Monday, 14 September 2009

Did you know...?

I remember growing up being fascinated by the random facts on the chappies papers. I wasn't even really a fan of bubblegum but the facts were interesting. It's been years since I have spent time actively seeking random information like that. It's a pastime which has recently become common as a result of teaching teenagers. Strange to imagine that teaching kids to speak English would encourage random information-seeking meanderings, but topics for discussion don't just fall from the sky.

As a result of a recent series of presentation classes on 'things that could result in the end of earth/humanity/civilization as we know it' (yes, we believe in positive, upbeat presentation topics over here), I found myself spending an unexpectedly high number of hours reading about overpopulation. Also, it's a particular bugbear of a colleague of mine. Being in Korea, of course, one realises just how much of a problem overpopulation really is. This tiny little bit of land jutting into the see supports more people than the whole of South Africa. Which is doubly insane when they can't really grow very much food here.

Did you know that South Korea has 487 people per square km? This as opposed to 39 per square km in SA and 31 per square km in the USA. The most populous country in Africa appears to be Rwanda, with 341 per square km, nearly rivaling India's 344 per square km. For the most part, however, Africa appears to be remarkably unpopulated, even outside of the desert areas and places with ridiculously low population like Namibia (2.5 per square km) and Botswana (3 per square km). I normally abhor African people who blame everything on Western media but I have to say that I'd like to know exactly who is responsible for the fact that I distinctly remember growing up with stories about how the world was overpopulated because people in Africa kept having too many babies. Particularly when the figures contrast so starkly the relatively unpopulated continent of Africa with the masses of Europe and Asia.

Further internet meandering has revealed some other interesting things. Did you know, for example, that Uganda leads the world stats (according to some possibly flawed research) in alcohol consumption per capita? This map seems to suggest that, once again, Africa is doing okay. For the record, this was research for a debate, in case anyone wonders. South Korea is, once again, more problematic than South Africa, although in this case not by very much. Oh, and interesting to see that both the US and Canada drink more than either SA or the ROK.

And now for a final bit of random internet trivia (got to love Wikipedia). When was the last time you tried to remember all the Capital Cities in Africa? A random conversation this evening devolved into an attempt to recite all of them - an attempt that was worrying ineffective. I found myself unable, no matter how hard I tried, to remember the capital cities of Malawi (Lilongwe), Rwanda (Kigali) and for some unknown reason Angola (Luanda).

Oh, final bit of trivia: did you know that there are 47 countries in Africa (excluding the bits of North Africa that are more appropriately Middle East) and only 27 in Asia (excluding Middle East)? And apparently 53 capital cities.

*this post brought to you by too much time listening to teenagers do presentations about random things. And Wikipedia.


  1. How it possible to have 47 countries and 53 capitals?!

  2. Sorry, that was unclear - 53 capitals including North Africa. It's a quiz-thingy on the 53 capitals. Try it, I'd be interested to see how much better you do than me :)