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Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic

“Maps codify the miracle of existence”*…

 

This 1922 map of the world was the first general reference map created by National Geographic magazine’s in-house cartography shop, which was founded in 1915.

Cartography has been close to National Geographic’s heart from the beginning. And over the magazine’s 130-year history, maps have been an integral part of its mission. Now, for the first time, National Geographic has compiled a digital archive of its entire editorial cartography collection — every map ever published in the magazine since the first issue in October 1888.

The collection is brimming with more than 6,000 maps (and counting) and you’ll have a chance to see some of the highlights as the magazine’s cartographers explore the trove and share one of their favorite maps each day.

Follow @NatGeoMaps on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook to see what they discover. (The separate map archive is not available to the public, but subscribers can see them in their respective issues in the digital magazine archive)...

More background– and more samples from the vault– at “Discover Fascinating Vintage Maps From National Geographic’s Archives.”

* Nicholas Crane, Mercator: The Man Who Mapped the Planet

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As we contemplate cartography, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that Swiss physicist, inventor, and explorer Auguste Piccard launched himself and an assistant in a 300-pound, 82-inch diameter aluminum gondola suspended from a hydrogen gas-filled balloon.  They rose to a record 51,775 feet, then landed safely.

Auguste Piccard was the model for Professor Cuthbert Calculus in The Adventures of Tintin by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, and Gene Roddenberry’s inspiration in naming Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek.

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Written by LW

May 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

“The picture is worth ten thousand words”*…

 

The first issue of National Geographic magazine, published in October 1888, was vastly different to the magazine we know today. It contained no photographs or illustrations. The cover was brown, with just the title and symbol of the National Geographic Society.

The following year, the magazine published a four-color foldout map, the first step towards the all-color charts and diagrams that have since become synonymous with National Geographic. “We’re in the business of using art to explain,”  Kaitlin Yarnall, Deputy Creative Director, explains…

Since then, National Geographic has become renowned for the infographics it uses to break down complex information…

More background– and beautiful examples– at “See the Most Captivating Infographics of the Last Century.”

* … and its variants: a supposed Chinese (or Japanese) proverb, actually coined by Frank Bernard in the early 20th century

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As we show instead of tell, we might send adventurous birthday greetings to Gerald “Gerry” Malcolm Durrell; he was born on this date in 1925.  A British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and television presenter, most of his work was rooted in his life as an animal collector and enthusiast… though he is probably most widely known for his autobiographical book My Family and Other Animals and its successors, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods... which have been made into television and radio mini-series many times, most recently as ITV’s/PBS’s The Durrells.

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“To thine own self be true”*…

 

Readers may recall an earlier entry on what was thought to be the very first selfie… and indeed, it may be (at least insofar as that particular form of self-snap is concerned).  But as Susan Zalkind reports, self-portraits date back further…

My great-great-great-grandfather, Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910), known as “Sammy,” was the principal cartoonist for Punch. Sammy set up a studio at his home in Kensington, London, and photographed not only his servants and children, but also himself—thousands of times! “The Rhodes Colossus,” depicting British colonialist Cecil Rhodes with one foot in Cairo and the other in Cape Town, is his most iconic drawing.

More at “Grandfather of the Selfie.”

* William Shakespeare

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As we watch the birdie, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that the National Geographic Society was incorporated.  Two weeks earlier, the 33 founders of the Society had first met at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. to agree to plans; nine months later, the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published.

This 1963 painting depicts the founders signing their names to the new organizations’s charter. The table in the painting is in use today in the Society’s Hubbard Hall.

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Written by LW

January 27, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Nature’s inexorable imperative”*…

 

Bridges.
They don’t always do what they’re supposed to do.
Especially in the rainy season.

Evopropinquitous– “things I learned as a Field Biologist”

Three highly unexpected words you must keep in mind when tromping through the Amazon:
Giant.
Electric.
Eels.
Look down before you step into running water.
Wear rubber boots.

More hard-earned education at Evopropinquitous.

