The true size of the continents and countries 🗺

Edition #022

Mercator 1569 world map (Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendate Accommodata) showing latitudes 66°S to 80°N.

Maps are flat representations of our spherical planet and they are pretty darn complicated.

We take it for granted that Antarctica is going to be smushed down at the bottom of the map and not shown in full; all the oceans are radically disfigured, but we’re used to seeing them that way.

It is mathematically impossible to translate the surface of a sphere onto a plane without some form of distortion. To solve this problem, mathematicians and cartographers have developed a huge library of representations of the globe, each distorting a certain attribute and preserving others. This dates back to cartographer Gerardus Mercator’s paradigm-shifting map from 1569.

The Mercator projection preserves the shape of countries while distorting the size, especially near the north and south pole. For a more accurate view of land area look at the Gall-Peters projection, which preserves area while distorting shape. In the end, there's not "right" map projection. Each comes with trade-offs, and cartographers make projection decisions based on the particular tasks at hand.

ℹ️ The New York Times is still providing free access to the most important news and useful guidance on the coronavirus outbreak to help us understand the pandemic. Here are the latest updates and maps of the outbreak.

Remote jobs

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New Partner

You should not take any risks with your design education when you want to learn and advance your career. Your course content should be evidence-based and valuable to your job.

On this mission, we partnered with the Interaction Design Foundation, the World’s leading online design school with serves peer-reviewed, evidence-based educational materials, and industry-recognized course certificates.

Trusted by IBM and Adobe who train their teams with IDF courses, you can also enroll now through our collaboration and get 3 months off your yearly membership to make a life-changing shift into UX design or stay ahead.

Tools & Resources

⭐️ Method of Action creates tools, toys, and games to help you learn to design, for free. Such as The Bézier Game that helps you master the pen tool, a color matching game, a letter shaping game, and the kerning game to educate your brain visually about colors and type. There is also Method Draw which is a vector editor for the web, you can use it online. It is open-source and you can find it on GitHub.

⚡️ V.One lets you build an app, easily. No code. No learning curve. Build your first screen for free.

📲 UXArchive is a huge collection to find mobile UX trends from the world’s top mobile apps, with currently 1198 flows indexed. Be inspired to design the best user experiences.

👩‍💻 AirSends lets you have conversations, voice and video calls, share files, manage tasks, and keep notes. You can complete projects with team members & clients in one workspace. They also give free 100 GB storage.

🌎 Flatten the Curve by SafetyWing shows humanity’s effort to flatten the COVID-19 growth curve worldwide. See containment measures, testing and treatment information, and travel restrictions around the globe on a beautifully designed interactive map.

🤖 Copysmith serves with AI-generated copywriting at the click of a button, with using cutting-edge AI to generate your content marketing at such a high quality, you barely need to edit.

🌱 Playbooks are research-based guides to cultivate the strengths of heart, mind, and will. With evidence-based resources targeting specific character strengths, Playbooks co-developed by educators, scientists, and designers.

⚡️ Lobe makes machine learning easy. Download the free, easy to use app that helps you train custom machine learning models and ship them in your app.

🏡 Slite gives your team one place to share ideas, collect knowledge and stay in tune across time and space. Trusted by thousands of flexible and remote teams.

📝 Typora is a markdown editor and markdown reader, with a clean UI.

Restore the old Google icons! is a simple Chrome extension that switches back the google icons.

Product & Design Resources

Explore our ever-growing website with 1400+ design tools and resources.


Why does creativity matter?

When you approach life with a creative attitude, you are more open to new ideas and possibilities, better able to understand others’ perspectives, and more likely to seek out multiple solutions to problems. Despite the stereotype of the mad genius, everyday creativity is just as important. You can use it to help you improve your mood and cope with stress, feel more connected with other people and the world—and even help you find meaning and purpose in life.


Scott Barry Kaufman & James C. Kaufman | Character Lab

Study: Focus will shape the future of distributed work

Paul Boutin | Dropbox Blog

Moving BBC Online to the cloud

Matthew Clark | BBC Technology Blog

Designing the smallest possible thing

Laura Klein | Interaction Design Foundation

Adobe MAX Sneaks 2020

Sneaks delivered a unique opportunity to preview the UX experiments and the futuristic tech innovations that Adobe engineers and researchers are exploring.

You can review cutting-edge technologies from Adobe’s labs —that some may even make their way into future Adobe products, from tapping AI to fix blurry videos to enabling collaboration in augmented reality (AR) experiences, these experimental Sneaks push the boundaries of creative innovation.

🍿 We published an article and put together all Sneaks videos into one Youtube playlist, enjoy.

What happened

This artist’s false-color rendering depicts the virus that causes COVID-19. This new germ has inspired scientists to take creative approaches for making vaccines. David S. Goodsell, RCSB Protein Data Bank
  • Covid vaccine: First 'milestone' vaccine offers 90% protection.

    • Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised. There is a graphic here showing

    • → Who would get it? When? Learn more.

  • Apple One now available, bundling Apple’s services into a single subscription.

  • Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years, FTC says.

  • Adobe to acquire Workfront: brings leading work management platform for marketers to Adobe Experience Cloud.

  • RIP Google Music, one of the company’s last examples of generosity.

    • Google Music is dead, the service, now merged haphazardly with YouTube Music, recalled the early days of Google,  when they sometimes just made cool internet things. It made it nearly a decade, though — pretty impressive for one of their products.

  • Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030, five years earlier than previously planned, as part of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson is casting as a “green revolution” to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050.

So what happens now?

It’s not easy to map a sphere in two dimensions, but we’ve made compromises. Sometimes, those compromises carry a bit too much weight: Some countries appear bigger or more central than others. Maps, then, can be seen as political statements.

Variations of the Mercator projection have been criticized politically because they represent certain countries as much, much larger than they actually are. Not so with Hajime Narukawa’s AuthaGraph World Map. Each country, including Antarctica and the North Pole, is shown in its entirety:

The Good Design Grand Award, arguably Japan’s most prestigious award for design, went out to architect Hajime Narukawa’s completely groundbreaking design for this map of the world.

🗺 His map isn’t your average map of the globe: It’s a near-perfect representation of the continents and oceans as they exist on our spherical planet, all laid out on a two-dimensional surface.

We need to consistently reflect on whether our previous assumptions on even basic topics hold true, question the status quo, and search for new answers.

— That’s it for this edition. See you next week.

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