I noticed my friend’s leather jacket last winter but I never got around to taking a photograph of it.
WAR SIGNS IN THE STARS : Our Country’s Horoscope Says There Will Be Peace – The Washington Times, April 10, 1898
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One interesting tangent I’ve gone on lately is traversing Chronicling America for historic astrological predictions to see if they came true or not. I chose this article because it included an “Astrological War Map of the United States” (below) related to the Spanish-American War. On February 15, 1898, less than two months before this article was originally published, the U.S.S. Maine mysteriously blew up in the Havana harbor. Most historians consider it to be the beginning of the hostilities, while many others contend that the U.S.S. Maine blew up on its own and was not the result of Spanish sabotage. Regardless, the ten week “clash of arms” known as the Spanish-American War began less than two weeks after this article was published. Only the final couple paragraphs of the article actually make predictions and reading them over a hundred years later provides an interesting perspective. I’m preferential to the notion that the U.S.S. Maine was probably not the result of Spanish sabotage, but it gave fodder to the American public to support the impending war. By blaming the “enemy” for something that was probably not their fault provides a possible glimpse of America’s governing powers “decidedly bellicose attitude.” Another reading into the prediction was that the author uses “clash of arms” and says that there will be no war. While on it’s face this seems to be an incorrect prediction, however, in the context of historical wars like the Civil War or the 100 Years War, a ten week “war” is closer to a “clash of arms” than a full-scale war like the one that would take place 16 years later. Therefore, I contend that this prediction was somewhat accurate. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.
The oldest of sciences is probably astrology. No other can boast such an illustrious list of names among its believers and exponents. It was the favorite study among the Egyptian priests in the days of Pharaoh and Rameses; we are told that Moses taught and professed it, independently of the gift of prophecy.
Solomon did not consider himself too wise to learn from the astrologers, and David owed his escape from Saul, at the time when the latter was coming to besieger him in Keilal, to their advice. The Magi, or wise men, of the Persians were astrologers, and the remarkable future which the science foretold for the youthful Mohammed (which was fully realized) made it a religious institution among the followers of the prophet of Mecca.
So much for the past of astrology. Most persons, no doubt, believe that is to-day an obsolete science. Such is not the case. There are at present in New York City nearly a dozen astrologers, soothsayers, star readers of horoscope casters, as they variously elect to call themselves. There are others scattered about in various parts of the country, and altogether the profession seems to be in a flourishing and prosperous condition.
It certainly is not without its devotees. The headquarters of the best-known New York astrologer is located in one of the Park row skyscrapers. This seer occupies a suite of offices equipped with desks, typewriters, telephone and all the paraphernalia of the modern business establishment. A procession of clients keeps this astrologer busy all day long.
Astor, for this is the astrologer’s name, does not look like an exponent of ancient occultism. He has a business-like manner and might easily be mistaken for a broker or a lawyer. There is no suggestion of hidden mysteries about his workshop; everything is plain, modern, and commonplace.
The spectacle afforded by the seer dictating the mystic lore of 5000 years ago to a modern graphophone may seem trifle incongruous, but it merely goes to show that astrology, as practiced at the present time, is strictly up to date.
One of the business uses to which his skill is put was shown by the recent city election in Philadelphia. One of the candidates for the City Council was a Mr. Byram. On looking over the ground, after his nomination, Bryam made up his mind that the chances were against his election. He decided to work a new wrinkle. So he called in the services of astrology, and during the remainder of the campaign his actions were under the constant direction of the planets favorable to his cause. Bryam was elected. The politicians of the Quaker city were willing to fight such ordinary evices as jobs, deals and combinations, but when it came to bucking against the stars in their courses they gave up the battle.
With this imposing array of precedents, from Moses of Palestine to Byram of Philadelphia, it is interesting to know what answer astrology gives to the absorbing question of the day: Will there be war between Spain and the United States? This problem was present for consideration of Astor a few days ago.
After carefully studying the existing astrological situation the prophet constructed the accompanying “war map,” which clearly proves to the initiated that, while there is considerable vexatious trouble in store for Spain and the United States, which may lead even to a “clash of arms,” there will be no war.
To those who are not familiar with the symbols of astrology the diagram may seem a trifle obscure, and a word or two of explanation is necessary.
Briefly, the astrologer bases his predictions on the positions which the different planets occupy at a given time in the belt of the Zodiac. Each of the planets indicates a certain tendency which may be favorable or otherwise. Likewise each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac relates to certain subjects. When the relations and influences of the different members of the two groups are known the prediction becomes a comparatively simple matter.
The reckoning is made from the sign Aries, which stands, in the present instance, for the United States. Spain is represented by Gemini, which, in spite of some disturbance, is governed by distinctly peaceful influences. This indicates that Spain, however she may bluster, is really anxious to preserve peace, and will endeavor to do so. The governing powers of the United States on the the other hand, are symbolized by Capricornus, which has at present a decidedly bellicose attitude, with Mars in the ascendant.
