Tag Archives: maps

The beautiful road not yet taken

Remember when, before pervasive phone GPS, you actually asked for directions? You know, stopping a stranger on the street or pulling into a gas station and asking somebody working there and trying to write it down on a mapkin? If you're not an american male, that is. Maybe it was awkward or ineffective, but the directions were personalized, and…
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This weekend in wooden maps

While hanging out on the LES with the young lions of fintech, I stayed at the newly soft opened Ludlow Hotel and was enchanted by this coffee table in the shape of Manhattan with the street grid incised in it. It sort of reminds me of Max Becher's Chocolate Broadway. It's made of wood and it's…
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Three and a half hours in a single step, more at the pole

We all know that parallel lines never meet, and it's convenient to think of the lines of longitude and timezones as parallel, but they really aren't. The former because they're inscribed on the (more or less) spherical Earth, and the latter because they're entirely made up, a construct of how we measure time. This trippy…
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All candy should come with technical cross-section diagrams

While snagging a fresh Mozart Kugel from the snack table at the office I noticed this informative diagram inside the box. Behold the majesty of two different kinds of marzipan on one chocolate ball.  What really drove the Salieri Kugel to madness was how easy the Mozart Kugel made it look. Now that's my kind…
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The law of Boston infrastructure: build five to keep four

Staring at the MBTA map and letting my mind wander while waiting for the train, I noticed a repeated pattern of 4/5. There were five Green line branches, but only four survive today with the obvious gap at the start of the sequence B, C, D, E.  I guess if the E line had been…
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120,000 blocks to Samarkand

In places like New York City, you can easily measure distance in blocks and people generally know how far that is in miles or minutes. In New York City, everybody knows that Manhattan street blocks are about 20 to the mile, and most New Yorkers can walk about one such block per minute.  Tourists travel a…
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Are you Rear Admiral of a landlocked navy?

I am a cartography nerd.  I like maps.  I like globes.  I like pondering questions like "what countries have land borders with just one other country?"  (There are 17 such nations, including two mutual pairs and two Italian enclaves. How many can you name without consulting a map or intertube?) It was while pursuing just…
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The price of Cronin Park is eternal vigilance

Just about two years ago, I wrote about Cambridge's Cronin Park, a triangle of green near Central Square. These days, location-based stuff is all the rage, and I was pleased to note that Cronin Park is a place on Foursquare.  I quickly became the mayor. But when I was taking screenshots for this post, I…
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Best sandwich from a pasta shop in a tunnel

Everybody's the best at something, if you define the category right, but that should take nothing away from the excellence of this sandwich from DePasquale's Homemade Pasta Shoppe in, or perhaps below, Boston's North End. Since it is really a pasta shop(pe), it's not that surprising that DePasquale's has only two sandwiches on the menu…
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The fourth part of book club; holiday globe appeal

Last week, we took Book Club to a new level with a guest appearance by the author - Belmont's own Toby Lester - of our chosen book, The Fourth Part of the World.  I had worried that such an august presence would impede the club's traditional focus on wine, gossip and whingeing about our jobs, but we…
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