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How Donald Trump Sees the World — in Three Maps
The arrogance and ignorance of American presidential candidate Donald Trump come alive in these three maps, which continue cartography's wonderful history of satirical takedowns.
"I know the outer world exists": from any other presidential candidate, that most basic of foreign policy affirmations would sound merely comical; from the mouth of Donald Trump, it sounds like a vague threat – especially to anyone in the 'outer world' (i.e. that not inconsiderable part of the planet outside the U.S.)
Trump's foreign policy so far seems to rest on just two basic premises: keep that outer world out, and make it pay. The proposed Mexican Wall and a blanket ban on Muslims entering the U.S. are two examples of the former. On the latter point, Trump has called into question America's strategic alliances and free trade agreements as 'free rides' for America's military allies and economic rivals, respectively.
Under Trump, America would no longer be the policeman of the world; the U.S. should stop "paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves"; on the other hand, he has not ruled out using nuclear weapons in Europe, because "Europe is a big place". Nor would China continue to "suck (America) dry". Trump would "start taxing goods that come in from China".
Beyond that, the presidential hopeful has been as scathing about assorted people and places around the world as he has been for anybody and anything he dislikes at home. Trump has called NATO "obsolete", derided European leaders as "weak", accused Angela Merkel of "ruining Germany" (and called Germany a "total mess" for good measure), mocked Saudi prince Alaweel bin Talal as "dopey", painted Brussels as a "hellhole" and misrepresented Britain's second-biggest city Birmingham as a "totally Muslim city".
In January, the House of Commons debated whether to ban Trump from Britain for 'hate speech' – an unprecedented initiative against an American presidential candidate, even if the MPs eventually decided against it.
This Wednesday, Trump will flesh out his foreign policy in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington DC. It will be interesting to see whether he continues the 'America First' rhetoric — ague, blunt and often self-contradictory because, Trump has said, he "wouldn’t want (our enemies) to know what my real thinking is" — or moderates his tone and structures his views to appear more 'presidential'.
But for large parts of the audience – especially those out here in the outer world – the speech won't matter. Trump's world view has already solidified into caricature, most of which is his own doing, to be fair.
Here are three maps painting the world according to Trump, in the grand tradition of cartography used to lampoon imperial arrogance and ignorance. For an earlier example, see the World According to Reagan (#38), but also (when British arrogance and ignorance still mattered on the world stage) the Tory Atlas of the World (#105).
The three maps have a few things in common. Of course, the US of A is shown bigger than strictly accurate; Africa is touted as Obama’s birthplace (a reference to Trump’s earlier involvement in the ‘birther’ movement (1); and Muslims and Mexicans get some prominence (only to be insulted better).
The first map, from the Huffington Post’s UK edition, riffs on Trump’s anti-Muslim tantrum, over-representing the Muslim 'danger' by labelling Greenland as occupied by 'Eskimo Muslims', filling China with 'Chinese Muslims/hackers', and transmogrifying Birmingham into 'Muslimham', in the middle of a 'no go zone' covering most of Britain (except Trump’s proposed 'golf course' in Scotland). Europe has been reduced to 'Germany', and 'Paris' has been misplaced somewhere inside Russia.
The actual Muslim world is labelled in the biggest type on the map as MUSLIM. But an arrow points to Saudi Arabia as the place with 'some good rich Muslims'. So they’re not all bad.
Mexicans, however, are also bad (and not rich!) Hence the 'really big wall' – built near the Panama Canal, effectively annexing Mexico to the U.S. 'Mexico' has moved to South America, which is filled with 'criminals' and 'rapists'. A 'northern wall' – a nod to Game of Thrones – separates the United States of Trump from what’s left of Canada… sorry: Northern Mexico.
The 'best tower in the world' (no prizes for guessing whose name graces its façade) is shielded from the evil outside world by a 'total and complete shutdown barrier', repeated on the UST’s west coast.
Which leaves two places in the world about which Trump is mildly positive: Russia may still be ruled by 'commies', but at least they have a 'good leader'. And Australia, which apparently has not done anything (yet) to offend Trump, is 'probably ok'.
