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6 Winners and Losers of Globe Making

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Sometimes it’s good to be a little fish in a big pond—especially if you’re a municipality yearning for recognition on a mapmaker's globe.

It’s easy to miss the cut if your metropolis juts up against another, larger megalopolis, or a capital city. Or perhaps your hometown falls right in the path of a big, bold continent label. In either case, you might never locate your home, no matter how many libraries you visit.

At the other end of the scale are the obscure cities in the sparsely populated expanses of eastern Siberia, northern Africa, northern Canada and most of Australia. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, globe makers abhor empty space on their spherical canvas. With the choice between placing another dot on the map or leaving the space empty, globe makers tend to err on the side of more detail.

Here are a series of tiny towns you'll see on nearly every globe you can find—and some major cities that are almost always left off.

Small Towns on Nearly Every Globe

1. Oodnadatta, SA, Australia


Fewer than 300 residents. Abandoned by the railroad. Accessible only via hundreds of miles of unpaved roads. And on just about any globe you can find.

Why it makes an appearance is no mystery: There’s nothing else there. A sign on the Pink Roadhouse, a gathering place for locals and tourists alike, proclaims the town to be “the driest town, the driest state, of the driest continent.” Although the town was formerly a stop on the narrow gauge Central Australian Railway, stretching from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south, the town was bypassed by the new standard gauge railway in 1981.

2. Montpelier, VT, United States


If there’s one hard-and-fast rule of globe making, it’s this: When it comes to capital cities, size doesn’t matter. Montpelier, with fewer than 8000 residents, is the smallest capital in the United States. It’s less than 60 percent of the size of the next smallest capital (Pierre, SD).

In addition to being committed to rote memory by every elementary school student in America, Montpelier is also well known for something it doesn’t have—it’s the only state capital in the United States without a McDonald’s.

3. Any City in Greenland


Seriously, any of them. The capital, Nuuk, is home to fewer than 17,000 residents. After that, the next-largest city is under 6000. In all, there are just 13 towns in Greenland with more than 1000 residents, and all of them are on the coastline.

Depending on the age of your globe, you might find an entirely different set of municipal names. Following the establishment of the Greenland Home Rule government in 1979, names of Danish origin were changed to names derived from the three Inuit languages spoken in Greenland.

Huge Cities That Miss the Cut

4. Shenzhen, China


The world’s 11th most populous city is rarely seen on large-scale maps, let alone globes. But its lack of notoriety is through no fault of its own. With over 10.5 million residents in the city proper, Shenzhen would be in the upper third of national populations, falling in line between Greece and Rwanda. Shenzhen’s misfortune is to be located across the river from Hong Kong—a city with 3.4 million fewer residents.

Shenzhen and Hong Kong built each other in the latter half of the 20th century—Shenzhen as the manufacturing hub providing goods to the West, and British Hong Kong as the capitalist trade and financial center tapping directly into communist China’s factories and labor. In the world’s eye, though, Hong Kong wins out. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network labels Hong Kong as an Alpha+ City, where its larger neighbor to the north is deemed merely Beta-.

5. Louisville, Kentucky, United States


The largest city in Kentucky is the focus of the horseracing world each May, but good luck finding its location on a standard globe. Despite 610,000 residents within city limits, Louisville is usually the largest American city regularly missing the cut on globes.

There's a perfect storm working against the Derby City. Globe makers place higher importance on capitals (even state and provincial capitals) than population. Frankfort, with barely more than 25,000 residents, elbows its way to the front of the line. Meanwhile, the Ohio River, connecting the Rust Belt with the Mississippi, needs to be labeled somewhere in its relatively short run. Doing that in southern Ohio would make sense, if labels for Cincinnati and the state’s capital, Columbus, weren’t taking up space. More often than not, the northern border of Kentucky is the landing place for the river’s label, and Louisville finishes out of the money.

6. Dortmund, Germany


Dortmund may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of German cities—it may not even be in your top ten. But it’s the largest city in the Ruhrgebiet, Germany’s largest urban agglomeration and home to more than one out of ten Germans.

Most globes are designed with an eye toward relaying discrete units of information: nations, provinces, cities, rivers, and oceans. When cities grow together to form conurbations like the Ruhrgebiet, the whole may be greater than the sum of each part—even though none of the component cities are significant enough to appear on a standard classroom globe.

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entertainment
10 Surprising Facts About The Babadook
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IFC Films

In 2014, The Babadook came out of nowhere and scared audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Aussie Jennifer Kent, and based on her short film Monster, The Babadook is about a widow named Amelia (played by Kent’s drama schoolmate Essie Davis) who has trouble controlling her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who thinks there’s a monster living in their house. Amelia reads Samuel a pop-up book, Mister Babadook, and Samuel manifests the creature into a real-life monster. The Babadook may be the villain, but the film explores the pitfalls of parenting and grief in an emotional way. 

