Friday, June 01, 2007


While picking up books in my bedroom the other day, I found my atlas. I'd quite forgotten I owned one. I suppose not many people use them, nowadays, seeing as you can find all the maps you want on the internet. Life was more fun when you needed to look things up in books, I'm sure. Still, it came in handy today when talking to an American friend who lives in Connecticut. It occurred to me that I hadn't got the faintest idea where in the USA Connecticut is. North or south? East, west or middle? Not a clue. It took some finding, actually - I had no idea it was so small and tucked away in the top right corner there. Or that it's practically next door to New York. I'm quite shockingly ignorant when it comes to the geography of other countries. I also thought Delaware was one of the big square ones in the west or middle bits, but it turns out it isn't. I've never encountered, or as far as I know even heard of, anyone from Delaware. I need to go there and make friends.

Of course, while my atlas is fine for learning about the USA, I need to be a bit more careful with some other parts of the world. My atlas was published in 1987, and it still thinks there's a USSR, and East and West Germany. It's a useful historical artifact, actually - did you know Walvis Bay in Namibia was part of South Africa until 1992? Well, you probably either did know that or had no reason to need to know that, but it's something I only learned today after studying an outdated atlas and checking up on the internet. Learning is cool. Now I'm going to go and watch football for two hours and forget everything I've learned.

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