A few weeks ago we had the joy of having a teenage girl spend the night with us.  Her folks were about to cancel weekend plans as Jennifer, 15 yrs old and their only child, had softball practice and needed transport.  I spoke up and said “I’ll do it and if she needs to she is more than welcomed to spend the night with us.”  She did and I got her to practice on time!

In the meantime I am interested in what is happening outside of my own spheres of reality.  I am old and those younger than I see things differently.  My children and I live different lives as their realities are different from mine.  Their children the same.  While we are all products of similar upbringings realities and perceptions are very individual.

Our oldest grandchild is a male and 14 yrs old.  Through him I met Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.  Our 11 yr old (almost 12) granddaughter introduced me to One Direction, Ariana Grande and Hunger Games.  The youngest grandson showed me how to play Skylanders and Beyblades and we introduced him to Judy Blume – an author his dad and aunt loved.  I must remain current to keep up while not letting go of the good.

With the opportunity of having Jennifer spend the night I could get a different perspective of teens.   I have often mentioned I believe that I have young teenage cousins that I love to follow on facebook.  They help keep me current as well.  Having Jennifer overnight allowed me a more in depth conversation.

We talked about her interests and things that she was doing at school and in church.  I learned about Your Tubers.  I had no idea what this was with the exception that another couple we know has a teen age son who is into audio visual education in depth and posts regularly on You Tube.  There is a whole world out there I discovered of “You Tubers”.  Tubers to me are plants that go in the ground in the fall to sprout in the spring.  I have spent a bit of time looking at these kids and am amazed.  There will be more investigation and maybe even a blog forthcoming.

We talked books, a favorite topic of mine.  I was introduced to John Green and his stories.  She suggested one book for me to read.  It was about cancer.  Got to tell you that is a little too close to read about so when I ordered the John Green book I selected the one she was reading.  It was called Paper Towns.

According to John Greens website this is the synopsis.

Paper Towns

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

I have to say this book was a good read.  The plot was as intricate as any adult book I have read.  Sad it is classified as Teen Lit.

So SPOILER ALERT – the heroin runs away to a Paper Town.  Well this was tantalizing to me as I had no idea what this was or is and was interested to look further and find out more about paper towns.  It was hard to research as all the google answers referred me to John Green’s book.  I found a clue when one thing popped up that said “Trap Streets”.  I looked further into these and then found a link back to paper towns to get the real information.

So here is the end all be all – Paper Towns and Trap Streets are not real!  I found a couple of other blogs that referred to these and I have provided links. (2) One of the links even includes ‘Phantom Settlements’.  (3) So if something does not exist why is it used?  Plenty to look into I thought.  Here is what I found.

The simplicity of Wikipedia was a first stop and I found the following. (4)

Paper Towns

Fictitious entries, also known as fake entries, Mountweazels, ghost words[1] and nihil articles, are deliberately incorrect entries or articles in reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and directories. Entries in reference works normally originate from a reliable external source, but no such source exists for a fictitious entry. Copyright trap is a specific case where the motivation for the entry is to detect plagiarism or copyright infringement.

The neologism Mountweazel was coined by the The New Yorker based on a fictitious biographical entry in the 1975 New Columbia Encyclopedia.[2] Another term nihilartikel combines the Latinnihil (“nothing”) and German artikel (“article”).[1]

Motivations for creation[edit]

Besides the possibility of playful mischief, fictitious entries may be composed to catch copyright infringement. By including a trivial piece of false information in a larger work, it is easier to demonstrate plagiarism if the fictitious entry is copied along with other material. An admission of this motive appears in the preface to Chambers’s 1964 mathematical tables: “those [errors] that are known to exist form an uncomfortable trap for any would-be plagiarist”.[3] This is very similar to the inclusion of one or more trap streets on a map or invented phone numbers in a telephone directory.

In the United States, they may be used to demonstrate copying, but are not always sufficient to prove legal infringement if the material was not eligible for copyright (see Feist v. RuralFred Worth lawsuit or Nester’s Map & Guide Corp. v. Hagstrom Map Co., 796 F.Supp. 729, E.D.N.Y., 1992.)[4] These traps may still aid in detection of copying and may be proof of copyright infringement if the original material was eligible for copyright.

An outright forgery intended to mislead the reader on a matter of substance would not generally be classed as a fictitious entry.

Copyrighting a map this way is intriguing. It cannot be copyrighted any other way as is documented under the Trap Street section explanation below.(5)

A trap street is a fictitious entry in the form of a misrepresented street on a map, often outside the area the map nominally covers, for the purpose of “trapping” potential copyright violators of the map who, if caught, would be unable to explain the inclusion of the “trap street” on their map as innocent. On maps that are not of streets, other “copyright trap” features (such as nonexistent towns or mountains with the wrong elevations) may be inserted or altered for the same purpose.[1]

Trap streets are often nonexistent streets; but sometimes, rather than actually depicting a street where none exists, a map will misrepresent the nature of a street in a fashion that can still be used to detect copyright violators but is less likely to interfere with navigation. For instance, a map might add nonexistent bends to a street, or depict a major street as a narrow lane, without changing its location or its connections to other streets.

Trap streets are routinely denied and rarely acknowledged by publishers. This is not always the case, however. A popular driver’s atlas for the city of Athens, Greece, warns inside its front cover that potential copyright violators should beware of trap streets.[2]

Trap streets are not copyrightable under the federal law of the United States. In Nester’s Map & Guide Corp. v. Hagstrom Map Co., 796 F.Supp. 729, E.D.N.Y., 1992, a United States federal court found that copyright traps are not themselves protectable by copyright. There, the court stated: “[t]o treat ‘false’ facts interspersed among actual facts and represented as actual facts as fiction would mean that no one could ever reproduce or copy actual facts without risk of reproducing a false fact and thereby violating a copyright . . . . If such were the law, information could never be reproduced or widely disseminated.” (Id. at 733)

In Alexandria Drafting Co. v. Andrew H. Amsterdam dba Franklin Maps, 43 U.S.P.Q. 2d (4 June 1997), the court ruled that “fictitious names may not be copyrighted” and “the existence, or non-existence, of a road is a non-copyrightable fact.”[4]

In a 2001 case, the Automobile Association in the United Kingdom agreed to settle a case for £20,000,000 when it was caught copying Ordnance Survey maps. In this case, the identifying “fingerprints” were not deliberate errors but rather stylistic features such as the width of roads.[5]

In another case, the Singapore Land Authority sued Virtual Map, an online publisher of maps, for infringing on their copyright. The Singapore Land Authority stated in their case that there were deliberate errors in maps they had provided to Virtual Map years earlier. Virtual Map denied this and insisted that they had done their own cartography.

I was interested to find that there is a map of nothing but Trap Streets and Paper Towns.  It basically takes you to coordinates on a map.  One of my favorite courses in college was Geography and creating and coloring maps.  Now much could be said about my enjoyment of coloring.  (I will leave that for another day.)  I do also like to read and follow maps.  While I do use a GPS more these days I am more comfortable with a map in my car as a navigation tool.

So there you have it once again.  A simple conversation leads to an interesting day of research which provides me with something about which to write.  Keeping current may keep me young.  Looking things up on the web for information and expanding my sphere of reference may also keep me aware and my mind sharp.   One can only hope.

I suppose I could do the same for the body.  Oh bother………………..


(1) http://johngreenbooks.com/paper-towns/






By ktsquared Posted in Trivia

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