A curated mix of articles about the world.

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Tuesday, Mar 10, 2020

Luxembourg is first country to make all public transport free

Luxembourg is to become the first country to offer a free public transport system, as the government tries to reduce particularly dense car traffic.

Monday, Mar 2, 2020

More Than Half the World's Population Lives Inside This Circle

In this week’s Maphead, Ken Jennings explores Valeriepieris circle, a 2,500-mile radius in Asia that contains half the world’s humans.

Monday, Feb 24, 2020

Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

Friday, Dec 13, 2019

How Spices Have Made, and Unmade, Empires

From turmeric in Nicaragua to cardamom in Guatemala, nonnative ingredients are redefining trade routes and making unexpected connections across lands.

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

What happens when a city bans cars from its streets?

Many modern urban areas have been built around cars, with huge amounts of space set aside for roads and parking. But what happens when you take them out of the equation?

Friday, Sep 13, 2019

These are the world’s most liveable cities in 2019

The top 10 most liveable cities in the world, and their scores according to The Global Liveability Index 2019, are: Vienna, Austria (99.1) Melbourne, Australia (98.4) Sydney, Australia (98.1) Osaka, Japan (97.7) Calgary, Canada (97.5) Vancouver, Canada (97.3) Tokyo, Japan (97.2 tie) Toronto, Canada (97.2 tie) Copenhagen, Denmark (96.8) Adelaide, Australia (96.

Thursday, Nov 15, 2018

An Incredible Video of What It’s Like to Orbit the Earth for 90 Minutes

This is easily the most awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping thing I’ve seen in months. In its low Earth orbit ~250 miles above our planet, the International Space Station takes about 90 minutes to complete one orbit of the Earth. Fewer than 600 people have ever orbited our planet, but with this realtime video by Seán Doran, you can experience what it looks like from the vantage point of the IIS for the full 90 minutes.

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017

For as Much as We Know About the World, There Are Still Dark Spots on the Map

A new atlas aims to surprise.

Friday, Oct 6, 2017

Passports for Cash: Citizens of anywhere

Globalisation has turned citizenship into a commodity. Matthew Valencia went shopping for a new passport and found bargains to be had.

Monday, Jun 5, 2017

Making sense of the world

Jan Chipchase is the founder of Studio D Radiodurans, a consultancy that’s perhaps like none other in the world. He and his team travel to the far edges of the earth on behalf of clients to immerse themselves in difficult environments and understand human behaviour. This week Jan shares lessons for travelling anywhere, making sense of the world and making a difference.

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017

Watch as the world's cities appear one-by-one over 6,000 years

Watch the rise of human cities, beginning with [arguably] the world’s first city in 3700 BC and continuing up to the present.

Friday, Dec 16, 2016

Human population through time

How we became more than 7 billion – humanity’s population explosion, visualised.

Friday, Sep 30, 2016

Countries where you can buy citizenship

A new global industry has been booming in recent years, as countries offer people the chance to acquire citizenship or residency.

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016

61 Glimpses of the Future

In the last five weeks I’ve travelled 7,000km overland through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan’s GBAO region and China’s western provinces. After a year of working flat out the journey was part vacation, a desire to fill in few gaps of my knowledge of the region and a Studio D assignment.

Monday, Jun 13, 2016

Six maps that will make you rethink the world

We don’t often question the typical world map that hangs on the walls of classrooms — a patchwork of yellow, pink and green that separates the world into more than 200 nations. But Parag Khanna, a global strategist, says that this map is, essentially, obsolete.

Friday, Feb 26, 2016

The radical plan to destroy time zones

Looking over this chaotic landscape, it’s reasonable to ask: Are time zones inherently flawed? That’s what Steve Hanke and Dick Henry think.

Monday, Feb 15, 2016

Why expat Americans are giving up their passports

According to the US Treasury, a record 4,279 individuals renounced their US citizenship or long-term residency in 2015 - an increase of 20% on the previous year, which was itself a record-breaking year. In 2010, just 1,006 gave up being US citizens, but since then the numbers have risen every year.

Friday, Feb 12, 2016

The Box That Built the Modern World

More than any other single innovation, the shipping container—there are millions out there, all just like the ones stacked on the Hong Kong Express but for a coat of paint and a serial number—epitomizes the enormity, sophistication, and importance of our modern transportation system. Invisible to most people, they’re fundamental to how practically everything in our consumer-driven lives works.

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

How the world went from 170 million people to 7.3 billion, in one map

Humanity has conquered the world. It’s hard to appreciate what that means, but the video above, by, shows just how incredible the growth and expansion of humanity has been over the past 2,000 years.

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2015

Leaky Ships: Ocean Carriers in the Age of Profitless Shipping

It costs $300 to move a 40-foot container from Rotterdam to Shanghai, which is barely enough to cover the cost of fuel, handling, and Suez Canal fees. Here’s some more context. Let’s say that you want to travel for a year; it’s cheaper to put your personal belongings in a shipping container as it sails around the world than to keep it at a local mini-storage facility.