Opportunities

There's a map floating around the Twitterverse that I find fascinating:

ThePopulationCircle

(Click to embiggen!)

The main populations in the circle are these:

Nation: Population:
China 1,354,040,000
India 1,210,193,422
Indonesia 237,641,326
Bangladesh 152,518,015
Japan 127,340,000
Philippines 92,337,852
Vietnam 88,780,000
Thailand 65,926,261
South Korea 50,004,441
Burmyanmarma 49,120,000
Total: 3,427,901,317

I'm reminded of Hans Rosling's intriguing videos. Especially this one.

What does this geographic concentration of us humans suggest or imply about current Unitedstatesian foreign policy? What does it suggest about possibilities for sustainable development of underindustrialized (or post-industrial) areas? How does the leveling influence of communication technologies intersect the social stratification that inevitably comes with such development? How should foreign language instruction and cultural education change in regions outside the circle? Which languages should Popehat support with i18n/l10n?

There's a conceptual zone within which the romanticized historical past and the immanentizing historical future converge in a swamp of misapprehension and misstep. It's called "the present".

Is there a better way of doing today in view of tomorrow's important issues?

Last 5 posts by David Byron

Comments

  1. says

    There's a conceptual zone within which the romanticized historical past and the immanentizing historical future converge in a swamp of misapprehension and misstep. It's called "the present".

    Used the blockquote tag there because even HTML 5 doesn't support <genius>.

  2. says

    Unfortunately, one of the main problems with the Twitterverse is its unerring inaccuracy. According to The World Bank, the current world population is 6.97 billion persons. The circle shown in the picture at the top of the article accounts for less than half, not more than half.

    However, this not-so-minor detail notwithstanding, the fact that almost half of the world's population are inside that circle is at once cautionary, and illuminating, and does nothing to detract from David's observations.

  3. zilong555 says

    The map should really be using a projection that leaves areas intact; the map as it is makes the circled area look smaller than it really is.

  4. Kilroy says

    No small reason why the next large scale world war will likely center in this area.

  5. Chris says

    Actually Steve, that is incredibly pedantic and loses the forest for the trees.

  6. Ancel De Lambert says

    A third of our population, living in an area the size of the three west-coast states, and Japan is WORRIED by their dropping birth rate? I'd be fecking ecstatic!

  7. says

    Unfortunately, one of the main problems with the Twitterverse is its unerring inaccuracy. According to The World Bank, the current world population is 6.97 billion persons. The circle shown in the picture at the top of the article accounts for less than half, not more than half.

    @Steve Hall
    Let's see. Half of 6.97 billion is 3.485 billion. I gave figures totalling 3.428 billion. I included only the top 10 nations by size.

    Is it your thesis that if I included the populations of the remaining nations in that circle, they would not make up the 57 million person difference?

    one of the main problems with the Twitterverse is its unerring inaccuracy

    True a fortiori for blog comments, yes?

    Permit me to ease you toward enlightenment:

    Nation: Population:
    Malaysia 29,660,000
    Nepal 26,494,504
    North Korea 24,052,231
    Taiwan 23,332,705
    Sri Lanka 20,277,597
  8. Aelfric says

    Indeed, adding Nepal (population 30.49 million) and Malaysia (population 28.86 million) get you over the "halfway" point. That leaves North Korea, Singapore, Laos, etc.

  9. Aelfric says

    Oops–David, you beat me to it. Though I think you're understating Nepal a bit!

  10. Ryan Voots says

    I'd love to see this on a different map projection just to get a better view of what the real sizes are. The robinson projection looks nice, but I think a gall-peters would be better to show this on.

  11. says

    The map should really be using a projection that leaves areas intact; the map as it is makes the circled area look smaller than it really is.

    @zilong555

    The map is a Winkel Tripel Projection, a method adopted by National Geographic on account of its relative lack of distortion:

  12. different Jess says

    Well if we're being really precise the population of Indonesia is a bit overstated since the circle excludes the provinces of Papua and East Nusa Tenggara as well as portions of West Papua and Maluku. Of course the total population for these four provinces is less than ten million so the "remaining" nations certainly make up the difference.

  13. Waldo says

    Even in the circled area, just a small fraction of the total area is densely populated. It looks about half ocean. And, the Tibetan Plateau, Gobi Desert, and Borneo probably take up close to half the land, but have maybe only 50 million people altogether.

  14. Chris says

    @Kilroy • May 7, 2013 @10:47 am

    Pedantic? Stop being so obtuse.

    obtuse? Is it deliberate?

