Greatest Antique Maps: Munster America

Sebastian Munster. "La table des Isles neufues." Latin text. 11th state. Basle, [1540]-1568.

One of the greatest maps of North and South America ever produced, this fascinating woodcut map was first issued by Munster in his Geographia in 1540. Amongst it most salient points:
(a) This is the first printed map to depict North and South America as separate continents. Prior to this, maps showed discovered parts of North America either as a number separate islands or as connected to Asia. With the publication of Munster's map, North and South America were finally clearly shown as a separate and connected land mass.
(b) It contains one of the earliest and most obvious depictions of the false sea of Verrazano. In 1523-4, Verrazano sailed from Florida up the east coast to Newfoundland in the service of Francis I of France, thus becoming the first person to show definitely that the land discovered in the south by the Spanish was connected with the land discovered by the English in the north. Verrazano's voyage was a search for a route to the riches of the Orient, for Europeans thought that there must be an easy passage to the Pacific in the area. With this unfounded assumption firmly in mind, Verrazano jumped to the conclusion that he had spotted the Pacific Ocean when he saw a large body of water across a narrow bit of land north of Florida.
(c) Other bits of information from early voyages are nicely illustrated, including the recent voyage around the world by Magellan. Not only is the Strait of Magellan, "Fretum Magaliani," shown, as are the Marianas, Magellan's 'Isles of Thieves,' but Magellan's ship, the Victoria, is seen sailing in the Pacific. The explorations in the northeast of North America are evidenced by the name "Fancisca," as well as the correct depiction of Newfoundland, "Cortereal," as a single large island. Even Marco Polo's adventures in the orient are represented, with Japan in an archipelago consisting of exactly 7,448 islands, a 'fact' recorded by Marco Polo. The narrowness of the Pacific Ocean, which causes Japan to appear very close to the western coast of North America, is caused by the ancient belief that the earth was about 2/3rds its actual circumference.
(d) Other points of interest include the representation of the Yucatan Peninsula as an island, and the depiction of the lake upon which Temistitan, modern Mexico City, was built, as emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. In South America a wonderful vignette shows the existence of cannibals in a rather graphic fashion. The Spanish Flag is seen flying over the West Indies, while the Portuguese Flag is shown off the Brazilian coast, reflecting the Papal division of the New World between the two countries.

Antique Maps of the Western Hemisphere

Mythical Geography in Antique Maps

Old maps are filled with inaccuracies--rivers running a wrong course, cities placed incorrectly, coastlines lacking bays, and mountains, lakes and islands missing completely. The mistakes in old maps are one of the primary aspects which makes them interesting to us, and much of the history of cartography is the history of the correction of these errors. One category of cartographic error consists of what are called ‘geographic myths.’ These are geographic features that appear on the map but not on the earth; cities where none ever were, islands where there are but waves, lakes and rivers where there is dry land, and kingdoms of non-existent kings. Geographic myths populated most areas of the world and the history of exploration is filled with expeditions in search of chimeras that existed only on the map.
There were many reasons for the creation of these myths.... Delusions: many of the non-existent cartographic features came from beliefs with no real evidential basis, deriving from folk tales, legends, lies and hypotheses. Illusions: some myths were derived from the mis-perception of evidence. A cloud on the horizon might be seen as an island, or a native village perceived as a large, rich city. Confusions: other geographic myths were the result of evidence being jumbled or misinterpreted. A cartographer might misplace a lake from one region to another or an explorer might see a bay as a long-sought-for strait.
Once ‘on the map,’ geographic myths were very hard to get rid of. As Henry R. Wagner said, “There is nothing that has such an air of verisimilitude as a map.” Failure to find one of these non-existent places or first-hand evidence that one of them was non-existent would not always lead to their banishment from the map. They would often simply be moved to another place or the evidence would be ignored. Some of these myths lasted for over a century despite evidence of their imaginary nature. Whatever their source or longevity, these geographical myths had a profound impact on the history of exploration and the story of discovery cannot be told without an understanding of these cartographic features.

