I write this post from the Cedar Rapids/ Eastern Iowa airport, where I've just been rerouted to L.A. off my flight from Dallas onto a flight to Chicago. This was after rerouting part of my Thanksgiving travel from Iowa to Chicago and back again to make it to an unexpected funeral. These sorts of familiar but upsetting complications and tragic losses remind us what matters in life (family and home, and the need to get to both), and serve as a reminder of just how extreme surviving a plane crash on a desert island is, how much danger the lostaways are in, and why they don't spend the kind of time solving the mysteries around them that the audience does. With that in mind, it's on to the Southwest corner of the map...
"Activity Unsuitable for D.I.H.G."
Decoded: This blurb sits without much context in a fairly remote area on the map. It may be safe to assume that "D.I." stands for "Dharma Initiative" and the "H" may be Hanso, but this set of initials together probably can't be fully understood with our current knowledge. The notion that on some of the island, some sort of "activity" may not be "suitable" suggests something that by now we know - the island was not under the complete control of Alvar Hanso and the Dharma Initiative.
Mysteries: What activity was going on in this area to the West of the beach? What made that area or its activity unsuitable? What does "H.G." stand for? And if this all suggests the island's mysteries pre-date Dharma (which the Black Rock, to say the least, certainly suggests), is the unsuitability a result of some inherent quality of this patch of land in the middle of the ocean?
Degree of Certainty: Next to none. Too short, too abbreviated, and too out of context (for now).
"Alleged Location of Aborted #7 Large Number of Underground Springs Heavy Water Table"
Decoded: Despite the location in what should be a fairly accessible region of the island, the mapmaker can only claim this is the alleged location of something. Can we trust anything these people wrote? As for "Aborted #7," that leads us to recall the "six" that was analyzed in the prior post. If the six is the previously disclosed number of Dharma stations, it would seem they tried to build a seventh, which was never completed. The underground springs may be connected to the cave oasis from season 1 - the lostaways' fresh water source. As you can see at this link (http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/public/D2O.html), "heavy water" is composed of the same "H two O" formula as regular water, but the hydrogen atoms are the deuterium isotope, which includes a neutron (regular water is made with regular hydrogen, which does not contain a neutron in the nucleus). Heavy Water is associated with nuclear power plants because of its unique electrochemical structure.
Mysteries: Again, "7" of what? If it's installations, what made Dharma change the plan? Or was it a change? Did they originally intend seven stations but then reign it in to six before making the orientation films? Is the seventh station nuclear-powered? Did some accident with the fissile materials lead to the end of Dharma? Is the heavy water naturally-occurring? If so, what implications does that have for the island?
Degree of Certainty: Not much, but some. At least "heavy water" is susceptible to googling.
"CV 1 Highly Unlikely"
Decoded: This is a tough one, and it recurs throughout the map. "CV" could be short for "cave" but there is little reason to assume that's the case, particularly since "likelihood" is not something we associate with geographic features - they are either there, or not. The "CV" reference recurs throughout the map. Whatever "CV" means, it does not seem likely we'll find out on the Southwest corner of the island.
Mysteries: Everything about this is mysterious. Even if we knew what "CV" meant, we have no inkling of what makes this potential location "unlikely."
Degree of Certainty: Not a lick.
"No Safe Location for Dharmatel Servers/ Hub/ Cabling or Infrastructure"
Decoded: By now we know that Dharma has several communications media built on the island - the signal tower repeatedly broadcasting the numbers (replaced by Rousseau's message), the computer terminals in the various hatches, the alarm claxons that seem to signal outside events, and the cameras feeding the monitors in the pearl station are some of the obvious ones. We also know the island has hazards - rough terrain, occasional bad weather, violent animals (though the polar bears were probably not a problem when Dharma built its intallations) and smokey. Again we have a suggestion that Dharma was not in complete control of the environment. The new information here is that somebody seems to have partially analyzed the infrastructure of the Dharma network(s), and may be able to explain it to us if they're ever encountered...
Mysteries: Exactly what is referred to as "Dharmatel?" What is its function? How did the mapmaker (Kelvin, Radzinsky or someone else) know this terms or the component parts of the network? What makes it unsafe?
Degree of Certainty: Slight. We've seen a lot to which this could refer, but the only guy who seemed to investigate the "hows" of the Dharma infastructure was Michael, and he's off on the Pala ferry.
"Possible Recreation Area for D.I.H.G. Teams"
Decoded: Since this appears to be something in the part of the island we've seen the most of, this could refer to either the beach where the lostaways have camped, or, perhaps more likely, the somewhat inland field where Hurley built a golf course. Again we get a reference to "D.I.H.G." and learn that, whatever it is or was, it included teams. This further supports the idea that "D.I." stands for "Dharma Initiative" since we know that the various stations were staffed by at least two people each. From the TLE Sri Lanka video, we know that the Dharma scientists were supposed to be able to stay on the island indefinitely because of their frequent resupply drops. It stands to reason they would need something to do when they were not pushing buttons every 108 minutes or sending diaries of observations on button pushers to pneumatic tubes to nowhere.
Mysteries: Have we seen the rec area? What sets it apart as being Dharma-related? Again, what's the "H.G."? And did Alvar really care if his world-saving scientists had a good time?
Degree of Certainty: Slight. Some definite "could bes" but nothing that screams out "yes, that's it!"
"Low Priority Zone for Exploration. Possible Site for Above Ground Relevance to Valenzetti-Related Research Activity"
Decoded: The map maker believed that whatever would be found on the island would not be found in the most Southwesterly point. Whatever was here was also not likely contained in a subterranean cave or hatch, acording to the mystery cartographer. Most important is the last phrase: this reference to "Valenzetti" is the only in-show reference to the mysterious mathemetician about whom the late 815 passenger Gary Troupe once wrote and upon whose eponymous equation the Dharma Initiative is supposedly based. With this clue, the TLE Sri Lanka video takes on additional weight and believability. Also, as Kelvin suggested in Desmond's flashback that he was "recruited" by the Dharma Initiative, maybe he or Radzinzky actually knew what it was about and how it was meant to change the numbers. Hopefully Desmond got a few good looks at this map over the years, because Locke's fleeting glance while his leg was impaled by a large metal bar probably did not provide a lot of time to process the bad grammar of this phrase.
Mysteries: What makes an area relevant to Valenzetti research? Why is this area so low-priority to explore, and is that just a fake-out by the Dharmaites? Exactly how is Dharma research and experimentation supposed to alter the Valenzetti factors of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42?
Well, folks, that's that for the Western third of the map. Next week we'll look inside the octagon.