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In saecula saeculorum

Something I learned recently – the longest unit of time in Ancient Rome was called the Saeculum. It was the period of time from the moment that something happened (for example the founding of a city), until the point in time when all people living at the first moment had died. In other words, it’s […]

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What kind of students get into the University of Chicago?

There are essentially four types, and I’m broadly stereotyping here: The College Prep kid (~40%). This is the most common, at least in the Class of 2019 – 50% of the class went to a private school. The Type 1 kid went to a private prep school, especially one of the Eight Schools. They did […]

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List of 20 Simple, Distinct Colors

In making my latest project (soon to be revealed!) I came across a problem. The challenge was to color-code 20 different rail lines for a metro system diagram, and I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time choosing the colors. No matter what I did, some colors were too similar and could be easily confused.Surely […]

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US cities: cheap and open-minded

Context: on Quora, I was asked, “What is the cheapest and most open-minded city in the United States?“ Tl;dr: Louisville, Kentucky – aka “Where sobriety goes to die” or “The Southernmost Northern City”. Wow, cheapest AND most open-minded… this is not easy to measure. For “cheapest” I assume you mean cost of living, which I […]

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Why is San Jose’s airport so close to downtown?

This is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. In the background is downtown Washington, D.C. Reagan National is approximately a 1–1.5 hr walk from the White House, depending on which part of the airport you start in. This happens to be roughly the same as the walking time between San Jose International and the center of […]

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What does my Cyrillic handwriting look like?

The image below says: “The little bears deprived the chinchillas of a lily, and the chinchillas deprived the little bears of a pinecone.”Hehe, sorry, couldn’t pass up the chance. Here’s a more normal looking writing sample:I imagined there would be a lot of beautiful penmanship in the thread so I feel like contributing something a little more […]

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Why does England have so many more people than Scotland and Wales?

It’s mostly a matter of physical geography. Take a look at this satellite image of the British Isles, without any borders. Right away you can see where the hilly and mountainous terrain is – mostly in Great Britain’s north and west. Mountainous terrain gives you benefits as well as drawbacks: The rugged land is more […]

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If the world federates into one nation, where would the capital be?

New York.I agree with S. Ranck that most likely there would not be a single capital where the entire government is located. However, in terms of a city that serves as a figurehead for the “world government”, it would very likely be New York City.New York is already where the United Nations has their official headquarters, […]

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Why is Mexico viewed as a Third World country?

It’s not anymore, at least not by anyone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s poorer than the US, but Mexico’s Human Development Index score is 0.756, which is officially considered “high”. But this photo of Mexico City perfectly illustrates the problem.The problem in Mexico is inequality. The raw human development score for Mexico makes […]

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