Psychedelics are going mainstream. Here's your reading list.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into psychedelics companies right now.
- With loosening restrictions on clinical research, new therapeutic modalities are being investigated for anxiety, depression, and more.
- The psychedelic literature is rich with anecdotal accounts and clinical studies.
Huxley on Psychedelics<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="860039e99016c9c251594b7ad04606db"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I6xp0XxVvOk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1786495503?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Am I Dreaming? The New Science of Consciousness and How Altered States Reboot the Brain</a> — James Kingsland</h4><p>Science journalist James Kingland takes a broad view of altered states of consciousness, including lucid dreaming, virtual reality, hypnotic trances, and microdosing (and larger doses) with psychedelics. His journeys with ayahuasca, LSD, and psilocybin recount intense personal experiences and are worthwhile for anyone interested in the science behind these substances. In the end, Kingsland reminds us the real work of any trip is done in sobriety.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"In some ways the trip is the easy bit. The hard work starts when you try to integrate the lessons you have learned into ordinary life."</p><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015YMP9Z4?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs</a> — Richard J Miller</h4><p>Northwestern pharmacology professor Richard J Miller was exposed to the power of psychedelics while attending Woodstock. This "religious experience" inspired his career in pharmacology. He wanted to discover how substances can alter neurochemistry this profoundly. In "Drugged," Miller investigates a range of mind-changing substances, including coffee, opium, cannabis, and antidepressants. The chapters devoted to psychedelics provide a great overview of their clinical and spiritual applications. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The powerful effects of natural products such as <em>Amanita muscaria</em> or ergot suggest that they contain important chemical substances that, if isolated and understood from the structural point of view, might provide us with new insights into disease mechanisms or potential therapeutic opportunities for treating diseases." </p><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1585421669?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Hallucinogens: A Reader </a>— Edited by Charles Grob</h4><p>UCLA Medical Center professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, Charles Grob, was the first researcher approved to clinically study MDMA and ayahuasca in the '90s. His pioneering (and continued) work in these fields has pushed the field of psychedelic research forward. This 2002 collection features the writings of Ralph Metzner, Terence McKenna, Huston Smith, Rick Strassman, and an interview with Dr. Andrew Weil. The book closes with three exceptional essays by Grob on the psychology of ayahuasca, the politics of MDMA research, and psychiatric research with hallucinogens.</p><p>As Weil says of his experiences with psychedelics,</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It can give you a vision of possibility, but then it doesn't show you anything about maintaining that possibility. When the vision goes, the drug wears off, you are back where you were, you haven't learned anything but you have seen that something is possible. It is then up to you to figure out how to manifest the possibility. </p><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/0892819790?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers</a> — Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hoffman, and Christian Ratsch</h4><p><strong></strong>This 1998 encyclopedia of psychedelic plants and fungi is the bible of cosmonauts. Everything is covered: history, culture, pharmacology, therapeutic applications, regional distinctions, chemistry, maps, and tons of photos. This resource should be in any serious cosmonaut's library. While grounded in research and respectful of the cultures that practice plant medicine, the trio of experts also understand their broader context.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The psychic changes and unusual states of consciousness induced by hallucinogens are so far removed from similarity with ordinary life that it is scarcely possible to describe them in a language of daily living. A person under the effects of a hallucinogen forsakes his familiar world and operates under other standards, in strange dimensions and in a different time."</p>
American writer William Seward Burroughs (1914-1997), author of the cult novel "Naked Lunch."
Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images<h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1620556979?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocbyin, and Ayahuasca</a> — Dr. Richard Louis Miller</h4><p>Richard Louis Miller has been a clinical psychologist for over a half-century. He's also the host of a popular syndicated talk radio show, where he discusses health, mindfulness, and politics. This platform led him to explore psychedelics in a broad scientific and political context. </p><p>This book is a collection of interviews from his show, featuring David Nichols, Stanislav Grof, Charles Grob, Roland Griffiths, Amanda Feilding, and Dennis McKenna. They cover a range of issues, such as MDMA as a therapy for PTSD, the efficacy of the current psychiatric paradigm, and psilocybin in depression treatment. These invaluable conversations include this important insight from MAPS founder, Rick Doblin.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The fundamental problem with our drug policy is that it ascribes good and bad qualities to drugs themselves—"this is a good drug, that's a bad drug"—when really it's the relationship that you have with the drug that determines the value of it and whether it's harmful or helpful." </p><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002LCSVB0?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">The Doors of Perception</a> — Aldous Huxley</h4><p>Aldous Huxley's landmark 1954 book on mescaline remains fundamental to psychedelics advocates. Huxley wanted to experience mystic visions, a feat mescaline offered. Yet he never fell prey to the whims of useless metaphysics. This stunning essay details a political and spiritual thinker applying pragmatic as well as transcendental understandings of the psychedelic vision.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The other word to which mescalin admitted me was not the world of visions; it existed out there, in what I could see with my eyes open. The great change was in the realm of objective fact. What had happened to my subjective universe was relatively unimportant."</p><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1608682048?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness</a> — Alan Watts</h4><p>When you get the message, hang up the phone. That summates the British philosopher's take on psychedelics. While his lane was more meditation and philosophy than drugs—though he was known for enjoying a drink—Watts has plenty to offer on altered states. Watts applies a critical eye to the slacker looking to get off on drugs, yet also recognizes the essential need for connection to nature in an ever-speedy society—this book was published in 1962. That's the thing about reading Watts: it always catches up to you, wherever you happen to be, trademark humor and all.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It is not really healthy for monks to practice fasting, and it was hardly hygienic for Jesus to get himself crucified, but these are risks taken in the course of spiritual adventures." </p><h4><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/0872864480?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">The Yage Letters Redux</a> — William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg</h4><p>This correspondence between two of the Beat generation's top writers is a gem. Burroughs spent months traveling around South America looking for the legendary ayahuasca (yage), long before private planes shuffled Silicon Valley execs to glamping retreats. That meant purchasing bootleg ayahuasca and having colorful run-ins with locals. Many remember Burroughs as a junkie—he had his moments—but the writer also meticulously documented the pharmacology of his drugs. Kerouac owned the road, but Burroughs claimed the sky.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Yage is not like anything else. This is not the electric euphoria of coke which activates the channels of pure pleasure in the brain, the sexless, timeless, negative pleasure of opium. It is closer to hashish than to any other drug. There are also similarities between Peyote and yage. But while hashish intensifies all sensual impressions, yage distorts or shuts down ordinary sensations, transporting you to another level of experience."<br></p><p><br></p><p><em><em>W</em><em>hen you buy something through a link in this article or from <a href="https://shop.bigthink.com/" rel="dofollow" target="_self">our shop</a>, Big Think earns a small commission. Thank you for supporting our team's work.</em></em></p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Join the lauded author of Range in conversation with best-selling author and poker pro Maria Konnikova!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, Malcolm Gladwell was not able to make the live stream due to scheduling issues. Fortunately, David Epstein was able to jump in at a moment's notice. We hope you enjoy this great yet unexpected episode of Big Think Live. Our thanks to David and Maria for helping us deliver a show, it is much appreciated.
OpenStax reimagined textbooks and saved students $1 billion. Now is a moment to reimagine even more. How can education help students learn more, better, and faster?
- In 2012, I founded OpenStax as a then-radical solution to the Great Recession: Why not make college textbooks free for students? And why not make them open-licensed?
- Now we are faced with COVID-19, another crisis of enormous scale—and one that is once again underscoring the harsh inequities in our communities and accelerating the existing gap between the haves and the have-nots.
- Student engagement and open education are the next frontiers that innovators must address if we want education to live up to its promise as the great equalizer.
Digital versions of OpenStax textbooks.
Photo: Jemel Agulto, OpenStax
Image: Courtesy of OpenStax
Join New York Times best-selling author Maria Konnikova as she leads this special edition of Big Think Live.
Step inside the minds of two of the most exciting and dynamic writers of our times.
