(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Eratosthenes

“The map is not the territory”*…



Across the board, the Mercator projection of the Earth—which has been our baseline for world maps since the 16th century—skews the actual size of countries so they look bigger (and therefore, more important than they are) when they fall within the middle of the Northern Hemisphere. It’s not just bad design, it has real geopolitical implications. For example, in most people’s minds, Greenland is a much larger country than Australia. But the reality is that Australia dwarfs Greenland. Likewise, you probably think Africa and North America are roughly the same size, but Africa can swallow all of North America and Greenland with room for all of Western Europe to spare. And so on…  [To redress misperception] James Talmage and Damon Maneice created The True Size. The web app lets you drag-and-drop different countries on a world map and see how they shrink or grow on a standard Mercator Projection map. It’s a simple tool, but an eye-opening one that can be quickly used to show just how skewed our maps really are…

More at “This Interactive Proves Just How Wrong Our World Maps Really Are.”  Visit The True Size here.

Alfred Korzybski (and here)


As we ponder perspective, we might might spare a thought for Eratosthenes of Cyrene; he may have died on this date in 194 or 195 BC.  (His exact birth and death dates are lost, so this is as good a day as any to celebrate him.)  A mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, music theorist, and Chief Librarian at Alexandria, Eratosthenes is probably best remembered as the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth (which he did remarkably accurately), to calculate the tilt of the Earth’s axis, and to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun (which, again, he did very accurately); and he created the Leap Day.

In his three-volume work Geography (Geographika), Eratosthenes described and mapped his entire known world, dividing the Earth into five climate zones: two freezing zones around the pole, two temperate zones, and a zone encompassing the equator and the tropics.  He placed grids of overlapping lines over the surface of the Earth, using parallels and meridians to link together every place in the world– in the process, coining terminology still in use… He had invented the discipline of Geography.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 13, 2016 at 1:01 am


Readers know that street art comes in a variety of guises, from the direct-albeit-ironic (c.f. Banksy, here and here) to the ethereal (c.f., the work of Chinese artist Liu Bolin here).  Now, on Berlin’s Bergmannstraße, one can find a tagger’s homage to tacky postcards and cheap religious artifacts past:  Lenticular Graffiti

See larger (and more) photos at Spreeblick.  (TotH to Wooster Collective)

As we look both ways before crossing, we might recall that it was on this date in 1184 BCE, according to the calculations of Eratosthenes, that Troy was sacked and burned.

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Third Century Greek mathematician, elegiac poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer, and music theorist. He was the first person to use the word “geography” and invented the discipline of geography as we understand it, and invented a system of latitude and longitude, calculated (with remarkable accuracy) the circumference and tilt of the earth, and created a map of the world; he reputedly also accurately calculated the distance from the earth to the sun and invented the leap day.  And to the point of the anniversary celebrated today, Eratosthenes was the founder of scientific chronology; he worked especially hard to fix the dates of the chief literary and political events of the conquest of Troy.


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