If Game of Thrones Had Mass Transit…

What would a mass transit map for Westeros and EssosThe Known World from The Game of Thrones—look like? Michael Tyznik decided to find out and created these wonderful maps that both explain and poke fun of the complicated story lines of the book and HBO series.

Inspired by the work of Cameron Booth and his awesome Transit Maps Tumblr, I created these rail maps of Westeros and The Known World. Hopefully fans will notice some small touches — the closed stations along the Wall Line, for example.

Prints of the maps are available starting at $40 at inPRNT: Westeros and The Known World. You can also view the maps at high resolution on my Flickr: Westeros and The Known World.

Here’s the starting point. Clicking on the images will take you to a larger, zoomable image.

  1. We’re at the main station for the city of King’s Landing, viewing a map of “Rail Transport in Westeros”.
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    King's Landing Header-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  3. Next, we can view more closely the full transit Routes map and Key of “Rail Transport in Westeros”.
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    Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  5. As you can see, in Westeros, all roads lead to King’s Landing.
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    Close up King's Landing-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  7. Rail transport even extends to Pyke, on the Iron Islands.
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    Close Up-Pyke Iron Islands-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  9. The Known World has mass transit in Essos, as well. Here is the Key, plus “Routes in Essos”. Based on the map alone, Essos is more sparsely settled than Westeros.
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    Rail Transport in The Known World-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  11. Please note that the service to Valyria has been discontinued, while service to Slavers Bay and the Gulf of Grief continues.
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    Close Up-Slavers Bay-Rail Transport in Westeros-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  13. Please note the closed stations along the Wall. Castle Black, as always, remains open and on guard. The distance between Winterfell and Castle Black is approximate.
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    Close Up-Winterfell-Castle Black-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik
     

  15. Last, but not least, is a close up of the Key and “Routes in Essos” from “The Known World” transit map.
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    Key-Routes in Essos-Game of Thrones-Michael Tyznik

    These maps are a labor of love. They show a great attention to detail, artistic ability, and creativity. I think these maps are a lovely way to mix reality and fantasy.

    What do you think of the transit maps. Do you have any comments you’d like to make?

    Valar morghulis, dear readers.

    [Source: Michael Tyznik via Buzzfeed.]

A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions

Yesterday I was baking muffins, and I realized I had no baking soda. Neither did I have baking powder and cream of tartar. So, the substitutions listed here would not have helped me very much — I still had to make a quick grocery store trip.

May the cooking gods land on your side with this handy guide for substituting one thing for another when baking or cooking.

This for That: A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions

Are there any substitutions that surprised you?

[Source.]

Need a Heterogeneous Digital Preservation Solution?

Are you looking for a digital preservation solution that is open source but not one-size-fits-all? Then check out the tools of the Scalable Preservation Environments (SCAPE) Project, an EU funded digital initiative.

The SCAPE project develops scalable services for planning and execution of institutional preservation strategies on an open source platform that orchestrates semi-automated workflows for large-scale, heterogeneous collections of complex digital objects. SCAPE will enhance the state of the art of digital preservation in three ways: by developing infrastructure and tools for scalable preservation actions; by providing a framework for automated, quality-assured preservation workflows, and by integrating these components with a policy-based preservation planning and watch system. These concrete project results are being validated within four large-scale Testbeds from diverse application areas.

I like the policy-based preservation aspect of this system. That is my area of research for my dissertation.

Are there any particular aspects of this project that caught your attention?

[Source: SCAPE-Project.]

Why Digital Preservation is Important to **You**

If you ever want a cocktail party conversation killer, try announcing that you work in “digital preservation”. You can watch people’s eyes glaze over within a split second!

Digital preservation does matter, as much to the average person as to the Information Professional. The Library of Congress tells you why in the video below. They also offer tips and tricks for preserving your personal digital materials.

Does digital preservation matter to you? What are you and are you not doing now to preserve your personal and work-related digital material? Do you agree or disagree with the above tips and tricks?

And, finally…what occupations and topics do you consider conversation killers? :)

Prudential: The Curious Secrets of a Long Life (Kind of)

the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Do you want to live a long life? Or would you rather live fast and short? Either way, Prudential has some amusing tips for you on how to extend your life. (And if you don’t want to live a long life, now you’ll know what not to do in order to shorten your time on this earth.)

Will you make any changes to your current lifestyle, after watching this video?

English is a Weird Language

English is WeirdEnglish is a my first language, and I still struggle with spelling, grammar, and the (mostly unwritten) rules of spoken- vs. written-English.

