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I’m preparing some future columns, including one on the surprisingly interesting question of the length of New Hampshire’s coastline, so I was delighted to spot, via BoingBoing, a sort-of-related analysis about which countries in the world are the most and least round in shape.

Sierra Leone, on Africa’s west coast, is the roundest, edging out the island nation of Nauru, while Chile is (not surprisingly) the least-round country, as long as you don’t count nations made up of a scattering of islands, which seems cheating, and one weird not-exactly-a-country, the “no man’s land” of divided Cyrus.

Check it out here.

I’m not entirely clear how the analysis was done because I don’t quite understand how .shp files work. But it was neat to see inscribed and circumscribed circles around polygons being used for something other than estimated the value of pi three centuries ago.

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