  15. Bjorn says

    As long as we're on the subject of pedantry: it's l10n, for l[ocalizatio]n, not i10n.

  16. Sadrice says

    Because of the projection used, this "circle" is not actually circular on the earth itself. Someone on reddit came up with a better circle, defined with a radius of 4100 km centered 106.6° East, 26.6° North, which is the city of Guiyang, Guizhou Province, Southwest China:

  17. Sadrice says

    I seem to have failed to insert the image I wanted, apparently the img tag doesn't work (I should have known, it's not in the allowed tags list). How do you insert an image, anyways?

    Follow the link if you want the image.

  18. says

    @Sadice
    The syntax is as follows:
    <img width="500" src="http://www.foo.bar/image.jpg">

    However, it's possible that we disallow the tag because of the crowd that Ken draws when he's feeling provocative. ;)

  19. Sadrice says

    Thanks for the help. Funnily enough, now it works (I used just that, minus the width bit). I assume images require moderator approval before being displayed? I should have realized that…

  20. says

    Hey… A topic about which I'm actually informed! You see… I live inside that circle. I currently reside near Shanghai in a small city (pop. 400k).

    How should foreign language instruction and cultural education change in regions outside the circle? Which languages should Popehat support with i18n/l10n?

    Foreign language instruction should focus on American English. No, that's not arrogance or nationalism, it's a reflection of how the world actually works over here. I teach English to businesses–everyone from machine operators to executives. And they all want the same thing: American English. The area I'm in (several cities spread around Shanghai) is a hub of international business. Companies here are German (over 200 in this city, alone), French, American, Taiwanese[1], Japanese, British, Australian…. English is the language everyone uses. American English is the preferred dialect. Learning Chinese is great if you want to live here and interact with the locals on a casual basis, but for business, everyone switches to English. The city I'm in is known as "Little Germany"–and *nobody* learns German. Our center is, I believe, the only one here to teach German (we have both local and native speakers teaching), and we have less than a dozen students a year in 3 cities. Based on my conversations with immigrants and visitors, the same holds true for most of the surrounding nations. The notable exception is Japan.

    From a cultural standpoint, there is certainly a lot that we, as Unitedstatesians, can learn from eastern culture (particularly China), but I think you'll find that most of them don't care if you learn their culture in the way that we expect them to learn ours. I can only speak for my experiences in China, and I'm fully aware that other cultures within that circle are quite different.

    That being said, there's an odd dichotomy here that we in the west (both US and Europe) don't have–and it's an important one. Culture in China is both ancient and ephemeral. On the one hand, it's over 5,000 years old. On the other hand, it's less than 70 years old (1949). On the gripping hand, in the last 35 years, it's been racing from third world realities to first-world sensibilities–and hasn't taken the time to figure out where it actually is.

    I don't claim to have the answers, but I can say that I'm starting to learn the right questions to ask. And I've come to understand something very important: China wants to be America–and they have the drive, ambition, dream, and fortitude to take our crown from us if we don't start paying attention.

    ===
    [1] Considered both part of China and "outside" by the locals.

  21. Lago says

    @David

    "The map is a Winkel Tripel Projection, a method adopted by National Geographic on account of its relative lack of distortion:"

    I think what he means is that the map is not an optimally "scaled" projection (like a mollweide projection would be), which might be more appropriate in the context of this map's message. But the whole deal with the winkel projection is that it's a good compromise of both shape and scale. It's pretty accurate and it has the bonus of being easier to look at.

  22. barry says

    Another way to look at it. population=area. From a new atlas by University of Sheffield.

  23. Jack (the one with the cat avatar) says

    Burmyanmarma

    Nice compromise.

    I'm afraid I have to disagree.

    Myanmar was the name imposed by the military junta when they usurped the rightful, democratically-elected government of Burma and began their long and heinous record of brutal suppression of dissent against their illegitimate reign and its innumerable human-rights abuses.

    For this reason, every Burmese refugee I've ever met prefers the name Burma for their country. Calling Burma Myanmar can be (and has been, by the current vile wielders of state power in Burma) construed as supporting the regime which instituted itself by coup and maintains its grip on the reins of power mainly by violence, terror and fear of same.

    Would any of you — if the warlords get their way following the final withdrawal from Afghanistan of U.S. troops — support calling that nation Talibanistan, after its brutal oppressors, rather than its longstanding name taken from its native Afghani people?

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