Tuesday, July 11

Google/Wikipedia tangent

When I was putting together that NPR post, I got sidetracked in an interesting way searching for chimpanzees and gorillas. The Chimp reserve is near Lake Tanganyika, in my beloved Tanzania. Come to find out it's the second largest lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest (in both cases after Lake Baikal in Siberia) (and anoxic).

Come on... How can that be? What about Victoria? She's Africa's 'largest lake, the largest tropical lake in the world, and the second largest fresh water lake in the world in terms of surface area' (the largest being, of course, Lake Superior , unless you count Michigan and Huron (!) together...).

By the way, here's a map to help orient you (I lived near Bukoba in the northwest corner. Took a steamer from Mwanza).

Other trivial goodness (from the lake article):
  • Lake Manitou, located on Manitoulin Island, is the largest lake on a freshwater-lake island.
  • Over 60% of the world's lakes are in Canada; this is because of the deranged drainage system that dominates the country (the obvious joke, here being, of course, I always knew that about Canadians... ;-).
  • Finland is known as The Land of the Thousand Lakes (actually there are 187,888 lakes in Finland, of which 60,000 are large) [ map (Man, look at all those lakes...)] (Turns out, Finnish drainage is 'immature'. ;-).
  • Minnesota is known as The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes [map (Isn't it cute! ;-)]
Stop. How could anyone possibly read those last two sentences and not want to know exactly how many lakes Minnesota has? That would be insane. How'd the Wikipedia author/s put them together like that and not resolve it? Is this some kind of trick?

Google. Answer: 11,842 lakes in Minnesota (10 acres or larger in size). However, I doubt that's the standard for the Finland answer, as that number. This website claims more than 15,000 lakes for Minnesota, but that's going by a different definition, say:

a "lake is not classified by size or depth as some may suggest." In fact, a lake may be defined as an enclosed basin filled or partly filled with water. In general, a lake is an "area of open, relatively deep water that is large enough to produce a wave-swept shore."

At any rate, Minnesota, though having the bigger moniker, is far behind Finland in lakes while being only about 33% smaller in land area. Of course, Minnesotans are famous for self-aggrandizement... ;-)

(But, seriously, Finland is much farther north and, like Canada, better situated to take advantage of glaciation...)

Makes me wonder: how would so many lakes affect Finnish culture? Of course, Finland is very sparsely populated, so maybe there weren't enough people to have an effect on...

You remember that Finnish ('one of the few majority European languages that is not of Indo-European origin') was a major influence for Tolkien's Quenya, right?

Enough! Stop the madness, before I start riffing on something like Proto-Indo-European!
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