I’m not entirely sure it works this way

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska?

In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical truth than that of traditional school maps, and hope it can serve an example to schools across the nation and even the world.

The Mercator projection “works” and works beautifully for maritime navigation up to 70 0 N or S. The Peters projection is very much better for showing land areas, entirely so. As perhaps we’re more interested in the latter than the former these days then why not?

The result goes a long way to rewriting the historical and socio-political message of the Mercator map, which exaggerates the size of imperialist powers.

“This is the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools.

The district has 125 schools and 57,000 students, 86% of whom are non-white, with the largest groups being Latino and black. After changing the maps, Rose said, educators plan to look at other subjects and shift away from presenting white history as the dominant perspective.

Well, I’m not entirely sure to be honest:

“The Mercator projection showed the spread and power of Christianity and is standard,” she said. “But it is not the real world at all. What the Boston public schools are doing is extremely important and should be adopted across the whole of the US and beyond.”

Elliott, who is still teaching at 83, said she was booked to give lectures in Michigan, Iowa, Missouri and Texas this week, and would be hailing Boston’s move.

“This is going to change how kids see the world much for the better,” she said.

Because one way to look at the Peters map is to go, wow, Europe is really teeny, isn’t it? But they did still go out and kill or conquer damn near everybody. Those Dead White European Males must have had something, right?

67 comments on “I’m not entirely sure it works this way

  1. The DWEMS are responsible for most of the useful stuff for the past millennium. Indeed, people from third world countries moved to the first world to take advantage of the institutions and culture of said first world country – teaching them where these things came from would be preferable.

    It should not mean that it should be exclusive, but based on actual “value”, DWEMs are probably around 95% and the remainder should be split between DWEFs and the rest of the world.

  2. Purge the educational establishment . Let these propagandising cunts sell their map in the marketplace and see who buys then.

  3. I remember development charities making a hoohar about “area accurate” map projections in the 1980s.

    Why haven’t they been teaching the limitations of Mercator throughout their careers to all those children?

  4. After changing the maps, Rose said, educators plan to look at other subjects and shift away from presenting white history as the dominant perspective.

    This is why I laugh when I read those stories about ‘educators’ being assaulted or abused in their classrooms as a result of the blow back from yet another of their “progressive” initiatives to fuck up the nation.

  5. An alternative strategy would be simply to give children the unvarnished facts without an overlay of political gobbledygook.

    My Bartholomew’s Atlas at prep school explained the distortions and rationale of Mercator in the opening pages and showed other ways of displaying the globe in two dimensions. We also had a globe in the classroom.

    For that matter, huge parts of the world were coloured pink so the Peter’s Projection emphasised the little colonial country’s ability to place others in base subjugation.

  6. “Those Dead White European Males must have had something, right?”

    Whatever happens, we have got
    The Maxim gun, and they have not.

    Hilaire Belloc

  7. ““This is the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools.”

    I think I can see why Boston public schools have those ‘achievement gaps’.

  8. In China some places have maps with China at the centre, which is of course their right to do. However, it often means that most of the map is taken up with the pacific ocean with most of the land masses squashed up at the edges.

  9. Peters was a bit of a crook: the projection wasn’t his; it was far older. Only the catastrophically dim or ignorant can have failed to realise that any projection of a spheroid onto a 2D surface is bound to distort it in one way or another.

    As for the notion that Mercator’s projection was chosen to overrepresent the political power of Greenlanders, Alaskans, Siberians, and the mighty penguins of Antartica, that too is a topic for the catastrophically dim or ignorant, or the politically partisan. So suitable for American schoolteachers, then.

  10. You’ve got to lose something in a projection – Mercartor keeps the angles mostly the same and loses area information. Peters seems to keep area information better, but then loses angular infomation away from the equator.

    As an engineer, what I hate is over-educated idiots ascribing political motivations to simple engineering choices – Mercartor is better for navigation since it retains angular information better. It’s also the projection you get when you wrap a cylinder of paper around a light-up globe, so it’s simple.

  11. “As an engineer, what I hate is over-educated idiots ascribing political motivations to simple engineering choices”

    Yup- I remember, as a student in the 1980s, being told that the Mercator projection was “inherently racist”.

