Monthly Archives: May 2020


The AuthaGraph

The problem of projecting the Earth’s spherical surface onto a flat page has vexed cartographers for centuries. Here’s one brilliant solution, the AuthaGraph, designed by Hajime Narukawa. This rectangular world map is made by equally dividing a spherical surface into 96 triangles, transferring it to a tetrahedron while maintaining areas proportions and unfolding it to be a rectangle. The world map can be tiled in any direction without visible seams.

The wisdom and integrity of governors

“Much of the strength and efficiency of any Government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people depends on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of that government as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its governors.”—Benjamin Franklin’s final speech in the constitutional convention, 1787

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

Life and death depend on good politics

So far, Australia has had approximately 28 detected cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people and 4 deaths per 100,000 people. New Zealand has fared somewhat better, with 24 cases per 100,000 people and less than one death per 200,000 people. Australia’s deaths would have been lower but for some monumental blunders in the management of infected cruise ship passengers. In the USA to date, there have been approximately 524 cases per 100,00 people and 31 deaths per 100,000 people. That is, the infection rate in the USA per population is nearly nineteen times higher than in Australia and the death rate is nearly eight times greater.

In the case of Covid-19, Australia has done well and New Zealand has done better. The USA has suffered terribly, along with others. My point here is very simple: responses to crises of this kind demand good politics, good public emergency, medical, hospital and other services, effective administration and public co-operation and compliance. In the case of the Australian bushfires, Australia suffered badly; the emergency services performed brilliantly but were simply under-resourced and insufficient. They were overwhelmed. The problem was political. Good politics is negotiation towards agreement on action for the common good, followed by action, both immediate and for the long haul. That is lacking in America’s Covid-19 dilemma. It was lacking as Australia burned and is still lacking as Australia’s government ignores climate change.