Map of the World’s Countries Rearranged by Population

From Frank Jacobs / BigThink:

What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

The result would be this disconcerting, disorienting map. In the world described by it, the differences in population density between countries would be less extreme than they are today. The world’s most densely populated country currently is Monaco, with 43,830 inhabitants/mi² (16,923 per km²) (1). On the other end of the scale is Mongolia, which is less densely populated by a factor of almost exactly 10,000, with a mere 4.4 inhabitants/mi² (1.7 per km²).

The averages per country would more closely resemble the global average of 34 per mi² (13 per km²). But those evened-out statistics would describe a very strange world indeed. The global population realignment would involve massive migrations, lead to a heap of painful demotions and triumphant promotions, and produce a few very weird new neighbourhoods.

Take the world’s largest country: Russia. It would be taken over by its Asian neighbour and rival China, the country with the world’s largest population. Overcrowded China would not just occupy underpopulated Siberia – a long-time Russian fear – but also fan out all the way across the Urals to Russia’s westernmost borders. China would thus become a major European power. Russia itself would be relegated to Kazakhstan, which still is the largest landlocked country in the world, but with few hopes of a role on the world stage commensurate with Russia’s clout, which in no small part derives from its sheer size.

Canada, the world’s second-largest country, would be transformed into an Arctic, or at least quite chilly version of India, the country with the world’s second-largest population. The country would no longer be a thinly populated northern afterthought of the US. The billion Indians north of the Great Lakes would make Canada a very distinct, very powerful global player.

Strangely enough, the US itself would not have to swap its population with another country. With 310 million inhabitants, it is the third most populous nation in the world. And with an area of just over 3.7 million mi² (slightly more than 9.6 million km²), it is also the world’s third largest country (2). Brazil, at number five in both lists, is in the same situation. Other non-movers are Yemen and Ireland. Every other country moves house. A few interesting swaps:

  • Countries with relatively high population densities move to more spacious environments. This increases their visibility. Look at those 94 million Filipinos, for example, no longer confined to that small archipelago just south of China. They now occupy the sprawling Democratic Republic of the Congo, the 12th largest country in the world, and slap bang in the middle of Africa too.
  • The reverse is also true. Mongolia, that large, sparsely populated chunk of a country between Russia and China, is relegated to tiny Belgium, whose even tinier neighbour Luxembourg is populated by 320,000 Icelanders, no longer enjoying the instant recognition provided by their distinctly shaped North Atlantic island home.
  • Australia’s 22.5 million inhabitants would move to Spain, the world’s 51st largest country. This would probably be the furthest migration, as both countries are almost exactly antipodean to each other. But Australians would not have to adapt too much to the mainly hot and dry Spanish climate.
  • But spare a thought for those unfortunate Vietnamese. Used to a lush, tropical climate, the 85 million inhabitants of Vietnam would be shipped off to icy Greenland. Even though that Arctic dependency of Denmark has warmed up a bit due to recent climate changes, it would still be mainly snowy, empty and freezing. One imagines a giant group huddle, just to keep warm.
  • Jamaica would still be island-shaped – but landlocked, as the Jamaicans would move to Lesotho, an independent enclave completely surrounded by South Africa – or rather, in this strange new world, South Korea. Those South Koreans probably couldn’t believe their bad luck. Of all the potential new friends in the world, who gets to be their northern neighbour but their wacky cousin, North Korea? It seems the heavily militarised DMZ will move from the Korean peninsula to the South African-Botswanan border.
  • The UK migrates from its strategically advantageous island position off Europe’s western edge to a place smack in the middle of the Sahara desert, to one of those countries the name of which one always has to look up (3). No longer splendidly isolated, it will have to share the neighbourhood with such upstarts as Mexico, Myanmar, Thailand and – good heavens – Iran. Back home, its sceptered isles are taken over by the Tunisians. Even Enoch Powell didn’t see that one coming.
  • Some countries only move a few doors down, so to speak. El Salvador gets Guatemala, Honduras takes over Nicaragua, Nepal occupies Birma/Myanmar and Turkey sets up house in Iran. Others wake up in a whole new environment. Dusty, landlocked Central African Republic is moving to the luscious island of Sri Lanka, with its pristine, ocean-lapped shores. The mountain-dwelling Swiss will have to adapt to life in the flood-infested river delta of Bangladesh.
  • Geography, they say, is destiny (4). Some countries are plagued or blessed by their present location. How would they fare elsewhere? Take Iraq, brought down by wars both of the civil and the other kind, and burdened with enough oil to finance lavish dictatorships and arouse the avidity of superpowers. What if the 31.5 million Iraqis moved to the somewhat larger, equally sunny country of Zambia – getting a lot of nice, non-threatening neighbours in the process?

