20 - Sri Lanka on top!
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.
Funny how something as arbitrary as map orientation can skew the perception of countries. On this map, from the vaults of the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas in Austin (and to be found separately here), the Indian Subcontinent is shown ‘upside-down’: South is top of the map, North is bottom. Consequently, East is left and West is right (otherwise the map would be mirrored).
The island-nation of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) dominates the top of the map - and suddenly seems more like the jewel in the crown of the subcontinent, less like an appendage of its larger neighbour India.
Bangladesh seems more like the sinkhole for some big rivers that it actually is, and India appears to have a vice-like grip on the Chinese territory of Tibet: the trans-Bangladeshi part of India doesn’t so much seem to be a drifting piece of territory as one half of the aforementioned vice.
But that’s just my utterly fanciful interpretation. The map was devised by Himal, a weekly magazine in Kathmandu (Nepal) that seeks to restore some of the historical unity of ‘Southasia’ (sic): “We believe that the aloof geographical term ‘South Asia’ needs to be injected with some feeling. ‘Southasia’ does the trick for us (…)”
On the ‘right side map’ itself, Himal explains: This map of South Asia may seem upside down to some, but that is because we are programmed to think of north as top of page. This rotation is an attempt by the editors of Himal (the only South Asian magazine) to reconceptualise ‘regionalism’ in a way that the focus is on the people rather than the nation-states. This requires nothing less than turning our minds downside-up.
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
Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.
There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.
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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