Culture

A Geographer Just Created A Digital Map Of Mexico Highlighting Taco Shops And It’s A Thing Of Beauty

One of the biggest changes that the so called digital revolution has brought to our lives is the capacity that today’s computer systems have to process huge amounts of data. Processors today are able to run algorithms that bring together millions of data entries to find trends, cluster groups of similar objects and generate visualizations that can help us understand even the most complex aspects of science and culture. This is known popularly as “big data” and has changed the ways in which governments and companies understand reality and make decisions. For example, before high speed processing mathematicians took literally years to make sense of census data and find correlations between factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, age and literacy levels.

Guess what? This can be done today with a few clicks as computers bring together millions upon millions of data entries and make sense of it all. It all sounds very geeky, but big data is defining how we live our lives, from how traffic lights coordinate to how much tax you gotta pay each year.

So all this geeky, nerdy stuff should be put to good use, o no?

Enter Mexican geographer Baruch Sangines, a true wizard when it comes to generating great data visualizations.

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Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

This young scientist is the Chief Data Scientist at a company called Jetty, and he does some pretty groundbreaking research on pressing social issues such as housing and poverty.

His LinkedIn profile is pretty impressive: “Experience in public and private sector with skills to analyze and visualize data related to: commuting, transit, housing, tourism, migration, security, and urban environment. Expert in territorial analysis and passionate about the cartography and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize small and big data”. Wow. hold your horses, Einstein! He is a proud graduate of Mexico’s National University and has Master’s Degree on Demographics and Statistics. 

So why did he go viral on Mexican social media in the past few days? We mean, science is sexy but not viral sexy (sadly!). All because of this map:

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Credit: @datavizero / Twitter

No, it is not a visualization of WiFi points in Mexico. No, it is not a rendition of cartel activity. No, it is not a highlight of the areas in which development runs at a faster pace. It is about something much, much more relevant to everyday life in Mexico lindo y querido. Any guesses?

Nothing is more important than a delicious taco when you most need it! 

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Credit: The Splendid Table

Just look at that tortilla, a bit crispy, a bit soft… and that perfectly marinated meat… 

Well, Baruch created a visualization of taco stands in Mexico and nos ponemos de pie ante tal maravilla! 

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Baruch called this visualization Taco Universe, and it showcases all the registered taco stands and shops in the country. We can clearly see that there is a high concentration of taco shrines in the capital Mexico City, and that hotspots like Cancun and Cabo are also highlighted, perhaps thanks to gringo tourism craving fish tacos. The scientists used the database Directorio Estadístico Nacional de Unidades Económicas (Denue) (Statistical National Directory of Economic Units) from the federal census agency INEGI. The map highlights how taco culture is primarily based in the center of the country, with local varieties such as Puebla’s tacos arabes (a shawarma like type) increasing the traffic in that area. 

But it is important to note that many taco stands are not accounted for (and that is not this scientist’s fault).

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Thousands of Mexicans subsist in an informal economy with businesses that are not registered and pay no taxes. Among these businesses, mobile taco stands reign supreme. There are hundreds of taco stands all around the country that are set up informally. Sometimes you can find the most delicious tacos there! You can also find informal vendors selling tacos de canasta, a variety that is literally carried in a basket. This map does not take these informal enterprises into account, even though they are key to Mexico’s taco culinary tradition. 

So you are curious about tacos de canasta now, aren’t you? 

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Well, just look at these crispy, sweaty, fat-rich babes. Tacos de canasta are filled with guisados or stews, or with refried beans. We are almost sure that Baruch did not include them in his map, but we can forgive him for making us crave unos taquitos (we bet you are calling your comadres or compas right now to hit the taco stand) and showing us how Mexico is a country that despite its many challenges still finds time to live up to the old adage: barriga llena, corazon contento. 

Sponsored – These Mayan Women Are Reclaiming Their Heritage And Designing The Coolest Products Ever

Entertainment

Sponsored – These Mayan Women Are Reclaiming Their Heritage And Designing The Coolest Products Ever

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Much has been said about the vulnerable position that indigenous populations in general, and indigenous women in particular, are in when it comes to protecting the intellectual property derived from their traditional designs.

The Mexican Congress recently passed a law through which companies that steal designs from indigenous communities will be subject to hefty fines. The culprits are generally big international brands such as Zara and Carolina Herrera, which should know better when it comes to presenting designs as their own when they are clearly very “heavily inspired” by the work of craftspeople who earn a small fraction of what they should, only to see their designs being sold in hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

So it comes as a welcome surprise to find out some indigenous Mayan women have gotten together to profit from their millenary wisdom and dexterous hands to launch a startup that promises to become a way of living for many of them. 

An entrepreneur, una jefa de jefas, named Nancy Zavala launched a small company, Zavy, that employs Mayan women.

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The company’s mission is to help women achieve financial independence through their work. Zavala knows that the key in a small company is specialization and they have focused on a particular product: camera straps. So far 20 women have joined Zavy. As Zavala told El Universal, these women feel a sense of accomplishment as their children see them work and their husbands, who previously “did not allow them” to do so, now also want to help. Women from other Mayan communities have approached Zavala, wanting to join in.

This is a great step for many Mayan women who not only live in an environment with very clearly and strictly demarcated gender roles, but are also part of an indigenous group in Mexico that has historically been discriminated against. Zavala put her heart, soul and money in this enterprise: the first straps were produced entirely with her savings.

Their camera straps are garnering attention among semi professional and professional circles.

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The craftswomen receive 50% of the profits and the rest is reinvested in the company to buy materials and strengthen their web presence. They have been able to sell to Mexico. the United States and some Latin American countries. These camera straps are seriously cool and we can see any professional photojournalist use them…. Pero por supuesto.