Rearranged maps that switch the labels of the countries depicted, as if in some parlour game, to represent some type of statistical data, are an interesting subcategory of curious cartography. The most popular example discussed on this blog is the map of the US, with the states’ names replaced by that of countries with an equivalent GDP (see #131). Somewhat related, if by topic rather than technique, is the cartogram discussed in blog post #96, showing the world’s countries shrunk or inflated to reflect the size of their population.

Many thanks to all who sent in this map: Matt Chisholm, Criggie, Roel Damiaans, Sebastian Dinjens, Irwin Hébert, Allard H., Olivier Muzerelle, Rodrigo Oliva, Rich Sturges, and John Thorne. The map is referenced on half a dozen websites where it can be seen in full resolution (this one among them), but it is unclear where it first originated, and who produced it (the map is signed, in the bottom right hand corner, by JPALMZ).

—–

(1) Most (dependent) territories and countries in the top 20 of Wikipedia’s population density ranking have tiny areas, with populations that are, in relation to those of other countries, quite negligeable. The first country on the list with both a substantial surface and population is Bangladesh, in 9th place with a total population of over 162 million and a density of 1,126 inhabitants/mi² (56 per km²).

(2) Actually, the US contends third place with China. Both countries have almost the same size, and varying definitions of how large they are. Depending on whether or not you include Taiwan and (other) disputed areas in China, and overseas territories in the US, either country  can be third of fourth on the list.

(3) Niger, not to be confused with nearby Nigeria. Nor with neighbouring Burkina Faso, which used to be Upper Volta (even though there never was a Lower Volta except, perhaps, Niger. Or Nigeria).

(4) The same is said of demography. And of a bunch of other stuff.

More from theSource here.

Send to Kindle

The Top Ten Daily Consequences of Having Evolved

From Smithsonian.com:

Natural selection acts by winnowing the individuals of each generation, sometimes clumsily, as old parts and genes are co-opted for new roles. As a result, all species inhabit bodies imperfect for the lives they live. Our own bodies are worse off than most simply because of the many differences between the wilderness in which we evolved and the modern world in which we live. We feel the consequences every day. Here are ten.

1. Our cells are weird chimeras
Perhaps a billion years ago, a single-celled organism arose that would ultimately give rise to all of the plants and animals on Earth, including us. This ancestor was the result of a merging: one cell swallowed, imperfectly, another cell. The predator provided the outsides, the nucleus and most of the rest of the chimera. The prey became the mitochondrion, the cellular organ that produces energy. Most of the time, this ancient symbiosis proceeds amicably. But every so often, our mitochondria and their surrounding cells fight. The result is diseases, such as mitochondrial myopathies (a range of muscle diseases) or Leigh’s disease (which affects the central nervous system).

2. Hiccups
The first air-breathing fish and amphibians extracted oxygen using gills when in the water and primitive lungs when on land—and to do so, they had to be able to close the glottis, or entryway to the lungs, when underwater. Importantly, the entryway (or glottis) to the lungs could be closed. When underwater, the animals pushed water past their gills while simultaneously pushing the glottis down. We descendants of these animals were left with vestiges of their history, including the hiccup. In hiccupping, we use ancient muscles to quickly close the glottis while sucking in (albeit air, not water). Hiccups no longer serve a function, but they persist without causing us harm—aside from frustration and occasional embarrassment. One of the reasons it is so difficult to stop hiccupping is that the entire process is controlled by a part of our brain that evolved long before consciousness, and so try as you might, you cannot think hiccups away.

3. Backaches
The backs of vertebrates evolved as a kind of horizontal pole under which guts were slung. It was arched in the way a bridge might be arched, to support weight. Then, for reasons anthropologists debate long into the night, our hominid ancestors stood upright, which was the bodily equivalent of tipping a bridge on end. Standing on hind legs offered advantages—seeing long distances, for one, or freeing the hands to do other things—but it also turned our backs from an arched bridge to an S shape. The letter S, for all its beauty, is not meant to support weight and so our backs fail, consistently and painfully.

