This is a really good question from xkcd. I was pretty smug about knowing what Rayleigh scattering was. Damn.
This, on the other hand, is pretty much exactly what I think of the balls-on-a-rubber-sheet model. (also this)
This bit on the pools of water for cooling off old nuclear reactor fuel rods might be directly relevant to my game! Especially if my players go to places like these.
But the real point of this post is this here: a google map of some locations in my Tartary game. As I see it there are 2 great disadvantages to using real-world locations for your game and fantasying them up:
(1) people who can't tell fantasy from reality might get upset about what you're saying about their home (especially if you say it's a great place for radioactive horror);
(2) people who can't wrap their head around the fact that you're presenting them with fiction might demand you do more research and get it right. To show respect or some such.
I reckon these quibbles are totally blown out of the water by the fact that now I don't have to draw a map. And players can point to places in between my Interesting Points and ask me "what's there and why shouldn't we use it as our base of operations?"
- what I've been doing when I should've been working