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Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside Official Maps (aiga.org)
81 points by htk on March 5, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 22 comments



This is the kind offbeat yet totally fascinating content that Hacker News is so adept at surfacing.


I agree, except in this case it was on Digg.com a week ago. I rather like Digg.


Digg.com still exists? I'm baffled.


It does, but it shares nothing other than a domain name with old Digg. Hand curated. No upvotes, no comments.


> A spider appears over an ice field on the Eiger mountain

There actually is an ice field on the Eiger Nordwand that is called "White Spider" [0], which might be the motivation behind it.

[0] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Eiger-Nordwand_2008_Weis...


To me they are reminiscent of the drawings the monks put in the margins when creating the illuminated manuscripts. These were not hidden, but were certainly at odds with the serious text they surrounded.

https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/naughty-nuns-flatu...


This is just fun. People need to learn to have more fun like this. It's why I am always opting for Easter eggs in our software but NOOOOOO we are a serious company and serious companies don't like humor....


I typically hide the Konami code in there anyway. Enter it an "A winner is you." prints to the JS console.


How about: If the user enters in a certain combination of key presses on the keyboard. Then the James bond animation plays where he walks out and shoots the screen. The whole thing goes red and the console shuts down... too much?


This reminds me of trap streets (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_street) and makes me wonder if there is a directory of those.


Curious. I wonder if analogous “traps” could be added to software.


You could have dead code that the compiler cannot recognize as dead and therefore cannot optimize away (basically everything the type system cannot catch). For example, given a function(int x) where, to make sense, x can only be an even number that is a multiple of 42. You are free to handle all x that don't match the criteria however you want, though you'll burden yourself with bad error handling should an invalid x slip through at the caller's site.

Much easier (and safer) would be to find n characters or words in strings which, when replaced with another one, don't change the program's behavior or misguide the user - documentation, menu labels, error messages and so on. This way you can even include a n-bit identifier to identify the copyright violator.


Compilation makes it difficult to include this kind of useless detail in software, you'd have to do some demonstrably pointless task that survives the compiler somehow like filling an array with a specific sequence of hardcoded numbers



This is also mentioned in the article


I remember watching a documentary about the Ordnance Survey department and it mentioned that the artists would hid their name in things like rivers because they did not get official credit.

I think it is somewhere in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5_kWzUahQU


If I wanted to make my own highly customized maps with open source software whats my best bet these days? I was inspired by this author https://zeihan.com/disunited-nations-maps/ All of his maps are gorgeous.


Wasn't this art to prevent copy cats ?


The title may be true, but doesn't seem to have much to do with the contents of the web page, which is just an blinking eye in the middle of a blank pink page.

https://outline.com/rRfCTV actually has some content.


The AIGA Eye on Design site has always been very poorly designed, which is a bit ironic for a site about graphic design. Or maybe it's to be expected, since they're graphic designers, not web designers.

For a long time the title of the site used to be in the sticky header, and the eye logo would occasionally blink. It was incredibly distracting and I'd lose my place while reading every time it did. Perhaps they were excited to introduce motion into their design, something not possible in traditional graphic design, but maybe they didn't know how insanely primed our vision is to focus on motion at the expense of everything else.

Mercifully, they've since removed it.


That' also a blank page without JS enabled, so not helpful.


The Swiss topos are seriously beautiful. Half of the fun of hiking in the Alps is collecting these meticulous hand-illustrated maps. They are shamelessly artistic, and at the same time give a much better feel for the character of the landscape than "drier" maps.




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