“I never approached this as a straight horror film,” Kent told Complex. “I always was drawn to the idea of grief, and the suppression of that grief, and the question of, how would that affect a person? ... But at the core of it, it’s about the mother and child, and their relationship.”

Shot on a $2 million budget, the film grossed more than $10.3 million worldwide and gained an even wider audience via streaming networks. Instead of creating Babadook out of CGI, a team generated the images in-camera, inspired by the silent films of Georges Méliès and Lon Chaney. Here are 10 things you might not have known about The Babadook (dook, dook).

1. THE NAME “BABADOOK” WAS EASY FOR A CHILD TO INVENT.

Jennifer Kent told Complex that some people thought the creature’s name sounded “silly,” which she agreed with. “I wanted it to be like something a child could make up, like ‘jabberwocky’ or some other nonsensical name,” she explained. “I wanted to create a new myth that was just solely of this film and didn’t exist anywhere else.”

2. JENNIFER KENT WAS WORRIED PEOPLE WOULD JUDGE THE MOTHER.

Amelia isn’t the best mother in the world—but that’s the point. “I’m not a parent,” Kent told Rolling Stone, “but I’m surrounded by friends and family who are, and I see it from the outside … how parenting seems hard and never-ending.” She thought Amelia would receive “a lot of flak” for her flawed parenting, but the opposite happened. “I think it’s given a lot of women a sense of reassurance to see a real human being up there,” Kent said. “We don’t get to see characters like her that often.”

3. KENT AND ESSIE DAVIS TONED DOWN THE CONTENT FOR THE KID.

Noah Wiseman was six years old when he played Samuel. Kent and Davis made sure he wasn’t present for the more horrific scenes, like when Amelia tells Samuel she wishes he was the one who died, not her husband. “During the reverse shots, where Amelia was abusing Sam verbally, we had Essie yell at an adult stand-in on his knees,” Kent told Film Journal. “I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Kent explained a “kiddie version” of the plot to Wiseman. “I said, ‘Basically, Sam is trying to save his mother and it’s a film about the power of love.’”

4. THE FILM IS ALSO ABOUT “FACING OUR SHADOW SIDE.”

IFC Films

Kent told Film Journal that “The Babadook is a film about a woman waking up from a long, metaphorical sleep and finding that she has the power to protect herself and her son.” She noted that everybody has darkness to face. “Beyond genre and beyond being scary, that’s the most important thing in the film—facing our shadow side.”

5. THE FILM SCARED THE HELL OUT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE EXORCIST.

In an interview with Uproxx, William Friedkin—director of The Exorcist—said The Babadook was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. He especially liked the emotional aspect of the film. “It’s not only the simplicity of the filmmaking and the excellence of the acting not only by the two leads, but it’s the way the film works slowly but inevitably on your emotions,” he said.

6. AN ART DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SCORED THE ROLE AS THE BABADOOK.

Tim Purcell worked in the film’s art department but then got talked into playing the titular character after he acted as the creature for some camera tests. “They realized they could save some money, and have me just be the Babadook, and hence I became the Babadook,” Purcell told New York Magazine. “In terms of direction, it was ‘be still a lot,’” he said.

7. THE MOVIE BOMBED IN ITS NATIVE AUSTRALIA.

Even though Kent shot the film in Adelaide, Australians didn’t flock to the theaters; it grossed just $258,000 in its native country. “Australians have this [built-in] aversion to seeing Australian films,” Kent told The Cut. “They hardly ever get excited about their own stuff. We only tend to love things once everyone else confirms they’re good … Australian creatives have always had to go overseas to get recognition. I hope one day we can make a film or work of art and Australians can think it’s good regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.”

8. YOU CAN OWN A MISTER BABADOOK BOOK (BUT IT WILL COST YOU). 

IFC Films

In 2015, Insight Editions published 6200 pop-up books of Mister Babadook. Kent worked with the film’s illustrator, Alexander Juhasz, who created the book for the movie. He and paper engineer Simon Arizpe brought the pages to life for the published version. All copies sold out but you can find some Kent-signed ones on eBay, going for as much as $500.

9. THE BABADOOK IS A GAY ICON.

It started at the end of 2016, when a Tumblr user started a jokey thread about how he thought the Babadook was gay. “It started picking up steam within a few weeks,” Ian, the Tumblr user, told New York Magazine, “because individuals who I presume are heterosexual kind of freaked out over the assertion that a horror movie villain would identify as queer—which I think was the actual humor of the post, as opposed to just the outright statement that the Babadook is gay.” In June, the Babadook became a symbol for Gay Pride month. Images of the character appeared everywhere at this year's Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles.

10. DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR A SEQUEL.

Kent, who owns the rights to The Babadook, told IGN that, despite the original film's popularity, she's not planning on making any sequels. “The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film,” she said. “I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen.”

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Space
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
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If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]

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