Browsing Tag: every

    How to ride light rail
    Articles, Blog

    How to ride light rail

    October 11, 2019

    The light-rail line runs from Mall of America in Bloomington to Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis. Train service is available approximately every seven minutes during
    rush hours and every ten to fifteen minutes at other times. The fare for light rail is the same as a local bus route. Make it easy and use a Go-To Card to pay your fare. Don’t forget to touch your Go-To Card at a reader to validate your
    ride. Otherwise, be sure to purchase a ticket at the ticket machine before
    you board. Light rail service details can be found on every platform, at, or by calling 612-373-3333!

    Why Cities Are Where They Are
    Articles, Blog

    Why Cities Are Where They Are

    August 27, 2019

    This is a Wendover Productions video made
    possible by Squarespace. Make your next move with a beautiful website
    from Squarespace. The Cumberland valley is home to six towns
    lying between Hagerstown, Maryland and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania— Greencastle, Chambersburg,
    Shippensburg, Newville, Carlisle, and Mecanicsburg. What’s exceptional about these small Pennsylvania
    towns is that they’re each almost exactly 10 miles from each other. The distances deviate by no more than a mile
    from this rule. This isn’t a coincidence and this isn’t
    planned. Drawing equal sized radii around each town
    shows you their spheres of influence. Assuming each town has the exact same shops
    and services, rational people will just go to whichever town is closest to buy or sell
    goods. Towns ten miles apart mean that nobody has
    to travel more than five miles to reach a town. Each one of these towns was founded before
    the formation of the United States, so that means that, of course, nobody had cars and
    pretty much everybody walked everywhere. 10 miles, or 5 miles each way, is about the
    distance a person can comfortably walk in a day with enough time to buy or sell goods
    at a central market. Back in this era before cars, a 5 mile radius
    was essentially the largest possible commuter zone to small agricultural towns and therefore
    having towns ten miles apart was the most efficient possible use of rural land. When you get a chance, take a look at map
    of a rural area that existed before cars. You’ll see that the distance between medium-sized
    towns is almost always somewhere between about 10 to 15 miles. Because the Cumberland valley is a valley,
    towns really could only develop in a line, but in most cases towns develop in all directions. This is what the ten mile rule looks like
    going out in all directions. Each of these points is a town and the hexagon
    around it is the area from which people will go to the town. In the real world, each of these towns probably
    has a small grocery store, a pharmacy, a bank, and maybe a restaurant. Since everybody uses these services, there
    doesn’t have to be many people in a towns sphere of influence in order to sustain these
    shops. But where do you put something more specialized,
    like a mechanic. People only need to go the mechanic every
    once in a while so you need more people to sustain one mechanics shop than one grocery
    store. Well, some of these small towns develop into
    larger towns with more people that can support more specialized shops and services. Putting these larger towns with more specialized
    shops closer together would be unsustainable since there wouldn’t be enough people going
    to those shops but putting them farther apart would be inefficient since there’s land
    that people would not go to a city from. This happens once or twice more until you
    have cities. These cities have the largest spheres of influence
    and the most specialized shops. You of course still have grocery stores and
    pharmacies in cities, but you also have things like luxury car dealerships, brain surgery
    centers, and airports. The city’s sphere of influence is enormous
    because people will travel hundreds of miles to buy an expensive car or get brain surgery
    or fly from an airport. Think about it within a city. How far would you walk to buy a latte. Probably only a few blocks and that’s why
    you see Starbucks or other coffee shops on almost every block. Since almost everyone buys coffee, you only
    need a few blocks of people to sustain one coffee shop. But how far would you walk to buy a MacBook? Probably quite far since its a infrequent
    and substantial purchase. That’s why Apple stores are rather rare
    even in cities. You need an enormous amount of people to sustain
    one Apple store and we can actually figure out roughly how many. In Connecticut, the Trumbull Apple Store is
    about 20 miles away from the New Haven store to the north-east and the Stamford store to
    the south-west. In the 10 mile radius around the Trumbull
    Apple Store there are about half a million inhabitants which tells us that you need about
    half a million people to sustain one Apple store. We can compare that to the Starbucks’ of
