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A Visual Guide to the Women Venus's Geography Is Named For

When space tourism is in full swing, you’ll need to know how to get around foreign planets. One designer is already making maps to guide us.

Scientist and information designer Eleanor Lutz, a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Washington’s biology program, has previously mapped Mars, turned viruses into trading cards, and made an animated guide to North American butterflies. Her latest infographic is a map of Venus, but it includes more than just a guide to the second planet’s topography. Almost all the features on Venus are named after women, mythological and real, and Lutz’s map explains where these perhaps unfamiliar names come from.

Venus may have had oceans in its distant past, but if they did exist, they have long since evaporated, leaving a boiling hot world with a crushing carbon dioxide atmosphere. That leaves a lot of topography to cover—chasms, craters, mountains, plains, valleys, and more. According to the conventions adopted by the International Astronomical Union, these features are named after specific groups of women, largely mythological. (You’ll notice that a few features are named for men; these were named before the women-only convention was established.)

See a bigger version of this image on tabletopwhale.com

 
Chasms, for instance, are named after moon and hunt goddesses, while high plains are named for various goddesses of prosperity. Only a few features are named for real women—large craters are named after famous women like Beatrix Potter or the Chinese physician Shih Mai-Yu, while small craters have generic female names like Roxanna, Lillian, and Miriam. The public got to suggest some of these names back in 1991, the year after the Magellan spacecraft arrived at the planet, and the monikers were subsequently approved by the International Astronomical Union.

Lutz has color- and symbol-coded the guide to the names of the planet’s features: red is for small craters named with common names; a circle with a cross in it marks steep slopes named after goddesses of the hearth and home; and yellow is for craters named for famous women. Each feature on the map is marked by its name and who that person was or what mythology they come from. Carmenta Farra, a pancake-like feature on the planet, is named for the Roman goddess of springs. The oval topographical feature Xquiq Corona is named after a Mayan fertility goddess. Toci Tholus is a ridge honoring an Aztec earthquake goddess.

The map is incredibly intricate, so you need to really zoom in to explore it. You can buy a poster (or a phone case, or a pillow, or a tote bag) of the design on Redbubble to really pore over it. Posters start at $13.

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Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Qatar National Library's Panorama-Style Bookshelves Offer Guests Stunning Views
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The newly opened Qatar National Library in the capital city of Doha contains more than 1 million books, some of which date back to the 15th century. Co.Design reports that the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the building so that the texts under its roof are the star attraction.

When guests walk into the library, they're given an eyeful of its collections. The shelves are arranged stadium-style, making it easy to appreciate the sheer number of volumes in the institution's inventory from any spot in the room. Not only is the design photogenic, it's also practical: The shelves, which were built from the same white marble as the floors, are integrated into the building's infrastructure, providing artificial lighting, ventilation, and a book-return system to visitors. The multi-leveled arrangement also gives guests more space to read, browse, and socialize.

"With Qatar National Library, we wanted to express the vitality of the book by creating a design that brings study, research, collaboration, and interaction within the collection itself," OMA writes on its website. "The library is conceived as a single room which houses both people and books."

While most books are on full display, OMA chose a different route for the institution's Heritage Library, which contains many rare, centuries-old texts on Arab-Islamic history. This collection is housed in a sunken space 20 feet below ground level, with beige stone features that stand out from the white marble used elsewhere. Guests need to use a separate entrance to access it, but they can look down at the collection from the ground floor above.

If Qatar is too far of a trip, there are plenty of libraries in the U.S. that are worth a visit. Check out these panoramas of the most stunning examples.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

Qatar library.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: Arend Kuester, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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After Four Months, a Frank Lloyd Wright House in Glencoe, Illinois Goes Back on the Market

Most architecture nerds would be thrilled to live in an original Frank Lloyd Wright house, and occasionally, they get their chance—as long as they’re willing to pay a few million dollars. As of late 2017, there were Frank Lloyd Wright homes for sale in New York, Minnesota, Ohio, Connecticut, and elsewhere for $1 million dollars or more (in some cases, way more). Sometimes, you can find a deal, though, like the $445,000 Usonian home that went on the market in Michigan in 2016.

Sadly, as Curbed reports, a newly for-sale Wright house in Glencoe, Illinois is not such a deal anymore. Only three months after its $752,000 sale, the 1914 Kier House in suburban Chicago has been renovated and is back on the market for $837,500.

Many Wright homes need a little love after decades of use. For one thing, the architect is somewhat notorious for building leaky roofs. Their small kitchens and shag carpeting are no longer quite so desirable, either.

But for many buyers and architects, restoring a Wright home is a labor of love, one that often takes several years and aims to respect the original designer’s genius while bringing the house up to modern standards. (For some of the historic homes, permanent easements also prohibit most exterior alterations, further limiting what a remodel can involve.)

The Prairie School-style house, though it has Honorary Landmark status, isn’t entirely original to Wright. It has a more modern kitchen, a new family room, and updated bathrooms (with a steam shower!). Previous owner Susan Cowen, who owned the house for a number of years and spent an undisclosed amount on refurbishing it, sold the residence in January to a pair of documentary filmmakers, according to Patch. The sale, which included a significant price drop, only took a few months. They, in turn, made a number of improvements. The owners fixed up the chimneys, boiler, and furnace, added a limestone bar separating the kitchen and dining room, and raised part of the ceiling above the stairs.

Now, four months later, it’s on sale again, and, thanks to the upgrades, a little pricier. The latest sellers may find, though, that not every Wright sale goes as quickly as their purchase. The architect’s homes are highly prized, but also known to be very difficult to sell, sometimes languishing on the market for years before finding a buyer.

[h/t Curbed]

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