Sky Diving

The amateur first experience

Extreme Skydiving

Glider landings

Plane accident cabin footage !

Cockpit view near miss collisions

Skydiving near miss

Tornado fighter

Bird strike during landing

Landings !!

On top of a truck

Mountain runway


From Wikipedia,

A fallacy is a component of an argument that is demonstrably flawed in its logic or form, thus rendering the argument invalid in whole, except in the case of begging the question, a false analogy and other informal fallacies. In logical arguments, fallacies are either formal or informal. Because the validity of a deductive argument depends on its form, a formal fallacy is a deductive argument that has an invalid form, whereas an informal fallacy is any other invalid mode of reasoning whose flaw is not in the form of the argument.
Beginning with
Aristotle, informal fallacies have generally been placed in one of several categories, depending on the source of the fallacy. There are fallacies of relevance, fallacies involving causal reasoning, and fallacies resulting from ambiguities.
Recognizing fallacies in actual arguments may be difficult since arguments are often structured using
rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical connections between assertions. Fallacies may also exploit the emotions or intellectual or psychological weaknesses of the interlocutor. Having the capability of recognizing logical fallacies in arguments reduces the likelihood of such an occurrence.

From Logical

Formal Fallacies (Deductive Fallacies)
Philosophers distinguish between two types of argument: deductive and inductive. For each type of argument, there is a different understanding of what counts as a fallacy.
Deductive arguments are supposed to be water-tight. For a deductive argument to be a good one (to be “valid”) it must be absolutely impossible for both its premises to be true and its conclusion to be false. With a good deductive argument, that simply cannot happen; the truth of the premises entails the truth of the conclusion.
The classic example of a deductively valid argument is:
(1) All men are mortal.(2) Socrates is a man.Therefore:(3) Socrates is mortal.
It is simply not possible that both (1) and (2) are true and (3) is false, so this argument is deductively valid.
Any deductive argument that fails to meet this (very high) standard commits a logical error, and so, technically, is fallacious. This includes many arguments that we would usually accept as good arguments, arguments that make their conclusions highly probable, but not certain. Arguments of this kind, arguments that aren’t deductively valid, are said to commit a “formal fallacy”.
Informal Fallacies
Inductive arguments needn’t be as rigorous as deductive arguments in order to be good arguments. Good inductive arguments lend support to their conclusions, but even if their premises are true then that doesn’t establish with 100% certainty that their conclusions are true. Even a good inductive argument with true premises might have a false conclusion; that the argument is a good one and that its premises are true only establishes that its conclusion is probably true.
All inductive arguments, even good ones, are therefore deductively invalid, and so “fallacious” in the strictest sense. The premises of an inductive argument do not, and are not intended to, entail the truth of the argument’s conclusion, and so even the best inductive argument falls short of deductive validity.
Because all inductive arguments are technically invalid, different terminology is needed to distinguish good and bad inductive arguments than is used to distinguish good and bad deductive arguments (else every inductive argument would be given the bad label: “invalid”). The terms most often used to distinguish good and bad inductive arguments are “strong” and “weak”.
An example of a strong inductive argument would be:
(1) Every day to date the law of gravity has held.Therefore:(2) The law of gravity will hold tomorrow.
Arguments that fail to meet the standards required of inductive arguments commit fallacies in addition to formal fallacies. It is these “informal fallacies” that are most often described by guides to good thinking, and that are the primary concern of most critical thinking courses and of this site.
Logical and Factual Errors
Arguments consist of premises, inferences, and conclusions. Arguments containing bad inferences, i.e. inferences where the premises don’t give adequate support for the conclusion drawn, can certainly be called fallacious. What is less clear is whether arguments containing false premises but which are otherwise fine should be called fallacious.
If a fallacy is an error of reasoning, then strictly speaking such arguments are not fallacious; their reasoning, their logic, is sound. However, many of the traditional fallacies are of just this kind. It’s therefore best to define fallacy in a way that includes them; this site will therefore use the word fallacy in a broad sense, including both formal and informal fallacies, and both logical and factual errors.
Taxonomy of Fallacies
Once it has been decided what is to count as a logical fallacy, the question remains as to how the various fallacies are to be categorised. The most common classification of fallacies groups fallacies of
relevance, of ambiguity, and of presumption.
Arguments that commit fallacies of relevance rely on premises that aren’t relevant to the truth of the conclusion. The various
irrelevant appeals are all fallacies of relevance, as are ad hominems.
Arguments that commit fallacies of ambiguity manipulate language in misleading ways.
Straw man arguments, for example, commit a fallacy of ambiguity.
Arguments that commit fallacies of presumption contain false premises, and so fail to establish their conclusion. For example, arguments based on
false dilemmas and circular arguments both commit fallacies of presumption.
These categories have to be treated quite loosely. Some fallacies are difficult to place in any category; others belong in two or three. The
‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy, for example, could be classified either as a fallacy of ambiguity (an attempt to switch definitions of “Scotsman”) or as a fallacy of presumption (it begs the question, reinterpreting the evidence to fit its conclusion rather than forming its conclusion on the basis of the evidence).


