Not long ago I came across this:
“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”
“About six inches to the mile.”
“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”
“Have you used it much?” I enquired.
“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.
It immediately made me think of the long ongoing trend in orienteering mapping towards ever larger scales with ever larger amounts of detail.
My view is, and has been for some time now, that the efforts in including increasing amounts of detail dwarf any benefits to the racer from having this additional detail. Indeed it has often gone to the point of absurdity, where the additional detail has become a disadvantage rather than a benefit to the racer, because of diminished legibility and increasing irrelevance of any given piece of detail.
My wish for O' mappers everywhere would be to keep one principle foremost: that above all, a map must be useful.
Then the following principles apply: legibility, consistency, accuracy, and inclusion of all important details.
An orienteering map is not intended to be, nor should it be, an exhaustive, encyclopedic inventory of all possible objects within the competition terrain. And yet that seems to be what many orienteers think it should be, as if a map with less detail is somehow a compromised, second rate product.
Even in the mid-afternoon, there was still a big crowd up at Happy Jack, and the parking lot was full when I turned into it. But nabbed a spot when someone else left almost at the same time. Skied mostly with Matt, and then a short bit with Mark and Ed.
Skies were nearly entirely overcast all day long, with only occasional breaks in the clouds; I never saw the sun. But quite pleasant out even so, and no wind.
And now we exit the darkest sixth of the year.
While I was running, I thought about the Trump presidency and his administration. I thought back especially to the earliest times, beginning with the festive inaugural atmosphere and the the incredibly uplifting, warm, and unifying inaugural speech so masterfully delivered, leaving all those in attendance and those listening form around the world inspired, hopeful, and enthusiastic.
But as time by, familiarity led to a certain amount of, if not outright contempt, then resignation that the reality was that few, if any, of the brandished promises made to the American people were going to come to pass, not in one Trump administration, nor a thousand such.
Mistakes were made. Of course in an overwhelmingly complex world with new, almost impossibly difficult problems constantly emerging, some amount of mistakes are inevitable. Some of the mistakes were almost charming, such as The Formosa Straights (sic) affair, when, on the second day of his presidency, Trump signed a presidential order for the Navy to seize the Formosa Strait and make it great again for all freedom loving people, in order to demonstrate his vast alignment with, and understanding of, GBLT issues. I suppose that might have been okay, if a somewhat embarrassing misinterpretation of basic world geography (and we will not dwell here on the resultant distressing increase of tensions with China that nearly led to a nuclear exchange, averted only by Trump's last minute concession to grant a 10% discount to any citizen of China staying in one of his hotels for two or more consecutive nights), but the lies that followed, trying to blame the whole thing on the American press in general and CNN in particular, became an all too easily recognizable pattern for dealing with anything that went wrong: just blame it on the press.
I suppose my enduring image of the Trump presidency will be how (as it was reliably reported by numerous insiders independently) when, in the middle of cabinet meetings, after tiring of listening to even a few minutes of briefings and discussion, Trump would shoot to his feet, stride over to a massive aerial photo of the inauguration mounted on the wall of the Cabinet Room, and animatedly say: "I'm telling you, there were at least 1.5 million there, maybe more, probably a lot more, looks like 2 million to me easy, Rick (meaning Secretary of Energy Rick Perry), get over here and help me count again!"
Even as a diehard Trump supporter right from the heady days of the glorious "Birther Movement", I have found myself worn down by it all, not so much by the multitudes of egregious and costly initiatives that led to nothing (though certain of them did help further enhance the Trump Brand, so I guess that was something), as by the mannerisms of the man himself. The constant preening, self-aggrandizement, the fabrication out of thin air of great achievements and taking sole credit for them, the insistent need for universal adoration and adulation, the lies, and the lies--above all, the thousands and thousands of lies that will keep generations of presidential historians busy--it just wore me down.
And so now, as the earliest candidates begin to appear and maneuver, and nascent campaigns initiate their quixotic quests for funds, and position themselves for a run at the next presidency, I find my spirit and enthusiasm renewed, renewed in the hope that maybe the next president can, indeed, make America great again.