I got a review copy of Mark Ovenden's "Transit Maps of the World" in the mail today and promptly fell down the rabbit hole with it. The book does pretty much what you'd expect: shows you the maps for pretty much every transit system in the world, with some well-written commentary (history, trivia, graphic design challenges), including historical maps of the major transit systems as well as photos of some incidental artwork, like the stunning Deco covers the French put on the old Paris Metro maps.
This is sheer public transit/map porn, and I'm in love. The challenge of representing the geography and network logic of complex transit systems is a daunting one, and while many of the maps converge on solutions similar to the archetypal New York and London maps, others (like Tokyo and Hamburg) have sui generis solutions that are smart and unexpected.
This is the kind of book that would be incredibly fun to browse with kids as part of a world geography investigation -- and also the sort of thing that makes great bedtime reading if you want to salt your dreams with the possibility of travel to distant cities.
Anthropologist Emma Tarlo just published a new book, Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, investigating the weird culture and business surrounding hair, from Jewish wig parlors to its use in Hindu temples to hair loss clinics. In an excerpt at Smithsonian, Tarlo tells of the hair trade, tracing the path from the growers to the […]
In this Scientific American video, Rubik’s Cube master Ian Scheffler, author of the new book Cracking the Cube, explains some of the math behind “speedcubing.” Scheduler’s book sounds fascinating even though the only way I could get my Rubik’s Cube solved is to hand it to my 10-year-old son’s friend Luc who was the first […]
Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali is the much-anticipated story of one of the more esoteric, fascinating casualties of the flower power generation. As told by Ugly Things magazine creator Mike Stax, the book tracks the odyssey of Craig Smith, a musician who evolved from clean-cut […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]