The utopian 1920s scheme for five global superstates

Austro-Japanese aristocrat Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi later concentrated on plans for Pan-Europe.

One person's utopia is another's dystopia: A world map of five superstates.

Image: public domain
  • Unity is strength: This 1920s map divides the world among just five superstates.
  • The map was produced by count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, who devoted his life to European unity.
  • This utopian map may have inspired George Orwell's dystopian world in 1984.
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How Big Think can better support you and how you can support Big Think

Here's a letter from our co-founders on the ways to help the world get smarter, faster, through engaging actionable content.

Mind & Brain

Dear readers,

We're the co-founders of Big Think. First and foremost, we want to thank you for your viewership. Over the last 12 years, you have helped us take Big Think from a vision scrawled in notes on lined paper to a reality that has reached over 1 billion people with the mission of helping the world get "smarter faster".

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A map of London’s fried chicken obsession

The British capital's love affair with buckets and nuggets, explained

A close-up of central London's favorite fried chicken shops

Image: Heikki Vesanto
  • Fried chicken is London's favorite fast food.
  • There are more than 8,000 chicken shops in the British capital.
  • This map shows which brands dominate where.
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'Squeaky Curtain' divides Europe’s Eastern and Western mice

Two house mouse subspecies meet again in a hybrid zone strangely reminiscent of the Iron Curtain

If you're a mouse, Europe is still divided in two, along a divide strangely reminiscent of the Iron Curtain

Image source: Macholán, M., Baird, S.J., Munclinger, P. et al. Genetic conflict outweighs heterogametic incompatibility in the mouse hybrid zone?. BMC Evol Biol 8, 271 (2008) doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-271
  • The house mouse diverged into two subspecies depending on which humans they followed.
  • The Western and Eastern European house mice can interbreed, but the results are, well, mixed.
  • The continent remains divided between Eastern and Western mice except for a narrow contact zone where hybrids eek out a living.
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Gravity is not uniform. It varies geographically.

As this map of Bouguer's gravity anomaly shows, the pull of the earth varies considerably by region.

Gravitational anomalies across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio: red means higher than average, blue is lower than average

Image: USGS
Strange Maps
  • The law of gravity may be universal, gravity itself varies considerably across the earth.
  • Most factors can be mathematically accounted for; local geology is the odd one out.
  • Bouguer gravity anomaly maps like these show regional gravitational variation.
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Two-thirds of U.S. students attend diverse schools

School diversity is less widespread in central and northern states

Map showing whiteness and diversity of U.S. school population, per state.

Image courtesy of Cédric Scherer
Strange Maps
  • In 2020, there will be more children of color than white children in the U.S.
  • These maps indicate how racial diversity is changing the demographics of America's schools
  • Diversity has massively increased, but more so in the south and on the coasts than elsewhere
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These 9 U.S. biodiversity hotspots urgently need protection

Project to map global 'species richness' highlights the variety of biodiversity itself

A study of the geographic overlap between biodiversity and conservancy identifies nine hotspots that urgently need protection.

Image courtesy of Clinton Jenkins
Strange Maps
  • Biodiversity is essential for ecosystems – and humanity – to survive
  • These maps show the diversity of biodiversity itself: the hotspots are all over the place
  • Compounding U.S. biodiversity data produces a list of 9 'Recommended Priority Areas', most in need of protection
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