Cartesians versus Radialists, Pirates versus Ninjas, Elves versus Dwarves

March 10th, 2005

Clay Shirky reframes an age-old old debate rather nicely:

When thinking about technological change, there are two kinds of people, or rather, people with two kinds of maps of the world — radial, and Cartesian. Radial maps are circular, and express position in relative coordinates — angle and distance — from the center. Cartesian maps are grids, and express position in absolute coordinates.

(If you're wondering where the pirates, ninjas, elves and dwarves come into all this, see Tom Coates' classic post on the subject from last year.)

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