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28 APRIL, 2011

HyperCities: Every Past is a Place

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What 17th-century Manhattan has to do with Peru’s grid and the Renaissance in Berlin.

We love cities, maps and urban storytelling. So we’re all over HyperCities — a digital research and educational platform for exploring the layered histories of cities and public spaces, based on the idea that “every past is a place.”

The fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.”

From a digital recreation of Manahatta in 1609 to an archival print of Berlin’s 1772 geometric grid, the project is absolutely fascinating and a treasure trove of urban time travel.

Most recently, HyperCities mapped real-time voices from Cairo using social media, offering an entirely different way to experience the news, not by digesting static newswires and frontpage headlines but by actively hearing the reality of the people on the ground — something last week’s Tweets from Tahrir tried to capture in a different medium.

The project, which received a Google Digital Humanities Award last year, is the brainchild of Todd Presner, Yoh Kawano, and David Shepard and is a collaboration between UCLA and USC.

HyperCities is currently available for 19 cities, including London, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. You can contribute to the project by adding your own georeferenced map — here’s how.

via @kirstinbutler

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27 APRIL, 2011

Animated Infographic: Unspilling the Gulf Oil

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This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill, one of the largest environmental disasters in history. On Monday, we revisited photographer Edward Burtynsky’s gripping Oil series as a visceral reminder of just how dependent we are on this highly politicized resource. Today, Brooklyn-based animator Chris Harmon approaches the same subject from an entirely different angle: A numbers-driven infographic animation illustrating the exact scale of the spill by exploring what could’ve been done with the 205,000,000 (that’s million) gallons that poured into the Gulf.

The 205 million gallons of oil lost in the Gulf is the same amount the United States consumes in less than 7 hours.”

For a more serious and in-depth look at the oil economy, you won’t go wrong with Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Yergin’s The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.

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27 APRIL, 2011

Tina Fey Makes Google’s Eric Schmidt Really, Really Uncomfortable

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What ladyparts have to do with Mark Twain and making Google blush.

We love Tina Fey. (Really, who doesn’t?) It’s been a grand year for her, from becoming the third female and youngest ever recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor — and giving a brilliant acceptance speech that unequivocally validates it — to the publication of Bossypants, her most excellent and impossibly funny new book about modern comedy, that whole gender thing and, well, life.

Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her.”

This month, she brings Bossypants to the fantastic Authors@Google. Besides Fey’s characteristically awesome brand of awkward, it’s particularly priceless to watch Google’s Eric Schmidt — who’s had quite a year himself — fumble with various politically incorrect phrases and, you know, “women things.”

via Open Culture

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