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Are you as geographically ignorant as I am?

I’ve never taken a geography class, and I am pretty dumb in this category.

I was shocked to find out a few years ago that the farthest-west point on the South American continent aligns with...Florida! I always thought for some reason that the east and west coasts of the Americas are roughly stacked.

Am I the only one who thought this?

Also, years ago I heard Whoopi Goldberg say to Joy Behar (after Behar complained about her ‘kinky’ hair) that “Sicily is just one little rowboat ride away from Africa. I knew it was close-ish, being in the Mediterranean, but Whoopi was basically correct.

What other geographic misconceptions have you had?

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by Anonymousreply 45906/16/2020

I always thought Istanbul was Constantinople.

by Anonymousreply 105/10/2020

It wasn't until years after elementary Geography class that I learned that Africa and Asia and Europe are one connected land mass. I don't know why they need three names to describe one land mass.

by Anonymousreply 205/10/2020

I've met numerous ignorant twits in England who think Spain and Italy are neighbouring countries with a land border.

by Anonymousreply 305/10/2020

I commented on another thread (relating to the lyrics of "Don't Stop Believin'") that "south Detroit" would be in Canada, and was challenged on it. But take a look at a map -- Windsor, ON is south of downtown Detroit.

by Anonymousreply 405/10/2020

r2 Well, North and South America are connected, too.

by Anonymousreply 505/10/2020

r1 I thought it was Byzantium.

by Anonymousreply 605/10/2020

I didn't realize how HUUUGE Africa really is.

by Anonymousreply 705/10/2020

actually, I suspect that bit about South America would surprise a lot of people OP. I'm pretty good at geography, and I still get surprised by things like that.

You know what helps, if you want to get better, grand strategy historical video games. Games like Europa Universalis really give you a sense of where so many things are, including obscure little provinces.

by Anonymousreply 805/10/2020

In answer to your question, OP, no.

by Anonymousreply 905/10/2020

OP here. One thing I *did* know was that Egypt is in Africa. It SHOCKED a friend of mine from West Africa when that came up in discussion one day and I was like, “where the hell else would Egypt be?” And she said that most Americans she has heard discuss Egypt think it is “in the Middle East, in Europe.” And I was like, “that...makes no sense.” She said she has even argued with people about it, and that they think Egypt is in the Middle East because it’s in the Bible, and that the Middle East is in Europe because Jesus died in Rome and he was obviously European.

So at least I am not that fucking stupid.

by Anonymousreply 1005/10/2020

wow, people think Jesus died in Rome? Somehow that's even crazier than not being clear on the whole Egypt thing.

by Anonymousreply 1105/10/2020

OP, Whoopi Goldberg was onto something. There's an element of racism in the attitude of northern Italians toward their southern and Sicilian compatriots and amongst Italian-Americans too, since most are of Neapolitan or Sicilian in origins.

As a teacher, I'm constantly surprised that students (18-22 years-old) have no concept of geography of anyplace in the world. It may not be taught in grammar or high schools, but it also speaks to a lack of curiosity that is somewhat endemic in society today.

OP, tell your friend from West Africa that a few students of mine have told me that India is part of the Middle East!

by Anonymousreply 1205/10/2020

R1 - It is. Byzantium (Iron Age to 330 CE) > Constantinople (330 CE to the 18th century) > Istanbul.

by Anonymousreply 1305/10/2020

I'm horrible at it OP. Both world geography and US geography. I find calculus easier than trying to figure out all those square states in the middle.

by Anonymousreply 1405/10/2020

OP/R10, I too have met many people who are surprised to discover that Egypt, Libya and Morocco are in North Africa. They seem to think Muslim = Arab = Middle East. Of course many of these people also think Iranians, Afghans and Pakistanis are Arab, so their knowledge of the world is quite shaky to begin with.

by Anonymousreply 1505/10/2020

Are you interested in the Byzantine, Doctor Sugar?

by Anonymousreply 1605/10/2020

OP, didn't you learn all of this in 5th grade? I'm actually shocked by this thread. How old are you?

by Anonymousreply 1705/10/2020

The silly Jesus dying in Rome thing makes sense to me. If someone doesn't know about the Roman Empire, or where the Roman Empire extended to, and just knows that Romans killed Jesus, then how can they be expected to know Jesus wasn't born in the Middle East and then taken to Rome to be executed?

by Anonymousreply 1805/10/2020

I will admit "Middle East" is kind of vague term, and yeah, it is inevitably associated with Islam and Muslims. You can actually say Egypt is part of the Middle East in that it's part of that whole deal with Arab-Israeli wars going back to the 40s and 50s. And really for thousands of years it's fought wars in the region, so I would give people a pass on that, even though yes, it is in Africa and most of the Middle East isn't.

by Anonymousreply 1905/10/2020

OP, tell us the truth. Did you believe Sarah Palin when she claimed she could see Russia from her house?

by Anonymousreply 2005/10/2020

R10 Concerning Egypt, it is of course geographically African. But culturally, and racially, it, and the rest of North Africa, is more Middle Eastern than African. Just like, Russia is largely in Asia, but is racially and culturally more European(Eastern European) than Asian.

by Anonymousreply 2105/10/2020

Because of GPS on cel phones most people under 25 couldnt find their way to the other side of town let alone grasp where Egypt is.

by Anonymousreply 2205/10/2020

Back when I was in high school and college I was very well versed with geography. But I haven't kept up with all the changes made in the last 30 years with the Eastern Block countries and with the African country names.

by Anonymousreply 2305/10/2020

Regarding Sicily. Wasn't it used as a penal colony, or something of that sort for the Moors?

by Anonymousreply 2405/10/2020

Los Angeles is farther east than Reno, NV.

by Anonymousreply 2505/10/2020

R18, there's the line in Suetonius which reads, "Judaeos, impulsore Chresto, assidue tumultuantes (Claudius) Roma expulit" ("Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, (Claudius) expelled them from Rome". Christian apologists always reach for it as supposed evidence for the existence of Christ.

by Anonymousreply 2605/10/2020

r20 Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her house. Tina Fey said that on SNL. When asked about foreign policy Palin said "you can actually see Ruassia from land here in Alaska."

by Anonymousreply 2705/10/2020

I went to Australia and I was surprised that I couldn’t tell I was upside down. No sense of it AT ALL.

by Anonymousreply 2805/10/2020

Before it was called The Middle East, there was The Orient and Near East.

by Anonymousreply 2905/10/2020

R15 I’m sure it doesn’t help that the SAT, GRE and now I believe the US Census specifically classify people from those North African countries as “Caucasian” or “white.” (Really.)

R17 No, I did not learn much geography in school. In elementary school I suppose we learned states and continents, some countries. Social studies was not my strongest subject and we probably did learn to some extent in social studies class. In seventh grade, I had to learn all the Spanish-speaking countries and their capitals for a half-year exploratory Spanish class, but no discussion of the spacial dynamics of where countries and continents lie. In high school one year I had to choose between world history and geography, and I chose world history because stories are more interesting to me than maps. And then in senior year of HS, I took a government class. Every week we had to learn a new country, where it’s located, chief imports and exports, GDP, governmental systems, etc. We were given the info every Monday and we were tested every Friday. And the only reason I remember is because one week Yugoslavia was the country we were given and there was no test on Friday because there was no Yugoslavia on Friday.

So we learned about countries, but it was all rote memorization and nothing at all related to, for example, how continents align with one another.

And I am regularly surprised. I went to Ireland last spring. I had no idea how far north Ireland is! It’s 900 miles south of the Arctic circle. We saw puffins there, as well as lots of palm trees and wild orchids.

by Anonymousreply 3005/10/2020

yeah, I kind of get that r18, but I would have thought even the most ignorant Christian, who don't hold with book larnin outside the Bible, would have some grasp of the Jesus story, with Galilee, and Jerusalem and the Temple and all that playing a pretty prominent part.

by Anonymousreply 3105/10/2020

If you look at the shapes of the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America... you can see that they were most likely one connected land mass millions of years ago.

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by Anonymousreply 3205/10/2020

Poor R13. :(

by Anonymousreply 3305/10/2020

People confuse geographic boundaries with cultural boundaries. "Europe" can describe both a sub-continent as well as a cultural region. The same is true of "Middle East".

by Anonymousreply 3405/10/2020

R31 Israel is part of the European Union despite being an Asian country.

Human politics and religion of course supersede objective placement of land masses.

by Anonymousreply 3505/10/2020

Israel is not part of the EU, R31.

by Anonymousreply 3605/10/2020

The “Middle East” is more of a cultural area that encompasses adjacent parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

by Anonymousreply 3705/10/2020

that really startled me r35, but it's sort of true. Israel is an Associated Nation of the EU, as are a number of North African and MidEastern countries. So they get some of the same privileges as EU members.

by Anonymousreply 3805/10/2020

Is it true that Canada’s position on top of the U.S. means that each year it compresses the U.S. by 3 feet? In 20 years, you’ll be able to walk north to south from Canada to Mexico in two hours?

by Anonymousreply 3905/10/2020

I heard that global warming is pushing the continents further apart.

by Anonymousreply 4005/10/2020

How is Australia classified as a continent and country?

by Anonymousreply 4105/10/2020

Because it’s considered a continent, but only one country occupies it.

by Anonymousreply 4205/10/2020

R31 I don't understand that either. Most Bibles have maps of the Holy Land, as did most Sunday School rooms. I have, however, met one person who believed Jesus died in Rome, they were a Catholic and believed that is why the Pope lives there.

by Anonymousreply 4305/10/2020

My 58 year old friend did not know that Northern Ireland was a separate country from the Republic of Ireland.

by Anonymousreply 4405/10/2020

I've always loved maps and geography.

I would not try to cross from Africa to Sicily in a rowboat.

by Anonymousreply 4505/10/2020

R45 It wouldn’t be easy but it would be possible.

by Anonymousreply 4605/10/2020

“The Tunnel under the Strait of Sicily is a proposed megaproject to link Sicily and Tunisia. The distance between the coastlines is about 155 kilometres (96 mi) and would be reached by five tunnels constructed between four intermediate artificial islands which will be built with the excavated material.”

by Anonymousreply 4705/10/2020

Many people are surprised by the size of different areas. For instance, where I live people are always surprised that our county is the same size as the entire state of Rhode Island. Or that the UK is the size of Michigan.

by Anonymousreply 4805/10/2020

Are you telling me continents are now social distancing r40?

This is getting out of hand!

by Anonymousreply 4905/10/2020

A friend of mine didn't realize, until a few years age, that Australia and New Zealand were separate countries in relative proximity to each other as well as the major Pacific islands being near to Australia.

by Anonymousreply 5005/10/2020

I knew Jesus walked on water but I still don’t know where he went!

by Anonymousreply 5105/10/2020

R21, so North Africa is not African?

Maybe you need to change your idea of what African is.

by Anonymousreply 5205/10/2020

R35 believes the Euro is issued by Eurovision

by Anonymousreply 5305/10/2020

I must have been an oddball as a kid. I loved geography and history. I think that led to me being bitten with the travel bug at a young age. I still haven't managed Africa, but I've been pretty much everywhere else. Seeing it on a map makes me want to go there. And that means learning more history, languages, etc.

True story: As a teen I was taking one of those "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium" bus tours of Europe. Almost everyone on the trip had received it as a college graduation present (a nurse, her husband, and I were the only exceptions). One day a traveling companion asked where we were (not unreasonable, given the hectic itinerary). I told her, "Austria." She asked, "What country is that in?" A few days later, another one asked and the answer was, "France." "Oh, France. What language do they speak here?" As god is my witness! Amazing how many of these college grads had never heard of Napoleon or Waterloo, nor Michelangelo...

by Anonymousreply 5405/10/2020

Right. Africa is Africa. It’s a tremendous landmass. So say that “racially it’s more Middle Eastern” is to suggest that the rest of Africa—the west coast, the east coast, south and central Africa—is homogenous. It’s a huge fucking area populated with a huge number of tribal peoples.

What the person above means is that people in northern Africa tend to be paler with paler eye colors, and therefore should be thought of as something other than “the rest of Africa.”

by Anonymousreply 5505/10/2020

tell her Austria is in Australia, r54.

I still have my t-shirt from Austria: We're the one without the Kangaroos!

by Anonymousreply 5605/10/2020

Everyone knows that North Africa is racially and culturally different than sub-Saharan Africa.

by Anonymousreply 5705/10/2020

R54 R55 No, I mean not only racially but culturally and historically North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are very different. The majority of Africa is the sub-Saharan part, and are therefore what people think of as African. They are not homogeneous but they are much more alike than they are with Northern Africa.

by Anonymousreply 5805/10/2020

That is like saying Scandinavia is not really European because racially and culturally it is different than the people of Greece and Italy.

North Africa is part of Africa. So it is African. Just like the culture of Zimbabwe is different than the culture of Ethopia, so the North African cultures are different from each other and other areas of the continent.

What is being done is twisting reality to fit with preconceptions of what "Africa" is rather than altering the preconceptions to take in the whole region.

by Anonymousreply 5905/10/2020

Exactly, R59. You may as well say Oregon and Mississippi are not both North American because one is more like The South than it is like the Pacific Northwest culturally. They’re different regions. Of the same continent.

by Anonymousreply 6005/10/2020

OP -- That surprised me too when I was traveling to Chile and Argentina and realized what time zone we were going to be in. I checked the map and sure enough! That's how it is!

by Anonymousreply 6105/10/2020

and of course what you're also saying r59 is that all of this is pretty arbitrary. African, European, North American are pretty arbitrary concepts, especially when you start talking about what it "means" to be any of those. It means a lot of things, and also kind of nothing.

by Anonymousreply 6205/10/2020

Jakub Marian has a website, newsletter, IG, and FB accounts with some interesting statistical and cultural information presented in maps. The emphasis is on Europe, but his posts are interesting and just frequent enough.

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by Anonymousreply 6305/10/2020

There is the old story of an American traveling through England by train. The haughty British dowager seated opposite her asked where in America she was from.

"Iowa," replied the American.

"Oh!" said the dowager, looking down her nose. "Where I come from, we pronounce it [italic]Ohio."[/italic]

by Anonymousreply 6405/10/2020

The largest (in area) and largest (in population) counties in the US are next to each other (in California.) The first (Los Angeles) has more people than 41 states, and the second (San Bernardino) is larger than 8 states.

The highest point and the lowest point in the lower 48 states are located 84 miles apart (also in California.)

by Anonymousreply 6505/10/2020

I was a lonely shut-in child, I read and stared at maps every single day

yes, I can draw a map of the world freehand and name every country.

by Anonymousreply 6605/10/2020

Not to derail the thread but you are ignorant if you don’t understand that North Africa is a distinct region that is largely very different from the rest of the continent. R59 Scandinavia has more in common with Southern Europe than North Africa does with Zimbabwe. R60 Historically, it is ironic you would choose Oregon and Mississippi. Since, while Oregon was anti-slavery they were also legally the most racist state that ever existed. And, it is a stupid argument, since unlike Africa, OR and MS are part of the same country which automatically makes them more alike than different.

