Jigsaw Geography

Jigsaw Geography
In December 2017, I completed an old puzzle obtained from a thrift store, mapping things out, literally.

Geography is hard to define accurately yet concisely.  Of course, maps are at its very heart.  But making maps is the business of cartographers.  Likewise geologists, not geographers, study the earth proper, and thus is a whole different domain with its own specialization.  Yet another field, demography, concerns populations and their statistically detailed properties.  For example, this is important for a country’s census.  “Geography” could merely mean how close things are from one another.  However you define it, people at least conceptually know it means.

The puzzle, has some neat odds and ends, perhaps due to its age.  That gets interesting.  This map depicts various defunct state borders (or lack thereof!). Among those are the Soviet Union (USSR), Czechoslovakia, East & West Germany, Yugoslavia, and yes, Korea!  Given that, the undivided Korea attests to this map being designed (but probably not made) before 1950.

Moreover, within continents, it was regionally divided (and beyond).  You can see historical changes in this when compared against maps of older or newer publication.

And, if you know (at least the basics of) geology, throw that info in there.  The Pacific “ring of fire,” along its shores, allows heavy duty mountainous activity, including volcanic forms.  Among these mountain ranges and belts (i.e., compounds of ranges) include the Andes of South America, some smaller ranges in Mexico/Central America, the Rockies of the US and Canada, etc. And their windward slopes, which catch the ocean’s moisture, are far more fertile than the opposite slope, or the leeward.


Farewell VCRs

I’m actually glad VCRs are near extinction. And I share several reasons why.

1). They were bitter enough in their early days.

In 1975, Japanese electronics mogul Sony introduced one of the two major formats of VCRs, known as Betamax or simply “Beta.” The next year, a rival Japanese company, JVC, came out with the VHS format, which had longer tape length but allegedly inferior presentation quality. For over a decade after, these two VCR platforms fought in a “format war!” There were sundry reasons for the defeat of the “better” Beta in the mid to late 80s, but the victorious VHS remained a staple for the rest of the century.

2). They take TV out of the moment.

So, if you owned a VHS (or Beta) unit, you would have your own copy of a show, movie, sports event, etc.

Now, if you watched it, isn’t that enough? You got the plot, so you can simply move on.

For example, I watched every episode of a sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati (which happened to air in the throes of the Format War!). And having experienced the episode, even if memories of it are fading, that’s enough. Using a DVD, I also will treat a similar classic, Welcome Back, Kotter, as a once and done thing.

We can cherish positive memories all we want, but we must also experience the time we are in. God did, after all, give us a memory.

3) Copyright and Piracy

Copyright is the right held by a creator of intellectual property (i.e., his/her works of writing, art, music, etc.) to allow use at his or her discretion. Trademarks are an excellent example, yet they can very easily get in the wrong hands. Remember the last time applying Scotch tape, had a Kodak moment, or ate a Spam sandwich? These are all cliched trademarks, and the third has a second, not so tasty meaning in email inboxes (need I say more?). In parts of the American South, all soft drinks are generically “Cokes.”

Now, when you have a VHS tape that you have recorded off the TV, it is likely that, say, a thrift store, will deny sale of such. Televised sports events will sprinkle warnings against recording the event, without obtaining consent by the applicable league (and who wants to bother doing that?)

Piracy, or the distribution (typically with profit but not always) of copies of another’s intellectual property, has both moral and legal consequences. Morally, you are breaking the 8th commandment (stealing), because this property isn’t really yours. And while prison and fines for such crimes usually slip by, God put our governments in place and by obeying them, we glorify Him.

All those in favor of putting videotapes behind them, say aye!