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Posts Tagged ‘California

“I have long, indeed for years, played with the idea of setting out the sphere of life—bios—graphically on a map”*…

 

Carmel

A Jo Mora carte of Carmel-By-The-Sea, made in 1942. Larger image at David Rumsey Map Collection

 

Joseph Jacinto Mora knew all the dogs in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California. He knew Bess, a friendly brown mutt who hung out at the livery stables. He knew Bobby Durham, a pointy-eared rascal who, as Mora put it, “had a charge [account] and did his own shopping at the butcher’s.” He knew Captain Grizzly, an Irish terrier who went to town with his muzzle on and invariably came back carrying it, having charmed a kind stranger into taking it off.

If you spend time with Mora’s map of the town—which was first printed in 1942—you’ll know the town dogs of that era, too. They’re all stacked in a column on the right side, lovingly described and illustrated, and looking as natural as those items you’d be more inclined to expect on a map: streets, land masses, the compass rose. On this particular map, those elements aren’t so typical either: the streets are strewn with tiny houses, and both the land and sea are peppered with busy people. The compass rose is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, and—as befits an artist’s town—is helmed by a painter, a performer, a writer, and a musician.

Such is the way of a Jo Mora map. Over the course of his life, the “Renaissance Man of the West,” as some have called him, packed history, geography, and personal details into a series of maps of different parts of California. Although well-known in his time—“Mora has produced works of art which have told their story to more persons, probably, than have the works of any other Californian,” columnist Lee Shippey wrote in the Los Angeles Times in 1942—he has largely fallen out of the public consciousness. But a few minutes with one of his maps plunges you back into his era, and his own worldview…

Jo Mora poured the state’s whole history—and his own life—into his incredibly detailed, whimsical maps.  More of his own extraordinary story at “The Cowboy Cartographer Who Loved California.”  Browse a wonderful selection of his works at the glorious David Rumsey Map Collection.

* Walter Benjamin

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As we find our place, we might send delightfully drawn birthday greetings to Ben Shahn; he was born on this date in 1898.  A photographer and artist, known for his social realism, he earned acclaim in a variety of fields:  Edward Steichen selected Shahn’s work, including his October 1935 photograph The family of a Resettlement Administration client in the doorway of their home, Boone County, Arkansas, for MoMA’s world-touring The Family of Man which was seen by 9 million visitors; he was selected as a painter to join Willem de Kooning in representing the United States at the 1954 Venice Biennale; and his commercial illustration (like his well-known 1965 portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the cover of Time) earned him membership in the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame.  His published writings, including The Biography of Painting and The Shape of Content, have ben enormously influential in the art world.

220px-Ben_Shahn_artist source

 

Written by LW

September 12, 2018 at 1:01 am

“All things are metaphors”*…

 

For much of the 17th century, Europeans believed that California was an island.  Indeed, readers who have suffered through your correspondent’s explanation of scenario planning know that a 17th century map in which California is depicted as an island, very like the one above, figures into the talk as an example of the way that incorrect maps– cartographical or mental maps– are hard to change and often lead us astray.

But as this appreciation of Stanford’s collection of California maps points out, there may be a deeper truth to the depiction:

The fact that a number of explorers knew that California was not an island was not enough to nip the idea in the bud. Yet it would be a shame to think of the idea as simply an error, a cartographical crease which needed ironing out. Even though maps may be presented as accurate, they cannot escape their metaphorical nature. They reflect much more than physical geography. That California was mapped as an island for so long speaks to its separateness. The writer Rebecca Solnit, a student of the Stanford maps, has argued that, “An island is anything surrounded by difference.” The state contains around 2,000 plant species found nowhere else. Its borders comprise dizzying mountains, harsh deserts and immense ocean. It has been home to the Gold Rush, the psychedelic era, the silicon boom. In several ways then, California is an island…

More (and more marvelous maps) at “Maps Showing California as an Island.”

* Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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As we remember that “the map is not the territory,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1570 that Gilles Coppens de Diest at Antwerp published Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum— a collection of 53 maps that is generally agreed to have been the first modern atlas.

Interestingly (for reasons explained in the article linked above), Ortelius’ maps, which pre-date the charts in the Stanford collection, portray California more accurately.