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by Anonymousreply 6705/10/2020

R67: why pollute this thread with facts and logic?

by Anonymousreply 6805/10/2020

heh, me too r66. And Genealogical Charts of Royalty. Can't believe I wasn't more popular!

by Anonymousreply 6905/10/2020

Most of Northern Africa's Indigenous population is what people would identify as Arabic, not Black. Africa's terrain, coupled with political conflicts did not support migration of the Southern African Indigenous people until the 1800s.

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by Anonymousreply 7005/10/2020

I think it is not ignorance but a more sophisticated understanding of how ideas are passed down. Yes, North Africa is different, but it is still part of Africa. You can have regions within a landmass, but breaking one off as separate in this case is a result of how Europeans see Africa. Europeans even described Africa as "the Dark Continent" because they had little relationship to the peoples of Sub Saharan Africa---but they did know North Africa.

Part of this is clear in the way you, like most European and American people, divide African cultures into two groups: North Africa and the rest. However, most scholars divide African cultures into 5 main groups. There are 4 distinct linguistic families. So there are a number of distinct cultural groups within the continent, but it is ignorant to shove all of Sub-Saharan Africa into one cultural and ethnic group.

by Anonymousreply 7105/10/2020

Ha, I know what you’re saying, OP — Even though I have lots of maps at home, I’m “still” somewhat surprised that the majority of Mexico isn’t right beneath Florida. For some reason, my mind warped Mexico’s C-shape into a straight line.

by Anonymousreply 7205/10/2020

R71, surely you know that for many of these people everything in Africa that isn't the North is just a homogenous entity with "Black people". East Africans, cultures from the Western countries of the continent and the south are all the same.

Those arguing that North Africa isn't really African might as well say what they're thinking: "Africa is just Black people, so they can't be African."

by Anonymousreply 7305/10/2020

England is approximately the same size as the American state of Idaho.

by Anonymousreply 7405/10/2020

I know there are 5, or more, distinct regions of Africa my point is that the other four, while different, are much more alike than they are with North Africa. NA has been connected to the Middle East AND the classical world for over a millennia. They are, historically, much more a part of the Western World, though not fully, than sub-Saharan Africa, most of which has only been connected to the rest of the world for a few centuries. It isn’t to make a disparaging contrast, or to be racist. It is just the way cultural history worked out, and it was largely the result of geography. The Sahara is basically another ocean, an ocean of sand, that served to separate North Africa from the rest of the continent just like the med separated it from Europe, making North Africa culturally different from both, and more like the Middle East which they share land access with.

by Anonymousreply 7505/10/2020

In High School I could name every country on a unlabeled map and also name each country's capitals. Same with every US state and Canadian province. With nations splitting, joining and renaming themselves, I can't anymore but I still know the overwhelming majority of them. I have always loved maps and geography.

by Anonymousreply 7605/10/2020

I guess I'm lucky. For my 11th birthday, my parents gave me a globe.

by Anonymousreply 7705/10/2020

This was a few decades ago in rural Michigan, but I was talking to a couple of recent high school graduates, somehow the location of Washington DC came up. They were sure exactly where it was located but were sure it was somewhere in Michigan. So sad.

by Anonymousreply 7805/10/2020

A large chunk of students in America don't know where New York state is on the map. That's scary.

by Anonymousreply 7905/10/2020

Loads of Americans also don't know that India is part of Asia.

by Anonymousreply 8005/10/2020

I was surprised by size of the southern ocean in the Eastern Hemisphere.

by Anonymousreply 8105/10/2020

Canada's most southern region is the same latitude as Northern California.

by Anonymousreply 8205/10/2020

R12, there are plenty of older people who are ignorant about geography. We have a president who doesn't know where Kansas City is. But I guess it's easy to rant about "kids today" since most people on this site are over 60

by Anonymousreply 8305/10/2020

You are lucky R77

For my 11th birthday, I got a tape worm.

by Anonymousreply 8405/10/2020

DO at R84, was the tape worm tasty at least?

by Anonymousreply 8505/10/2020

If you flip NC & VA on end you have roughly the same shape and sq miles as Britain.

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by Anonymousreply 8605/10/2020

What we all need to realize is that Africa is land of contrasts, occupied by a proud people.

by Anonymousreply 8705/10/2020

No, OP.

by Anonymousreply 8805/10/2020

You not understand tape worms R86.

by Anonymousreply 8905/10/2020

Where do they think it is , r80 ?

by Anonymousreply 9005/10/2020


Somewhere near Chicago.

by Anonymousreply 9105/10/2020

R90, people have argued with people and told me India isn't part of Asia because it used to be part of Pangea. Yes, this is the argument they used. No, they did not listen to me when I argued otherwise. In America, I think Asian tends to be synonymous with East Asia. They forget that Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, etc. are considered South ASIAN.

by Anonymousreply 9205/10/2020

I have to say that whole Asian American thing is kind of stupid and probably does add to the general stupidity. Asian American means basically Chinese or Japanese or Korean looking. Everything else becomes, well, something else. It's a kind of a stupid phrase.

by Anonymousreply 9305/10/2020

Within Asian American, there are (I would argue) 3 main subgroups: East Asians, South-East Asians and South Asians.

by Anonymousreply 9405/10/2020

Let's call people who identify as Asian-Americans stupid, but not people who are 1/16 Irish but insist on being called Irish-American

by Anonymousreply 9505/10/2020

[quote] surely you know that for many of these people everything in Africa that isn't the North is just a homogenous entity with "Black people". East Africans, cultures from the Western countries of the continent and the south are all the same. Those arguing that North Africa isn't really African might as well say what they're thinking: "Africa is just Black people, so they can't be African."

Unfortunately this is a concept not only among some white Americans, but also among some African-Americans. A number of years ago I was on another board discussing travel in Africa, and the question posed was places where one had been in Africa. I responded and listed among the places Morocco. A female poster identified herself as African-American and responded to me saying Morocco was not in Africa. I then linked a map of Africa, and she responded, in "No true Scotsman" fashion, that Morocco (or North Africa) is not "the real Africa". I then pointed out the etymology of the name Africa and the Roman province in North African that bore that name. She did not respond to that. I did, however, have a few posters respond to me after than thanking them for the geographical information. They hadn't been aware of it.

by Anonymousreply 9605/10/2020

My dentist's receptionist was talking about being invited to a wedding in Sydney. She said the first thing she thought of was how much fun a day trip to Hobbiton would be but then she decided against it because she gets seasick.

New Zealand = Australia's Nantucket.

by Anonymousreply 9705/10/2020

[quote]she responded, in "No true Scotsman" fashion, that Morocco (or North Africa) is not "the real Africa".

People like this blow my mind. Do they not realize something can be both Middle-Eastern (a region) AND African (a continent)? So dumb.

by Anonymousreply 9805/10/2020

I once had a colleague swear up and down that Portugal didn't have a west coast. Unfortunately this was before the days of Google where I could have just shoved it in his face.

by Anonymousreply 9905/10/2020

[quote] In America, I think Asian tends to be synonymous with East Asia. They forget that Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, etc. are considered South ASIAN.

That brings to mind one of the terrorist attacks in London after 9/11 (perhaps the 7 July 2005 bombings). I was watching news in the United States, and one of the reporters was in the Underground. She said several people had identified a person who was Asian. Of course, in London that term includes people from, or descended from people, from the sub-continent, that is South Asian. The American reporter then said something like, "He didn't look Asian to me. I think he looked Indian or Middle Eastern.:

by Anonymousreply 10005/10/2020

I spent a lot of boring summers in my youth in Italy -- pre-internet, no English reading material -- with only a hard-cover atlas as reading entertainment, so this is one category I'm pretty good at.

by Anonymousreply 10105/10/2020

Wow. Joy was really being mean to Whoopi.

I hope she told her off.

by Anonymousreply 10205/10/2020

R100, totally unsurprised. I would say the two subjects that suck the most in the American education system are politics/civics and geography. Clearly they are ineffective because nobody seems to remember anything they were taught in those classes.

by Anonymousreply 10305/10/2020

Many of you seem to think that North Africa is in Middle East: i have never heard this before, only Egypt is in Middle East with Turkey, Iran and all the arab country, the rest of the North Africa is called Maghreb just to empashize that it is a different cultural region.

by Anonymousreply 10405/10/2020

Fun fact: DC is further west of New York than it is south. Traveling from NY to DC, you are gaining more miles of longitude than you are losing miles of latitude.

by Anonymousreply 10505/10/2020

R76: Good news! Ouagadougou is still the capital of Burkina Faso, although if you’re my age, you learned the country’s name as Upper Volta.

by Anonymousreply 10605/10/2020

R104, the acronym MENA is pretty common. It stands for "Middle East and North Africa", and it exists because people recognize the shared cultural, historical and religious ties between these regions.

Yes, the countries of the Maghreb have their own strong subculture, but it is part of the larger MENA culture system. Every large cultural system has its regions and subcultures. Alabama and Iceland are pretty different, but they're still part of the broader European culture that encompasses all of Europe and the Americas, along with Australia and New Zealand, and probably some other places that are either thrilled or insulted that I forgot to call them "European".

Turkey is only marginally part of the MENA system. Iran is not part of it at all, even though I'll bet 9 out of 10 Americans would claim Iran is part of the Middle East.

by Anonymousreply 10705/10/2020

[quote] Well, North and South America are connected, too.

They are connected but impossible to reach through land travel.

by Anonymousreply 10805/10/2020

New York City is the same latitude as Madrid, Spain... most of Europe is WAY North of the United States. It's only as warm as it is thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream.

Most of Africa is North of the Equator.

Africa is WAY bigger than you think.

The Panama Canal goes north and south, not east and west.

The half-way point from east Houston to the Pacific Ocean (San Diego) is still in Texas.

Austin, TX is south of San Diego, CA

Atlanta, GA is WEST of Columbus, OH.

by Anonymousreply 10905/10/2020

Franc is about the same size as Texas.

by Anonymousreply 11005/10/2020

If you divided the state of Alaska into two equal parts, it would make Texas the THIRD largest state... Alaska is more than twice as big.

In Alaska, restaurants refer to the 'smaller' portion as "Texas-Sized".

by Anonymousreply 11105/10/2020

[quote] They are connected but impossible to reach through land travel.

Says who? I literally crossed North to South America by land as my very first backpack experience. You can totally cross the continent by land. You're just misinformed and ignorant.

by Anonymousreply 11205/10/2020

The Atlantic side of Panama is west of the Pacific side.

by Anonymousreply 11305/10/2020

R112, you're right. It is almost impossible and very few people do it as it is dangerous and quite an undertaking. So when did you cross the Darien Gap?

by Anonymousreply 11405/10/2020

[quote] Franc is about the same size as Texas.

I'm bigger than either.

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by Anonymousreply 11505/10/2020

Italy is a little less than 3/4 the size of California with over 20 million more people.

by Anonymousreply 11605/10/2020

[quote]France is about the same size as Texas

Texas is even bigger...and everything's already are bigger there

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by Anonymousreply 11705/10/2020

R113 true if you enter the canal from the atlantic you end up further east than where you entered.

by Anonymousreply 11805/10/2020

I adore geography and all that kind of stuff (travel, maps, flags, culture, language etc), so I think that's the only reason I know so much. We just had vague "social science" classes at school which were a mix of history, geography etc and not so much on the geography front. But I loved reading and read up everything I could on the world when young, and these days I use some of my downtime to play quizzes on Sporcle, where I spend most of my time on Geography. That's how I drilled into my head things like all the US states and their capitals for example (I'm Australian).

Even with my love for it and I would say I'm pretty good at it (invite me to your quiz nights!) I still get surprised all the time, as R8 says. Especially on, say, how far a country extends in one direction or how close it is to another country. You can continuously learn about the world, which I love.

My mother tells a story about her travels across the US in the 70's where when people would ask her where she was from and she said she was Tasmanian, would respond, confused: "But you're not black!" They thought Tasmania was in Africa, I guess confusing it with Tanzania.

It's refreshing to see people genuinely interested at what they didn't know on this forum. I once came across another forum where people where shocked that something they thought was true, ie the position of New Zealand, wasn't true and decided it was the work of alternate timelines mixing and a giant conspiracy by the government, rather than, you know, faulty memory.

by Anonymousreply 11905/10/2020

[quote] something they thought was true, ie the position of New Zealand, wasn't true

Where did they think it was?

by Anonymousreply 12005/10/2020

R120 They thought New Zealand was to the west of Australia and that you could get there on a catamaran from Perth or somewhere. It's actually quite a big conspiracy theory apparently. The explanation was that they were slipping across timelines or something. Of course, none of these people were Australians or New Zealanders themselves.

by Anonymousreply 12105/10/2020

Here is an article I found on it:

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 12205/10/2020

Thanks, R121/R119. I must Google that. That conspiracy theory is very odd.

by Anonymousreply 12305/10/2020

Thanks even more, R122. Now I don't have to Google it.

by Anonymousreply 12405/10/2020

Is Krakatoa east or west of Java?

by Anonymousreply 12505/10/2020

Of the lower 48 states, Maine is the only state that touches one other state border. That would be New Hampshire.

Bonus trivia. Maine is the only single syllable state name.

by Anonymousreply 12605/10/2020

90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the United States border.

by Anonymousreply 12705/10/2020

Maine seems like such a beautiful place, despite Stephen King's best efforts to make it seem terrifying 😜. I'd love to travel there sometime, actually it would be great to do a trip of all of New England. I did spend some time google mapping Maine a year or so ago. After watching The Handmaid's Tale I was curious as to how easy it would've been for people to cross the border to escape Gilead. Still no answer, but the scenery was sure beautiful!

Countries bordering each other always interest me, I guess because we don't border anyone here.

by Anonymousreply 12805/10/2020

Here is a question:

What continent is New Zealand a part of?

by Anonymousreply 12905/10/2020


by Anonymousreply 13005/10/2020

If asked, most Americans would say that Wisconsin borders Canada, Not even close.

by Anonymousreply 13105/10/2020

R131, closer than Alabama.

by Anonymousreply 13205/10/2020

OK R132, not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China, but ok.

by Anonymousreply 13305/10/2020

R133, it’s silly to say that Wisconsin is not close to bordering Canada, when it’s much closer to bordering Canada than most states.

by Anonymousreply 13405/10/2020

What a fucking moron you are R134. We’re talking about geographical misconceptions. It isn’t a fucking misconception that Alabama borders Canada, or Mexico for that matter. It IS a very common geographical misconception by many Americans that Wisconsin borders Canada. It isn’t really even close, jackass. Contrarian fuck!

by Anonymousreply 13505/10/2020

But Ohio DOES border Canada.

by Anonymousreply 13605/10/2020

Portland Maine is actually further south than Portland Oregon.

by Anonymousreply 13705/10/2020

I fell in love with geography as a kid, mostly through sitting in a corner with an atlas, which I found fascinating. Like a poster above, I can fill in a blank map of the world pretty much with ease, probably only having a little difficulty with the Pacific Islands.