No such luck for the Ozzies on the second map, of unknown provenance, where the island-continent Down Under is marked as the source for 'red kangaroo scrotums (that) make great wigs'. A bloated U.S. is renamed, simply, 'Trump' (Alaska is 'Cold Trump' and Hawaii is the 'Trump Islands' – fortunately, the map spares us a similarly renamed U.S. Virgin Islands).
Canada is 'home of Ted Cruz who I will destroy'. Whom I will destroy – but whom cares about that anymore. Mexico, predictably, is synonymous with 'rape', Central America is only good for 'vacation' and South America simply is 'too hot to wear a suit'. Cuba? Forget it, that’s Mark Cuban stretched out below Florida, near a few islands that are 'smaller than Trump Tower'.
Most of Europe is 'not my problem', except for Greece, which is 'definitely not my problem'. About Eastern Europe, Trump seems to remember that 'I’ve had two wives from over here somewhere'. For both Sweden and Finland, he has but one message: 'You’re Finland!' Britain has been reduced to the 'land of the Queen and Piers Morgan', and Ireland (instead of Scotland) is good for only one thing: 'golf'.
Africa is not Africa, it’s 'Obama is from here'. Israel is another place identified with just one guy: 'my boy Netanyahu'. The whole of Arabia? Suffice it to say: 'I saw American sniper'. I bet Bradley Cooper could kick Sykes Picot’s behind from here to Baghdad. The mapmaker didn’t even bother coming up with anything offensive for the rest of the Middle East: 'some dumb opinion about Muslims'. Fill one in. There’s plenty floating around.
Russia is ruled by a guy Trump can’t wait to go on a man-date with: Putin (a.k.a. Trump of the Tundra). The Japanese are not reducible to one strong leader, but 'they build top-notch escalators.' China is the 'New England Patriots' (apparently both run on the same Marxist-Leninist footing) and Mongolia is 'China by association' (gone are the times when it was 'Soviet by association'). South Korea? Right there between China and Japan, north of North Korea. Ehm.
India can expect some hostility from soon-to-be president Trump, because 'they copied my Taj Mahal', the money temple that has graced the Atlantic City boardwalk since time immemorial. Hey, Sri Lanka, get your act together: 'What country is this? Zero brand recognition'. Still, better than Indonesia: 'What’s all this? ISIS?' There’s a similar complaint about Iceland. Or was that ISIS-land?
By far the most detailed map is Donald Trump’s View o’ the World, which repeats the claims about Mexicans, Obama, Putin, Eastern Europe ('Supermodelstan') and border walls. This map looks ahead quite a bit into the future, seeing Cuba as the 'future site of bankrupt Trump Casinos', apportions blame where there is none ('Antarctica – melting not because of climate change (…) but because of those terrible penguins'), name-checks fellow celebrities (a rump-shaped Armenia is named 'Kardashians').
Some map details recall specific incidents in Trump’s presidential campaign so far. 'Awful Pope land' refers to the Vatican leader’s criticism of Trump’s exclusionary instincts, a boatload of 'Syrian refugees I will send right back', and even John McCain is again called a 'P.OW. loser'. This map was made by Lalo Alcaraz, an American cartoonist of Mexican descent, which provides the putative mapmaker – Trump himself – with the opportunity to use one of his by now classic put-downs: "not their best."
Strange Maps #780
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) A movement which questioned Obama’s legitimacy as president, based on the allegation that he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.
Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.
- U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
- Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
- While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
The U.S. Navy controls patents for some futuristic and outlandish technologies, some of which, dubbed "the UFO patents," came to light recently. Of particular note are inventions by the somewhat mysterious Dr. Salvatore Cezar Pais, whose tech claims to be able to "engineer reality." His slate of highly-ambitious, borderline sci-fi designs meant for use by the U.S. government range from gravitational wave generators and compact fusion reactors to next-gen hybrid aerospace-underwater crafts with revolutionary propulsion systems, and beyond.
Of course, the existence of patents does not mean these technologies have actually been created, but there is evidence that some demonstrations of operability have been successfully carried out. As investigated and reported by The War Zone, a possible reason why some of the patents may have been taken on by the Navy is that the Chinese military may also be developing similar advanced gadgets.
