"Idea-instructions" bills itself as "An ongoing series of nonverbal algorithm assembly instructions", with a half-dozen illustrations of popular computer science concepts covered to date; the latest covers Public-Key Crypto, one of the most important and elusive concepts from modern crypto. Read the rest
University of Western Australia Law professor Camilla Baasch Andersen has helped businesspeople draft legally binding contracts that take the form of simple comic-strips, arguing that their simplicity not only promotes understanding, but also insulates companies from the risk of courts finding their contracts unenforceable because they were too confusing (an Australian court has forced insurers Suncorp and Allianz to refund AUD60m paid for insurance that was of "little or no value," but which Australians purchased thanks to confusing fine-print that made it hard to assess). Read the rest
Jonathan Simmonds, an MD in Boston, MA, created these Map Anatomy illustrations that represent a detailed, functional diagram of the human head's anatomy in the style of a London tubemap; you can buy downloads and posters from his Etsy store, but act quickly, because Transport for London are notorious, humourless assholes about this kind of thing! (via Reddit) Read the rest
Londonist's roundup of cutaway maps -- many from the outstanding Transport Museum in Covent Garden -- combines the nerdy excitement of hidden tunnels with the aesthetic pleasure of isomorophic cutaway art, along with some interesting commentary on both the development of subterranean tunnels and works and the history of representing the built environment underground in two-dimension artwork. Read the rest
Sebastian C. Adams's Synchronological Chart from the late 19th century presents 5,885 years of history (4004 BCE - 1881 AD) on a magnificent 27 inch x 23 foot illustrated and annotated timeline. What a stunner. You can zoom and pan through the whole thing at the David Rumsey Map Collection or order a scaled-down print.
According to the book Cartographies of Time: History of the Timeline, the Synchronological Chart "was ninetheenth-century America's surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power."
(via Clifford Pickover)
If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel tries to convey the vastness of space by inviting you to side-scroll through our Solar System with (you guessed it) the scale of 1 pixel to the diameter of the moon. These scale comparisons always manage to temporarily invoke something in me that approaches intuitive understanding, but before long, I can feel it fading and being replaced with the nonsensical science fictional conceit of solar systems as being something tractable. (via Making Light) Read the rest
Skyler Johnson created an interactive infographic that charts the use of magic in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels. The spells are organized by count or time, with instances color-coded by the book they appear in. Hover over each use and you even get the quote, for context! [via Tor and Metafilter]
Emily Asher-Perrin writes:
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Perhaps not surprisingly, the spells that we see used most often are commonly used by Harry and his friends as means of non-violent resistance; Expecto Patronum; Expelliarmus; Stupefy. The Killing Curse appears sixth down on the list, which is fascinating–it is technically speaking the “most evil” of all the dark magic spells, and it is the most often used.