We did a search on Etsy and found that plenty of pages not run my Mayans are selling “Mayan camera straps.” They either copy the design or “repurpose” other artefacts such as belts or clothing with traditional Mayan embroidery. This is like adding insult to injury: they are reselling objects that took hours for someone to make and sell for a fraction of what these repurposed straps sell on Etsy. This is why initiatives such as Zavala’s are so important. 

Nancy founded Zavy to honor her Mayan heritage.

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Nancy was born in the small community of Saye and she grew up watching her grandmother make blouses, shirts and other products in the traditional Mayan style. But she knew that in order to achieve financial independence she had to study. And so she went to university and became one of the members of the 1% of indigenous Mexicans who finish a graduate degree. She got a Bachelors in Project Development, a huge achievement in and of itself. But her journey did not end there and she wanted to inspire other women and get them to be independent as well. And so Zavy was born.

Nancy is 28 years old now and she is doing her Master’s degree in Merida, the capital of her home state of Yucatan. We are sure she will keep using her knowledge to empower indigenous women. 

And Zany is just one among other initiatives that aim to help Mayan communities.

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With some classmates, Nancy established a foundation that helps communities develop through applying their traditional knowledge into businesses. In addition to Zany, Nancy and her friends helped Mayan communities establish Biozano, a company that produces natural, organic makeup. 

Some of the women had to drastically change their careers due to unfortunate accidents.

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Such is the case of Cecilia Dzul Tuyb, who used to be a police officer before a car crash prevented her from walking for several months. She was risking depression but found solace in traditional knitting. She was contacted by Nancy Zavala and the rest, as they say, is history: Cecilia has found a community of fellow women who do not want to depend economically on anyone else and who value their independence.

clearvoice test 2.29 – Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Erupted And Now People Think The World Is Coming To An End

Entertainment

clearvoice test 2.29 – Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Erupted And Now People Think The World Is Coming To An End

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Three weeks into the New Year, and it feels like the end of times. Need proof? Australia is on fire, Puerto Rico won’t stop shaking, there’s flash flooding going on in various parts of the world, including here in the U.S., there are tornadoes in the southit’s snowing in Texas — and that’s just listing natural disasters. We haven’t gotten into the conflict with Iran that President Donald Trump started or the Ukrainian plane that was shot down during a missile strike. Now Mexico is dealing with another issue, and it has nothing to do with immigration. 

CREDIT: @ACTIONNEWSNOW / TWITTER

On Jan. 7, Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano, which is located  40 miles southeast of Mexico City, erupted. Thankfully no one was hurt.

The stunning images of Popocatépetl were impressive, to say the least, but people in the surrounding cities of Puebla and Mexico were warned to proceed with caution as the volcano is still active. Officials told people to remain cautious and keep their windows closed as ash continues to infiltrate the air. When the volcano erupted on Jan. 7 at around 6:30 a.m. local time, the mountain ejected ash and rock 20,000 feet into the sky. News outlets report that lava could also be seen from Popocatépetl. 

The name of the volcano — Popocatépetl — is an indigenous word that translates to “it smokes.” Locals call it El Popo. Since the Spanish acquisition, Popocatépetl has erupted at least 15 times, including last year.

CREDIT: @NWSTAMPABAY / TWITTER

People in the surrounding areas were given a Yellow Alert advisory, which alerts them that “Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background activity.” That alert is a bit vague. However, it is one of the least frightening volcano alerts. If they had been given an Orange Alert, which is a level above Yellow, then it would have certainly caused a bit more worry in the area. An Orange alert means, “Volcano is exhibiting heightened, or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain OR an eruption is underway that poses limited hazards including no or minor volcanic-ash emissions.” Everything after that level would basically mean, run for your life. 

Last month in New Zealand, the eruption of the Whakaari on White Island resulted in 19 deaths.

CREDIT: @QZ / TWITTER

At the time of the eruption, only 47 people were on the small island, and many of them were tourists. Aside from the 19 casualties, 25 people were injured. 

Paramedic Russell Clark told CBS News that everything in sight was covered in ash. “I can only imagine what it was like for the people that were there at the time — they had nowhere to go and an absolutely terrible experience for them,” Clark said.

The Popocatépetl volcano isn’t the only active volcano currently.

CREDIT: @VOLCANODISCOVER / TWITTER

Volcano Discovery reports that there are several active volcanos right now all over the world from Latin America to Japan. Clive Oppenheimer, professor of volcanology at the University of Cambridge, told the Telegraph in an interview that all of these eruptions are actually quite normal, and people should not be freaked out.  

“There have been quite a few eruptions in the news lately, so people question whether there’s an increase in rates of volcanism that we’re seeing just now, and this isn’t really the case,” Oppenheimer said. “Eruptions are happening all the time; some make the news headlines, and others don’t. He added, “If we look at the statistics back in time, the main thing we see is a reporting bias. There are not many eruptions during World War Two, for example, when people had other things to really worry about. So, of course, things will flare up in one place or another place, and then it will be very much how those eruptions affect people and whereabouts in the world [as to] whether that then becomes newsworthy.”

These eruptions may be typical, but with all the chaos going on in the world, people are still freaking out that it’s the end of the world.

CREDIT: @DOMINIQUEDAWK4 / TWITTER

How much more can we expect?

It’s all too much and it’s not a coincidence.

CREDIT: @BELLAV0725 / TWITTER

There’s no way to prepare for a natural disaster.

Let’s just pretend everything is okay.

CREDIT: @KYLATHECREATIVE / TWITTER

Denial never killed anyone. Right?

READ: Check Out The Image Of Mexico’s Volcano Popocatépetl Erupting 14 Times In One Night