Last year, HBO created a great viewer guide for the first season of Game of Thrones; this year, they updated it for season 2, and it now contains the most complete map of Essos found anywhere. If you’re a somewhat-more-than casual viewer of the series, it’s a great way to get a feel for the geography of that world and to see the intricate family trees of the dozens of characters. If you’re a hardcore fan that reads the books, A Wiki of Ice and Fire from the westeros.org fan-site might be a better reference since it’s a lot more in-depth; but the maps on HBO’s viewer guide are still the best drawn, best designed, and most extensive currently in existence. So until the new map book comes out, enjoy poking around HBO’s guide.
This October, we will finally be able to get our hands on professional maps of the world in the A Song Of Fire And Ice book series and Game of Thrones TV series. The map collection, called The Lands Of Ice And Fire, is available for pre-ordering now, is blessed by GRRM, costs 26$, and includes the following maps:
The maps are supposedly excellent quality, but it would be nice to see a sample. But even if they’re as awesome as they sound, it seems like it may be best to wait for some later edition — one released after the book series is finished. But if you don’t want to wait another decade until that comes to pass, this is your chance for some legitimately cool cartography with which to decorate your dorm room or nerd cave. Or that of a nerd you love.
Mittens Romney‘s father, George Romney, was CEO of American Motors Corporation (which in the ’80s became the Jeep part of Chrysler) until 1963, when he became Governor of Michigan; he followed this by being the Secretary of HUD in 1969 and then retiring in 1973. Since Mad Men is set in the ’60s, during George Romney’s governorship, the writers decided to weigh in on this year’s elections, in a 1966 kind of way: Betty’s new husband, who is a campaign adviser for New York politicians, at one point says on the phone:
Well, tell Jim His Honor’s not going to Michigan.
Because Romney’s a clown and I don’t want him standing next to him.
After six years of being gone from television, one of the best screenwriters of our time is finally back! Aaron Sorkin left TV after Studio 60 flopped in 2006, and instead moved to other media: he wrote his first play in 17 years — an excellent one called The Farnsworth Invention, – a couple of very good movies (Charlie Wilson’s War and The Social Network), and touched up the script for a third (Moneyball). His new HBO series looks like a cross between his two best TV shows, The West Wing (first four seasons) and Sports Night, in that it’s about an impartial news anchor whose politics get outed: it has all the behind-the-scenes stuff that Sorkin loves to write about, plus political banter — the other thing he loves to write about. The series has got to be summed up by this quote: “I’m a registered Republican — I only seem liberal because I believe hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure, and not gay marriage.”
The anchor is played by Jeff Daniels and the president of the network is Sam Waterston, who is probably a lot like Isaac Jaffe’s character on Sports Night. Other familiar faces (and their equivalent Sports Night characters) include Emily Mortimer (Dana Whitaker), Allison Pill (Natalie Hurley), and Olivia Munn (Jeremy Goodwin). The series is going to start airing on June 24th, probably in the timeslot after True Blood.
Besides the fact that Steve Jobs accidentally met his real father without either of them knowing, it sounds like the other interesting revelation from The Gospel of Steve Jobs according to Walter Isaacson is that before he died, folks at Apple had reinvented the TV. Said Jobs to Isaacson: ““It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” as if anything else was even a possibility. Anonymous Apple employees who can’t keep secrets say that the guy who invented iTunes (and had a big role in developing the iPod) is heading up the project — which, if it’s not called iTV, then Tim Cook isn’t doing a good job impersonating Jobs… who would’ve probably bought itv (the British TV network) just to get the trademark.
Apple is of course not acknowledging anything in order to build buzz and you know… keeping being Apple. But besides this rumor having popped up before, Steve also told his biographer that AppleTV (the toy that connects your Apple gadgets to your TV), was just a hobby, not an actual money maker. The iTV though will probably do stuff like integrate cable and streaming video into one interface and come with Siri and iCloud installed. Speculators say it’ll be out sometime in the next year or two. By then, Google will probably also come out with a mediocre TV, or at least a clunky operating system for it.
In 1922, at the age of 14, Philo Farnsworth invented television. Remarkably, he was only on TV once in his whole life, on the CBS game show I’ve Got A Secret, in 1957. The purpose of the game show was for the contestants to guess who he is — they didn’t. Philo died penniless in 1971, from pneumonia brought on by alcohol abuse in his later years. Throughout his life, he wasn’t sure if TV was a good invention or not, but after seeing the moon landing in 1969, he said to his wife “this has made it all worthwhile.”
Some people credit Philo as the inventor of “electronic television”, as opposed to “mechanical television“, which briefly existed in the 1920s and 30s.
Update, Nov 5th, 2011: an intrepid reader took and sent in these pictures of the laboratory where Mr. Farnsworth created the first operational TV set, at the age of 21, in 1927. The lab is located at 202 Green St., in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.