Thursday, August 29, 2013

To Watch: 50 Facts about the 50 States

For all the other random-trivia fans out there, enjoy these fun state-themed facts:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Places: 50.086494,14.411346

Sunrise at St. Charles Bridge - Prague - Summer 2009 - K. L. H. Tanoue

We awoke when it was still dark, clumsily snatching clothes, tying shoes, patting pockets for metro cards. The tram lurched down the grey quiet streets past the blocks and blocks of grey apartment towers built in Soviet functionalist style until the bleak cityscape gave way to the bright red roofs of ages past. A quick jaunt across cobblestone streets carried us to the riverfront, under the shadows of church bells and silent statues, past caution tape and grey dust that warned of 'improvements', around the garbage collectors and street sweepers and other denizens of the dawn. We paused against the cold stone walls that lined the walkway above the river and waited until the sun peeked over the eastern rooftops, washing over the streets in warm golden light, marking the beginning of day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cool Stuff: Travel America 2014 Calendar

Travel America 2014 Calendar - Rifle Paper Company

This last year, we had this beautiful, illustrated cities calendar by Rifle Paper Company hanging on our kitchen wall. I think that this Travel America calendar would make a great follow-up.

Maps: Every Library and Museum in America

Map of Public Libraries across the US

For the National Day of Civic Hacking, Grimes built this wonderful map of all 17,000 libraries in the US (that's more than Starbucks or McDonalds franchises, thankfully). This vast public library network manages to serve nearly 97% of all Americans.

Map of Museums across the US

There are even more museums (about 35,000) across America. These institutions (including zoos, aquariums, art galleries, arboretums, and more) seek to educate the public about some collection of some kind of things. 

I take joy in seeing the reach of both the museums and libraries and comfort in knowing that, at least for now, you are more likely to find a place serving the education of the public than you are to find even the most ubiquitous fast food joint. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cool Stuff: Corkboard World Map

corkboard map - anthropologie

I'm really digging this corkboard world map by Anthropologie (even if the projection is terrible).

Map: Location and Life Expectancy

DC City Map - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Geography is a huge factor in public health. Like it or not, the place where you grow up has a tremendous impact on your likelihood of living a long and healthy life. Factors such as stress, walkability, public resources, community cohesion, food access, air quality, educational opportunities, and many more influencing factors that impact individual and community health depend in part on geography. And, as these maps by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation show, slight changes in location can greatly change health outcomes. Check out the full report here. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

To Watch: Address is Approximate

An adorable, stop-motion animated, Google Streetview short film about a wanderlust-filled desk toy by Theory and Google Street View.

Places: 37.826192,-122.479155

San Francisco, CA - July 2009 -  K.L.H. Tanoue
That morning on the over-crowded bridge the fog hung thick and low, a collapsing tent straining under the weight of storms above. Arizona tourists we were, huddled in landmark-emblazoned fleeces in the winter-like summer cold. My body complained loudly after the 8-hour-car-drive that had followed the 14-hour-plane-ride from a place where peanut butter was unheard of and people were protesting a missile defense system. It was our last family vacation before my belongings-laden car struck out for independence in a town down southwest. We stood admiring the ships and the waves until your fingers and lips began to turn blue and we piled back inside to continue up the coast.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

To Eat: Proper

Proper's Foodshed Map
Disclaimer: I am posting this restaurant review mostly because of their cool map. My food preferences are indeed swayed by my geography-nuttiness.

Proper is a fun little restaurant that opened recently down on Congress and 5th Ave in downtown Tucson as part of Tucson's downtown restaurant renaissance. They focus on locally-sourced food and drinks served in an artful manner in a cozy corner of the historic Rialto building.

Reasons we love them:

1. Local food. In a time when the sources of most of our food are obscured by commercialized commodity chains, it's great to know where your food is coming from. The fact that Proper maps and publishes their food sources allow the consumer to do their research.