Title page from a 1606 edition

source

 

Written by LW

May 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out”*…

 

 click here for larger image

Using IMDb‘s ratings of popular films, a Reddit user, Jakubisko, made a map that identifies the most popular movies of each state in America. California thus becomes Pulp Fiction, Florida Scarface, Colorado Psycho or New-York The Godfather. Mainly all the motion pictures named in the map are American movies [in] which plot takes place in America…

Read more at Konbini… and then check out the top-rated films on IMDb set and shot in each European country.

* Martin Scorsese

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As take our truth at 24 frames per second, we might recall that it was on this date in 1887 that Harvey Wilcox officially registered Hollywood with the Los Angeles County recorder’s office.  Harvey and his wife had recently moved from Topeka, where he’d made a fortune in real estate. They bought 160 acres of land in the Cahuenga Valley, in the foothills just of the city of Los Angeles, on what had been a sleepy settlement founded in 1781 as El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Poricuncula,

The Wilcoxes, prohibitionists, dreamt of founding a community of devout– and abstemious– Christians; by 1900, the community numbered 500.  But the city of Los Angeles, fueled first by the Southern Pacific Railroad, then the Sante Fe, had grown to 10,000.  By 1910, L.A. had used the promise of water (Hollywood had precious little) to lure the smaller community into annexation… after which the fledgling motion picture business began to grow explosively… and Harvey Wilcox’s dream of a sober, conservative religious community faded.

 source

 

Written by LW

February 1, 2014 at 1:01 am

Speed!

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.
Mahatma Gandhi

I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.
Woody Allen

There’s lots of skepticism about the virtue of speed.  Still, when demand is high, “time is money”… a lesson not lost on The Broad Group, a Chinese company that has long been successful in manufacturing and selling ingenious environmentally-friendly central air conditioning systems powered by natural gas and/or waste heat, and that has now moved onto “sustainable building.”

Broad’s approach to construction involves careful planning, the use of prefabricated elements– and speed.  Broad Sustainable Buildings erected the 6-story Broad Pavilion in Shanghai Expo 2010 in 1 day, the 14-story New Ark’s Hotel near Broad’s headquarters in 6 days, and the Broad Pavilion at 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in 8 days.

But their most recent feat is surely their most audacious:  a 30-story tall hotel prototype, raised in 360 hours– accomplished a week after the same team built a 15-story building.

click to see a time-lapse video of the hotel going up

Read Jim Fallow’s Atlantic piece on Broad and its leader in pdf here.

 

As we watch the skyline change before our eyes, we might recall that it was on this date in 2001 that California used rolling blackouts to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people.  Gov. Grey Davis declared a state of emergency and ordered the Dept. of Water Resources to buy and sell electricity to help alleviate the crises; PG&E defaulted on $76 million in short term debt.

Exactly one year later, on this date in 2002, Enron, whose trading arm had manipulated the energy market and contributed mightily to the power shortages in California (and elsewhere), “fired” accounting firm Arthur Andersen, citing its destruction of thousands of documents and its accounting advice.  (For its part, Andersen said its relationship with Enron ended in early December, 2001, when the company slid into the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history.)

source

 

Written by LW

January 17, 2012 at 1:01 am

Rules of thumb for folks who are all thumbs…

“The 30-Second Rule, A Decision Tree” by Audrey Fukman and Andy Wright
Click here for a larger version
(from SFoodie, via Flowing Data)

As to the title of the chart, see “To eat or not to eat: seniors prove ‘five-second rule’ more like 30,” from Connecticut College…

As we stoop to conquer, we might recall that it was on this date in 1848 that James Wilson Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill, in Coloma, California.  When news of the discovery spread, some 300,000 men, women, and children flocked to California, picks and pans in hand, from the rest of the United States and abroad– the California Gold Rush was on.

Advertisement for passage to the Promised Land

Family matters…

What’s better than browsing the family photo album?  Browsing lots of family photo albums.

From My Parents Were Awesome, gems like:

and…

More vicarious pleasure at My Parents Were Awesome.

As we stroll down memory lanes, we might recall that this was the date in 1850 on which California became the 31st of the United States… and the trouble began in earnest.

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Written by LW

October 9, 2009 at 12:01 am

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