California Island
Perhaps the most famous geographic myth is California shown as an island. The earliest maps of North America showed California as a peninsula, based on the reports of Francisco de Ulloa who explored the Bay of California in 1539. The famous maps by Gerard Mercator and Abraham Ortelius showed a correct depiction of California in the late sixteenth century, but that was to change early in the following century.
In 1602, Sebastian Vizcaino sailed up the California coast, and Father Antonio de la Ascension wrote a journal of the voyage. Ascension claimed that California was separated from the American continent by the “mediterranean Sea of California.” It is not clear where Ascension got this notion, but this claim led to the mapping of California as an island beginning in 1622 with a small map on the title page of Antonio de Herrera’s Descripcion de las Indias Occidentales. The first folio maps to show this myth were by Abraham Goos’ in 1624 and by Henry Brigg’s in 1625. However, it wasn’t until the more important commercial Dutch publishers accepted the insularity of California that this notion achieved universal acceptance. The first of these influential insular renderings was by Jan Jansson, whose map of North America from 1636 graphically displayed this myth, and this was soon followed by all other major publishers such as Nicolas Sanson, Guillaume Blaeu, Pierre Duval, and Herman Moll.
California was depicted on maps as an island for over 100 years, even after Father Kino established its penisularity about 1705. Beginning with Delisle’s map of America in 1722, some cartographers began again to show a peninsular California, but many cartographers continued to depict it as an island. Finally in 1747, Ferdinand VII of Spain issued a royal edict declaring California as part of the mainland, and soon after that insular California finally disappeared from the map.

Friesland Island
A 16th century work, entitled De I Commentarii del Viaggio, purports to tell of the travels of Nicolo and Antonio Zeno. This volume gave an account of a 14th century voyage by the Zeno brothers in the Northern Atlantic. They were supposed to have sailed extensively in these relatively unknown waters, including to the new lands of Frisland, Icaria, Estotiland, and Drogio, the latter two of which were associated with the American continent.
Nicolo Zeno, a descendant of the Zeno brothers, supposedly found the manuscript along with a map, which he published in Venice in 1558. It was claimed that this showed that it was not the Genoese Christopher Columbus who had discovered America, but the Venetian Zeno brothers a century before. In the map, Frisland and Icaria are islands near Greenland, Estotiland is part of the North American continent, and Drogio is a large island nearby, perhaps Nova Scotia. It is now generally thought that this volume was a complete fabrication, but it was widely accepted as true when first issued.

The original map was published in 1558 and this was followed in 1561 by another version issued by Giordano Ruscelli, also from Venice. Gerard Mercator, in his seminal world map of 1569 included the Zeno geography, and this depiction was followed closely by Abraham Ortelius in his influential map of the Northern Atlantic in 1573. The non-existent lands of the Zeno brother's account, then, were spread widely to most other cartographers of the late sixteenth century.

The most interesting of these mythical lands is Frisland, which Mercator included in a separate inset on his 1595 map of the North Pole. This non-existent island led to considerable confusion in the mapping of Greenland and Baffin Island in the following centuries. Martin Frobisher, in his important exploration of 1576, reported "sight of a high and rugged land." What he had sighted was the coast of Greenland, but as he was following Mercator's map of the world, he though he had seen Frisland (which he claimed for England in the name of Queen Elizabeth). When he then got to Baffin Island, he thought he was at Greenland, and so the reports of all his explorations around Baffin Island were ascribed to Greenland. Thus it was that for many years "Frobishers Strait" (which interestingly is actually a bay) was put at the southern tip of Greenland rather than on Baffin Island. Frisland, which was accepted by most cartographers during the following century, appeared as late as the eighteenth century on a map by T.C. Lotter

Prester John African Kingdom
In the 1130s, under the leadership of Imad ad-din Zengi, Turkish power became a serious threat to the Crusader kingdoms in the Holy Land. This caused these kingdoms to seek aid from Western Europe, and around 1145, Hugh, Bishop of Jabala, was sent to meet Pope Eugenius to ask for help. Otto von Freisingen, Bishop of Freising, recorded in his Historia de Duabus Civitatibus (1158) that Hugh told the Pope about Prester John, a Christian priest and king whose kingdom was in the extreme Orient, beyond Persia and Armenia. Prester John was supposed to be a descendent of the Magi and a possessor of great wealth. It appears that Hugh talked to the Pope about Prester John because rumors had been circulating in Europe that he was going to come to the rescue of the Crusader kingdoms and Hugh wasn't to emphasize that this would not happen as Prester John was cut off from the Middle East by the Tigris River.
In 1165, a (forged) letter allegedly from Prester John was delivered to Emperor Manuel Comnenus of Byzantium. Manuel forwarded the letter to Emperor Frederic Babarous of the Holy Roman Empire. The forgery was quite clever, for the forger had obviously read Otto von Freisingen's report and he repeated many of the same stores and further played upon the hopes and fears of the Europeans vis-à-vis the infidel Turks. The letter caused a sensation and not only were copies circulated widely, but excepts were even put to song.

