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Thu Mar 30 22:26:20 SAST 2017

Loopy, but true: these facts will rock your world

AGENCY STAFF | 2016-12-01 00:05:10.0
Raw opium from a poppy head is seen at a poppy farmer's field on the outskirts of Jalalabad,
Raw opium from a poppy head is seen at a poppy farmer's field on the outskirts of Jalalabad, April 28, 2015. Afghanistan is the world's leading opium producer.
Image by: PARWIZ / REUTERS

Every country is the best at something; even if it's a bad thing, like murder, child marriages or spam e-mail.

The aptly named Information is Beautiful website has sifted through piles of data from the UN, the CIA, The Guardian and a bunch of other places to compile a world map that awards a gold star to just about every country on the planet.

The accolades come in nine different types: commodity (pink), psychology (light blue), ecology (green), gastronomy (purple), economy (grey), nicety (yellow), humanity (dark blue), technology (red) and nasty (black).

Some firsts are expected, or at least not surprising: Sweden is No1 in pop music; North Korea has more soldiers relative to its population than any other country; Cuba leads in doctors per capita, and Afghanistan is the world capital of opium production.

There's a host of other facts for that pub quiz to end all pub quizzes. Fastest Wi-Fi: Lithuania. Most Facebook addicts: Canada. Most Scrabble players: Nigeria. Most languages: Zimbabwe.

And then there are those records that are surprising, or even downright shocking. Did you know that the biggest whisky drinkers in the world are - the French? Or that the biggest cheese eaters are - the Greeks? That nobody consumes more gay porn than - Pakistan? Or that most Brazil nuts are produced by - Bolivia? (Brazil itself beats everybody else in sugar production.)

Scoring a distinction in the black category is a reverse compliment. Which country wants to be first in murders? None - but the accolade goes to Honduras, nonetheless.

Similar blemishes on national records are noted for Namibia (most car crashes), Eritrea (most child labour), China (most jailed journalists) and Mongolia (most Velociraptors - although that cannot be a current problem. Can it?)

Looking at the map, one can't help but feel that some countries could definitely benefit from being introduced to each other. Like Colombia (most happiness) and Togo (most unhappiness), Spain (highest LGBT tolerance) and Georgia (most homophobes), and Zambia (most female entrepreneurs) and Yemen (most gender inequality).

Talking of which, these stats may be fairly random, but there does appear to be something good going on in east Africa regarding gender equality: most female entrepreneurs, but also most female workers and most women in parliament.

And the US? It leads the world in... spam e-mails. Take that, Nigeria!

- bigthink.com

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