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on Oct 13, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite

Random trivia.

Africa is the only continent in the Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern hemispheres.

There is more genetic variation arising in the human species from within Africa than in the rest of the world combined.

I have a Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion World Map on the wall of my office. I often marvel at Africa's size.

There are many cool features about this map. Land masses are very nearly undistorted and no land mass is cut. Any straight line within the bounds of the map is very nearly on a geodesic (great circle). And of course you see the entire surface of the earth without spinning a globe or turning a page.

Apologize for the double post. I haven't noticed it was on HN already http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1780004

Please, don't apologize--if you hadn't reposted it, I wouldn't have seen it just now, and my mind would not currently be blown!

Error in the textual description of the document: it's not larger than "all combined". You can't fit all of europe and the rest in there simultaneously. Note that most of europe is excluded from the largest map shown. One of the small alternate maps shows europe included and displaces what is the US in the large map.

Good point. Ukraine is missing which is quite large.

I have to ask then, Why is Africa in SUCH poverty. Compared to the rest of the world, Africa as a continent is third world. Why the hell has it never been better than what it was when kings and queens had control of Africa. Did it have a brain drain when the slaves were exported?

Thomas Sowell actually has an answer to that question. Africa's pattern of navigable rivers is much different from Europe's. In fact, Africa hardly has navigable rivers that reach the sea without going over waterfalls. The barriers to internal transportation in Africa inherently limited the development of trade routes, which limited much of the rest of the development of "civilization" as it was known in the Near East and Europe (or, for that matter, in China). Different geography led to different cultural developments. African people are plenty smart, but they don't have the same environment for building large trade networks that Europeans had at a much earlier period of history.

Plus, 0 (yeah zero) of the 50 domesticatable candidate large animals were ever domesticated. As well as very few storable domesticated plants. Read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel

Wait, what...?

Are you suggesting that the wealth and GDP of a continent are positively correlated with its area? How bizarre...

I guess somebody forgot to tell Antarctica.

Yes, the legacies of colonialism (of which slavery was just one) have been huge. Coupled with the AIDS epidemic, which has had an impact that's nearly impossible to overstate, they've economically devastated sub-Saharan Africa.

Suprised they only used the continental USA in their visual figure and yet used the whole entire USA area in their number chart. Maybe they enlarged the USA to make up for the enormous amount of area that Alaska is.

Amazing. Also, I've never realized that land-mass wise Canada is larger than the US, and Russia is significantly larger than anything else.

Does anyone else find it funny that the United States was placed in the most uninhabitable section of Africa.

The size of the Sahara Desert is often compared to the US, so maybe that's why.

Also, on this map, the southwest US overlaps a very densely populated and well-watered part of Africa.

Can you elaborate on Africa's inhospitality?

I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way. I meant the Sahara is the least habitable part of Africa, and also in the top couple least habitable places in the world.

So, how does Africa compare to Asia, just so we're comparing apples to apples?

I think that's called a continent.

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