Talk about an awesome, awesome graph, showing how history managed to be made yesterday. (But of course, you can’t put too much on the “history was made” part, since whoever came out of the Dem contest, history would have been made.)

This is really, really cool: an animated NYC subway map, with the lines and stations appearing in the order in which they were built. It’s amazing to me that the West Side IRT — what are now known as the 1/2/3 lines — were built way before lines in lower Manhattan, at a time when lower Manhattan probably had a crushingly greater need for a subway line; it wasn’t until later that the IRT was extended down into the lower reaches of the island. (It’s also cool that two lines in Brooklyn started it all.)

Now seems as good a time as any to dump a few links here that have accumulated in tabs in my browser over yesterday and today:

  • Michael Bronner has a fantastic article over at Vanity Fair’s website that uses the recordings of NORAD’s efforts the morning of 9/11 to paint the picture of just how unprepared our country was to deal with the attacks, and how chaotic the information flow was as it reached from the trenches up to those invested in protecting the airspace of the East coast. I guess it doesn’t surprise me how difficult it was for the commander of the Northeast Air Defense Sector to get reliable information that morning, but it’s astounding nonetheless, and in all honesty it serves as a potent argument for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the establishment of clear and decisive plans for dealing with crises on the scale of 9/11.
  • Pamela Colloff has an equally fantastic article in the latest Texas Monthly about Charles Whitman’s massacre from the top of the University of Texas Tower 40 years ago yesterday, an article that’s almost entirely told through the first-person words of people who were in the thick of it. It’s a very moving piece, and gives a voice to how shocking the event was at the time, and how different the immediate police response was in 1966 than it’d be in 2006. (via MetaFilter, which has a bunch more links to related info)
  • Dahlia Lithwick took a look this past weekend at privacy rights in the age of weblogs, using the affair between Robert Steinbuch and Jessica Cutler (the skanky ex-Capitol Hill assistant who was once better-known as Washingtonienne) as her focal point. I’m not sure if this is the first time, but I found myself disagreeing with Lithwick’s final point, that Cutler’s exposition of the affair on her weblog might have violated Steinbuch’s privacy. It seems to me that a person has every right (absent a specific contract to the contrary) to talk about that which is going on in his or her own life; it’s not like Cutler was passing on a rumor of someone else’s affair, she was talking about her own sexcapades.
  • In August of 1958, young and new-to-the-business photographer Art Kane was tasked by Esquire Magazine with taking a photo to illustrate an article about jazz. He wasn’t entirely sure how best to approach the assignment, so he started out by doing something I’m sure he felt would be a failure: he contacted as many major New York City jazz musicians as he could, and asked if they would meet on 126th Street at 10 o’clock in the morning. Much to his surprise, 57 of them showed up, leading to one of the most amazing photos I’ve ever seen. My favorite bit of the photo is the lower right corner, in which Dizzy Gillespie’s goofing off caused Roy Eldridge to turn around just as the image was captured. (via kottke)

Thanks go out to this month’s National Geographic issue for turning me onto Stanford’s website for the project to piece together the Forma Urbis Romae. Also known as the Severan Marble Plan of Rome, the Forma Urbis Romae was a huge (60 by 43 foot) marble map of the entire city carved sometime between 203 and 211 A.D., and it was detailed down to staircases, doorways, and arcades. Only 10 to 15% of the map remains, shattered into 1,186 pieces, and the placement of many of the pieces within the map is still unknown. By scanning photos of the pieces and recording information about them like texture, edge thickness, and the presence of any mounting holes, historians and scientists at Stanford are creating computer applications to speed up the process of matching pieces to their place on the greater map. Stanford’s website for the project is an amazing amount of data, a slew of cool photographs, an easy-to-use web database app, and beautiful bit of truly ancient history all wrapped up in one!