Vaguely Interesting Round-up | 14 November 2013
- There is a tumblr site devoted to people who’ve decided to use the Berlin Holocaust memorial as the backdrop to their Grindr profiles. If you see pictures of the memorial you can, perhaps, begin to see how this has happened – the memorial is a field of irregular blocks of granite creating claustrophobic walkways and a visually arresting backdrop. But Grindr? Really? Just no.
- If we are ever faced with living through a post-nuclear apocalypse it will be good to know that some things will remain the same. Plans for the survival of the British Royal Family and the UK government were drawn up in the bleakest days of the Cold War. According to this fascinating article in the Daily Telegraph, the Queen was to be put aboard a “floating bunker” and moved around remote Scottish lochs in the event of a nuclear attack on Britain. The declassified papers went on to explain that the Head of State was to be kept separate from the government so that she could appoint a replacement Prime Minister in the event of the annihilation of the Cabinet.
- Combining a street map of London and census information on second languages spoken in the household produces this fascinating cultural map of London. Some entries are unsurprising – Bengali in Tower Hamlets, Panjabi in Southall and French in South Kensington. But the map reveals some lesser known language communities and some general trends. Two pockets of Japanese speakers are found in Acton and Finchley, whilst Korean speakers congregate around New Malden. A large Nepalese community exists in Woolwich, and large numbers of Tamil speakers exist in pockets in west, south and east London – a sad reflection on the Sri Lankan civil war and resulting Tamil diaspora. One of the most interesting trends is the belt of Polish speaking communities around London’s Zone 2. From Leyton to Palmers Green, Hendon to Wembley and Roehampton to Streatham, they have become one of the largest second language communities in the capital.
- Is the United States of America one country or a collection of 50 states? Neither, according to a new book (American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America) by Colin Woodard, a reporter at the Portland Press Herald. Instead, North America becomes 11 distinct ‘nations’, ranging from the Hispanic orientated El Norte of Mexico, New Mexico, Southern California, Arizona and Southern Texas, to New France of Quebec and Louisiana. Tidewater, New Netherland, Left Coast and Greater Appalachia.