Really Big Books

Thanks to the British Library, bibliophiles and map geeks can now view the second largest atlas in the world online. The colossal book was a gift from Dutch merchant Johannes Klencke in 1660 to King Charles II of Great Britain. The massive 7.6 foot by 5.8 foot atlas contains 41 maps created by leading 17th century Dutch cartographers, covering most of the then known world. Its maps of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East were originally intended to be removed and wall mounted.

The British Library recently completed a painstaking digitization of the atlas, which can be seen online at this website.

By the way, the British Library claims to own the biggest atlas in the world as well. The Earth Platinum Atlas is 60cm larger than the Klencke.

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Word On The Street

Founded in June 2011, Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library serving people without homes in Portland, Oregon. Take a look:

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Through Time

A few years ago, on a trip to Spain, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the amazing public art installations by a group calling itself Luzinterruptus. I try to keep up with their wonderful and imaginative projects around the world, but I rarely get to actually see them IRL. Somehow I missed another marvelous project this Spring in Bilbao, Spain.

The installation, titled “Denboran Zehar” or “Through Time”, utilized 5,000 recycled paper notebooks collected from area schools and then arranged in a building atrium for 25 days. The aim was to let time and weather naturally change the illuminated notebooks as part of the Bilbao International Literature Festival 2017.

photos by Lola Martinez

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Would You Take A Pledge

If you’ve visited Iceland during the last few years, or have followed stories about Icelandic travel in the media, you are aware that the nation has been trying to cope with its astonishing popularity with travelers. Many of the new visitors have been less than sensitive to this special environment and a few have been blatant vulgarian assholes. Some tourists have desecrated national historic site, quite a few have set-up impromptu campsites in peoples yards, while a surprising number of tourists seem to think that defecating in public is normal behavior.

The Icelandic travel site Inspired by Iceland has launched a campaign to raise awareness about responsible tourism in the Arctic island nation. They are offering visitors an opportunity to take a pledge to travel responsibly. Signers can receive a pledge certificate and the chance to win a trip to Iceland. You learn more about the project and take the pledge right here.

The pledge:

I PLEDGE TO BE A RESPONSIBLE TOURIST.

WHEN I EXPLORE NEW PLACES,
I WILL LEAVE THEM AS I FOUND THEM.

I WILL TAKE PHOTOS TO DIE FOR,
WITHOUT DYING FOR THEM.

I WILL FOLLOW THE ROAD INTO THE UNKNOWN,
BUT NEVER VENTURE OFF THE ROAD.

AND I WILL ONLY PARK WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO.

WHEN I SLEEP OUT UNDER THE STARS,
I’LL STAY WITHIN A CAMPSITE.

AND WHEN NATURE CALLS,
I WON’T ANSWER THE CALL ON NATURE.

I WILL BE PREPARED FOR ALL WEATHERS,
ALL POSSIBILITIES AND ALL ADVENTURES.

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Stump The Bookseller

Have you ever struggled to recall the title of a beloved book from your childhood ? Are friends, family, and even librarians stumped by your vague, random descriptions of plot and characters ? Well, Loganberry Books, a children’s books specialty shop in Shaker Heights, Ohio, has come to the rescue with a helpful—and funny—blog called Stump the Bookseller. A hive mind of booksellers, bibliophiles, librarians, and readers, who go by the moniker “Stumper Magicians” have a 50% success rate in identifying book queries. You can challenge them right here.

 

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Historical Inaccuracies

h/t Tom Gauld 

 

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Per Aspera ad Astra

I am always charmed by the wonderful mural artwork from France’s Seth Globepainter aka Julien Malland. He recently helped the launch of a terrific street art initiative in the Ukraine called “Mural Social Club”. The ambitious project is bringing internationally known street artists to Kiev and other Ukrainian cities to create original artwork for schools and educational institutions. Supported by UNICEF and the Sky Art Foundation, the project aims to offer children a chance to experience art in their daily lives.

Malland has already completed a powerful piece called “Per Aspera ad Astra”—Latin for through hardship to the stars—on a school in Kiev. And, he finished a project on a war-damaged school in Dombas titled “Swing”. You can discover more about the project and see the other murals here.

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Poetry on the Shore

Poetry on the Shore is an extraordinary project created by Edinburgh Scotland-based multidisciplinary designer Yuxi Liu. Her AI driven autonomous robot travels beaches leaving poems in the sand. Equipped with sensors that allow it to navigate independently, the robot translates its environmental perceptions into poems.

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Dublin Pubs Immortalized

Heineken has commissioned the Dutch pottery company Royal Goedewaagen to create original beer taps for three Dublin pubs in the form of miniature models of each venue. Royal Goedewaagen created scaled models of The Stag’s Head on Dame Court, John Kehoe’s on South Anne Street and The Grand Central on O’Connell Street. Models were hand carved and painted in Dutch Delft Blue and are now used to serve Heineken in each pub. It’s a clever way to showcase both the Dutch beer and Royal Goedewaagen’s 400-year-old pottery technique. For my part, I don’t get why anyone would go to Dublin to drink Dutch lager; just saying.

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Hashtag Paris

If you have every been to Paris, you know that making efficient use of the city’s Metro system can be the key to a successful visit. With that thought in mind, Berlin-based journalist and amateur map-maker Tim Fischer has created a clever and useful Paris Metro map that replaces the names of 100 popular Metro stations with hashtags based on the most frequent Instagram tags in the area.

While some of the hashtags are self-evident, such as #pontdesarts and #monalisa, others like #badaboum and #silencio may require some research. Each of the tags that Fischer has chosen is based on Instagrams within 300 meters of the Metro stop.

You can try out an interactive version of the Paris map here. 

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