A visiting scholar from China once said to me that “English is easy to learn and difficult to master, while Chinese is difficult to learn but easy to master”.

I feel sorry for the 1 billion people who speak English as a second language! It doesn’t make sense to us native speakers, either!

English is Weird

Do you think the English language is weird?

[Infographic via Pinterest.]

Dicionário do Surf – Surfing is a Common Language

Dicionário do Surf

I cannot speak Portuguese, but I understand the definitions. Surfing, like technology, uses mostly English words.

I wish “someone” would make an English-language version of this infographic. I love the layout and design. There is a great deal of information in a small amount of space. It’s very useful for a newbie surfer like me.

33 Days Later: an Update on My Use of the Bullet Journal Method Task Tracking System

The Bullet JournalIn short, success.

In this post, I’ll talk about why I like it so much, and what I’ve learned from using it for the past 33 days.

You may remember that in prior posts I had criticized the Bullet Journal method for being a “recycled version” of the Franklin Covey method. Then, I rethought my criticism, as my own method, a.k.a., the “sticky note” method, was not better. I decided to give the Bullet Journal method a go.

I began using the Bullet Journal method on January 1st, 2014 as part of my New Year’s resolution to stay on task better. I am writing my dissertation, and I don’t have time to waste.

It works.

Two and half years ago I went completely digital. My calendar, address book, and task lists are all on my laptop and shared via the cloud to my smart phone. It’s very efficient, with the added bonus that I don’t have to lug around a paper notebook or journal of some kind.

Efficiency can be deceptive, though.

Why I Like the Bullet Journal Method

I had dutifully followed David Allen’s advice for Getting Things Done (GTD): I offloaded any and all tasks out of my head into my lists, that were divided by Projects (e.g., “home”) and Contexts (e.g., “@errands”).

The problem is that the lists began to get too long, and I began to lose track of them. I would look at them and feel overwhelmed, although I would not admit it to myself. As I have stated previously, Getting Things Done is a great system, and OmniFocus is a great tool with which to implement GTD. But, they didn’t work for me. As I wrote in a previous post, I had started to use sticky notes to track short term, immediate tasks, and longer-term tasks I typed into OmniFocus.

Digital equals better is where “efficiency” becomes deceptive.

By switching from paper to digital task-tracking, I no longer had to tote around a notebook. However, because I no longer had to manually track my tasks from day-to-day, week-to-week, and month to month, I had stopped tracking my tasks at all in any real sense, and prioritizing what I need to accomplish.

What I like about the Bullet Journal method is that the act of manually transferring my tasks from day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month forces me to be more aware of that I need to do, what I have done, and, what is feasible to do within the time frame I have available. It does take more time, but overall, it saves me time.

I have become a better time manager and project manager as a result of using a paper-based system again**.

What I’ve Learned from Using the Bullet Journal Method

(1) Set up your next day’s task the day before; don’t plan the entire week ahead

When I set up the monthly calendar for January, I wrote out the days of the week for the next 5 days and divided my tasks up. It looked something like this. (For privacy reasons, I’m not going to post my actual tasks. This is an example.)

w

Don’t do this. Lay out your tasks day-by-day. Write your next day’s tasks out at the end of your current day, or at the start of your next day (the current day is better.)

Why? Because you don’t know how many tasks you are going to have per day, or how much space you will need for each days’ tasks. My first approach assumed I would accomplish each of those tasks each day, and that I wouldn’t need any more space on the new days to move over any unfinished tasks.

In addition to new tasks, you will also need room to add in new notes, events, inspiration, ideas to explore, sublists, or other personal entries.

At most, now I add in only two days of tasks at a time. If you need a master task list, then set aside 2-3 pages for the monthly task list (on the right, below).

calendar

(2) Add in your own personal notations.

Per John Cooper’s Bullet Journal tips and tricks, I use “>>” to denote more personal notes or journal-type entries.

(3) You Can Still Integrate with the Digital World

For example, I use my digital calendar as the canonical version, and I add in weekly events from the digital calendar to my paper monthly and daily calendars. I like having my monthly events laid out on the digital calendar, that I can read anywhere via my smart phone. It does mean I do some duplicate work, but it is efficient in that I don’t always need to tote my task journal around, but I do need to track my appointments. I always have my smart phone with me, and it does free me from having to carry around the journal. You may find your own method for integrating your paper and digital worlds.

