Miscellany

Putting Sockrotation.com into lockdown

It has been almost a year since I last posted here, and there was a four month gap before that too, so I have decided to let my Premium subscription lapse on this blog from June 1st. This means it’ll revert to rapidnotes.wordpress.com and all of my CSS tweaks will vanish. But I plan to leave the content here for posterity and set the Sockrotation domain to redirect to here.

It’s sad to me really, because I enjoyed blogging here a great deal and I didn’t choose to stop because I got busy or lost interest per se, but because a sense of apathy and purposelessness gradually crept over my life. The kinds of things I blogged were things that delighted me, engaged me and piqued my curiosity, but these things started to feel meaningless. I stopped posting at my tumblr blog decodering.com for the same reason: A new CSS technique or web framework just kind of seemed trivial given the hellscape the modern web has become.

So anyway, it had a good 6+ year run all in all! And it’s always possible that I will get back to blogging at some point, or use the Sockrotation domain for something new. Until then I’m just going to leave the branding here. I don’t have the energy to change it.

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Three reasons why the periodic table needs a redesign

New Scientist: Chemists can’t agree on the best way to arrange the elements, prompting proposals of everything from spiral-shaped alternatives to radically elongated versions.

Theodor Benfey periodic table

Above: This reimagining of the periodic table, proposed by chemist Theodor Benfey in 1964, emphasises the continuity of the elements rather than imposing artificial breaks.

Mark Leach at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, keeps the internet database of periodic tables, which contains hundreds of versions.

See also: other posts tagged ‘science’

Miscellany

Why the periodic table needs a redesign

Redesigning the periodic table might seem a quixotic quest, but it could soon take on a new urgency. We are already on the trail of element 119. Where it will go, and how the table will morph to make space for it, remains to be seen.

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The Equal Earth Physical Map

Tom Patterson recently made available this high-resolution Equal Earth Physical Map as public domain.

Equal Earth - Physical Wall Map

The Equal Earth Physical Map focuses on the natural world—terrain, rivers and lakes, vegetation, land cover, and the ocean floor—free of obscuring country boundaries. Because the map projection is equal-area, continents and oceans are shown at their true sizes relative to each other.

The Equal Earth Wall Map is in the public domain. You may use the map any way you like, including modifying the content, reproducing it on any type of media, and selling it for profit. Consider it as yours.

 

It is a companion to his earlier Equal Earth political wall map, which is also provided in three versions, each centred on a different regions: Africa/Europe, the Americas, and East Asia/Australia.

Equal Earth - Political Wall Map

The Equal Earth Wall Map is for schools, organizations, or anyone who needs a map showing countries and continents at their true sizes relative to each other. Africa appears 14 times larger than Greenland as it actually is.

See also

Miscellany

High-res public domain maps of the world using the Equal Earth projection

The Equal Earth map projection is a new equal-area pseudocylindrical projection for world maps jointly developed by Bojan Šavrič (Esri), Tom Patterson (US National Park Service), and Bernhard Jenny (Monash University). It was created to provide a visually pleasing alternative to the Gall-Peters projection, which some schools and socially concerned groups have adopted out of concern for fairness. Their priority is to show developing countries in the tropics and developed countries in the north with correctly proportioned sizes.

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Medieval trade routes and geography

Even before modern times the Afro-Eurasian world was already well connected. This map depicts the main trading arteries of the high middle ages, just after the decline of the Vikings and before the rise of the Mongols, the Hansa and well before the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope.

Medieval Trade Routes and Geography

Credit for this map goes to Martin Månsson who posted this on /r/MapPorn, which has some interesting discussion.

The map also depicts the general topography, rivers, mountain passes and named routes. All of which contributed to why cities came to be, and still are, up until modern times.

The Silk Road is not just one, but many roads that leads through all of Asia, from Constantinople in the west, through Central Asia and the Himalayas, to Liangzhou in the east. During this time, the Chinese Song dynasty was in its height and it was one of those Chinese dynasties that were open to foreign trade and invested in commerce and infrastructure. Foreign trade was mostly concentrated to the southern ports were both Jews and Muslims had their own communities.

(via @stephenniem)

See also

Miscellany

Map of medieval trade routes

The high middle ages were a time when the stars aligned in terms of commerce for many areas of the world. In central Europe many German and French cities initiated annual trade fairs, some of which are still active today – most notably in Frankfurt.

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Tale Foundry: 5 Weirdest Genres of Fiction

A look at Steampunk, Fantastique, Slipstream, Bizarro, and Weird fiction.


Tale Foundry is a YouTube explainer show “about made up stuff for people who like to make stuff up”. Although it is currently a small channel with ‘only’ ~6,000 subscribers, it is one of the better produced that serves this niche.

It’s also a really nicely structured channel, picking a fresh topic to explore each month, then starting with a general introduction of sorts (The Storytelling of Dark Souls), following up with a list episode (The Elements of Dark Souls Lore) and concluding with an original work of fiction inspired by the topic (“Faith in the Misbegotten”).

Other monthly topics so far have included Harry Potter, Creepypasta, Celtic folklore, Pokémon and Game of Thrones.

Shad
Miscellany

How realistic are the fantasy castles from films and games?

Shad M Brooks is a huge, huge fan of swords and castles, amongst other geeky subjects, all of which he enthusiastically explores on his YouTube channel, Shadversity. I’ve been really enjoying his castles playlist.

Skyhold from Dragons Age Inquisition apparently gets quite a lot right…

However, he’s less complimentary about the ‘castles’ of Skyrim, which get some basics right but completely fall apart when you look at the details…

There’s some praise for The Lord of the Rings, but also a lot about the castles that doesn’t make sense…

It’s worth starting at the beginning of the playlist with the first two videos on fantasy vs. reality and the names and terms of a medieval castle parts.

Honor Guard castle

In those videos Shad shows off and explains his own rather cool design for a more realistic fantasy castle he calls ‘Honor Guard’.

See also

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Arduboy
Miscellany

Arduboy: Game system the size of a credit card

Arduboy is a miniature, open-source, programmable game system based on Arduino.

Arduboy started on Kickstarter in 2015 and is now for sale at $49 (they expect it to sell out quickly, however). Features:

  • 1.3″ brilliant black & white OLED display
  • 6 tactile momentary push buttons
  • 2 channel piezo electric speaker
  • Durable polycarbonate and aluminum construction
  • Rechargeable thin-film lithium polymer battery

(via HN)

See also: Other posts tagged ‘electronics’.

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