For geographic trivia, Maine was once part of Massachusetts, even though it was separated by New Hampshire.

Iceland is really more a part of the North American continent than Europe.

Texas is closer to El Salvador than it is to Massachusetts.

Hawaii is the only state where white people are a minority.

The last European-controlled enclaves on the continent of Africa are the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, bordering Morocco.

by Anonymousreply 13805/10/2020

Great facts R138! That one about Iceland reminds me again that while Greenland rings the "Europe" bell in my head, it of course nestles in perfectly right next to Canada. It's funny how so much of what we do when it comes to politically dividing the world can have so little to do with geographic reality. Cyprus is another one, in this case where it's really geographically part of Asia but politically part of Europe.

by Anonymousreply 13905/10/2020

[quote] Well, North and South America are connected, too.

[quote]They are connected but impossible to reach through land travel.

You're saying you can't go from Colombia (South America) to Panama (North America) by land?

by Anonymousreply 14005/10/2020

[quote]England is approximately the same size as the American state of Idaho.


England: 50,301 sq mi

Idaho: 83,569 sq mi


by Anonymousreply 14105/10/2020

R140 He must be unaware of the Pan-American Highway, or Auto-Route Transaméricaine. It stretches the the American continents over 30K Kilometres. I'm not an American, I just happen to live here. I find this entire thread fascinating, and I thank everyone for their honesty.

by Anonymousreply 14205/10/2020

I may be mistaken, but I believe we were told at school it is the longest road in the world. Perhaps things have changed, I'm fifty-two.

by Anonymousreply 14305/10/2020

I believe the Pan-American Highway is incomplete at the Darién Gap between Turbo in Colombia and Yaviza in Panama. People do try and cross there by foot sometimes, but often end up disappearing, or being found murdered.

by Anonymousreply 14405/10/2020

My nickname was geography...I was the lay of the land!

by Anonymousreply 14505/10/2020

Darien Gap map showing the break in the Pan-American Highway.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 14605/10/2020

R144, correct. The Pan-American Highway would stretch completely from Canada to Chile if it wasn't for the area between Panama and Colombia known as the Darien Gap. There is no road in that 60 mile stretch, so to get from Panama to Colombia, the vast majority of people fly or travel by ship.

Nevertheless, I was wrong upthread in stating that it was impossible with a car because, although rare, it has been accomplished:

[quote] That's because, aside from a lack of roads, bridges, or any sort of infrastructure, the Darien Gap remains largely uncharted, thanks to dense and rapid-growing jungle that reportedly swallows up any paths hacked through it in a matter of days, frequent rainy seasons that unpredictably flood the jungle, malaria-carrying mosquitos, poisonous frogs, and the presence of armed guerillas and cocaine smugglers.

[quote] Unsurprising, then, that our investigation—aided by research by Patricia Upton—has turned up just seven expeditions that successfully ("success" defined as reaching Palo de las Letras when crossing from the north, Yaviza when crossing from the south) crossed the Darien Gap in four-wheeled vehicles:

by Anonymousreply 14705/10/2020

R144 Yes, there is a footbridge. The locals, and the Police do not encourage the foreigners to carry on , despite having proper permits. However, it still undeniably connects North, Central, and South Americas, despite the obligatory temporary "detour".

Many Americans have no clue they can drive from Alaska to Argentina, despite the gap.

by Anonymousreply 14805/10/2020

People still drive all the time, and have their vehicles shipped.

by Anonymousreply 14905/10/2020

Here's a link detailing expeditions where people successfully crossed the Gap with wheels.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 15005/10/2020

The gap is short, if not diverting to Colombia... Roughly 90 Kilometres. Many pass in canoes or sailboats. The treachery is real however, not all lore. The drug cartels utilise this area.

by Anonymousreply 15105/10/2020

R151, there has been talk of extending the Pan-American there for 100 years, but it has never materialized and I doubt it'll ever happen in this lifetime.

[quote] Many people, groups, indigenous populations, and governments are opposed to completing the Darién portion of the highway. Reasons for opposition include protecting the rainforest, containing the spread of tropical diseases, protecting the livelihood of indigenous peoples in the area, preventing drug trafficking and its associated violence, and preventing foot-and-mouth disease from entering North America. The extension of the highway as far as Yaviza resulted in severe deforestation alongside the highway route within a decade.

by Anonymousreply 15205/10/2020

I distinctly remember an episode of Laverne and Shirley, set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where our girls were on a boat cruise in Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is to the East of Milwaukee. Somebody's line was "Look you can see Canada. Impossible, as the state of Michigan completely borders Wisconsin to the East and North

by Anonymousreply 15305/10/2020

Give Ireland back to the Irish.

by Anonymousreply 15405/10/2020

San Francisco is closer to Hawai'i than Los Angeles is.

by Anonymousreply 15505/10/2020

r155 so ?

by Anonymousreply 15605/10/2020

In the big classroom maps of our childhood, we were so used to seeing Greenland looming so large up there in the Arctic Circle, that we remember that landmass as being larger than Africa. But in reality, Greenland is roughly the same size as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

by Anonymousreply 15705/10/2020

Project the Mercator!

by Anonymousreply 15805/10/2020

Before I die, I want to see more proof that there was trade between ancient Egypt and South America. Apparently there is evidence of cocaine and tobacco in King Tut’s system! and both plants are native to the Americas.

I also want to learn that the Polynesians reached the Americas before anybody else. There’s evidence of chicken bones in pre-Columbian South America, and something about sweet potatoes, too. Imagine how hard It must have been for them to find Hawaii, in the middle of nowhere. They must have had scouts out all over the Pacific, for hundreds of years.

Then I want to hear that astronomers have discovered atmospheric gases in some nearby planet that can only be evidence of a industrial revolution.

Give me all that, and I’ll go quietly.

by Anonymousreply 15905/10/2020

I never really thought all that much about the Korean peninsula, but I somehow always visualized Korea in southeast Asia. Only recently did I realize it borders northern China, rather than southern China, and is very close to Russia. Maybe I somehow confused Vietnam and Korea in my brain.

by Anonymousreply 16005/10/2020

I think Korea actually shares a small border with Russia.

Kim has such a fear of assassination that he never flies. He travels by armored train. I think he has two, with one as a decoy. The American President travels with a decoy car as well; and Hitler had a decoy train, too.,

by Anonymousreply 16105/10/2020

R159, say hello to my little fren.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 16205/10/2020

R153, another fun fact: Lake Michigan is only Great Lake that lies entirely within the United States. The other four are shared between the US and Canada.

by Anonymousreply 16305/11/2020

it is really frightening when it is the USPS postal clerk trying to figure out what the state or country you are sending to...

by Anonymousreply 16405/11/2020

I needed glasses from 5th to 8th grade and since I was a quiet kid I got placed in the back of the room so I missed a lot of seeing what was on the board and so I missed out on learning geography

by Anonymousreply 16505/11/2020

Near East: Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria

Middle East: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan

Far East: China, Japan, Korea

West Asia: Syria, Lebanon

Southwest Asia: Israel, Jordan

Northwest Asia: Eastern Turkey (Western Turkey is in Europe)

South Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan

Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan

East Asia: Mongolia, China, Japan, N/S Korea

Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore

by Anonymousreply 16605/11/2020

Funniest (dumb) geography-related statements I’ve encountered was in the comments to the Amanda Knox trial, where quite a few posters were saying that Americans should never travel to Italy because A. “Greece has much better ruins” and B. everything Italian worth experiencing you can find in the U.S. anyway.

by Anonymousreply 16705/11/2020

[quote]Is Krakatoa east or west of Java?

R125, it is west. The film title is incorrect.

by Anonymousreply 16805/11/2020


I am pleasantly surprised! I didn’t link a photo of a naked 22 year-old to the original post and yet this thread took off. On DL!

Thanks for all the trivia, guys. It’s interesting how many of you say you learned by reading maps as adolescents. I also had a lot of time and was ostracized in my youth, and I spent that time drawing and also reading mainly about marine life and other sciences. We had two encyclopedia sets, one of them the World Book, which emphasized sciences and medicine, and I used to read those to pass time.

I never had any interest whatsoever in geography or history. My mother’s father and my father used to study maps for hours and I could never make sense of what they found interesting enough to look at them for so long. And history up until college was all rote memorization and regurgitation of battle scenes and dates, generals, etc. In college, it became about stories and that changed everything for me and made history far more interesting and engaging.

I never thought of geography as anything other than land masses and arbitrary borders on maps. I feel like I have some catching up to do.

by Anonymousreply 16905/11/2020

I felt particularly stupid on Saturday when I saw some note referring to "Dublin, CA" and spent 20 minutes looking for the particulars in Dublin, Ontario (Canada). I only realized at the end that the CA meant California and not Canada.

In my defence I am neither American nor do Iive there, so I was a bit puzzled that correspondence sent internationally would use US state abbreviations without making it explicitly clear to readers not in the US.

by Anonymousreply 17005/11/2020

R168, and I read somewhere that the title East of Java was only used because the producer thought it sounded "nicer", haha!

It's a great thread R169. It's great to know there are other geography nerds out there too. Like your parents I was really into maps as a child, and still really enjoy mucking about on Google Earth. I can't really explain why, though. Perhaps I should've become a cartographer?

by Anonymousreply 17105/11/2020

R171, I read that by the time they found out it was geographically incorrect, the titles had already been done and marketing for the film had begun, and they didn't have the budget to change it at that point. So they simply pressed ahead and hoped that most of the public wouldn't notice.

by Anonymousreply 17205/11/2020

R171 You just reminded me that my mother’s father actually was a cartographer for the Army during WWII. I had forgotten all about that.

by Anonymousreply 17305/11/2020

That's very cool, OP, he was well suited to it by the sound of things!

R172 - I think I like your version better!

by Anonymousreply 17405/11/2020

R166, you left out several countries, like the entire Arabian Peninsula and Transcaucasia.

by Anonymousreply 17505/11/2020

all this information i find very interesting, even fascinating, i wonder if a book about all this information and other "surprising facts" on world and u.s. geography exists out there on amazon or elsewhere?

i think it would help everyone just to have a map of the u.s. and the world to educate themselves more...i actually have both that i purchased recently and going to frame and add to my office wall..

by Anonymousreply 17605/11/2020

IIRC, Germany, area wise, is about the same size as Montana.

by Anonymousreply 17705/11/2020


Not another trans thread!

by Anonymousreply 17805/11/2020

I learned that US map makers purposely make Africa look smaller than it really is, and North America larger than it really is.


by Anonymousreply 17905/11/2020

Cartographers for Social Equality

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 18005/11/2020

Here is one that boggles my mind: Alaska is the westernmost American state and it is also the easternmost state (due to the Aleutian Islands being in the eastern hemisphere).

by Anonymousreply 18105/11/2020

What happened to Persia?

by Anonymousreply 18205/11/2020

R179 Yes, that has been widely publicized via Internet trends several times over the past several years. But is it only U.S. map makers, or also European ones?

I ask because the misrepresentation began hundreds of years before the United States existed.

And it's partly due to representing all the areas of a globe shape on a flat, 2D surface.

by Anonymousreply 18305/11/2020

[quote] What happened to Persia?

It relocated to Westwood Blvd between Wilshire and Pico.

by Anonymousreply 18405/11/2020

R182 - Persia=Iran

by Anonymousreply 18505/11/2020

New York and Madrid, essentially the same latitude. 40° north.

by Anonymousreply 18605/11/2020

Reno, NV is west of Los Angeles, CA

by Anonymousreply 18705/11/2020

I learned about Persia and Baghdad from I Dream of Jeannie. No joke. I don't remember ever learning about "Persia" in school. Then, in college, there was a big community of students from Iran who called themselves Persian. Someone had to explain to me as they would explain to a child why they call themselves Persians, and that Iran used to be called Persia. I was so fucking embarrassed and ashamed of myself for not knowing that. And a good friend who is half Persian (fairly) made me feel like an absolute moron for not knowing it.

And even later in life, probably around age 30, I was quite dumbfounded to learn that some -istan countries were formerly members of the USSR. In my head, anything ending in -istan was the Middle East, totally discrete and separate from Russia, which, in my head, was basically Europe even though most of it is in Asia. I think this whole -istan revelation is what made me finally consciously register how cultural prejudices can really skew perceptions.

by Anonymousreply 18805/11/2020

I went to a top college. I was shocked to find out that one of my best friends there has absolutely no knowledge of geography at all.

At first we thought she was joking when she couldn't, say, point out europe on a map. But then, after a while, we realized she wasn't kidding. She once told me she had to locate New Delhi and spent an hour looking all over England for it on the map

by Anonymousreply 18905/11/2020

Americans are so poorly traveled and have such piss poor understanding about the world.

This is why the GOP can get away with suck lies as "Healthcare is Europe is terrible. We don't want to be like socialized countries. America is the best country in the world."

And suckers believe it

by Anonymousreply 19005/11/2020

R190 if the US had Universal health care it would end up becoming a two tiered system. The richest would pull away the best doctors to be concierge and what you see happening at overloaded VA clinics would be the norm. Not every one is on the same page about this, and with corruption, I'm afraid they're right.

I want everyone to have healthcare but in the US, Obama's plan expanded was the far more sensible thing to do. Oversight for these insurance companies would be a better start. The biggest problem is affordability. Everyone poor already gets MC4A anyway. Obama's plan and Affordable Care was the right way to go.

by Anonymousreply 19105/11/2020
Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 19205/11/2020

This thread inspired me to get my globe down off the shelf. It's just a cheap one I got at a yard dale but it is so helpful. All these geographical/spatial confusions are so much easier to see on a globe. Schoolkids should get individual globes along with their laptops.

I've always travelled with maps, map books even. Always want to orient myself re north. Still I have see I have many misconceptions, like I thought Guam was northwest of Hawaii and closer to Japan instead of WSW and near the Philippines. Colombia, just always think it's east of Venezuela, instead of west.

by Anonymousreply 19305/11/2020

[quote]Here is one that boggles my mind: Alaska is the westernmost American state and it is also the easternmost state (due to the Aleutian Islands being in the eastern hemisphere).

