up mutant fruit fly neurons - not <em>quite</em> so awesome as galaxies and cosmic radiation and <a href="http://io9.com/5838273/the-universe-might-not-be-the-same-all-over">freaky supernovae</a>. But I digress - how deliciously steampunky is that observatory wheel apparatus? And watch for the Darwin fish cameo! :) </p> <p>From <a href="http://xperiastudio.com/">Xperia Studio</a>.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/bioephemera" lang="" about="/author/bioephemera" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">bioephemera</a></span> <span>Thu, 09/08/2011 - 07:12</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/dataviz" hreflang="en">Dataviz</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/education" hreflang="en">education</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ephemera" hreflang="en">ephemera</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/film-video-music" hreflang="en">Film, Video &amp; Music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/web-20-new-media-and-gadgets" hreflang="en">Web 2.0, New Media, and Gadgets</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/bioephemera/2011/09/08/seeing-the-invisible-theres-an%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 08 Sep 2011 11:12:20 +0000 bioephemera 130171 at https://scienceblogs.com Helping Vermont [bioephemera] https://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/09/06/giving-to-vermont <span>Helping Vermont [bioephemera]</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-bfa4b2e599cc30cb9fa20553faa65705-vermont.jpg" alt="i-bfa4b2e599cc30cb9fa20553faa65705-vermont.jpg" /><br /><em>Photo of Vermont highway courtesy of Kyle Cornell</em></p> <p>Last week, I had my long-awaited vacation semi-ruined when, thanks to Hurricane Irene, my flight back from the West Coast was cancelled. I had to rent a car and drive across the country in a rush - not my favorite way to spend three and a half days. But based on what I saw passing through New York, and what I've heard about the damage in Vermont, I can't complain: flooding has overturned homes, isolated entire towns, and destroyed everything some families own. </p> <p>Vermonters are a notoriously self-sufficient bunch, and I haven't seen that much publicity for disaster relief, so I asked my friend -- a native Vermonter who drove home a few days ago to help clean up and deliver supplies -- what I should do. These were some of her suggestions for simple ways to give:</p> <p><a href="http://www.unitedwaycc.org">United Way of Chittenden County</a>: donate via <a href="http://www.Vermont211.org">Vermont211.org</a> <em>(there's a "donate" button on the left sidebar, it goes through PayPal)</em></p> <p>Vermont Foodbank: Donate $10 to the Vermont Foodbank to pay for food that will go to food banks in communities most impacted by Irene. Text the word FOODNOW to 52000 to make a $10 donation that will show up on your next cellphone bill <em>(this was even easier than PayPal!)</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.vermontcf.org/give-now/">Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund</a> <em>(accepts PayPal - click on the pink box "give now" - or check)</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.vtirenefund.org/">Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund</a>: raising money for flood relief for small Vermont businesses <em>(click on "donate" in the top bar for PayPal and other options)</em></p> <p>I know for many of us, money is tight (you would not believe what it costs to rent a car one way cross-country), but do consider giving something if you can spare it. </p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/sb-admin" lang="" about="/author/sb-admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sb admin</a></span> <span>Tue, 09/06/2011 - 03:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/artists-art" hreflang="en">Artists &amp; Art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/biology" hreflang="en">biology</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/blogosphere" hreflang="en">blogosphere</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cephalopodmania" hreflang="en">Cephalopodmania</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/dataviz" hreflang="en">Dataviz</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/department-drama" hreflang="en">Department of the Drama</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/education" hreflang="en">education</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ephemera" hreflang="en">ephemera</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/film-video-music" hreflang="en">Film, Video &amp; Music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/frivolity" hreflang="en">Frivolity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/history-science-0" hreflang="en">history of science</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/journalism" hreflang="en">Journalism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/medical-illustration-and-history" hreflang="en">Medical Illustration and History</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/random-acts-altruism" hreflang="en">Random Acts of