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Accidental cartographers
November 24, 2009 1:25 PM   Subscribe

“Some squirrel nibbled the continent of South America on one of my pumpkins. It’s freaking me out.” A collection of accidental geographies. The phenomenon is known as "cartocacoethes," and may explain why some old maps are not maps at all. via StrangeMaps

Strange Maps is all over the place:
Here
Here
Here
but squirrel cartographers working in pumpkins seems... well... seasonal?
posted by cubby (29 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
True fact: In any basket of tortilla chips, there will be at least one shaped like California.

I know you don't believe me now, but you will next time there's a basket of tortilla chips in front of you.

I'm going to say, "Ooh, a cartocacoethes" next time I notice this, if someone tells me how to pronounce it.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:36 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the 6 blogs I check regularly.
Hadn't checked Strange Maps in a few weeks.
Checked it today. Loved it.
Now I see it here.
Thanks.
posted by Seamus at 1:37 PM on November 24, 2009


I'm surprised there aren't more Floridas.
posted by stavrogin at 1:42 PM on November 24, 2009


We have a flagstone shaped like Iraq. We call it "the Irock".
posted by dhartung at 1:51 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoa, that is really interesting. Apparently the second bit is pronounced like " kæ-ko-ee-theez" which sounded like "ka ko ee thees" to me from the audio but I don't know anything about pronunciation guides so that may or may not be helpful to you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:54 PM on November 24, 2009


dhartung: "We have a flagstone shaped like Iraq. We call it "the Irock"."

Which would mean you're saying it like the country's name is actually pronounced.
posted by jckll at 1:55 PM on November 24, 2009


I have a desk calendar uncannily shaped like Wyoming. It is starting to freak me out.





What?
posted by marxchivist at 1:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Given the number of countries/state/geographical entities that exist in the world, any shape which fulfills some basic parameters (like contiguity, no internal voids, reasonable length to width ratio) has a good chance of "resembling" something. Paradolia just shows how great we are at matching patterns and shapes, and by shorting the process (that is, there's actually nothing there to see) reveals the process we use. Some of the shapes are actually quite vague, but because they have certain significant parts they are "recognised" - think of the state of Florida and the region of New England on a map of the USA, where the rest of the country is kinda shapeless.
posted by Sova at 1:58 PM on November 24, 2009


Flagged as pareidoliaFilter.
posted by aught at 2:13 PM on November 24, 2009


I saw some guy paint a map of Hawaii in a porno once.
posted by chillmost at 2:20 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


When I was growing up in Indiana, I always assumed that McDonalds made McNuggets in the shape of all the other states, to be distributed only in their respective state. On a drive down to Florida when I was four or five, I found that, in fact, five other states' McNuggets were the same as ours. I think that must have been the first time I ever exhibited anything similar to nationalistic pride. I was a weird kid.
posted by The Potate at 2:27 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


I had no idea that first one was supposed to be Maine until I read the text. Sorry, I live here. I don't see the resemblance.
posted by anastasiav at 2:32 PM on November 24, 2009


In the seventh grade I made my pizza in Home Economics class in the shape of the United States and my history teacher gave me extra credit.

Damn, those were the days.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Utah, Wyoming, Colorado.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:19 PM on November 24, 2009


Which would mean you're saying it like the country's name is actually pronounced.

Actually, the correct way is "eee-rak"
posted by bitteroldman at 3:44 PM on November 24, 2009


Right. Oh, I see, I guess "IRock" could be like the I in Ipod...I read it as "ee-rock" which is pretty much how it's pronounced in Arabic.
posted by jckll at 4:04 PM on November 24, 2009


Somewhere below font nerds on the nerd-scale lives map-nerds.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:24 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll never see Mississippi the same way again.
posted by kurumi at 5:14 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Australians all let us ring Joyce
For we are young and free
We've golden soil
And wealth for toil
Our home is girt by sea


With a bonus mondregreen thrown in.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:46 PM on November 24, 2009


I insist that the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Nevada, taken as a whole, constitute the profile of Abraham Lincoln wearing an engineer's cap. Surely I'm not the only person who sees this.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:48 PM on November 24, 2009


My wife once made a tortilla that looked oddly familiar. I flipped it over and I realized it was shaped like Africa. So I ate it and it tasted just like the round ones.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:49 PM on November 24, 2009


"By George, you're right! I thought there was something familiar about it."
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:47 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Grandpa once pointed to the silhouette of New Jersey on the bottlecap of a cream soda and said, doesn't our state look like the profile of Queen Nefertiti? Being, oh, probably 6 or 7 at the time, I had no response. But that, and the fact that our colony was once latinized "novo caesarium" lends a little ancient panache to a place that desperately needs it.
posted by condour75 at 9:23 PM on November 24, 2009


Which would mean you're saying it like the country's name is actually pronounced.

Well, yes. That's why we do it.
posted by dhartung at 10:38 PM on November 24, 2009


Also pareidolic: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, & Minnesota together make up a pot-bellied man wearing boots & a top hat.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:01 AM on November 25, 2009


Also, don't speak of Tennessee in polite company.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:36 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


bah. most of those mentioning australia look nothing like australia. B+ for effort with the rust one because at least it's surrounded by blue, as in sea.

I think when you actually know the shape of a geography well, you would not see it as often in random shapes.
posted by yak sox at 1:54 AM on November 25, 2009


I insist that the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Nevada, taken as a whole, constitute the profile of Abraham Lincoln wearing an engineer's cap. Surely I'm not the only person who sees this.

I don't see this at all. I have no idea what you're talking about. I want to.

Also pareidolic: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, & Minnesota together make up a pot-bellied man wearing boots & a top hat.

His name is MIMAL and he's making some Kentucky fried chicken in his Tennessee pan (or doing something much more nebulous and filthy).
posted by cmoj at 12:09 PM on November 25, 2009


Oh! MIMAL! I hadn't heard that name for it before, & now I have a Wikipedia link to share!

I don't think I'd seen Abe Lincoln in the map before. Here's a graph to help you see it.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:20 PM on November 25, 2009


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