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The African map shows the scars of its history - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 4th, 2014

08:38 am - The African map shows the scars of its history

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My country/flag/capital learnings have now moved to Africa. Well, sort of. It's showing me African countries while giving me the capitals of Middle Eastern and Asian ones.

I am really glad to finally be learning the locations of African countries. My geographical knowledge of Africa has been an embarrassment. I didn't even know of the existence of some of them - like, I'd never heard of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. And who can point out Togo on a map without looking it up?

(OK, ferrouswheel, rivet, tieke, happyinmotion, and alphamatrix (who has probably been there) should probably sit this one out cos you make the rest of us look bad).

*ahem*

Also, where I thought Kenya was? Is actually Chad. And I didn't know there was a difference between the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now I do, and I'm glad about that.

I'm really glad I started doing the flashcards. It's not as if I need all this random knowledge, and I'm aware of my privilege in having access to this kind of learning. But it makes my brain feel alive to be stretching it in this way, and that leads to other motivations.

Also, learning a language feels like cracking a code. And it's better than those spy ones we used to get in comics too.

Note for zhelana - I asked around and apparently there is a charge for Anki on iPhone, but it's open source for Android. Probably the people who understand open source could explain why better than I could.

Comments:

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:April 3rd, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
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"it makes my brain feel alive"

- yup. that's why I do it!

Also, so much random computing environment stuff that I can remember now instead of googling. I still googling more often than not for reference, but e.g. now I know that if I want to see all the files open within a particular subdirectory I can do:

lsof +D /home/joel/my_subdirectory
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From:tatjna
Date:April 3rd, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC)
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So it's not only helping with knowledge, it's helping with the ability to memorise outside of using the cards? Nice! I haven't had the opportunity to experience this yet, but thanks for the headsup. And for piquing my interest in the first place. <3

Also, weird. I saw your last line and my brain went *nope*. O.o

It's official - I am now more afraid of computer languages than I am of isolate complicated-looking Nordic ones spoken by only a tiny percentage of the world. Eek.

(one day I'll fix that)
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:April 3rd, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
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Don't worry, it's nothing related to what you've been learning, so unless you know unix command line utilities it'll look like gibberish. And even if you do, lsof is a bit special in it's expectation of cmd line arguments.

I'm not sure it's helped my memory outside of cards, I just have anki open on my desktop and drop in new cards with things I find useful.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:April 3rd, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC)
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For zhelana - Anki is a free OSS project on the desktop. The author found it was so popular he quit work to work on it full time. However, he still needs to eat, and he has server charges to pay for to make sure the service works. His solution was to release a (rather expensive) paid app on iOS.

I use ankidroid on Android, because I have a Nexus, but also because I think it's much much nicer UI wise.

However, I still bought the iOS version because I've gotten so much benefit out of the ecosystem for the 5-6 years I've been using it (and before that i used Mnemosyne)
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From:rivet
Date:April 3rd, 2014 08:06 pm (UTC)
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Actually, you're one up on me. My African geography is out if date and I've not heard of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic either ;)
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:April 3rd, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
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a.k.a Western Sahara :-)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 3rd, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
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*whispers* It's ok, I won't tell Happy..
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From:barondave
Date:April 3rd, 2014 08:32 pm (UTC)
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I'm reasonably good with African geography. Not great, and the countries keep changing their name on me, but okay. I know where Togo is because of SCTV in the 1970s.

Hmm... just looked. I'm much more general and farther behind than I thought. I knew where it was, but I couldn't have told you any of the countries that border Togo. Still, I could rattle off several only two or three countries away.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 3rd, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
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Africa is one of those continents that seems to change its geography reasonably regularly. I have lost count of how many border changes, republicanisations (is that even a word?), and annexations have taken place in my lifetime. I know it's lots, but that's all.
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From:kehleyr
Date:April 3rd, 2014 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Really... geography is really not my thing :-/ *looks down in shame*
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From:tatjna
Date:April 3rd, 2014 11:05 pm (UTC)
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I have always been interested in it because I'm fascinated by culture, but now's the first time I've taken it any further than "I wish I knew."
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From:meri_sielu
Date:April 3rd, 2014 10:32 pm (UTC)
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Hey I learnt something new today too! I didn't know that the Congo was divided, I knew there was conflict but not that it had officially divided. The more you know!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 3rd, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
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I do wonder if the Democratic Republic of Congo is democratic, then what is the Republic of Congo?

