Hacked Homes, Gas Attacks, and Panic Room Design; plus 'The Home of Maps' discovery


EXCERPTS: [...] Burglary is a spatial crime: its very definition requires architecture. By entering an architectural space, whether it's a screened-in porch or a megamansion, theft or petty larceny becomes burglary, a spatially defined offense that cannot take place without walls and a roof. In any case, while Greece sees its burglary rate go up and reports of local break-ins rise, home fortification has also picked up pace. "Many apartment doors have sprouted new security locks with heavy metal plates, similar to the locks used in safes," we read, and razor wire now "bristles from garden gates where there were none last summer."

[...] As it happens, I've been studying burglary for the past few years for many reasons; among those is the fact that burglary offers insights into otherwise overlooked possibilities for reading and navigating urban and architectural space.

[...A...] method of entry is on the rise: [...] "with perpetrators going so far as to gas their proposed victims through the air conditioning units before breaking in."

[...] The second of those three articles [...] looks at the design and installation of safe rooms, more popularly known as panic rooms. [...] it includes interviews with safe room design experts on both U.S. coasts, as well as some interesting anecdotes about trends in home fortification, such as installing "lead-lined sheetrock to protect against radioactive attack." Bullet-proof doors, rocket-propelled grenades, and home biometric security systems all make an unsettling appearance, as well....

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"It's almost like he wanted to collect every map ever made"

EXCERPT: Alec Earnest recently made an interesting documentary about a house in Los Angeles whose owner died, leaving behind a personal map collection so massive that, upon being acquisitioned by the city's public library, "it doubled the LAPL’s collection in a single day."

When LAPL map librarian Glen Creason, interviewed for the film, first entered the house, his jaw dropped; "everywhere I looked in the house, there's maps," he explains in the film, including an entire floor that was "absolutely wall to wall with street guides."

As the Los Angeles Times described Feathers's house upon its discovery back in 2012, it held "tens of thousands of maps. Fold-out street maps were stuffed in file cabinets, crammed into cardboard boxes, lined up on closet shelves and jammed into old dairy crates. Wall-size roll-up maps once familiar to schoolchildren were stacked in corners. Old globes were lined in rows atop bookshelves also filled with maps and atlases."

It went on and on and on [...] Urban atlases, motoring charts, pre-Thomas Guide local street maps—Feathers collected seemingly any cartographic ephemera he could get his hands on.....

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