(4) Learn Your Limits

I’ve learned that I rarely accomplish more than 5-7 major tasks a day. I may still list 10-12 per day, but I know I won’t accomplish them. I list them for tracking purposes. Alternately, I can put them in the monthly master task list and move them over to the daily calendar, when appropriate. If you do the latter, then set aside 2-3 pages for your monthly index of tasks.

(5) The 80/20 Rule Still Exists

20% of the tasks take 80% of my time. I have learned to plan for this. Also, I leave open 20% of my time for interruptions, tasks taking longer than expected, or other unexpected time takers.

(6) I’m Still My Biggest Problem

Disciplining myself to focus on the required tasks at hand is still my biggest problem. It doesn’t matter what method I use, if I cannot discipline myself to focus and get work done, then the method won’t work. Like most people, I have days of blazing productivity, and other days when BuzzFeed (or insert-web-site-name-here) is my new best friend. For example, as I write this post I really should be writing an academic paper or analyzing my dissertation data. Regardless of the time organization and task tracking method we use, we each have to be focused and disciplined.

(7) Your Mileage Per Journal May Vary

I used 63 pages of my Moleskine for the 31 days of January. Your mileage may vary, but I expect each journal to last me about 4-5 months. I transferred a lot of sticky notes to my Moleskine when I began using this method, but I expect to use about 40 pages per month going forward.

If you’d like to use a nice notebook, but don’t want to spend money on a Moleskine, Barnes and Noble has these Piccadilly Essential Notebooks in black and sky blue on sale in the bargain bin section of the brick-and-mortar store and online as of 1 February 2014. Normally, they sell for $15; yesterday, they were selling for $6. They are slightly narrower, but barely, than a Moleskine, but they are thicker, too. The paper is acid free, medium-ruled, and they contain 240 pages. They are good quality journals. I picked up four, as I plan to stick with the Bullet Journal method for the near future.

Piccadilly Essential Notebooks

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the Bullet Journal method. It does work for me, and I hope it will work for you.

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for time management and productivity increases, especially with regards to the Bullet Journal method.

**Note: you can also use GTD as a paper-based system, but I don’t think the GTD method is the right one for me to use.

Wine Nutrition and Calorie Chart

Have you ever wondered why a bottle of wine doesn’t have a nutrition facts label?

Here’s what the folks at Wine Folly say.

Wine Nutrition Facts
Learn the nutrition facts of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine and sweet wine. The calories can differ from wine to wine depending on one key factor: ABV

Q: Why doesn’t wine have nutrition facts on the label?
One of the reasons nutrition facts are not listed on a wine label is to stipulate that booze is not part of a daily diet. Unfortunately, wine is not calorie free! It’s time to understand what’s in your wine and how different types of wine affect calories and nutrients.

Wine Nutrition Facts

Why aren’t wine nutrition facts standardized?

Since alcohol is the primary source of calories in wine there can’t be a standard number. Fundamentally speaking, sweeter grapes ferment into higher alcohol wine. Besides carbs and calories, there are also nutrients in wine from grape skins. Red wines fall into this category and generally contain more minerals and antioxidants than most white wines.

Alcohol is the primary source of calories

Alcohol has almost 2 times the amount of carbs as sugar. Thus, alcohol affects the calories in wine more than sugar. In some cases, a slightly sweet and low alcohol wine will actually have less calories than a dry high alcohol wine.

Carbohydrates in wine

Carbohydrates in wine come from sugar and alcohol. Wine contains 9 – 19 grams of carbs per serving. This estimate does not include flavored wines which are much higher.

What other nutrients can be found in wine?

Flouride 40% –The benefit of flouride is from topical use and prevents tooth decay.

Manganese 10% –Antioxidant beneficial to brain, liver and nervous system.

Potassium 5% –Helps keep your heart beating.

Iron 4% –Delivers oxygen to your body.

Vitamin B6 4% –Helps access energy in your the body.

Vitamin B2 3% –aka Riboflavin. Antioxidant that aids in oxygen delivery in the body.

Phosphorus 3% –Bone strength, regulate hormones, aid in digestion.

Choline 2% –Helps in memory and liver function.

What about sulfites in wine?

Read about all the interesting additives in wine What You Need To Know About Wine Additives.

Should wine nutrition facts be on wine labels?

In early February 2013, the health minister of UK announced that there is new discussion of the “possible inclusion of calorie content on labels” on alcoholic beverages. The hope is to better educate consumers to the affects of what they’re drinking and reduce over-drinking. Allergy statements, such as sulfites, currently must be mentioned on most wine labels around the world.

Well, now you know!

Will you make different choices with regards to your wine consumption, based on the chart and information above?