2. Tasty food. The House Board is awesome (it includes amazingly delicious duck and rabbit! - plus cheese and other goodies), and the churros are to DIE for. (Our favorite dinner arrangement= house board, 2 small plates, and churros to share)

3. Delectable (local) drinks. There's a wide selection of beers from AZ breweries on tap, as well as a number of local wines. Right now, Nate and I recommend the Four Peaks Brewery Peach Ale.

4. Did I mention their awesome map? I recommend sitting under the giant version of it on the back wall.

The Place:  32.222005,-110.966954
                 Proper | 300 E Congress St. | Tucson, AZ 85701
Hours:        M-F | 11am-Midnight
                 Weekends | 9am-Midnight

To Read: Maps, Moscow, Bikes, and Movements

Photograph by Mikhail Metzel/AP

Can bikes change the world?

I found this New Yorker article by Sally McGrane on a new bike share program in Moscow. From its exploration the tremendous impact of maps to project a movement's vision for the future to its commentary utility of bikes for political activism, it's definitely a worthwhile read.

(P.S. Want to know more about current political movements in Russia? Check out this article)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cool Stuff: Soviet-era Typewriter

Vintage Manual Typewriter - The Things that Were

This probably only interests the Russian-nuts like me, but I love it so much. Cyrillic keyboard, and it's orange!

Map: Craft Beer across the U.S.

US by Total Breweries - New Yorker Interactive Map

This awesome, interactive mapping project by the New Yorker visualizes the craft-brewing explosion across the United States. Go check out the maps to see stats on craft beer production, growth, and density for all fifty states, as well as some neat brewery stats. See highlights of the project in this post by Daniel Fromson.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy Friday!

Evening Hymns - Arrows - Cardinal Sessions

It's finally the weekend! I hope you have fun weekend plans. Nate and I are planning to make it down to Peach Mania at Apple Annie's orchard in Willcox to pick some peaches fresh off the tree. Plus there will be plenty of trips to the dog park for Watson (and lots of studying for Nate).

Typographic Food

Applying science to build a better pie

DIY Rope Bag

A foldable bike helmet

Find the legos

Innovative and compassionate care for dementia patients

Nate's birthday gift (it's a hit!)

Soviet microscope

How sperm whales hold their breath so long

Caring for your introvert

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

To Watch: A Place at the Table

This documentary, exploring the reasons why many families go hungry in a nation with abundant food resources, is first on my next-to-watch list.

Cool Stuff: Molecule Puzzle

Molecule Puzzle by SiamCollection
If I had money to spend on knick-knacks, my desk would be a very crowded place.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To Watch: An Epic Fall

I greatly enjoyed Braniac Tuesday from YouTube Geek Week. This video was my favorite of the bunch. (Who doesn't like to watch free falls into ball pits for science?)

To Eat: Cheese

La Tur: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Cheese is the reason I can't stay vegan. This post from the Airship Daily on exceptional cheeses and their literary counterparts makes me want to throw a cheese-and-reading party for my birthday.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Places: 21.347104, -157.893036

Monkeypod Tree by K.L.H. Tanoue
The monkey pod trees stretch up and out, towering branches forming fractal patterns against a thick morning sky, dropping dark shadow against the spreading carpet of lush green grass. Koi swim lazily through the murky green waters, gleaming gold and white along the occasionally sunbeam. Bright bamboo tower over the stoic teahouse with pagodas pointed toward the trees above. Japanese tourists dot the lawn, snapping pictures and flashing peace signs in front of the tree claimed by a corporation whose advertising allows the gates of this royal estate to remain open for no cost. We wander, admiring flowers and capturing a few memories ourselves, enjoying the delicious silence amidst organic giants.

21.347104, -157.893036

To Eat: Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cool Stuff: GEOTAIL Satellite Model

GEOTAIL satellite model by Papafoxtrot, via The Ghostly Store

Who wants a satellite for their desk? (ME!)

