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Vicky Veritas
Saving the world, one map at a time.
Saving the world, one map at a time.


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"I wonder if harpies can fly.

It opens its wings sometimes when it’s raining as if it wants to wash off the filth, or sometimes if it’s mad at something. It hisses when it’s mad like that, the only sound I’ve ever heard it make outside my head.

I guess if it can fly depends on if it’s magic. Miss Rivera, my bio teacher sophomore year, said that after a certain size things couldn’t lift themselves with wings anymore. It has to do with muscle strength and wingspan and gravity. And some big things can only fly if they can fall into flight, or get a headwind.

I never thought about it before. I wonder if the harpy’s stuck in that alley. I wonder if it’s too proud to ask for help.

I wonder if I should ask if it wants some anyway. [...]

Wouldn’t it be awful to have wings that didn’t work? Wouldn’t it be worse to have wings that do work, and not be able to use them?"

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"In an early issue of Amazing Stories, Gernsback laid out his foundational mission statement. "Having made scientifiction a hobby since I was 8 years old, I probably know as much about it as any one," he wrote, "and in the long run experience will teach just what type of stories is acclaimed by the vast majority." Within the text of the editorial note, Gernsback exhorted himself to "Give the readers the very best type of stories that you can get hold of," while recognizing fully that this would be a "pioneer job."

"Gernsback wasn't the first to pen a science fiction story, granted—the inaugural issue of Amazing Stories featured reprints of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, and indeed there are far older works that could plausibly fit the description. What he did do was put a name to it, and collect under one roof the output of disparate authors in search of unifying legitimacy."

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This beautiful US map is built of iconic photos for each state.

Thank you,

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How did a veritable treasure trove of design objects and graphic ephemera, a collection of over 100,000 Cold War artifacts and archives from the former German Democratic Republic and other Eastern Bloc countries, end up at the Wende Museum in Culver City, Los Angeles?

More here:

Beautiful work! Thank you, +giacomo bencistà!

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Ed Sheeran: Shape Of You

Driving and sexy, Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You can give even an elliptical a latin beat. In this syncopated and marimba-fueled percussive with its lyrics about a budding romance, Ed Sheeran proves that he willing to think outside the ballad box. Although not my favorite song by Sheeran, it makes me want to turn it up... loud. Have a listen.

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Helen Cann's hand-drawn maps are gorgeous. From her website:

"I'm an author and illustrator specialising in children's books, mapping and lettering. I've contributed to over 30 books, won several awards and exhibited around the world. My illustrations are mainly hand produced using watercolour, collage and graphite and have been used in picture books, anthologies and chapter books. I also love anything to do with maps and type. Sometimes the two things even come together!"

Found through +Alan Parkinson's great post here:


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Made by hand in 1955, and still made by hand today.

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Good read and great pictures! Thank you, +Ethan Siegel​.
“There are some astronomical observations, even with a powerful telescope, that can only be made with the help of photography. To gather enough light to stand out against the brightness of other objects is something that goes beyond what human eyes can deliver. Thankfully, that technology is widespread today, and enables us to enjoy a whole slew of sights our eyes cannot deliver. It may be dark during the eclipse, but darkness, as we perceive it, is relative. Our Sun’s corona, during totality, will become the brightest thing in the sky, and is the reason the Moon, to human eyes, will be completely invisible.”

During those moments of totality, the Sun is eclipsed by a new Moon, with the latter’s shadow falling onto Earth. From within that shadow, the Sun’s disk is blocked entirely, revealing a slew of fainter objects: stars, planets, and the Sun’s corona, all of which cannot normally be seen during the day. Yet one object even brighter than all the stars – the new Moon – will remain invisible throughout the eclipse. Despite the Moon acting as the ultimate coronagraph, blocking out 100% of the Sun’s light, and despite the full Earth reflecting its light back onto the Moon, you won’t be able to see the lunar surface at all. Why is that? It’s the relative brightness of something very close by: the solar corona. Even though the Sun’s corona is some 400,000 times less bright than the Sun, it’s still ~10,000 times brighter than the new Moon, enough to render it totally invisible to human eyes. It’s like trying to see a firefly an inch away from a shining light bulb, when you’re standing 20 feet away.

In short: the corona is too close and too bright, and that’s why the Moon is only visible in photographs.

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With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

Thank you, +Frank Beacham and +Randy Culler
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
from +Frank Beacham

On this night in 1968 — 48 years ago — the Beatles recorded 14 takes of the new George Harrison song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” at Abbey Road studios.
They ended up using the song from its early acoustic version, recorded on Harrison’s Gibson J-200 guitar.

On September 6, during a ride from Surrey into London, Harrison asked friend, Eric Clapton, to contribute lead guitar to the song. Clapton was reluctant, saying later, "Nobody ever plays on the Beatles' records."

But Harrison convinced him, and Clapton's guitar parts, using Harrison's Gibson Les Paul electric guitar "Lucy" (a recent gift from Clapton), were recorded that evening. Harrison later said that in addition to his contribution, Clapton's presence had another effect on the band: "It made them all try a bit harder; they were all on their best behavior."

Clapton wanted a more "Beatley" sound, so the sound was run through an ADT circuit with "varispeed," with engineer Chris Thomas manually “waggling” the oscillator.

Apparently, Clapton didn't want it to sound like him. “So I was just sitting there wobbling the thing, they wanted it really extreme, so that's what I did," Thomas recalled.
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