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some rambles in regards to february.

March 5, 2011

in my first post i stated that it would probably be the toughest post i ever wrote.  or something to that effect.  yeah, well, i was wrong.  which is weird because i’m never wrong.  so i blame it on the universe.  the universe was wrong.  i have no idea what i’m talking about right now.  point is…this post has proved way harder.  the reason for this is unclear to me, though like most things in life there is rarely a sole reason for any given occurrence…more often than not it’s a confusing and diverse array of factors that may or may not play a role.  we deal with this sort of thing a lot in geography.  so many variables.  but this also means so many threads, so many connections.  anyway, perhaps this post feels tougher because i’ve been busier with school and family and life choice repercussions, or perhaps because so much new information has been discovered and crammed into my brain over the last month that geography seems even huger and more amazing than it did at the beginning of the month and i haven’t really had time to absorb it and process it all.  but i’m gonna guess it’s all of this and a whole bunch more other stuff that i can’t remember right now or perhaps haven’t even realized, thought of or considered.  new agers would probably inform me that regardless of external conditions it really actually is in fact only about my attitude, so it’s only seemingly more difficult because of my frame of mind.  i disagree.  if i was upset about it being a tougher post then their argument might be partially correct, it would make the post all the more difficult if i was grumpy monster face about writing it.  but i’m not upset about it.  it’s quite exciting really.  also maybe a little bit cracked out feeling which isn’t really such a great feeling.  but it’s like this…no matter what my frame of mind, 2+2 or any other simple addition is always going to be easier than quadratic equations.  ok.  sorry.  i have digressed.  or not.  i never really got anywhere from whence i could digress.  but i have certainly rambled.  are you still with me?  i apologize.  this is what geographic/interesting information overload has done to me.  i’m cracked out on geography.  alright, on with the show.

let’s get back on track with this little video.  it’s also part of national geographic’s special series on population, entitled 7 billion.  i posted a video on population from them awhile back, you can find it here.  this one is about the “typical” human.

as i might have conveyed to you in the above paragraph it has been quite the month.  so much cool stuff was found and so many cool ideas were born and so much tea was drank.  copious amounts.  quite ridiculous really.  it was tough for me, and sam too i think, to sort through all the cool things we were accumulating.  much of it we held off on and will post at a later date.  we shared some, and some of what we shared we will share again.  many things were hinted at and will be elaborated upon later.  anyway, people are doing really rad stuff.  really interesting and special and nice stuff.  so i thought the first thing i might do is collect a few of my favorite places that sam and i have shared over the month.  these are not in chronological order.  or alphabetical order.  just mine.  my order.

Information is Beautiful. this was one of the links that same shared with you.  infographics, or visualizing data or other sorts of information is kind of blowing up.  it’s kind of a big deal now.  and people are doing some pretty neat stuff with it.  and i know this is something sam is getting really into.  and i think it will be one of the ways that geography can become really accessible to the general public.  i think it will be a way that we can share geography with people, oftentimes without them even realizing it.  sneaky sneaky.  this is one of the better websites out there and this guy also has a couple of really interesting books.  his name is david mccandless and he’s based out of london.  he calls himself a data journalist.  which is neat.  i’ve been introduced to so many new terms in this last month.  anyway, he’s got some neat stuff, go visit him.  we’ll be sharing a lot more of this sort of thing with you in our months on data and mapping and probably also anytime the visualized data has to do with the given topic for the month.

Best Made. also another website that sam shared with you.  and i also posted a link to it in my post on fly tying.  although both of us posted about products (sam the ax and me the gray ghost print) there’s a lot of cool stuff going on with this crew.  they have a lot of high quality handmade products at their store (axes, bags, maps, photos) but they also have a lot of other neat projects and stories and ideas going on over there.  All sorts of interesting outdoorsy, geographical, adventuresome, explorey type business.  so it’s a pretty good fun to go poke around.  highly recommended.

GOOD. this website is my jam.  i have fallen madly, and somewhat obsessively, in love with it.  it’s like a bottomless treasure trove of stuff.  one could be consumed by their infographics section alone.  but it’s also a website committed to delivering the news and also to delivering good stuff.  lots of important and relevant and fun things going on.

Strange Maps. okay somehow we failed to mention this website/blog.  i’m not sure how.  i visit here a lot and it’s a great, great place to see some really interesting maps.  sometimes it’s about the map itself and sometimes it’s about the strangeness of the data chosen.  either way, stop by every now and again to see what is up over there.  there’s old maps, new maps, professional maps, maps by children.  my personal favorite as of late is this “a taxonomy of city blocks” post.  it’s really interesting from a number of aspects:  historical, geographical, graphical, city planning.  it’s really cool.  i’d like to see more cities added in the future.

okay.  continuing with productivity but changing topics.  so productive this post.  this is the part where i reflect on ideas and more esoteric type stuff that has taken place over the last month…my thoughts regarding geography and how they have changed, how i have grown, etc.  but i would like to begin with this:  we posted a lot of maps.  i realize this.  after i specifically stated that geography was not all about maps.  the truth is that maps still remain one of the best, i’d even dare to say the best, ways to represent spatial data.  i hope that whatever you were able to take from these maps was not so much about the maps themselves as much as about the broad spectrum of information that can be studied or seen from a geographical perspective.   i hope we were also able to share with you a bit about how to approach a given topic from a geographical point of view.  above all though i hope we were able to share with you our love of geography, and how fun and accessible it can be.  and i certainly hope we did all that without reinforcing the idea that geography is just about maps.

now, as for my personal transformation over the last month…man, trust me, you have no idea.  it’s hard for me to believe it’s only been a month.  this is not all to the credit of this blog although it certainly plays a part.  i know that on my end the amount of information sifted through and the time dedicated to this blog has probably surpassed my time spent on homework, although there was a certain amount of overlap (which we will both be trying to maximize in future months).  geography feels even more wide open to me than when we started.  via poking around books, scholarly journals and the interwebs for this blog as well as via my school business geography also feels more important and useful than ever.  there are many component parts to geography but what i’ve really begun to realize this last month is that more than just components, there are layers.  steps.  to me this will segue way into march’s education discussions really well because i feel that there is a certain sort of progression in learning, or teaching others, to think geographically.  over the last month these layers, or steps, have really crystallized into fairly distinct entities.  this might seem really esoteric right now but i believe i will wait to expound upon this in a later post.  suffice to say, i’m excited about this.

i’m also excited because i think this month has really helped both sam and i refine our geographic paths and to better define for ourselves what we would like our roles in the grand, geographic, scheme of things to be.  perhaps even our roles in just the plain old, larger, more generalized grand scheme of things.  despite the overwhelming amount of stuff we’ve found, and the fact that geography seems even huger than ever…all this has somehow actually managed to bring with it a certain amount of clarity.  strange.  and i suppose that’s really all i have to say.  i realize it was a bit all over the place.  information overload has a way of doing that to you.  anyway, i’m looking forward to march’s education posts immensely and will hopefully have my initial thoughts on that topic posted by tomorrow.  cheers.

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