zubeneschamali: (chicago flowers)
[personal profile] zubeneschamali
Bored. Bored, bored, bored. I have so much to do in terms of work and fic and running and quilting that I don't want to do any of it. As an aside, I've noticed that I can be disciplined about any two of those four things at once: I did great churning out the fic this spring, but now I'm burned out on it. I've been better about running more often and for longer, but I can't seem to get myself to work even though it's summer and my only deadlines are vague, far-off ones. Of course, that could be the problem; I work better under pressure, I guess.

Way back at the start of the year, I had this post-a-week idea set up, and then I stopped doing it. I still have a lot of suggestions to answer, so I'm going to start with [livejournal.com profile] xcziel's question:  maps! Top 5 things you love about them + 1 time you maybe were a little bit of a map!geek.



1) I have always loved maps. We took summer road trips across the continent when I was a kid, and I would pore over the road atlas to see where we were and what we were driving by and where we were going. My dad taught middle school geography, so that probably worked its way in somehow.

2) I have always loved fantasy novels. If a fantasy novel doesn't have a map on the first few pages, it loses a lot of cred with me. My dad had an assignment for his students where they had to make up a country and explain the terrain, where the cities were, where the farms were, etc., etc. I thought it was the greatest thing ever, and if and when I ever write original fic, the map is going to come first.

3) Maps are completely taken for granted as truthful representations of the world, and yet they're just as biased as any piece of writing. They include some things and exclude others, they use color and font and layout to persuade the reader the same way words can. There's a huge body of literature about this, but How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier and The Power of Maps by Denis Wood are the classics.

4) Maps don't just reflect reality, they produce it. The best example is the mapping of US congressional districts: whoever controls the mapping process can break apart the opposing party into multiple districts so they can't elect anyone (cracking), or put them all into one district and save the rest for themselves (packing), and the result is that even though Democrats received a majority of the vote in the last US House election, they have a minority of the seats. And that's the side of Congress that's supposed to more directly represent the population.

5) Maps are a way to show information in a much more concise way than tables, graphs, or text. A lot of times, you can look at a map and BOOM, you just get it.



And more of a funny story than a geek thing, but in college, I covered my half of the freshman dorm room with maps, including a lovely big one of Ireland that was on the ceiling over the bed because I'd run out of wall space. A friend pointed out that was kind of like "lie back and think of England," and I had no idea what he meant. SO EMBARRASSED when he explained it to me. /o\



There are still plenty of weeks left to fill, if you have questions you want to ask!
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