Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Geography of the Concavity
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:47 am
Posts: 4
This has been driving me nuts for most of the summer -- what are the actual borders of the concavity? The closest to actual geographical references that I've found is at Kindle location 9054 (somewhere between pg 390 and 432... sorry!) in the series of headlines from Mario's(?) movie about Inderdependence Day:

Quote:
"GENTLE DECLARES ALL U.S. TERRITORY NORTH OF A LINE FROM SYRACUSE TO TICONDEROGA, NY, TICONDEROGA, NY TO SALEM, MA FEDERAL DISASTERS..."


But, if you google map that, you get what from the US side of things is in fact a convexity, as you can see here: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Syracuse,+NY&daddr=ticonderoga,+ny+to:salem,+ma&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=43.449805,-74.79799&sspn=2.384788,3.988037&ie=UTF8&ll=42.875964,-73.937988&spn=4.814357,7.976074&z=7.

So, I spent a few pages thinking that maybe everyone was thinking about concave vs. convex differently than I was (like, it looks concave from the perspective of US Americans b/c they are within the "cave"). But then at location 9146 or thereabouts we get this:
Quote:
The second North American map looks neither old nor all that good, traditionally speaking. It has a concavity. I looks sort of like some person or persons have taken a deep wicked canine-intensive bite out of it's upper right bit, in which an ascending and then decending line has it's near right angle at what looks to be the history and now hideously befouled Ticonderoga NY...


Which seems to be internally inconsistent, as a bite would assume a "concavity" in the way that I had expected, a hole bitten out of US territory. But the ascending/descending line seems to fit with the map I linked above.

Am I missing something, or do I really have this backwards?


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 Post subject: Re: Geography of the Concavity
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:16 am
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There is a concavity map at Steve Russilo's IJ page which matches pretty well with your google map.

http://russillosm.com/ij.html

I'm not sure how the bite analogy works. I guess it would make more sense if the bite was facing North / Canada, but maybe the "canine intensive" is important somehow.

It seems like, from the POV of Americans, there is a line that bulges inward (away from them), a concavity. From the Canadian's perspective, the line bulges toward them (convex).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convex_len ... ple_lenses

Hope that makes sense. (Inane comment about Mt. Tam hikes deleted.) :)


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 Post subject: Re: Geography of the Concavity
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:49 pm
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Remember that the source of strife is that from the Canadian perspective the convexity was an unwanted "gift" from Gentle, so territory is annexed from the U.S. to Canada, which means it's like someone stood in Canada and took a bite into U.S. territory. On the new map, Canada has a bulging convexity (into what used to be U.S. territory) and the U.S. a receding concavity. The ascending and descending line means that Tine is describing the map from the Canadian, from Luria's, perspective.

from Elegant Complexity:

Jim’s funeral was “held on 5 or 6 April [it “was twice delayed by annular hyperfloration cycles” (p. 65), cf. n. 160.a] in St. Adalbert [“in the Mondragon-family-plot” (n. 160.a); cf. Orin’s misnaming Avril’s home town, which was “wiped off the map. Bad ecocycles, real machete-country” (p. 1041)], a small town built around spud-storage facilities fewer than five clicks west of the Great Concavity.” Recall that “three-quarters of the Concavity’s northern border runs contiguous to Quebec” (p. 1017). The northern border runs from Ontario northeast into western New Brunswick (p. 1017), presumably in a relatively straight line and south of major cities like Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec. The spud-storage facilities are just west of (outside) this line; Jim’s grave is just east of (inside) it. The curve of the Concavity runs in a jagged line (if the representation in Mario’s film is accurate, p. 403) from Ontario through what used to be upper New York (making a near-right-angle at Ticonderoga, p. 403), Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine (which was lost altogether (n. 318), is no longer represented on the “49-star U.S.A. flag” (p. 761), and is now the heart of the Concavity (p. 1041)), meeting the northern border in western New Brunswick, the eastern coast of which is apparently in bad shape, given that it “was a mercy” cloud-cover prevented Hal from seeing it on the way to Jim’s funeral.


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 Post subject: Re: Geography of the Concavity
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:17 am 
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Ticonderoga is inside the Concavity (Canadian territory), and the border metropolises of Rome, Glens Falls, and Beverly are outside the Concavity (U.S. territory), with Glens Falls being much closer to the actual Concavity wall than the other two cities.


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 Post subject: Re: Geography of the Concavity
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:09 am 
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Ok... I think I might understand it now.

I was focusing merely on what makes up the south border of the concavity: Syracuse - Ticonderoga - Salem.

If you zoom out, and look at the whole territory, including the border with Canada, you start to see more of a butterfly-ish shape. (Like a butterfly, tilted 45 degrees to the left).

Not only can I now see how this look "concave" to the US, and "convex" to Canada, I can also see the point of the "canine-intensive" reference, as the tips of the butterfly's wings are kind of positioned where you would expect one's canine-teeth to land, and rip in more deeply, if one were taking a bite out of North America (just south of Quebec).

Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Geography of the Concavity
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:49 pm
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We can't be sure what it looks like. That's what Wallace does: he gives us "jagged," "canine-intensive," and "right angle at Ticonderoga" and we have to figure it out from that. I think the south border is more just randomly jagged, keeping fairly close to a simple curve (looking more like a curve from a distance, say from a plane), but that's just a subjective thought. Based on the information we're given, your butterfly description works, too.


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