Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

Bellerby’s Hand-Painted Globes

Bellerby & Co: 80cm globe with added illustrations & bespoke cartography including larger font

Bellerby & Co. produces gorgeous hand-made, hand-painted globes. Peter Bellerby started the company six years ago — he wanted to make a globe for his father for his birthday, but got a bit carried away. Very much a luxury product: the least expensive item I could find in their catalogue was £999, and the higher-end and custom globes climb well into five figures. Not, in other words, comparable to Replogle’s product line.

Interesting behind-the-scenes photos at their Instagram account; see also their YouTube channel. Via Kottke.

More about globes in The Map Room’s archives.

And in Google Maps News …

Google’s Map Maker is in the process of reopening, with six countries reopening on August 10 and another 45 countries last Monday. Map Maker, Google’s tool allowing users to make changes to Google Maps, was suspended last May after some embarrassing edits came to light. Regional leads are now in place to review user edits before they go live on the map.

If mapcodes and other geographical shortcodes aren’t Googly enough for you, take a look at Open Location Codes, a Google-developed, open-sourced project. Generated algorithmically rather than with data tables. Announced for developers last April, they can now be used in Google Maps searches.

Shawville’s Boil-Water Advisory

Shawville has been under a boil-water advisory since last Friday. That evening we got a knock on the door and were handed a notice advising us to boil potable water for at least one minute. Details have been scarce since then, but the Pontiac Journal is reporting this week that one of last week’s test samples came back positive for E. coli. Could be a testing error, but all the same, the Journal says, two good test samples will be required before the advisory is lifted. In any event it won’t come any earlier than this Friday: the Municipality of Shawville said as much yesterday on its Facebook page.

Boiling our drinking water is not proving terribly difficult. We boil a couple of large pots’ worth a day, letting each cool in a larger pot before transferring the water into pitchers, drinking bottles, animals’ water dishes and so forth. The real excitement was Friday night, when we had to produce a lot of it at once, but since then it’s been smooth sailing.

Brief Pontiac Election Update

The most recent ThreeHundredEight.com projection for the Pontiac constituency gives the NDP’s Mathieu Ravignat a 77-percent chance of victory, the NDP having gained six points and the Conservatives having lost the same amount since I last mentioned it. (Bearing in mind that this is a forecast, not a poll: here’s the methodology.)

Still no Bloc Québécois candidate, but the Forces et Démocratie party is running Pascal Médieu. (They’re a new party focusing on regional representation: here’s their manifesto (PDF), which is lengthy — never a good sign.)

Puppy Count

Now that the Hugo Award statistics have been released, we can try to answer the question that has been bugging me since the nominations came out: just how many Sad and Rabid Puppy nominators were there?

(Note: This post deals with the arcana of voting for the Hugo Awards. Some familiarity with the subject is required to make any sense of it. We’re talking about votes at the nomination stage earlier this year, which determined the final ballot — not the vote on the final ballot, the results of which were announced on Saturday.)

Nominees on the Sad Puppy slate received between 100 (Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, in Semiprozine) and 387 votes (Jim Butcher’s Skin Game, in Novel). For nominees that were only on the Rabid Puppy slate (which added a few more items to, and deleted a couple from, the Sad list), the votes ranged from 66 (Daniel Enness in Fan Writer: he didn’t make the final ballot) to 172 (John C. Wright’s “Plural of Helen of Troy,” in Novella). Sad nominees not on the Rabid slate (two semiprozines) got 100 and 111 nominations. (I’m leaving aside the dramatic presentation categories as impossible to figure out.)

So we’re looking at a floor of around 100 Sad Puppies and 66 Rabid Puppies at the nomination stage. The Puppy voting bloc was probably about double that size: add about 100 voters who picked some but not all of the Rabid slate, and another 80 or so Sad Puppies. From what I can see, the Sad and Rabid groups were roughly equal in size (i.e., one was not massively larger than the other).

Getting an exact number is impossible, partly because of the Puppies’ poor voting discipline (only about half of each of them voted the entire slate; as flying monkeys go, they’ve got the airworthiness of an F-35), but also because many works and people on the Puppy slates almost certainly would have gotten additional nominations in their own right even without a slate. (Butcher and even Correia have established fan bases, Analog stories have a dedicated core of support, and Weisskopf and Gilbert have made the editor ballot before.) The high-water mark is therefore not Skin Game’s 387 nominations, but more likely the 338 nominations shared by the top two nominees in Novella, both published by Castalia House.

