Skip to main content

world wide wednesdays :: by the numbers

a quicker than usual www this week, since i'm a little pressed for time. i thought it might be some fun to collect a bunch of facticles and maps to illustrate what's going on in the world around us.

first, let's look at what each of us has to be proud of:


i would like to point out that in the case of my country, the maple syrup is highly centralized in quebec and, to a lesser extent, new brunswick. the asteroid impacts are located elsewhere. i really hope that the russians aren't mixing their two great national resources. and, as i've always maintained, this categorically proves that australia is trying to kill you. [fyi, it's not just the animals, either. australia also has species of murderous bisexual trees.]

i couldn't find a good list of what each country was worst at [although it could be argued that some of the "leaders" shouldn't really be proud of their accomplishments]. but there are a few maps that survey corruption, which is pretty bad. 




this actually comes from a very detailed study that's published annually. this map is from 2013 and you can find all the results here. the short version is the same as it is for basically everything good: scandinavia are laughing their socialist asses off at the rest of us. the worst offenders are somalia, afghanistan and north korea, which should surprise no one.

of course, another method of evaluating corruption would just be looking at where people are taking bribes, which is corruption at its most basic. that would be here:



clearly, these guys don't have the amount of information at their disposal as the previous map, but it does make it clear: if you're going to nigeria or argentina, include a budget for unexpected expenditures.

of course, if you want to talk about problem areas, air pollution is certainly one of them. while china may lead the world in co2 emissions, it's actually india that has the greatest air pollution problems [by a fair stretch.


oh look, for once not all of scandinavia can be all holier than thou. sweden isn't in the absolute lowest category.

another measure of how your country is doing is the level of freedom it affords its internet. here's a look at that, with a disturbing number of countries omitted. 


canada, y u no participate? and this, of course, measures freedom only in terms of government regulation. questions of access, affordability and corporate control are a totally different, but equally important, matter. 

another key indicator of how a country is performing would be the protections that it offers to its most vulnerable: children. clearly, impoverished countries are going to have greater problems in this area, but it's interesting to see what happens when you limit the search to wealthier, industrialised countries in the americas and europe: 


does not look good for the united states, unless you consider coming second last, just above romania, an accomplishment. and yes, scandinavia, particularly finland [which may or may not be part of scandinavia, depending on how you draw the lines], are looking down their nordic noses at us once again. 

are you living with a bunch of xenophobes and racists? find out here: 


um, yeah, india, the air pollution is getting to you. [america, you can feel better about this one. i'll bet that surprises a lot of people.]

another surprise might be exactly where ethnic diversity is greatest in the world: 

 

yes, that means a lot of the countries that had the fewest people who would object to a neighbour of a different race are also among the most racially homogenous. i'm guessing a lot of them wouldn't mind a neighbour of another race because they'd like to see what one looked like, then. [note :: there are some considerable caveats with this map, which you can read about here.]

how about health concerns? well, we all know that obesity is a problem in many developed countries. on a planet where millions don't get enough to eat, there are areas where eating too much has become an epidemic. 

 

pretty much what we all thought, but jesus h. christ saudi arabia, are you drinking the oil directly out of the ground? i know you're competing for the tallest buildings, the most expensive houses, the biggest and best of everything, but not all top spots are worth capturing. 

there are still lots of smokers around the world. here is where you find them: 

 
well, whatever else is causing india's air pollution problem, it isn't smoking. [at least someone did better than scandinavia and new zealand, who have been winning at everything.]
 
maybe you have questions about lifestyle? here's a handy map that shows you what sport you should know about if you want to fit in around the office water cooler:


fyi, this is probably abundantly clear, but "football" means what we north americans call soccer. i also think that this is illustrative of the popularity of football relative to every other sport. 

fancy a tipple? behold your best and worst bets for where to find friends to drink with: 


the country with all the nuclear warheads puts most of the rest of the world to shame when it comes to drinking. russia, you're scaring us.

if drinking isn't your thing and you prefer something herbal, you might want to acquaint yourself with this map of possible sentences for non-violent marijuana-related crimes:


russia is too busy drinking you under the table to worry about your pot smoking. on the other hand, france, when did you get so uptight? we might have expected this from the united kingdom, but never from you, the birthplace of bon vivant. for shame.

oh, and people in scandinavia are having more sex than the rest of us, because they're getting a head start:



so that just about wraps up our look at everything in the world. let's recap what we've learned: 

1. you should probably move to scandinavia or new zealand.
2. white people are still the fattest in the world, but the middle east is mounting a challenge. 
3. don't smoke pot in china and don't inhale at all
4. everything in australia is trying to kill you. 
5. the greatest raspberry crops in the world are grown from alcohol and nuclear ooze.

finally, here's a map of time zones in antarctica, because no one ever thinks about how time works at the poles.



Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …