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The True Size of Africa

Africa is a massive continent. But for whatever reason, map makers make it appear smaller than its “true true” size. As Polish-American scientist Alfred Korzybski reminds us, “the map is not the territory.” Lines are ultimately arbitrary.

Map design is deceptive. But computer-graphics designer Ka Kraise took it upon himself to ‘fight against rampant immappancy,’ in particular the popular Mercator projection originated by Gerardus Mercator in 1569 which tends to exaggerate the size of continents and countries more than others. Greenland, for instance, is 14 times larger than Africa.

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As you can see above, Kraise illustrates the reality of Africa’s size, that which is “larger than the USA, China, Japan, and all of Europe, combined!” The Economist revisualized Kraise’s map as well.

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Kudos to Kraise for illuminating our ignorance about geographical knowledge, pointing the finger at Western and Asian students who tend to inflate the size of their countries when in actuality Africa makes everyone else look so small.

Read more in The Economist: ‘The true true size of Africa’

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Clash of civilizations

America and Western Europe have stagnated while China dives into its newfound riches.

Ethnic nationalism is on the rise while the liberal globalist elite does nothing to stem the tide, too occupied in complaining about the ‘deplorables’ on their devices while ordering more wine from Amazon and posting selfies on Instagram.

The myth that no two countries with McDonald’s refuse to fight each other appears to be just that. Realism is back, manifesting itself through the whims of protectionism.

Are we doomed to conflict?

Not necessarily. It is in these moments that pessimism and inventiveness coexist.

Wrote British historian Thomas Babington Macauley in 1830:

“We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason . . . On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”

We can get out of this rut. Doom and gloom is the end all for worrying times. Tribalism can be cured, as can the negative aspects of nationalism.

There is a good side to bad problems that expose a weakness in the international order. But instead of whining in our own filter bubbles, we can use the moment to cushion against discontent.

Nikola Tesla: ‘If hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world’

via giphy

“If hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world”

— Nikola Tesla, My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

Quote image of Nikola Tesla

We shape Earth. It shapes us.

26167560_942735665901482_315657857674587099_nWe shape the Earth, and it shapes us.

For all the pieces interact, transforming into a cohesive thought.

The trees grow in cities, the oceans meet at the cape.

All the pieces interact, enveloped by the space inside.

The weather is fickle, cyclical, everything too much for a remix, itching for evolution.

To get closer to the texture of stimuli, gentle in our convictions, cushioned from other things.

In nature’s ludicrous rhythm, we trust.

Oumou Sangaré – Yere Faga (Natureboy Flako Remix)

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Image courtesy the artist

Flako is Dario Rojo Guerra, a Berlin-based producer known for his helter-skelter beats. I first discovered him in 2010 with his jaw-dropping Pharcyde sample on the track ‘Love.’

He’s since expanded his sound beyond hip-hop to include more live instruments and global soundscapes, paying tribute to his German-Chilean heritage. Now releasing music under his rebranded name Natureboy, Flako has done some reworks most notably with Malian Wassoulou Oumou Sangaré’s track ‘Yere Faga.’ A worthy listen.

Arvo Pärt – Silouans Song

Image courtesy of Kaupo Kikkas

Arvo Pärt is Estonian composer of classical and religious music, known for creating his own minimalist style of “little bell” sounds which he calls Tintinnabuli. Here’s how he describes it:

“Tintinnabulation is an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers – in my life, my music, my work. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning. The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find my way to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises – and everything that is unimportant falls away. Tintinnabulation is like this. . . . The three notes of a triad are like bells. And that is why I call it tintinnabulation.”

His track ‘Silouans Song’ is a spiritual tune that came out in 2006 but I just heard it in a Benji B radio show co-hosted with Joy Orbison, so it’s fresh to me.

According to his Wikipedia page, Pärt has also been one of the most-performed living composers for the last five years. Bjork is also a huge fan!

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Postponement…

The foundation pen: it slows down your writing thereby strengthening the complexity/simplicity of your thoughts. At some point the prose will need to be digitized.

Global warming: it accelerates the seasons so the weather is fickle all the time. We are living in the data without imminent catastrophe, hence the lack of urgency.

Nationalism: its rerise imbalances world order, making countries ripe to engage in games of zero-sum. An empire falls.

We sacrifice the long-game for short-term gains. The little things add up until they trigger an emergency. Yet, the alarm was on the whole time.

Reverting to inclination

‘America first’ breeds an architecture of fear. It compels other nations to cling onto their own nationalist tendencies in pursuit of their own primacy.

The internet flattened world only temporarily before mobile phones made people screen-obsessed and non-interactive, further pigeonholing them into online groups that merely reconfirmed their biased beliefs.

As conformity increased in the long tail, broader differences compounded. Today’s mob has repopularized coercion out of short term gains. What comes naturally puts a dent into the artificiality of freedom.

If America gives up doing the good work, others will fall like dominoes. Bad design is easy to replicate.

Clap! Clap! – Hope (feat. OY)

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Image courtesy the artist

Italy’s Clap! Clap! (aka Cristiano Crisci) continues his genre-smashing success on his new album  A Thousand Skies, out now on Black Acre. Once again, he takes us on a sonic journey, wanting us to imagine a “young girl’s journey through the stars.”

The track ‘Hope’ sees Crisci blend together his worldly beats and dance grooves into the vocals of the OY duo. With two experimental and vibrant albums under his name, this producer makes it known of his endless “search of new flavors.”

Crisci constructs a soundtrack to his life. We’re just fortunate enough to ride along with him.

Grab the album

It’s a Small World After All

The world is not only flat, it’s small. The chances of two people being linked to a mutual friend or colleague is more probable than ever given the social graph.

The chances of bumping into someone you know or ‘know of’ is equally feasible. Yesterday, someone I work with but never met posted a snap to Snapchat in Venice Beach. I was nearby. If I wanted to I could’ve DMed her and introduced myself. I also saw a Facebook post from the goalie for Arsenal who was riding bikes in Venice. I probably could have chased him down and got his autograph.

Mobile first social networks narrow down proximity. People you know or want to know are discoverable. They are broadcasting their whereabouts in hope that you’re listening. Technology and social make the world a tiny place.

A love letter to Twitter

Twitter’s Creative Director Doug Bowman sums up his love for the platform before exiting:

I love how people can gain a new voice with Twitter. It has given me a louder and farther-reaching voice than I ever thought possible. And while I can only physically be in one place at one time, I love how Twitter distributes my awareness of what’s going on nearby or far away. At any moment, I can instantly know what’s going on in the next room, in the next town, or in a country halfway around the world.

Twitter is the microphone for the global machine.

There’s never been a better time to work in advertising

Technology has created a space that, ironically, has made us more human. Online we see more, know more, have more friends, like more things and know more about what’s going on in more places around the world.

Technology has meant that the truth is readily available to anyone who might care to find it. So the flim-flam that we used to peddle to people in the name of marketing doesn’t stand up any more. People can easily get to the real story about a brand or product with two clicks of a mouse.

Even if you read a lot a decade ago, the only way to really learn about another place or person was to travel or meet them face to face. Now you can gather a lot of information about a place and person through the Internet, seeing pictures, conversing with locals, and watching events on YouTube, Instagram as they just happen.

The world is interconnected. We’re all living in each other’s shoes. Every problem is potentially a global one.