Globalization quiz: In honor of, well, that’s part of the quiz

The Corporate Citizenship Tools; Microsoft Local Language Program Web site contains a map of the world, coded by region. There was a bug on the map. See if you can spot it:

  Middle East & Africa
  North America
  South America
  South Pacific

After I pointed out the error, they fixed the map on their Web page, so no fair clicking through to the Local Language Program Web page and comparing the pictures!

Non-useful hint: I chose the publication date of this quiz in honor of the answer.

Bonus chatter: Inside the answer.

Comments (46)
  1. Chris B says:

    When I clicked the reveal answer button, it looks like it tried to post a comment (FWIW, I got the same behavior in Chrome and IE9).

  2. laonianren says:

    Russia is split between Europe and Asia which is weird but maybe intentional.

    I didn't spot the error you're talking about.

  3. Muzer says:

    The reveal button doesn't appear to actually work, though I noticed the difference when comparing to the MS website.

  4. M says:

    since when is Iceland part of North America? ;) (The definition of Europe stretching so far into Russia also looks strange)

  5. steven says:

    The button does not have type="button" set, so it acts like having type="submit"

  6. John says:

    The punchline for those of you who can't wait:

    Iceland is drawn in the color of North America rather than Europe.

    Here's the corrected map:…/0724.20110615.Puzzle.Answer.gif

    The non-useful hint is that I posted this quiz on the Friday before Icelandic National Day:…/Icelandic_National_Day

  7. Evan says:

    Whoa, Raymond actually included an actual image instead of trying to recreate it in CSS or tables or whatnot. :-)

  8. aurly says:

    Now Iceland stands out as the only part of the map without softened edges :)

  9. Damien says:

    @M – Not sure what you're talking about re: Europe and Russia. The dividing line seems to be in the right place, according to most maps I've ever seen.

  10. Tim says:

    "The button does not have type="button" set, so it acts like having type='submit'"

    Also, Chrome and Firefox return a text node for nextSibling because there's whitespace between the P and the DIV.

    Since MSDN blogs already includes jQuery in all pages, I'd just change the event handler to

    $(this).parent().next().css('display', 'inline');

  11. David says:

    There isn't just one single error, but several. Also, the reveal does not work.

  12. Erno says:

    Isn't Greenland a(n autonomous) part of Denmark?

  13. Raphaël says:

    The dividing line between Europe and Asia is the Ural Mountains, for those wandering why Europe is going so far into Russia.

  14. M says:

    @Damien – look at the northern division, what bing maps calls yamalo-nenets is not usually included in europe

  15. Jason Warren says:

    I didn't notice Iceland, but I noticed a much larger issue. Greenland is also not part of North America.

  16. barbie says:

    @Erno: I had the same thought, but then this is a geographical map, not a political one.

    You don't want all the US, UK, French … territories over the world to be mapped back to their own "continent" either, do you?

  17. Joshua says:

    Which actually makes a lot of sense when you remember it's a very old plate collision range of the same kind as the Himalayas.

  18. Joshua says:

    The dividing line between Europe and Asia is the Ural Mountains, for those wandering why Europe is going so far into Russia.

    Which makes sense when you remember the Ural mountains are a very old collision plate of the same kind as the Himalayas.

  19. Skyborne says:

    @ everyone talking about the Europe/Asia/Russia line: It all comes down to how you define the continents.  CGP Grey has a video about it:

  20. @Jason, Of course Greenland is part of North America–just as the Falkland Islands are part of South America or American Samoa is part of the South Pacific.

  21. Mike Dunn says:

    I took a guess, then checked Wikipedia to see what's happening today, and that told me that I was right.

    But the real bug is that they used a Mercator projection.

  22. Boris says:

    I don't know. It says "coded by region", nit by continent. "Middle East and Africa" is clearly not a continent, so including or excluding Greenland or Iceland is entirely up to what definition of "region" is used. For example, our company uses Africa, Antarctica, Asia/Pacific, Australia/Oceania, Western Europe/Scandinavia, Islands of the World, Middle East, North America, South America, Eastern Europe

  23. Pato says:

    What happened to Central America?  Not important enough to merit its own region?

  24. I thought that the Middle East was technically part of Asia.  So "Asia" should "Asia minus the Middle East."

  25. Josh says:

    I thought the bug was the horrible projection model and that there's no evidence of Antarctica. :)

  26. Random832 says:

    If Iceland is to be categorized as Europe due to political and cultural ties (when geographically it is more associated with NA), why not do the same to Greenland?

