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The Dogs of NYC: An Interactive Watercolor Map of the City’s Canine Caucus

Visualizing the geography of common breeds and names.

New York City has a special relationship with its dogs — just look at the treasure trove that is The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs, one of 2012’s best art books. Now, the data team at WNYC — consisting of John Keefe, Stephen Reader, Steven Melendez and Louise Ma — has put together this fantastic map of NYC’s dog names and breeds, explorable by area, down to the ZIP code. The data is displayed over Stamen’s stunning watercolor map of NYC, one of the works featured in Art Pickings.

The project site also features a charming New York Dog T-Shirt Generator.

Complement with John Homans’s poignant What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend.

Thanks, @alexgoldmark


Penn Jillette on Why Every Day is a Holiday

“For atheists, everything in the world is enough and every day is holy.”

Penn Jillette’s brand of smug and often vulgar humor isn’t ordinarily my cup of tea, but the title essay in his recently released Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No! (UK; public library) offers a rather poignant meditation on atheism as a secular philosophy of celebrating life:

In Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll invents the idea of the un-birthday. If we celebrated those we’d have 364 more (in a leap year) un-birthdays than birthdays. Atheists have always had the corner on un-holidays. Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, the day Tom Cruise had sex with a woman are all holidays in some religion but they’re never a celebration of life. The joy is the exception that proves the rules. It’s the celebration of a joy that we don’t have.

The word ‘holiday’ comes from ‘holy day’ and holy means ‘exalted and worthy of complete devotion.’ By that definition, all days are holy. Life is holy. Atheists have joy every day of the year, every holy day. We have the wonder and glory of life. We have joy in the world before the lord is come. We’re not going for the promise of life after death; we’re celebrating life before death. The smiles of children. The screaming, the bitching, the horrific whining of one’s own children. … Sunsets, rock and roll, bebop, Jell-O, stinky cheese, and offensive jokes.

For atheists, everything in the world is enough and every day is holy. Every day is an atheist holiday. It’s a day that we’re alive.

But, of course, as Dostoyevsky keenly noted in The Brothers Karamazov, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

Every Day is an Atheist Holiday! is the sequel to Jillette’s God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales.


Gertrude Stein Reads from The Making of Americans: A Rare Recording from 1934-1935

“More and more then every one comes to be clear to some one.”

A beloved writer, “reconstructionist,” and little-known author of delightful children’s books, Gertrude Stein endures as one of the most influential figures in modern literary history.

In this rare recording from the winter of 1934-1935, courtesy of my alma mater’s wonderful PennSound archive, Stein reads from her early novel The Making of Americans (UK; public library) — a pinnacle of her signature use of repetition as a sensemaking mechanism, written between 1902 and 1911 while Stein was in her late twenties and early thirties.

Repeating then is in every one, in every one their being and their feeling and their way of realizing everything and every one comes out of them in repeating. More and more then every one comes to be clear to some one.

Complement with Stein on understanding and joy, from another rare audio recording, and charming vintage children’s books.


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