    lower Manhattan which are spread out at an average distance of about 600 feet. Drawing a 300 foot radius around one Starbucks
    in lower Manhattan covers around 6,000 people which means that one Starbucks needs 6,000
    people to sustain it. Of course both Connecticut and New York are
    places with higher than average incomes which means less people are needed to sustain one
    Starbucks or Apple Store. The numbers would be very different in, say,
    rural Kansas, but since each store generally only builds in areas with higher-than-average
    incomes this gives a good sense of how many people Apple and Starbucks looks for in an
    area before opening up a store. So, our model shows where cities should be,
    but its not like this in reality. This is the most efficient spread of cities
    if you’re assuming that the cities are on a perfectly flat plane with no geographic
    features, no social influences, no variability of income, equal distribution of resources—essentially
    assuming the world is one homogeneous place… which its not. In reality, of course, our world has an enormous
    effect on where and why cities develop. To start out, let’s cut this down to one
    city on a flat, featureless plane for simplicity. What affects the location of cities more than
    anything is water. If we put an ocean on one side of our isotropic
    plane, our city will almost certainly locate near it. Oceans have always been and still are what
    connects the world. There’s no other means of transport that
    can move such enormous amounts of cargo for so little. Any city needs to be economically efficient
    to grow and it will cost more to bring goods to a city that’s 1000 miles inland than
    one right by the ocean. Just look at Europe. 6 of the 10 largest European cities are within
    100 miles of the coast. But oceans aren’t the only bodies of water
    to affect cities. Rivers are just as or perhaps even more influential. Milan, the 19th largest European city, is
    the largest to not be either directly on the ocean or on a river, and even then its only
    15 miles from a river and 75 miles from the ocean. Until the last century or so, cities could
    not survive without direct water access. If you need more proof, 14 of the 15 largest
    cities in the world are within a few dozen miles of the ocean. Perhaps the most obvious attractor for cities
    is resources, so going back to our isotropic plane, putting natural resources anywhere
    on this map will draw cities near it. Cities that existed before the last century
    or so generally sprung up right near the resources, much like Pittsburgh, since they acted as
    manufacturing and transportation hubs for those resources, but more recently new resource
    dependent cities don’t need to be as close to the resources themselves. New transportation technologies can bring
    the resources from their source. Just look at Dubai. Of course the UAE has enormous oil deposits,
    but they’re much closer to Abu Dhabi and the South-West than Dubai. In 1900, Dubai had 10,000 residents, less
    than half that of Carlisle, Pennsylvania—one of the farming towns we talked about at the
    beginning. That only grew to 40,000 by 1960, but today
    its known worldwide and has more than 2.5 million residents. It was able to grow at this enormous rate—even
    faster than Abu Dhabi—since it cemented itself as the economic and administrative
    hub for the oil industries of the region. Another geographic feature that we can add
    to the plane is mountains. Now, mountains don’t always have a uniform
    affect on cities. Mexico City, Bogota, and Addis Ababa are all
    enormous cities at elevations above 7,000 feet. Mountains do make transport and trade difficult,
    but they also provide protection. Many ancient cities grew in these locations
    since they were easy to protect, which left more time to focus on growing the city, but
    mountains can also hinder development. For quite a while, the United States could
    not develop west of the Appalachian mountains. They just served as an enormous barrier. In 1800, the average center of population
    for the entire United States was here even though the US had sovereignty over this entire
    area. Of course technology eventually conquered
    this barrier and moved the mean population center all the way out to Missouri today,
    but if the Appalachian mountains didn’t exist American history and geography would
    be completely different. We would have seen urban development much
    earlier in the mid-west. But mountains can have another effect. You see, coal, silver, gold, and other mineral
    deposits are all often located in mountainous regions, and, just like Dubai, cities can
    develop in less hospitable and easy places due to resources. The economic advantage of exploiting the resources
    overpowers the economic disadvantage of being in an inhospitable location. Denver, Colorado grew 650% between 1870 and
    1880 with the opening of a railroad branch connecting with the transcontinental railroad. It served as an access point to transportation
    to the gold miners in the rockies. So mountains can either push cities away or
    bring them nearer—it really just depends on the circumstance. Let’s exchange our isotropic plane for a
    world map. Where should cities be on here? Well, our world’s cities are not necessarily
    all in the most geographically efficient locations. While there is a certain level of natural
    selection that grows the efficiently placed cities and shrinks the inefficiently placed
    cities, humans are not always able to put cities in the most efficient locations. Let’s put up the 224 cities in the world
    with a population over 2 million. You can immediately see some patterns. Putting up the equator, you can see a clear
    divide. Only 32 of these cities lie in the southern
    hemisphere. One might think this is because there is so
    much more land in the northern hemisphere, but that’s not entirely true. You see, the southern hemisphere still has
    32% of the world’s land, but only has 14% of the world’s large cities. There’s clearly a higher density of cities
    in the northern hemisphere. You can pretty much trace this all back to
    Europe and Asia. The first large civilizations and empires
    were on these two continents even though the human race likely originated in Africa. There’s hundreds of different theories on
    why civilizations succeeded in some places and failed in others, but one of the more
    plausible and interesting theories is that Europe and Asia succeeded because they’re
    wide instead of tall. The very shape of the continents may have
    changed the course of human history. You see, when a continent is wide, you have
    a ton of land with roughly the same climate. Climate tends to change when you go north
    and south rather than east and west as a nature of how the earth rotates around the sun. Much of the success of early civilizations
    had to do with the domestication of plants and animals and the corresponding technology. When expanding horizontally, the climate is
    similar enough that an empire can use the same successful plants and animals, while
    expanding vertically requires the domestication of new plants and animals. If a civilization started in central-america,
    for example, there would be very little land on the continent with a similar climate and
    their expansion would be severely limited. In Europe and Asia, on the other hand, theres
    thousands upon thousands and miles of similar climate that can be reached just by traveling
    east or west. There’s evidence to back this up. Just look at the maps of the four largest
    early empires—the Qing Dynasty, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Umayyad Caliphate, and the
    Mongol empire. They were all in Eurasia and they all expanded
    horizontally. When some of the more modern empires expanded,
    they had the technology to do so overseas. The three major modern empires were the British,
    Spanish, and French empires—each of which came from relatively similar climates. A major reason why America was able to succeed
    is because all the agriculture from Europe worked there. Climatically, Europe and America are nearly
    identical. The majority of developed colonized countries
    are in the northern hemisphere just because they were closest to Europe, but formerly
    British countries like South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand are all highly developed and
    in the Southern Hemisphere. Their success over more northern countries
    in the southern hemisphere can also be partially attributed to their greater climate similarity
    to Europe. Let’s ask one more question. If our world only had one city, where would
    it logically be? Well if you take the location of every person
    in the world and average it out, you come to south-central Asia. That means that this general region is the
    optimum place to live on the planet, but where more specifically should our world city go. Well, this region is already in the Northern
    Hemisphere and in Eurasia, so we’ve already covered those two criteria. We want a place within a hundred of so miles
    of the ocean, on a navigable river, near mountains with rich mineral deposits—the single best
    place for a city on earth just might be… Dhaka, Bangladesh. Every geographic model and theory says that
    there is no better place on earth to put a city than here. There’s evidence to back this up: Dhaka
    is between the 4th and 18th largest metropolitan area on earth depending on how you define
    metropolitan area, and Bangladesh is the sixth densest country on earth—there are 161 million
    people living in an area about the size of England. History has affected geography enough that
    the largest and most advanced civilizations are not all in South-Central Asia, but if
    we started all over again, did humanity a second time, every geographic model says that
    this region could be the origin and central point of human civilization. I hope you enjoyed this Wendover Productions
    video. This video was made possible by my amazing,
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    creators like me and perhaps you make great things, so definitley take a look at what
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    Every Country in the World (Part 1)
    Articles, Blog

    Every Country in the World (Part 1)

    August 9, 2019

    This is every country in the world… by Wendover
    Productions. We’ll start with
    Afghanistan, the first country alphabetically. Afghanistan is one of the few countries worldwide
    to be offset from Greenwich Mean Time by a 30 minute interval, its at GMT +4:30, while
    China is one of the many countries to only have
    one timezone… except its ginormous. It aligns to GMT
    + 8 so that means that stepping over the 47 mile long Afghanistan-China border jumps you
    forward by 3.5 hours. That’s the largest single time zone jump
    on earth. China in all its craziness
    has rather ambitious plans to build a high-speed railroad from Beijing, up across the Bering
    Strait, and down into the United States, which happens to be the home of 41% of Wendover
    Productions viewers. Up in the north-west of the US, Point Roberts,
    a part of the mainland US, is cut off from the US by Canada and since it
    doesn’t have a high-school, students have to cross
    into Canada then back into the US each day on their way to school. Canada happens to be the
    second largest country on earth and has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Its so
    huge, in fact, that its easternmost point is closer to Croatia than it is to Vancouver. One of
    Croatia’s thousands of islands is Rab, the birthplace of the sculptor Marinas who went
    on and founded San Marino, the fifth smallest country
    in the world and one of three to be completely surrounded by another country. One of the others is the Vatican—the smallest
    sovereign state in the world—and there’s also Lesotho, which
    is home to one of Africa’s seven ski resorts. Lesotho
    is of course surrounded by South Africa which is the only country in the world to have three
    capitals—Cape Town is the seat of the Parliament, Pretoria is the home of the president, and
    Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. South Africa also almost completely surrounds
    another country—Swaziland, where roads are so bad
    that two of the last four transport ministers died in
    car accidents. While mostly surrounded by South Africa, Swaziland’s
    eastern border is with Mozambique, whose name scores higher in scrabble
    than any other one-word country, but in second place for scrabble is Kyrgyzstan which
    is home to six enclaves, the smallest of which is
    part of Uzbekistan and is only 2 miles wide. In Uzbekistan, no river leads to the Ocean—they
    all drain into endorheic basins where all the
    water evaporates out. Uzbekistan is one of only two
    countries worldwide to be double-landlocked—as in, landlocked by landlocked countries. In this
    case, every surrounding country of Uzbekistan also ends in -stan—Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,
    Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan,and Turkmenistan. The other double-landlocked country is
    Liechtenstein—a tiny and historically neutral nation. In their last military engagement in 1886,
    none of the 80 soldiers were injured or killed, and they actually returned with 81 people
    since they made a “new italian friend.” Italy is home to the Breuil Cervinia ski resort
    where you can ski across the border into Switzerland. Switzerland is rather paranoid about war to
    the extent that 3,000 points of entry into the country are
    rigged to blow at an instant in case of invasion. Switzerland is also home to one end of the
    shortest regularly-scheduled commercial international flight in the world—a six minute, 10 mile
    jaunt over to Germany where its not actually illegal to
    escape prison. Seriously—they say its only human nature. Germany is home to half of one of the
    world’s few internationally divided islands, and the Polish side of this island, despite
    being only 200 feet from mainland Poland, is not connected
    by any bridges to Poland, so just like point Roberts, residents have to cross international
    borders to get to their own country. Poland also
    happens to have been a part of Sweden’s monarchy for a brief eight years in the 16th
    century. Sweden has an internationally divided island
    too, and this one is a mere 7 acres large. The border
    looks like this because Finland accidentally built a lighthouse in Swedish territory and
    so they just readjusted the border to make everyone
    happy. Finland has exactly 187,888 lakes, and its
    northernmost point is actually closer to Greenland than Poland due to the curvature of the earth. Greenland isn’t actually a country so I’m
    not allowed to talk about it—its a dependency of
    Denmark, where its impossible to be more than 30 miles from the ocean. The wife of Denmark’s Crown Prince, Crown
    Princess Mary, was born in Australia which is the 6th largest country on earth and is
    home to the longest fence in the world—a 3,500 mile structure to keep wild dogs out
    of the the fertile south-east region. The middle of Australia also has practically
    nobody and nothing in it except a 297 mile long precisely straight section of railroad
    track. Australia freed the country of Brunei from
    occupation back in WWII which is one of the few countries worldwide to be comprised of
    two comparably sized sections. St Kitts and Nevis is
    also split into two but that’s because its a two island nation and also the smallest
    country in the Americas. In Saint Kitts and Nevis you can gain citizenship
    by making a $400 thousand real estate investment much like Bulgaria, where people nod up and
    down to signify no and shake left and right to mean yes. Bulgaria is one of the few countries to have
    an embassy in North Korea which created its own time zone in 2015 for
    no real reason than to be different. North Korea is
    only separated by one country from Norway, where more than half the population lives
    below this line. Between Norway and North Korea is of course
    Russia—the largest country in the world. Its easternmost point is, in fact, closer
