from the world's big
What an Independent Catalonia Would Do to the Map of Spain
Nothing says "late great nation" like a new map of your country with its territory reduced
This is what the map of the Iberian peninsula may look like if Spain's semi-autonomous region of Catalonia (Catalunya) were to become independent. The peninsula is shared by three instead of two countries. The Pyrenees (1) no longer neatly double as Spain's natural northern border.
That third country, taking up the northeastern part of the peninsula, is Catalonia. Despite objections and obstructions by the Spanish government (and perhaps partly because of it), That autonomous region held an independence referendum on October 1st, almost 92% of the votes went to the "Yes" camp.
In a rare direct intervention, the Spanish king Felipe VI strongly denounced the move towards Catalan independence as disloyal to the unity of the Spanish state and an affront to the Spanish government. The Spanish senate also approved direct Spanish rule over the region. The move effectively prevented any consideration of an official constitutional court to adjudicate the matter.
Undaunted, Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont said, from his government headquarters in Barcelona, the ratified results of the referendum would be used to effectively declare independence "at the end of this week or the beginning of next". Francisco Franco, a military general who ruled over Spain and actively oppressed Catalan culture, still lives in the minds of Catalans. Catalonia's executive government, headquartered in Barcelona, is known as the "generalitat"— a Catalan world. Its parliament is also located in Barcelona.
For its part, Spain's central government in Madrid has threatened to revoke Catalonia's current autonomous status if the separatists in Barcelona continue with their 'conscious decoupling'. Catalonia has called on the EU to mediate via its Brussels headquarters. That would be a de facto recognition of Catalonia's separate status on the global stage. For precisely that reason, the EU is unlikely to get involved, leaving the Catalan parliament and the Spanish government to face off. For its part, the United States has publicly sided with the central Spanish government.
So are Madrid and Barcelona headed for a Yugoslav scenario? Perhaps, but then the question is which one. The disintegration of Yugoslavia is remembered mostly through the prism of the horrible, protracted Bosnian war, but the first country to skip the club was Slovenia, the northernmost, wealthiest and ethnically most homogenous of the Yugoslav republics. It did so in the Ten-Days War of 1991, which claimed the lives of less than 70 combatants.
Bloody or not, if Catalonia gets its independence and direct rule, it will be the most dramatic change in Spain's cartographic persona since the completion of the Reconquista in 1492 (2). After the defeat and absorption of Granada, the last Muslim kingdom on the peninsula, and with both the independence of Portugal and the northern natural border firmly established, the idea of Spain has become synonymous with its current geographic extension. A Catalan republic would have historical and global implications.
From a Spanish point of view, the new map is depressing. Nothing says “late great nation” like a new map of your country with its former territory reduced. Just imagine a map of the U.S. from which Texas and/or California (and/or Vermont) has vanished. This cartographic slight to Spanish pride may at least partially explain Madrid's frankly counterproductive inflexibility towards recent Catalan manoeuvres.
The Catalan perspective, of course, is the diametrical opposite. Catalonia is the wealthiest region in Spain (in 2014 GDP, even edging out Madrid, and way ahead of all other regions). Its economy on its own is greater than than of each country marked red on this map. The region also suffered under the rule of military general Francisco Franco, who privileged Spanish heritage over Catalan culture, forbidding the Catalan language from being taught in public schools.
Larger not just than that of all those micronations (those red dots) or tiny Iceland and nearby Portugal, but also of virtually all countries in Eastern Europe – from the Baltics all the way down to Greece, with the inclusion of countries with much larger populations and resources, such as Romania and Ukraine. Poland, which has 38 million inhabitants to Catalonia's 7.5 million, is the only exception.
Will Catalan independence be a success story? Which Catalan leader would carry the region to independence? Its economy will probably have to stomach a setback, as trade will suffer under Spanish anger and European uncertainty on what to do with the first successful separatist movement within the EU. Similar economic concerns prevented Scotland from achieving independence from the EU in its latest referendum for direct rule.
But there's a large internal problem too with Catalonia's independence movement. The result of the recent referendum may have been overwhelmingly pro independence, that's because the turnout was relatively low, at just 42%. The actual divide is much closer to fifty-fifty: a July poll put the "Yes" camp at 41% and the "No" camp at 49%.
This map is an interesting, although imperfect, gauge of the relative strength of Catalan national feeling. It shows the percentage of Catalan speakers in each of Catalonia's regions, and that paints a more fragmented picture than the overwhelming majority of the referendum. The independence movement is passionate but not exactly united, at least not geographically.
The share of Catalan speakers in Catalonia is lowest in Metropolita, the region which includes the capital Barcelona: here, just over a quarter of the inhabitants speak Catalan. The highest share, almost three quarter, is achieved in the southern Terres de l'Ebre region. The two regions in between both have scores in the mid-30s. The Comarques Gironnes, between Barcelona and France, manage just over 50%. The three inland regions have more comfortable majorities, of just over 60%.
Strange Maps #861
All maps from @OnlMaps. To see three thousand years of Spanish (and Portuguese) borders evolve and change in just 3:55, click here. Even when independent, Catalonia will never be able to get rid of Spain: see #793.
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Greek myths say the mountain chain was named after Pyrene, daughter of Bebrix, a Gallic king visited by Hercules. The Greek hero got drunk and raped Pyrene, who later gave birth to a snake. Afraid of her father's anger, she ran into the woods, shouting out her story to the trees. This attracted the attention of wild animals, who tore her to pieces. Sober again, Hercules finds her remains and laments his crime, burying Pyrene. When he shouts out her name, the mountaintops echo it back to him. The land has remembered her name ever since.
(2) The two main exceptions: when Spain and Portugal were united (1580-1640) and Catalonia was annexed by France (1812-14). Minor ones include the British annexations of Menorca (twice, but impermanent) and Gibraltar (ongoing).
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.