What’s So Great About Elongated Trapezoids?

Rainy days make for peculiar interior adventures. I started off trying to record some music for my friend Jessie’s art project at RISD, but I’m having some weird flutter in my audio signal so I gave up and practiced scales and arpeggios on piano for an hour or two. Then I ate some dinner and started catching up on my DVDs of Mysterious Cities of Gold, which then led me, naturally, to start investigating the Nazca Lines on Google Maps.

I had always assumed that the Nazca Lines were reasonably organized and well-laid out. They really aren’t; they’re remarkably scattershot, and if there’s an overall theme it appears to be “failed rectangles.”

There are a lot of these.
And a lot of these.
And mixtures thereof.
I think the curly part here is the tail of a monkey but it’s hard to tell.

The entire plain northwest of the town of Nazca was apparently treated like a giant Etch-a-Sketch, only there was never any shaking up to erase anything. For me this pretty much dashes any UFO-related theories as to the lines’ origins; clearly these were people making it up as they went along. And unfortunately the most artistic designs (the hummingbird, the condor, the spider, and the human) are too small for Google Maps to show. Still fascinating to think about, though.

Oh and I found a cool shot of an airplane in flight.

And as long as we’re in Peru, let’s check out Machu Picchu, which looks totally odd from the sky because you have no depth perception. It just doesn’t look as impressive because you can’t tell, for example, that its entire west side is an incredibly steep dropoff.  Google Earth, however, will allow you to get some idea of just how freakishly high up that place is.