To get a sense of faraway places, these 'atlases' let the locals give you their perspective.
- Most atlases are terrible: nothing more than glorified road maps.
- These 'Subjective Atlases' offer bottom-up views of places, provided by people who actually live there.
- Each of the 12 atlases so far is unique, and surprising – but don't expect to drive by them.
Fuzzy and messy, but more life-like<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODQzNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDQwNzQzOX0.bdz8_STCZdGY9hYdqa5pDGqm4HXS9riIUBYIT5a3C3s/img.jpg?width=980" id="f638c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11e57a971655bc4ee31d6b43a65b03e4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt=""Subjective Atlas of the Netherlands" cover" />
The cover of the Subjective Atlas of the Netherlands, a composite of maps drawn from memory.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>As a map-lover, this is not easy for me to admit, but: most atlases are terrible. Glorified road maps that could have been made by satellites with slightly varying interests. What if an atlas really – <em>really</em> – tried to reflect the place it depicts? Then perhaps you'd end up with something like this series of books. </p><p>Called "Subjective Atlases," they don't present a top-down picture, like most atlases do, but a bottom-up one: a mosaic made by people who actually live there, each offering an individual, original, and genuine take on what that's like. What you get is a fuzzy, messy portrait that somehow feels more life-like than any neat collection of straight-lined maps could.</p><p>The series is edited by Dutch graphic designer Annelys de Vet, who published the first "Subjective Atlas" in 2003, and has since collaborated and workshopped with artists, designers, and other interested citizens of 12 locations around the world. Each atlas is a unique blend of perspectives, expressed in maps and photos, graphs, and collages. The latest atlas, on Luxembourg, was launched in October of last year.</p><p>Yes, we need road maps. And okay, some atlases are real pretty to look at. But their subjective cousins are a much better way to get a sense of the people who live in these places far and near – all more exotic than we thought. Here's a small sample of the variety of perspectives offered in the Atlases. For more, go to the <a href="http://subjectiveatlas.info/" target="_blank" style="">Subjective Atlas</a> page. </p>
UFO sightings in the EU<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODQ0OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNDAyNDY0MH0.csRDD3PiWE5mkfxFaKSy2RY7yZkaaZ1-1cCw9LvsZXA/img.png?width=980" id="b9539" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4234324d497f13639cc1babb54a9d017" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Map of UFO sightings in the EU, as reported by Larry Hatch" />
France reported nearly double as many UFO sightings as the UK and Ireland combined.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>Are aliens really that different from other foreign visitors to Europe? Not really, as shown by this map of UFO sightings across the EU (after the accession of Poland, but before Romania, so 2004-2007).</p><p><span></span>Like most other tourists, E.T. just loves France (2,247 sightings), really likes the UK and Ireland (1,192), but is not super into Italy (530). Spain? Meh (351). Germany – double meh (111). </p><p><span></span>That's (western) Europe's Big Five accounted for, but what about the smaller countries? Belgium is the clear favorite (205), followed by Sweden (153), Portugal (122), and Denmark (110). Surprisingly unpopular is Austria (37) and the Netherlands (22). And Luxembourg (0), you must be doing something wrong. </p><p><span></span>UFO sightings are noticeably rarer in eastern Europe: single-digit results in the Baltics, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, and nowhere more than Poland's anemic 47 sightings.</p><p><span></span>How come? The "Subjective Atlas of the EU" notes that the stats, provided by UFO investigator Larry Hatch, do not simply reflect sightings. Other factors are at play as well, in particular "the freedom of information, and the willingness of people to act on those freedoms."</p><p>Notable factors:</p><ul><li>Political: Soviet-era reticence made it nearly impossible to get good data from eastern Europe (Side note: There is no info on the period for which these figures apply).</li><li>Social: In some countries, the stigma attached to reporting something as 'crazy' as a UFO sighting is prohibitive. Germany, we're all looking at you.</li><li>Infrastructural: Some poorer countries may lack the means to report sightings.</li><li>Awareness: France and the UK in particular have (or had) active UFO researchers. Other countries lack similar degrees of awareness. </li></ul>
