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 email@example.com.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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