But Guam is "Where America's Day Begins!"

by Anonymousreply 19405/11/2020

r187 Really?

by Anonymousreply 19505/11/2020

USA , India and China can fit into Africa and you'd have some left

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 19605/11/2020

Africa is about 3 times bigger than the US ( by area size). By population size, Africa is about 4 times more populated than the US. By economy (GDP), the US is about 7 times richer than the whole Africa.

by Anonymousreply 19705/11/2020

Rome, Italy is farther north than NYC. Naples is at about the same latitude as NYC.

by Anonymousreply 19805/11/2020

The level of sunshine in most of Europe outside of the southern countries is wayyy below the average sunshine in the American states. Not sure I could handle that. Especially Scandinavia in winter with the constant darkness.

by Anonymousreply 19905/11/2020

At 11,942 feet, La Paz, Bolivia is the world's highest capital city by elevation.

by Anonymousreply 20005/11/2020

Maps like the one at R196 are interesting because a lot of us have been misinformed by maps about the scale of the continent. But it's also interesting that the perspective is corrected by placing *countries* inside of the African *continent.*

Of course the continent is going to be large enough to fit several large's a continent, after all.

I think it would be more interesting and informative to see North America or South America superimposed over Africa to gauge their relative scales.

by Anonymousreply 20105/11/2020

R179 This is because many people use the Mercator projection map as the default. Now if you remember 6th grade geometry, if you had a circle and you cut it in one side, the resulting shape looks like a bow tie with 2 cut parts meeting at point 0. Now because we want the map to be in a rectangular shape, we much stretch the top and bottom points from being 0 length to the size equal to the other 2. This means the landmass in the north and south will look bigger than they are.

The default map (e.g current google maps) is famous because it is great for navigation and because Africa is right Danny in the middle of it all, it retain the most real shape and size of any continent but the other continents are further from the equator so the get stretched and become bigger.

If you used a map that gives somewhat accurate size of the land but the stretching will still be there so you’ll get weird looks where Russia looks so long and so skinny.

This stretching is why Russia looks so long in a rectangular map, no matter if it’s Mercator or something else, Russia will always a look long and Antarctica always looks like its surrounding the entire bottom of the map when we make a rectangular map.

This isn’t bad just for continents, South Africa is stretched too so it looks bigger than it is while Niger is less stretched. So this happens at every Y-value of the map.

by Anonymousreply 20205/11/2020

R192 Many thanks. What Fits Into Mother Russia is one my SCTV favourites and quite educational too.

by Anonymousreply 20305/11/2020

Tennessee and Missouri are tied as the states having the most borders with other states.

by Anonymousreply 20405/11/2020

All the OCD shoppers came here.

by Anonymousreply 20505/11/2020

This mix of comments brings up a question for me: Is there a difference between geography and geopolitics?

by Anonymousreply 20605/11/2020

I have always loved geography. I know where every country is. Studying maps has fascinated me since the fifth grade when I drew the best map in my class--and I'm no artist. I just love maps, and I look up everything when I want to know more about a country (population, economy, weather, religion, natural resources, history, form of government, etc.) even countries with which you may already be familiar since there is always something more to learn.

by Anonymousreply 20705/11/2020

[quote]Americans are so poorly traveled and have such piss poor understanding about the world.

[quote]This is why the GOP can get away with suck lies as "Healthcare is Europe is terrible. We don't want to be like socialized countries. America is the best country in the world."

[quote]And suckers believe it

Americans are discouraged in many ways from traveling and from learning about other places. Tell an American (pre-Covid19) that you are travelling to Budapest or Stockholm or Vienna or Venice or Paros or Paris or Manchester or Madrid or Lisbon and there is a very good chance that people will tell you to "be careful," and "be safe," as if these were danger zones, no man's lands of chaos and war and personal peril. Probe a bit and you will see that many have the suspicion that these places are somehow a bit primitive, lacking all the finery and modern amenities of America, and that there is hardship to be endured.

In the most peaceable times with the most advanced and friendly of nations, State Department travel guidelines sound can seem more than a little dubious about travel at all. And if you must do it, inform the U.S. embassy of your plans to go to Paris!

Of course the best thing is for Americans to stay at home and check off the list of 50 states, or the national parks, anything but leaving the safety and luxury of American soil!

by Anonymousreply 20805/11/2020

A web-based country comparison tool (there are many, but this one is reasonably simple and flexible.)

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 20905/11/2020

Argentina is larger in size than Mexico. For some reason, I found that one very surprising.

by Anonymousreply 21005/11/2020

One of the reasons the US is so insular and ignorant id because the country is vast and relatively isolated. So we tend to know a fair amount about states but not about other countries.

By comparison, scalewise, European nations are kind of akin to contiguous states, albeit ones separated by languages and millennia-old discrete cultures. Europe is also close to Africa and has ties to it through colonization and so Europeans tend to get a lot of African news compared with the US.

It sounds like I am making excuses for our ignorance in the US, and I am not; I’m just stating that relatively speaking, we have a lot of differences that separate us from smaller, more interconnected countries.

All this said, I wonder: Are Europeans actually very worldly and knowledgeable with respect to greater Asia and South America? I’m not suggesting they aren’t, so don’t attack me. I just honestly don’t know if they are. They certainly are better aware of European, US and African goings-on than we in the US are.

Likewise, I know people from Liberia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Eritrea and they are indeed worldly. All of those I know from these countries know what goes on politically and economically in countries throughout the globe.

And what about Central and South American people? I honestly have no idea whatsoever how insular or globally aware they are. Or if they can be generalized in this way as a continent. I imagine major economies like Brazil and Chile are more in touch with goings on throughout the world since they trade a lot. But is there a level of awareness that can be generalized?

by Anonymousreply 21105/11/2020

R211, European countries tend to have more knowledge due to their history of invading/being invaded by others which means its part of their history that is taught (if that makes sense). Also, the fact that Europe has a more central location in comparison to the US means they do have more knowledge--at least on the surface--of the countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

by Anonymousreply 21205/11/2020

But R211, I do have to disagree with you on this point:

[quote] So we tend to know a fair amount about states but not about other countries.

Americans tend to know only about their own local areas and can even be clueless about the rest of their own states (think Chicago versus the rest of Illinois). And a huge chunk of students in America don't even know where New York state is on the map. That's according to a National Geographic poll.

by Anonymousreply 21305/11/2020

R213 OK, I will give you that. I work for a national association that works in all states plus territories as far out as Micronesia, and when I took the job 12 years ago at age 30, I knew nothing about and no one from the midwest or western stares like Wyoming and Colorado. I was one hundred percent ignorant. Now after over a decade I can proudly say that I am only 96 percent ignorant.

by Anonymousreply 21405/11/2020

R213 and some people who don't live in the state of New York think all it consists of is Manhattan. The know nothing of Long Island, the Finger Lakes, etc.

by Anonymousreply 21505/11/2020

[quote] if the US had Universal health care it would end up becoming a two tiered system. The richest would pull away the best doctors to be concierge and what you see happening at overloaded VA clinics would be the norm.

Universal health care can be established in many ways. You are thinking about the British system where the government employs the doctors and owns the hospitals. It works just fine there. The rich may have access to special doctors who choose to be out of the system, but all studies support there is no difference in quality.

The system the US already has in Medicare, with which the government pays private doctors, works fantastically. Administrative costs are slashed dramatically (about 1%, where private insurance causes overhead to be abut 25-30%) and everyone is covered. Even with Obamacare, we have 15 million uninsured.

by Anonymousreply 21605/11/2020

Yes!I consider myself a fairly smart person,but my geographical ignorance is a major source of embarrassment.

by Anonymousreply 21705/11/2020

R215 That’s funny. That reminds me of the first time my sister visited NYC (which was with me). We walked to the Chelsea piers and she was shocked that there were piers in New York City. I was like, well, it’s an island, after all. And she thought I was fucking with her. She did not believe that Manhattan was an island...she always thought of it as a big cement parking lot in the middle of a state.

by Anonymousreply 21805/11/2020

I do wonder what percentage of Americans know that Canada is a geographically larger country than the U.S.

by Anonymousreply 21905/11/2020

... and has fewer people than California.

by Anonymousreply 22005/11/2020

both good points

by Anonymousreply 22105/11/2020

R219, ditto China.

by Anonymousreply 22205/11/2020

[quote]European countries tend to have more knowledge due to their history of invading/being invaded by others which means its part of their history that is taught (if that makes sense). Also, the fact that Europe has a more central location in comparison to the US means they do have more knowledge--at least on the surface--of the countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

[quote]By comparison, scalewise, European nations are kind of akin to contiguous states, albeit ones separated by languages and millennia-old discrete cultures. Europe is also close to Africa and has ties to it through colonization and so Europeans tend to get a lot of African news compared with the US.

Excuses and not terribly good ones.

The U.S. has 800 military bases in 70 countries; it played a major role in endless military conflicts with little rest for over 100 years, and has had very active diplomatic and other relations with the whole fucking world for a very long time. The U.S. has actively placed itself in the middle of a lot of international issues and the side-effect of that is not curiosity but disinterest.

In Spain if I mention Delaware the great majority of people know that it is a state, and they usually have at least a good general sense of where the state is, many will say, "Oh, that is the first state from when the nation was formed, isn't it?, or "That is the state where all of the big corporations are registered." Initially I mentioned the state with reluctance having had too often to explain—to Americans—yes, it's a real state, yes it's small, yes it's on the East Coast, no it's not part of Pennsylvania nor New York.

Of course Europeans has easier proximity to international travel than do Americans; it's easy to understand the geographic obstacle to international travel that many Americans face. But in the country with the world's highest GDP, 10% of American adults have never been outside the state in which they were born, and the average American has visited just 12 states. The implication that Americans are too busy exploring their own nation to explore any other doesn't hold up well.

And for fuck's sake, likening European countries to U.S. states is a real stretch. Chicago and Minneapolis may be similar to the distance between Barcelona and Monaco, but that's where the comparison stops. They haven't been under the same rule for 1500 years or so; they are very different places.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 22305/11/2020

R166 You forgot the biggest country of them all, Russia

by Anonymousreply 22405/11/2020

If Antarctica were a country, it would be the second largest (between Russia and Canada.) Of course most of it is covered with ice, but it's still land.

by Anonymousreply 22505/11/2020

"But in the country with the world's highest GDP, 10% of American adults have never been outside the state in which they were born, and the average American has visited just 12 states."

America may have the world's highest GDP but that doesn't mean everyone is rich. Plenty of people don't have the leisure time or money for international travel. Lots of Americans don't get paid vacation days.

by Anonymousreply 22605/11/2020

r211, you’d be surprised at the ignorance most English people show regarding Ireland. And I’ve found Europeans generally to have a poor grasp of the size of the United States. Those who haven’t visited our shores think the Rockies are but a few hours’ drive from NYC and that California is not much farther beyond that. I’m exaggerating, but not by much.

by Anonymousreply 22705/11/2020

honestly, r223, my experience in traveling in Europe is that few people know where my home state, Wisconsin, is. I usually have to say it's near Chicago. That's a biggie for some reason, and I don't expect every Italian to know or care about Wisconsin, but I think you're exaggerating a little with the European knowledge of America.

The point about the military bases and the military interventions is a good one. Most of us truly don't care about what our government is doing around the world in our name, and that actually sucks.

by Anonymousreply 22805/11/2020

Agreed about the military thing. We should know more. But I also understand why Americans stay away from learning about foreign policy (not excusing it though).

by Anonymousreply 22905/11/2020

[quote] In Spain if I mention Delaware the great majority of people know that it is a state,

This is not even close to true. They may know about California, New York, Texas, Washington D.C., Chicago (but not Illinois) but that's about the extent of it for the majority. They sure as hell don't know about Delaware.

by Anonymousreply 23005/11/2020

I agree, R228. I have relatives in Ireland and know people in the UK, and they have all been to some major US cities or national parks and they do know the names of major cities and some other areas, but none of them knows all the US states or has any idea where they are in relation to one another. My cousin in Ireland knows Boston, NYC and Chicago for obvious reasons. People in the UK know Florida because they vacation there, and they know major cities. They’re not familiar with US geography otherwise (and why should they be?). It’s just not a true stereotype in my experience that people have a very broad understanding of places they don’t have reason to know about. If their country has a relationship with an area—for example, Liberia sends a lot of people to the DC area and to Staten Island and to Minnesota and so they know these areas. They don’t have any reason to know Idaho from Utah and certainly could not identify to which state Boise belongs or where to find it on a map.

by Anonymousreply 23105/11/2020

In my experience Europeans know about as much about U.S. geography as Americans do, which is impressive for the former and depressing for the latter.

by Anonymousreply 23205/11/2020

LOL R232. True. I really think there should be some kind of volunteer program or something where people teach kids about the American and global geography. Even if it's just where each state is and where each country is on the map.

by Anonymousreply 23305/11/2020

[quote] Are Europeans actually very worldly and knowledgeable with respect to greater Asia and South America?

From personal experience, I would say certain Europeans (Germans, Dutch) have a much larger presence as tourists than Americans in South America, but as far as a deeper cultural or historical knowledge about the countries down there, I would say no. At least not the ones my age who I met/traveled with.

by Anonymousreply 23405/11/2020

R234 I was really surprised when I went to Paris in 2012 that the Peruvian tourism agency advertised everywhere from the Metro to inside an international chocolate expo (with a gigantic Mayan temple replica!) seemed like France must be a big market for tourism to Peru. Which just struck me as so odd given that here in the US we are so much closer and I don’t think I have ever seen an ad for tourism in Peru before I saw the ones in Paris.

by Anonymousreply 23505/11/2020

[quote] R137: Portland Maine is actually further south than Portland Oregon

R137, this is not a “dig”, but I searched for “Portland” in this thread because I am from New England, and visited Seattle once, and the people there seemed to take great pride in sharing this interesting bit of geography.

I will add this thought: time zones have a “natural location”, for want of a better expression. That means 24 slices of the earth where every slice is the same width. This can be illustrated by the attached link.

An example of the “natural location” vs. an “altered time zone”, is in the time zone for eastern parts of Quebec. Part of Quebec naturally falls within the same time zone that is East of the Eastern US time zone, called “the Atlantic Time Zone”, but instead, Quebec is placed entirely within the Eastern US time zone. No doubt, to ease crossover commerce. Another example is in Iceland, where it is located within the same time zone as Great Britain, but it’s natural time zone is in the middle of the Atlantic. Another altered time zone is “Alaska Time”, whereby the entire state is officially in a single time zone, while the state is actually so big, that it spans 4 or 5 time zones.

There are tons of such places where commerce or politics causes a dislocation of the natural time zones borders.

All the above to make a point in my next post.

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by Anonymousreply 23605/11/2020

R235, yeah. South America is sort of our backyard, with cheaper flights for us, so I expected more American tourists down there, but no, Europeans tourists definitely outnumber us there. Americans are definitely very well-represented in the Mexican resort areas and Costa Rica though.