More from theSource here.

Send to Kindle

MondayPoem: The Lie

By Robert Pinsky for Slate:

Denunciation abounds, in its many forms: snark (was that word invented or fostered in a poem, Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark“?), ranking-out, calling-out, bringing-down, blowing-up, flaming, scorching, trashing, negative campaigning, skepticism, exposure, nailing, shafting, finishing, diminishing, down-blogging. Aggressive moral denunciation—performed with varying degrees of justice and skill in life, in print, on the Web, in politics, on television and radio, in book-reviewing, in sports, in courtrooms and committee meetings—generates dismay and glee in its audience. Sometimes, for many of us, dismay and glee simultaneously, in an uneasy combination.

A basic form of denunciation is indicated by the slightly archaic but useful expression giving the lie.

No one has ever given the lie more memorably, explicitly, and universally than Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) in “The Lie.” The poem, among other things, demonstrates the power of repetition and refrain. The power, too, of plain rather than fancy or arcane words—for example, blabbing.

I remember being enchanted—a bit excessively, I now think—when I first read “The Lie” by a single wonderful image early on: “Say to the court it glows/ And shines like rotten wood.” The mental picture of an opalescent, greenish glow on a moldy softwood plank—that phosphorescent decay—knocked me out (to use an expression from those student days). It was a period when images were highly prized, and my teachers encouraged me to prize images, the deeper the better. Well, though I may have been unreflectingly guided by fashion, at least I had the brains to appreciate this great image of Raleigh’s.

But now that superb rotten wood feels like an incidental or ancillary beauty to me, one moment in a larger force. What propels this poem is not its images but its masterful breaking down of an idea into social and moral components: the brilliant, considered division into hammer-blows of example and refrain while the pace and content vary around that central pulse. “Driving home the point” could not have a more apt demonstration.

Raleigh’s manic, extended thoroughness; his resourceful rhyming; his relentless, wide gaze that takes in love and zeal, wit and wisdom, and, ultimately, also includes his own soul’s “blabbing”—this is form as audible conviction: conviction of a degree and kind attainable only by a poem.

“The Lie”

Go, soul, the body’s guest,
….Upon a thankless arrant;
Fear not to touch the best;
….The truth shall be thy warrant:
….….Go, since I needs must die,
….….And give the world the lie.

Say to the court it glows
….And shines like rotten wood,
Say to the church it shows
….What’s good, and doth no good:
….….If church and court reply,
….….Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live
….Acting, by others’ action;
Not lov’d unless they give;
….Not strong, but by affection.
….….If potentates reply,
….….Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,
….That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition;
….Their practice only hate.
….….And if they once reply,
….….Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,
….They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost
….Like nothing but commending.
….….And if they make reply,
….….Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;
….Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it meets but motion;
….Tell flesh it is but dust:
….….And wish them not reply,
….….For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;
….Tell honour how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
….Tell favour how it falters:
….….And as they shall reply,
….….Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles
….In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
….Herself in over-wiseness:
….….And when they do reply,
….….Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;
….Tell skill it is prevention;
Tell charity of coldness;
….Tell law it is contention:
….….And as they do reply,
….….So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;
….Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
….Tell justice of delay:
….….And if they will reply,
….….Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,
….But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
….And stand too much on seeming.
….….If arts and schools reply,
….….Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it’s fled the city;
….Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood, shakes off pity;
….Tell virtue, least preferreth.
….….And if they do reply,
….….Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I
….Commanded thee, done blabbing;
Because to give the lie
….Deserves no less than stabbing:
….….Stab at thee, he that will,
….….No stab thy soul can kill!

—Sir Walter Raleigh

More from theSource here.

Send to Kindle

Search Engine History

It’s hard to believe that internet based search engines have been in the mainstream consciousness for around twenty years now. It seems not too long ago that we were all playing Pong and searching index cards at the local library. Infographics Labs puts the last twenty years of search in summary for us below.

From Infographic Labs:

Search Engine History

Infographic: Search Engine History by Infographiclabs

Send to Kindle