All dressed up, nowhere to go<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODQ1OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjA4MTA2Nn0.wzO2syzv-S92DW9eKCUjCil2GIkLNAP7sADMXI2U3ZI/img.png?width=980" id="5e008" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3db4cbf535d5e5d0a44b8790ca848177" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="A map of the obstructions and obstacles imposed on Ramallah by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank." />
You can't drive anywhere from Ramallah's city center without hitting an obstacle within 25 minutes.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>Located 10 km north of Jerusalem, Ramallah serves as the <em>de facto</em> capital of Palestine. In a slightly parallel universe, its location and function would make it an attractive destination and a desirable place of residence. In ours, however, Ramallah's potential is sapped by the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. </p><p><span></span>Although Ramallah itself is located in the Palestinian self-governing area (so-called Area A), the city is surrounded by Israeli settlements and hemmed in by Israel's Security Wall. That can give city residents more than a touch of claustrophobia. As shown by this map. </p><ul><li>Drive 25 minutes north, and you're at Surda. Beyond that Palestinian village, you've reached an Israeli checkpoint. Go back to start. </li><li>Drive west, then. After 20 minutes, you hit a couple of villages with their backs against the wall. Literally. Another road branches off north, but it's a dead end.</li><li>South? Two options: southwest, either to a dead-end road, or an Israeli jail. Take the southeast option, and 20 minutes later, a familiar tableau – some villages, then the wall. </li><li>Okay, let's try east. Option one: a 10-minute drive, then an Israeli military base. Option two: a 15-minute drive, then the wall.</li></ul><p>If you get all dressed up in Ramallah, there'd better be something happening downtown. Because there's nowhere else to go.<br></p>
Boot scrapes of Luxembourg City<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODQ2Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTQyNTc5NX0.gbXb7Apj19FI5R0WD1qxdFww2iLSaIogCluteheygVw/img.jpg?width=980" id="1d816" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4cae177ee53b36c136e96c40f7252fb8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Various boot scrapes in Luxembourg City." />
Boot scrape envy leads to an interesting anecdote about horse manure.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>The "Subjective Atlas of Luxembourg" (the country) features two pages filled with photographs of mysterious objects found on the streets of Luxembourg (the capital city). Dean Baldwin, who took the pictures, explains: </p><p>"Living in Montreal, which receives more than two metres of annual snowfall, we are constantly dealing with the crud of the streets that we transfer from our exterior to interior spaces. In our homes we remove footwear as we enter, but in public places like the theatre we must all deal with the snow and slush frozen from our feet as it thaws. Seeing these boot scrapes in Luxembourg made me envy them."</p><p>"Relaying my appreciation for these architectural protrusions, an actress recounted the story of how the phrase <em>Bonne Merde</em> ('good shit') is used in the theatre. I had always understood it to be an inverse of <em>Good Luck</em>, like the counter-jinx <em>break-a-leg</em>, used to wish the opposite of a bad thing happening." </p><p>"But in the 19th century, when horse-drawn carriages were common, so too was horse shit in the streets. More carriages in front of the theatre meant more shit would come into the building on audience members' shoes. After the show, with the crowd dispersed, all that remained was the shit. More shit meant a popular show, thus the goodwill expression: <em>Bonne Merde</em>!"</p>
Bird-watching in Brussels<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODQ5Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNjkzODMyOX0.qQvLQXUhIXeIS3hN160KZnTGFsuh-J6Atq-ZgJbCB-k/img.jpg?width=980" id="0eb21" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2a6366113c563da4b117404a14ee524a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bTo each their own: an overview of the favorite locations of some bird species in the \u00c9tangs d'Ixelles." />
