The Klencke Atlas is a massive 350-year old bound book that has graced the entrance of the British Library maps room. Now it's being digitized with the latest technology, and the process is remarkable.
Via the British Library:
It takes its name from Joannes Klencke, who presented it to Charles II on his restoration to the British thrones in 1660. Its size and its 40 or so large wall maps from the Golden Age of Dutch mapmaking were supposed to suggest that it contained all the knowledge in the world.
At another level, it was a bribe intended to spur the King into granting Klencke and his associates trading privileges and titles.
Charles, who was a map enthusiast, appreciated the gift. He placed the atlas with his most precious possessions in his cabinet of curiosities, and Klencke was knighted.
Later generations have benefited too. The binding has protected the wall maps which have survived for us to enjoy - unlike the vast majority of other wall maps which, exposed to light, heat and dirt when hung on walls, have crumbled away. The map of Brazil is shown above.
Here's an earlier lower-quality version to get a sense of the contents:
• The Klencke Atlas (YouTube / The British Library, via Hyperallergic)
Science journalist Bryan Walsh visited scientists from a variety of disciplines, devoured the scientific literature, and identified the catastrophic events most likely to kill us all. The list is a greatest hits of doom, from climate change and asteroid impact to bioengineered pathogens and supervolcanoes, which he wrote about this week in the New York […]
On the Under the Knife show, Dr Lindsey Fitzharris elucidates the weird history of "anthropodermic bibliopegy," the weird practice of binding books in human skin, including the doctor who bound case histories in the skins of his dead patients, and the murderer who asked to have his biography bound in his skin and presented to […]
The term "meritocracy" was coined in Michael Young's satirical 1958 novel, "The Rise of Meritocracy," where it described a kind of self-delusion in which rich people convinced themselves that their wealth was evidence of their moral superiority; it's well-documented that a belief in meritocracy makes you act like an asshole, and also makes you incapable […]
Are we done with capsule coffee makers yet? Sure, they’re easy. But they are not so easy on the environment, and it’s debatable whether they actually make a better cup. Luckily, there’s never been a better time to switch back to the good old reliable drip method – especially when drip coffeemakers have quietly been […]
If there’s one thing that stayed consistent through the last decade or so of tech industry turmoil, it’s the love affair between techies and Linux. There’s just a ton you can do with the OS, and its open-source format means you can customize your rig from the ground up. Apparently not content with that level […]
Accidents happen. And when they do, you’re going to want a dash cam for a second pair of eyes. At the minimum, a decent dash cam can save you vast sums of time and money in case of an accident. But a really good dash cam can do a whole lot more. Here are six […]