155 - The Norwegian Drop
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 remarkable painting was made by the Norwegian artist Rolf Groven as a poster proposal for Norway’s pavilion at the World Exhibition in Seville (Spain) in 1992. The title is ‘Den Norske Dråpen’, which I guess can be translated as ‘The Norwegian Drop’.
Water is very significant indeed for Norwegians, as hydroelectric power produces 98,5% of the electric power generated in Norway – this in spite of Norway’s huge North Sea oil reserves, which consequently must be exploited mainly for export.\n
"This painting is aimed at visualizing how this energy source is entirely renewable and is a result of Norway’s distinct geography," Mr Groven states on his website. And it does just that:\n
- Norway is a foaming mass of water gushing down a rocky mountainside that to the right looks like the rest of Scandinavia. \n
- A nice touch: Iceland is formed by a… spot of ice on the side of the mountain towering over the landscape. \n
- Rivulets of water form the boundaries of Finland and Sweden, Russia’s Kola peninsula is defined by the stagnant pond next to it. \n
- The ‘head’ of Norway at its southern end is a waterfall, perpetually showering Denmark’s Jutland peninsula with crystal clear Norwegian water. \n
- That water flows on to etch the edges of Europe out of its rocky landscape – clearly a reference to what the northern desolation of Norway must look like. \n
- A road winding down through northern Germany, past the Benelux countries and via France leads to where Italy should be. Instead, a road sign invites us to take the other direction, up towards Norway. \n
- To the left, a salmon and the British Isles are floating quite mysteriously above the water – perhaps all three of them have just leapt up out of the mountain stream. \n
On closer, or rather farther inspection, the landscape is situated not in a crystal ball, but in a lightbulb – appropriately referring to Norway’s sensible exploitation of its renewable hydroelectric resources.\n
Rolf Groven (°1943) studied art in Norway and architecture in Iran, worked as a builder, sailor, architect and teacher before settling on painting and illustrating his main occupation. This strange hybrid of a map and a painting was kindly sent to me by Harald Groven, Rolf’s son. This page links to Rolf and his kids, this is a direct link to his paintings (click on the palettes to go to the subcategories), and the one exhibited on this page can be found here.\n\n
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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