Should you wear long johns? There's a map for that
Mapping your daily long john needs since 2011 (Canada only)
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.
Long johns are popular in Canada, as in other cold countries. If you have to brave deep-freeze temperatures, you'll be glad you're wearing them. But when exactly do the benefits of long johns outweigh the trouble and discomfort of getting them on? Only Canada has a daily forecast on whether and where they should be worn.
Every weekday since 2011, an index rating and weather map has been produced by the 'Long John Index Service of Canada' – despite the official-sounding name, not an official government agency.
Nor is the Long John Index itself at all scientific. “It is used for entertainment and gambling purposes, and should not be confused with your preferred weather service”, the LJI website disclaims.
Yet there is method to the index, which runs on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest point (at the freezing point of 0°C/32°F). Basically, for every 10°C the temperature drops, the index goes up by one point. And the time spent outside without long johns decreases.
So what does the Long John Index for Canada look like? Each day, two LJIs are forecast for 38 Canadian cities, one for the morning, the other for the afternoon. On 31 January – no need get your long johns out in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Penticton or St. John's. Perfect zero scores in all five cities.
On the other end of the scale: Yellowknife, Inuvik and Alert. All three places score 5/4. No need to take them off. Fort St. John, Whitehorse, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Portage La Prairie and Iqaluit are barely doing better (4/4). Compared to that, things sound pretty balmy in Kamloops, Toronto (both 1/0), Thunder Bay and Halifax (both 1/1).
The map helpfully adds that “everything above this line is frozen”, referring to the border that separates the Yukon and Northwest Territories from points south. Just to the east, Nunavut is “shut”. In the northernmost bit of Canada, it's currently so cold that “I think my breath just froze”. By comparison, temperatures are verging on the pleasant in British Columbia (“snow schmow”) and Newfoundland (“noop!”).
The prairie provinces are coping: Alberta is having a “winter dance party”, and Saskatchewan and Manitoba are finding it “cold, but less cold than cold”. If you're in Ontario, “you should probably wear a hat”, while your dogn in Québec “should wear those weird boot things”. What, don't dogs get to wear long johns?
Strange Maps #884
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