Among Dr. Pais's patents are designs, approved in 2018, for an aerospace-underwater craft of incredible speed and maneuverability. This cone-shaped vehicle can potentially fly just as well anywhere it may be, whether air, water or space, without leaving any heat signatures. It can achieve this by creating a quantum vacuum around itself with a very dense polarized energy field. This vacuum would allow it to repel any molecule the craft comes in contact with, no matter the medium. Manipulating "quantum field fluctuations in the local vacuum energy state," would help reduce the craft's inertia. The polarized vacuum would dramatically decrease any elemental resistance and lead to "extreme speeds," claims the paper.
Not only that, if the vacuum-creating technology can be engineered, we'd also be able to "engineer the fabric of our reality at the most fundamental level," states the patent. This would lead to major advancements in aerospace propulsion and generating power. Not to mention other reality-changing outcomes that come to mind.
Among Pais's other patents are inventions that stem from similar thinking, outlining pieces of technology necessary to make his creations come to fruition. His paper presented in 2019, titled "Room Temperature Superconducting System for Use on a Hybrid Aerospace Undersea Craft," proposes a system that can achieve superconductivity at room temperatures. This would become "a highly disruptive technology, capable of a total paradigm change in Science and Technology," conveys Pais.
High frequency gravitational wave generator.
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
Another invention devised by Pais is an electromagnetic field generator that could generate "an impenetrable defensive shield to sea and land as well as space-based military and civilian assets." This shield could protect from threats like anti-ship ballistic missiles, cruise missiles that evade radar, coronal mass ejections, military satellites, and even asteroids.
Dr. Pais's ideas center around the phenomenon he dubbed "The Pais Effect". He referred to it in his writings as the "controlled motion of electrically charged matter (from solid to plasma) via accelerated spin and/or accelerated vibration under rapid (yet smooth) acceleration-deceleration-acceleration transients." In less jargon-heavy terms, Pais claims to have figured out how to spin electromagnetic fields in order to contain a fusion reaction – an accomplishment that would lead to a tremendous change in power consumption and an abundance of energy.
According to his bio in a recently published paper on a new Plasma Compression Fusion Device, which could transform energy production, Dr. Pais is a mechanical and aerospace engineer working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), which is headquartered in Patuxent River, Maryland. Holding a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Pais was a NASA Research Fellow and worked with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. His current Department of Defense work involves his "advanced knowledge of theory, analysis, and modern experimental and computational methods in aerodynamics, along with an understanding of air-vehicle and missile design, especially in the domain of hypersonic power plant and vehicle design." He also has expert knowledge of electrooptics, emerging quantum technologies (laser power generation in particular), high-energy electromagnetic field generation, and the "breakthrough field of room temperature superconductivity, as related to advanced field propulsion."
Suffice it to say, with such a list of research credentials that would make Nikola Tesla proud, Dr. Pais seems well-positioned to carry out groundbreaking work.
A craft using an inertial mass reduction device.
Credit: Salvatore Pais
The patents won't necessarily lead to these technologies ever seeing the light of day. The research has its share of detractors and nonbelievers among other scientists, who think the amount of energy required for the fields described by Pais and his ideas on electromagnetic propulsions are well beyond the scope of current tech and are nearly impossible. Yet investigators at The War Zone found comments from Navy officials that indicate the inventions are being looked at seriously enough, and some tests are taking place.
If you'd like to read through Pais's patents yourself, check them out here.
Laser Augmented Turbojet Propulsion System
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
From "mutilated males" to "wandering wombs," dodgy science affects how we view the female body still today.
- The history of medicine and biology often has been embarrassingly wrong when it comes to female anatomy and was surprisingly resistant to progress.
- Aristotle and the ancient Greeks are much to blame for the mistaken notion of women as cold, passive, and little more than a "mutilated man."
- Thanks to this dubious science, and the likes of Sigmund Freud, we live today with a legacy that judges women according to antiquated biology and psychology.
The story of medicine has not been particularly kind to women. Not only was little anatomical or scientific research done on women or on women-specific issues, doctors often treated them differently.
