264 - An Absolut Mexico
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.
Ay caramba! Absolut Vodka has found a surefire way to put its US sales figures in a downward spiral. This map, used in a Mexican ad campaign, shows what the US-Mexican border would look like in an ‘absolut’ (i.e. perfect) world: a large part of the US’s west is annexed to Mexico.
Needless to say this map made its way to ‘El Norte’, annoying and upsetting many Americans – even leading to calls for a boycott of the Swedish-made vodka. What must be particularly annoying is that this map has some basis in fact.\n
Large swathes of the western US used to be part of Mexico. In 1836, American settlers proclaimed the independence of Texas, formally a Mexican territory. The US annexation of Texas in 1845 prompted the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), after which Mexico was forced to cede 525,000 square miles of territory (42% of its pre-war territory, 12% of the US’s current territory).\n
Mexico didn’t have much choice: a US army occupied Mexico City, and the alternative was total annexation. The Mexican Cession consisted of the territories of Alta California and Nueva Mexico, out of which were eventually formed the US states of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.\n
In this ‘absolut’ version of the world, the US and Mexico are about the same size. As gratifiying as it might be for Mexicans to see the loss of Texas and the Mexican Cession be reversed, this map managed to offend so many Americans that it prompted Absolut Vodka to release a statement:\n
"We are sorry if we offended anyone. This was not our intention. We will try to explain. Though you may not agree, I hope you understand."
\n"We have a variety of executions running in countries worldwide, and each is germane to that country and that population. This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal."
\n"Obviously, this ad was run in Mexico, and not the US — that ad might have been very different."
This map was sent in by Jeremy Yingling, Danny Dorfman, Nate Maas, Jim Yu, Nick Collecchi and Dubi Kaufmann. Here‘s a link to it at the LA Times\n
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
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.
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