Via my friend Kevin Brady, here is a blog entry on English Russia on the “Seven Wonders of Russia”
It’s a mixture of human and natural wonders. Beautiful photographs of all of them. My favorite has to be the Geysers. Did you know that while Yellowstone has most of the Geysers in the world, many of the rest are in Far Eastern Russia?
Anyway, go and see the Seven Wonders. You could probably do a “Seven Wonders” meme for any sort of polity, countries, states, even cities.

The Best Genre-Related Books/Films/Shows Consumed in 2009

Sf Signal has been asking luminaries in the SF field what they considered the best Genre Related books, films and shows they consumed in 2009. Note that the material does not necessarily need to have come out in 2009, they just have had to consume it.
Unlike Gaul, the Sfsignal article is divided into four parts:

Behind the cut, my own choices!

Continue reading The Best Genre-Related Books/Films/Shows Consumed in 2009

Historic Map coming to Minnesota!

MPR had a story a couple of days ago that makes me jump in my seat for joy.
One of the world’s rarest maps — a massive print from 1602 showing the world with China as its center — will soon be on permanent display at the University of Minnesota.
The James Ford Bell Trust announced this week that it has acquired the “Impossible Black Tulip,” the first map in Chinese to show the Americas, from a London books and maps dealer for $1 million. Only six copies of the map remain and several are in poor condition.

The Library of Congress will display the map for the first time in North America on Jan. 12, where it will be scanned to create a permanent digital image available to scholars.
The map will then travel to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a brief exhibition, before moving to its permanent home at the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota in the spring.

Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit cartographer I read a biography of a couple of years back, was instrumental in the creation of this map. I recall the biography mentioning that he had collaborated on a map with chinese scholars; Clearly this is the map.
I definitely will go and see this map when it moves up here.

The Universe in Six Minutes

Via Chris Roberson, a film created by the American Museum of Natural History being shown at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan.
The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.
It’s awesome. I recommend seeing it on as large a window as your connection can stand: