Every US County I Remember the Name For: Reprise Reprise

This time, it’s not a superset of what I could name last time.

Also, this is going to be the last reprise; no further tracking of progress here.



Pokémon Go: Stats at 25 Million XP

I reached 25 million XP on May 13, Day 625 of playing. I reached it by feeding a razz berry.

Here’s a chart of XP versus time at level-ups and this update.


My buddy at the moment was Exeggutor.

Since reaching Level 40, I have successfully changed my in-game name to 0xGG.

General Statistics




Continue reading “Pokémon Go: Stats at 25 Million XP”

Understanding the Degree of Population of South and East Asia

Data and statistics are often presented in numbers, but looking at numbers themselves often doesn’t allow one to grasp the true scale of size differences. Below are several comparative attempts to help one grasp the true degree to which the population giants of South and East Asia are densely populated.

China is the world’s most populous country, with 1.39 billion people.
India is the world’s 2nd most populous country, with 1.33 billion people.
The United States is the world’s 3rd most populous country, with 327 million people.
If the United States suddenly had 1 billion more people, it would still be the world’s 3rd most populous country.

A common example of a trait assigned to ignorant Americans is the misconception that Africa is a country. Yet…
Africa has 1.23 billion people, so if Africa was a country, it would only be the world’s 3rd most populous country, after China and India.
At current rates of population growth, though, this probably won’t stay for long.

North America has 579 million people.
South America has 420 million people.
So, if the all of the Americas united into one country, it would have less population than China or India.
In fact, as shown above, the Americas together have less people than Africa.
And, as shown above above, the Americas would need more than another entire USA to catch up to China or India.

California is the most populous state of the United States, with 39 million people.
If California was moved to India, it would rank 12th in population among Indian states. If it was moved to China, it would rank 15th in population among Chinese provinces.
It’s also worth noting that while California would rank 12th in population in India, it would rank 1st in area.

India’s state of Uttar Pradesh has over 200 million people.
If Uttar Pradesh was a country, it would rank 7th in population in the world.
(And of course, India would still rank 2nd.)
How large is Uttar Pradesh? Smaller than Oregon.

Luzon has 53 million people.
Mindanao has 25 million people.
Australia has 23 million people.
The Philippines contain two islands each with more population than Australia.
So does Indonesia, of which in fact one of the islands is Jawa, with six times Australia’s population.

Phoenix’s population density is 1200 people/km².
Austin’s population density is 1170 people/km².
Charlotte’s population density is 1064 people/km²
Bangladesh’s population density is 1142 people/km².
Despite being cities, Phoenix, Austin, and Charlotte have population densities similar to that of the country of Bangladesh.

Here’s a bunch of US states that together have about as much population as Vietnam.
Here’s Vietnam juxtaposed over the US, for an area comparison.

Continue reading “Understanding the Degree of Population of South and East Asia”

Straight Borders

Every so often in life, I come to realize something that upon reflection I’m amazed I either haven’t thought about before or haven’t thought more about before.

A recent case: how the frequency of straight borders in the United States is very unusual in the world.

This case is a case of the latter sort of realization: I’ve many years prior looked at a provincial map of the People’s Republic of China and noted to myself a serious lack of straightness in borders, but I never thought anything beyond that there.

China’s provinces and autonomous regions, as well as next-level divisions, have borders that are overwhelmingly unstraight. Indian states and union territories are as well. This is also the case with Russia’s various administrative divisions. Also Germany. And France. And Thailand. And Turkey. A ridiculous amount of the world.

Whereas…this is how straight the United States’ state- and county-level divisions look. Three states have exclusively straight (lat-lon-wise) borders, and many others still have a large proportion of straightness in their borders. In the next level down, flocks of American counties are spherically rectangular.

The United States isn’t actually alone in this aspect. Consider Canada. Or Australia. Is straight borders an English-speaking thing? No.

Stack exchange has some thoughts. A substantial amount of the relevant theorizing (of which there’s not a lot of relevant theorizing) revolves around straight borders being easy choices when areas weren’t much inhabited by people yet. (There’s also an annoying comment claiming that a CGP Grey video “explains everything nicely”; yes, as a Grey fan, I’ve watched that video several times over; no, the stuff it explains isn’t this; did you even read what the question is?) This idea makes a lot of sense, but are not a complete picture to me. Why do we not see these straight borders in Eastern Russia? Why are there straight borders in the US as east as the east coast states? I guess this will remain a mystery.

What is no longer a mystery is various prior feelings while looking at maps I couldn’t exactly put my finger on. I’ve for quite a while found the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan border to seem weird to me for no discernable reason, but viewing a map in light of this fact, there’s a clear oddity in a portion of this border being actually straight when one has to travel half the continent over for the nearest likewise straight country border. Or maybe I shouldn’t conclude this yet: why, after all, doesn’t Uzbekistan extend west to the Caspian Sea? This is rather odd too.

Maybe (better) answers will come later. But for now, I’ll be content with the realization that North America’s borders are unusually straight.



I await the Klein four-group nations.

A Contributional Solution to Uniqueness-Dependent Namespace Collisions

Once someone else has picked a username in a site, chances are you can’t have that username now. This is also true of several other namespaces, inside and outside of the computer world.

There are extensive problematic things about this. Perhaps you’ve been to a site that allows one-character usernames, and then modified the URL from a profile page to see who the lucky ones were that got the one-character usernames, and discovered many accounts where barely any activity has occurred beyond the creation of the account. What a waste! This could even be done maliciously, to claim an account that’s a natural moniker for someone before that person can get to it. There’s in fact this entire TLD that’s pretty much a namespace extortion market.

But this problem could be solved. A provider of a namespace could select a set of usernames that could be desirable, and assign pre-specified levels of contribution (maybe measured by posts, publications, victories, or some combination of what’s available in a site) necessary to actually be able to acquire that username permanently. Other usernames that one would expect would not be competed over can be guaranteed permanent upon acquisition, just not these particular ones, one-character and two-character usernames, and often-desired usernames like “dragon”, “monkey”, and “shadow”. (Bonus thought inquiry: is the state of password standards of the populace still so despondent that if you implemented this standard on the password field people would still fight for the convenience?) Thus, if you turn out to be a major contributor to the site (measured in some means), and someone just parked such a username and did nothing with it, you become entitled to have that username instead.

Thus, we have a system for which:

  1. One can’t successfully just prevent others from getting nice or appropriate usernames by parking an account.
  2. If one wants a permanent username but is worried about their level of contribution, there’s still a large set of usernames that one could choose from.
  3. One who picks a username that is tentative knows there’s a threshold after which they are safe and can be assured they have that username permanently, and doesn’t need to worry about future username-seizing by other users.

I’m curious why this seems to not have been implemented anywhere prominent yet, actually: I’m sure I can’t be the first to think of this. There is an alternative solution to this problem that I have seen, utilized by Discord, for example, where all usernames have a site-assigned number suffixed to them, so that multiple people can in fact choose the same username, and have them still be distinguishable. I like this solution as well, my only complaint (and a small one) being that one then doesn’t have full control over what becomes their particular unique identifier.