Wednesday, May 21

 

Tuesday, August 27

Watch This First: The World's Tallest Slum

by Jason Toon

Sometimes, Seattle, the city where I live, feels like a difficult place to find an affordable home in. But I'm ashamed to even think that when I consider a place like Caracas, Venezuela. The housing shortage there is so acute that in 2007, squatters took over a unfinished skyscraper that had been abandoned for thirteen years. Since then, the 2,500 residents of Torre de David have done what they can to turn this construction site into a home. A communal electrical grid, an aqueduct water system, shops, and other basic services all function illegally in this vertical slum. This short documentary by Vocative is a rare look inside this spontaneous frontier outpost in the middle of a vast city.

 
 

Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Tuesday, May 21

There Can Be Only Pun: Cat Cities!

by Sean Adams

You guys, I have an addiction. I'm addicted to puns. I need them. I can't get enough of them. I HUNGER FOR THEM. That's why I've set up this weekly blog feature: so you guys can feed my addiction. Every week, I'll name the topic, give you some examples, and then you'll pun away in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I'll choose the best ones and post them here next week. Sound good? Good! Let's do it!

THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: Cat Cities

Imagine any city in the world. Now cat-ify it. It's that easy. Check out these examples:

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Wednesday, May 02

The Trivial Eye: Transit Maps

by Jason Toon

When you're riding the subway in a strange town, you just need to know which line will take you to which station. Further detail is just a distraction. So metro route maps around the world have evolved into clear, simple diagrams, where the messy crags and bulges of geography are reduced to rational angles and clean lines. But their heritage shows in their station names, their design sense, their alphabets. Can you see the city behind the diagram?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

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Wednesday, March 28

The Trivial Eye: Naked Cities 2

by Jason Toon

The first time I did a Naked Cities quiz, the most common complaint was that the unmarked satellite images of world cities weren't focused tightly enough on the cities themselves. So this time, I've zoomed way in on eight capital cities around the globe. Each one contains a famed monument, plaza, cathedral, or palace, or the capital building itself - and most of these images feature more than one of those landmarks. Will you fare better with this ALL CAPS edition than you did last time?

Answers are here. Please post your guesses, speculations, or arguments below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

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Wednesday, January 18

The Trivial Eye: City Flags of North America

by Jason Toon

City flags sit in an uneasy place in our mental landscape. In some cities, you see them everywhere; in others, they might only occupy a pole behind the mayor's desk. Some of them are as vexillogically perfect as the best national flags; others are as ghastly as the worst '80s shopping mall banners. And no matter how ubiquitous a city flag is inside the city it represents, it's virtually unknown everywhere else.

So unless you're a true flag geek, you'll have to rely on the clues in the flags themselves to identify the U.S. and Canadian cities whose flags fly below. Pay attention to shapes, symbols, letters, and even color schemes. (Since some of the flags have white edges, I added a gray background. The grey bars are not part of the flags themselves.)

Answers can be found by clicking here. Please post your answers, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia. (If this week's Trivial Eye is the kind of useless trivia you particularly like, you'll love the NAVA American City Flags Survey.)

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Wednesday, December 28

The Trivial Eye: Naked Cities

by Jason Toon

Behold eight cities from around the world, shamelessly stripped of their map markings to stand naked before you. The satellite images below are oriented the usual way, with north at the top. But I varied the scale as necessary to include enough of each city's distinctive geography. Name them all and claim the title of Master Urban Cartophile. (But you'll have to pay tou have your business cards reprinted yourself.)

Need some hints? Would it help if I told you what continent each city is located on?

Answers can be found by clicking here. Please post your answers, or arguments, below! But know this: the Trivial Eye is presented for public amusement and no prizes are offered other than that familiar feeling of aggravation that so much of your mind is occupied by useless trivia.

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