I guess it would be a bit self-defeating to call yourself the Fascist Dictatorship of Congo. (in fact i just looked it up and while Wikipedia says it's a multi-party system, it goes on to say it's very corrupt and the guy that's in power hasn't had any real competition since he was 'elected' by what amounts to force back in the early 2000s. Yikes.
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From:fbhjr
Date:April 3rd, 2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
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One of the guys who works for me is from Kenya, so I probably studied more than most for Africa.
But, it is still tough with all the smaller countries.

I find this helpful: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Yeah, yeah. CIA. But, still good info.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 3rd, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
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I reckon the best way to check the accuracy of facts is to look at your own country, and they do seem to have NZ pretty well - although they failed to acknowledge that these days we're supposed to be known as Aotearoa New Zealand.

Also, I cracked up at 'significant consumer of amphetamines'. In most of that kind of research, NZ is 'significant consumer of psychoactives in general'.

They also missed the polluted waterways as an important environmental issue.

However, it's pretty accurate so I assume it's pretty good for other countries too.
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From:richaarde
Date:April 4th, 2014 12:50 am (UTC)
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To cap off your international studies, you need to commit "Yakko's World" to memory. (Even if some of the coutries are out of date)

http://youtu.be/x88Z5txBc7w
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From:tatjna
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:00 am (UTC)
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That it totally awesome and I'd never seen it before!

Although, I think it probably needs a whole new verse for the Baltic and Crimean states and the Stans these days..
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From:richaarde
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:37 am (UTC)
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It's from a kid's cartoon. And there are plenty of changes that the song predated.

Besides the ones you mentioned, the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Czech-Slovak split, Ethiopia-Eritrea, I lost count as to how many other countries merged or split up.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I was all "Wait, there are heaps more countries in that bit!" when he said Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

Djibouti!

Actually, Eritrea and Djibouti are the reason I put in the tag that I feel sorry for Ethiopia. On the map it looks like they could see the ocean but are denied it through this narrow strip of land (which in reality is probably hundreds of miles wide) that is a whole nother country.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
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Ooh ooh ooh, Myanmar!
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From:tieke
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:56 am (UTC)
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Ahahahaha! Don't include me with that list of people - my knowledge of geography is almost completely non-existent - I couldn't even point to most places outside NZ that I've been to on a map. I figure that as long as I know what plane to catch, and when, it's all I need to know (and I'm better at *that* part than Happy ...)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:57 am (UTC)
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Wait, you mean if you, me and him get stuck in the desert, it's up to me to work out if his brain is overheating?

He's doomed.
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From:tieke
Date:April 4th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
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I could bring a thermometer and we could try sticking it in his ear.

If he lets us, he's probably fucked.
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From:tedwords
Date:April 4th, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
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Man, now I have an urge to bone up on my African countries...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
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I thoroughly recommend it!
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From:meathiel
Date:April 4th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
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I guess I can find Togo on a map ... kinda ... The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic I had to google ... That is - I had to google the name in German and then I kinda knew where it would be located ... Haha ...

My colleagues and I had a discussion about Belize recently and A. didn't believe me it was in Middle America ... he said it was in Africa. Thank the Gods for Google maps!!!
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
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I would have guessed Belize as being one of the Baltic states based purely on the name. But I knew it was in Middle America because Dr Wheel is about 400 cards ahead of me on this learning thing.
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From:crazedturkey
Date:April 4th, 2014 08:00 am (UTC)
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Back when I was doing a history degree I was so damn good at all this stuff,

Then I fell down the medical rabbit hole.

You're making me miss those days. But I have too many journals to read.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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The medical rabbit hole probably has harder-to-pronounce words in it.
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From:brynhilda
Date:April 5th, 2014 08:29 am (UTC)
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30 years ago I used to be very good at african countries...lol..but since then the names, borders, countries changed so much...I still recall my 'favourite' capitol Ouagadougou (what a great name!!), which used to be the capitol of the republic of Upper Volta, which now is Burkina Faso as far as I know...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Yes, that's right. I'd never heard of Burkina Faso until I started learning this stuff. And the capital is still Ouagadougou!
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:April 7th, 2014 09:23 am (UTC)
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I could get pretty close to where Togo is, I think. My map geek days were a long time ago but some of the information has stayed in there! I assume the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is the same as Western Sahara?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 7th, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I think that's what it used to be called.

For some reason my African flashcards seem to be skipping Ghana. This is suboptimal!
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