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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Here is an ethnic map of Austro-Hungary in 1911. And here's a map of Prague in 1858. Sorry for my shoddy German, but is that an ostrich garden behind where the National Museum now stands?

Lately I've been spending some time at the beautiful old reading room of Charles University's Klementinum library, which has an excellent browsing section. In particular I've been flipping through The Times Guide to the Peoples of Europe, an amazing little volume. Here I was thinking I was pretty well versed on Europe's more obscure nations -- hell, I once went out of my way to visit the Sorb Museum in Cottbus. But no. I was not even aware, for instance, of the existence of the Lemkos of Galcia. And that's just a start!

Meanwhile, here's a interactive langauge map of the United States that's just too cool for words. And no, it's not color-coded map of whether people say "coke," "soda" or "pop." This one is about actual languages, as in, "Gee, I wonder which county contains the most Gajarathi speakers?"

Actually, now that I've played with it for a few minutes, it's a bit disappointing. Since the map deals with absolute numbers rather than concentrations, the answer to most questions like these turns out to be Los Angeles.

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