  12. The district has 125 schools and 57,000 students, 86% of whom are non-white

    Posterity fail. Imagine this was a school district in Mexico City or Lagos. Would we expect the natives to celebrate their dispossession?

    Jane Elliott […] said she was delighted to hear of Boston’s move.

    Forgive my Ecksian inclination, but I’m surprised nobody in evil, racist, white supremacist, racist, Trumpist, racist, bigoted – did I mention racist? – AmeriKKKa has drowned the vile old bitch in her porridge yet.

    For Elliott is not, in the anodyne description of The Guardian, merely an “Iowa-based lecturer in race relations”. The estimable David Thompson provides some relevant background on this would-be gulag guard:

    As becomes clear if you watch the Blue Eyed video, Elliott is unwell and what drives her is not benign. She’s also aware of the intimate and long-term damage she so zealously inflicts. In an interview Elliott describes how one of her younger victims went from being a “brilliant, self-confident, excited little girl to a frightened, timid, uncertain little almost-person.”

  13. “This is the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools.

    This is, I guess, the New Leftist version of the Old Racist adage that non-White children are too thick to learn the same things as White children and so need a racially-appropriate curriculum. In the old days that would involve learning to pick cotton. These days, I would guess, it will be about the Noble Black Hero who invented 32 different types of peanut butter.

  14. As an engineer, what I hate is over-educated idiots ascribing political motivations to simple engineering choices

    For them, everything is political, from their cup of coffee in the morning to how they sleep at night.

  15. “These days, I would guess, it will be about the Noble Black Hero who invented 32 different types of peanut butter.”

    Or, if a farcebook meme is to be believed, the afro-american chappy who supposedly invented the lawnmower about 70 years after it was invented.

  16. the afro-american chappy who supposedly invented the lawnmower about 70 years after it was invented

    Our version is Mary Seacole, who invented nursing and compassion. But she’s a bit dodgy due to her imperialist views, so I suggest we replace her with Camilla Batmanjelly, inventor of charity and dazzle camouflage.

  17. @Steve,

    There’s also some actress bint who’s supposed to have invented Bluetooth cos she apparently came up with some of the maths that’s used in it back in the 50’s, when everyone thought the world needed about 5 computers.

  18. abacab – “There’s also some actress bint who’s supposed to have invented Bluetooth cos she apparently came up with some of the maths that’s used in it back in the 50’s, when everyone thought the world needed about 5 computers.”

    Hey – no disrespect for Hedy Lamarr. A truly gorgeous woman from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

    But she didn’t do the maths. She had the idea of spectrum mobility. Which would have been implemented with a punch card like those used in a piano player. She came up with the idea in 1942 but they couldn’t make it work until 1962 with very different technology.

    So great pair of breasts. Not so great contribution to Bluetooth

  19. And the reason for the idea was sod all to do with computers, but how to stop radio guided torpedoes from being jammed.

  20. DuckyMcDuckface – “And the reason for the idea was sod all to do with computers, but how to stop radio guided torpedoes from being jammed.”

    Bluetooth has bugger all to do with computers too. It is about sharing spectrum and to a lesser extent hiding messages.

    As far as I can work it out, the point being that her idea would have had the torpedo and the ship both have the same punch-card-style tape. Which would have random holes in them telling the radio which frequency to transmit on and the ship which to listen to. Bluetooth and the like use a pseudo-random number generator.

    So far pretty much the only things women have given the world are COBOL and some minor contribution to the windscreen wiper. As opposed to the entire population of African descent which has produced some good music and the Supersoaker. But the Peter’s Projection! Take that you dead White males!

  21. @Arthur the Cat

    +1 for quoting Belloc. But we need to explain why “we have the Maxim gun, and they have not”.

  22. > Jane Elliott is an Iowa-based [race hustler]

    By living in Iowa (91.3% white according to the 2010 census), she assiduously fails to practice what she preaches.

  23. Mollweide is a better equal-area projection as it is as close to equal-shape as you can get with equal-area. Peters just looks ridiculuous, with everything stretched north/south.

  24. “So far pretty much the only things women have given the world are COBOL and some minor contribution to the windscreen wiper. ”

    And Miss Tilley’s Orifice or whatever it was called. Because Spitfires. Nuff said.

