The Navigator newsletter lands in your inbox every other Saturday. Sign up here!

Today, something different.

Angela Chen, a science journalist at The Verge, alerted CityLab to a raging debate on the internet—or, at least, on this one Tumblr page. The urgent question: What is the right cartographic representation of the area where Jason Derulo knows what girls want?

Let me explain. In his 2013 hit, “Talk dirty to me,” Mr. Derulo posits:

“‘Cause I know what the girl them need,
New York to Haiti.”

And then later:

“I know what the girl them want,
London to Taiwan.”

So, what would this proportion of the world where Mr. Derulo claims to know what girls want look like on a map? Two theories emerge. The first:

And the alternative:

Click through the Tumblr post to analyze the arguments and weigh in. Or, do you have a different theory? Let me know at tmisra@theatlantic.com. Next up: Ludacris.

What we’re writing:

CityLab’s Sarah Holder recently walked into a mattress store, loved it, and wondered why anyone would buy mattresses online, so she did a little digging. Here’s her story about how the mattress store conquered hearts and minds in America:

But the mattress has always been so much more than a space for sleep. “It’s where most people, after all, were conceived and born; where they lay convalescing from illness, made love, and where they died,” said Ekirch of the world’s historical obsession with the bed.

More stuff from our website: Barbershop conversations from Mexico City. ¤ In “Folded Map,” a Chicago artist brings people together across divides. ¤ Behold the sexy pulse of the 1980s transit mall. ¤ Why people are vandalizing public male-only urinals in Paris. (Hint: they’re male-only!) ¤ An artist makes natural ink out of stuff he finds on city tours. ¤

What we’ve been taking in:

Chengdu, China: The city that has “emerged as the proving ground for a new generation of Chinese hip-hop artists.” (Guernica) ¤ This is your grandmother’s couch. (Collectors Weekly) ¤ “We are African-American chefs who have come to Ghana to learn about the cooking of our ancestors.” (Bon Appetit) ¤ In defense of men who love minivans. (Mel) ¤ The invisible migrants in Dubai’s vegetable market. (Popula) ¤ Two tribal women from India, two very different fates. (The New Yorker) ¤

And finally, here’s a recommendation from our data reporter David Montgomery:

The Book of Legendary Lands by the late Umberto Eco (The Name of the Roses, Foucault’s Pendulum) is a field guide to those places that humans have dreamed—or believed—lay just beyond the edge of the map. Some of these are well-known even to this day, such as Atlantis or Dante’s afterlife; others are more obscure: the Kingdom of a mythical Christian king, Prester John, whose land was said to be far beyond Europe—medieval explorers searched for it first in Asia and then in Africa. And then there are the lands inside the center of the supposedly hollow Earth that some experts believed existed more recently than we might care to admit. Eco describes these myths and stories in a style inimitable even in translation. The book itself is lavishly illustrated and thoroughly sourced—a joy to read and a resource to reference.

What you’ve been taking in:

CityLab readers sent in:

¤ A deep dive into Rubacava—“a city of long shadows, papier-mâché skeletons, bright lights and unexpected fogs, where the biggest of the bone bands play the finest bebop tunes, and where jazz and mariachi get married to Andean melodies”—from the video game Grim Fandango. (Polygon)

¤ The story of a family that has sold tortas in downtown Mexico City for 70 years. (Culinary Backstreets)

View from the ground:

@homageproject photographed people milling about the iconic Old Bridge of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina; @davisito.y illuminated silhouettes in Chicago; @spartsuno documented smoke from a fire raging outside their train in Melbourne; @mjmasad93 captured a cloudy day in Amman.

Tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #citylabontheground!

Over and out,

Tanvi

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Life

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  2. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  3. A woman stands in front of a house.
    Life

    How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations

    The Great Housing Reset has led to growing numbers of single-family homes shifting from owner-occupied housing to investment vehicles for large corporations.

  4. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  5. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

×