From Wikipedia

A paradox is an apparently true statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition. Typically, either the statements in question do not really imply the contradiction, the puzzling result is not really a contradiction, or the premises themselves are not all really true or cannot all be true together. The word paradox is often used interchangeably and wrongly with contradiction; but whereas a contradiction asserts its own opposite, many paradoxes do allow for resolution of some kind.

Logical paradox
Common themes in paradoxes include direct and indirect
self-reference, infinity, circular definitions, and confusion of levels of reasoning. Paradoxes which are not based on a hidden error generally happen at the fringes of context or language, and require extending the context or language to lose their paradoxical quality.
Paradoxes that arise from apparently intelligible uses of language are often of interest to
logicians and philosophers. This sentence is false is an example of the famous liar paradox: it is a sentence which cannot be consistently interpreted as true or false, because if it is false it must be true, and if it is true it must be false. Therefore, it can be concluded the sentence is both true and false. Russell's paradox, which shows that the notion of the set of all those sets that do not contain themselves leads to a contradiction, was instrumental in the development of modern logic and set theory.
Thought experiments can also yield interesting paradoxes. The grandfather paradox, for example, would arise if a time traveler were to kill his own grandfather, thereby preventing his own birth.
W. V. Quine (1962) distinguished between three classes of paradoxes.
A veridical paradox produces a result that appears absurd but is demonstrated to be true nevertheless. Thus, the paradox of Frederic's birthday in
The Pirates of Penzance establishes the surprising fact that a person's fifth birthday is the day he turns twenty, if born on a leap day. Likewise, Arrow's impossibility theorem involves behaviour of voting systems that is surprising but true.
A falsidical paradox establishes a result that not only appears false but actually is false; there is a fallacy in the supposed demonstration. The various
invalid proofs (e.g. that 1 = 2) are classic examples, generally relying on a hidden division by zero. Another example would be the inductive form of the Horse paradox.
A paradox which is in neither class may be an
antinomy, which reaches a self-contradictory result by properly applying accepted ways of reasoning. For example, the Grelling-Nelson paradox points out genuine problems in our understanding of the ideas of truth and description.
A fourth kind has sometimes been asserted since Quine's work.
A paradox which is both true and false at the same time in the same sense is called a
dialetheia. In Western logics it is often assumed, following Aristotle that no dialetheia exist, but they are sometimes accepted in eastern traditions and in Paraconsistent logics.

Moral paradox
moral philosophy, paradox plays a central role in ethics debates. For instance, it may be considered that an ethical admonition to "love thy neighbour" is not just in contrast with, but in contradiction to an armed neighbour actively trying to kill you: if he or she succeeds, you will not be able to love him or her. But to preemptively attack them or restrain them is not usually understood as loving. This might be termed an ethical dilemma. Another example is the conflict between an injunction not to steal and one to care for a family that you cannot afford to feed without stolen money.

1940s cigarrete ad, by Doctors

The Cigarette Preferred By Doctors - Watch more free videos

Aircraft Carrier Landings, cockpit views

Strapped a Super 8 camera to my Canopy Jettison Handle in an F-4J Phantom II, Mediterranean Sea, 1968, aboard USS Forrestal CVA-59.

Night Landing !

XXth century super hits... flight

Ethanol, the downside

From ABC 20/20

Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity with John Stossel

Understanding Stupidity by: James F Welles, Ph.D.

Understanding Stupidity by: James F Welles, Ph.D.


How to Stay Reasonably Enlightened

Ronald de Sousa
University of Toronto


The power of Stupidity


Stupidity, 20/20 Special

20-20 investigation by John Stossel entitled "Stupid in America" highlighting some of the flaws with the education system in the United States.
The story started out when identical tests were given to high school students in New Jersey and in Belgium. The Belgian kids cleaned the American kids' clocks. The Belgian kids called the American students "stupid", which gave the piece its name.
Jay Greene, author of "Education Myths," points out that "If money were the solution, the problem would already be solved … We've doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, over the last 30 years, and yet schools aren't better."

Amazing Stupidity... even more

Hard to image that we as an species, have gone so far with this type of education at all levels of society
Part 1

Part 2

Stupidity, street conversations

In the 20th century... a complete shown of human brain incapacities

Collective Stupidity. War of the Worlds, 1938 O.H. Wells

Never under estimate collective estupidity. This TRUE event, where thousands of people believed the earth was under martian attack, took place only 70 years ago, in 1938, in the most advance, educated, prepared and scientifically literate socieaty in the planet at that time, the USA; and in a region ranked upon the most advance of that society, New York state.

Original Broadcast Part 1

Part 2


Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Larry Walters

Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed Lawnchair Larry or the Lawn Chair Pilot, (April 19, 1949October 6, 1993) was an American adventurer. He took flight on July 2, 1982 in a homemade aircraft, dubbed Inspiration I, that he had fashioned out of a Sears patio chair and 45 helium-filled weather balloons. He rose to an altitude of 16,000 feet (3 miles) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California into federal airspace near Long Beach airport. The account of his flight was widely reported in newspapers. The feat is noted as an urban legend, albeit one based on actual events.

Preparation and launch
Walters and his girlfriend, Carol Van Deusen, purchased 45 four-foot weather balloons and helium tanks at California Toy Time Balloons. To avoid suspicion, they used a forged requisition from his employer, FilmFair Studios, saying the balloons were for a television commercial shoot. Walters then attached the balloons to his lawnchair, filled them with helium, donned a parachute, and strapped himself to the chair with a pellet gun (with which he intended to shoot the balloons to lower himself), a CB radio, sandwiches, soft drinks, and a camera. After that, things did not work out as he had planned. When his friends cut the cord that had tied his lawnchair to his jeep, Walters' lawnchair, which was planned to rise 100 feet above the ground, quickly rose to a height of about 16,000 feet (3 miles); he did not dare shoot any balloons, fearing that he might unbalance the load. He drifted over Long Beach and crossed the primary approach corridor of Long Beach airport.
After spending about 45 minutes in the sky, though, he came to the conclusion that he would have to shoot a few balloons after all; doing so caused him to descend slowly again, until the balloon's dangling cables got caught in a power line, causing a black out in a Long Beach neighborhood for 20 minutes, but also allowing Walters to climb down to the ground again.

Arrest and notoriety
He was immediately arrested by waiting members of the LAPD; when asked by a reporter why he had done it, Walters replied "a man can't just sit around." He was later fined US$4,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for violations of the Federal Aviation Act, including operating a "civil aircraft for which there is not currently in effect an airworthiness certificate" and operating an aircraft within an airport traffic area "without establishing and maintaining two-way communications with the control tower." Walters appealed, and the fine was reduced to US$1,500.
Walters also received the top prize from the Bonehead Club of Dallas for his adventure, as well as invitations to The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman and an honorable mention in 1982's Darwin Awards. His lawn-chair balloon was also featured in an episode of Mythbusters.

Origin of his plan
The story goes that Walters had always dreamed of flying but was unable to become a pilot in the United States Air Force due to bad eyesight. He first came up with the idea of using weather balloons to fly at age 13, when seeing them hanging from the ceiling of an Army Navy surplus store. His original plan was to attach a couple of helium-filled weather balloons to his lawnchair, then cut the anchor and float above his backyard at a height of about 30 feet for a few hours, finally using a pellet gun to pop the balloons one after another to float gently to the ground again.
Life after the flight
The lawnchair used in his flight was given to an admiring boy named Jerry, although Walters later admitted he regretted doing so. The Smithsonian Institution asked him to donate it to its museum. Twenty years later, the boy, by that time an adult, sent an e-mail to Mark Barry, a pilot who had documented Walters's story and dedicated a Web site to it, and identified himself as the boy who was given the chair. It had been sitting in his garage the whole time, still attached to some of the original tethers and water jugs used as ballast.
Walters was in brief demand as a motivational speaker after his flight and quit his job as a truck driver, but never was able to make much money from his fame. Later on in his life, Walters hiked the San Gabriel Mountains and did volunteer work for the United States Forest Service before committing suicide by shooting himself in the heart in Angeles National Forest on October 6, 1993