Excerpts from letter
"...I, Prester john, who reign supreme, surpass in virtue, riches and power all creatures under heaven. Seventy kings are our tributaries. I am a zealous Christian and universally protect the Christians of our empire, supporting them by our alms. We have determined to visit the sepulchre of our Lord with a very large army, in accordance with the glory of our majesty to humble and chastise the enemies of the cross of Christ and to exalt his blessed name."
"For gold, silver, precious stones, animals of every kind and the number of our people, we believe there is not our equal under heaven."
"If again thou askest how it is that the Creator of all having made us the most superpotential and most glorious over all mortals-does not give us a higher dignity or more excellent name than that of Priest (Prester), let not thy wisdom be surprised on this account, for this is the reason. We have many ecclesiastics in our retinue of more dignified name and office in the Church, and of more considerable standing than ours in the divine service. For our house-steward is a patriarch and king; our cup-bearer is an archbishop and king; our chamberlain is a bishop and king; our archimandrite, that is chief pastor or master of the horse, is a king and abbot. Whereof our highness has not seen it repugnant to call himself by the same name and to distinguish himself by the order of which our court is full. And if we have chosen to be called by a lower name and inferior rank, it springs from humility."

The only official response to the letter was that Pole Alexander III sent out a Papal emissary in 1177 with a letter for Prester John, carried by his physician, Magister Philippos, but nothing was ever heard of what became of him. Years later, in the mid-thirteenth century when Asia was opened again to Europeans by the ascendancy of the Tartars, the great search began to find this Prester John, a search which was very important opening up Asia and re-establishing ties with China. Though he was never found, his legend continued throughout the middle ages, with Kings and Popes sending off letters at different times seeking his help and dreams of his riches filling the heads of many.

Historical basis to the legend
The Khitai were a tribe that had ruled much of China in the late 10th century as the Liao Dynasty. As their dynasty collapsed, in 1124, a body of the imperial family escaped to Central Asia, where they established a new empire over the Turkish tribes, called Kara-Khitai (or "Black Cathay"--Black being a term of honor at the time). In 1141, in their expansion to the west, they met the eastward reaching kingdom of the Seljuk Turks of Persia. In a battle fought Sept. 8-9, 1141, at Qatawan (Katvan), near Samarkand, Yeh-lü Ta-Shih (or Yeliutashi), ruler of the empire of Kara-Khitai, defeated Sultan Sanjar, the Seljuk Turk ruler of Persia.
Reports of this great victory over the Turks reached the Crusader kingdoms soon thereafter and included was the rumor that Yeliutashi was a Christian. This appears to be somewhat unlikely, with the Kara-Khitai perhaps being confused with the Keraits, a Christian-Nestorian tribe from central Asia.

Prester John's move to Africa
By the 14th century, all searches for Prester John and his kingdom in Asia had turned up empty. Rather than give up on this hopeful and glamorous legend, however, Europeans decided that they must have been looking in the wrong region and they turned their eyes on the interior of Africa. This was spurred by the fact that there was an actual Christian kingdom there, the Nestorian kingdom of Abyssinia or Ethiopia. Mysterious Abyssinian pilgrims sometimes visited the Holy Land, though their kingdom was rumored to be bordered by inaccessible mountains. What better place to put the Kingdom of Prester John? Eastern Africa was sometimes conflated in European thinking with the "Indies," and so here must be that great Christian King in the East. The Portuguese sent several expeditions to make contact with this kingdom and the reports which came back further confirmed the belief that finally Prester John had been found. Thus the venerable legend moved to a new continent, and it was in Africa that Prester John's Kingdom was thought to lie when the earliest printed maps made their appearance. The legend eventually passed from common belief, but not before leaving a few maps illustrating this wonderful myth.

Illusions, Delusions, and Confusions: Mythical Geography in Antique Maps

4 Out of 10 Men Raise Other men’s Children

Genetics is a weird thing that sometimes drives us beyond our rationality. Men cheat and women cheat but women cheat at regular/exact intervals, unlike men who cheat randomly.
It seems that something programmed in their genes makes women loose control once a month due to ancestral instincts.
When Women are More likely to Cheat?
The part of the month when a woman starts thinking of other men is just a few days before ovulation, and during ovulation. In this period she has very powerful desires of mating with other men, but only if they meet some ancestral requirements we will discuss later.