    to Mexico than Moscow. Mexico once had three
    different presidents in one hour during a military coup, but also accustomed to short
    regimes is Alsace-Lorraine in France which was an fully-recognized
    independent country for 12 short days between being part of Germany and France at
    the end of World War One. France, of course, had
    an enormous empire including Algeria which is the largest country in Africa and unlike
    some of its neighboring countries, is quite nice to
    women. 70% of the countries lawyers are female. Right
    next door to Algeria is Morocco which has de facto control of some of Western Sahara,
    a place thats not really part of any country. That’s why its always blank on data maps. Morocco
    surrounds two Spanish exclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, which are politically part of mainland
    Spain, rather than overseas territories, despite
    being in Northern Africa. Spain once had an enormous
    empire, part of which was Micronesia which is now a US associated state, meaning they’re
    an independent nation but the US covers defense
    and funding. Micronesian citizens can join the US
    military without becoming a US resident—a right only given to citizens of freely associated
    states. Their currency is also the US dollar. Palau is also a nearby US associated state
    which is often compared to Fiji since they’re both
    idillic pacific island destinations even though they’re
    over 3,500 miles apart. Fiji was a British colony up until 1970 and
    you have no idea how hard it was to avoid using this transition up until
    now. I could’ve used it with Nauru, St Kitts
    and Nevis, Brunei, Australia, South Africa, Canada, the
    United States, and Afghanistan but I kept it for now. The UK is home to the shortest regularly scheduled
    commercial flight in the world between Westray and Papa Westray in the Scottish isles. It costs 17 pounds, takes 53 seconds, and
    traverses only 1.7 miles. The UK has two exclaves—both of which are
    overseas territories. One
    is Gibraltar, right across from Ceuta, and the the other is Akrotiri and Dhekelia on
    the island of Cyprus. There are border control agents from three
    countries on Cyprus, the UK, Cyprus, and Turkey. Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state only
    recognized by Turkey who helps them keep control of the territory with a heavy military
    presence and border control agents. Istanbul,
    Turkey, is the only city on the planet to span two continents—Europe and Asia—although
    there are plenty of countries on two continents. In Egypt, the Sinai peninsula sits in Asia
    while the rest is in Africa. Just past the southern border of Egypt is
    Bir Tawil, a piece of land claimed by no country since Egypt and Sudan disagree on
    where their borders are. Sudan recently split into two
    and created South Sudan—the world’s youngest UN recognized country. The second youngest
    country is Serbia which, up until 2006, was called Serbia and Montenegro but split after
    a referendum. Montenegro also happens to be a town in Costa
    Rica where about 100 people live. The capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, only
    allows car owners to drive 6 days a week to fight
    pollution and congestion, so the last digit of license plates correspond to their banned
    day. Costa
    Rica’s southern border is with Panama, home to the Panama Canal which, counterintuitively,
    has its Atlantic end, the ocean to the east, to
    the west, and its Pacific end, the ocean to the west, to the
    east. Panama’s southern border is with Colombia
    but there’s not one road crossing this 50 mile
    jungle which means its impossible to drive between North and South America. You probably
    know that Colombia was once part of Spain but so was the Netherlands. It was called the Spanish
    Netherlands. The Netherlands is also home to Baarle-Nassau,
    one of the most messed up borders in the world. Belgium is well known for having a UN headquarters,
    and so does Nairobi, Kenya —the suspected birthplace of the human race. Kenya’s northern neighbor is Somalia, which
    received its first ATM machine in 2014. Somalia has had three separate wars with Ethiopia
    in the last century, and Ethiopia national airline
    was the second in the world to receive the 787
    Dreamliner despite being the 13th poorest country. Ethiopia also has another one of those
    internationally divided islands, this one with Djibouti, which is home to the lowest
    point in Africa, Lake Assal, at 509 feet below sea
    level. Djibouti also hosts the only US military base
    in Africa, and Israel hosts one of the smallest
    ones, Dimona Radar Base. Despite being a middle eastern country, Israel
    competes in Eurovision and many European sports leagues since they’re
    culturally much closer to Europe than the middle-east. Israel has one of the weirder international
    borders with Palestine which is only a country depending on who you ask. The largest
    Palestinian community outside the Arab world is in Chile which is one of the only countries
    to have a government sponsored UFO research organization. Chile is the southernmost mainland
    country in the world but doesn’t have the southernmost commercial airport. That title goes to
    Argentina with their Ushuaia – Malvinas International Airport. This (Iguazu Falls) spectacular
    waterfall is the border between Argentina and Brazil which is home to the Amazon River,
    which doesn’t have a single bridge over it. Not one—its just in an area where practically
    nobody lives. Recife, Brazil is closer to Dakar, Senegal
    than to Porte Alegre in South-western Brazil. Just off
    the coast of Senegal is Cape Verde which is pretty much paradise. They have a high human
    development index score, high GDP, high literacy rate, and the lowest recorded temperature
    in history there was 50 degrees fahrenheit. As a former Portuguese colony, Cape Verde
    speaks Portuguese which is the 6th most spoken language
