Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture

A Map Of Your Favorite Fictional Places, From Oz To Loompaland | Co.Design

Maps can be useful to understand the layout of a world, real or imagined. Authors are often world builders, and use maps to help them understand their own made-up world a little better.

We nerds all know that Tatooine was in a galaxy far, far away. But if you wanted to visit its filmed location on planet Earth, where would you go? What if you wanted to see where the Oompa Loompas supposedly toiled before Willy Wonka entered their lives, or plan a scuba diving trip to find Spongebob Squarepants?Here to aid in your travels to fantasy lands from your favorite movies are Will Samari, Ray Yamartino, and Rafaan Anvari of Wondernode. Based on data gathered from IMDB, online interviews, and Wiki fan pages, they’ve mapped out the supposed and filmed locations of fictional places, from Hogwarts to Loompaland to Oz.

A Map Of Your Favorite Fictional Places, From Oz To Loompaland | Co.Design | business + design

I like how they also did a layer of the real locations of the filming of the movies based on these books. I already see a recurring highlights section for National Geographic Travel magazine, or something like it.

see more via A Map Of Your Favorite Fictional Places, From Oz To Loompaland | Co.Design | business + design.

Posted in chemistry, literature

Hobbit’s Gollum Lacked Precioussss Vitamins : Discovery News


A little offbeat, but a great application of science to literature.

Think kindly of the dragon Smaug. Shed a tear for Gollum. And give an orc a hug. If only they had tucked into the occasional quiche and salad or a touch of smoked salmon, or had a few sessions on a sunbed. How much kinder history would have been to them.So suggests an offbeat study, released on Sunday, which concludes that the evil characters in J.R.R. Tolkien\’s \”The Hobbit\” lost their battle against men, elves and dwarves because they suffered from vitamin deficiency.

Shunning sunlight, surviving on a sketchy or unbalanced diet based on rotten meat or (in Gollum’s case) the occasional blind fish, they lacked vitamin D, a key component for healthy bones and muscle strength.

via Hobbit’s Gollum Lacked Precioussss Vitamins : Discovery News.

Posted in biology, communication and networking, literature, museum

Carl Djerassi: “What can the theatre do for science: OXYGEN and PHALLACY” | Science Gallery

science gallery speaker carl djerassiScience Fiction is not just cheesy aliens popping up out of burning wreckage or traveling to Mars; it offers us a glimpse into what is possible for humanity, both good and bad. And who better to explore this than a scientist?

Carl Djerassi, emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University, is one of the few American scientists to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science (for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive–”the Pill”) and the National Medal of Technology (for promoting new approaches to insect control).

For the past 22 years, he has turned to fiction writing, mostly in the genre of “science-in-fiction,” whereby he illustrates, in the guise of realistic fiction, the human side of scientists and the personal conflicts faced by scientists in their quest for scientific knowledge, personal recognition, and financial rewards.

more via Carl Djerassi: “What can the theatre do for science: OXYGEN and PHALLACY” | Science Gallery.

I know I say this often, but if when I make it to Dublin, my first stop will be the Science Gallery.

Posted in biology, education, literature, museum

Wild New Ways: Maurice Sendak’s Animal Kingdom

In the Night Kitchen cover by Sendak
Image via Wikipedia

I was going to travel to Wyoming this summer, but, you know, life happened. So I didn’t get to see this exhibit. But it’s a cool idea and I hope it or something similar is replicated in a museum near me:

From common pets to mythical beasts, nearly all of the 108 books illustrated by Maurice Sendak include animals of some kind. Drawn from the Rosenbach Museum and Library’s collection of original Sendak material, this exhibition showcases wild things alongside their more domestic counterparts. Sendak’s veritable bestiary ranges from dogs, farm animals, and well-behaved bears to the famous Wild Things and their untamed brethren.

more at Wild New Ways: Maruice Sendak’s Animal Kingdom

Posted in design and architecture, education, electronic imaging and displays, literature

Jigsaw Renaissance – Build your own book scanner

My friend Willow Bloo is an organizer of the Jigsaw Renaissance, a hacker group based in Seattle, and they have a cool project happening this weekend…building a DYI Book scanner.

A bookscanner quickly scans books at high quality to your computer without damaging the book and outputs a pdf, djvu, jpgs, whatever. Then you can read them on your ebook reader or computer, share them with friends or the internets, etc.

more at Jigsaw Renaissance.

Posted in communication and networking, literature

PRISM BOOK CLUB at Science Gallery

A book club event happening March 31, from Science Gallery:

See things differently at PRISM, the popular science book club where geek will always be chic. To tie in with Science Gallery’s exhibition HYPERBOLIC CROCHET CORAL REEF‘s exploration of mathematics, PRISM Book Club’s March selection is Finding Moonshine by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.

Finding Moonshine: A Mathematician’s Journey Through Symmetry is divided into twelve chapters, one for each month of his working year, where du Sautoy explores the nature of symmetry and gives an unparalleled insight into the working life of a mathematician.

‘Marcus Du Sautoy knows how to tell a story, and, even more important, how to make difficult ideas palatable and entertaining.’ Sunday Telegraph.

Finding Moonshine is on sale in Science Gallery shop now.

More info

See Dr. du Sautoy’s TED talk.

Posted in communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays, literature

Dante’s inferno – the video game

Another example of famous literature getting a technological make-over.

From NPR:

An epic journey through nine circles of a fiery hell filled with monstrous beasts and condemned souls — Italian poet Dante Alighieri didn’t know it at the time, but 700 years ago, he mapped out a pretty sweet video game.

“He fundamentally mapped hell with this poem,” says Jonathan Knight, the game’s executive producer. “He’s created a visual topography, and there’s a tremendous amount of structure, geography, weather — and monsters.”

If you don’t remember the epic poem from your college classics course, here’s the Cliffs Notes version: The Inferno is a 14th-century poem in which Dante is guided through hell by the Roman poet Virgil.

By the end of the poem, Dante has a deeper understanding of the Christian idea of sin. But to turn the poem into a video game, producers felt that the main character needed to be more active.

“Our reimagined version of Dante is as a warrior,” Knight says. “He’s a fallen crusader, and he’s fighting his way through hell.”

In the video game version, he’s doing it all for love.

(Read full article…)


From NYT:

One of the nice things about basing an entertainment product on a 700-year-old epic poem like Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is that you don’t have to pay anything to use the basic intellectual property — a convenience that was surely not lost on the executives at Electronic Arts who approved the budgets for Dante’s Inferno, a new game scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

It should be clear by now that the story in the game has almost nothing to do with the story of the poem. There is no reason this game could not be set in any of the hundreds or thousands of generic hells that have hosted video games over the years. What Electronic Arts has done, quite transparently, is appropriate Dante’s brand to use as a light marketing skin on top of the God of War clone the company so clearly wanted to make.

And so images of Virgil spout lines from the poem at you once in a while, and Dante’s ranged weapon appears as crosses of light, but there is no heavy religious imagery and never any real sense of horror or torment. There are, however, a lot of bare female breasts. There is even a giant Cleopatra demon who spurts knife-wielding unbaptized children out of her nipples.

(Read full NYT review)