154 - Britain In A Cloud
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.
This is to my knowledge the only indisputable evidence of a nimbo-cartographic simulacrum, ever! You’ll find it on the website of the Fortean Times, a monthly magazine dedicated to reporting on anomalous phenomena (type in ‘simulacrum’ in the search box).
This particular picture of ‘Britain In A Cloud’ was sent in to Fortean Times by a Rob Gandy, who took the picture near Wadebridge in Cornwall on the morning of August 3, 1996. He writes: "It had been more ‘solid’ before I managed to get my camera, and as I watched, it slowly but surely broke up. Perhaps it was a portent of the effects of devolution following Tony Blair’s election victory the following year."\n
The main cloud formation to the right does seem to give a quite good proportional representation of the island of Great Britain, with Scotland sprouting at the top, East Anglia bulging away to the right and Cornwall sticking out quite life-like (or should that be map-like?) on the left. The southern coast of England even follows the orientation it has in real life. Wales could have been done a bit better (*) and that separate cloud where Ireland ought to be is completely wrong (*) – and if it were just Ulster, then it would be too big. But all in all, not bad going for a simple morning cloud in August…\n
(*): insert your own Welsh and/or Irish jokes here.\n
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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