146 - Comparing Wikipedia to China, Macedonia and Barbados
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Frank San Miguel ("software geek, boat builder, musician and a veteran of a number of internet startups", including what became mapquest.com) alerted me to this nifty little map he made, inspired by some maps on this site. The data for this map were culled from these Wikipedia contributor statistics.
"Compare the population of world countries to the Wikipedia contributors. In the hierarchy of users the vast majority of visitors to Wikipedia, 48 million of them, are readers; for the most part they don’t edit articles. Next are the regular contributors who contribute between 5 and 100 times per month. There are about 77,000 of those. Finally, there are the 10,000 anchor contributers (I’ve borrowed this phrase from retail marketing) who contribute more than 100 times per month."\n
"So if Wikipedia readers are like China, then the regular contributors are like Macedonia and the anchor contributors are like Barbados. To extend this analogy to absurd extremes, Barbados and Macedonia do all of the work, have the highest GDP and provide humanitarian aid to China!"\n
The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
- In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
- Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.
Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
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