- North Korea’s Nuclear Prowess is a drop in the ocean.
On the 6th of January this year, North Korea tested an underground nuclear device, with an estimated yield equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT. North Korea’s recent interest in nuclear testing has put global security agencies on high alert and, at times, sent international media into a frenzy. How does North Korea’s nuclear testing programme compare, however, to other nuclear nations?
The United States and Russia both host in excess of 6000 nuclear devices. While in the U.K, France and China up to 300 nukes are thought to have been developed. In addition, the magnitude of the devices tested thus far in North Korea (<10 kilotons) have paled in comparison to other nuclear nations. For example, in Soviet Union times, Russia detonated “Tsar Bomba”, a nuclear device with an estimated yield equivalent to 50,000 kilotons of TNT. By comparison to other nuclear players, North Korea’s nuclear prowess is the equivalent of a water gun at Mexican shootout. While North Korea’s nuclear agenda is potentially a global threat, many academics suggest that the “assured destruction” of North Korea in the event of a nuclear exchange, is sufficient for the country’s nuclear programme to remain as a hollow demonstration of political strength.
- Money does actually = Happiness (ish).
In recent decades, surveys assessing peoples’ life satisfaction have gained traction as benchmarks with which to inform public policy. Such surveys, asking participants to rate their life satisfaction on a scale 1 to 10, have been conducted in 156 countries. Mapping the findings of this research, some interesting geographical trends emerge: Rating their life satisfaction between 6 and 7.5, the happiest nations (purple), tend also to be wealthier. For example, look at North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Even within Europe, there appear to be happiness divides as nations with a lower GDP, such as Portugal, Poland and Belarus also report a lower life satisfaction by comparison to wealthier nations in central Europe. Interestingly, in the Middle East and in South East Asia, wealthier countries such as Singapore and Saudi Arabia also report comparatively high life satisfaction.
Conversely, countries which are among the poorest in the world, such as those in Central Africa, appear to be home to the world’s most dissatisfied peoples. Satisfaction ratings, in these nations, are typically under 4.
However, the relationship between greater wealth and greater life satisfaction is not necessarily a causative one. The World Happiness Report, published this year, presents seven factors which influence a nation’s life satisfaction including GDP, life expectancy, public trust and the freedom of people to make life choices. High satisfaction ratings reported in Latin America, despite countries’ comparatively weak economic standing, shows that money isn’t everything.
However, I would argue that ultimately a higher GDP, is a prerequisite for many of the other factors which are important to a population’s happiness.
3. The populations of China and India are HUGE by comparison to the rest of the World.
Here I map the proportionate population size of countries. Notice anything?
The population size of nations across the globe pales in comparison to the population size of both China and India. As of 2013, the population of China stood at nearly 1.4 billion, while in the same year, the population of the India reached 1.25 billion, 4 times that of the world’s third most populous country, the United States.
In fact, the ten most populous countries in the world now account for 55% of the global population. A mere 45% contributed by the remaining 245 .
The uneven geographic distribution of this population boom will be important both in terms of strain on global resources and changing population demographics in the near future.
- You are never too far away from a Big Mac.
The iconic “M”, has stood as an icon for the fast food giant McDonalds for over five
decades. Today, McDonalds’ restaurant has established itself in 119 nations and you never are truly too far away from a Big Mac.
For some, the growth of the fast-food giant is the inevitable result of globalisa-tion, or the development of a more homogenous world culture. Nonetheless, however, this commercial superpower has had failed ventures and experienced its share of controversy. McDonalds Jamaica closed its doors in 2005, due to declining sales. With the collapse of the Icelandic Krona in 2009, the cost of importing foreign foodstuffs became too great for McDonalds Iceland to remain commercially viable. The construction of a McDonald’s in Bermuda, begun in 1999, was later abandoned after the passing of a bill banning chain franchises. In Ecuador, the “McDonalds” name, but not logo, is apparently used as a sales ploy to sell burgers from local restaurants; an official McDonalds outlet, however, has not (yet) opened in this country.
Like it or loathe it, McDonalds continues to fill in the map, with the outlet soon to open in both Tunisia and Nigeria.
The copyright owner of maps and text is Eoin Scollard.