Once again the serendipitous randomness of the internet pointed me in the direction of an extraordinary artist/cartographer. Searching for local maps in the Canadian Yukon, I stumbled across the wonderful illustrated maps by London-based artist Katherine Baxter. You might opt for Google Maps when traveling, but you can’t top these aerial view, pictorial maps for shear fun. Take a look and be sure to visit Baxter’s website and Facebook page then consider purchasing a poster version here if you enjoy what you see.
Lufthansa recently commissioned fourteen illustrators from around the world to capture the spirit and verve of specific destinations on their flight routes. For the “Passengers on Tour” campaign, each artist was required to use the format of the Wimmelbild , a popular form of illustration which captures a vignette with a “where’s Waldo”-like component. Each of the scenes includes a hidden passenger with a Lufthansa bag.
Talking Statues is a new project from the non-profit group Sing London, which aims to lift public spirits by giving famous statues a voice. For the next year, thirty-five prominent bronze or stone statues in London and Manchester will be able to “speak” to passers-by through QR codes and near field communication chips. Each participating figure has been equipped with a plaque allowing visitors to swipe a mobile phone to hear a personal story. A number of actors, writers and media personalities have lent voice to the initiative, including Dr Who’s Jenna Coleman, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Horowitz and Jeremy Paxman.
You may not know the primary language spoken in a country that you’re visiting, but maybe you have a working knowledge of the most important second language spoken. Movehub has created this fascinating infographic highlighting the second most common language for many nations. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, when you visit Argentina you can get by with the Italian you picked up hanging out at your local pizzeria.
H/t to the Public Domain Review for this marvelous 19th century book of advice for visitors to London. Sadly, The London Guide to Stranger’s Safeguard against the Cheats, Swindlers and Pickpockets (1819) still offers some sage counsel for travelers today. You can read the entire guide right here.
Strangers and silly persons who are chief objects with pickpockets, and are not better known by their first appearance, than from ill-advised custom of asking the way and standing gaping at the names of streets, as if in doubt which road to take.
Three well-known international street artists are suing former Python Terry Gilliam, charging the director with ripping-off one of their collaborative murals painted in Buenos Aires, Argentina nearly four years ago.
The artists—Jaz, Ever and Other—allege that a mural in the upcoming film The Zero Theorem is a blatant misappropriation of their unnamed painting. Have a look at both and draw your own conclusion:
Tom Hanks—yes that Tom Hanks—is well known for his enduring affection for the humble typewriter. Now he has gone and created an iPad app called Hanx Writer that resuscitates the old school manual typewriter experience. The free app provides the romantic clickety-clack of keys and requires the user to “load and roll” a new sheet of paper for every page.
Hanks, who designed the app in collaboration with Stuart Westfphal of Hitcents, calls the app “my little gift to the future Luddite hipsters of the world”.
Hanx Writer is a free download, but in app purchases for extra fonts and sounds cost $2.99.
As a collector and seller of antiquarian books, late at night I sometimes get the feeling that the illustrations are stirring. Now I have proof. The Smithsonian Libraries blog is teeming with gifs based on illustrations based on historical books and publications.
For the last two years, Smithsonian technical information specialist Richard Naples has been creating wonderful, whimsical gifs from images in the institution’s digital library collection.
Word on the Water is London’s only floating bookshop. The quirky secondhand store has been popping up on London canals for almost three years and is currently moored outside of Paddington Station. The resident owner, Paddy Creech, not only sells affordable recycled books, but also hosts frequent free jazz concerts and poetry readings. Rumor has it that the old Dutch barge is moving on to a spot in Little Venice soon. You can follow its travels on Twitter @wordonthewater .
I’m a sucker for all of those great photo mashups that are popping up online every day. You know, the ones that blend historic images with shots of the same contemporary scene. But photographer Michael Raziano has his own take on the meme with strategically placed tourist postcards at their original location in beautiful San Francisco.