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A laconic map
December 28, 2012 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever wondered what the most common word is for any given country's history of wikipedia page? Me neither. But here it is, made into map form.

Here is the interesting reader's companion.

(It isn't mentioned, but I assume that it is the most common contentful word, or noun, or something, otherwise we'd have a fascinating map showing the shaped to fit different countries.)
posted by jeather (38 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Eagle-eyed readers will note the cool Star Trek II reference over in Mongolia.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


The history of the world sure does have a lot of colonialism in it.
posted by box at 1:34 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think I have anything particularly intelligent to say, but this is pretty nifty.
posted by hoyland at 1:35 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting, but annoying to see that the main link in the post doesn't link to what seems to be the original.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Antarctica makes me smile and want to move there.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:37 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like that Luxembourg is just the word "Duchy" surrounded by "War", but it's actually misleading since Luxembourg is technically a Grand Duchy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please stop the faux infographics madness. I'm begging you.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The companion is really worth reading. I like the countries who name their neighbours, and the scattering of islands called island off New Zealand.

(MartinWisse you are right. Mods, can you change that for me please?)
posted by jeather at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2012


I would have thought there would have been a lot more A and THE countries, but hey?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:48 PM on December 28, 2012


And just like that, Andrew WK up and moved to Hungary.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:52 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's an interesting statement of how popular history is written. "War" is seldom the most interesting or important thing in the history of a country, yet it often dominates. I mean, take Iceland, represented by the word "war" but having barely fought in any since its settling.
posted by Jehan at 2:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trying to wrap my head around all of the implications of having "WAR" feature so prominently.

The most mundane is perhaps that the most significant event in a nation's history is often an armed conflict. Not surprising. Another might be that there are so many wars, it's statistically likely that historical accounts will reflect that word more than anything.

I guess the most depressing implication is that the history of the world generally seems to be the history of our hatred for each other.
posted by darkstar at 2:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some reason, I thought this was going to be what each country called this.
posted by trip and a half at 2:17 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


darkstar: My thought is that our current conception of history is one of conflict that shapes a nation's borders. A top-level, map-centric history that relies upon conflict to generate change. The daily life, culture, and social mores have a lot more influence upon how a people act (or the people's actions shape such), but for whatever reason, we see history as kings & conquerors.

(I have a vendetta against history viewed as a collection of explosions and deaths, even if those explosions and deaths are what foment change. But why is that change and conflict the most interesting or studied?)
posted by Turkey Glue at 2:39 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, Western peoples (traditionally white) sure do like war
posted by I am the Walrus at 2:42 PM on December 28, 2012


@Turkey Glue to make sure everyone know about past mistakes, in an attempt to avoid making them again.
posted by knz at 2:56 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be cool if the common words were the same color (i.e. war = red, French = blue, etc.)
posted by desjardins at 2:58 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


lol @ Canadia. "BRITISH"
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 2:58 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


So I'm sure Cortex and Fishbike will be along shortly to give a better explanation of the lack of articles (as in "a, an, the") dominating, but it's pretty much par for the course to use a stop list to skip common words in whatever language you're working in, before processing something like this.
posted by Alterscape at 2:58 PM on December 28, 2012


That said, I agree with Foci for Analysis. This map doesn't tell us anything useful, even if it was fun to make and (sort of) looks pretty.
posted by desjardins at 2:59 PM on December 28, 2012


Amusing.
posted by Segundus at 3:26 PM on December 28, 2012


This map doesn't tell us anything useful, even if it was fun to make and (sort of) looks pretty.

Indeed. The one word summary of Somali history is "government".
posted by Tsuga at 3:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'd think a stop list would include parts of the country's name but that doesn't seem to be the case as evinced by "new" for Papua New Guinea among others.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:40 PM on December 28, 2012


I'd like to think some of the smaller tropical island nations pull off "Paradise", but the scale here does not seem to allow for any joy in the world.
posted by relish at 5:19 PM on December 28, 2012


I like that Luxembourg is just the word "Duchy" surrounded by "War", but it's actually misleading since Luxembourg is technically a Grand Duchy.

Don't worry. You can't truly appreciate how grand Luxembourg is until you pass the duchy on the left hand side.
posted by jonp72 at 5:55 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


lol @ Canadia. "BRITISH"
To be fair, having British North America, the British North America Act, British Columbia, seeking independence from the British, making the Constitution separate from British Parliamentary approval, comparisons of our suffrage to the British vote, references to our provinces seeking independence from British governors and so on seems to make it look (on this map) as though the article is all about the British. Upon closer examination, it's mostly about moving away from Britain and there are tons of references to the First peoples, Inuit, French, Acadians, Vikings, Icelandic, Norse, Portuguese and Spanish, then, later, Jamaicans, Indians, Americans, Ukrainians, Central Europeans, Germans, Vietnamese, Haitians, Chinese and so on. But not nearly as many times. So Canada ends up looking British, when, if you read the article, we're quite the motley crew of non-Brits these days and have spent a lot of time trying not to be British in more recent times. LOL
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'd think a stop list would include parts of the country's name but that doesn't seem to be the case as evinced by "new" for Papua New Guinea among others.

Standard (English) stop words look something like: a, an, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, for, if, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, such, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with. You don't generally tailor it to the data set you're working with if it's sufficiently diverse (like a collection of wikipedia pages).
posted by axiom at 6:41 PM on December 28, 2012


I initially read Japan as "RAW", and was astounded that there could be that many mentions of sushi in their Wikipedia entry.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:44 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's an oddly chilling map. I feel like I'm looking into the world's secret closet.
posted by Aquaman at 8:24 PM on December 28, 2012


Please stop the faux infographics madness.

But I'm Australian. I like NEW things.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:51 AM on December 29, 2012


This is all pulled from the English language Wikipedia, right? Or was this pulled from different countries' wikipedia pages, in their native languages?

Unless I'm wrong about that, I would guess that this would slant in the direction of probably mostly relatively young upper-middle-class white folks (I'm guessing also predominately male, considering Wikipedia's user-base), probably also mostly American.

So I'd like to see what the top words for all of these history pages of the native languages of each countries (as much as possible), written by natives...now, that would actually be interesting, and maybe "war" wouldn't be so high on the list.
posted by dubitable at 3:26 AM on December 29, 2012


Wow, Western peoples (traditionally white) sure do like war

For the last 400 years or so up until quite recently, we've been very good at it.
posted by atrazine at 5:33 AM on December 29, 2012


Maori for the win
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2012


[Changed main link to the blog where the map originated, per poster request.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:10 AM on December 29, 2012


Wow, Western peoples (traditionally white) sure do like war

This is what's known as "not even wrong."
posted by John Cohen at 3:42 PM on December 29, 2012


Romania not only got a romantic word but a matching coffin shape to go with it!
posted by TreeRooster at 8:00 PM on December 29, 2012


the most significant event in a nation's history is often an armed conflict

Only when a nation's history is written. Oral history is significantly more comprehensive. Since "historians" for the past 500 years have been men who value heroics, conflict and competition, we have few texts that are not seen through that lens.
posted by Surfurrus at 4:13 PM on December 30, 2012


Only when a nation's history is written. Oral history is significantly more comprehensive. Since "historians" for the past 500 years have been men who value heroics, conflict and competition, we have few texts that are not seen through that lens.

Many oral histories are also very heavy on war and heroics, remember that the Illiad and Odyssey started as epic poems and weren't written down until they'd been around for a very long time. Somali oral history (nothing special about it, but I just happened to be listening to some the other week) is also traditionally quite martial.
posted by atrazine at 4:45 PM on December 30, 2012


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