To each their own: an overview of the favorite locations of some bird species in the Étangs d'Ixelles.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>Birds of a feather flock together. That's why we have Chinatowns and Little Italies, rich and poor neighborhoods, hipster zones and religious enclaves. The principle also works for birds themselves, as observed at the <em>Étangs d'Ixelles</em>, two lakes in the south of Brussels, on the northern edge of the Bois de la Cambre (the local version of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris). <br></p><p>The map shows the lower of the two, and the preferred perches of some of the species that frequent the area, as observed by a local resident:</p><ol><li>Top left: the Egyptian goose (<em>Alopochen aegyptica</em>)</li><li>Top right: the goose (<em>Anser fabalis</em>)</li><li>Middle left: the swan (<em>Cygnus olor</em>)</li><li>Middle right: the mallard (<em>Anas platyrhynchos</em>)</li><li>Bottom: the coot (<em>Fulica atra</em>)</li></ol>
Elsewhere, Colombia<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODQ3Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDc2NzMzN30.dJxqJLKM-WgXjkSeKjCJC-1rW1Va44ntvL-yjj8kF9o/img.jpg?width=980" id="0270b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7afd91c02f04a5f624cf67bdf79b41ee" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bNames of residential buildings in the north of Baranquilla, Colombia." />
Names of residential buildings in the north of Baranquilla.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>Location, as any real estate honcho will tell you, is everything. But what is 'location'? It's both inescapably objective, in a ground-beneath-your-feet kind of way, and as fluid and malleable as the fanciest flights of our imagination. Your feet may be stomping in the sticks, but with some helpful atmospherics – a nice memory, a good wine, the right song – you might as well be sauntering down the Champs Élysées. </p><p><span></span>This transporting effect is well known to city planners and – again – real estate people, and often used to amplify the appeal of the locations in their care. Hence the frequent references in street names to faraway, glamorous locations. Glamorous <em>because</em> they're faraway, to be precise, as even the most renowned cities and countries often lose somewhat of their exotic appeal upon closer inspection. </p><p>The developers of Baranquilla are also quite familiar with the effect, as this sample will attest. These are the names of some of the residential buildings in the north of the city. Their inherent appeal is further spiced up with references to places whose names resonate with cosmopolitanism and class – at least from the perspective of a Caribbean port city.</p><ul><li>North American cities like Toronto, Montreal, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Malibu.</li><li>European emblems of refinement like Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, and Denmark (<em>Dinamarca</em>).</li><li>Destinations for an exotic beach holiday, such as Bahamas, Ibiza, Mallorca, Santorini, Mykonos, and Palm Beach.</li><li>And locations referencing historical ties to the Iberian Peninsula, including Lisboa, Cadiz, Sevilla, Galicia, and Bilbao. </li></ul><p>The odd one out: Lulu (first column, second from the bottom). Isn't that a person's (nick)name rather than a place name? It is, upon further reading, in fact both: There are places called Lulu in Florida, Colorado, and Missouri. It's a bay and a town on the Caribbean island of Navassa. An island in British Columbia – and another one in Abu Dhabi. And it's the nickname of the German town of <em>Ludwigslust</em>. </p><p>Imagining locations can take you to strange places. Although perhaps not necessarily to Baranquilla. It would surprise us greatly if any of the cities or countries mentioned above had a street, a square or even a block of flats named after Colombia's fourth-largest city. <br></p>
Bike-stealing in Amsterdam<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODUxMS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1ODEzODIwM30.5pceWqXkmucKiA0L8m0WuFFxwOceclqw466VJAxgGO0/img.png?width=980" id="7443d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6dbb4b4f0c247fcdf379b64c5e40f792" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Map of bike-stealing hotspots in Amsterdam" />
Worst places in Amsterdam to park your bike (or best places to steal one?)