Western European tourists do tend to be more adventurous than American tourists -- or at least more likely to vacation in more far-flung places. They also get more vacation time. I think it helps that their media doesn't promote as much fear about parts unknown.

by Anonymousreply 23705/11/2020

Sometimes geographical mistakes happen in movies, in the John Wayne movie The Green Berets they have the sun setting into the sea, however Vietnam's coast line is on the east coast and the sun sets in the west.

by Anonymousreply 23805/11/2020

R238 My favorite is when the TV series 24 showed an airplane landing at National Airport/DCA outside of DC—and surrounded by palm trees.

by Anonymousreply 23905/11/2020

The Sound of Music had the Von Trapps escaping into Nazi Germany.

by Anonymousreply 24005/11/2020

R240 Little-known fact: The Sound of Music was supposed to have been followed by the musical tragedy “VonTrapped! The Sound of Silence” but it was shelved.

by Anonymousreply 24105/11/2020

NY and New England are in, or about in, the far eastern side of the Eastern Time Zone. The upper peninsula of Michigan is on the far western side of the same Eastern Time Zone. So, even though both are in the same time zone, dusk and dawn occur at different times on the clock. At midsummer:

In Boston, MA the sun sets at 8:25 pm, with 15.5 hours of daylight.

In Whitefish Bay, MI, the sun sets at 9:24 pm, with 15:37 hours of daylight.

In Seattle, WA, the sun sets at 9:11 pm, with 16 hours of daylight.

It felt really late, to me, for the sun to be out so late in the day, in Seattle.

by Anonymousreply 24205/11/2020

R242 My sister and I went to Amsterdam together a few years ago around this time of year and we were exhausted when we got there...and very confused when the sun didn’t go down until almost 10:00. That’s when we finally realized how far north Europe is compared with the US. We both assumed the Netherlands is at about the same latitude as NYC for some reason. Not even aligns with the Newfoundland Inuit Islands.

Here in DC, the sun will set tonight at 8:10 pm; there, at 9:25.

by Anonymousreply 24305/11/2020

I’m nowhere near as stupid as you are, OP.

by Anonymousreply 24405/11/2020

Pretty much everyone around the world seems to know what and where California is. I've traveled a LOT (all the continents except Australia and Antarctica), and when people ask where I'm from and I say "California" (not the US or a specific city), it's immediately recognized.

by Anonymousreply 24505/11/2020

Pretty much everyone around the world watch movies and TV shows that they know are made in Hollywood, California.

Entertainment is one of our most important global exports and essential to our perceived status internationally. I believe that, following military intimidation and overall spending, entertainment—most of it known to be made in California—is our greatest asset on the global stage. The smoke and mirrors of the USA brand reside in California, USA, and people know it.

Do people outside of the USA know where Nebraska is? Do people inside of the USA know where Nebraska is?

by Anonymousreply 24605/11/2020

Tornado Alley has different iterations depending who you listen to. It can be in the shape of an arm with a finger pointing g upwards, in the shape of a revolver or just a rectangle.

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by Anonymousreply 24705/11/2020

Love the shape of this one

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by Anonymousreply 24805/11/2020

R238 reminds me. IIRC, the west coast of Florida is the only place on the east coast of the US where you can watch the sun set over the water. I wonder if Lake Okeechobee might also qualify, though it’s fresh water. Anyone know? Hey, wait a minute, Cape Cod qualifies, too. I‘ve been gyped!

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by Anonymousreply 24905/11/2020

R248, thanks for that map. I didn't know tornado alley extended into eastern Montana.

by Anonymousreply 25005/11/2020

Well there are a bunch of different tornado alley maps. That one looks a bit like a penis, so I like it.

But there’s this

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by Anonymousreply 25105/11/2020

And this one

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by Anonymousreply 25205/11/2020

This is kind of lake a ghost from behind

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by Anonymousreply 25305/11/2020

R250, just watch out for where Tornado Alley intersects with Alligator Alley, because It’s the kind of place you really have to be raised in. It’s really hard to settle-into if you’re a transplant.

by Anonymousreply 25405/11/2020

This one says We’re Number 1!

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by Anonymousreply 25505/11/2020

New England hasn’t had a decent Hurricane in decades. I grew-up in a town that had all these huge, elegant homes built on the water-side of a road that ran along Long Island Sound. In the 1960s, there were no homes on the water side of the street because they all had washed away, or been condemned, as a result of the 1938 Hurricane. By the 1980s, they started building on those plots again and it was such a shame because that view was so beautiful as you drove by and it was something that felt like it belonged to the people, not a person. Someday soon, we’ll feel the fire and the fury again and it’ll be terrible because no one personally remembers how serious a hurricane can be.

As a kid, we’d lose power often during the Summer, but that doesn’t happen anymore. (I’m the guy whose Grandmother was the after-hours Emergency phone operator for Connecticut Light and Power, which provided electricity for the entire state. She had a phone setup in her bedroom, and also ran a boarding house, like Ma Bailey. She rented to men only, because women were too much work. Too. much histrionics. anyway, I want more storms, and I want them now. .

I also felt that earthquake that originated in Virginia about 2016. I thought it was just a gust of wind We get tornadoes in New England, too, but not very often.

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by Anonymousreply 25605/11/2020

I'm a Brit but think I know more about world geography than I do about my own country. We don't have the insular approach like learning all counties and their county towns, but possibly because of the Commonwealth, we're taught a lot about the World and its history. I probably know more about states in Germany than I do about counties in the UK. Americans tend to travel within the US to destinations they can drive to, Europeans will fly or take the train and within hours we're in a different culture.

by Anonymousreply 25705/11/2020

Catherine Hepburn had an estate In Connecticut on Long Island Sound and had some dramatic story about riding-out the 1938 hurricane. IIRC, the building she took shelter in started falling apart around her and she had to exit the building and make her way to the nearest building, during the height of the storm. Somehow she almost drown.

My Dad was a tradesman who did some work for her. She had a life-hack of paying for whatever services she got, with a personal check, because people wouldn’t cash her checks. They’d hang on to them, like having an autograph. My Dad, a Depression-era man with seven kids, somehow made a photocopy of it to hang on the wall at his shop, and cashed the check.

by Anonymousreply 25805/11/2020

[quote]Catherine Hepburn

Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 25905/11/2020

I remember the story of Katherine Hepburn during the 1938 hurricane. She lived most of her life in the Fenwick section of Old Saybrook, but I thought she was in the Hartford area during the hurricane.

by Anonymousreply 26005/11/2020

When I was in elementary school, I once commented that it looked like the side of South America would fit perfectly into Africa.

I was told that was idiotic.

by Anonymousreply 26105/11/2020

OP, this is one of my favorite geographic things. Under the midwest, from Texas to South Dakota, There is an underground source of freshwater called the Ogallala Aquifer. It’s why much the midwest can support all the crops that it does. They think the water Is 2 to 6 million years old, but was possibly also charged by melting ice water from the various ice ages. There's plenty of water there for now, but they think it takes 6000 years to recharge, so it will be a disaster for the US when it starts to dry up.

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by Anonymousreply 26205/11/2020

R262 Similarly...while Dubya was president, the Bush family bought 300,000 acres in Paraguay, which confused a lot of people until they realized that they were actually buying a huge untapped aquifer that one day will be one of the world’s most profitable commodities.

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by Anonymousreply 26305/11/2020

Regards geography get your DNA sequenced. Seriously I found out I've got a bunch of interesting bits of ancestry. Predominantly what the spouse refers to Mediterranean but also have North African, Ashkenazi Jewish etc.

by Anonymousreply 26405/11/2020

The Hoover Dam is fascinating because it not only provides water to multiple states, but electricity, too. We’d never have the kind of development in the South West that we’ve had, without the damn. Lake Mead, behind the damn, has been receding for decades and it’s going to be a real problem if it gets much lower.

by Anonymousreply 26505/11/2020

My DNA revealed I am 60 percent British, 36 percent Irish and four percent Norwegian. Which fucking white. But it did make me want to visit Ireland finally (along with making a pilgrimage in memory of my mother) and OH MY GOD it is so much more amazing than I ever imagined. I also now want to see Norway, which was never really a priority for me.

That’s the DNA breakdown, but there’s also a huge pink blob over Switzerland and Lichtenstein, and so I have ancestors from there even if the DNA is mixed up with British, I guess.

by Anonymousreply 26605/11/2020

Knowing even a bit of geography can have such wonderful, simple results as making friends easier and delighting people. When I was living in London I was introduced to an American girl who said she was from North Carolina. I responded: "Oh, Raleigh?" and she opened up completely then; thrilled and somewhat surprised anyone knew anything about her home state. She wasn't even from Raleigh and it's such a simplistic thing to ask someone but it made her feel included straight away. You never know when these random bits of information will come in handy.

by Anonymousreply 26705/11/2020

R159, possibly! There are certainly some similarities between ancient Egypt and the ancient civilizations of the Americas for sure -- building of pyramids, mummification. The practice of mummification in what is now Peru predates the Egyptian mummies.

by Anonymousreply 26805/11/2020

yeah, I agree, r268. I seriously doubt there was any kind of regular interaction, but the occasional contact with weird results is possible. I suspect a lot is buried here in the new world that would show weird contacts. I definitely think some Africans made it here at various times in the ancient world.

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by Anonymousreply 26905/11/2020

Most volcanoes exist near where plates meet. There’s a “Ring of Fire” from the bottom of South America, up to Alaska, then down Japan and further.

There is another kind of volcano or supper volcanos that are not part of the ring of fire or related to a plate boundary. These are like permutations, far into the mantle below. If you look at the Hawaiian islands you can see how, over time, volcanic islands were created in a line, as the tectonic plates moved across the stationary hot spot, over millions of years.

A Yellowstone hot spot eruption like those in the past, would be an extinction event for the US as a thick layer of ash would destroy crop production, and would cause much of the US to become unlivable.

There are a number of others including Iceland and Naples.

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by Anonymousreply 27005/11/2020

damn, r270, now cocaine mummies seem kinda sweet and innocent, comparatively.

by Anonymousreply 27105/11/2020

I actually do know my geography, pretty well. I can spend hours poring over maps.

by Anonymousreply 27205/11/2020

It's so cute Americans have this idea of what Europeans are. Like pristine, ideal humans.

They're just people like everyone else. With accents.

by Anonymousreply 27305/11/2020

um, r273, what? what the hell? you think Americans see Europeans as ideal humans? Where are you? Why do you imagine that is a thing?

by Anonymousreply 27405/11/2020

I did not know that Africa is almost twice the size of Russia!

by Anonymousreply 27505/11/2020

New Zealand is made up of the highest points of a mountain range on the submerged continent of Zealandia. If the other 94% were to come up from the ocean NZ would be almost two-thirds the size of Australia.

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by Anonymousreply 27605/11/2020

R276, I never knew about Zealandia! That's fascinating!

by Anonymousreply 27705/11/2020

That's interesting, R262. I just watched the documentary "H2O: The Molecule That Made Us" on PBS, and they mentioned that the last 4 decades the Ogallala Aquifer has been depleted by about the amount of water that it took 6000 years to 'collect'. At this rate, it could be completely depleted in 50 years. Farmers really need to change their irrigation practices to slow this down.

by Anonymousreply 27805/12/2020

God, I feel really stupid. I am reading through all of these and maybe only a handful I knew or heard before. I guess I am woefully under-learned in Geography. But thanks for the great lessons. With that said, I'll leave this clip here.

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by Anonymousreply 27905/12/2020

I really love this thread. I always loved geography and maps. Being from Germany I was really surprised about the shortness of sunset and sunrise when being in Dubai and in Yucatan. The same happened staying in Denmark in June in the opposite way. The night was so short.

One for the real freaks here: Please explain me, why the moon (half moon f. e.) is more turning to a "lieing" position when getting more south in the northern hemisphere?

by Anonymousreply 28005/12/2020

French Guiana in South-America is still under French control and is, therefore, part of the European Union.

by Anonymousreply 28105/12/2020

The Dutch "Sint Maarten" and the French "Saint-Martin" are one and the same Caribbean island. The southern half is part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, the northern share belongs to France.

by Anonymousreply 28205/12/2020

If you do go to a country near the equator--fun fact, there is no gradual dawn or dusk, the transition is in minutes--since sunrise and sunset are nearly the same time every day, it doesn't take long to be able to tell the time just by the position of the sun. Not that you have to stare at it, but you get a feeling, like it feels like 11am or whatever.

by Anonymousreply 28305/12/2020

Yes, OP, you're the only one who thought that. You're an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 28405/12/2020

r281. Same for Guadeloupe, St. Martin etc. Les departments outre mere. Being part of the European union, the Euro as currency but not part of the Schengen agreement. When flying from Guadeloupe to France there is no customs and immigration when you are a holder of an EU passport.

by Anonymousreply 28505/12/2020

Don’t forget about us, r282 and r285.

by Anonymousreply 28605/12/2020

r286. Sorry. I never looked you up. And I never realized that you exist. DOM for me was almost caribian and pacific and Réunion.

This thread is really instructive.

by Anonymousreply 28705/12/2020

R276, thanks. It's fun to speculate how things would be different if Zealandia had been land for millions of years. Its westernmost point is pretty close to ... Brisbane, I think.

Would Polynesians have colonized Australia, too? What would their interactions with the Aboriginal Australians have been like? (My guess: Not a happy outcome for the Native Australians.)

Even just Zealandia by itself would have been by far the largest Polynesian country in the world, I think.

Would Australia and Zealandia be a single country today? Probably - and probably more populous than AUS and NZ combined, because much of Zealandia would have had a more favorable climate than Australia.

Speaking of which, what would the climate of Australia be like? Even hotter and drier, with access to moist Pacific air blocked by Zealandia?

Anyway, what a great thread! I had no idea there were so many other DLers who are geography nerds and map lovers. We should have a convention!

by Anonymousreply 28805/12/2020

One night, my British friend, who now lives in Santa Barbara, went to LA to pick up his sister at LAX, some 90 miles south. It was her first visit to the US. Near the freeway is some kind of little oil processing facility about halfway between Santa Barbara and Ventura. Part of this operation includes a wooden pier, maybe 40 feet wide or so, and extending a few hundred yards into the sea. At the end of the pier is a group of bright lights.

"What's that?" the sister asked as they neared the pier.

"That's Hawaii," replied my friend.

"Oh," said the sister. "I thought it would be…bigger."

by Anonymousreply 28905/12/2020

R288 also makes me wonder, would Zealandia have become a penal colony as well? The guesses you've made all sound likely to me too.

