The Geographical Travesty
So I had lunch with a friend today and she gave me this book Strange Maps because she knows I like maps (i have lots of maps). It's a very coolio book for anyone who digs maps.
Anyway, it reminded me of a story...
I have a friend who's a smart guy but he has some gaps in his knowledge base that are often shocking. Like he'll know tons of stuff about one thing but know less than nothing about something he should really know. Last year, we were talking about Sarah Palin and Alaska-- and here's how the conversation eventually went:
blah blah blah...
Him: ... so why is it so cold in Alaska anyway?
Me: What do you mean why is it so cold?
Him: It doesn't look like it should be so cold...
Me: Why not? It's Alaska.
Him: Just looks like it shouldn't be like all tundra cold...
Me: It's past Canada. What are you talking about?
Him: What do you mean past Canada? Where is it again?
Me: What do you mean where is it?
Him: Like... How would you get there?
Me: I dunno. Go to Washington state and drive north through Canada then hang a left or something. What?
Him: Oh. I didn't think that's where it was...
Me: Where'd you think it was?
Him: I thought it was off the coast of California or something.
Me: Off the coast of California?!
Him: Yeah. That's why I thought it should be warmer.
Me: Why would you think Alaska is off the coast of California?!
Him: Because that's where it looks like it is on a map..
Me: What?! What are you talking about?!
Him: On maps it looks like it's by California. Like near Hawaii...
(Then it dawned on me. He was taking THIS map like literally!)
Me: You thought Alaska was a friggin island off the coast of California?! Near Hawaii?!
Him: Well, that's where it is on a map!! It never seemed right though I admit!
Me: Oh my god...
Him: Whatever... Anyway, blah blah blah...
It's nuts because this guy is very smart in some other ways so it's stunning that this would be floating around in his head all super wrong and upsidedown. But you never know. Some of the smartest people I know are like super dumb dumbs in certain ways.
tOddPS. Apologies to my friend if he's reading this for blabbing about this up in here...