Darwin Awards

A Darwin Award is a tongue-in-cheek "honor" named after evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin. Awards have been presented since 1991, however some are awarded for feats which have met the criteria even as early as 1874. It "honours" certain people who kill themseles accidentally by attempting to do stupid feats or making careless mistakes, more precisely as mentioned in the Darwin Award books: The Awards honour people who ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion. While an attempt is made to disallow urban legends from the awards, some older winners have been 'grandfathered' to keep their awards.[

Northcutt has established five requirements for a Darwin Award on her website:
Inability to reproduce — Nominee must be dead or sterile.
Sometimes this can be a matter of dispute. Potential awardees may be out of the gene pool due to age; others have already reproduced before their deaths. To avoid debates about the possibility of in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, or cloning, the original Darwin Awards book applied the following "deserted island" test to potential winners: If the person would be unable to reproduce when stranded on a desert island with a fertile member of the opposite sex, he or she would be considered sterile. In general, winners of the award are either dead or become unable to use their sexual organs.
"Excellence" — Astounding misapplication of judgment.
The candidate's foolishness must be unique and sensational, perhaps because the award is meant to be funny. A number of common but foolish activities, such as smoking in bed, are excluded from consideration, while smoking after being administered a flammable ointment in hospital and specifically being told to not smoke[4] is grounds for nomination.
"Self-selection" — Cause of one's own demise.
Killing a friend with a hand grenade would not be eligible, but killing one's self while manufacturing a homemade chimney-cleaning device from a grenade[5] would be eligible.
There is no award for killing someone else or causing someone else to be sterile.
"Maturity" — Capable of sound judgment.
The nominee must be at least past the legal driving age and free of mental defect.
"Veracity" — The event must be verified.
The story must be documented by reliable sources, i.e., reputable newspaper articles, confirmed television reports, or responsible eyewitnesses.
If a story is found to be untrue, it is disqualified, but particularly amusing ones are placed in the "urban legends" section of the archives.
Examples of Darwin award winners include juggling active hand grenades (Croatia, 2001), jumping out of a plane to film skydivers without wearing a parachute (USA, 1987), trying to get enough light to look down the barrel of a loaded gun using a cigarette lighter (USA, 1996), using a lighter to illuminate a fuel tank to make sure it contains nothing flammable (Brazil, 2003), attempting to play Russian roulette with a semi-automatic pistol that automatically reloads the next round into the chamber,[9] and obtaining sexual gratification with a vacuum cleaner (USA, 2000).
Northcutt's Darwin Awards site gives "Honorable Mentions" to people who manage to survive their misadventures with their reproductive capacity intact. One notable example is Lawnchair Larry, who attached helium balloons to a lawn chair and floated far above Long Beach, California, in July 1982.

Darwin Awards Special


Impressions of Tibet

Potala Palace


Courchevel Altiport

Nepal Lukla airport DHC-6 Twin Otter

A mountain perked full smal airport at the feet of Mount Everest

Bhutan... the last true Illusion of Shangri-La

Druk Air, landing at Paro airport


Tibet China invasion 1959


Machu Picchu - Cusco


Ankor Wat


Drake Passage

Ice Weddell Sea

Limdblad Cove

Deception Island

Paradise Bay, Chilean research station

Petemann Island

Jet Fighther civilian rides

Pragmatic maxim

Pragmatic maxim
From Wikipedia

The pragmatic maxim, also known as the maxim of pragmatism or the maxim of pragmaticism, is a maxim of logic formulated by Charles Sanders Peirce. Serving as a normative recommendation or a regulative principle in the normative science of logic, its function is to guide the conduct of thought toward the achievement of its purpose, advising the addressee on an optimal way of "attaining clearness of apprehension".

Seven ways of looking at a pragmatic maxim
Peirce stated the pragmatic maxim in many different ways over the years, each of which adds its own bit of clarity or correction to their collective corpus.

