Current Weather
The Spy FM

A Most Delightful Map

Share this article and spread the love.
Join the conversation! Post a comment on this article.

A Most Delightful Map

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
September 13, 2013

Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.

It pictures the Earth during the late Paleozoic, when all land was clumped into one contiguous mass called the supercontinent Pangea — but in this version they’ve plopped a modern political details on top, so click the “enlarge” button, and fantasize with me. Start by finding the United Sates. Then locate New York and you’ll see, back then, smooshed up against Long Island was … Morocco!

I love this map. I found myself taking imaginary walks that made me giggle.

Who wouldn’t want to wait for a traffic light in Perth, Australia, cross the street, and suddenly be in Bangladesh? (Yes, you’d have to imagine the traffic light, the street, the people and the wild change in clothes, but the goof is, there’d literally be a spot where the two places met and you could step across it.)

Or: I’m seeing myself on the edge of Mozambique with a beach towel, (today I guess it would be a beach), and I get up, walk a few paces and instead of being in the Indian Ocean — I’m in Antarctica! I know, I know, I wouldn’t meet a penguin, not back then, but I’d know that one day there’d be penguins there, so every hike would be a weird cosmic joke. That’s my kind of hike.

Another fantasy: I’m sitting in Cape Town, South Africa, staring at Argentina just up the block, and watching a trickle of water suddenly appear at the corner. Over the years it widens and widens and widens until it becomes the Atlantic Ocean, and I’m thinking “There goes the neighborhood.”

This map has sad and happy surprises. Saddest is Iran. Poor Iran. Back in the day, that country was in three different places, thousands of miles apart. Sort of like Humpty Dumpty. One slice sat along the Persian Gulf. But the capital Tehran, was nowhere near. You’ll find it in the upper right, way, way, north, next to an ancient and no-longer-existing ocean. Iran took millions of years to pull itself together.

But the happy surprise is Florida. Today it’s an isolated peninsula, sticking out of the ocean, just above sea level. But back in the Paleozoic, it was the place to be, if you liked company. You’ll find it right in the center of this next little map, in green, right next to Conakry, Guinea, where Cuba and Puerto Rico are clumping close, Brazil is a stone’s throw south and Sierra Leone a few miles east, so if you run in a big circle, you can play tag with three future continents and a bunch of Caribbean islands on the same day. This is what a good map can do — it can entertain. Who needs Disney World when you can do this? [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

Listen Live Now!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center