Map: Measure of America

Map of the American Human Development Index

On June 19th, the Social Science Research Council released the 2013-2014 Measure of America Report, a publication which aims to measure and compare quality of life across America by use of the American Human Development Index (HDI). Derived from the United Nations Human Development Index, this composite measure combines health, education, and income indicators to provide a portrait of well-being (defined as a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living). The MOA interactive map allows for visualization of the American HDI as well as a number of other health, education, and economic indicators at the state and county level. Check out the data here. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Unquiet Mind: Panic/Forget

Burn #101 by David Nadal

I forget sometimes that I am insane.
I forget that there is a creature in me watching, waiting for the most inopportune moment to burst out, screaming and cursing.
I forget the part of me that whispers the most dreadful things, strikes instant terror upon the heart.
I forget the crippling cringing despair that lurks just around the corner, that voice that mostly silenced by the powers of citalopram, but that from time to time breaks free to run rampant upon the street shouting "Fire fire! Abandon ship! All hope is lost for you!"
I forget the hand grasped tight around the chest, the unbearable weight upon the beating heart, the gasping for breath.
I forget the noise inside that sends the hands up around the ears as if to protect for the air raid sirens.
I forget the nights spent curled tight, blankets drawn, to defend against some unknown enemy.
I forget the teeth clenched, jaw aching, head pounding, pulsing pain of the mind.
This forgetting is good. I suppose it means that this is no longer normal, everyday, the mundane that I just shrug and try to bear.
Perhaps it means that I am mending.
But it feels like hell when the dam is broken and I remember.

The Unquiet Mind

The Lake Project 20, 2002 by David Maisel via Slate

My mind is not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination. I like it that way. I like being known as an innovator, a quick study, a speed reader, a problem-solver, an exceptional student. In the peculiarity of our American society, it seems an honor to be different. But what is a blessing can also be a curse.

Looking back, I see the trail of breadcrumbs that led to this current state-- the breakdowns here, the bullying there, the panic always around the corner, the family history that nearly ensured this day would come, the crises and overwhelming despair, the social isolation. The diagnosis came in high school: the near-blackouts, the chest pain, the racing heart, the dizziness, the shortness of breath were all in my head, kind of. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder. I went to counseling and kept clipping along, as well as one does in high school.

College was both better and worse. All started out well-- the heady independence fostered a spirit of adventure. But the anxiety kept creeping back in, sneaking under the door and through the hallway to knock quietly on my bedroom door. The panic attacks came more frequently and more severely. In my junior year, while on a research program in Denton, Texas, I realized that I was afraid to leave my room. I went back to therapy. It didn't help much. I blamed it on upcoming nuptials. The wedding came and went and still the terrors continued. I cried in the kitchen, in the bedroom, on the bathroom floor. I lost it in parking lots and parked cars and crowded parks. I had panic attacks about having panic attacks. My reckless, reeling mind nearly stole my husband's with it as it ran away. Living with crazy takes a tremendous toll.

I finally "copped out." My primary care physician prescribed 10 milligrams a day. I took them faithfully. The first two weeks were horrific- near-constant nausea, an even greater sense of pulsing anxious energy, more tears at the thought that things could indeed be worse.

And then the seas grew calm. The listing ship righted itself, and suddenly, for the first time in a long time, I could begin to pump the water out. I had somehow returned to the land of the normal, the place where a day could be spent in peace without panic hijacking the brain. This new lightness felt like bliss.

Mental illness, like sailing the sea or hiking in the Colorado Rockies, is still a bit unpredictable. An unexpected storm rolls in from time to time and you find yourself pitching to and fro or struggling to find the trail in a blanket of blowing snow. Living with mental illness requires an extra vigilance, preparation, and care, so that one does not find herself once again lost at sea. It is a journey that those who know not its ways often struggle to understand. And so here I will reflect, and write, about my unquiet mind.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

To Wear: Fractal Motions of Clouds

Large-scale Fractal Motions of Clouds, via Slow Factory
Slow Factory makes silk scarves printed with images from the HUBBLE Telescope (so cool!).
I'm in love with this fractal-cloud scarf.