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Happy Moo Year! Wishing you and yours a bovine spongiform encephalopathy-free 2009

January 18, 2009

Ingo Günther’s globes are gorgeous. He’s done hundreds of them, each one a visual representation of a particular set of data (we hosted a small exhibition of them at PUSH 2005). Each year he sends out a holiday greeting, featuring new work, Ingo’s way of saying “Happy New Year!”

There’s no denying that this year’s is quite beautiful, but I wasn’t sure what BSE stood for. It turns out that it’s an abbreviation for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, aka Mad Cow Disease.  It’s easy to smirk, I grant you, but when you consider how much of the globe is not in red, you’ll find it tells a much more serious story:  That’s how much of the world’s food supply is endangered by BSE.


Just a few selections from Ingo’s impressive catalogue of globes (hosted on

Landlocked Nations (left)
These countries have one territorial condition in common: no access to the world’s oceans. This has a fundamental impact on economics, social behavior, and perspective on the world. Many of the republics of the former Soviet Union are landlocked. Their recent independence has radically increased the number of countries, that suffer this unique condition.

Japanese Economic Continent (middle)
If landmass equaled wealth and economic might, Japan would occupy this much of the globe.

Life Expectancy (right)
Life expectancy is a core factor in the human development index. With 82 years Japan has the highest life expectancy. All 35 countries at the bottom of this list are  located in sub-Saharan Africa; their citizen’s  average life expectancy is between 52 and 39 years.

Note: the thumbnails don’t do them justice, better to see them full size

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