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April 16, 2019

Facebook Gone Wild: "All your data are belong to us"

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A great April 10 BuzzFeed story by Katie Notopoulos lifted up one of the many rocks in the Facebook garden: what came to light wasn't pretty.

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Read it, then follow her instructions to take a trip down the rabbit hole wherein resides "all your data are belong to us."

April 16, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Historic Maps of Scotland in 3D

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From Atlas Obscura:


Mapmakers of yore worked hard to remind viewers that a given landscape was much less flat than the paper they were holding.

Cartographers employed contours, hachures, and other shading techniques to indicate slopes and varied terrain, and while these abstractions conveyed the general gist, if you had little else to go on, it could still be hard to glean the "reality of the landscape," writes Chris Fleet, map curator at the National Library of Scotland, in an email.

That nuance mattered, though: "The development of canals, roads, and railways, the location and growth of settlements, and patterns of population density, were often all influenced by relief," Fleet says.

These days, of course, much of the planet has been mapped by satellites, and viewers can parachute in and survey jagged ranges and humped hills the way birds see them.

Meanwhile, a number of historic map collections have rolled out tools for engaging with old maps in new ways, through swooping, zooming, and more.

The National Library of Scotland is among them, and recently revamped its 3D tool by dialing up the vertical exaggeration.

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When the library’s 3D viewer, which uses open-source Cesium ion data, launched in 2016, cartographic explorers could tweak altitude, tilt, and orientation.

Verticality was fixed, though, meaning that any landscape you soared above didn’t look as rugged as it does in real life.

Now that the tool has been refined for verticality, draping old maps over elevation data can help viewers picture gradations more easily.

"Not just where the real heights of the mountains are, or where the valleys are," Fleet writes, "but all the more subtle variations in terrain, too."

Which maps are the best candidates for this treatment?

"It needs to be [one] that can be geo-referenced fairly well, so it locates accurately in the right place and combines with the right elevations," Fleet says.

Beyond that, Fleet notes, maps that used various colors to represent relief are often striking.

Take, for instance, this one by the Edinburgh outfit John Bartholomew & Son, depicting scores of brown mountains flanking the green-blue Loch Lomond, or the detail below, which focuses on Loch Tay.


Soil maps — like this one, surveyed on the Island of Mull in 1972 — are also good contenders, because the hues, which represent different types of soil, tend to correspond to bands of altitude.

Rocky crags and summits are blue and purple, while steep swaths of scree are light brown.

Lower knolls are lighter greens and browns, Fleet says, freckled with moraine from the last Ice Age.

Damp, rain-logged expanses of peat are various shades of purple. While soil doesn't boil down to elevation alone, Fleet adds — rocks and land use play a role, too — "the significant elements of altitude and slope can be easily brought out by draping the map over 3D elevations."

April 16, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Timeline of Memory from "The End of Loneliness" (page 153)

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Above, most of page 153 of the third novel by German-Swiss Benedict Wells.

It was published in Germany in 2016 and in the U.S. this year in an excellent (although as I think about it, there's really no way for non-German speaking moi to gauge the quality of the translation; I guess I'm using the word to describe how well it reads... but I digress) English translation by Charlotte Collins.

The book is a kind of extended meditation on paths taken and not taken.

I like that sort of thing.


April 16, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Have dinner on a DC-10: No ticket required


From Atlas Obscura:


Anyone can board the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 passenger jet parked on Airport Road.

The aircraft sits along the route to Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana's capital city, but it won't take you anywhere.

However, the food is a far cry from the tray of disappointment that most passengers are accustomed to picking at

Now a restaurant known as La Tante DC 10, this aircraft was once operated by Ghana Airways on flights to Europe and the United States.

In 2005, the DC-10 ended up impounded at London's Heathrow Airport as a result of unpaid company debts.

Nearly a decade later, a business partnered with Ghana Airports Company Ltd. to transform the retired vehicle into an eatery.


Today, curious visitors and residents alike can enjoy unique meal service delivered by waitstaff in flight attendant uniforms.

Customers board just as they would an operational vessel, by embarking up a covered stairway.

For some, it's their first look inside an airplane.

The plane's new management reduced capacity from 380 seats to 118, clearing space for wider walkways and dining tables.

First-class seats accented with festive pillows serve as a waiting area and bar seating, while the economy section houses the dining room, which is composed of tables with rows of airplane seats facing each other.

Menu offerings include an extensive array of traditional cuisine, as well as international dishes.

Foreign fare, such as spaghetti and sandwiches, populate one section of the menu, but the "Proud to be Ghanian" page offers diners a selection of the country’s authentic culinary mainstays.

Don't miss local specialties such as palm nut soup, grilled tilapia, and garden eggs stew.

Know before you go:

The restaurant is located just a few minutes away from the terminals at Kotoka International Airport. If you are coming in through the Holiday Inn side of the restaurant, you may encounter security. Simply let them know you're heading to the restaurant. Hours are 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.



It just occurred to me that for those with a fear of flying, dining here on a regular basis might be a good way to ease into conquering that difficult hurdle.

April 16, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Color Chart Wrapping Paper

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From the website:


This wonderful diagram of vintage paint colors is perfectly printed on Cavallini's signature Italian archival paper.

This gorgeous gift wrap is good enough to be hung on the wall, or used in a variety of crafts.

To transform this image into a vintage chart, add one of our stick-on wooden poster kits.


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From $3.91.

April 16, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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