[Found Map] The 3rd District Police Station in Washington, DC
|| 12/16/2009 || 9:20 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
Over the holidays I’ve had friend’s come and visit me. When they drive to Washington, DC, I always go to the police station to get my guests temporary parking permits. Two weeks ago I noticed this display on the opposite side of the station and decided to snap a couple photos. I don’t know who designed the display, but think the juxtaposition of the photographs on the map was interesting. What this map does lack, interestingly, is a little red dot that says you are here. The photograph and the map has no geovisual correlation because the map makes no reference to the location of the Third District Police Station. Is it possible that the layout was generic and the detail photograph was inserted for each of the different police departments? I have not been to any other stations, so I don’t know if the police in 2D are as lucky as 3D. I like the display, I just wish there was a better geographic connection embodied within it. I could add one. Maybe I should. A bonus would be the map of where Zone 1 and Zone 2 parking permits are allowed. I’ve asked officers present if they had one they could show me and they’ve never had one. This important boundary map helps ensure all citizens are given the appropriate Zone to park in. Thankfully I live in a permeable boundary that allows both Zones, but what if you live in an area that is one Zone only and you happen to get the wrong one and your guest gets a $100 ticket? Not fun.
What the Stars Tell of The Times – The Washington Times, February 9, 1896
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Found Propaganda Map From The Oromo Liberation Front
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I was looking on Google Maps to see what businesses had been listed on their newly updated maps. To my surprise, I found that at the end of my block is the Washington, DC office of the Oromo Liberation Front.
The Oromo Liberation Front, or OLF, is an organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call “Abyssinian colonial rule“. It has been designated a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, but I have been unable to find what the United States Department of State considers this organization. Aside from an office down the alley from me in Washington, D.C., they also operate an office in Berlin where their Amharic and Afan Oromo radio stations broadcast.
A Projected Relief Park Map of the United States – The Washington Times, March 28, 1897
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Yesterday I found this unique map that was published by the Washington Times on Sunday, March 28th, 1897 in the Library of Congress / National Endowment for the Humanities “Chronicling America Collection.” Its rather amazing how this portion of the National Mall was ultimately developed! Where would Alaska & Hawaii have been added? With today being Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to the fact that some maps were never made.
Scans & transcription of the article below: + MORE
whereyouare / whereiam@ – A Satircal Election Map of Maine’s Vote on Same-Sex Marriage
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The evening after Maine’s election results came in I was asked to help coordinate the sound system for an impromptu rally at Dupont Circle. During one of the speeches, I remember hearing someone mention that the ballot should never be used to let the majority of population impose it’s will on a minority population. Being that there are far fewer gay couples in Maine (or most states for that matter) than heterosexual couples; the point stood out in my mind.
Its an example of the “tyranny of the majority,” at the ballot box. The fundamental inalienable principles of equality, all men being created equal, and the pursuit of happiness are the foundation of American democracy and when those words were written the largest city in America was Philadelphia, with 28,000 citizens and the rest of the American population was mostly rural. Yet in the 200+ years since, the rural / urban divide has only grown more stark as some states contain few large centers of population. Paradoxically, its in these cities where the most social interaction & social education takes place. It’s in cities where people are more likely to see same-sex couples in their daily lives and possibly have same sex-couples as their friends, and thereby be more apt to see same-sex couples from a different perspective that is not based on prejudice towards The Other.
The modified map [pdf] above was originally found on the Bangor Daily News website. It shows how the state of Maine voted on the question of same-sex marriage. Voters were given the opportunity to Vote Yes and repeal the recently-passed same-sex marriage law or Vote No to keep it in place.
To remix this map, I first inverted the color scheme, which surprisingly yielded a pink color for the counties which voted 65% or greater to repeal the law. Ironically, its a color I personally associate with those who voted No. I then added my own typographical critique to the map. I created a pink square and placed in an unpopulated rural location and added the words “whereyouare,” in large font and in the southern portion of the map, in smaller font size, I added the words “whereiam@” above Maine’s largest city, Portland.
The justification for this subtle addition was to highlight the nature of the urban / rural divide. Portland, for example, voted 73.5% to not repeal the same-sex marriage law, so I placed “whereiam@” nearby to show where my vote would have been. Most rural areas overwhelmingly supported the removal of equal rights for their fellow citizens, so I placed the pink square in an area that doesn’t even an election precinct.
A Diagrammatic Photograph Showing The American Warship, The Delaware, Blowing Up New York City
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Besides demonstrating last week, by attaining a speed 21.98 knots, that she is the fastest first class battleship ever made, the Delaware has the most powerful battery in the service. From each of her ten 12-inch guns of the largest type she can throw a shell weighing 870 pounds to a distance of twelve miles, or from below the Narrows, down the Bay, into City Hall Park, and a little beyond. After traversing 9,000 yards these shells can still penetrate eleven inches of solid steel.
