“Benchmarks” Ch. 3 Kaiden-Leigh Cloete

INTRODUCTION

Hi, my name is Kaiden-Leigh Cloete, I am 14 years old and a freshman at LTHS. I am a traveler, I have traveled to so many places and have actually lived there. I am actually a South African, I was born in California but my parents, brother and my whole family are South African. I have lived in South Africa from 2009 to 2012. I do speak,read, and write a different language which is Afrikaans, it is almost like German but a little bit different. I have lived in Montréal before which was an outstanding experience. LTHS is probably my 7th school not including moving back and forth.

I actually just moved from Seattle, Washington which was all in counting about 11 years, I have only lived in Texas for about a month and 1/2. I believe being a tourist is seeing the stories that have happened at a certain place in the world, and a traveler is a person who has lived the stories told. Like I said I am a traveler because, I have lived those stories told, and experienced what it was like to see history of previous generations play through my mind, while walking down the street in Paris, and in all places you don’t see everyday. I have also made very special connections through traveling, and learnt lessons important to know in life, and to know it’s ok to take risks that will bring you good.

SUMMARY CH. 4 “BENCHMARKS”

This chapter is about the map division of the Library of Congress. It is the largest map collection ever assembled in human history. John Hébert grew up in Houma, Louisiana. He was already working at the Library of Congress when he received his doctor’s degree in 1972, and has been there ever since. He has a staff of 45 librarians. He loved maps because, “Maps drew out points of history that the text wouldn’t tell me,” he says. (Pg. 57) Like John Snow who drew a map demonstrating that a contaminated water pump was the source of illness. The library’s first shipment of books were purchased from London in 1801, and they add 60 to 80,000 maps per year. “We don’t know what’s going to come through our door,” says Hébert. (Pg. 50-60)

Every map has to have a copy to be submitted into the Library of Congress by law. In 1995 they started putting maps onto the internet and drew a lot of attention. Visitors come from all over the world, even children started to wonder if treasure maps exists. After 9/11 even the defense department knocked on Hébert’s door for maps of Afghanistan, the Library of Congress saved the country again. Borders always had interested John Hébert, and liked to see exact moments when they crossed borders on road trips. Boundary lines caused stronger feelings than any other feature on the map. Marking property was the purpose of many boundary lines. Many people have disagreed about boundary lines. The British journalist Mike Parker noted that Earth is no longer a “big blue marble.” (Pg. 65) Nations meet so there agendas and policies. Bob Dylan sang, “We’ll meet on edges soon.” (Pg.67)

John Hébert is also the chairman of the U.S. board on Geographic names. Names bring life into maps like the “Ding Dong” in Texas that was named for a sign painting of ringing bells. Names on maps comes with agendas, Hébert’s challenge is to get people into the library that don’t even know about maps. Everyone can find a map there because, people rely on maps in different ways. Maps have power only if we use and look at them. The greatest treasure in the library is the Waldseemüller exhibit that is “America’s Birth Certificate.” The Waldseemüller map proves that America was not born in Indonesia or Kenya.

COMMENTARY

This chapter contributes to the theme of the book, that is about the history of maps that reveals the foundation of places and people in history. The Library of Congress is like a benchmark in history and also in the book “Maphead.” It is not just the largest map collection in human history but it also are the most powerful maps in the world. Maps aren’t only about boundary lines, and locations, but it also shows the history people who have lived there. Maps can change, be replaced, and can show what comes. I made a connection with this chapter because,it is about change and adapting to new circumstances and atmospheres.

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7 thoughts on ““Benchmarks” Ch. 3 Kaiden-Leigh Cloete

  1. Kaiden, this post was very interesting. It’s so cool that you can speak Afrikaans. I hope one day I can be bilingual as well a maybe one day move over seas. I can’t believe that the Defense Department had to get their maps of Afganistan from the Library of Congress after 9/11. How cool, right? I love your views in traveling vs tourism. I’ll keep them in mind later in life.

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    • Thanks! You should definitely go out and see what else is in the world. You will probably pick up some different things in languages as you travel and also learn so much about there cultures too(:

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  2. Kaiden, I absolutely love this post. I think it is amazing that you are South African, and that you have lived in Montreal! I hope to one day travel as much as you have, and actually travel and experience things rather than be a tourist. I love how you made a connection with the way maps change and adjust to your life of adjusting and changing to new circumstances. I really agree with you opinion that maps are about much more than boundary lines.

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    • Thank you! Don’t think of how much you want to travel because once you start discovering new places you don’t really want to stop! It’s such an amazing experience I think you should definitely consider it!(:

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  3. I enjoyed reading your post but I find really interesting about the maps of Afghanistan is that the defense department actually gave those maps to the Library of Congress a decade earlier when they were cleaning out a building in Arizona. I actually visited the Library of Congress this summer but I sure which I would have read this book before I went there!!

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  4. I enjoyed reading your post but I find really interesting about the maps of Afghanistan is that the defense department actually gave those maps to the Library of Congress a decade earlier when they were cleaning out a building in Arizona. I actually visited the Library of Congress this summer but I sure which I would have read this book before I went there!!

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    • I also found that interesting! Wow that’s so cool that you actually went there, if I were to go there it would be pretty neat! And don’t worry if you go there again then you will know so much more than you thought you would!(:

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