How an amateur astronomer mapped the Moon 59 years before Apollo 11

In 1910, Walter Goodacre published a map of the Moon, created over the course of several decades using nothing more high-tech than a good quality backyard telescope. Goodacre was an amateur astronomer. He didn't have access to top-of-the-line observatory. But he did have a knack for detail and willingness to painstakingly record his observations of the Moon with pen and paper, eventually producing a map that's accurate to a few kilometers. (In contrast, the high-definition images that we get today from lunar orbiters show details at a scale of a few meters.)

University College London has an explorable version of Goodacre's map on their website, along with scans from his 1910 book that broke the map up into sections. (As art, the sections are almost more intriguing than the full, stitched-together image.) It's all part of a larger collection of historic space images, photos from the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus.

Cartoonist Adrian Tomine - "everyone we know is moving" out of New York

Adrian Tomine's New Yorker cover is called "Crossroads." He was interviewed about it on the New Yorker's website.

When asked how being a father affects New York living, he says, “We live in a notoriously kid-centric neighborhood, so it’s not like I’m walking around, gritting my teeth, and thinking, Oh, the sacrifices I make for this kid! Most of the things that become difficult or impossible when you have kids, I was never really into anyway.” As for the teeth-gritting moments? “You can definitely drive yourself crazy thinking about the cost of living here, but I try to remind myself that the monthly check I send off is giving me access to a lot of great things beyond our apartment.

Adrian has a book of his New Yorker and other NY-themed illustrations, called New York Drawings. Here's an excerpt.

Adrian Tomine's Crossroads

A reason to appreciate Thomas Kinkade

There's a theory that seeing something over and over and over will increase your acceptance of that thing. Applied to art, the idea suggests that what we think of as "good art" is actually just the stuff that we've seen a bunch of times. Which is sort of depressing. But here's some good news: There's evidence that this theory isn't true (at least, not always). A recent study found that people exposed to Thomas Kinkade paintings liked his work less and less the more often they saw it.

The best of the American Museum of Natural History's rare book collection

These coy hippos come from a 19th century illustration in The Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. They're now part of a new book, published by New York's American Museum of Natural History, that combines some of the best illustrations and artworks from the museum's rare book collection. Looks like a great read!

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 013: Rob Liefeld


Rob Liefeld is the creator of Deadpool, Cable, X-Force, Youngblood, Supreme, Bloodstrike, Prophet, and Glory! He founded Image Comics in 1992 with Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Marc Silvestri. Currently he oversees the Extreme Universe titles at Image. Follow Rob on Twitter @robertliefeld and see more of his art on robliefeldcreations.com.

Read the rest

Art at the intersection of archaeology and space geekery

Ancient Egyptians made some really nice jewelry out of meteorites.

A proper Victorian poop table

This table is not for pooping. It's for tea. But it is made of poop — specifically fossilized hunks of fish poop, encased in a crunchy shell of clay and rock. The fossilized poops — called coprolites, which is basically just fancy Latin for "fossilized poop" — are the spiny-looking bits in the center of each circular inlay on the table top. (Technically, the name translates as "dung stone".)

The table belonged, appropriately, to the Rev. William Buckland, the man who gave coprolites their fancy name and proved that they were, in fact, fossilized poops.

The table resides at England's Lyme Regis Museum. You can read more about Buckland's work and the details of the craftsmanship and restoration behind the table at their website. Earth Magazine also has a lovely article on coprolites, including important information that will help you distinguish between fossilized poop and stuff that just looks like fossilized poop.

Via The Earth Story. Thanks to my Dad for forwarding this to me!

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 012: Shelton Drum, owner of Heroes Aren't Hard To Find


Shelton Drum is a first-generation outlier in the world of comics retail and convention organizing with his Charlotte NC store, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, celebrating 30+ years in existence and Heroes Con growing stronger over a similar span of time. The TMSIDK gang traveled to Heroes Con 2013 to record the show live and the conversation spans the history of comics from the mid-60s forward through the eyes of a store owner who's seen it all.

Read the rest

Nifty experiments and mesmerizing clip art from vintage chemistry manuals

Evil Mad Scientist has a great collection of photos taken of the booklets that came with the sort of old-fashioned, you'll-put-your-eye-out chemistry sets regularly sold to children in midcentury America.

It's a treasure trove, not only for those of us interested in science, but also for anyone with a special place in their heart for the era's graphic design.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 011: Jon M. Gibson, co-founder of iam8bit


Jon M. Gibson is the co-founder/co-owner of iam8bit -– a production company, creative think tank, art exhibition, and gallery space in Los Angeles. iam8bit’s projects include a music video for Radiohead, A Really, Really Brief History of Donkey Kong for the King of Kong DVD, Street Fighter Club, a custom vinyl picture disc for Tron Evolution, and marketing and artwork for Mega Man 9. After the success of the initial iam8bit shows (hosted at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight), they opened their own space and have continued to produce a variety of art exhibitions in addition to their work in the video game, film, fashion, and music industries.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know is produced and hosted by three talented cartoonists and illustrators:

Jim Rugg, a Pittsburgh-based comic book artist, graphic designer, zinemaker, and writer best known for Afrodisiac, The Plain Janes, and Street Angel. His latest project is SUPERMAG.

Jasen Lex is a designer and illustrator from Pittsburgh. He is currently working on a graphic novel called Washington Unbound. All of his art and comics can be found at jasenlex.com.

Ed Piskor is the cartoonist who drew the comic, Wizzywig, and draws the Brain Rot/ Hip Hop Family Tree comic strip at this very site, soon to be collected by Fantagraphics Books and available for pre-order now.

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Travel to the stars with The Intergalactic Travel Bureau

If you're in New York between now and the 21st of July, you should stop by 266 W. 37th Street — home of The Intergalactic Travel Bureau. This tongue-in-cheek travel agency offers opportunities to sit down and discuss your interstellar dreams with real astrophysicists who can answer questions, offer suggested itineraries, and help you explore the wonders of the Universe.

What would our night sky look like if other planets were as close as the Moon?

The Atlantic has a fantastic piece on the work on space artist Ron Miller, showing pictures of the night sky on Earth with other planets swapped in where the Moon should be. Jupiter is my favorite — if that were hovering over us every night, we'd all have deep inferiority complexes.

Two new Amy Crehore paintings

Artist Amy Crehore has two new excellent surrealistic paintings on her website. This one is called "A Gymnast's Memory of Fall."

The happiest little plankton in the world

Artist Hiné Mizushima makes these super adorable models of microscopic crustaceans called Daphnia out of felt. Scientists like to get the real-world versions of these creatures drunk, and use them to study how alcohol affects the nervous system. I suspect that Daphnia are cute drunks.

Via David Ng

One reason you can't take photos in the art museum

Many art museums don't hold the copyrights for the paintings and other artworks they own. So, while protecting the art from damage by exposure to 50 bazillion flashes is part of the motivation for banning museum photography, this is also a copyfight issue — and museums are starting to side with the phone-camera-toting public.