Even today, women are up to ten times more likely to have their symptoms explained away as being psychological or psychosomatic than men. Worryingly, women are 50 percent more likely to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack, and drugs designed for "everyone" are actually much less effective (for pain) or too effective (for sleeping) in women.
Are these differences real or imagined? And what can the history of female medicine teach us about where we are today?
A mutilated male
Aristotle is rightly considered one of the greatest minds of all time and is recognized as the founding father of many disciplines, including biology. He was one of the most rigorous and comprehensive scientists and field researchers the world had known. He categorized a large number of species based on a wide range of traits, such as movement, longevity, and sensory capacity. His views on women, then, stemmed from what he thought of as good, proper study. The problem is that he got pretty much all of it wrong.
According to Aristotle, during pregnancy, it was the man who, alone, contributed the all-important "form" of a fetus (that is, its defining nature and personality), whereas the woman provided only the matter (that is, the environment and sustenance to grow the fetus, which was provided by the menstrual blood).
From this, Aristotle extrapolated all sorts of dubious conclusions. He ventured that the man was superior, active, and dominant, and the woman inferior, passive, and submissive. As such, the woman's role was to nurture children, run a household, and be silent and obedient — political and cultural manifestations of dodgy biology. If women did not provide a child's form and nature, how important could they really be?
Given this passivity, Aristotle argued that the woman must be associated with other passive things, like being cold and slow. The man, being dynamic and energetic, must be hot and fast. From this, Aristotle concluded that any defects or problems in childbirth can only be due to the sluggishness of the female womb. Even the positive biological aspects of being female, such as greater longevity, were put down to this cold rigidity — a lack of metabolism and spirit. Most notorious of all, since Aristotle believed that female children were themselves the result of an incomplete and underdeveloped gestation, women were simply "mutilated males" whose mothers' cold wombs had overpowered the warm, vital, male sperm.
Aristotle can still be counted as a great mind, but when it came to women, his ideas have not aged well in just how far they negatively influenced what came after. Given that his works were seen as the authority well into the 16th century, he left quite the pernicious legacy.
A wandering womb
But, how much can we really blame Aristotle? Without the aid of modern scientific equipment, physicians and biologists were left to guess about female anatomy. Unfortunately, the damage was done, and Aristotle's ideas of a troublesome uterus became so mainstream that they led to one of the more bizarre ideas in medical history: the wandering womb.
The "wandering womb" is the idea that the womb is actually some kind of roaming parasite in the body, possibly even a separate organism. According to this theory, after a woman menstruates, her womb becomes hot and dry and so becomes extra mobile. It is transformed into a voracious hunter. The womb will dart from organ to organ, seeking to steal its moisture and other vital fluids. This parasitic behavior caused all sorts of (female only) illnesses.
If a woman had asthma, the womb was leeching the lungs. Stomach aches, it was in the gut. And if it attacked the heart (which the ancients thought was the source of our thoughts), then it would cause all manner of mental health issues. In fact, the Greek word for womb is "hystera," and so when we call someone (often a woman) hysterical, we are saying that their womb is causing mischief.
The "solutions" or "remedies" for a wandering womb were as strange as the theory. Since the womb was supposed to be attracted to sweet smells, placing flowers or perfumes around the vagina would "lure" it down. On the flip side, if you smoked noxious substances or ate disgusting foods, it would "repel" the womb away. By using all manner of smells, you could make the womb move wherever you wanted.
The oddest "remedy" — and most male-centric of all — is that, since the wandering womb was said to be caused by heat and dryness, a good solution would be male semen, which was thought of as cooling and wet. And so, the ancient and highly inaccurate myth was born that sex could cure a woman of her "hysteria."
A lingering problem
We live today with the legacy of this kind of thinking. Freud was much taken with the idea of "hysteria," and although he did accept that men could be subject to it as well, he believed it was overwhelmingly a female problem caused by female biology. The woman, for Freud, is mostly defined by her "sexual function." What Freud calls "normal femininity" (the preferred and best outcome) is defined by passivity. A woman's ideal development is one which moves from being active and "phallic" to passive and vaginal.
