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Interesting country facts and figures

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Awitt
970593.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:47 am Reply with quote

From one of those circulated emails:
Really neat stuff here:


Alaska

More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.


Amazon

The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% of the world's oxygen supply.

The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States ....


Antarctica

Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.
Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica ....
This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world.
As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert;
The average yearly total precipitation is about 2".
Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, ice.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.


Brazil

Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.


Canada
Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian word meaning ' Big Village'.

Chicago

Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.


Detroit

Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M-1. it was the first paved road anywhere.


Damascus , Syria

Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.


Istanbul , Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents.


Los Angeles

The full name of Los Angeles is: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de
Los Angeles de Porciuncula -- and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.


New York City

The term 'The Big Apple' was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression 'apple' for any town or city.
Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time - The Big Apple.

There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland;
more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy;
And more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel .


Ohio

There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio . ... .every one is man-made.


Pitcairn Island

The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles/4,53 sq. Km.


Rome

The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy (in 133 B.C.) There is a city called Rome on every continent.


Siberia

Siberia contains more than 25% of the world's forests.


S.M.O.M.

The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M).
It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, and has an area of two tennis courts.
And, as of 2001, has a population of 80 -- 20 less people than the Vatican.
It is a sovereign entity under international law, as is the Vatican .


Sahara Desert

In the Sahara Desert , there is a town Tidikelt, Algeria,
that did not receive a drop of rain for ten years.
Technically, though, the driest place on Earth
is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island ...
There has been no rainfall there for two million years.


Spain

Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits'.


St. Paul , Minnesota

St. Paul , Minnesota , was originally called Pig's Eye after a man named Pierre 'Pig's Eye' Parrant who set up the first business there.


Roads

Chances that a road is unpaved: U.S.A = 1%
Canada = 75%


Russia

The deepest hole ever drilled by man is the Kola Superdeep Borehole, in Russia.
It reached a depth of 12,261 meters (about 40,226 feet or 7.62 miles.)
It was drilled for scientific research and gave up some unexpected discoveries, one of which was a huge deposit of hydrogen
- so massive that the mud coming from the hole was boiling with it.


United States

The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight.
These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.


Waterfalls

The water of Angel Falls (the world's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters.)
They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls .
[/b]

 
Spud McLaren
970601.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:09 am Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M-1. it was the first paved road anywhere.
Older than, say. Pompeii?

 
Neotenic
970602.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:09 am Reply with quote

Oooh, we've not had one of these for a while.

The fun thing with list of 'amazing' facts that whirl around the web is that most of them are wrong. I'll just pick out a couple, and let someone else have a go at some of the others.

Quote:
Ohio

There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio . ... .every one is man-made.


<klaxon>

http://www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/35/inland_lakes/05_Natural_Lakes_in_Ohio_1991.pdf

Quote:
The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight.
These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.


<klaxon>

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/interstatemyths.htm#question5


Quote:
The water of Angel Falls (the world's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters.)
They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls


<semi-klaxon>

Angel Falls is 19 times higher than Niagara - however, the longest single drop is 15 times Niagara, at 807m.

 
AlmondFacialBar
970605.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:26 am Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
New York City

The term 'The Big Apple' was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression 'apple' for any town or city.
Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time - The Big Apple.[/b]


The version I've heard is that it goes back to mid-western media complaining about federal budget allocations, saying all the government money went to the east coast, and in particular "the big apple", while all the smaller fruit in other parts of the US had to make do with what was left.

As for general amazing city facts, Berlin is the biggest Turkish city on Earth after Istanbul.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
WordLover
970641.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:59 am Reply with quote

one of those circulated emails wrote:
More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.
What a coastline's length is depends on how finely it's measured.

one of those circulated emails wrote:
Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.
*klaxon* Bi'r Tawil is a small area between Egypt and Sudan. Neither country claims it, because to claim it would mean to accept a border which puts the Hala'ib Triangle in the other country. The latter is bigger and more useful (it has a Red Sea coastline), so both countries claim it and neither claims Bi'r Tawil.

one of those circulated emails wrote:
Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
I wonder how big a pond must be, to be regarded as a lake.

one of those circulated emails wrote:
Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.
<pedant>By no stretch of the imagination can Chicago be said to be next to Warsaw.</pedant>

one of those circulated emails wrote:
The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles/4,53 sq. Km.
The Pitcairn Islands are a British Overseas Territory, so, whatever the writer meant by "country", (s)he allows a territory that is not self-governing to count as a country. S.M.o.M., mentioned later, is smaller. So how come that doesn't count as a country but the Pitcairn Islands does?

Not only that, but this territory contains 4 islands with total area 18sq mi.

one of those circulated emails wrote:
There is a city called Rome on every continent.
Even Antarctica?

one of those circulated emails wrote:
The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M).
It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, and has an area of two tennis courts. [...] It is a sovereign entity under international law, as is the Vatican .

 
PDR
970703.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:03 am Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
From one of those circulated emails:
Roads

Chances that a road is unpaved: U.S.A = 1%
Canada = 75%


What is meant by "chances"? Is it counted by simple proportion of "roads" that are paved (in which case we have to determine what is a road - does it include lanes, vehicular rights of way etc) or by usage - the probability that a journey will include an unpaved road (and does that include just car/truck/bus journeys or also motorbike, pushbike & walking journeys). This is the age old "count by population vs arising rate" question that bedevils so many statistical claims.

