Neolithic bow and arrow

October 08, 2013

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A melting patch of ancient snow in the mountains of Norway has revealed a bow and arrows likely used by hunters to kill reindeer as long ago as 5,400 years.
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Forma Urbis Romae

October 05, 2013

20131005-115408.jpg The Forma Urbis Romae is a map of Rome created in the 3rd Century CE carved into marble slabs. It is remarkable for three reasons.
Firstly, it is massive at 18 by 13 meters. Secondly, it’s 1:240 scale is incredibly detailed with accurate floor plans of most buildings. Thirdly, it doesn’t stop or delineate itself according to political or geographical boundaries, it ends because the wall it was mounted on ended.

The map was probably decorative rather than practical saints enormous size made the detail in distinct at the upper reaches. Over the centuries the marble of the map was repurposed and broken. The entire map is now fragmented with only approximately 10% of the fragments located. Even less has been accurately reconstructed.

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Interplanetary

July 18, 2013

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“I understood this myself when I read your novel The Time Machine. All human conceptions are on a scale of our planet. They are based on the pretension that the technical potential, although it will develop, will never exceed the ‘terrestrial limit’. If we succeed in establishing interplanetary communication, all our philosophical, moral and social views will have to be revised. In this case, the technical potential, become limitless, would impose the end of the role of violence as a means and method of progress.” Vladimir Lenin to H.G. Wells

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Mercator

July 11, 2013

Mercator_1538

Gerard Mercator drew Orbis Imago  in 1538. It is his first world map, based on an earlier map by Oronce Fine. It has a few unique features: ‘America’ was used to refer to both North and South America for the first time, with both parts of the New World joined together as one continent. Mercator also separated Asia and North America. It also has a particularly striking bicordiform (meaning two-heart shaped) projection. (Mercator is most familiar for his later projection onto a cylinder, particularly useful for sea navigation because it maintained rhumb lines as perfectly straight lines, and angles remain unchanged. This projection was the one that caused all the controversy in the 1980’s because it maintains rhumb lines at the expense of area accuracy, ballooning the north and south and contracting the equator. In practice this made Europe and North America disproportionately larger than Africa, Southern Asia and South America. Mercator’s projection was continually used in school text books and atlases, and was accused of being imperialistic. Ironically, Google Maps uses a variant of the Mercator, and a good explanation why humanities shouldn’t necessarily knee-jerk the apparent prejudices of science can be found here. But this is another story…)

My favourite part of Mercator’s 1538 map is the phrase written on Antarctica: Terra hic esse certum est sed quãtus quibusque limitibus finitas incertum. Latin for: It is certain that there is land here, but its size and the limits of its boundaries are uncertain. I feel like this defines my entire philosophy to land.

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Pleistocene

July 05, 2013

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