The first excerpt appears in the form of a dictionary entry, intended as a definition of pragmatism.
Pragmatism. The opinion that metaphysics is to be largely cleared up by the application of the following maxim for attaining clearness of apprehension: "Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object. (Peirce, CP 5.2, 1878/1902).
The second excerpt presents another version of the pragmatic maxim, a recommendation about a way of clarifying meaning that can be taken to stake out the general philosophy of pragmatism.
Pragmaticism was originally enounced in the form of a maxim, as follows: Consider what effects that might conceivably have practical bearings you conceive the objects of your conception to have. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object. (Peirce, CP 5.438, 1878/1905).
The third excerpt puts a gloss on the meaning of a practical bearing and provides an alternative statement of the maxim.
Such reasonings and all reasonings turn upon the idea that if one exerts certain kinds of volition, one will undergo in return certain compulsory perceptions. Now this sort of consideration, namely, that certain lines of conduct will entail certain kinds of inevitable experiences is what is called a "practical consideration". Hence is justified the maxim, belief in which constitutes pragmatism; namely:
In order to ascertain the meaning of an intellectual conception one should consider what practical consequences might conceivably result by necessity from the truth of that conception; and the sum of these consequences will constitute the entire meaning of the conception. (Peirce, CP 5.9, 1905).
The fourth excerpt illustrates one of Peirce's many attempts to get the sense of the pragmatic philosophy across by rephrasing the pragmatic maxim in an alternative way. In introducing this version, he addresses an order of prospective critics who do not deem a simple heuristic maxim, much less one that concerns itself with a routine matter of logical procedure, as forming a sufficient basis for a whole philosophy.
On their side, one of the faults that I think they might find with me is that I make pragmatism to be a mere maxim of logic instead of a sublime principle of speculative philosophy. In order to be admitted to better philosophical standing I have endeavored to put pragmatism as I understand it into the same form of a philosophical theorem. I have not succeeded any better than this:
Pragmatism is the principle that every theoretical judgment expressible in a sentence in the indicative mood is a confused form of thought whose only meaning, if it has any, lies in its tendency to enforce a corresponding practical maxim expressible as a conditional sentence having its apodosis in the imperative mood. (Peirce, CP 5.18, 1903).
The fifth excerpt is useful by way of additional clarification, and was aimed to correct a variety of historical misunderstandings that arose over time with regard to the intended meaning of the pragmatic maxim.
The doctrine appears to assume that the end of man is action — a stoical axiom which, to the present writer at the age of sixty, does not recommend itself so forcibly as it did at thirty. If it be admitted, on the contrary, that action wants an end, and that that end must be something of a general description, then the spirit of the maxim itself, which is that we must look to the upshot of our concepts in order rightly to apprehend them, would direct us towards something different from practical facts, namely, to general ideas, as the true interpreters of our thought. (Peirce, CP 5.3, 1902).
A sixth excerpt is useful in stating the bearing of the pragmatic maxim on the topic of reflection, namely, that it makes all of pragmatism boil down to nothing more or less than a method of reflection.
The study of philosophy consists, therefore, in reflexion, and pragmatism is that method of reflexion which is guided by constantly holding in view its purpose and the purpose of the ideas it analyzes, whether these ends be of the nature and uses of action or of thought. … It will be seen that pragmatism is not a Weltanschauung but is a method of reflexion having for its purpose to render ideas clear. (Peirce, CP 5.13 note 1, 1902).
The seventh excerpt is a late reflection on the reception of pragmatism. With a sense of exasperation that is almost palpable, Peirce tries to justify the maxim of pragmatism and to correct its misreadings by pinpointing a number of false impressions that the intervening years have piled on it, and he attempts once more to prescribe against the deleterious effects of these mistakes. Recalling the very conception and birth of pragmatism, he reviews its initial promise and its intended lot in the light of its subsequent vicissitudes and its apparent fate. Adopting the style of a post mortem analysis, he presents a veritable autopsy of the ways that the main idea of pragmatism, for all its practicality, can be murdered by a host of misdissecting disciplinarians, by what are ostensibly its most devoted followers.
This employment five times over of derivates of concipere must then have had a purpose. In point of fact it had two. One was to show that I was speaking of meaning in no other sense than that of intellectual purport. The other was to avoid all danger of being understood as attempting to explain a concept by percepts, images, schemata, or by anything but concepts. I did not, therefore, mean to say that acts, which are more strictly singular than anything, could constitute the purport, or adequate proper interpretation, of any symbol. I compared action to the finale of the symphony of thought, belief being a demicadence. Nobody conceives that the few bars at the end of a musical movement are the purpose of the movement. They may be called its upshot. (Peirce, CP 5.402 note 3, 1906).

