Cheese! In! Space!

I love anything space travel related.  I love Monty Python.  And anyone who’s seen me should find it self evident that I love cheese.  This little news item about cheese in space naturally caught my eye and had to be passed on to our good readers.  This week’s podcast features a news item concerning the recent wonderful accomplishment of SpaceX and their successful launch and return of a payload into space.  What was that payload, you might ask?  One wheel of cheese.  Why a wheel of cheese?  Because of Monty Python’s famous (and delightfully hilarious) The Cheese Shop sketch.  Space Travel + Cheese + Monty Python = EPIC WIN!

The Best Landmarks in the US Nobody Visits

When you travel around the US there are lots of interesting landmarks to see.  Unfortunately, only a few get the top billing.  Not to disparage the Grand Canyon’s and Jamestown’s of the country, but there are some great places to see that get lost in the limelight.  Checkout this list from Matador Trips of the 20 Overlooked National Landmarks in the US.  For anyone attending AAG in Seattle this year, note the Seattle Underground if you’re looking for something neat to see while you’re in the city!

I imagine other countries must have similar ‘hidden’ or ‘forgotten’ landmarks.  Put any suggestions in the comments section and I’ll be happy to add them to this post!

To round out our holiday gift ideas….

As most people are painfully aware, the economy isn’t exactly hoping right now.  My gifts for geographers is designed to be easier on the wallet for those looking to keep their expenses to a minimum.

Let me just say I hate ties.  Can’t stand’em.  Unfortunately social conventions dictates they’re necessary from time to time.  If I have to wear a tie, I make sure it’s something I really like.  Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont have some great ties, but their ties of maps and subway lines are particularly handsome.  The quality of their products are top notch.  If you’re looking for something a tad cheaper or a little more historic, you can head over to What Did You Bring Me’s Historic and Geography collection of ties.

Geographers get into the field for all sorts of reason and motivations.  I haven’t met a geographer yet that doesn’t think at least wistfully from time to time about traveling the world and seeing the sites.  While finding the time and the money to travel the world may be prohibitive for most of us, there are a lot of amazing adventures that can be found in your local or regional area.  Check out local travel guides, like this one for West Virginia.  Don’t forget to bring something to document your travels, like the ever popular Moleskin line of journals and notebooks.  They’re a great way to keep a record of where you’ve been and what you’ve seen!

Finally, if you’ve got the means, there’s not much that will excite the average geographer more than having their own personalized Atlas.  A personalized National Geographic’s 9th annual atlas is a great way to make a family gift potentially last a lifetime.  The book isn’t cheap, but it’s a nice tomb for the money.

Visualizing The Mid-term Elections

Mashable.com has a great writeup on four ways to visually follow the mid-term elections.  There are some of the standards on there, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, but there appear to be some new visualizations on some of those same standards.  If you’re a political junkie like me, it will be great to watch the race tomorrow using as many analytical tools and can be found.

And a friendly reminder from VerySpatial – Whatever your political bent, if you’re in the US and registered to vote, don’t forget to take time and hit the polls tomorrow!

Multi-Touch Spherical Display DIY

I want one!  It’s a multi-touch spherical display that you can make for around $1,000.  Oddly enough for such a high tech device, it’s got a bit of a steampunk vibe to it.  The first example they use is the obvious Google Earth example, but they do show using it in other contexts.  I’m not convinced the photo viewer or music making device really needs a globe surface.  If you’re interested in making your own, the directions for building one can be found here.  WARNING: The directions aren’t exactly the simplest to follow and I’d imagine there’s a lot of winging it involved.

Google Funds Offsite Windfarms on East Coast

Any of our long-time readers/listeners can tell you I’m a HUGE fan of offshore windfarms.  I think they flat out just make the most sense for sustainable energy production.  Apparently Google agrees with me.  Google is funding a windfarm that is supposed to stretch from New Jersey to Virginia and generate enough power to light two million homes.  They put up a bit over 1/3 the costs, but the article doesn’t say where the other 2/3rds of the money is coming.  The power will be transmitted onshore via underwater cables.  No word as of yet when it will go live.

Map of all the munitions dumped in Europe after WWI and WWII

OSPAR Commission has released a map showing the known locations where munitions where dumped following World War’s I and II.  The way of thinking at the time was the safest way to get rid of all of those unexploded bombs, grenades, land mines, and whatnot was to toss it in the sea.  The status report details the dangers present to current populations, especially fishermen.  It’s a problem we don’t think about that often because it’s something that happened nearly between 60 to 95 years ago, but it still presents a very real danger.

Mapping the Segregation of US Cities

The Atlantic Wire has a short piece about a series of maps by Eric Fischer detailing racial living in 40 of the largest US cities.  Unfortunately the maps are stored on Flickr as flat files, so it’s hard to zoom in and around to see more detail.  The basic method appears to get racial information down to the housing unit so it creates a point cloud of race within urban areas.  The interesting point of this method is that most cities aren’t hard delineations of race but a much more interspersed picture, despite the example from Detroit The Atlantic Wire uses.