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Showing posts from March, 2011

Cartophiliac

If there's a verb I enjoy most, it might be poring. Not pouring, mind you, although I do that often, too, but rather the act of detailed examination of every aspect of something. Oftentimes, this leads me down the ol' Wikipedia Rabbit Hole. Other times, I get to pore over a map. Our home is adorned with maps, detailed reproductions of old cartography in foreign languages, which, in idle moments away from the hive-mind computer, I can sidle up to and see what that long-ago mapmaker thought was the most accurate representation of a given patch of the Earth's surface. It's a snapshot of the evolution of knowledge; a comically pinched Big Bend, a gulf spanning from San Francisco to Saskatchewan, or a homeland for people with faces embedded in their torsos.

Maps are, like most made things, a way of seeing the world as someone else sees it, but with conventions and degrees of freedom in the exploration of that vision different from others. Unlike words, relationships between…