The longest straight line you can walk without hitting the ocean


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If you were the next Forest Gump and wanted to walk Earth in a straight line without hitting the water, here’s your guide.

The path starts east in China and ends in Liberia.

Lace up those walking shoes, we’ve got a project for you. An intrepid cartographer has, with the help of Google Earth, tracked down the longest-possible straight land path on earth – and it starts in China.

Just start walking due west from Shitangzhen, a town south of Taizhou, in Zhejiang Province. Keep on moseying, and in about 589 miles you’ll hit Wuhan. You will then, eventually, pass just south of Xi’an and (sooner or later) hit Qinghai. Getting tired yet?

After a brisk hike (i.e. crossing the Himalayas) you’ll end up in Tajikistan. From there, it’s just a quick poke through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Egypt (right through the heart of Cairo!) Libya, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast and, finally, hit Liberia.

via Amazing Maps

A place called home


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Photo by Wells Baum

My dad couldn’t wait to leave Youngstown, Ohio growing up. There was a vast world out there he wanted to explore. He preferred to exit a place he couldn’t change in exchange for one where he could find more creative stimulation and meet different folks.

It didn’t take long for his away to feel like home, as was the case with my own upbringing. After my family moved from Dallas to New York, ‘Big D’ felt small and insular in retrospect. However, it was only upon visiting Youngstown to see my grandmother years ago that I witnessed a more parochial side of America.


In big cities, you’re just another unknown. In small towns, you can’t even hide; your family reputation precedes you from the coffee shop to the church. Being a somebody instills the false notion that everything is going to be ok because your relatives and neighbors share similar interests. But like-mindedness traps people into fitting in without questioning the status quo.

I understood why my Dad felt the urge to leave his hometown to seek new challenges. As Tocqueville observed, “Why raise your voice in contradiction and get yourself into trouble as long as you can always remove yourself entirely from any given environment should it become too unpleasant?”

But small towns like Orange City, Iowa are proving to be more elastic. Locals who left town in search of big city dreams are returning and bringing their changed perspectives with them. That doesn’t mean traditional values are withering, but it does mean that the provincial can come to tolerate ethnic and religious disparities without isolating the other. It’s worth noting that cities carry their own biases; in gentrified cities like San Francisco, the homeless sleep in newspapers just outside the homes or billionaires.

Democracies are supposed to be noisy, pluralistic places that progress through open dialogue. While the internet accelerated communication and appeared to knock down borders, it also led people back into tribes. The only way to salvage openness is to experience the world beyond your original birth place (urban or rural) and then come back with an appreciation for discussing differences face to face.

A tolerance for dialogue and discomfort makes territories on a map more arbitrary than they already appear.

Google Maps streamlines look and adds hotspots


Let’s face it. Google Maps is bloated. It’s like the MySpace of maps with a bunch of different custom options and toolbars.

But Google released an update yesterday that promises to declutter its design.

“So as part of this update, we’ve removed elements that aren’t absolutely required (like road outlines).”

Google also added a new feature to spotlight potential “areas of interest.” If there’s anything we learned from Pokemon Go, it’s that people want to explore new places.

“As you explore the new map, you’ll notice areas shaded in orange representing “areas of interest”—places where there’s a lot of activities and things to do.”

Maps are essential to our mobile experience. Without GPS, we’d be lost. While Apple’s Maps app has improved, Google still has more location-based data, something Foursquare is also optimistic about.


It is possible, once your fingers get the hang of the controls, to “fly” around New York, San Francisco and several other cities, noting the street names and the landmarks and stopping off to learn about places as you go. - link We can travel Paris with our fingers without ever actually going there or have a chat with someone half a world away without ever meeting them face to face. With the Internet in our pocket, there are no barriers to geography and communication. Discovery and vicarious experience are free. Ubiquitous proximity requires that the information always be accurate. So while the world may feel borderless, we need to know precisely where we’re going and whom we’re talking to. Exactitude and authenticity are in high demand.
It is possible, once your fingers get the hang of the controls, to “fly” around New York, San Francisco and several other cities, noting the street names and the landmarks and stopping off to learn about places as you go. – link We can travel Paris with our fingers without ever actually going there or have a chat with someone half a world away without ever meeting them face to face. With the Internet in our pocket, there are no barriers to geography and communication. Discovery and vicarious experience are free. Ubiquitous proximity requires that the information always be accurate. So while the world may feel borderless, we need to know precisely where we’re going and whom we’re talking to. Exactitude and authenticity are in high demand.