* “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature’s inexorable imperative”  – H.G. Wells

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As we recheck our rucksacks, we might send adventurous birthday greetings to Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor; he was born on this date in 1875.  Grosvenor was recruited in 1899 to a small scholarly journal published by the National Geographic Society.  (His benefactor was a friend of his father’s, Alexander Graham Bell, then the president of the Society (and soon, Grosvenor’s father-in-law.)   Grosvenor became the journal’s first full-time editor, and began to build it, developing its extraordinary photographic service and map department. Revenue from growing circulation supported expeditions– which supplied more remarkable photos and maps… Membership grew from 900 in 1899 to more than 2 million at the time of his retirement (by then, as President of the Society) in 1955.

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Written by LW

October 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

What’s in a (sur)name?…

From National Geographic:

for larger, interactive version, click on the image above, or here

A new view of the United States based on the distribution of common last names shows centuries of history and echoes some of America’s great immigration sagas. To compile this data, geographers at University College London used phone directories to find the predominant surnames in each state. Software then identified the probable provenances of the 181 names that emerged.

Many of these names came from Great Britain, reflecting the long head start the British had over many other settlers. The low diversity of names in parts of the British Isles also had an impact. Williams, for example, was a common name among Welsh immigrants—and is still among the top names in many American states.

But that’s not the only factor. Slaves often took their owners’ names, so about one in five Americans now named Smith are African American. In addition, many newcomers’ names were anglicized to ease assimilation. The map’s scale matters too. “If we did a map of New York like this,” says project member James Cheshire, “the diversity would be phenomenal”—a testament to that city’s role as a once-and-present gateway to America.

 

As we ruminate on roots, we might recall that it was on this date in 1654 that the Portuguese issued the Capitulation Protocol, giving Jewish and Dutch settlers three months to leave Brazil.  Approximately 150 Jewish families of Portuguese descent fled the Brazilian city of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco.  By September, twenty-three of these refugees had established the first community of Jews in New Amsterdam (now, of course, New York City).

These “Sephardim” (Jews of Spanish-Portuguese extraction) had followed a tortured path. In December 1496, following Ferdinand and Isabella’s Spanish example, King Manuel I of Portugal had expelled all Jews from Portugal, driving many to flee to more tolerant Holland.  From there, some migrated to Pernambuco, a colony of the Dutch West India Company in modern-day Brazil. That community flourished until the Dutch eventually surrendered Pernambuco to the Portuguese– and the Sephardim were again forced to flee.

After being driven ashore in Jamaica by Spanish ships, twenty-three members of the community, along with a group of Dutch Calvinists, made their way to New Netherland (New York)– another colony run by the Dutch West India Company.  Even then, the trials were not past: Peter Stuyvesant governor of New Netherland, feared that the indigent newcomers would burden the colony; but when he motioned to eject the Jewish newcomers, the Company (many of the shareholders of which were Jewish) refused his petition… and the wanderers found a home.

Accuratissima Brasiliæ tabula
[Inset of Pernambuco.]
by Hendrik Hondius, 1630
(source: Library of Congress)

 

Striking the right balance…

From National Geographic, an elegant plea for global balance…

As we reframe our sense of our place in the world, we might wish an expansive Happy Birthday to Walter E. Diemer; he was born on this date in 1904.  Diemer was working as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Co., when in 1928 he accidentally invented bubble gum while experimenting in his spare time with recipes for a chewing gum base.  Fleer sold a test batch in a Philadelphia grocery store, which sold out in one afternoon.  Diemer (who later became senior vice president of of the company) then taught Fleer salesmen how to blow bubbles, so they could demonstrate the product as they traveled from store to store selling the penny-a-piece gum.  Almost 3/4 of a century later, Diemer still could not believe that “all the bubble gum in the world came from my five-pound batch…”  The pink color of Diemer’s first batch is still standard.

Diemer and his Dubble Bubble (image source)

Times of the Signs…

From Smashing Magazine, culled from over 2,500 entries in 51 categories, the results of their “World Of Signage Photo Contest.”

As we give in to the guides, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published, nine months after its parent, The National Geographic Society, was founded.

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