Category Archives: Internet

History and the Urban Landscape

In case you hadn’t seen it, the Smithsonian Magazine has put up an interesting page with interactive images in which contemporary satellite photos of American cities are laid over historical maps.  A small window can be moved around the image to see how the layout of streets has changed over the last century and a half.  The transformation of the coastlines is particularly remarkable as cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago colonize the bodies of water on which they sit.  As New York experienced with Hurricane Sandy the maps also tell a rather catastrophic story.

The project has a way of firing up the imagination.  Looking over mid-19th century Manhattan makes it easier to imagine the city Melville wrote about in the opening of Moby-Dick, where the sea figures as a site of commerce but also as an ineffable presence that casts the city’s residents into reveries.

It also calls to mind the Welikia project on the environmental history of the New York City region.  They made headlines with this image splitting contemporary Manhattan with its imagined state prior to the construction of the city.

Visualizing Deep Time

This interesting flash animation has been making the rounds on the internets.  Representations of deep time relative to human time are nothing new under the sun, but given our collective chronic inability to think at longest beyond the next electoral cycle, this little animation is at least worth a click.

Hawk Babies

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has set up its hawk nest webcam again this year!  This family of red tail hawks has been building nests on Cornell’s campus for the last couple of years, as far as I know.  It’s worth checking out!  The chat is usually manned by someone from the lab, and is quite informative, if one can look past all of the cooing.

Of course, as charming as baby animals are, these birds are carnivores, and their nest is therefore not always a sight for viewers with weak nerves.

You can access the cam here!