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Note to the cartographers at the New York Times: the Red Line goes into Maryland
|| 7/11/2009 || 7:00 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I know this a bit late, but I was looking over the coverage of the DC Metro train collision last month on the websites of the Washington Post (below) and the New York Times (above) and noticed one glaring error in the New York Times map. The Red Line does not start and end at the borders of the District of Columbia, rather it extends far into the state of Maryland. Maybe the New York Times can issue a cartographic correction?

I guess you could say this is a good example of when the local newspaper gets it right…


Related Found Maps:

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[FOUND MAP] Isola d’Elba aka the Island of Elba
|| 7/10/2009 || 5:49 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Click the map above to view the larger version

The other night I was over at my friend’s house in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC for her going away party and saw this map hanging on the wall.

Isola d’Elba aka the Island of Elba is an island in Tuscany, Italy, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the coastal town of Piombino. It is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, located between the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ligurian Sea, and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia. This map shows the island with various cities, embellishments of fruit, flowers, & fish, important mountains on the island, and at the top of the map there is an iconic graphic of Napoleon Bonaparte riding a horse.

I first read about the Island of Elba when I was learning about French emperor Napoleon I in high school. Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon was exiled to Elba after his forced abdication in 1814 and arrived at Portoferraio (near the steamboat on the map) on May 3, 1814. He stayed on Elba for only 300 days and returned to France only to be exiled again to the far more distant Island of Saint Helena.

Below is a Library of Congress copy of a British engraving depicting Napoleon’s banishment to Elba in 1814:

It’s titled “The journey of a modern hero, to the island of Elba” and says at the bottom:

Farewell my brave soldiers, my eagles adieu;
Stung with my ambition, o’er the world ye flew:
But deeds of disaster so sad to rehearse
I have lived–fatal truth for to know the reverse.
From Moscow to Lipsic; the case it is clear
I was sent back to France with a flea in my ear.

A lesson to mortals regarding my fall:
He grasps at a shadow, by grasping at all.
My course it is finish’d my race it is run,
My career it is ended just where it begun.
The Empire of France no more it is mine.
Because I can’t keep it I freely resign.

Coming from the butt of the donkey is the text: “The greatest events in human life is turn’d to a puff.” Coming from the broken sword is the text: “A throne is only made of wood and cover’d with velvet.” Written on the saddle are two phrases: “The budget of Mathematical books for my study at ELBA.” & “Materials for the history of my life and exploits.”


Related Found Maps:

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[Found Map] Topographic window sign at Current Lounge & Sushi Restaurant
|| 7/9/2009 || 6:22 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

The other day I was walking by Current Lounge & Sushi Restaurant in Washington, DC and noticed that they were using contour lines as a visual design element on their window signs. On topographic maps, contour lines represent the vertical elevation change. The closer the contour lines are together on the map, the steeper the incline. Conversely, the more distance between contour lines, the flatter the topography.

In theory, the contour lines on the Current Lounge & Sushi Restaurant are supposed to represent the height of the three main area codes in the DC area- 202 (Washington, DC), 301 (Southern Maryland), and 703 (Northern Virginia), however, after looking over these “maps,” I don’t think the elevations are correctly shown. Check out the rest of the photos below:

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The Geospatial Art FAIL landing page resurfaces!
|| 7/7/2009 || 10:38 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Back in December of last year I found that there had been a page added to my website by a malicious robot and had some fun exploiting the fact that hundreds of people were clicking on fraudulent search engine results. Sure enough, last night it happened again, but unlike last time, I found out WHY it happened.

Unknown to me, on three different websites of mine, there were folders that had incorrect file permissions. Generally speaking, each file and folder on a website has its own set of permissions which allow different users different levels of access. Nearly all of my files and folders have their permissions set to 755, which allows me, and only me, the ability to change the contents of the folders on my website. However, today I discovered that three folders on three different websites had their permissions set 777, which means that ANYONE could write files to these folders. The result was that a malicious robot exploited this lack of security and wrote their own files to my websites.

I found out about this from a random person who informed me that there was a page on my website that was sending people to a page that forces people to download a fake virus scanner that I can assume was rouge malware. I contacted my hosting provider thinking that my website passwords were compromised and the tech support responded with a listing of all the folders on all my websites that contained 777 file permissions.