Total Solar Eclipse...

1991, the big one, mexico

Solar Eclipse over Turkey 2006 (unedited)

Natal - Brazil (March, 29, 2006)

Egypt 1999

Libya 2006

seconds before

Miracle of the sun

1999 Cornwall UK

lunar eclipse - 03.03.07

Fighter Pilot training "Red Flag" operation IMAX

Aircraft Carrier deck operations

Triple Launch

Hornet cat. launch full signals

F-14 last carrier operations-1, TO, 07/28/06

F18 Super Hornet

Carrier CVN-70 USS Carl Vinson

F/A-18 Hornet Alert-5 launch USS Carl Vinson

SAM attack - HUD view - cockpit audio

Military Jets Dogfights

F-16 Falcon vs F-14 Tomcat

F-16 vs F-15

Dogfight HAF Mirage vs. TuAF F-16

1982 US Libya engagement

F-15 landing with one wing

MIG 25 edge of space, earth views

Space Ship One - Virgin

Scaled Composites Model 316 SpaceShipOne completed the first privately funded human spaceflight on June 21, 2004.

SpaceShipOne was developed by Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's aviation company, in their Tier One program, without government funding. On June 21, 2004, it made the first privately funded human spaceflight, and on October 4, it won the $10-million Ansari X PRIZE, by reaching 100 kilometers in altitude twice in a two-week period with the equivalent of three people on board, with no more than ten percent of the non-fuel weight of the spacecraft replaced between flights. Development costs were estimated to be $25-million, funded completely by Paul Allen.

Virgin Galactic

Space Ship TWO simulation

Apollo 11 Saturn V liftoff

Sea Lunch inaugural lunch

The Waldseemüller map

The Waldseemüller map, Universalis Cosmographia, is a wall map of the world drawn by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller and originally published in April 1507. It was one of the first maps to chart latitude and longitude precisely, following the example of Ptolemy, and was the first map to use the name "America". Waldseemüller also created globe gores, printed maps designed to be cut out and pasted onto spheres to form globes of the Earth.
At the time this wall map was drawn, Waldseemüller was working as part of the group of scholars of the Vosgean Gymnasium at Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in Lorraine. The maps were accompanied by the book Cosmographiae Introductio produced by the Vosgean Gymnasium.

The Vinland map

The Vinland Map was discovered in 1957, bound up with a manuscript of undisputed antiquity, the Historia Tartorum. The map supposedly is a 15th century copy of a 13th century world map, showing the known parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as an unknown land across the Atlantic Ocean labelled Vinland. The map also mentions that Vinland was visited in the 11th century.
This corresponds well with a tradition in Viking folklore that Norsemen, using Iceland and Greenland as stepping stones, had a more or less regular contact with North America. According to some Icelandic sagas, North America was sighted in about 986 by Bjarni Herjolfsson, who was blown off course on a trip from Iceland to Greenland. His stories lured Leif Eiriksson on an expedition in the year 1000, on which he named (north to south):
Helluland (“Flatstone Land” – possibly present-day Baffin Island)
Markland (‘Wood Land’ – possibly Labrador) and
Vinland (‘Grapevine Land’ or ‘Pasture Land’ – possibly Newfoundland)


