Russia has been in the news a fair bit lately, and perhaps you have decided it is time to learn a little bit more about Russia. Perhaps you noticed the news recently - that over a course of several days (February 6 - 15, 2017), five Russian heads resigned... heads of the the republics of Karelia and Buryatia, and the governors of Novgorod and Ryazan oblasts, as well as the governor of Perm krai. And then your next thought, without a doubt, was, "Wait, what are these oblasts, republics and krais anyway?"
So here you are, about to find out.
Russia, officially known as the Russian Federation, is made up of 85 federal subjects - republics, krais, oblasts, autonomous okrugs, federal cities and an autonomous oblast. It can be pretty confusing to understand the differences, and keep straight what's what and where.
So I've brought you a couple of resources that might help you out a bit.
First up, a youtube video by VanDeGraph: Russian Federation Explained. Watch this video to learn the history of how the various federal subjects came to be, and what their primary differences are in terms of powers.
If you want to memorize the names of the federal subjects and where they are, you could watch this next video. It's cheesy and annoying, and you probably STILL won't know where all the federal subjects are, but you will hear how to pronounce their names... and the chorus is catchy.
Chances are, you still can't name them all or place them on a map... 'cause c'mon, there are 85 of them and it's no easy task. So we've turned our Russian: federal subjects quiz into a customizable quiz. This way, you can pick which ones you want to start with, and learn at your own pace. The Russian: federal subjects quiz can be customized by anyone with a free account on Lizard Point Quizzes.
Or you could try one of these quizzes to start off:
We've just launched two new quizzes to test your country flag knowledge. We'll show you a flag, you have to find the country on the map. The Africa and Europe versions have been around a long time: now we've got an Americas flag quiz as well as an Asia flag quiz.
As promised, our supporters get early access to new quizzes and features. For everyone else, the new quizzes will open up to you on February 1, 2016.
We just got a nice email from a trivia fan telling us how much he and his kids enjoyed the quizzes. It reminded me that I'd been meaning to do a blog post on the making of the quizzes.
We started publishing them last summer, and we now have about 66 available. Our overall average score comes in at around 60% (remember, though, that we only record completed quizzes - and I have a feeling that some of the really tough ones don't get completed). You can see from the chart below that our all-time high average score was 80%. That was on April 19th, 2015. Pretty well every question on that quiz was answered smartly. The toughest ones score an average of about 45%.
The question that you all found the easiest (97%) was identifying the pictured G20 leader on Jan 25th, 2015 (but then, he is a fairly well known politician). And the toughest (23%) was this: Which of the following cities is most populous (metro population)? Seoul, Mumbai, Calcutta, Mexico City. That question was asked on November 16th, 2014.
By the way, we always state the average score on the quiz after you complete it, so you can compare your score to other Lizard Point quiz-takers. The quizzes are published at midnight EST on Sunday mornings. Real early birds won't see the average score since we collect a few hundred before publishing the average.
We try to make the questions engaging - and we do take any feedback we get to heart. So you'll see we've reduced some of the unpopular questions (like distances between cities). We try to focus on geography - but you will also see a sprinkling of questions on astronomy, geology, history, climate etc... We'd love to hear more from you about types of questions you'd like to see (comment, comment).
We think our American friends take a lot of teasing in the press every now and then when a survey comes out revealing gaps in geography knowledge. So we thought it only fair to report on a story out of Northampton in the UK.
The recent Travelodge survey reveals some shocking facts:
about 1 in 10 (11%) believe the UK is made up of more than 6 countries,
Almost the same (9%) believe that England alone makes up the UK,
Over half (54%) think that the UK has a bigger island than Great Britain,
In fact, over one third didn't know the difference between the UK and Great Britain, and
None of the respondents knew how many islands surround the mainland.
Well, to be honest, the answer to that last one (over 6,000) surprised us. However, look for that question to be in an upcoming Trivia quiz. But we do expect all our viewers to get perfect on this quiz.
Now, if you really want to to understand the British Isles a little better, we heartedly recommend the following video (watch until about 2:15 = although the rest is interesting too).
We get a lot of requests for a quiz of the whole world. And we've struggled with this for over a year. Why? Two reasons - would anybody REALLY have the patience to answer over 190 questions? And how would this really work, technically speaking, because many of the countries would be too small to click on. And no, we can't implement a zoom in/out technology like Google maps uses... it just flat out won't work with the way our quizzes are coded.
We tried a whole world quiz a while back that incorporates a slide bar to move yourself through the world, thus avoiding the difficulty of clicking on something really small. But it doesn't work on touch screens.
But we might be getting close to a solution, and we'd like your feedback.
There's a bit of extra navigation that happens with this style of quiz: you start at a map of the continents, and you must select one before you answer the question. Sometimes, after you've answered a question, the next random question is conveniently in the same continent. Often, it's not, and you have to navigate back to the world map to pick another continent.
There are 3 ways to get back to the world map:
We'd love your feedback... try one or both of the quizzes and leave us a comment below, or send us an email. Just, please, don't suggest that we use zoom in/out maps, because technically, it's not going to work.
If all goes well and people like this style of quiz well enough, we'll make it customizable, and you'll be able to create world quizzes with the countries of your choosing.