I'd come to the convention! 😊

by Anonymousreply 29005/12/2020

I have a perhaps peculiar thing I like to do around geography/travel stuff, and I wonder if anyone else is the same. I always go straight to reading up on the health and safety/warning aspects of a country, as well as the history of its dangerous times if they existed, and it never worries me or stops me going anywhere*, I just find the more dangerous parts of the world really interesting. I was reminded of this after the mention of the Darién Gap up above. Perhaps it's because as the world starts to feel more and more homogeneous, it's interesting to know there are still really wild and lawless places out there.

(*admittedly, Mogadishu has never been on my travel list in the first place, I should say.)

by Anonymousreply 29105/12/2020

R288, I also have so many Zealandia what-ifs. Measuring from Australia's continental crust (which is very close to shore in the Byron Bay/Brisbane area) to Zealandia's, the distance is only 25 km.

Since this is DL, just think of how many additional rugby players the expanded landmass could support.

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by Anonymousreply 29205/12/2020

^ That is a very good argument for some sort of "Raise Zealandia" movement. 😉

by Anonymousreply 29305/12/2020

This one fascinates me. At some point towards the end of the last ice age, an ice dam was created, behind which a great lake formed. Eventually, the dam collapsed and all that water behind it flowed to the west. Not gently, either, it ripped through the landscape. and took days to flow through, all the way to the Pacific.

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by Anonymousreply 29405/12/2020

Here’s one I do not understand. First, I do understand why the Grand Canyon is so deep. The river essentially saws it’s way down into the rocks. But how did the canyon get to be so wide? Nobody has an answer for that. My personal hunch is that the melting of glaciers during multiple Ice ages was the source of the water. But I don’t hear that idea expressed by the people who should know.

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by Anonymousreply 29505/12/2020

OP, did you know that the Black Sea was once a smaller, freshwater lake? There is evidence of freshwater fossils, and settlements that are now underwaterM but we’re once on the shoreline.

It was probably related to the water level change from an ice age that water from the Mediterranean broke through into the Black Sea and the lake subsequently grew.

Some say it’s the genesis of the biblical story of Noah’s flood, but others will note that there are “flood Myths” in many cultures.

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by Anonymousreply 29605/12/2020

I was told that New Zealand and Australia really aren’t close to each other. They just seem so because there's not much else around there. But it’s not a short hop, from one to the other.

Their indigenous populations are very different, and have been treated differently.

by Anonymousreply 29705/12/2020

I get a kick from seeing these white kids, or men, doing a Haka.

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by Anonymousreply 29805/12/2020

Op, have you seen this one? At certain border crossings between India and Pakistan, the guards put on a display of hostility to intimidate each other, and entertain the crowds that gather to watch. Sometimes, you can catch them shaking hands at the conclusion of the act, as if they were old friends.

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by Anonymousreply 29905/12/2020

What the fuck was that R298? Does soccer usually involved choreographed pre-show dances?

by Anonymousreply 30005/12/2020

R300 It's not football/soccer, it's rugby. The All Blacks are New Zealand's national team. They do a haka - challange - before every game, as part of New Zealand "cultural expression". First the pakeha destroy Maori culture, then they expropriate it as part of their "national pride". Guilt, more likely.

by Anonymousreply 30105/12/2020

R297, the flight from Sydney to Auckland is about 3.5 hours.

I too am a geography geek loving this thread. Someone upthread mentioned the shock of discovering how close Ireland is to the Arctic. Even knowing that, it was startling to me to see the sun set in a busy city like Dublin after 10pm. Similarly, in NZ even knowing how close we were to the Antarctic, it was startling to see penguins in the wild.

My random factoid contributions:

The Sargasso Sea (in the Atlantic Ocean) is the only body of water with no land boundary. It’s set apart by currents that distinguish it from the surrounding water.

Because of the Earth’s bulge at the Equator, Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador extends further into space than Mt. Everest, which is much taller.

The Diomede Islands, between Russia and Alaska, are about 2 mi apart but also 20 hours apart because of the International Date Line.

Despite not being an island, Canada is the country with the longest coastline. And Alaska has more than half of the total US coastline.

In the Philippines, there is an island in the middle of a lake, in the middle of a volcano, in the middle of a bigger lake, in the middle of a bigger island.

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by Anonymousreply 30205/12/2020

Lots of interesting facts there, R302. I remember learning about Big and Little Diomede from Michael Palin's Full Circle trip around the edge of the Pacific. He wasn't able to complete his journey because of bad weather, if I remember correctly.

Alaska really is huge, isn't it? Like in a way you sort of forget about until you're reminded. People here have been mentioning a few "what ifs" and one of mine is "What if Russia had never sold Alaska to the US?" What sort of differences would that have made, if any, during the Cold War? You sort of forget that the US and Russia are as close as they are, because you think of them on opposite ends of the standard map, and where they do almost meet it is very sparsely populated.

Also, your link made me think it could be something R176 would like, even though it's perhaps not exactly what s/he is after. Atlas Obscura has a lot of interesting and surprising world facts.

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by Anonymousreply 30305/12/2020

What if the Soviet Union had access to Alaska's oil reserves and shared a border with Canada? Yeah, we could spend days on that scenario.

by Anonymousreply 30405/13/2020

R280, see here:

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by Anonymousreply 30505/13/2020

It's strange to remember that both Alaska and Hawaii weren't officially states until 1958. What if we'd turned around and sold Alaska to Canada during the Depression?

by Anonymousreply 30605/13/2020

There’s a lake in South America called Titicaca!

by Anonymousreply 30705/13/2020

^ Titicaca, you say?

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by Anonymousreply 30805/13/2020

Animated gif showing true size of countries compared to Mercator projection:

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by Anonymousreply 30905/13/2020

True scale:

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by Anonymousreply 31005/13/2020

I wasn’t sure if astronomy is in-topic, but R305 misses something even more jarring. Isn’t the phase of the crescent moon in the Southern Hemisphere in reverse, of how it appears in the Northern Hemisphere? Doesn’t it appear in a way that it never appears in the opposite hemisphere?

I have a small telescope and have learned that Venus has phases, too. I can also see the rings around Saturn and the twinkle of four moons around Jupiter. Of course I can see craters on the moon, too. My telescope is not very strong. It is as if all this is just out of range of the human eye. If our eyes were just a little better, all of that might have been visible and completely changed our mythology and scientific research.

by Anonymousreply 31105/13/2020

The moon has a cool history.

The early proto-Earth was hit by another forming planet, called Thea. It was Mars-sized, and the collision had huge consequences. First, it tilted the earth off its axis. This is what causes the change of the seasons. I think that life could have formed anyway, but this is just a nice little consequence.

The collision threw-up the lighter material, mantle-rock, into space. The heavier material, metals, sunk into the depths of the Earth. Eventually the orbiting rock coalesced into the moon. This means that the moon’s surface is like the earth’s surface, but that the moon lacks metal, and the Earth has excess metal. This means that the moon’s metallic core was smaller, and froze relatively early. The Earth’s mantle is larger than one would expect for its size, because it has the metals from two planets, Earth and Thea. As a result, the Earth’s mantle is still unfrozen, and has a Protective metallic shield that is larger than it would be expected to have. This protected life from radiation and allowed life to more easily survive the evolution from water to land.


by Anonymousreply 31205/13/2020

I know someone who was 50 years old when he learned that Spain was in Europe.

by Anonymousreply 31305/13/2020

A friend who was born and raised in Queens told me he never realized until he was in college that Manhattan was an island.

by Anonymousreply 31405/13/2020

Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and is separated into three different countries -- Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

by Anonymousreply 31505/13/2020

Religiosity is included under geography isn't it (the study of people and their communities as part of human geography)? Because I was going to say one of the things that interested me is that we tend to have this idea of Canada having always been a pretty progressive and open sort of place, but I've met a few older Canadians now who talk about how religious and to them how oppressively conservative the country was until fairly recently. I guess this would explain why Toronto seemed to be the major place that was up in arms during the Blond Ambition Tour? I'd be curious if others agree or disagree on this.

by Anonymousreply 31605/13/2020

Canada has never had freedom of expression in the American sense. Still doesn't Until the 1990's, porn in Canada was highly censored.

by Anonymousreply 31705/13/2020

[quote]A friend who was born and raised in Queens told me he never realized until he was in college that Manhattan was an island.

There are people in NY who don't seem to want to admit that Brooklyn and Queens are on Long Island.

by Anonymousreply 31805/13/2020

A map of Europe made of penises

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by Anonymousreply 31905/13/2020

Someone had dick on the brain.

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by Anonymousreply 32005/13/2020

Here are some New Zealanders mourning in a traditional Haka dance. It seems funny seeing these white boys in short pants adopting a custom that seems foreign.

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by Anonymousreply 32105/13/2020

Here’s another cultural dance. Imagine how long it takes to lean how to dance like this? I imagine the kid goes to school, and has to choose, soccer, or Pramtaler Plattler? All that pattycaking on their behinds at their age has got to lead to some pretty hot action in the locker room afterward, I’m sure.

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by Anonymousreply 32205/13/2020

We live in Minneapolis, so around Thanksgiving/Xmas it is getting dark no later than 4.30pm. A few years ago we were in London for Thanskgiving weekend and I swear at 3pm it was time to turn the headlights on. I was surprised until we got home and traced the latitude.

by Anonymousreply 32305/13/2020

Yep R323, the Christmas I spent in the UK we went and watched the sun set at 2:45pm.

by Anonymousreply 32405/13/2020

In the ear,y 1980s, I worked Summers in Provincetown. There were a lot of French Canadians who worked there that I got to know. Some were very insistent that their country was Quebec, not Canada.

I think the country made a lot of concessions, especially with respect to the French Language, and that cooled things down. But there was a real risk, I understand, that Quebec would declare independence. Then there was speculation as to whether the eastern provinces could stand on their own and whether they might to join the US union, etc.

The history of the employees in Provincetown is pretty interesting, though I’ve forgotten much of it. In the early 1980s, there were mostly college students. American, some Brits, more French Canadians. Many worked in St, Thomas or Florida in the Winters. Mostly Gay, but not all. There were a lot more straights working there. There was a straight couple from my class and program, who worked down the street from me. A lot of straights visited there without “seeing” that it had a ‘Gay“ character.

Over time, it changed. I think it became central Europeans, such as CzechSlovakians, before they divorced. The Americans who worked there tended to be more likely to be gay. Then it became more Hungarian, then later, it became Bulgarians who worked in the front-facing jobs, mostly straights; and Jamaicans in the back office jobs. It’s racist, but it’s how it is. I don’t know if it’s changed in the last few years.

It’s odd that Jamaica is one of the most homophobic places you might ever think to go, nor get your employees from. The Bulgarians and Jamaicans are willing to live literally 10 people in a 2 bedroom, and tolerate living conditions that a Westerners simply will not. I imagine that leave town with a huge pile of cash. I think I typically saved ~$500 over a Summer in ~1982.

by Anonymousreply 32505/13/2020

R315, and a fourth country, the Philippines, claims ownership of North Borneo (Sabah), and reserves the right to reclaim it at some point in time.

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by Anonymousreply 32605/13/2020

For all the people marveling at seeing white kids performing the Haka, do you realize that Maori history and culture are now taught in NZ schools? They are aiming to make the Maori language, which nearly went extinct in the 80s, required in all schools.

by Anonymousreply 32705/13/2020

R321, it would be almost impossible to find a student in NZ who hasn't performed a haka. Every school has its own haka and kapa haka (a program of song, weapons, haka, and poi) one of the most popular extracurricular activities.

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by Anonymousreply 32805/13/2020

30,000 years ago England was attached to France. The white cliffs of Dover are also the white cliffs of La Côte d’Albâtre, or the Alabaster Coast.

by Anonymousreply 32905/13/2020

I do understand that, R327, but I still find it funny. These white kids should be learning the Lindyhop. Or maybe the Lambeth Walk. Maybe a Charleston.

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by Anonymousreply 33005/13/2020

6th grade school-wide 2nd place geography bee finisher right here! I’ve always been fascinated by the Soviet collapse and virtually overnight creation of several Stan countries of which I know nothing about with regard to language, geography, and culture. I mean who in the world ever talks about Tajikistan? I once met a Bisexual woman from Turkmenistan and later looked up how oppressive that government is toward everyone (especially women And LGBT folks) and could understand why she would want to leave and live in Europe. But then again, aren’t half of the Stan countries considered part o Europe these days? I still don’t know which countries east of Eastern Europe are considered “Europe” vs “Asia.”

by Anonymousreply 33105/13/2020

Be best, Pierre.

by Anonymousreply 33205/13/2020

R331, All seven independent -stan countries -- Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan -- are in Asia. The ones formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union I had to memorize for my senior thesis. There are many other -stans that aren't sovereign, like Kurdistan, Balochistan, and Dagestan.

And let's not forget Franistan, home of the Maharincess Shaherizadi.

Armenia, which in its native Armenian language is called "Hayastan," along with Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Anatolia (Turkey) is where Europe ends and Asia begins.

by Anonymousreply 33305/13/2020

We are not "marveling at seeing white kids performing the Haka,"

We are just surprised to see this thing. I would never have guessed it was a traditional dance. I thought it was a cheerleading thing and was surprised that all these guys would be doing something that in America is strictly the province of pompom girls.

by Anonymousreply 33405/14/2020

Why are you speaking for anyone besides yourself? Two direct quotes from other posters:

"Here are some New Zealanders mourning in a traditional Haka dance. It seems funny seeing these white boys in short pants adopting a custom that seems foreign."

"I get a kick from seeing these white kids, or men, doing a Haka."

by Anonymousreply 33505/14/2020

It’s not clear who is talking to whom, about what. The conversation is nonsensical.

by Anonymousreply 33605/14/2020

Until I watched this current season of Homeland, I had no idea that Pakistan shared a border with both Afghanistan and Iran. I always pictured the Indian subcontinent being much further into Asia and not as close to the Middle East as it actually is.

by Anonymousreply 33705/14/2020

Some people don't believe New Mexico is part of the United States.

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by Anonymousreply 33805/14/2020

More confusion

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by Anonymousreply 33905/14/2020

[quote]Until I watched this current season of Homeland, I had no idea that Pakistan shared a border with both Afghanistan and Iran.

Well, WE don't.

by Anonymousreply 34005/14/2020

R338, Many years ago, I worked in shipping and receiving and was training an associate on shipping packages via UPS. One day, she was busy poring through the UPS Worldwide guide trying to figure out the cost of shipping to Mexico, but she couldn't find the postal code of Santa Fe, New Mexico in the guide!

She wasn't very bright. She had trouble trying to figure out the cost of shipping UPS Ground to Hawaii.

by Anonymousreply 34105/14/2020

It is interesting, R337, that one might be more understanding about why Iran might feel threatened by the US, when they are surrounded by American armies on two sides, and have a traditional regional foe, Saudi Arabia, on the third side over a small sea.

by Anonymousreply 34205/14/2020

Yeah I do think of the -stans as their own world, going back to the Great Game in the 19th Century, when Britain and Russia were both trying to control all of Central Asia, which is pretty much all the -stans. Though of course Pakistan is obsessed with India, to a sometimes ridiculous degree.