Altruism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/retrotechnology-and-steampunk" hreflang="en">Retrotechnology and steampunk</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-advertising" hreflang="en">Science in Advertising</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/web-20-new-media-and-gadgets" hreflang="en">Web 2.0, New Media, and Gadgets</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/bioephemera/2011/09/06/giving-to-vermont%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 06 Sep 2011 07:00:00 +0000 sb admin 71305 at https://scienceblogs.com Greg Dunn's golden neurons [bioephemera] https://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/08/27/greg-dunns-golden-neurons <span>Greg Dunn&#039;s golden neurons [bioephemera]</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-7294d55cb84fccfecd0dc603b3f8eb72-goldcortex.jpg" alt="i-7294d55cb84fccfecd0dc603b3f8eb72-goldcortex.jpg" /><br /><em>Gold Cortex</em><br /> 16 x 20, 2010<br /><a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/">Greg Dunn</a></p> <p>I used to have a beautiful gold Japanese folding screen, which was purchased by my great-grandmother's feisty sister on a trip in the 1920s. I loved the gold patina and the surprisingly modern impact it had on my wall. At the moment, it's loaned to a friend, but looking at <a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/">Greg Dunn's artwork</a>, I couldn't help but be reminded of the best aspects of my screen: the gold leaf, crisp black patterns, and way that the scene seemed half natural, half abstract. </p> <p>The biggest twist Greg, a 6th year graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, places on the screenpainting tradition? He paints neurons, as well as trees and branches. Often it's hard to tell Greg's neurons from other natural features: his cortical neurons look like delicate spring branches, and his retinal neurons are reminiscent of rosehips. At a first glance, could you tell if his <em>Hippocampus</em>, below, was a slice of stained brain or a quarter of a dandelion? </p> <div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/08/25/hippocampusdunn.jpg"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-12f24993190f4112c9edfc37689eaa26-hippocampusdunn-thumb-342x412-68715.jpg" alt="i-12f24993190f4112c9edfc37689eaa26-hippocampusdunn-thumb-342x412-68715.jpg" /></a></div> <p><br /><br /><em>Hippocampus</em> (detail)<br /><br /> 18 x 24, 2008<br /><br /><a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/">Greg Dunn</a><br /><br /><br /><br /> The UCSD Neuroscience department commissioned a series of Greg's paintings depicting hippocampus, retina, cortex, and Purkinje neurons. The collection is just stunning, and although you can't purchase the originals, you <a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/print.html">can get large (16x16) prints</a> for just over $120. I want! </p> <div style="text-align: center;"> <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/08/27/ucsd_hippocampus_medium.jpg"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-0a351b8d1a9ba2e6f32b1236888fc2d9-ucsd_hippocampus_medium-thumb-375x300-68751.jpg" alt="i-0a351b8d1a9ba2e6f32b1236888fc2d9-ucsd_hippocampus_medium-thumb-375x300-68751.jpg" /></a></div> <p><br /><br /><em>UCSD Hippocampus II</em><br /><br /> 42 x 42, 2010<br /><br /><a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/">Greg Dunn</a><br /><br /><br /><br /> Greg, a self-taught artist, will finish his PhD soon; he plans to make art an integral part of his career. I wish him much well-deserved success (and hope he doesn't run out of prints before I can buy mine.) Note that he will consider commissions, so if you want to get a particular <em>kind</em> of neuron as a unique gift for a researcher, neurologist, or graduate student, you <a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/order.html">should contact him and ask</a>.<br /><br /><br /><br /> More: <a href="http://www.gregadunn.com/print.html">buy prints of Greg Dunn's neuron paintings</a><br /><br /> A review of Dunn's <a href="http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/node/3696">exhibition "Neurons and Nature" </a></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/sb-admin" lang="" about="/author/sb-admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sb admin</a></span> <span>Fri, 08/26/2011 - 19:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/artists-art" hreflang="en">Artists &amp; Art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/biology" hreflang="en">biology</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/blogosphere" hreflang="en">blogosphere</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cephalopodmania" hreflang="en">Cephalopodmania</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/conspicuous-consumption" hreflang="en">Conspicuous consumption</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/dataviz" hreflang="en">Dataviz</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/department-drama" hreflang="en">Department of the Drama</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/education" hreflang="en">education</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ephemera" hreflang="en">ephemera</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/film-video-music" hreflang="en">Film, Video &amp; Music</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/frivolity" hreflang="en">Frivolity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/history-science-0" hreflang="en">history of science</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/journalism" hreflang="en">Journalism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/medical-illustration-and-history" hreflang="en">Medical Illustration and History</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/random-acts-altruism" hreflang="en">Random Acts of Altruism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/retrotechnology-and-steampunk" hreflang="en">Retrotechnology and steampunk</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-advertising" hreflang="en">Science in Advertising</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/wearables" hreflang="en">Wearables</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/web-20-new-media-and-gadgets" hreflang="en">Web 2.0, New Media, and Gadgets</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/bioephemera/2011/08/27/greg-dunns-golden-neurons%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 23:40:59 +0000 sb admin 71311 at https://scienceblogs.com Randy Hage's Manhattan Wonder Cabinet https://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/07/04/randy-hages-manhattan-wonder-c <span>Randy Hage&#039;s Manhattan Wonder Cabinet</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-cfde182afcc749ddf3e5f470e6c818a8-2-520x673.jpg" alt="i-cfde182afcc749ddf3e5f470e6c818a8-2-520x673.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.newyorkstorefronts.com/#a/9631/i/71131"><em>Nick's Luncheonette</em></a><br /><a href="http://www.newyorkstorefronts.com/#p/about">Randy Hage</a></p> <p>Via the eye-candy blog <a href="http://www.howtobearetronaut.com">How to Be a Retronaut</a> (thanks Miles for first sending me a link there), the <a href="http://www.howtobearetronaut.com/2011/07/manhattan-in-miniature/">painstakingly accurate miniature Manhattan streetscapes</a> of LA artist <a href="http://www.newyorkstorefronts.com/#a/">Randy Hage</a> are half-toy, half-historical document - a wonder cabinet of urban curiosities. </p> <p>Hage's overarching goal is to preserve rapidly disappearing streetscapes. As he told Jeremiah Moss at <a href="http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/07/model-new-york.html">Vanishing New York</a>,</p> <blockquote><p>I remember one instance in particular that prompted me to seriously focus on this project. I was on my way to revisit a Brooklyn donut shop that I had photographed a year earlier. I thought that I was in the right location but could not find it. I did a GPS location check on my iPhone and realized that I was standing right in front of it. The storefront was gone. It had been replaced by a generic, forgettable façade. (<a href="http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/07/model-new-york.html">source</a>)</p></blockquote> <p>If documentation is his goal, he's doing an amazing job. Check out this detail of one of his miniatures:</p> <!--more--><p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-2711cf8984b61895d10399fbf887d7c0-normal_nick_s-detail-1.jpg" alt="i-2711cf8984b61895d10399fbf887d7c0-normal_nick_s-detail-1.jpg" /><br /><a href="http://www.newyorkstorefronts.com/#a/9631/i/71131"><em>Nick's Luncheonette (detail)</em></a> </p> <p>I've seen a lot of scale models, but rarely have I seen any so convincing, right down to their rusted patina and vintage typescripts. Because of the realism, the slight awareness of disproportion that creeps in occasionally is dreamlike (New York has an Uncanny Valley!). I'm reminded a little of Edward Hopper's <em>Early Sunday Morning</em>: grungy reality through a lens of nostalgia. </p> <p>Although Hage seems to be going for more documentary realism than Hopper, like a botanical or biological illustrator, he can't help but be an artist as well as a documentarian. What we see is Hage's perception of Manhattan, not Manhattan itself - and I would never have expected an LA artist's work to resonate with so much love for the Big Apple. </p> <p><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-0467ff58256bd75d4a9a488684975e19-normal_Randy_Hage_-Photo_of_artist.jpg" alt="i-0467ff58256bd75d4a9a488684975e19-normal_Randy_Hage_-Photo_of_artist.jpg" /></p> <p>Artist Randy Hage with one of his creations. All photos in this post are <a href="http://www.newyorkstorefronts.com">Randy Hage's, lifted from his website</a>.