Use This World Map to Zap Between Thousands of Radio Stations
A strangely reassuring global directory of close to 8,000 radio stations
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.
King of the world? You don't need to be DiCaprio at the bow of a doomed ocean liner to feel you have the entire globe at your fingertips. Try Radio Garden, an interactive world map of radio stations, and whoosh between continents faster than Santa can race from chimney to chimney.
Radio Garden is an Earth-spanning aural teleportation tool, a reminder that the richness and diversity of the world consists of sounds as well as sights. The world map itself is your radio dial. Thousands of dots are sprinkled across the map. The smallest dots are one-radio-towns, bigger dots represent cities with several stations.
What's the music in Munich?
Move your pointer to any dot on the map, and you are instantly transported to distant soundscapes. Here is Radio Tonga, out of Nuku'alofa, broadcasting sunny hiva songs from the South Seas. There is Radio P4, based in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland, indulging in a bit of Eighties nostalgia – they're playing ABC's The Look of Love.
As you move the pointer between stations, the music fades to the hypnotic crackling of radio static. Tunis is a big dot; the capital of Tunisia is represented by no less than ten stations. Radio Jawhara FM is doing a talk show, Radio Babnet is playing a languid Arab pop song, all swooning strings supporting a plaintive female contralto.
Eight stations bloom in Dubai's Radio Garden.
NammRadio in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru opens with a snippet of Mozart, which then turns into an Indian rock/pop song, a duet sung half in English, and – wait, is that Alle Menschen werden Brüder, in German? Followed by a flamenco guitar solo?
Tune in and out as you travel the globe, and you come across Chinese talk radio, classical music from Korea, Filipino ska, French pop transmitting from New Caledonia, halfway between Australia and Fiji. And news, weather reports and jingles in dozens of languages, across the world's almost 40 time zones.
French radio live from the Pacific.
The live broadcasts are enough to keep you transfixed, but there is more: a small archive of historical broadcasts – Radio Moscow announcing the first woman in space in 1963; Radio Arthur, transmitting trade union leader Arthur Scargill's message to striking miners in Nottingham in 1984, and others. Plus a collection of jingles and stories from around the world.
Radio Garden is more than a global directory of radio stations. In times like these, where we seem to be witnessing the reversal of decades of globalisation, it is strangely reassuring to listen in to the rest of the world, and hear a unity of purpose across the diversity of cultures. Around the world, radio is an antidote to silence and isolation, and a reminder that you can never go wrong with inane talk, brash ads and vapid pop.
Oh, the strange places you can go: Sakhalin, a Russian island just north of Japan.
Map suggested by M. Wetzels and O. Jones. Radio Garden website here.
Strange Maps #815
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.