Urban Transit-Style River Maps

image by Daniel Huffman

Imagine that you’re a wayward adventurer, someone like John Wesley Powell in 1869, and you’re traveling down a mysterious and foreboding river. You know what’d be kind of nice? A map.

Even nicer, especially for us city slickers, would be a simplified map showing the whole river system, tributaries, forks, and all. That way, you know exactly which stop to disembark from your trusty raft.

Fortunately for us, Daniel P. Huffman, a cartographer at University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a series of such maps. Done in the classic style of transit maps, his maps feature Northern California rivers, New England rivers, Columbia River, Colorado River, and even the mighty Mississippi.

Self Portraits Created While On Drugs

“Abilify / Xanax / Ativan”
drawing by Bryan Lewis Saunders

“10mg Adderall”
drawing by Bryan Lewis Saunders

Bryan Lewis Saunders, a poet and performance artist, created a series of self-portraits while under the influence of various drugs. The resulting drawings are often impressive and sometimes insightful in how particular drugs can affect one’s mind.

Saunders explains further on his website:

After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.

Even more impressive, is that Saunders has been doing a self-portrait of himself every day since March 30th, 1995.

At present I have over 7,900 of them. Like fingerprints, snowflakes and DNA they are all different, no two are the same. For hundreds of years, artists have been putting themselves into representations of the world around them. I am doing the exact opposite. I put the world around me into representations of myself as I find this more true to my Central Nervous System. All Self-Portraits are size 8 1/2″ x 11″ and in hardbound books.

Dinosaurcity interviewed Saunders about his project earlier this week and asked him how he started doing self-portraits while on drugs.

While Brandon and I were hiking one day he asked me, “Whatever happened with that documentary you were going to make with the veterans and the loonies?”

And I told him how everything had happened so fast with the tragedies and how I thought the people would be really interesting to document, but in fact they were all on drugs, suffering in solitude, some too obese to physically leave their apartment, and for many it was all they could do to get out of their recliners 3 times a day. And I told him how when I first moved in, a paraplegic in a wheelchair showed me an encyclopedia of pills and said he could find at least one of every kind of pill in that book in the building and that book was huge!

When Brandon and I got to NY, I unknowingly became very dehydrated and started hallucinating and had a psychotic break and ditched him at a monastery because I thought he was trying to poison me. I took the greyhound straight back to Tennessee where I had an epiphany. I thought not only am I going to draw myself everyday, I’m going to do a different drug everyday, after all there was one of everything in the building…

And that was when I officially started the project.

The entire interview is a pretty fascinating read and an interesting look into the mind of great artist.

via The Daily Dish

Kowloon Walled City, 33,000+ Residents Lived Within 6.5 Acres

Kowloon Walled City

photo by Ian Lambot

Before being dismantled in 1993, Kowloon Walled City was believed to contain the highest population density of humans anywhere on the planet. At only 6.5 acres (~0.01 square miles) in size, over 33,000 residents were thought to live within its walls. For comparison, San Francisco’s Moscone Center West, where Apple famously holds its WWDC keynotes every year, is only ~4.5 acres in size.

Kowloon Walled City had a complicated history. It was initially founded as a Chinese military fort during the mid 1600’s. The fort itself was located on Hong Kong Island and was ceded to the British in 1898. After World War II, squatters begin to occupy the fort and build new settlements. After failing to prevent further habitation and construction, both British and Chinese officials turned a blind eye to its existence. Eventually, sanitary conditions and subpar standards of living forced the British and Chinese governments to evict its residents and begin demolishing the city in 1993. Today, Kowloon Walled City Park occupies the original site of the city.

There exists a 1989 German documentary of the Walled City. It’s available on YouTube in 4 parts, see: 1, 2, 3, and 4. Part 1 embedded below:

For an idea of how dense the population of Kowloon Walled City was and how it compares to other cities in the world, Wikipedia has lists featuring the highest population densities in the United States and highest population densities in the world.

Gutenberg, New Jersey is the densest United States town, with 56,000 people per square mile. Marine Division in Mumbai, India is currently the densest human inhabitance on earth, with ~300,000 people per square mile. Kowloon Walled City had a population density of 3.3 million people per square mile! Insane!

The images of the Walled City and its seemingly random and haphazard construction remind me of the haunting photos of Battleship Island, which we’ve previously written about.

via Arch Daily

gdgt Live in San Francisco

If geeks and gadgets are something that excite you, then you should come out to gdgt live in San Francisco at the SFDC Galleria on Friday, November 12th. gdgt will be bringing along 49 consumer electronics and tech companies and you’ll be able to see and play with some of their latest gear.

If you’re not familiar with gdgt’s live events, here’s video from gdgt live in Seattle earlier this summer.

Further details and RSVP are on Facebook. The event is free, all-ages, and open to the public and all guests will have a chance to win some cool gear. Everything goes down starting at 7pm!

The Coffee Wars of San Francisco

Blue Bottle? Ritual Roasters? Four Barrel? Sightglass? Just the mere mention of these names can cause hearts to flutter, blood to boil, and even a case of the shakes (all of which can probably be attributed to a severe case of caffeine addiction).

Killing My Lobster, a San Francisco based sketch comedy group, takes a interesting and hilarious look at the great Coffee Wars of San Francisco in a way that would make Ken Burns proud.

As for me, I prefer the Blue Bottle, even though Leonard Hollis (“the oldest and most crotchety living San Franciscan”) claims it “costs more than the goddamn crack!”

via 7×7 Magazine