Category Archives: geography

Long Zoom at Long Now

If you have a long drive or other 1.5 hour block of time to listen to a really worthwhile MP3, I suggest Steven Johnson’s Long Zoom talk at Long Now Foundation (the link is to Stewart Brand’s precis, which offers this aperçu: “The value of a long zoom is in identifying and employing every scale between the very large and very small, noticing how they change each other when held in the mind at the same time”). Johnson’s recent book The Ghost Map explores the well-known story of Dr. John Snow’s epidemiological detective work (the Broad Street pump, etc.), but from the perspective of why it took so long to overcome the conventional wisdom that cholera was caused by “miasma”. The whole MP3 is here for your right-click download, and here are three bits to tempt you:

the Long Zoom perspective [0:29] and its quotidian manifestation [0:19]

[in re: complex questions] “you can’t answer [the question] convincingly unless you look at all those different levels”: on consilience [1:30]

Of Icebergs, and their submerged bits, as the Globe Warms

In the continuing hunt for the self-justificatory, Jerome Dobson’s article in the latest ESRI ArcNews (Bring Back Geography!) has lots to munch upon, but I’m particularly taken with Jay Merryweather’s graphic representation of the discipline:

All that underwater stuff is what I spent about 40 years agitating about, to mostly deaf ears, in anthropological and library settings. “Told you so” is sort of beside the point, but be it Recorded that I DID.