247 - All the World In A Song
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.
As most news bulletins prove, the world is not, alas, an harmonious place. The same point is proved, if inadvertently and on a more symbolical level, by this stunning musical map of the world.
This is a pretty clever translation of the shape of the world’s continents into the dots, ties and bars of traditional musical notation, but ironically, its main claim to harmony is visual, not aural.
For even though the legend over the top left hand corner of this World Beat Map reads harmonious world beat, I suspect the result of this piece being played would be anything but harmonious to the ears.
I don’t read sheet music (I prefer to listen to the stuff), but the outline of the continents, though perfectly familiar and expected as such on a normal map, seems just too jagged and capricious when translated into notes – not to mention temporally chopped up by the bars travelling from left to right and top to bottom.
Of course, I could be wrong. Anyone more familiar with music in its written form, and how to squeeze it out of an instrument, is cordially invited to comment on this song’s playability, enjoyability and harmoniousness.
UPDATE: On April 19, 2008, Krissy Clark of Weekend America interviewed James Plakovic about his harmonious world beat map. Listen to the interview – and the map – here.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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