154 - Britain In A Cloud



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."


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…


(*): insert your own Welsh and/or Irish jokes here.


Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • 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.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • 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
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • 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
Keep reading Show less