Monday, December 15, 2008

Iceland part of America now?!

Heh. Well, here's a novelty. The BBC News website's live stats map (linked from things magazine) thinks Iceland's part of North America!

Well, obviously it is, continentally speaking. Europe generally ends at the Atlantic Ocean, after all. But politically, Iceland has been a part of Europe, and has more recently proudly stood apart, very much a place unto itself, but still more 'European' than not. And while we're at it - how come the UK gets its own stats to itself but isn't included in with the rest of Europe? Why is this part of the BBC's map political whereas the Icelandic bit isn't?

What is most interesting about the BBC's decision to make a continental judgement about the affiliation of any given country is that this isn't a geography subsite but one focused on news. News is only, after all, the small part of what happens that people pay daily attention to and are fed by the newsgatherers. And people care about different things when you start thinking regionally or geopolitically. You could say that poor Icelanders' interests would be submerged by the flood of American and Canadian traffic stats, or (less plausibly) that the American stats would be skewed slightly by the more shark-eating, Scandinavian ways of thinking of the land of fire and ice!

It's probably just the way their servers are set up, or something. But it would be lovely to know in detail about their back end and how it affects fascinating little questions of the regional zeitgeist like this - and whether they think it's right that it should! ;o) Just a thought.

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