Nowadays, Freud and Aristotle's legacy lies in just how easily women are defined by their sexuality. Given that men and women, both, are equally dependent on their biology, it is curious how much more often women are reduced to theirs. The idea that women are more emotional or slaves to their hormones than men is still a depressingly familiar trope. It is an idea that goes back to the Greeks.
If we think biology is important to who we are (as it most certainly is), we ought to make sure that the biology is as good and accurate as it can be.
People tend to reflexively assume that fun events – like vacations – will go by really quickly.
For many people, summer vacation can't come soon enough – especially for the half of Americans who canceled their summer plans last year due to the pandemic.
But when a vacation approaches, do you ever get the feeling that it's almost over before it starts?
If so, you're not alone.
In some recent studies Gabriela Tonietto, Sam Maglio, Eric VanEpps and I conducted, we found that about half of the people we surveyed indicated that their upcoming weekend trip felt like it would end as soon as it started.
This feeling can have a ripple effect. It can change the way trips are planned – you might, for example, be less likely to schedule extra activities. At the same time, you might be more likely to splurge on an expensive dinner because you want to make the best of the little time you think you have.
Where does this tendency come from? And can it be avoided?
Not all events are created equal
When people look forward to something, they usually want it to happen as soon as possible and last as long as possible.
We first explored the effect of this attitude in the context of Thanksgiving.
We chose Thanksgiving because almost everyone in the U.S. celebrates it, but not everyone looks forward to it. Some people love the annual family get-together. Others – whether it's the stress of cooking, the tedium of cleaning or the anxiety of dealing with family drama – dread it.
So on the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2019, we surveyed 510 people online and asked them to tell us whether they were looking forward to the holiday. Then we asked them how far away it seemed, and how long they felt it would last. We had them move a 100-point slider – 0 meaning very short and 100 meaning very long – to a location that reflected their feelings.
As we suspected, the more participants looked forward to their Thanksgiving festivities, the farther away it seemed and shorter it felt. Ironically, longing for something seems to shrink its duration in the mind's eye.
Winding the mind's clock
Most people believe the idiom “time flies when you're having fun," and research has, indeed, shown that when time seems to pass by quickly, people assume the task must have been engaging and enjoyable.
We reasoned that people might be over-applying their assumption about the relationship between time and fun when judging the duration of events yet to happen.
As a result, people tend to reflexively assume that fun events – like vacations – will go by really quickly. Meanwhile, pining for something can make the time leading up to the event seem to drag. The combination of its beginning pushed farther away in their minds – with its end pulled closer – resulted in our participants' anticipating that something they looked forward would feel as if it had almost no duration at all.
In another study, we asked participants to imagine going on a weekend trip that they either expected to be fun or terrible. We then asked them how far away the start and end of this trip felt like using a similar 0 to 100 scale. 46% of participants evaluated the positive weekend as feeling like it had no duration at all: They marked the beginning and the end of the vacation virtually at the same location when using the slider scale.
Thinking in hours and days
Our goal was to show how these two judgments of an event – the fact that it simultaneously seems farther away and is assumed to last for less time – can nearly eliminate the event's duration in the mind's eye.
We reasoned that if we didn't explicitly highlight these two separate pieces – and instead directly asked them about the duration of the event – a smaller portion of people would indicate virtually no duration for something they looked forward to.
We tested this theory in another study, in which we told participants that they would watch two five-minute-long videos back-to-back. We described the second video as either humorous or boring, and then asked them how long they thought each video would feel like it lasted.
We found that the participants predicted that the funny video would still feel shorter and was farther away than the boring one. But we also found that participants believed it would last a bit longer than the responses we received in the earlier studies.
This finding gives us a way to overcome this biased perception: focus on the actual duration. Because in this study, participants directly reported how long the funny video would last – and not the perceived distance of its beginning and its end – they were far less likely to assume it would be over just as it started.
While it sounds trivial and obvious, we often rely on our subjective feelings – not objective measures of time – when deciding how long a period of time will feel and how to best use it.
So when looking forward to much-anticipated events like vacations, it's important to remind yourself just how many days it will last.
You'll get more out of the experience – and, hopefully, put yourself in a better position to take advantage of the time you do have.