The fact that Novella was one of only four categories in which Puppy nominees got more than 300 nominations, and those 338 nominations came for relatively obscure Castalia House publications, is somewhat, um, interesting: the other three are Novel, Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) and Editor (Long Form), where the Puppy nominees were, as I said, more likely to have established fan bases. If nothing else, it seems to me that the Novella category was targeted, more so than some other categories; it certainly shows more evidence of slate voting discipline than the other categories.

Snake Fungal Disease

This week the Associated Press ran a story on snake fungal disease, its devastating impact on wild snake populations (especially rattlesnakes, which appear to be particularly susceptible), and the scramble by biologists to understand it. I’ve been hearing about snake fungal disease for a while, and it’s made the news before: see this 2012 Boston Globe story. But the AP story provides some chilling statistics: for example, among massasaugas in Illinois, an annual 15 percent infection rate and an 80 to 90 percent mortality rate. Rattlesnakes don’t reproduce fast enough to sustain such losses, so they’re in big trouble.

More on snake fungal disease from Phys.org, the Wandering Herpetologist and Northeast PARC (PDF).

Previously: An Amphibian Typhoid Mary.

Tokyo’s Snake Café

There are cat cafés and even owl cafés, so it’s only right that there is now a snake café. Of course it’s in Japan: the Tokyo Snake Center, where for ¥1,000 you can have a snake sit with you as you enjoy your drink, or for another ¥540 you can handle one. This strikes me as serving an unmet need: lots of people want to encounter and hold snakes, but pet stores and zoos aren’t always the best place for it. As a snake keeper, I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here: the Japan Times video shows that the species are standard pet store varieties, the individual snakes seem calm and gentle and acclimated to human contact, and they seem to be looked after properly. This isn’t all that different from the public outreach programs that many reptile zoos and hobbyists do; it’s just in a different setting. Via MetaFilter.

The House of Shattered Wings

Book cover: The House of Shattered Wings (US edition) Book cover: The House of Shattered Wings (UK edition) Aliette de Bodard’s new novel The House of Shattered Wings combines several elements of her past work that made it so interesting and her career worth following.

De Bodard first came to my notice with her trilogy of Aztec murder mystery fantasy novels: Servant of the Underworld (Angry Robot, 2010), Harbinger of the Storm (Angry Robot, 2011) and Master of the House of Darts (Angry Robot, 2011), now collected in an omnibus volume, Obsidian and Blood (Angry Robot, 2012: Amazon, U.K. edition). Set in a 15th-century Tenochtitlan where the Aztec religion is real (gods interact freely with mortals, and blood sacrifices are literally required to keep the sun in the sky and ensure the survival of life on earth), the novels follow the story of Acatl, the High Priest of the Dead, as he solves murders with spells and sacrifices and does his best to stave off a Mesoamerican Ragnarök that always seems just around the corner.

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Can the Conservatives Win Pontiac?

Can the Conservatives win the Pontiac constituency?

The obvious answer is, of course they can, because they’ve done it before: Barry Moore won the Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle seat in 1988 and 1993, and Lawrence Cannon won the reconfigured Pontiac seat in 2006 and 2008.

But could they, this time around?

It’s a more interesting question than you might think.

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2015 Federal Election: Projecting Pontiac

The 2015 federal election is now under way. Before it gets too interminable, here’s a brief look at the contest in my constituency, Pontiac (which has new boundaries this time around).

The incumbent Member of Parliament is Mathieu Ravignat of the NDP; he’s running for re-election. The Liberals candidate is Will Amos, a Chelsea lawyer who works as a regional director of a national environmental law charity. The Conservatives are running Benjamin Woodman, a political staffer who grew up in Shawville. Colin Griffiths is the Green Party candidate. The Bloc Québécois website does not yet list their candidate for this constituency.

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Older Entries

New Maps of Ceres and Pluto
About That Four-Legged Fossil Snake
Reviews Update
Three Books on WWII Maps
Actually, It’s About Ethics in Book Reviewing
Child of a Hidden Sea
History of Cartography Project’s Sixth Volume Now Out
Mapcodes
The Best Map of Pluto Ever (Until Some Time Later This Month)
Robert Lazzaretti, Fantasy Mapmaker
Ecdysis Voter’s Packet
Best Saga Proposal Revised
My Readercon 26 Schedule
Some Initial Thoughts on a Couple of Hugo Award Amendments
iMac Hard Drive Replacement Program
The Changing Definition of ‘Slow’
The Pharmacy War Ends
RIP Yahoo Maps
Palladium in the Pontiac
Nikon 810A Reviewed