And of course that's what geography is, not just lines on a map but who hates who, and why, and how long, etc.

by Anonymousreply 34305/14/2020

R337, What I found interesting is after the Partition of India in 1947, there emerged the Dominion of Pakistan, comprised of East Pakistan and West Pakistan, with a big chunk of India between them. How was that ever supposed to work out?

Of course it didn't. East Pakistan became the independent People's Republic of Bangladesh.

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by Anonymousreply 34405/14/2020

R339, wow...

by Anonymousreply 34505/14/2020

yup, r339, funny, I kinda remember that Olympics story from that time.

by Anonymousreply 34605/14/2020

Speaking of India, I'm completely fascinated by the fact that when Pangea broke apart, what is now India and some of its surrounding countries broke off as islands, then crashed into what is now Asia (and created the Himalayas).

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by Anonymousreply 34705/14/2020

R337, the Middle East also abuts China and for a long time from the European perspective was one region. In the original story of Aladdin, added to the Thousand and One Nights by a Frenchman was set in a city in China but otherwise fit the description of a Middle Eastern city (ruled by a Sultan and with Muslim inhabitants). "The Orient" used to refer to both the Middle East and Far East.

by Anonymousreply 34805/14/2020

yeah, everything was a little vague for many many centuries r348. In fact, if I remember even close to home medieval Europeans were pretty damn vague. I think in some of the old Arthurian legends, England and France are kind of the same big landmass and knights could pretty much ride horses between them.

by Anonymousreply 34905/14/2020

R349, I think a lot of the Arthurian legends emerged in the 12th century, when English domains butted up against the Kingdom of France.

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by Anonymousreply 35005/14/2020

Russia, China and North Korea

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by Anonymousreply 35105/14/2020

R350 is correct. The real King Arthur ruled in the 5th Century, but the legends are from the 12th Century when the Angevin Empire included half of France.

by Anonymousreply 35205/14/2020

What's with Holland/The Netherlands? I grew up hearing Holland, but lately you hear The Netherlands.

by Anonymousreply 35305/14/2020

Holland is incorrect. Holland is only a part of the Netherlands. The name confusion stems from when Napoleon carved out a Kingdom of Holland.

by Anonymousreply 35405/14/2020

353, Holland is only a fraction of the entire country of the Netherlands. Using "Holland" to refer to the whole country unfairly excludes the other regions.

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by Anonymousreply 35505/14/2020

That Napoleon fucker sure caused a bunch of trouble and inconvenience.

by Anonymousreply 35605/14/2020

I only know the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and North Korea because the rest are all just shit holes.

by Anonymousreply 35705/14/2020

I'm pretty useless at directions or finding my bearings in a city or knowing south from west in open country, but I'm excellent at geography and can not only name roughly 200 countries and their capitals off the top of my head but also point to them on an unlabeled map. One of my most treasured birthday presents from my parents when I was a kid was a globe and an accompanying atlas. I've enjoyed staring maps to this day.

What I have trouble with, is where Europe ends and Asia starts. I know it's officially the Urals, but how is Eurasia two continents? I also don't understand the continental limits of Oceania/Australasia. What about Antarctica?

by Anonymousreply 35805/14/2020

Until that pic of the Philippines, I'd forgotten Brunei wasn't in the middle East

by Anonymousreply 35905/14/2020

I think I posted this before, but oh well... Years ago my friends and I were playing Pictionary, and one of our female friends was drawing a Person/Place/Animal. She drew what looked like the shape of the United States and drew arrows pointing down below where California was supposed to be. So we were throwing guesses like Mexico, Baja, Tijuana, the Gulf of California, Sonora Desert, anything we could think of below California, but we ran out of time. So when she revealed the answer was Alaska, we were dumbfounded, until she explained that that's where it is on the map!

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by Anonymousreply 36005/14/2020

heh, I'm like that too r358.

"No I'm not sure how to get to Main Street. Can I tell you all about the Balkans instead?"

by Anonymousreply 36105/14/2020

[quote]Holland is only a fraction of the entire country of the Netherlands. Using "Holland" to refer to the whole country unfairly excludes the other regions.

Not unlike the people who say "England" when they mean to refer to the United Kingdom.

by Anonymousreply 36205/14/2020

R358 Same here--I grew up thinking Europe ended right at the Russian border (Russia being part of Asia). Today, the distinction depends on the source. Europe according to Encyclopedia Britannica ends at Russia to the east (Russia is split between Europe and Asia by the Ural mountains), with everything south of Russia being considered Asia (including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Syria, Kazakhstan, etc.). That said, some argue that countries like Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, etc. are "transcontinental" or part of both Europe and Asia. Confusing.

by Anonymousreply 36305/14/2020

R329, never mind 30,000 years ago. 10,000 years ago England was attached to what is now the Netherlands by an area known as Doggerland. Doggerland was submerged beneath the North Sea as the glaciers of the last ice age melted.

If you have fun speculating about what Oceania would be like with Zealandia, just imagine how different European (and, consequently, American) history would be different if Britain was not an island. The sane mind shrinks in horror from the thought! 😨

by Anonymousreply 36405/14/2020

Now I want to go to Doggerland. I imagine it as a canine theme park, with happy doggers running all over the place.

by Anonymousreply 36505/14/2020

^ my thoughts run more along the line of an entire sub-continent of paleolithics dogging in the woods just off the path....

by Anonymousreply 36605/14/2020

So the Bosphorus no longer separates Europe from Asia? Even Turkish friends I know love to claim it's where east meets west.

by Anonymousreply 36705/14/2020

R367, Well sure, the Bosphorus separates Europe from Asia at that end, but you've got that big chunk of land between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea that connects them.

by Anonymousreply 36805/14/2020

Imagine being in the first group of travelers who crossed into America from Asia. Then traveling down into the US past the glacial line, and seeing all the open land, with vast herds of wild animals, and huge flocks of bids that took days to pass over head, they were so many millions of birds! And streams overflowing with fish! And no natives to compete with!

Too bad they left no written record.

by Anonymousreply 36905/14/2020

Reading about Doggerland puts Blur's "This is a Low" in my head.

Any British people here still listen to The Shipping Forecast? I'm not British myself, but even I can see how cozy and nostalgic that would be. I can even name a good chunk of 'em, with the help of songs like "This is a Low" and Radiohead's "In Limbo" 😉. Can anyone tell me what "losing their identities" means in regards to The Shipping Forecast? I can't seem to find a proper answer.

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by Anonymousreply 37005/15/2020

It refers to a change in pressure. Low pressure that's rising is losing its identity; high that's declining is dissipating.

by Anonymousreply 37105/15/2020

This thread is depressing. I don't know which is worse: our education system or the lack of curiosity of so many people. When I was a kid I was an avid reader and had a curiosity about the world. I remember reading biographies of historical figures and the countries they were from. I think reading is the key to intellectual curiosity.

by Anonymousreply 37205/15/2020

R371, thanks my friend!

R372, I was the same, and I also think it helped I had parents and grandparents who actively encouraged learning. I would get all sorts of books about the world as a child, about geography, astronomy, biology, paleontology, history, mythology... and the response to any question would be: "go look it up". Hours upon hours spent amusing myself in other worlds. I also read from a very early age, and don't really remember reading much that was "age appropriate", instead going pretty directly into my parents bookshelves once I could read.

by Anonymousreply 37305/15/2020

Are you an introvert R373? I am and was much happier when I was alone in my room reading. I'm glad I had a mother who would banish us to our rooms for a few hours a day to play, read or nap. It was her down time away from kids but it taught us to entertain ourselves.

by Anonymousreply 37405/15/2020

Yes, I am, R372. I like people a lot, but I get tired if I'm in company for too long, and can spend a fairly long time amusing myself. The inside of my head is always full of things to think about and ideas to explore. We were similarly brought up to be able to amuse ourselves like you did, whether indoors or outdoors, and in addition I was a heavily bullied child at school and I found retreating into all that kind of stuff my escape and saviour really.

by Anonymousreply 37505/15/2020

"It's a beautiful day. Why are you inside reading? Go outside and play."

by Anonymousreply 37605/15/2020

Can someone show me French West Africa? I can't find it.

by Anonymousreply 37705/15/2020

R377, Senegal and Mali?

by Anonymousreply 37805/15/2020

R377, are you posting from 1955?

by Anonymousreply 37905/15/2020

I thought Turkey and all of those sandy Muslim, and sometimes Jewish and Christian, places were the Middle East.

by Anonymousreply 38005/15/2020

[quote]Can someone show me French West Africa? I can't find it.

Every country in West Africa stretching from Mauritania to Cameroon except Nigeria, Ghana Sierra Leone, Gambia (British) Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese) and Liberia (American/Free).

by Anonymousreply 38105/15/2020

Francophone West Africa:

1. Senegal

2. Guinea - Conakry

3. Mali

4. Mauritania

5. Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

6. Togo

7. Benin

8. Burkina Faso

9. Niger

10. Chad

Cameroon is in Central Africa (not to be confused with the Central African Republic which, by the way, is also French-speaking).

by Anonymousreply 38205/15/2020

French West Africa was a federation of [bold]eight[/bold] colonial territories: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan (now Mali), French Guinea (now Guinea), Ivory Coast, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), Dahomey (now Benin) and Niger; from 1895 to 1958.

This is not the same as Francophone West Africa.

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by Anonymousreply 38305/15/2020

r100 at the time the distinction was useful. Calling someone asian is just about useless since so many areas are considered Asia. It's like saying they looked Western. Ok, thanks for nothing. Middle Eastern narrows it down based on a stereotype. I know political correctness means that this creates a grey area for racism to seep into, but the distinction made sense to me, especially after 9/11. I respect that those people are asian as they say in the UK and enlightened parts of the States.

by Anonymousreply 38405/15/2020

R375 that was my childhood experience too.

by Anonymousreply 38505/15/2020

I demand equal time!

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by Anonymousreply 38605/15/2020

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the only independent (i.e., not controlled by a European country) countries in Africa in 1947 were South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Liberia.

by Anonymousreply 38705/15/2020

The Belgium Congo has an interesting history. The Belgium King tried to get his country to colonize the area. When they dithered, he sent troops in and claimed the territory for himself, personally. The Belgiums were brutal, and the colony was one of the great stains on soul of humanity. I otherwise wouldn’t think to associate Belgiums with brutality, but there you got.

by Anonymousreply 38805/15/2020

The proper title of the Belgian monarch is “King of the Belgians” rather than “King of Belgium”. The title indicates a popular monarchy linked to the people of Belgium (i.e., a hereditary head of state; yet ratified by popular will), whereas King of Belgium would indicate standard constitutional or absolute monarchy linked to territory or state.

Or so I read!

by Anonymousreply 38905/15/2020

R399, Yes, the Congo Free State was King Leopold II's own personal colony, and he used his gendarmerie, composed of Belgian officers, adventurers, and officers from several European armies, to enforce rubber quotas by raping, killing, burning, and dismembering. The international outcry grew so intense that the Belgian state was forced to take control of the colony in 1908, thus forming the Belgian Congo, which ruled with a bit more enlightenment.

by Anonymousreply 39005/15/2020

R389 that has everything to do with the fact that the Dutch monarchy ("King of the Netherlands") had an extremely hard time of 'letting go' of Belgium.

by Anonymousreply 39105/15/2020

r389. It is a little bit more complicate. Leopold I. his father was a spare and jobless Prince of Sachsen-Coburg Gotha. For a couple of reasons he got the throne of Belgium after the napoleon wars. His son Leopold II inherited the then known Belgisch Kongo. It was his personal inheritance. He saw and used only to become rich. His regime there was pure brutality. Please look it up on Wikipedia. Being on my phone I can not set useful links.

by Anonymousreply 39205/15/2020

Louis Philippe I, the post-Revolution monarch of France was titled "King of the French" to indicate that he was a monarch by the will of the people, not by divine right, and not tied to the territory he governed. His daughter Louise-Marie married Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, and begat the aforementioned Leopold II.

by Anonymousreply 39305/15/2020

r388 runs a restaurant that has "Belgium waffles" on the menu.

by Anonymousreply 39405/15/2020

r393. Please honey. Do not crash this thread please. It works really well until now. And I love it.

by Anonymousreply 39505/15/2020

I'm loving this merge of history and geography that this thread has evolved into.

by Anonymousreply 39605/15/2020

yeah, i don't really see how you can separate history and geography. These countries with their borders all come from somewhere, and the somewhere is interesting in itself.

by Anonymousreply 39705/15/2020

Ok. One for the road. Sitting on the south coast of the lake I am living. The lake is 17 km long. My Viewpoint is elevated, may be five meters over ground. I can't see the town at the north coast cause of...

You will not believe, how many of my well educated family and friends never realized that. TBH, everyone.

by Anonymousreply 39805/15/2020

The curvature of the earth?

by Anonymousreply 39905/15/2020

r389. Yes.

In two meters eyehight it is only 5 km! Geometric view. It can change due to refraction.

by Anonymousreply 40005/15/2020

One thing that always triggers me looking at maps is boundaries that are unnatural or irregular. Some are understandable to the extent that so many State and national boundaries have carried over from prior centuries when mapmaking was a far less precise endeavor. But I find myself wishing that there was some way WI could just have that bit of Michigan that is contiguous to WI but separated from the rest of MI by Lake Michigan. Or that Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan could smooth out their borders so they didn't have weird little appendages jutting into each other. Or, OMG, the shape of The Gambia, drawn by the British and French. WTF???!!!

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by Anonymousreply 40105/15/2020

r302. Well your question and the needed answers will hopefully fill this thread and the upcoming ones!

BTW, huge hugs and kisses for rOP. Even, when he claimed, that he was an ignorant. Honey, hopefully you are not anylonger

by Anonymousreply 40205/15/2020

What perplexes me are exclaves, especially exclaves within exclaves, like Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog on the Belgium-Netherlands border. I mean, why didn't Belgium just say, "Okay Netherlands, if you want Baarle, you can have Baarle." Why the need to carve it up like puzzle pieces?

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by Anonymousreply 40305/15/2020

As I recall reading, at the time of Columbus, actually long before that, people could watch ships sail for the horizon, and watch as the ship slips below the waterline, due to the curvature of the earth. Likewise, they could see the masts of a ship in the distance, and watch the ship rise up the waterline as it approaches. And further likewise, the men in the ship could see land disappear or reappear in the same manner, so sailors long knew the the Earth was curved. They might not have known or believed it to be round, but they knew it was at last curved, everywhere they sailed.

by Anonymousreply 40405/15/2020


The original Wisconsin territory included both the upper peninsula of Michigan and the area south to the southern tip of Lake Michigan, which includes current day Chicago. Michigan and Illinois incorporated as states first and made those changes as part of the deal.

by Anonymousreply 40505/15/2020

There's a subreddit for map lovers (of course). Some of the maps posted there are silly but some are fascinating. It's a time sink, and you don't need to be a member of redditor - a redditor - to see the maps and read the comments. You do need to join to post.