The discovery of America was an Italian enterprise, but not to the credit of a Genoan named Columbus. In the 14th century, Venetian brothers Nicolo and Antonio Zeno sailed west on the Northern Atlantic, discovering places they called Frisland and Icaria (two islands near Greenland), Estotiland (on the North American mainland) and Drogio (an island close to the mainland, possibly Nova Scotia).
Or so it says in De I Commentarii del Viaggio, a 16th century account of their travels by Nicolo Zeno, one of their descendants. This latter-day Zeno claimed to have found a manuscript and a map, both made by his ancestors, in his proverbial attic. Nicolo the Younger had it published in 1558. At the time, it was generally believed to be a true account. A second version of the map was issued by fellow Venetian Giordano Ruscelli in 1561.
In 1569, Gerhard Mercator copied the Zeno map into his influential World Map. Abraham Ortelius did the same for his renowned map of the Northern Atlantic in 1573. In 1595, Mercator included Frisland (not to be confused with Friesland, which does exist on the North Sea coast of the Netherlands and Germany) in a separate inset on his 1595 map of the North Pole. Thus Frisland, and the other fanciful lands fabricated by the 16th century Zeno (most likely), came to be known as ‘fact’, and were copied by other cartographers, often with variations on the name such as Fixland, Freezeland or Frischlant. Only much later did it become clear they were imaginary.
But not before causing some real-world confusion for discoverers such as Martin Frobisher, who in 1576 reported seeing a ‘high and rugged land’, which according to Mercator’s map ought to be Frisland. Frobisher claimed Frisland for England, not realizing he probably saw the coast of Greenland. The confusion continued when he explored Baffin Island – which Frobisher thought was Greenland. Accordingly, Frobisher’s Strait (which in fact is a bay) for many years was situated at the tip of Greenland instead of Baffin Island. Cartographers continued to include Frisland on maps of the North Atlantic as late as the 18th century. As imaginary places go, Frisland had quite some staying power - probably because it was confused with Greenland and/or the Faroer Islands.

California island

One of the most famous misconceptions in cartographic history is of California as an island. The origin of this error is Las Sergas de Esplandian, a romantic novel written in 1510 by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, stating “that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of the Amazons.”
This idealised view of California as a kind of Garden of Eden at the edge of the known world was negated by Father Eusebio Kino’s expedition from 1698 to 1701. Kino proved that Baja California, the (currently Mexican) peninsula which runs parallel to the mainland for hundreds of miles, is connected to it in the north.
Doubts remained, however, and the issue was finally laid to rest only with the expeditions of Juan Bautista de Anza (1774-1776).

Map of Online Communities

The geography is not as random as one could assume at first glance. Area and position are significant. Thus, each community’s geographic area represents its estimated size, and the ‘compass-shaped island’ gives clues as to what each quarter signifies:
North are more ‘practical’ communities,
South is for the ‘intellectuals’.
West lie the communities with a ‘real life’ connection,
East those with a focus on the web itself.

Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World

This map reflects the fact that a large number of basic values are closely correlated; they can be depicted in just major two dimensions of cross-cultural variation.

The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life and two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values. These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators-and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations.

The Traditional/Secular-rational values dimension reflects the contrast between societies in which religion is very important and those in which it is not. A wide range of other orientations are closely linked with this dimension. Societies near the traditional pole emphasize the importance of parent-child ties and deference to authority, along with absolute standards and traditional family values, and reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride, and a nationalistic outlook. Societies with secular-rational values have the opposite preferences on all of these topics.

The second major dimension of cross-cultural variation is linked with the transition from industrial society to post-industrial societies-which brings a polarization between Survival and Self-expression values. The unprecedented wealth that has accumulated in advanced societies during the past generation means that an increasing share of the population has grown up taking survival for granted. Thus, priorities have shifted from an overwhelming emphasis on economic and physical security toward an increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self-expression and quality of life. Inglehart and Baker (2000) find evidence that orientations have shifted from Traditional toward Secular-rational values, in almost all industrial societies. But modernization, is not linear-when a society has completed industrialization and starts becoming a knowledge society, it moves in a new direction, from Survival values toward increasing emphasis on Self-expression values.

A central component of this emerging dimension involves the polarization between Materialist and Postmaterialist values, reflecting a cultural shift that is emerging among generations who have grown up taking survival for granted. Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, tolerance of diversity and rising demands for participation in decision making in economic and political life. These values also reflect mass polarization over tolerance of outgroups, including foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality. The shift from survival values to self-expression values also includes a shift in child-rearing values, from emphasis on hard work toward emphasis on imagination and tolerance as important values to teach a child. And it goes with a rising sense of subjective well-being that is conducive to an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and political moderation. Finally, societies that rank high on self-expression values also tend to rank high on interpersonal trust.

This produces a culture of trust and tolerance, in which people place a relatively high value on individual freedom and self-expression, and have activist political orientations. These are precisely the attributes that the political culture literature defines as crucial to democracy.

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