Countries compared to Sakha

Sakha or Yakutia is home to more than 950.000 people, half of which are Sakha – the most numerous ethnic group of indigenous peoples in the area. It also hosts one of the coldest places on Earth outside of Antarctica, Oymyakon where on multiple occasions the temperature fell to almost -70°C.

Breathtaking landscapes, diamonds, naturally mummified mammoths, a natural park attempting to re-create prehistoric ecosystems and many other fascinating things can be found in this region, which is the biggest administrative subdivision in the world. It is so big, that in fact, if it were independent it would be the 8th biggest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, the US, Australia, Brazil and India and by far the least densely populated as every person living in Yakutia can have around 3km2 of land just for themselves.

Leave a comment if you got something to say and for any requests/suggestions head here. Cheers.

Cycling in the EU

In my opinion, bicycles are the best way of moving around cities. At least, around European cities as distances here are not as great as those of urban sprawls of the US or megapolises of Asia. Quick, easy to park, healthy, cheap and simply enjoyable – when your country has enough infrastructure and not too many mountains, these are the characteristics of urban cycling. Do you want to add “appropriate weather” to the list of conditions? Fair enough but why do Finland and Sweden have much higher percentages of cycling commuters than basically anywhere else in Europe? Proper infrastructure might be able to even out the severities of the climate although it is indeed less enjoyable to cycle in -25°C than in +20°C for most people. Special thanks to the Netherlands, cycling here is echt lekker. Be like Nederland.

Do you want to take a look at the original report and other interesting metrics regarding the quality of European transport – go here. If you got something to say, for instance, that you enjoy cycling in the cold more than on a sunny day, feel free to leave a comment, for other inquiries I’m waiting for you here.

Subregions of Oceania

I think Oceania gets very little attention in the western world unless it’s Australia or New Zealand. So, here is a map of 3 big subregions of Oceania: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Each of them has certain traits that help us unite them into one category but make no mistake, within each subregion, there are plenty of distinct cultures. Interestingly enough, Norfolk Island (close to New Caledonia) was uninhabited when first visited by the Europeans and that’s why it is not included in any of the subregions, although artefacts from both Polynesian and Melanesian cultures can be found on the island from the period way before colonisation. Australia is also not a part of any of the subregions because the indigenous peoples of the continent have their own distinct cultures which would make up a subregion or even subregions of their own.

Comments, likes and your stories about how you visited the region – below, requests and suggestions – here.

Population change in Asia

Although most of the countries in Asia still exhibit population growth of more than 1% per year, some places have seen their rates fall under this mark and some even went into negative numbers. Somewhere the decline is intentional, like in China and their one-child policy (which was scrapped in 2021 and now the government is trying to promote completely the opposite). In other places, like Syria, other more devastating factors are at play. Georgia’s population is also declining, however, the rate of decline between 2015 and 2020 was the lowest since 1990, so there’s still an upward trajectory there. Japan’s population also has begun to decline since 2010.

Although the growth rate of around 1% might sound like not that much, it means that in 70 years the population of the country would double. So if everything stays the same (which, obviously, won’t happen) the population of India in 2100 would be nearing 3 billion people. Not a small change.

The source is here. Leave a comment if you feel like it. If you have any suggestions or requests – here’s where you need to go.

Access to electricity in Africa

In 2019, the IEA reported fresh numbers on access to electricity in the world and unfortunately it doesn’t look great for millions of people on the African continent. Although a lot of work has been done in recent years and the numbers for sub-Saharan Africa rose from 33% in 2010 to 49.7% in 2019 there is still a long way to go. Just try to imagine what your country would look like if only 1% of had access to electricity.

Leave a comment if you know more on the topic than me, I’m just a map-maker. Requests and suggestions not related to this map are welcome here.

National flags without red, white or blue

It might seem like a simple question and, to be honest, it mostly is. It might, however, depend not only on whether you consider maroon to be a shade of red so you can include Sri Lanka in the special category but also on the language you speak. Let’s take flags of Kazakhstan and France. Both have blue, right? Well, if you speak Russian, you might say these are different colours because light blue is often seen as a separate colour in Russian, not as a shade of blue. Of course, there is teal or cyan in English but they are not as widely used as the Russian word for light blue. If you are interested to learn more about colour names in different languages, particularly, how they develop, check out this cool Vox video.

As usual, comment if you like the map and if you have any requests/ideas – you’re welcome here.

Oldest universities in Europe

It is difficult to point to the oldest continuously functioning university in each European country. What should we count as the founding year: the year the establishment became a university or the year when its predecessor, let’s say a school or a seminary, was first founded? What if a particular university was founded by a foreign power when it ruled over the area? What if the university was closed for a century, is it still the same university then? These and many other questions regarding this matter seem subjective to me so this map depicts my answers to them.

I chose a maximum of 50 years of a gap for a university to be considered in continuous operation and, to be honest, even 50 years is a stretch but it seems to be as good as a period as any. Each particular case is anyway unique and boy don’t get me started on Napoleon. Most of the universities on the map, however, fall far below the 50-years mark, so a 40-years or a 35-years mark wouldn’t make much difference.

The dates you see on the map are the earliest dates when teaching occurred in universities’ predecessors, be it academies, schools, seminaries or whatever. Why? Why not if a certain establishment naturally evolved into a university?

There are a few interesting cases we should look at, though. One of them takes place in the country of Revolutions and Reforms – France. Starting with the University of France system in the 19th century, going through the divisions of the 1970s and the reunifications of the 2010s, the University of Paris has undergone so many transformations that if you put all of them in a chart it would look more complex than a chart of everyone who ever played in Black Sabbath. I decided to consider the current University of Paris to be a legitimate successor to the one founded in 1150 and recognised by the king in 1200 (hence, 2 dates on the map) because it is still a continuation of the old university, although only a part of it. If you think that it is not, then either the University of Toulouse or the University of Montpellier would be your best bet if you ever need to name the oldest university in France. Even then you’d have to choose between the date the schools were found and the date when they were recognised by the Pope, which was a big deal back in the 13th century. You can also say that any of the originally 13 and now 11 universities into which the original University of Paris was split is its legitimate successor.

Universities of Zadar in Croatia and Pécs in Hungary claim to be very old but they can’t claim continuous operation, with the first one not operating for 192 years and the second one for at least 150 years.

The University of Helsinki was originally founded by the Swedes in Turku (Åbo) then moved by the Russians to Helsinki after the Great Fire of Turku. Is it still the same university? I’d say yes. If you don’t agree, the same university would still take the crown, just the founding date would move from 1640 to 1828.

EDIT: The University of Tartu claims to have its roots in the university founded in 1632, however, this university was closed between 1710 and 1802, which is a 92-years gap. Nonetheless, if we take 1802 as the founding date of the current university, it would still take the crown in Estonia when it comes to the oldest continuously functioning university in the country. That’s why you see 1802 and not 1632 on the map. Thanks to r/kaugeksj2i and r/GOKOP for pointing that out, so I could fix the map.

Enjoy the map and if you don’t agree with its contents because your university logo has another date on it then unfortunately I can’t help you. If you got substantial proof, though, leave a comment below. Always glad to be rightly proved wrong. Actually, if you like the map, leave a comment too, it would make my day better.

If you have a suggestion on what map I should do next, submit it here.