From there, I went to each of these folders and looked around for the newly added malicious files. Instead of merely deleting the files, I opted to do what I did last time, and replace the malicious code with my own basic HTML file. The result so far has been over a 2,000 people clicking on the fake search results and being brought to a landing page like the one above telling them they should try searching again.

I must say that their hack is pretty simple, but also rather sophisticated. I would not have realized that I was being used to help spread malware unless that person had notified me. They work by using a HUGE list of basic words, then they dynamically create hundreds of new pages that feature the keywords. Finally, Google’s own robots visit the page and enters the hundreds of fake entries into their database. The beauty of this process is that evil geniuses behind the code use one PHP file to dynamically generate hundreds of fake pages that all draw people to their webpage— and now they are coming to my website instead.

Throughout this week I am going to continue to monitor this discovery and analyze the code that was used to generate these pages.


Here is an example of a bad search result from Google:

My page just so happened to be the only page on the Internet with those exact words.


Continue reading:

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Unique Maps of Iraq in the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, DC
|| 7/6/2009 || 12:30 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Back in May I attended the Passport DC Open House event. 30 embassies opened their doors to the public and I chose to check out the Embassy of Iraq. While inside I came across these two unique maps.



Timelapse YouTube Video of the 4th of July Fireworks in Washington, DC
|| 7/5/2009 || 7:11 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Every 4th of July for the last 5 years I’ve watched the massive firework display on the National Mall from a rooftop in the Washington, DC area. This year I finally decided to see the display from my rooftop and make a video of it. The music is the Washington Post March by John Philip Sousa and performed by the United States Marine Band. One of my favorite aspects of being on a rooftop in DC on the 4th of July is watching everyone shoot their own fireworks. You can see them exploding in every direction!

Before the fireworks, I attended my friend’s second annual “Jerk Off” BBQ competition in Rock Creek Park. And to continue my other 4th of July tradition, I rode around the city with my Adbusters Corporate flag attached to a large flagpole attached to my backpack. Like in the years past, people would still applaud when they see it, most not knowing there was a subtle protest waving before their eyes. Next to being on rooftop, waving this flag is my second favorite 4th of July tradition…



Happy 4th of July, but remember…
|| 7/4/2009 || 7:00 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

The residents of Washington, DC are still second-class citizens who are denied the same representation in Congress that all other Americans enjoy. Today we celebrate the American independence from British tyranny, but there are still Americans struggling to overcome the tyranny of the 535 members of Congress…. I figured this photograph would ensure you are kept abreast of this continued human rights violation.


Photograph taken on Sunday May 31st, 2009 at the Coolout on the rooftop of the Beacon Hotel in Washington, DC



[Closing Today] Photocartographies: Tattered Fragments of the Map
|| 7/3/2009 || 9:38 am || 2 Comments Rendered || ||


Photograph of “10 & 110 Quilt” and “5, 10, 60 & 101 Quilt” by Noah Beil

For the last month I’ve had two maps on display in Los Angeles at the exhibition Photocartographies: Tattered Fragments of the Map and today the exhibition closes. I wish I would have budgeted some money to attend the opening in May, but thankfully photographer and participating artist Noah Beil attended the opening and took some photos that I have republished here. Click on any of them to be see the rest of the photos from the exhibition.


A big thank you goes to curators Adam Katz and Brian Rosa for organizing the exhibition and for Noah Beil for letting me republish his photos here. The commemorative artwork and the book of essays from the exhibition are still available.



Changing Channels – Al Jazeera English begins broadcasting in Washington, DC
|| 7/2/2009 || 11:52 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

A couple weeks ago on June 25th, I attended the taping of Al Jazeera English’s town hall forum titled “Changing Channels” at the Newseum. The aim of the Q & A styled show was to give people in the Washington, DC area the opportunity to ask pointed questions to some of Al Jazeera’s main movers and shakers. Starting yesterday Al Jazeera English began broadcasting in the Washington, DC area on Comcast Channel 275, RCN Channel 34, Cox Channel 474, and Verizon FiOS Channel 457. Its too bad none of those channels show up on the basic cable at my house.


I was able to spot myself in the crowd:


For more videos visit Al Jazeera’s YouTube Channel. If you don’t have access to Al Jazeera in your city, contact your cable provider here.





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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