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by Anonymousreply 40605/15/2020

^^Sorry. "You don't need to be a member of Reddit ..." Reddit is the site. Redditors are the denizens.

by Anonymousreply 40705/15/2020

r403. I can not answer your question properly. But you have to know, that all this patchworks may be coming from the time when land was owned by the church or nobles. There was no free land in Europe.

Every piece of land in Europe is owned by someone since hundred of years.

Private, church, community or the country or the state.

Those puzzle pieces are coming from history. Monasteries, nobles and later towns inherited it. And they would not give it away.

In Germany we had during the 70s something called land consolidation. Farmers owning a lot of puzzle parts of unconnected land were pushed to change their puzzle pieces. There was a lot of fighting before it was accepted and realized.

by Anonymousreply 40805/15/2020

In Boston’s Back Bay, the streets are in a grid, unlike the mess in the rest of the city. The side streets are named in alphabetical order:

Arlington St








I think it ends there.

by Anonymousreply 40905/15/2020

R404, from ancient times onward, people knew the world was a sphere. And using shadows, etc. they had a pretty good idea of its size. (Remember the ancient Greek who figured out the size using shadows at various times of day?)

So they knew the idea of sailing to Asia from Europe was impossible---too much water to cover with only the supplies they could fit on the ship. (They did not know there was a large land mass between).

Columbus thought the world was smaller than the wiser heads did (and he was wrong) . So he believed that you could get to Asia with the water and food you could fit on a boat. Fortunately for him, the Americas were there to give him a place to restock.

by Anonymousreply 41005/15/2020

yup r410 totally true, and I wish people would get that, but the old story is just so compelling: the only guy who realized the world was round! It's bullshit, but I suspect it will still be with us a long time.

by Anonymousreply 41105/15/2020

r404. Yes I know, that this was common sense a long time ago. But is obviously nothing for most people to know. There is no use for that information.

But what I find disturbing: I am sitting at the cafe with my well educated friends and family and explain them: "Well you can not see the town at the north shore, because of the earths curve". Most of us live the most time on a flat earth..

And the most of my people around can not answer which is the spinning direction of the earth.

by Anonymousreply 41205/15/2020

My last two ones:

The most stars we see on the sky are belonging to our own galaxy, exceptions are other galaxies we recognize as stars.

There is no way to tell the velocity of our earth thru the Universe, because velocity needs a reference point. One thing is for sure: The earth, you and me will never hit the same point we were at the last second.

During typing that my laptop and DL and this thread moved: The Earth is travelling around the center of our Galaxy (The Milky Way) with 900.000 km/hour. The Milky Way moves with 1.987.000 km/hour.

by Anonymousreply 41305/15/2020

with all the light pollution, we cannot even imagine how many stars our ancestors saw. I only got a sense of this once, in Guatemala, when there was a huge blackout and for once I saw what the night sky really looks like. It was crazy and wonderful, but it made me wonder how they ever picked out individual constellations in the ancient world. it was just so damn light, and every star seemed to bleed into every other star.

by Anonymousreply 41405/15/2020

If you gave me a blank world map and stickers for every country, I could correctly place them in 30 minutes or so. I would have to think about a few areas.

by Anonymousreply 41505/15/2020

I mentioned the trivia site Sporcle before, but I didn't put a link in. Thought I would now as I imagine many in this forum would enjoy it, and it's a great way of brushing up on your knowledge on any topic you like really. Unfortunately the link isn't allowing me to post when I put it in the box below, but I really do highly recommend googling it and checking it out. The Geography section is extensive, and with all the extra time we have at the moment, now's a chance to brush up on your Caribbean islands, German states and World Capitals, amongst many others.

by Anonymousreply 41605/15/2020

r414. Light pollution is really an issue. Even at my place on the country side, but close to Munich/Germany light pollution is everywhere.

Most of the people I know have no idea of the Milky way. and it is hard to indentify it. Even on my place at the country side there are street lights, solar lights close to the ground in gardens etc. It is never really dark or without any artificial light.

A couple of summers ago we had a county wide power failure after a heavy thunderstorm. After the weather the sky cleared up and it was incredible. Well only for me and my neighbour. All the other ones in our castle were busy with worrying about the stuff in their fridge.

Sailing with a traditionell four mast bark in the Atlantic around the Canary Island offered me a star view, I've missed since the 60's at my grand parents place.

by Anonymousreply 41705/15/2020

Is Africa the most marketable map form? I’ve seen it on t-shirts, tattoos, accessories such as earrings and even haircuts and it’s always instantly recognisable. Its shape seems to have some currency and significance. No other content, or country, have a map that works like this. I’ve never seen a standalone map of Asia or Europe work like this.

by Anonymousreply 41805/15/2020

The Milky Way

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by Anonymousreply 41905/15/2020

r419. Wow. Thanks for that. And all the stars on the sky. Just incredible and so different what most uf us see in our "developped" surrounding. I would kill to see a night sky like this! How far we have gone from may be 200 years ago.

by Anonymousreply 42005/15/2020

I never knew what the Milky Way was, as a child, due to light pollution. I could never see it.

I can recommend two places to see stars in New England. One is Ptown. It you go to the very end of town, Herring Cove, away from any lights, and you can see the stars very well. Another place is Long Island. Again, the best location is at the end of the island, such as Orient Point.

I have a telescope and have brought it to both locations.

by Anonymousreply 42105/15/2020

r421. And it is overwhelming... Everybody should have a chance to view it. It is words. Viewing a scenery like this, you may understand where the idea of any religion is based.

But a bunch of people will prefer the all inclusive, the partying and before they are really bored grab their smartphone and playing cundy crush and pokeman go.

by Anonymousreply 42205/15/2020

r414. They were used to it. They saw it every night. And they figured out, that there are "fixed stars" which pointed to a direction.

A couple of things to think about. They went to bed, when it got dark. They rised, when there was light. Artificial light was not available. No candles. May be a camp fire. But this was very limited stuff. They needed the fire for cooking and to stay warm in the night. And may be some fires to keep the guards warm.

Lightning as we know is only available and affordable since may be 80 years in the first world.

by Anonymousreply 42305/15/2020

The Adirondacks are fine for seeing stars. Get high enough and you can see warm glows of distant cities.

by Anonymousreply 42405/15/2020

You can get a clear view of the Milky Way in New Zealand.

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by Anonymousreply 42505/15/2020

r403 I'm fascinated by exclaves and enclaves too. Point Roberts, WA is one of my favorites. You can only get to it by land by going through BC. And then there are places like that section of Russia that's tucked in between Lithuania and Poland and is not connected by land to the rest of Russia.

Where I live, there are lots of what the county refers to as "islands" of unincorporated areas that are surrounded by cities but they don't ever seem to be able to annex them.

by Anonymousreply 42605/15/2020

It's all about the Caucasus mountains, bitches!

by Anonymousreply 42705/15/2020

Because you only see a map of Alaska down in the lower left corner on TV weather maps, you can never tell the real size in comparison to the contiguous states. You know it is huge but just not how huge, comparatively speaking. This really helps illustrate the real size.

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by Anonymousreply 42805/15/2020

^Whoa, that's fascinating! I knew it was the biggest state of the US, but that really puts it in perspective! Alaska is very interesting. I also find it so for a darker reason; so many creepy stories, true crime and otherwise, come out of that part of the world too. And it seems like one of those places that aggressively remind you of how much at the mercy of nature we humans are.

by Anonymousreply 42905/15/2020

The American Empire, 1900.

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by Anonymousreply 43005/15/2020

An example of African map art.

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by Anonymousreply 43105/15/2020

Aoraki/Mt. Cook, as mentioned at R425, is within one of sixteen International Dark Sky Reserves. Mt. John Observatory isn't far away and lighting in the area is heavily regulated.

New Zealand is also home to two of twelve Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world — Aotea/Great Barrier Island and Rakiura/Stewart Island. Sanctuaries a step above reserves as they're in darker, more remote areas.

If you'd rather not go out to the wops, Oreti Beach and Bluff have the best viewing. The actual best is the last Antarctica cruise of the season, in March, when you'll get the Milky Way and the Southern Lights in addition to whales, penguins, millions of birds, and stops at islands with plants and animals that aren't found anywhere else in the world. Cruises are hated for a reason but it's not [italic]that[/italic] kind of cruise. If it's at all feasible, everyone should do it at least once.

by Anonymousreply 43205/15/2020

R420, the Atacama desert in Chile had the most magnificent view of the starry sky that I've seen anywhere else on earth. Great Basin in Nevada had previously occupied that title.

by Anonymousreply 43305/15/2020

[quote]Or, OMG, the shape of The Gambia, drawn by the British and French. WTF???!!!

r401 That's because the British colonial administration wanted to maintain control of the Gambia river, the lucrative trade activities it supported and its access from the sea. The French had already claimed that part of West Africa for themselves.

by Anonymousreply 43405/16/2020

[quote]And no natives to compete with!

R369, they would have met [italic]Arctodus simus,[/italic] the Short Faced Bear.

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by Anonymousreply 43505/16/2020

R415, even the Lesser Antilles? I can’t tell those islands apart very well, except for Trinidad and Tobago, which are literally outliers. And I have trouble remembering all their capitals. When I take geography quizzes and get to the Americas, I can identify all the countries, their capitals and major cities … except those little islands. I do fine w/ the Greater Antilles; it’s Antigua and Barbuda vs. St-Martin/Sint Maarten vs. St Kitts & Nevis that I’m mostly ignorant about.

by Anonymousreply 43605/16/2020

How close England is to Europe. I knew Dover was relatively close to Calais, but it's only 26 miles. Further I never realized that northern England is only a bit over 200 miles to The Hague.. Also, Morocco is only 14 miles from Gibraltar.

by Anonymousreply 43705/16/2020

R426, you probably know that that Russian exclave, the Kaliningrad Oblast, is a product of World War II. It was East Prussia – part of Germany – before the war. The Soviet Union took the area as war reparations, expelled the German population, and settled Soviet citizens there. When the USSR broke up, it made sense for the largely ethnically Russian people living in the Oblast to join the Russian Federation rather than Lithuania or Poland, with which they had nothing common.

Prewar maps of Europe are interesting to look at. They resemble modern maps pretty closely, but not quite - perhaps not unlike the interwar period itself, which seems so modern and yet so long ago.

by Anonymousreply 43805/16/2020

1000 years of European border changes.

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by Anonymousreply 43905/16/2020

There's an entire TV show called "How the States Got Their Shapes" that I found endlessly fascinating.

by Anonymousreply 44005/16/2020

love that r439. I think I've seen it before but couldn't find it again. Love it.

by Anonymousreply 44105/16/2020

The gates of Constantinople stood, surrounded by the Ottoman Empire, until the invention of gunpowder finally allowed them to breach the walls. Until then, they were impervious.

by Anonymousreply 44205/16/2020

those walls had been built in the fifth century, I think, r442. They held for nearly a thousand years. Kinda cool.

by Anonymousreply 44305/16/2020

Dover to Calais (26 miles) is the same distance as from the Los Angeles harbor area to Catalina Island.

by Anonymousreply 44405/16/2020

Americans who can't find The United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe on a map embarrass the fuck out of me.

by Anonymousreply 44505/16/2020

There are Americans who can't find America on a map?!!

by Anonymousreply 44605/16/2020

Yes, R446. LOTS of them.

by Anonymousreply 44705/16/2020

Love this update on the video:

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by Anonymousreply 44805/16/2020

Fucking idiots.

by Anonymousreply 44905/16/2020

And these Republicans are probably voter.

by Anonymousreply 45005/17/2020

[quote] Dover to Calais (26 miles) is the same distance as from the Los Angeles harbor area to Catalina Island.

Twenty-six miles across the sea, the White Cliffs of Dover are a-waitin' for me.

by Anonymousreply 45105/17/2020

I'd never really thought about the position of Iceland before, but just read something that surprised others and that is that mainland Iceland lies entirely south of the Arctic Circle. They do own the island of Grímsey, which the Arctic Circle runs through though, and the fast disappearing islet of Kolbeinsey to the north. However, the Arctic Circle shifts northward by about 14.5m a year (48ft for our American friends) and is already close to the northern tip of Grímsey. It is estimated by around 2050 the Arctic Circle will no longer cross through the island, and with the future, predicted disappearance of Kolbeinsey, Iceland entire will lie below the Arctic Circle.

by Anonymousreply 45205/24/2020

Miami is farther west than Pittsburgh

by Anonymousreply 45305/27/2020

QUII IS THE 'Lord of Mann (The Isle of Mann)'. Jersey and Guernsey are NOT part of the United Kingdom.

by Anonymousreply 45406/15/2020

R452, thanks for that tidbit. I didn't know the Arctic Circle was moving northward - and the Antarctic Circle is drifting southward. It's all because the Earth's axial tilt shifts gradually over time. Wikipedia says:

"The position of the Arctic Circle is not fixed and currently runs 66°33′48.1″ north of the Equator.[3] Its latitude depends on the Earth's axial tilt, which fluctuates within a margin of more than 2° over a 41,000-year period, due to tidal forces resulting from the orbit of the Moon.[4] Consequently, the Arctic Circle is currently drifting northwards at a speed of about 15 m (49 ft) per year."

by Anonymousreply 45506/16/2020

I am not totally ignorant.

by Anonymousreply 45606/16/2020

I'm embarrassed at my ignorance of all geography. The only US states I recognize on a map are the outer ones...I cannot place any of the interior states. World geography is worse - I blame that on the constant renaming of countries but that's just an excuse.

by Anonymousreply 45706/16/2020

How can people STAND being that geographically ignorant? How can you stand not knowing where things are in relation to you?

I've known all the states solid cold since I was ten. This isn't rocket science. It's not hard. Your world is full of maps.

And I know probably 90% of the countries of the world (though I'm not sure I keep up to date on all the changes, and I'm a bit fuzzy about the middle of Africa for that reason).

Grab yourself a globe or use Google Maps/Earth and educate yourself!

by Anonymousreply 45806/16/2020

There is something very disturbing and scary for me and it is not really geography. The whole Yellowstone area is a very huge vulcanic Caldera. Same is the region around Naples in Italy. If, in our life time, there will be an outbreak mankind population will be reduced to a minimum. For more information please use the known searching process. For me it was really scary, when I read it the first time.

by Anonymousreply 45906/16/2020
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