Lizard Point Quizzes

...discovering the world we live in

Good (and terrible) flag designs

Jan 252016

 You see flags everywhere, flying from porches, over buildings, on boats and even on team jerseys.   Do you ever stop and wonder what goes into a good flag design?  Or what constitutes a really bad design?  Here's a fun TED talk that covers all this off for you.  If you don't have time to listen to it all, here are the top 5 flag design principles:

  • Keep it Simple
  • Use Meaningful Symbolism
  • Use Two to Three Basic Colours
  • No Lettering or Seals
  • Be Distinctive or Be Related

But watch the video (especially the part about the bad designs).

Bonus sections:  Design your own flag here >>

 

Google technology helps students learn earth’s geography

Jan 192016

The folks at Google are piloting an interesting immersive geography program that might interest some of our readers.undefined

The gist of the program is a to take students on a kind of virtual expedition where they can experience more than 100 interesting journeys.  These simulated journeys could include a visit to the South Pole, coral reefs or ancient American ruins.  With the Expedition Kit, students will be able to look up and down, and spin to get a 360-degree view of a location, as if they were visiting in person.

Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Denmark. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.

There is no charge or cost involved in the program.  You just need 6 interested teachers.

Visit Googles page to sign up to let them know you’d like the Expeditions Pioneer Program to stop at your school. Or read about another school's experience with the program.  

 

 

New map-flag quizzes

Jan 162016

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.

screenthot of the Americas flag quiz

 

 

The area of this map coloured red has the same population as the area coloured blue

Jan 132016

 Another very interesting visualization of world population from the folks in Reddit.  Only 5 per cent of the world's population lives in the regions of this map shaded blue. Another 5 per cent lives in the area shaded red.

undefined

Reddit MapPorn - account IbisDigitalMedia

We found the map in a very interesting article from the web site CityMetric, who included some interesting facts and deduction.

According to CityMetric, the red area includes Bangladesh (pop: 156m), and the Indian states of Bihar (pop: 104m) and West Bengal (pop: 91m). It also includes two megacities: Kolkata in West Bengal (15m), and the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka (13m).  In all, that’s a combined population of about 351m people in roughly 330,000 km2, giving a population density of 1062 people per km2.

The blue area includes Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, huge swathes of northern and Asian Russia, Mongolia, most of the Amazon basin, Patagonia, large swathes of Africa and the Arabic peninsula, the US states of New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and both Dakotas, and pretty much the entire Australasian continent.

As CityMetric points out, the map is a bit of a cheat. They've assumed that whoever made the map calculated how many people 5 per cent of the global population is, and then started working their way down a list of big areas with low population density until they hit their magic number. It’s a slightly artificial way of doing things, and leads to odd things like the exclusion of the Nile valley and the thin sliver of South America on its populated Pacific Coast.

Canada has just been cut in half

Jan 112016

While everyone else this morning is reeling over the death of David Bowie, I'm far more shocked at the news that Canada has just been cut in half!

Living in a metropolitan area of over 6 million people, I often forget just how remote and isolated much of Canada is. And I never imagined that one bridge in the middle of Canada was the only thing joining the west with the east.

Due to extreme weather conditions, the Nipigon River Bridge has failed, causing one side of it to rise two feet. This bridge is on the Trans-Canada Highway, which you may gather from the name, is a highway that goes pretty much right across Canada.

Canada has been cut in half,” said Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey. “If you want to take something from Toronto to B.C., it goes across this bridge. There is no alternative. Every truck that goes across Canada goes across this bridge.” (Quote  from the Toronto Star article on the bridge closure.) 

Google map showing location of bridge failure in Nipigon, Ontario

Location of the bridge failure in Nipigon, Ontario. (Image credit: Google maps)

 

Zooming in, you can see the Trans-Canada Highway is pretty much the only road around. Other minor roads shown in grey just service local communities.

Google map of location of the Nipigon River Bridge

Detailed map of Nipigon River Bridge location, showing Trans-Canada Highway. (Image credit: Google maps)

 

While the bridge is closed for who knows how long, all trans-Canada traffic must now take a detour through the US.

Gotta love Google, they're on top of things, already showing that the bridge is closed, and what the detour is. It looks like the additional travel time is 4.5 hours, plus however long the border crossings will take.


google map showing detour on Sudbury to Thunder Bay route

Detailed map of Nipigon River Bridge location, showing Trans-Canada Highway. (Image credit: Google maps)

 

This is a matter of national security, and will cause some serious economic impact, and I imagine will be the source of a lot of jokes. The perfect storm of Canada's renowned cold weather and remoteness.