PDR

 
suze
970870.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:47 pm Reply with quote

It is an odd statement, certainly. It surely cannot mean that 75% of road journeys made in Canada utilize an unpaved* road. Most road journeys in Canada will be entirely within major cities, and city streets are all paved.

So does it mean that three quarters of Canada's public highways are unpaved - but that most people don't know this, because these unpaved roads are all in remote areas?

Well, no. According to the CIA Factbook, 60% of Canada's public highways are unpaved - although I'd guess that 99% of Canada's road traffic runs on the 40% of roads that are paved.

But 33% of the USA's public highways are also unpaved - and I guess that 99.9% of the USA's road traffic runs on the 67% paved.

So I don't know what the statement means. I think we should be told.


I'll look at some of the others later this evening. Meanwhile, the mention of paved roads got me thinking. Are the UK and Germany unique in paving all of their public roads?


* Just in case anyone didn't know. "Paved" does not mean that a road has a pavement or sidewalk. It means that the road is surfaced with tarmac, concrete, or similar, and is not just gravel, dirt, or ice.

 
PDR
970873.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:51 pm Reply with quote

I believe the more widely accepted term is "Metalled" (at least in the UK).

PDR

 
'yorz
970876.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:56 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Oooh, we've not had one of these for a while


You must have had a few off-days or days off, Neo. I am one of those who tend to fall in these traps and post 'm here. ;-/

 
suze
970877.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:59 pm Reply with quote

In the UK, it is. But North America uses "paved", and indeed the road surface is often called the "pavement". (The pavement, of course, being called the "sidewalk".)

I believe that in Australia, the term is "sealed".

 
Neotenic
970882.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:11 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Detroit

Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M-1. it was the first paved road anywhere.


Obviously, the point about the likes of Pompeii and other Roman roads made earlier still stands, but just to add a little more meat to these bones, Wiki tells us that Woodward Avenue was actually fully paved in 1916.

The BBC suggest that the first road paved with modern tarmac was in Nottingham in 1902. This even pre-dates the first mile of Woodward Avenue being concreted in 1909. I have also found mention of streets in Babylon being paved with tar in 625 BCE.

As far as I can see right now, the US may be able to lay claim to the first concrete road, which was laid in Ohio in 1891, but obviously fell some way short of being a mile in length.

I suppose the original compiler of the list could have fallen into the typical American mistake of confusing 'anywhere' with 'anywhere in the US'

 
PDR
970883.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:18 pm Reply with quote

A study of the commercial history of England led me to believe that London's streets were paved with gold from som point in the 17th century onwards - does that count?

PDR

 
suze
970930.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:49 pm Reply with quote

WordLover wrote:
one of those circulated emails wrote:
More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.
What a coastline's length is depends on how finely it's measured.


It does, of course.

But the USA appears to regard two figures for the length of its coastline as being vaguely "official".

One of the figures quoted is 12,479 miles. It was first published in 1975, and was calculated by measuring arc lengths on the largest scale naval charts produced by NOAA. Under this method the Alaskan coastline is 6,640 miles and thus the claim is true.

The other figure which is quoted is 94,122 miles, published in 2011. The method of computation has not been published, but given the date it was undoubtedly done by computer some way or another. Alaska contributes only about one third of this figure.

 
suze
970932.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:07 pm Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
Chicago

Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.


It depends how you count, but probably true. The 2005 American Community Survey revealed 963,875 people in what we may loosely call "Greater Chicago" who self identified as being of Polish ancestry.

Warsaw is the only city in Poland whose entire population is larger than that. It's about 1.7 million, of whom approximately 97% are Polish. (As in all of Poland, most of the rest are German and Ukrainian.)

Note that I said "probably". The definition of "Chicago" used in that figure of 963,875 was a broad one; a comparable definition of "London" would encompass half of the Home Counties. And under such a definition, and also using a fairly broad definition of "of Polish ancestry", a figure for London would include me, Ed Miliband, and all sorts of other people whose primary identity would not be as Polish.

That figure might be right up with the Chicago figure. And actually, a similarly broad figure for Berlin wouldn't be a million miles away either. (But would be even harder to determine. No one really knows how many people there are in Germany who are of Polish ancestry, but whose forebears adopted German names in the 30s and 40s.)

 
suze
970934.  Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:22 pm Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
Istanbul , Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents.


No. There's a city called Rafah, which is divided between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, I suggest that it is divided between Africa and Asia.

Awitt wrote:
Los Angeles

The full name of Los Angeles is: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de
Los Angeles de Porciuncula -- and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.


Los Angeles was incorporated in 1850, and ever since then its legal name has been Los Angeles. Some earlier records do use that longer name, but in no real sense is it the modern city's name.

Comparably, the legal name of the capital of Thailand is กรุงเทพมหานคร (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon). The very much longer name which you'll have seen has not been the legal name since an indeterminate point in the C19. (Siamese law was unwritten until 1908, so it's not possible to be more specific.)

 

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