This ‘map’ is a pithy and quite pointed critique of the many maps that get shared on social media claiming to be based on big data, but they might be more fluff than true substance.
I was riding my bike during Labor Day weekend and chanced upon a yard sale with an old globe going for $4 (of course I bought it and rode home one-handed). There were some clues that it wasn’t a recent globe (The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia still existed and Burkina Faso was labeled Upper Volta and Zimbabwe was listed as Rhodesia). I knew that if I wanted to know what year this globe was produced, I would need this XKCD guide. XKCD is a comic strip that deals with many intellectual issues, but it can also be a wealth of quality scientific information. This infographic (hi-res) is amazingly useful if you are trying to find the map of an undated map, but the flow chart also is a wealth of global history and moments that ‘changed the map.’
I use this classic xkcd image every semester that I teach world regional geography. The explanation of this image is helpful if the students fail to understand the context or the point of this comic strip. The very idea of ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ is very much an idea that comes from ‘the west’ (Greek and Roman civilizations anciently, and a broadly European more recently). The Euro-centric view of the world from a single ‘starting point’ is one reason some geographers don’t like the term ‘Middle East,’ but prefer Southwest Asia and North Africa. The Middle East implies a European starting point as does the Far East.
There are many great cartographically-themed XKCD comic strips (here are a bunch of my favorites). This particular one ALMOST looks right and finding the inaccuracies is a little harder than you might think (yes, I am proud of myself for finding them all, and yes, that is the ridiculous bit of profession pride).
Questions to Ponder: When you see a map, do you assume that it is 100% accurate? If so, how come? Where you able to find the “missing states” in this psuedo-map?
I imagine most geographers have wanted to tinker with state or international borders to ‘fix them’ in one way or another…but if any ‘correction’ were to be made, whose criteria would be used? Which people in which regions would be upset by the changes? Historical inertia is a power force in maintaining the status quo. When France was preparing to consolidate it’s administrative regions, 68% recognized that consolidating regional administration would be more efficient but 77% didn’t want it to impact their own local region.
This infographic is a fascinating way to put into context the very recent trend of rising global temperatures. This is worth scrolling all the way through to make the ending all the more meaningful. Oh yeah, and August 2016 was the hottest month in recorded history…only 11 months of record-breaking temperatures.
“The depths below the ocean’s surface comprise a staggering 95 percent of the Earth’s living space, and much of it is unexplored by humans. To put into perspective just how deep the oceans go, this XKCD comic, (hi-res image). Most of the ocean doesn’t even see sunlight. Even scientists aren’t familiar with everything that’s down there.”
XKCD is a comic strip that deals with many intellectual issues, but it can also be a wealth of quality scientific information. This infographic on the oceans is staggering.