Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

Fictional Maps International Conference

The Fictional Maps International Conference, an academic conference on the use of maps in fiction, will take place from January 21 to 23, 2016 at the University of Silesia’s Scientific Information Centre and Academic Library in Katowice, Poland. Stefan Ekman, the author of Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings (my review), is the keynote speaker. Deadline for submitting abstracts is October 30.

If you’ve been following along, you will instantly understand that this is very much relevant to my interests, and though it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve been in academic mode, I might have to figure out a way to go to this.

Plotted: A Literary Atlas

Book cover: Plotted: A Literary Atlas Coming in October from Zest Books: Andrew DeGraff’s Plotted: A Literary Atlas, a collection of the artist’s maps of fictional worlds. The Huffington Post has an interview with the author and sample pages from the book, from which we can get a sense both of DeGraff’s distinct and idiosyncratic artwork and the books he chose to make maps for. They’re not necessarily books you’d expect maps for (e.g., A Christmas Carol). These are maps of the stories — not, as we see in fantasy maps, of the stories’ setting — which means a completely different perspective that takes into account both time and distance travelled.

Pre-order Plotted: A Literary Atlas at Amazon.

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.

Update (Friday, August 28): The boil-water advisory is now lifted.

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.)

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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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Older Entries

Can the Conservatives Win Pontiac?
2015 Federal Election: Projecting Pontiac
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