What makes one place feel different from another? The language, the food, the landscape, but also a hundred subtler things: the colors that houses are painted, the speed people walk, the siren sounds and… the way that data flows to cloud servers?

When Google approached Stamen to develop an engaging visualization of Cloud Storage traffic, we weren’t sure what we’d find. At the beginning, we were looking at simple data, but a lot of it: traffic between Google Cloud regions and countries, aggregated on a very coarse scale.

Early prototypes

A surface level analysis showed only surface level patterns — heavy usage…

Sights and sites of northern Mendocino’s Sinkyone Wilderness.

Kelp and cliffs at Bear Harbor Beach.

Observations and thoughts from Occupy Central.

The tram Marc and I were riding came to a complete standstill. Ahead of us, a massive traffic jam of trams and vehicles stretched into the distance. Nothing was moving any time soon.

Our friend Puck, on his way to the airport, sent a text message. “What’s happening? Nothing is moving here.”

We left the tram and took the MTR to Admiralty. Announcements looped throughout the station. “Attention. Due to overcrowding at Exit A, passingers are advised to use alternative exits.” Exit A it was, then.

Outside, huge numbers of protestors were gathered on Connaught Road, a six-lane freeway that…

Some countries have sightseeing attractions that one must figure a route to. In Kyrgyzstan, figuring a route is the attraction.

(If you want to see pictures, scroll through the whole thing. If you want to read stories, you’ll probably find the sections labeled “The Road Out” and “The Road Onward” the most interesting.)

I arrive in Bishkek extremely early in the morning. Thankfully, the hostel I have booked for the next two nights lets me nap there for a few hours.

Everything in Bishkek is difficult, and I’m not sure why. Buying a SIM card takes hours and involves three…

Night buses are universally terrible experiences. Dull, sleepless, and similar. Or so I thought. However, en-route to Kusadasi, to catch a ferry to meet Nick and Paula on the island of Samos, my bus took an unexpected turn onto a ferry.

Slightly surprised, my friendly Turkish seat-mate and I stepped off the bus and onto the upper deck of the vessel. The full moon drifted in and out of dramatic clouds above, and lightning bolts from a distant electrical storm crackled above an impenetrably black, Dylan Thomas black, “fishing-boat bobbing sea.”

(It’s hard to take a stable long-exposure photograph on a boat, as it turns out.)

The rest of the ride hardly mattered.

The following…

This time with photos.


My first stop over is in Paris. Green seems to catch my eye here, over and over again.

In rubbish bins and construction barricades.

On fences and in gardens.

“Why?” was by far the most common question I was asked.

Twenty two minutes of darkness crosses the greatest defensive barrier since 1066.

The TGV whispers through the French countryside, putting 320 kilometers of bleached farmland behind it every hour, before winding through the gorges, churches and villages of the Swabian Alps.

A slow motion dawn in a foreign country, what’s the time, what’s the currency, “passport please”.

The heat shimmers off of a parked oil car and into the hazy afternoon sky, above tanned hillsides and red-tiled roofs.

Uniformed women wave flags at decrepit railway stations in front of halfhearted graffiti.

Young men toss beer cans off of an unused…

With way too many photos.

After giving my goodbyes and departing Sligo, I spend the afternoon walking around Galway, waiting for the bus to the ferry that will take me to the Aran Islands.

Eventually the bus arrives, and while carefully setting my backpack down on the seat next to mine, an older man, smelling of alcohol, sits next to me. His accent is so thick and his hearing so bad that carrying on a conversation is nigh impossible, but we attempt it regardless. I learn that he is the alderman of Inis Oírr, the smallest of the three Aran Islands. …

It’s taken me longer than I would have liked to have a post about my time spent in Ireland, and I think I have begun to understand why. One of the things that I really enjoyed about my time in Berlin was how the week flowed with a certain logical narrative structure to it. In some sense, it came prepackage as a story. In contrast, I’ve been having a significant amount of difficulty building a narrative about my time in Ireland. So, if this update seems more like photos with uninteresting, slapshod text, I apologize.

However, recognizing this difficulty has…

New York begins with a stressful flurry after hours spent in traffic. Stepping off of the bus on 34th street will never feel the same as emerging into the chaotic throngs of Chinatown’s Canal St.

After heading to the Lower East Side, I stop in at Momofuku Noodle Bar for some lunch. At the ramen bar, I end up chatting with a Japanese tourist, Nobuto, visiting from Orlando where he works as a translator/guide at Disney World. We discuss traveling, Japan, and food for a few minutes, before he heads off to make the most of his remaining two days…

Logan Williams

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