The Blonde vs. Brunette Map of Europe
This map, indicating the varying degrees of blondness in Europe, shows how fair hair gets rarer further away from this core area – towards the south, as one intuitively might presume.
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.
Q: How do you get a blonde out of a tree?
According to this map – and if you really believe that blondes have less brains – a nasty fall like that is more likely to happen in the central parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, where at least 80% of the population is fair-haired, the highest figure in all of Europe.
This map, indicating the varying degrees of blondness in Europe, shows how fair hair gets rarer further away from this core area – towards the south, as one intuitively might presume, but also towards the east, west and even towards the north.
The consecutive bands (coloured in such a way as to approximately represent the ‘average’ hair colour in each area) surrounding the core blonde area in Scandinavia in most cases don’t correspond with national boundaries, but could be taken to represent certain degrees of ethnic variation, often with a possible historical explanation.
I’ve no idea which year this map is from, but it seems fair to say - pun intended - that the larger mobility of people nowadays would make for a more diffuse distribution of hair colouration. Which dovetails nicely with this blonde joke:
Q: What did the blonde do when she heard that 90% of accidents occur around the home?
A: She moved.
The map was sent to me by Faluvégi Balázs from Hungary, and can be found here on eupedia.com, together with other interesting maps showing the distribution of eye-colour, religion, ethnicity, GDP per capita, legal age to purchase and drink alcohol and even the legal status of cannabis.
Strange Maps #214
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A mind-bending paradox questions the nature of reality.
- Boltzmann Brains are hypothetical disembodied entities with self-awareness.
- It may be more likely for a Boltzmann Brain to come into existence than the whole Universe.
- The idea highlights a paradox in thermodynamics.
What makes an excellent educator?
- When it comes to educating, says Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, a brave failure is preferable to timid success.
- Fostering an environment where one isn't afraid to fail is tantamount to learning.
- Human beings are complicated and flawed. Working with those complications and flaws leads to true knowledge.
Drinking home alone in your underwear just might be what you need to be as relaxed as the Finnish.
- Päntsdrunk is the latest trend to come out of Northern Europe and it involves drinking alone at home.
- Finnish writer Miska Rantanen outlines the philosophy in his newest book titled: Pantsdrunk: Kalsarikanni: The Finnish Path to Relaxation.
- Kalsarikänni is a word in Finnish that literally means "drinking at home and alone in your underwear."
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