Thule as Tile on the Carta Marina of 1539 by Olaus Magnus, where it is shown located to the northwest of the Orkney islands, with a "monster, seen in 1537", a whale ("balena"), and an orca nearby.

Ancient Word of the Day: Thule

Thule or Tile is a legendary island in the North Europe, which was first written about by Ancient Greek Explorer Pytheas of Massalia during his travels between 330-20 BC. Later, a Roman citizen named Strabo wrote about Thule in his treatise named Geographica c. 30 AD. Thule - is the great unknown. The land of…

Every Picture Tells A Story: The Horoscope of Prince Iskandar (1411)

Ancient Word of the Day: Nadir

Nadir ˈnā-ˌdir (from Arabic) The lowest or worst point. The sunken place of great depression or degradation. Astronomically, it is the point to opposite to the zenith. Merlin by Ralph Waldo Emerson He shall not seek to weave,In weak unhappy times,Efficacious rhymes;Wait his returning strength,Bird, that from the nadir's floor,To the zenith's top could soar,The…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Ten Quirky and Mind Expanding History Books

Here’s a collection of the best and treasured history books that I don’t think I could ever part with. They are quirky and delve into a little known aspect of history making them delightful lazy weekend reading. I hope you can get a hold of them, if you do...please let me know what you think…

Book Review: The Sky Atlas: The Greatest Map Myths and Discoveries of the Universe by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Book Review: The Sky Atlas by Edward Brooke Hitching

Edward Brooke Hitching, history-hound, lover of quirky things and writer for the ever-popular and erudite quiz show QI, has written The Sky Atlas. A treasury and history of some of humankind’s most beautiful maps and charts. Yet this book is more than that, it’s a sparkling and glittering array of sky-bound achievements. It’s a visual…

Welcome to the most remote island in the world...Bouvetøya

Welcome to the most remote island in the world…Bouvetøya

Bouvetøya, also known as Bouvet Island is definitely a contender for the most remote place in the world. I discovered Bouvetøya via an excellent Tumblr with the understated title of Map Design. This is a treasure trove of cartography. Another is the seminal book The Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky.  This is a…

The Most Beautiful Maps on Earth

Map Porn Part 2: The Most Beautiful Geological Maps on Earth

Where Art Meets Science Scientific visualisations often can look just like objects of visual art. A few weeks ago in Part 1, we looked at how topographical surveys are visualised on both our moon and Jupiter's moon. This time, we are focusing on our own Pale Blue Dot. Both as art and scientific visualisation these…

Beautiful maps & beautiful Welsh tales: The Mabinogion

Beautiful maps & beautiful Welsh tales: The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a magical and mythical Celtic classic from the  thirteenth century or earlier. It's thoroughly Welsh and is considered a masterpiece of medieval literature. Although written down during the middle ages, experts think these stories may date from the dawn of Celtic civilisation in Britain. The Mabinogion has given rise to all of…

<3 The Internet: Solistice Streets makes pagan worship easy

Solistice Streets is a web-based app that's the brainchild of some pagan programmers who wanted to make it easier to worship the seasons and the summer solistice (21st of December) and winter solistice (20th June). In particular they wanted to create an online place for collective worship in honour of Stonehenge. A place where on…

Grandscale Beauty: The Overview Effect: Cyanobacterial Bloom in the Baltic Sea

Map makers, Google Earth developers, astronauts and those who gaze at the earth and universe for a living are already convinced of the tremendous beauty of large places seen from space. For most of us mere mortals we won't ever get the chance to see the earth from space.  The 'Overview Effect' was a term coined…

Train and tram-spotting in Melbourne back in the olden days

Train and tram-spotting in Melbourne back in the olden days

Here are two handsome maps of Melbourne's public transport from the previous century. In equal parts loved and loathed by locals, public transport in Melbourne is slow, expensive and unreliable and yet anyone who has ever lived in Melbourne (and who has moved away for long enough to not deal with it on a daily…

Inter-Planetary Topography and Splashes of Colour

Map Porn Part 1: Inter-Planetary Topography

Have you ever pondered about the topography of the moon's surface? Well I have. My brain works in weird and wacky ways. So naturally before we expose what the moon's surface actually looks like, you need to see what the moon would look if you were on acid. courtesy of The Mighty Boosh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4qxQRKAI2o Previously,…