Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The AuthaGraph World Map

You cannot accurately represent the global of the Earth on a flat map.  The most common flat map projections grossly overestimate the size of land masses near the poles such as Greenland, Antarctica and Siberia.  Recently, Japanese architect Hajime Narukawa came up with an award winning approach to minimize distortion, the AuthaGraph World Map.

As you can see, the map does away with most of the distortion at the poles and gives a better sense of the scale of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  While it emphasizes how far South America is from Asia, it deemphasizes how close it is to Africa. It also makes it easier to visualize the Great Circle airplane routes.

For more, watch this:

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Kashmir Riff

One of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock history is from Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin's Kashmir.  Here Jimmy tells The Edge and Jack White of its origin.

And here is the full recording.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Highlands

Ms THC and I spent some time in the Scottish Highlands in July 1978.  We'd rented a car in central London.  This was a mistake as driving on the wrong side of the road out of London as your first experience in England is not a good idea.  We made it without mishap, though the roundabouts were a real challenge as getting through them challenged my every natural driving instinct.  After stops in England, we ended up in Edinburgh, camping in its outskirts.  I remember encountering a waitress in a restaurant downtown and not being able to understand a word she said.  She was speaking English with a Scottish accent.

From there we headed first north, into the Highlands and Inverness and then west to the wild Atlantic Coast of the highlands.  Once we got to the coast the main roads were only one lane wide, with turnouts every half mile so that cars could pass each other, in the rare instance you encountered someone driving in the opposite direction.   We ended up that day in Gairloch, where we took a little side road (B8021) along the coast.  Finding a cottage/farmhouse near Carn Dearg we knocked on the door and asked if we could camp in their yard (a really big yard).  The occupants said it was fine with them so we set our tent with spectacular views south over the ocean to the Isle of Skye.  This video is of an area within a few hundred yards of which we camped (we were on the other side of the road close to the water).

It was a beautiful sunny late afternoon.  That time of the year, dawn is at 3am, and we awoke in a blanket of fog which began to break up 4 or 5 hours later.

Highlands. from Joren de Jager on Vimeo.

The next day we headed south on the A832 taking us a bit inland.  This part of Scotland is like "Wyoming by the sea".  Treeless, small mountains and tablelands, occasional glens and all with the ocean nearby.  We stopped at a large tract of parkland, and while Ms THC read her book near our car, I hiked into a valley.  Unfortunately while jumping from rock to rock, I fell and badly twisted my ankle (and thought I might have broken it).  It being the Highlands, no one was around, and Ms was out of shouting distance.  I crawled for the next two hours until I finally got the attention of Ms.

I needed some medical attention but a further complicating factor was I'd done all the driving so far but obviously could do no more.  So Ms THC took over driving a stick shift on the wrong side of the road.  We eventually found a doctor, practicing out of a trailer by the side of the highway.  He bandaged me up, informed us that he did not think I'd broken my ankle but advised going to the hospital on Skye for an x-ray.  By that time it was pretty late and we weren't getting to Skye that day.

Instead, Ms had the challenge of driving us over the highest paved road in the United Kingdom, through a pass with cliffs on one side and a sheer drop on the other, to the little town of Applecross where we camped by the sea that night.

The next day, we put our car on the ferry to Skye, made it to the hospital, which confirmed there was no break, and decided to splurge and stay at a Bed & Breakfast in Portree, the main town on the island.

I walked with a cane for the next 2-3 weeks but we both fondly remember our time in the Highlands.  It'd be nice to visit again.  We do hope the food will be better; it was terrible in '78, unless you liked oat cakes.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beer & BBQ

Continuing our them from yesterday.  Melrose, Louisiana.  June 1940.  For more wonderful pictures from the 1930s and 40s, see Messy Nessy


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bus Story

In 1943, Esther Bubley, a photography program graduate working at the Office of War Information in Washington DC, received a four week assignment to document bus travel in the South and Midwest.  This was wartime America.  Gasoline rationing was in effect, so bus riding had soared in numbers.  Her photos document a long-gone America.  Below is a sampling - you can find more at Mashable.



Rome, Georgia


Memphis to Chattanooga


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

'Retha Retires

Hey Nineteen
That's 'retha Franklin
She don't remember the Queen of Soul
Hard times befallen the soul survivors
She thinks I'm crazy, but I'm just growing old

- Hey Nineteen, Steely Dan
Aretha Franklin announced her retirement last week.  Time is moving along.

I remember when she exploded on the music scene.  She'd spent six years with Columbia Records where they tried to make her into a mainstream artist singing pop standards.  It didn't work.  In early 1967, she signed with Atlantic Records which let her be what she was.  From the spring of 1967 through the fall of 1968 she had eight consecutive Top Ten hits.  In order:

I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
Respect (written by Otis Redding)
Baby, I Love You
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman 
Chain of Fools
(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone

And finishing with a single on which both sides made the Top Ten; The House That Jack Built and I Say A Little Prayer.

This is an alternate take of Chain Of Fools, substantially different than the version that was released in 1967.  Listen to Aretha's opening.  It is so good, it'll send chills down your spine.