  25. Suspect it should be …”and they DO not,” instead of “they HAVE not.”
    Pendantry of the day.

  26. But we need to explain why “we have the Maxim gun, and they have not”.

    Because the evil white man, as is his evil white wont, stole science from the peace-loving Egyptian slaveowners and cuddly cannibals in Papua New Guinea and so forth.

    After the science of POC was stolen and carted off to London in crates not unlike the ones at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, the evil, moustache-twirling white man then pretended that inventions such as electricity and car air fresheners were of his own devising.

  27. Here’s Peters’ biography, showing his knowledge of geography:

    “Peters attained a PhD … in history of art and journalism. Spurred by his interest in political propaganda, he spent much of his academic life studying synchronoptic world history”

    The Victorian Scottish clergyman who actually invented the “Peters’ Projection” also write a book that:
    “describes the view that Gabriel would have had on his way from heaven to earth to tell Mary that she would have a baby”.
    Sounds a much more useful life work than Peters’.

  28. “peace-loving Egyptian slaveowners”

    never, NEVER ask an SJW what happened to the ethnic ancient Egyptians, who were alive and well at the sunset of the Roman empire but are now part of that vast swathe of Arabian descendants which extends from North West Africa, around the Med and into Turkey…

    But we’re not supposed to talk about *that* imperialism now, are we?

  29. Google doesn’t seem to have a proper “pink” map of the British Empire on the Peters’ Projection. Anyone fancy doing one?

  30. “..the historical and socio-political message of the Mercator map,”

    What that map that makes India and the British Empire look relatively smaller than ball-freezing nowhere lands near the poles?

    Just go fuck yourselves with pikes.

  31. Why have the maps as they are?
    Can we not have South at the top? Surely just a matter of perspective and anyone who can use a compass can figure out south as easily as north.

  32. I suspect it is no accident that Boston Magazine ranked the Boston 116th out of 125 MA school districts in 2015. Hardly definitive, but most probably indicative of why the district’s leaders are so hell bent on “decolonizing” their system…

    They lack to professional competence to teach reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.

  33. “Can we not have South at the top?” There were some in the early days. I’m guessing, but if maps were kept as scrolls, and you were a Northern Hemisphere chappy, then it would be convenient to have north at the top of the scroll if you were right-handed.

  34. “never, NEVER ask an SJW what happened to the ethnic ancient Egyptians, who were alive and well at the sunset of the Roman empire ”

    Studiously avoid the “heads on coins” view of history, prevalent in most history books. The “ancient Egyptians” are much the same as the “Islamic Empire” of a later era. The rulers & the thugs get & keep them in power. The actual people being ruled don’t tend to change a lot. They’re the ones with the agricultural toolkit & the knowledge of how it fits together, suits whatever area it is.

  35. Europe is really teeny, isn’t it?

    So might progressives rethink the notion that Europe should open its borders to the 90%+ of the world population who aren’t European?

    Or have we reached the point in the Scramble for Europe where awareness of how vulnerable the continent is will be a cause for triumphalism instead of protectiveness?

  36. If the Boston public schools used this opportunity to talk about the limitations of all the projections, then I might have some respect for them. And they don’t even need a textbook to do this, just a URL: https://xkcd.com/977/

  37. ‘Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools.’

    He has succeeded beyond measure.

  38. Dead White European Males founded the United States of America. They made it what it became, same with Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Let’s not forget the Renaissance nor the Enlightenment. All European.

  39. @Stella – agreed. People with a better appreciation of the size of the shitholes to the south and east of Europe might change their views on the joy of free movement.

  40. But we need to explain why “we have the Maxim gun, and they have not”.

    Because Hiram Stevens Maxim was American-British? If they had it, it would be called the Olajumoke gun.

  41. From the patent itself;

    “Furthermore, we contemplate employing records of the type used for many years in player pianos, and which consist, of long rolls of paper having perforations…”

    How long did SMFS spend trying to work out what she had in mind?

