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Do all nations have a speciality?

By: Brian McLeod

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 06:00 am

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There is a silly modern theory that everyone is good at something, so it should come as no surprise that this logic has also been applied to nations.

In fact, to confirm this truth, a study was recently completed that attempted to determine, for each nation, precisely where they were best – whether in products, services, history, culture – or anything else for that matter. Some of the results were as expected, some were very unexpected, and a few were just plain bizarre. To begin, we look at those nations who efforts to be world class have been directed to positive outcomes:

Costa Rica is rated highest in the world for happiness.

Chile is rated highest for couples staying married.

Denmark tops the list for education.

France is in first place for tourism.

Switzerland leads for employment.

Norway is the most democratic.

Kenya leads for flowers.

Japan has the top spot when it comes to robots.

Ireland wins for the best quality of life.

Sadly, some other countries seem to be able to excel in only the more negative of areas:

North Korea is tops in censorship.

Cameroon is highest for killer lakes.

Honduras leads in homicides.

Indonesia is best for volcanoes.

The United Kingdom, which fought a great war to defeat fascism, nevertheless leads in having the most fascist political parties.

Ivory Coast wins in the “highest level of malaria” category.

Azerbaijan tops the list when it comes to software piracy.

Burkina Faso is world class for illiteracy (I wonder if anyone in Burkina Faso can even read this article?).

Bosnia and Herzegovina are first for having the most active number of land mines buried in their respective land areas.

A few of the larger nations (whether in terms of land area or population) managed to capture more than one category. In some cases, both areas were positive, some had a mix of positive and negative, and some came out with only negatives.

The True North Strong and Free, Canada, is tops for maple syrup and asteroid strikes.

Russia wins both for the production of raspberries and the most nuclear weapons. (Does radiation help raspberries grow?)

China has both a negative and a positive: they are the leaders in carbon dioxide emissions, but they are also first in renewable energy production.

Australia leads in two areas, unfortunately, both are negatives: deadly animals and melanoma.

Two nations managed to score in more than two categories, and thus deserve our special recognition:

Mexico should take justifiable pride in being the only nation that leads in three categories: getting struck by lightning, drug cartels and boxing.

And, naturally, our southern cousins in the “good old U.S.A.” have to be tops by leading in four areas: falling off beds and chairs, getting killed by lawnmowers, Nobel laureates and eating hot dogs.

Finally, say a prayer for these poor nations whose only claim to fame is rather unimportant and/or goofy:

Algeria owns a frightening leadership in middle Paleolithic flake tool techniques.

Angola has the most people who can speak Umbundu (at least, we think it’s Umbundu. Either that, or they are just talking gibberish).

Jordan’s strategic advantage: large falafel balls. (I wonder if the falafels want them back?).

Finally, not to be outdone on the goofy scale, Mongolia claims first place for the most velociraptor bones.

Brian is a long-time resident of St. Albert.


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