Home | Poem | Jokes | Games | Science | Biography | Celibrity Video | বাংলা

Culturebox: Geography Wonks for $2,500

Slate Magazine
Now playing: Slate V, a video-only site from the world's leading online magazine. Visit Slate V at www.slatev.com.
Geography Wonks for $2,500
A Jeopardy! star explores the world of map obsessives.
By Seth Stevenson
Updated Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, at 6:48 AM ET

Ken Jennings. Click image to expand.A bathroom I used to frequent many years ago featured a shower curtain printed with a colorful map of the world. As I'd lather and rinse (and occasionally repeat), I'd run my eyes over its coastlines and borders. I recall that my gaze always seemed to settle on a remote island mass, somewhere north of Russia, labeled "Franz Josef Land." The mere sight of this splot on a steamed shower curtain somehow conjured visions of barren tundras, howling gales, and even huddled villages filled with craggy-faced Franz Josef Landers.

Maps have always possessed this eerie power to stir our fantasies. Staring at maps--envisioning oneself inside them, in three vivid dimensions--has lured many an adventurer on many a quest. Such was his fascination with maps that a 7-year-old Ken Jennings (you may know the grown-up version as "KenJen," Jeopardy!'s all-time winning-est contestant) carefully saved up his allowance to buy the 1979 edition of the Hammond World Atlas. Little Ken would unfurl those wide pages every evening before bedtime, study them until his eyes drooped, and then tuck the tome beneath his pillow as he slept.

To continue reading, click here.

Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.

Join the Fray: our reader discussion forum
What did you think of this article?

Also In Slate

Michael Vick's Head Injury Is the NFL's Worst Nightmare

Netflix To Split Into Two Companies

How Does a Rogue Trader Lose So Much Money Without Anyone Noticing?


Manage your newsletters subscription: Unsubscribe | Forward to a Friend | Advertising Information

Ideas on how to make something better? Send an e-mail to slatenewsletter@nl.slate.com.

Copyright 2011 The Slate Group | Privacy Policy
The Slate Group | c/o E-mail Customer Care | 1350 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 410 | Washington, D.C. 20036

No comments: