436 - A Map of the Great Fear
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.
The rapid spread of the Great Fear was one of the weirder episodes in the early, confusing days of the French Revolution. This combination of a riot, a brush fire and a game of Chinese whispers raged from July 20 to August 5 of the revolutionary year 1789 - a year now better remembered for July 14, the date of the storming of the Bastille, which set off the Revolution itself. Quatorze juillet has been the French Fête Nationale ever since.
La Grande Peur followed Bastille Day – as the translation of the Parisian, urban revolt to the countryside. This short-lived peasants’ revolt, sounding the death-knell of the Ancien Regime, occurred in the context of the worsening grain shortage, leading to local militias guarding the dwindling supplies and the new harvest from the swelling ranks of vagrants on the roads. When rumours spread that these brigands were recruited and armed by the despised First Estate (i.e. the nobles, whose monopoly on politics the Revolution would abolish), the peasantry rose up and pre-emptively struck against the nobility, ransacking mansions, destroying feudal records and – also - plundering the grain supplies.\n
The origin, the raging and the rather swift end to the violence associated with La Grande Peur has been sufficiently documented for it to be mapped. It started in the westerly region of Franche-Comté, whence it spread south through the valley of the Rhône to the Provence, and west towards central France. It was joined by another panic centre south of Poitiers, radiating south towards the Pyrenees, and into the Auvergne. The starting points were mostly relatively small towns, stressing the rural character of the phenomenon: Bram, Ruffec, St-Florentin, Louhans, Romilly, Estrees, La Ferie, Gastines. The episode was so confusing that sometimes armed peasants from one village mistook their equally vigilant neighbours for the feared brigands, with unintended, violent consequences.\n
While the worst was over by the beginning of August 1789, quelled by military force, outbreaks of Peur on a rather more petite scale continued into 1790, eventually leaving only extremitous regions such as Alsace and Lorraine, Gascogne and Bretagne untouched.\n
We're more dependent on them than we realize.
- Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
- A natural climate strategy we often forget.
- Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.
While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.
- Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
- There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
- One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.