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.

Temperature change in Central Asia throughout the year

After looking at how stable the temperature is in the Caribbean, let’s look at one of the regions where it actually fluctuates the most. For this map, I selected cities from various parts of Central Asian countries to show the diversity or similarity of temperature conditions in relatively faraway places. I also used local spelling, not English, except for Kyrgyzstan, where the Cyrillic alphabet is used. The colours on the map are taken from the flags of the respective countries. I’m looking forward to making more Central Asian maps because I think this massive region is often overlooked! Couldn’t resist adding Mongolia as a bonus because of how cold onavarege Ulaanbaatar actually is.

The data was taken from Wikipedia pages for respective cities.

Coins and banknotes with a face value of 3

Only 6 countries in the world currently use banknotes or coins with a face value of 3! One of them, the Cook Islands dollar is even more unique than the rest. Although the currency was used only for a few years at the end of the 80s – the beginning of the 90s (preceded and succeeded by the New Zealand dollar), the 3$ banknote survived. It is the only Cook Islands dollar banknote or coin that still maintains the status of legal tender. And of course, because of how special it is, the banknote is also a sought-after collector’s item. Thanks to the redditor u/Show_Green for bringing this to my attention!

Over the years many countries experimented with 3-unit coins or banknotes. For instance, in the 90s, Ukraine had a 3 karbovanets banknote and Uzbekistan had a 3 som banknote. Many examples can also be found in the 19th century. Even the US minted a 3-cent coin in the 1850s! You can read up more on this topic in this excellent article by Peter Symes.

The idea for the map came from the Tajikistan episode of one of my favourite YouTube shows GeographyNow. The sources are Wiki and Banknote World.

GeoGuessr Country Streak: how often do you get each country

I’ve been playing the country streak mode for almost a year now and in this timespan, I reached nearly 2.5 thousand points. I was curious to see how often you get each country, so I built an app which would do the calculation job for me. Unsurprisingly, Finland, Sweden, the US, Hungary and Brazil took the first 5 spots. 2405 points might not be enough to draw meaningful conclusions but it’s still interesting to see what you get. If you know how, you can use my app to calculate stats for your own country streak games. See my other post linked above for more info!

I play in the default mode so it’s more of a patience and luck game to find out where you are and not get trapped on a random road in the middle of nowhere (then you are probably in Argentina, though).

Cheers and keep playing GeoGuessr or start if you haven’t already 😉

GeoGuessr Country Streak Stats App

To make a map about how frequent each country comes up in the GeoGuessr country streak mode, I built a .NET app that would do the job of calculating the figures for me. It connects to the game’s API, using the endpoints I discovered using the developer console while browsing the GeoGuessr website. Here you can find a full list of API calls including those I haven’t used at all.

The app is able to store all the game tokens previously used and allows you to log into the game from within the app to pick up new ones if you played more games since the last time you ran the app. If you want to calculate stats for your own games, clean the GameTokens.txt file in the core folder (right now it contains my own tokens) and put your own country streak game tokens in it and voila, you can get your own stats! Each token must be on a new line and you can also leave comments on the same line after the token by using the double hashtag sign.

It processes the JSON that API returns, calculates the stats and displays it in the small GUI which is depicted in the screenshot. The app can also export the results in a CSV format, which I later use to fill in my maps.

You can find the repo for the project here. If you have any questions about the app, feel free to ask using the contact form. I’d be very happy to answer.