6 - Market Reef
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.
So you’re a map nerd and you think you know about every cartographic anomaly in the world, from the bizarre Belgian enclave of Baarle-Hertog in the south of the Netherlands to the three little islands in the Beagle Channel that almost caused a war between Chile and Argentina. Then you learn about Market Reef, a little island between Finland and Sweden that is shared by both countries – and is the smallest island thus divided between two nations. The bizarre border on Market Island (Märkat in Swedish) was caused by the Finnish lighthouse that was accidentally built on the Swedish side of the border. It was transferred to Finland, while an equally large piece of the Finnish half became Swedish. The island is uninhabited, but is a favourite destination for radio enthousiasts, as it is listed as a separate country in amateur radio call numbering.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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