    in the world even though its origin country, Portugal, is smaller than Kentucky. They just had an enormous empire, which for
    a while included Indonesia, which has another one
    of those internationally divided islands with Papau
    New Guinea, similar to Hispaniola island which is divided between Haiti and the Dominican
    Republic. Hispaniola is the 22nd largest island in the
    world but Madagascar is number four. Its
    also the largest single-island-country. 85 million years ago Madagascar was connected
    to India before the continents shifted but Sri Lanka
    was connected to India as recently as 1480 via a land
    bridge that has since eroded. Sri Lanka is just north of the equator but
    right on the equator is Ecuador. Its capital, Quito, is only 20 miles from
    the equator so its day length varies by only 15
    minutes between winter and summer. Although, since the country is split by the
    equator, winter and summer happens at the same time in the
    same country. Ecuador is one of 30 countries to have an
    antarctic research base and right next door to
    Ecuador’s base is Peru’s. Copacabana, not that one, this one, in Bolivia,
    can only be reached by driving through Peru. Bolivia, despite being a landlocked country,
    maintains a 5,000 person Navy, although Mongolia, also a landlocked
    country, maintains a navy that has one ship—a tugboat—and seven total sailors. Mongolia is also the least dense country on
    the planet with only 5 people per square mile. While they may seem un-intimidating now, the
    Mongolian empire was once, the largest contiguous land empire in
    history. Part of that empire was Cambodia, which has
    changed its name six times in the last 65 years. 95% of Cambodia’s population is Theravada
    Buddhist. The other major branch of buddhism is Mahayana
    Buddhism which is practiced in Japan where, out of its total population of
    126 million, they had three gun murders in 2012. Iceland, however, can top that, because they
    had one murder total in 2012. Of course, Iceland
    doesn’t have a huge population which makes it less impressive until you consider that
    30% of Iceland’s residents own guns. 60% of that population, however, lives in
    this circle. Iceland was
    also the first country to recognize Armenia’s independence, and Armenia separates Azerbaijan
    from its Nakhchivan exclave and since the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is closed, residents
    of Nakhchivan have to go all the way around Armenia
    to get to to their own country. Azerbaijan’s
    national soccer team has played Andorra’s five times in the past few decades and four
    of those games have ended in a 0-0 tie. Andorra is the largest country in the world
    to not have an airport which is less impressive when you consider
    that they’re the 19th smallest in the world. The
    smallest country in the world to have a major international airport is the Maldives, the
    8th smallest country. This airport has dozens of destinations and
    is on a small island with no land connections to other islands which means once
    you land you have to either take a boat or seaplane to your destination. One of the airport’s destinations is Kuala
    Lumpur in Malaysia which is home to world’s largest roundabout
    in Putrajaya at 2 miles in diameter. Malaysia is the
    only country connected by road to Singapore, the largest surviving city-state in the world. Despite having hundreds of skyscrapers, Singapore
    is not the densest country in the world. That
    title goes to Monaco which is less than one square mile large. Monaco has no income tax, much
    like the Bahamas, which is one of two countries whose official name starts with the word
    “the”, the other one being the Gambia. The Gambia’s interesting shape comes from
    the flow of the river Gambia whose watershed reaches all
    the way to Guinea which is one of three countries to have the word Guinea in its name. The other two are Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial
    Guinea. Guinea was once the word for the entire west-african
    region so when these countries became independent from their colonizers many chose
    to include “guinea” in their names. Equatorial
    Guinea’s capital actually isn’t on the mainland—its on an offshore island—and,
    despite its name, the equator doesn’t intersect Equatorial
    Guinea but the country is on both sides of the equator
    since they have sovereignty over Annobón island to the south of the equator. This is similar to
    Kiribati—a nation comprising of a few dozen islands in the Pacific. Kiribati is the first place on
    earth to experience New Year’s since their time zone is UTC +14—a time zone exclusive
    to these islands. Kiribati is close friends with Cuba since
    Cuba sent doctors to the islands who reduced the child mortality rate by 80%. Cuba—the only Caribbean island to have a
    commercial railroad—is one of the few remaining communist
    states. One of the others is Laos—the only
    landlocked country in south-east Asia—which borders Vietnam—also communist and the 14th
    most populous country in the world despite having the size of about New Mexico. Vietnam is
    good political friends with Venezuela who is not great friends with bordering Guyana
    since Guyana thinks the border looks like this and
    Venezuela thinks the border looks like this. Guyana
    —the only English-speaking country in South America—borders Suriname—the smallest
    country in South America and the only country other than the Netherlands whose sole primary
    language is Dutch. Suriname was our 98th country so that means
    that we’re halfway through and that that’s the end of part one of Every Country in the
    World, however, part two will be out on Tuesday, December 13th so make sure you’re subscribed
    to catch that right when it comes out. If you enjoyed this and other Wendover Productions
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    every country in the world.