  42. “Studiously avoid the “heads on coins” view of history, prevalent in most history books. The “ancient Egyptians” are much the same as the “Islamic Empire” of a later era. The rulers & the thugs get & keep them in power. The actual people being ruled don’t tend to change a lot. They’re the ones with the agricultural toolkit & the knowledge of how it fits together, suits whatever area it is.”

    IIRC it was Churchill, in one of his books, that noted that the population was then almost 100% ethnically Arab, with no trace of the ancients remaining…..

  43. Martin,

    “Surely just a matter of perspective and anyone who can use a compass can figure out south as easily as north.”

    Don’t bet your house on it.

    Mrs BiND is a Mensan and when I met her in the early ’80s they had a magazine with a Q&A section. Someone wrote in to ask “I read that the ancient Chinese had compasses that pointed south, how did they do that?”

  44. “… 86% of whom are non-white, with the largest groups being Latino and black.”

    But aren’t all the little brown children equal to all the little white children and all United Statians – what do they care that Africa or elsewhere is bigger/smaller?

    Our Anglo-Saxons ancestors came from Scandinavia and/or Northern Europe via Germany, Holland, Jutland – should we be obsessing about the relative sizes of these areas on the map?

    Sounds like an attempt to ensure social/racial apartheid – I thought that was a bad idea.

  45. “Sounds like an attempt to ensure social/racial apartheid – I thought that was a bad idea.”

    The 90’s called and they want their racial politics back.

    Get with the times, man – it’s now all about apartheid again, but on their terms.

  46. I worked in Peru with a very competent civil engineer on a mining project. At lunch he told us that at his school the world maps were supplied by the Norwegians and that the focal point was Norway. Down the bottom, at the edge of the map was this small country, his fatherland, Peru. So projections do matter.

    If the Bushmen progressed beyond basic canoes, and sailed to Europe to conquer the world the top of the world would be the Antarctic. In Australia you can buy a rightside up world map with Australia hovering near the top. Pity this tosser in America never visited Australia.

  47. All mapping projections of the Earth show more of the northern hemispher than the southern hemisphere for the simple reason that there is more land in the northern hemisphere. Damn you, racist plate tectonics!

  48. Down the bottom, at the edge of the map was this small country, his fatherland, Peru. So projections do matter.

    How so – did seeing ‘this small country, his father land’ on the edge of the map hinder his development? Did he have to settle for merely being a very competent civil engineer when his true vocation was to be a diversity outreach coordinator?

  49. Obama claimed to be Kenyan for 15 years. When he could have claimed to be ‘Merican. Whatever you can exploit.

  50. Trust SJWs to try litigating against the Theorema Egregium and the fact that lim sec θ, θ → π/2 = ∞.

  51. Abacab

    In Egypt, I once got into friendly conversation with a local. I said “…and you, as an Arab…”. “Sir”, he said, “I am not an Arab: I am a Nubian!”

  52. “IIRC it was Churchill, in one of his books, that noted that the population was then almost 100% ethnically Arab, with no trace of the ancients remaining…..”: sounds like bollocks to me. How could he possibly know?

  53. Gall-Peters, not Peters, if you have to bring in Peters at all.

    Gall was a nineteenth century Scottish clergyman, which would probably cause brains in Boston to explode. The two types of projection serve different purposes and the large size of Northern and Southern countries in the Mercator projection is solely due to geography and not to any glorification of European empires.

    In any case, this is a fad from the seventies. If the “educators” have only discovered it now, it says a lot about their intellectual abilities.

  54. Tim Newman – “If they had it, it would be called the Olajumoke gun.”

    And it would be made of cow hide.

    DuckyMcDuckface – “How long did SMFS spend trying to work out what she had in mind?”

    Well Ms Lamarr’s breasts were a big deal when I were a lad. So quite some time would be the short answer.

  55. Indeed Theo, a Nubian is not an Arab.
    Nubian isn’t something to boast about, the Arabs had more to boast about over the years…

  56. I note also the vanishing likelihood of an SJW knowing that a loxodrome (rhumb line) on a Mercator projection is a straight line, which is the entire motivating factor for its existence.

  57. I note also the vanishing likelihood of an SJW knowing that a loxodrome (rhumb line)

    I’m a qualified Ocean Navigator and I didn’t know that a rhumb line has a Sunday name. Never mind that it is ‘loxodrome’.

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