It can be hard to look for the bright side in a tragedy. But resolving tragedies often requires an immense amount of human effort, and that effort results in new knowledge. New genetic forensics techniques emerged from the identification of 9/11 victims, for example. Another tragedy, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 three years ago, is starting to yield its own benefits to the scientific community.
A 17th century map was found in a chimney in Scotland and then delivered to the National Library of Scotland crumpled inside a plastic bag and basically destroyed. Just unraveling the fragile, centuries-old map seemed impossible enough, but the team at the National Library managed to figure out a way to salvage and restore it.
It took a long time to get going. But once we did, damn, we kind of got out of control didn’t we?
Here’s a thought exercise that starts getting kind of gross the deeper you dive into it: what if the entire world’s population lived in one city? What would that city look like? How big would the city be? Or how small can you pack it? Is it even possible? RealLifeLore says that you can fit 7.4 billion people into a city as big as Palestine. Which is, like, basically a bit bigger than the state of Delaware.
There are thousands of ships sailing the seas to catch the fish you eat, and now you can watch them sail the ocean in almost real-time on this interactive map.
Maps lie. We all learned this at some point in school, when we realized Greenland wasn’t quite the hulking beast of land mass we thought it was. I mean, Greenland isn’t even a third of the size of Australia. And the UK is teeny! Smaller than Japan, the Philippines, and Madagascar. Come to think of it, all of Europe is way smaller than what we imagine it to be on the map.
Which empire was the biggest throughout history? Which had the most people? Which had the biggest contiguous empire? The map below details all the most powerful empires from history and shows the area each empire covered, the amount of people they had under their rule, the year they reached their political height, the period of time they reigned, and who their most famous ruler waas.