24 - Europe's north-south divides
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 map is yet another dissection of Europe, this time focussing on the north-south divides in the continent. Some of the boundaries here were already present in one or both of the earlier maps, especially the religious (Protestant-Catholic) and linguistic (Germanic-Romance) divides. Three additional borders are of a more climatic nature:
- The northern limit of vineyards, winding its way from the north coast of Spain up via France, to reach its northernmost point in the Belgian-German border area and thereafter undulating through Central Europe (almost perfectly following the southern border of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Ukraine). \n
- Then, there’s a divide between plains and mountains: this line starts north of the Pyrennees, dips into the Mediterranean before heading straight north to take in the Alps, after which is crosses Bavaria and Austria. After this, the line falls between Poland and Slovakia before heading south through Romania, via the Transylvanian Alps. \n
- Finally, there’s the divide between cool, wet and hot, dry climates, splitting Spain, skirting the South of France, the North of Italy, the Adriatic coast of the former Yugoslavia and the north of Greece. \n
One wonders, with global warming and all, whether the first and the third of these lines shouldn’t be moved northwards by now…\n
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Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
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- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
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- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
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