This Interactive Map Lets You Listen to the Sounds of Mysterious ‘Phantom Islands’

iStock
iStock

We like to think we’ve already discovered everything there is to discover on Earth, but have we really? Throughout the course of history, a number of islands have been spotted and documented by early explorers, only to never be seen again. These territories are known as “phantom islands,” but as artist Andrew Pekler notes, their existence has never been verified.

In exploring the legends surrounding these elusive—and perhaps imaginary—islands, Pekler created an online “sonic atlas” of what these places may very well sound like. His work was commissioned by French museum Jeu de Paume for the exhibition “Fourth Worlds: Imaginary Ethnography in Music and Sound.”

“Poised somewhere between cartographical fact and maritime fiction, they haunted seafarers’ maps for hundreds of years, inspiring legends, fantasies, and counterfactual histories,” Pekler says of the phantom islands in an online description of the project.

Viewers can use their computer's mouse to navigate the map and zoom in on any islands that seem particularly intriguing. You can also enter “cruise mode” to be taken on an audio tour of all the phantom islands documented by Pekler. A brief history is given for each island, and some of them are pretty spooky.

One phantom island in the Gulf of Mexico, Bermeja, first appeared on maps in the 1530s but wasn’t seen again after the 16th century, according to research by Pekler and his team. The Mexican government sent a survey vessel to try to find it in 1997, but when nothing was uncovered, a few Mexican senators claimed America’s CIA may have destroyed it in a bid to lay claim to the territory and secure control over offshore oil and gas fields. Not long after, one of the senators who demanded further investigation was driving in his car when he was run off the road and killed by an unknown assailant, which spawned a number of conspiracy theories.

These stories are only made more chilling by the haunting chimes, bizarre bird calls, and underwater sounds that accompany them. To see it for yourself, check out Pekler’s website.

Every State’s Favorite Place to Spend Spring Break, Mapped

DisobeyArt, iStock via Getty Images
DisobeyArt, iStock via Getty Images

Spring break falls in March 2020 in many parts of the U.S., and if you still don't know where to go this year, check out the popular travel plans of people in your home state for some inspiration.

This map Travelocity put together using its own customer data shows the most disproportionately popular spring break destinations for residents of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. It should come as no surprise that Florida cities dominate the map. Orlando was the top springtime vacation spot of 10 states, including Texas, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Miami, Tampa, and Pensacola also appear on the list.

But not everyone craves warm weather this time of year. As college students flood their state, Florida natives flee north to Chicago. And some states farther north prefer vacation spots that are decidedly not tropical. In Idaho, spring-breakers are heading to Seattle, and in West Virginia, they're booking trips to Buffalo—neither of which are cities that come to mind when you think of margaritas and bikinis. You can find the preferences of your home state in the map below.

Map of top spring break destinations.
Travelocity

Spring break may seem like a modern phenomenon, but people have been using the arrival of the season as an excuse for debauchery since ancient Roman times. You can read more about the history of spring break here.

Here's How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Part of the Country

Andy Woodruff
Andy Woodruff

Daylight saving time was created to benefit Americans, but not every part of the country is affected equally. Within the Eastern time zone, for instance, the sun rises a whole 40 minutes earlier in New York City than it does in Detroit. To illustrate how daylight saving time impacts sunrise and sunset times around the county, cartographer Andy Woodruff published a series of helpful maps on his website.

Below, the map on the left depicts how many days of reasonable sunrise time—defined as 7 a.m. or earlier—each part of the country is getting. The regions in the yellow sections have the most days with early sunrises and the darker parts have the fewest. On the right, the second map shows how many sunsets past 5 p.m. we’re getting each year, which appear to be a lot more abundant


Next, he visualized what these sunrise and sunset times would look like if daylight saving were abolished completely, something many people have been pushing for years. While our sunset times remain pretty much the same, the mornings start to look a lot sunnier for people all over the country, especially in places like West Texas.


And for those of you who were curious, here’s what America would look like if daylight saving time were in effect year-round. While mornings would look miserable pretty much everywhere, there’d at least be plenty of sunshine to enjoy once we got off work.


You can tinker with an interactive version of the daylight saving map on Woodruff’s blog.

All images courtesy of Andy Woodruff.

This article originally ran in 2015.

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