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>The Dutch sure love to cycle. The Netherlands has more bicycles (23 million) than people (17.5 million). Together, they cycle about 15 billion km (9.3 billion miles) each year – that's an average of 888 km (552 miles) per capita. Sure, there are plenty of good things to say about cycling. It's a healthy alternative to driving. It's better for the environment. It reduces congestion. And you generally don't have a problem finding a parking spot. </p><p><span></span>But there's a dark side to that cycling goodness; a yang to all that yin. Because the Dutch also love to <em>steal</em> bicycles. Bike theft is the most prevalent form of property crime in the Netherlands. An average of 1,500 bicycles are stolen each day, adding up to more than half a million each year. </p><p><span></span>Amsterdam is a hotspot of bicycle crime in the Netherlands and, according to this map, these are the bike theft hotspots in Amsterdam. Darker colors denote higher risk. Darkest red is the area around the Centraal Station. Also, you don't want to leave you bike near Nieuwe Voorburgwal or at Muntplein. Leidseplein and Waterlooplein are risky propositions too. The safest areas, although surely that's a relative concept, are Jordaan, Pijp and Plantage. </p><p>Based on a survey of bike crime victims, the map also indicates – using colored bicycles – how the victims felt when they noticed their steel horses had bolted: "anger", "irritation", "resignation", "despair", "vengefulness". <br></p>
From fishing village to world city<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzMyODUyMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNjM5MTAyMH0.xK6nTmKela1ArK3mxznpZw33ZDeYqK6N_riD9bkMix0/img.jpg?width=980" id="87fa3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="af4aac0e59aa7aa8ceafa9a1edfca504" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bColor-coded overview of the origins of Old Karachi's street names." />
Color-coded overview of the origins of Old Karachi's street names.
Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.<p>In the early 1700s, a woman named Mai Kolachi settles near the delta of the Indus River to raise her family, and a small fishing village named after her springs up around her house. Another story recounts that Mai Kolachi's fisher husband is lost at sea in a heavy storm. Against the advice of the villagers and without their help, she sets out to find him – and she does. In her honour, the village is given her name. In another version, six of Mai Kolachi's seven sons get eaten by a crocodile; the seventh kills the creature, after which the grateful locals rename their village after her. </p><p><span></span>Whatever the origin, <em>Kolachi</em> becomes <em>Karachi</em>, and the humble village turns into Pakistan's biggest city. With 15 million inhabitants, it's the seventh-biggest city in the entire world. It was the British who transformed the village into a fort, then a port, then a railway hub. But they were just one of the many ingredients that turned Karachi into a major trading, financial and manufacturing center. That happened thanks to a truly cosmopolitan mix of talents, contributed by Muslims and Hindus, Jews and Parsis, and many others. </p><p>Today, Karachi's port handles almost all of Pakistan's foreign trade. The city alone generates around 20% of the country's entire GDP. However, cosmopolitanism has suffered following the Indian subcontinent's Partition along religious lines in 1947. As the caption for this map explains, "the country acquired a monolithic Islamic identity. Many prominent streets and roads were renamed to commemorate national personalities or evoke a romanticised Muslim heritage or in some cases to de-commemorate, e.g. Motilal Nehru Road (the father of India's post-Partition leader, Nehru) which was renamed Jigar Muradabadi Road after a national poet."</p><p>However, many old names survive. The street signs in the old city reflect its origins, with names indicating a link with Karachi's diverse heritage:</p><ul><li>British (light blue), e.g.: Montgomery Street, Love Lane, Robson Road.</li><li>Christian (dark blue), e.g.: Nazareth Road, St Mary Street, Father Giminez Street.</li><li>Hindu (brown), e.g.: Ramchandra Temple Road, Hanuman Street, Ram Bharti Street.</li><li>Jewish (purple), e.g.: Moses ibn Ezra Street, Solomon David Street, Ashkenazi Street. </li><li>Muslim (green), e.g.: Akbar Road, Majid Road, Aga Khan Street.</li><li>Parsi (grey), e.g.: Jehangi Punthakey Road, Mama Parsi Road, Jamshed Mehta Road.</li></ul>"Is it because these areas are 'below the radar'? Does it indicate an acceptance and assimilation of the city's true history?"<p><br></p><p><em>Images reproduced with kind permission. For more, visit the <a href="http://subjectiveatlas.info/" target="_blank">Subjective Atlas</a> page.</em></p><p><strong>Strange Maps #1031</strong></p><p><em>Got a strange map? Let me know at </em><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a><em>.</em></p>