    [Because the applicable LIP for Greenland is Inuktitut, which is a North American LIP. Remember, this is about languages, not politics. -Raymond]
  27. McKay says:

    Iceland is literally the border between the North America and the Europe continents. The Iceland landmass is formed from the splitting of the two continents. Geographically speaking, it doesn't really matter which side you put it on, so sure, put it on Europe for cultural ties with Europe? But that wouldn't explain the middle east, not being part of Asia, or Indonesia being part of Asia

    [The map follows the combo box underneath it. -Raymond]
  28. depends says:

    There is no real standard definition of what is what. Some people consider russia "europe" because culturally and their capital they are more european than asian. Some define europe as just west of that, some divide Russia in peices (which seems to happen here, around the Ural mountains) essentally based on watershed definitions. To me if I don't need a boat it should be the same continent if I need a boat than it gets messy (land surrounded by "deep" waters is a new continent?, based on plates if you are on the same plate as a larger landmass than you are in the same continent) not sure.

    Error in image: I'd say the middle east isn't part of africa.

  29. Mihai says:

    Reading the comments confirms one of the recommendations that is well know in the internationalization circles: you should avoid maps with borders (political or otherwise), as they are a can of worms.


  30. Jonathan says:

    I was missing the Caspian sea. Not that I expect each lake and river to be marked…

  31. Simon says:

    At least Poland wasn't underwater again.

  32. JustSomeSkip says:

    What's that red glitch underneath Melbourne, Australia? :-)

  33. Raphael says:

    "What's that red glitch underneath Melbourne, Australia? :-)"


  34. 640k says:

    Reveal Answer button only works in Internet Explorer (what a surprise), because it's non standard compliant. Why do Raymond once again promote these non-standards?

  35. Raphael says:

    The reveal answer button works quite well in Opera.

  36. voo says:

    @640k Most probably because raymond doesn't write HTML code here, but lets the CMS generate the code. But then the "view code" button works fine in every browser, doesn't it? Clearly a feature not a bug!

  37. 640k says:

    The use of non-standard compliant cms features is intentional.

  38. Tekumse says:

    So the corrected version still puts the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, etc in Africa?

    [It's part of the Middle East. -Raymond]
  39. Raphael says:

    Why would the use of non-standard-compliant code be intentional (cf. Hanlon's Razor).

    Also the so-called XHTML (there's a DOCTYPE declaration) isn't. Not even close.

  40. Sandro says:

    Depending on the point of view the map still has a lot of errors. As many pointed out geographically Iceland is part of both. Turkey would not be middle east but Asia. If it is about the language all of America and Australia should be Europe.

    The question is really based on what is it divided?

  41. Joshua says:

    [I admire your "proof" that the CMS developer made a strategic choice to be be malicious.]

    Shrug. xhtml = dead end anyway. Why bother care?

  42. 640k says:

    W3C confirms this page has 94 Errors and 43 warnings, when validating to the page's doctype. That's INVALID xhtml.

    MS has a *proven* track record of ill intentions, it isn't just some incompetent developer behind this, it's a strategic choice. Of course the end result of that strategy can be to use a cms developer which is infamous of only testing with IE6. Standard compliant is a -100 point feature, etc.

    [I admire your "proof" that the CMS developer made a strategic choice to be be malicious. It so happens that the CMS developer is me. It's a custom system I put together from a bunch of perl and C# scripts and a scheduled task. I don't think I was being strategically malicious, but you seem to know better than me. Just now, I maliciously fixed the "Reveal Answer" button so it works in Firefox. -Raymond]
  43. Raphael says:

    But I thought you don't run the blog software. So who is to blame for the doctype declaration and the non-xhtml (apart from ASP.NET, which didn't get the memo at all)?

    [I don't know who decides on all the header goo. Probably CommunityServer. I control just the stuff that goes inside <div class=post> -Raymond]
  44. tofu says:

    Greenland is a Danish teritory, I guess.

  45. Bob says:

    If you do click through to the site & select a language, it gives a link to "Microsoft Tranlator".  Seeing that the "Microsoft Tranlator" link goes to "Bing Translator" I expect that this is a typo instead of an odd branding choice.

  46. Dmitry Kolosov says:

    Raymond: "this is about languages, not politics."

    Then how come Russia is divided between Europe and Asia? Russian spoken in Moscow and in Russian Far East are much closer than English spoken in Boston and New York!

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