Why Women Cheat and with Who?
The main thing that drives women to cheat are their instincts. Women carried a gene from their ancestors that made them back then as it does now, to look for the healthiest male, with toughest characteristics and strongest genes in order to carry on the human race.
This is why in an open test, where the GeekPubb team participated in order to gather the information, some women desires were noted down with an interesting outcome. 86 women were tested, by showing them men faces. When they weren’t ovulating they preferred more feminine men faces, but things changed when ovulating. Immediately they were attracted by men with strongh wide jaws, thick eyebrows and facial hair, all characteristics of alpha males.
Men sense at some level, probably by “smelling” the pheromones when women are ovulating and try to take advantage of that. This is why beautiful women are most fertile, and they also tend to be the targets of other men which try to steal them from their mates.

Statistics Reveal the Reality
After 1 week of searching trough newspapers 1 to 10 years old and trough laboratory test from renowned facilities linked to Discovery Channel, National Geographic and 3 surveys lead by our GeekPubb agents this is the conclusion:
4 out of 10 men are cheated by their wives/lovers at ovulation with more attractive and stronger men. The man will raise that child knowing the child is his. We also found some real stories in newspapers from which we selected one.
“At some point in his life James, father of 3, 2 boys and a girl divorced his wife. While trying to take the custody of all his children 1 of his boys got sick of an ereditary disease which James didn’t had. Confused, the father made paternity tests for each of his childs. The tests staggered him, only the girl was his, the other 2 boys were from his wife’s adventures“
Human nature prevails once again over ration, but ultimately depends if you want to ruin your life for a one night stand or you are a faithfull partner. One thing we forgot to mention is that women with already healthy and strong genes partners were not interested to flirt in the experiments above. So fit up geeks, and take your love-life in your own hands.

4 Out of 10 Men Raise Other men’s Children at

"How Sleep Works"

How Sleep Works
by Marshall Brain

Introduction to How Sleep Works
Sleep is one of those funny things about being a human being -- you just have to do it. Have you ever wondered why? And what about the crazy dreams, like the one where a bad person is chasing you and you can't run or yell. Does that make any sense?

Dreaming occurs in the fifth stage of sleep.

If you have ever wondered about why people have to sleep or what causes dreams, then read on. In this article, you'll find out all about sleep and what it does for you.

Characteristics of Sleep
We all know how sleep looks -- when we see someone sleeping, we recognize the following characteristics:
If possible, the person will lie down to go to sleep.

The person's eyes are closed.

The person doesn't hear anything unless it is a loud noise.

The person breathes in a slow, rhythmic pattern.

The person's muscles are completely relaxed. If sitting up, the person may fall out of his or her chair as sleep deepens.
During sleep, the person occasionally rolls over or rearranges his or her body. This happens approximately once or twice an hour. This may be the body's way of making sure that no part of the body or skin has its circulation cut off for too long a period of time.
In addition to these outward signs, the heart slows down and the brain does some pretty funky things (we'll get to this later).
In other words, a sleeping person is unconscious to most things happening in the environment. The biggest difference between someone who is asleep and someone who has fainted or gone into a coma is the fact that a sleeping person can be aroused if the stimulus is strong enough. If you shake the person, yell loudly or flash a bright light, a sleeping person will wake up.
For any animal living in the wild, it just doesn't seem very smart to design in a mandatory eight-hour period of near-total unconsciousness every day. Yet that is exactly what evolution has done. So there must be a pretty good reason for it!
Reptiles, birds and mammals all sleep. That is, they become unconscious to their surroundings for periods of time. Some fish and amphibians reduce their awareness but do not ever become unconscious like the higher vertebrates do. Insects do not appear to sleep, although they may become inactive in daylight or darkness.
By studying brainwaves, it is known that reptiles do not dream. Birds dream a little. Mammals all dream during sleep.
Different animals sleep in different ways. Some animals, like humans, prefer to sleep in one long session. Other animals (dogs, for example) like to sleep in many short bursts. Some sleep at night, while others sleep during the day.