</p> <p>More:</p> <p>An <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/20100712/manhattan/artist-creates-miniature-manhattan">article by Jill Colvin at dnainfo.com</a><br /><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindseyeminiatures/sets/72157624130020676/">Randy Hage on Flickr</a><br /> a post at <a href="http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/07/model-new-york.html">Vanishing New York</a></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/bioephemera" lang="" about="/author/bioephemera" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">bioephemera</a></span> <span>Mon, 07/04/2011 - 06:41</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/artists-art" hreflang="en">Artists &amp; Art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/blogosphere" hreflang="en">blogosphere</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/destinations" hreflang="en">Destinations</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ephemera" hreflang="en">ephemera</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/retrotechnology-and-steampunk" hreflang="en">Retrotechnology and steampunk</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/wonder-cabinets" hreflang="en">Wonder Cabinets</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/bioephemera/2011/07/04/randy-hages-manhattan-wonder-c%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Mon, 04 Jul 2011 10:41:59 +0000 bioephemera 130150 at https://scienceblogs.com Ribbons of water: vintage maps of the wandering Mississippi https://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/05/21/a-vintage-map-of-the-wandering <span>Ribbons of water: vintage maps of the wandering Mississippi</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/science/mississippi_map_1999265.jpg"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-99fc0004e185cf8cd8fbb9a65b60dd97-meandermap.jpg" alt="i-99fc0004e185cf8cd8fbb9a65b60dd97-meandermap.jpg" /></a></p> <p>Via Alexis Madrigal's <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/05/what-weve-done-to-the-mississippi-river-an-explainer/239058/">Mississippi explainer at the Atlantic,</a> this beautiful <a href="http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/science/mississippi_map_1999265.jpg">map</a> of the Mississippi's historic meanderings is like a carelessly draped cluster of silk ribbons. <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/05/what-weve-done-to-the-mississippi-river-an-explainer/239058/">Madrigal says</a>,</p> <blockquote><p>If the Mississippi were allowed to do what it wanted, what is now the Atchafalaya River would become the new ending of the Mississippi. Again, in a purely natural world, that would be a six of one, half dozen of the other situation. But now human systems depend on the Mississippi remaining roughly as it was in 1900 when we started to build massive amounts of infrastructure.</p></blockquote> <p>As you can see, the river is a bit of a commitment-phobe. . . will we be able to keep it fixed for the next hundred years? Should we even try?</p> <p>For even more luscious ribbony meander maps, <a href="http://mouthtosource.org/rivers/mississippi/2010/09/28/mississippi-meander-map-porn/">go here.</a> And <a href="http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6887">here</a>'s a comparison of a meander map to a satellite photo, showing formation of an oxbow lake.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/bioephemera" lang="" about="/author/bioephemera" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">bioephemera</a></span> <span>Sat, 05/21/2011 - 05:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/ephemera" hreflang="en">ephemera</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/bioephemera/2011/05/21/a-vintage-map-of-the-wandering%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Sat, 21 May 2011 09:34:06 +0000 bioephemera 130143 at https://scienceblogs.com Photopic Sky Survey: the Milky Way, as it was meant to be seen https://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2011/05/13/photopic-sky-survey-the-milky <span>Photopic Sky Survey: the Milky Way, as it was meant to be seen</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://skysurvey.org/"><img src="http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/wp-content/blogs.dir/263/files/2012/04/i-aabc311f380f055d5f5b0aa91faca166-V2Giclee.jpg" alt="i-aabc311f380f055d5f5b0aa91faca166-V2Giclee.jpg" /></a></p> <p>If you haven't already seen the <a href="http://skysurvey.org/">Photopic Sky Survey</a>, you really should. Nick Risinger toured the world's least light-polluted sites to photograph and stitch together this 37,440 exposure, 5000 megapixel image of the night sky. I honestly don't think I've ever appreciated the sheer number of stars out there as much as I did this morning, zooming in on Nick's amazing panorama. Someone really needs to mash this up with a Carl Sagan monologue or something, because anything I could say about our relative insignificance in the universe would be inadequate.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/bioephemera" lang="" about="/author/bioephemera" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">bioephemera</a></span> <span>Fri, 05/13/2011 - 06:27</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maps" hreflang="en">Maps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/photography" hreflang="en">Photography</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/web-20-new-media-and-gadgets" hreflang="en">Web 2.0, New Media, and Gadgets</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/bioephemera/2011/05/13/photopic-sky-survey-the-milky%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 13 May 2011 10:27:07 +0000 bioephemera 130131 at https://scienceblogs.com