How to indicate a question in writing or what other question marks are out there

When making this map on how to ask what time it is in European languages, I discovered that the Greek question mark is actually very different from the question mark used in other languages in Europe. So I decided to research what other signs are used as question marks in other languages and to my surprise, there were only a handful of other options besides the good old “?”.

Here’s the source.

Biathlon events history since the start of the World Cup

If you wanna find a very European sport, or to be even more precise, a very Central / Eastern European one, then search no further, biathlon got you covered. In the last 55 years, since the World Cup as we know it started, 396 biathlon events, including world cup stages, world championships and the Olympics have been held and only 29 (or 44 if you include the Russian stages that technically happened in Asia) of them were held outside of Europe. Wanna find a sport where 1 nation is above everyone else and 1 athlete is so good if he has a good day no one has a chance of beating him? Biathlon. Wanna find a sport with a great atmosphere both among the fans and the athletes? Biathlon. Wanna find a sport where things change in a matter of seconds and you know exactly at what moment it will get exciting? Biathlon. I just love it.

Working students

Striking how stark the differences between Northern/Central and Southern/Eastern Europe are when it comes to the share of students who have jobs! This map shows only the share of the employed, however, in Northern European countries many students are still unemployed, meaning that they are looking for work but at that moment did not have one. The share of those can be as high as 14% in Sweden, 9% in Finland and 7% in the Netherlands. It means that over 3/4 of all students in the Netherlands want/need to have or already have a job!

More info including gender-based data can be found here.

Population change since 1840

Bizarre how there are countries (which are not just city-states) where more people lived 180 years ago than there are now. It’s only 1 country, and the difference is still significant: 8,221,292 in 1840 vs 4,986,525 now. The reasons? Well, first of all, the Great Famine in the 1840s. It resulted in 1 million dying and 1 more million fleeing the country. The next half a century was not that desperate but the conditions on the island were still harsh with rising prices, a lack of jobs and poor harvests. So more people left. There are only around 5 million Irish living in Ireland now, while more than 35 million live in the US, more than 14 in the UK, more than 7 in Australia and more than 4,5 in Canada. So although the population of Ireland itself decreased, the number of Irish people only grew. Or at least descendants of Irish people.

Here’s the source and of course, we don’t exactly know how many people lived in many places in 1840 so although this data might be considered reliable it is not 100% correct.

“Were you born in a barn?” in European languages

I’ve always been interested in how proverbs and certain expressions translate to other languages and for the last few weeks, I was exploring what people in different European countries say when someone enters a room/house and leaves the door open. There are a lot of great options but my personal favourites are Portuguese, Italian and Turkish. Keep in mind, that these are only selected versions, more expressions conveying the same meaning exist in most of the countries!

While some of the expressions seem obvious, like the German or the Ukrainian one as they imply a place where doors close by themselves, others are much less straightforward and have interesting history behind them. The Portuguese one, for instance, might be going back centuries! As one of the theories claims, in the 16th century, an extra gate was built into the city walls of Braga, but because it was quite a peaceful period in the city’s history and because it already started sprawling outside the walls, they didn’t install a door to block the gateway. Thus, the notion that people from Braga do not close doors was born.

The Dutch expression comes from the fact that church doors often stay open for people to come in. The Czech one I assume comes from the idea that if you have a pole in your arse you need to leave the door open the pole gets into the room/house to. Many Slavic languages also have a version about having a tail, I assume, for the same reasons.

The main source for this map was the AskEurope subreddit, although for some languages I had to mobilise native speakers in their own subreddits and a few friends of mine.

How to tell US and Canada apart in GeoGuessr

These 2 are arguably the hardest countries to tell apart in GeoGuessr. Roads, cars, buildings… Everything looks so similar. However, there are a few tricks you can use to tell Canada and the USA apart. Beware, that many of those tips are not foolproof, you still might see metal signposts or a double yellow line in Canada or a parking sign with a black outline in the US, for instance. Nonetheless, things like “Speed Limit” and “Maximum, the verbosity of signs or petrol prices are good indicators of where you are. Roads in Canada might also look a bit less well-maintained than in the US. Additionally, there are some big retail/restaurant chains, that are exclusive to each country:

– LCBO (Ontario only), Loblaws, Sobeys, No Frills, Fortinos, Zehr’s, BMO, RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, Mac’s, A&W, Tim Hortons (mostly), East Side Mario’s, Harvey’s, Chapter’s/Indigo are found only in Canada
– Target, Kmart, Barnes and Noble, White Castle, Sonic, Carls Jr, Whataburger, Olive Garden and Dunkin Donuts are only found only in the US.

Thanks to u/FaxMach1n3 for this list!

Enjoy GeoGuessr and good luck!

How to tell Baltic countries apart in GeoGuessr

The first poster in the series of my GeoGuessr guides! Some of these clues are hard to spot and get right, for instance, there are many different types of utility poles in these three countries but some are unique to each of them and these you see on the poster. Personally, I find the warning signs and street signs very useful. Look out for “g.” for gatve in Lithuania, “iela” in Latvia and often rural roads ending with “-tee” in Estonian (in Finnish, “-tie” means the same if you need to differentiate between these two).

Many thanks to u/Melongated for the inspiration when it comes to the format and the Digital Labyrinth for all the GeoGuessr tips and tricks!

Coat of Arms, Emblem or Seal?

The connection between choosing a coat of arms and being a part of the British or Spanish empires at some point in history is uncanny! At the same time, it is unsurprising considering that coats of arms in general are a medieval European invention. I guess, there is not much functional difference between the three, but you can’t call anything a coat of arms, whereas anything can practically be an emblem. To be a coat of arms, an emblem has to follow specific rules.

Here’s the source.