by Tyler Cowen
on October 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm
1. How big is Africa?
2. Update on the French strike.
3. More on the economics of helium.
4. Messynomics, bravo.
A continent is bigger than a country? Who knew!
When Ezra makes a shitty little post… why not throw the link to the source?
Or maybe find that Tim Sullivan guy.
This forces Ezra to either add more or do links like you do.
Well look at that, and all this time I thought Sweden, Norway and Finland were part of Europe.
Why does China get two 'parts' but neither Alaska nor Hawaii are displayed for the U.S.? Minor squabbles about total size for China and the U.S. aside, why is China repeatedly listed before the U.S. despite having a smaller size for the purposes of the exercise? Why is the lesson that Africa is bigger than random_handful_nations? Why isn't the lesson that the entire continent of Africa is significantly smaller than Brazil plus China plus Canada plus America? (Using Russia in the equation is just unfair.) Is it really that most people have been fooled by "distortions," or that most people just aren't very good at this sort of geography and, additionally, don't care much about African geography?
One of the more interesting things related to geography that I have run across for decades now both outside the U.S. and in dealing with foreign visitors in the States is the underestimation of the sheer size of America. Invariably people seem to view China, which is essentially identical in size to America, as a "massive" country, while perceptions of the U.S. don't follow suit. Oddly, my experience has been that people don't see America as small, they just don't see it as "massive." I often wonder if the (very strange) European tendency to see America and its state as somehow akin to Europe and its nations plays a factor in shrinking the perception of U.S. size. Perhaps something similar happens with Africa given that it is comprised of lots of "little" countries rather than a handful of larger nations.
John Reader's "Africa: A Biography of a Continent" has a similar map, though again no Alaska or Hawaii. I think New Zealand comes out looking pretty good!
Page 686, Appendix B, search for "New Zealand" using LookInside! http://www.amazon.com/Africa-Biography-Continent-…
5: The bridge was a government project, designed under government contract, build under a government construction and lease contract, connecting two segments of a government freeway which provides the sole reason for the bridge existing.
And in 2080, this viaduct will be solely owned by the people of France, free and clear, unless they continue encumbering it with a new contract for collecting tolls to pay for maintenance of upgrades to the bridge.
The bridge came into being as a consequence of the A75 government project begun in 1975 to speed traffic to the south of Paris. If capitalists had the foresight of government they would have begin building it as a toll road in say 1700 or 1800 or 1850 or 1900 or 1950 with the expectations of the return on investment over the following century or five centuries? But few capitalists undertake projects that require more than a lifetime to recover the required investment.
But such projects have high risk of total loss because the time horizon to break even is too long. For example, the Panama Canal, or the Chunnel, two projects smaller than the A75 with this viaduct, which each bankrupted multiple corporations.
The same goes for people who can't spell.
Does Africa have an inferiority complex?
Last time I checked, the United States had 50 states, not 48.
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