[FOUND MAP] The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein, The Younger (1533)
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Upside down detail of the terrestrial globe in The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein, The Younger
The Ambassadors (1533) is a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger in the National Gallery in London. I remember first learning about it in my AP Art History class in High School. I was drawn to both the intricate nature of the painting‘s near-photorealism and the anamorphic skull that obstructs the foreground. Today I was attempting to warp the skull to see it properly rendered and I realized that there was a nicely painted globe in the background. Well, actually, there is a lot more than just a globe in the background of this painting– there is also a beautiful celestial globe and numerous scientific instruments, but I will let you explore the painting on your own. Suffice it to say, this painting remains one of my favorites.
Randle Highlands VS Fort Dupont [Antique Overlay of an Anacostia Alternative Future]
|| 10/29/2009 || 4:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
The other day I was canvassing the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper collection and came across this advertisement that was published on May 27th, 1910 in the Washington Times. It shows development plans for Randle Highlands, a neighborhood in Southeast, Washington, DC. I was curious about the results of the newspaper ad. As in, how much has the map changed in the last 99 years? Surprisingly, not too much. Most of the land was developed to plan, except for one large chunk of the land that remains “undeveloped” to this day: Fort Dupont Park.
This particular fort had six sides, each 100 feet long, protected by a deep moat and trees felled side-by-side with branches pointing outward. It was named for Flag Officer Samuel F. du Pont, who commanded the naval victory at Port Royal, South Carolina, in November 1861.
Although its garrison and guns never saw battle, Fort Dupont served as a lifeline of freedom. Runaway slaves found safety here before moving on to join the growing community of “contrabands” in Washington. The barracks and guns are gone, but the fort’s earthworks can still be traced near the picnic area on Alabama Avenue.
In the 1930s, the National Capital Planning Commission acquired the old fort and surrounding land for recreation. An 18-hole golf course was constructed. As the city grew, golf gave way in 1970 to the sports complex along Ely Place that now includes tennis and basketball courts, athletic fields, and a softball diamond. An indoor ice rink offers skating all winter. Where once the Civil War fort looked out over farmlands, city dwellers now grow vegetables in community garden plots.
This advertisement was printed 20 years before the National Capital Planning Commission changed the future of this neighborhood. I wonder what it would be like today if it wasn’t a park? Umm, I mean golf course. I was able to line up the old map with the contemporary imagery and by adjusting the transparency in Google Earth you can see how much has been developed. Click here to download the KMZ file for Google Earth
[FOUND MAP] The Masthead Map of the San Mateo Item Newspaper
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Click image above to view in full resolution
Click here to view the entire page
As I mentioned previously, this week I’ve been exploring the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers archive. Last night I came up with the idea that I could create an entirely new blog dedicated to showing news from exactly 100 years ago. Dubbed “The Hundred Year Old News Blog,” each entry would be a newspaper article from exactly 100 years ago and to test the theory, I decided to see what today’s blog entry would have been. To my surprise, I found that the now-defunct newspaper called the San Mateo Item used a map of eastern Florida for it’s masthead.
According to the entry in Chronicling America:
The San Mateo Item began publishing in 1891. F.A. Bailey was one of its early editors. The paper periodically appeared under the title of the Item. It is unknown when the San Mateo Item finally ceased publication, but holdings are reported in the Putnam County Archives for 1913.
San Mateo is located in Putnam County in northeastern Florida. The area sustained various agricultural activities about which the San Mateo Item reported. San Mateo was also well known for its recreational opportunities, having more than a thousand ponds and lakes and approximately one hundred miles of access to the St. Johns River, especially attractive to bass fishermen. Sporting activities were of sufficient note to merit coverage by the British press. The Outing, a London sports magazine, complained in its 1891-92 issue that the Item had reprinted one of its articles without credit. The Outing asserted that its enterprise was dedicated in part to distributing “articles likely to attract the sportsman to Florida.” Apparently, San Mateo was worth watching.
Currently there is not a Wikipedia entry for San Mateo Item newspaper
What is interesting about the map is that its presented in a East to West configuration instead of the modern North to South configuration. Starting from the right side of the map going left, you trace Florida’s longest river, St. Johns River, north towards Jacksonville, and near the middle you have the newspaper’s namesake, San Mateo.
The map shows the following towns, lakes, and railroads (roughly South/Right to North/Left):
Map of Teacher Starting Salary vs. Annual Amount Spent on Inmates
|| 9/23/2009 || 11:50 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
I found this map through a friend’s link on Facebook. It shows how each state pays it’s new teachers compared to the amount that each state spends on each inmate. I was quite surprised to see the variance in starting pay throughout the United States.
Fortunately, more states (38) pay their new teachers more than inmates. But the larger issues comes to my mind. Do these inmates even belong in jail? Are they being incarcerated due to a non-violent crime? Conversely, do violent criminals need more attention and therefore more money needs to be spent on them? Should we, as a society, be paying our new teachers more money in order to prevent people from not receiving a complete education, resorting to crime, and ending up in jail? I will not attempt to answer these questions, but I will say that America has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world and I hope this changes.
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