Howstuffworks "How Sleep Works"

Wife Caught Cheating Video

Wife Caught Cheating - Watch more free videos

1970, Sharp First Calculator - Commercial

In 1970 for only $348 you could get yourself the Sharp LC 8, the world's first battery powered calculator. Slide rules everywhere cried.

The Internet In 1993 Video

The Internet In 1993
Here is a classic news story from 1993 about the Internet. Pretty cool to see what people were using the net for back in the early days.

The Internet In 1993

Theory of mind

Theory of mind
From Wikipedia

The phrase theory of mind (often abbreviated as ToM) is used in several related ways:
general categories of theories of mind - theories about the nature of 'mind', and its structure and processes;
theories of mind related to individual minds;
in recent years, the phrase "theory of mind" has more commonly been used to refer to a specific cognitive capacity: the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own;[1] and
in philosophy, it refers to the large area of philosophy relating to mind, or to particular theories about what mind is. (See main article philosophy of mind.)

General category usage
In functionalist theories, functionalists such as Georges Rey explore computational theories of mind[2] that are independent of the physical instantiation of any particular mind.
In brain-mind identity theories, biologists such as Gerald Edelman are concerned with the details of how brain activity produces mind and work within the confines of the identity theory of mind[3]
In developmental psychology, theory of mind is a basic understanding of how the mind works and how it influences behavior.

Theories of mind attributable to individuals
These include theories of mind produced by individuals, such as Brentano's theory of mind. Georges Rey and Gerald Edelman were mentioned above as examples of people who deal with different broad categories of theories of mind within which they have each produced their own personal theories of mind.

Theory of mind: interpersonal understanding of mental states
Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others. As originally defined, it enables one to understand that mental states can be the cause of—and thus be used to explain and predict—others’ behavior.[4] Being able to attribute mental states to others and understanding them as causes of behavior means, in part, that one must be able to conceive of the mind as a “generator of representations”[5] [6] and to understand that others’ mental representations of the world do not necessarily reflect reality and can be different from one’s own. It also means one must be able to maintain, simultaneously, different representations of the world. It is a ‘theory’ of mind in that such representations are not "directly observable" [7]. Many other human abilities—from skillful social interaction to language use—are said to involve a theory of mind.

Beyond the basic definition of ToM, there is considerable debate as to precisely what other kinds of abilities and understandings constitute a theory of mind, when these abilities develop, and who can be said to have a theory of mind. How one defines the basic mental states that underlie ToM structures the possibilities and limits of the field. Inherent in ToM is the understanding that others are intentional agents, that is, individuals whose behavior is goal- or perception-driven—and so debate about ToM has also reignited previous arguments on the nature of intentionality. In addition, efforts at defining the "mind"—generally understood as the totality of one’s conscious thoughts and perceptions—are relevant to the discussion of ToM. Although these debates are important, they do not inhibit the ToM research and progress in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. In fact, empirical research often sheds light back on the nature of these concepts.
Research on theory of mind in a number of different populations (human and animal, adults and children, normally- and atypically-developing) has grown rapidly in the almost 30 years since Premack and Woodruff's paper "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?"[8], as have the theories of theory of mind. The emerging field of neuroscience has also begun to address this debate, through brain imaging of subjects who fail ToM tests and through exploration of the potential neural basis of the abilities that underlie ToM, in particular, so-called "mirror neurons" (see final section).

Theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans (and, some argue, in certain other species), but one requiring social and other experience over many years to bring successfully to adult fruition. It is probably a continuum, in the sense that different people may develop more, or less, effective theories of mind, varying from very complete and accurate ones, through to minimally functional. It is often implied or assumed (but not stated explicitly) that this does not merely signify conceptual understanding "other people have minds and think," but also some kind of understanding and working model that these thoughts and states and emotions are real and genuine for these people and not just ungrounded names for parroted concepts. Empathy is a related concept, meaning experientially recognizing and understanding the states of mind, including beliefs, desires and particularly emotions of others without injecting your own, often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes."


Theory of mind - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ISS & Shutle picture against the Sun

That's the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Atlantis silhouetted across the surface of the sun and captured in this amazing once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Presidential Motorcade protection

Machine guns are mounted inside the Black SUV's you see in Presidential motorcades and VIP caravans. You need the windshield wipers going to clear the spent casings. They simultaneously fire 7.62mm bullets from six barrels at up to 4000 rounds per minute.

President Bush motorcade in NYC, AUG2007