189 - Painting Peru
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.
Christa Dichgans (°1940 in Berlin) is a German painter who has shown a proclivity towards cartography in her work. Generally, her map paintings consist of a monochrome background surmounted with the contours of a country or continent, filled up with stuff of all sorts.
‘Amerika’ represents a gazillion dollar bills forming the Lower 48 States, contrasting with a yellow background. ‘Europa’ shows a continent consisting of an uncountable number of human faces against a blue background. Other examples of this technique are ‘Deutschland’, ‘Indien’, ‘Der schwarze Kontinent’ and this painting, ‘Peru’.\n
The 2004 oil painting shows the contours of this South American country. Inside its borders, small religious and folkloric figurines are pasted over the black background, creating the impression of something like a cigar label collection. Outside Peru’s borders, the yellow background is embroidered with button-like embellishments.\n
This map, and other examples of Dichgans’ work, can be found here.\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
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
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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