the authoritative world factbook.

Since I was raised and educated in Europe, my knowledge of world history and geography is far superior to that of even the most educated American.  As a benevolent holiday gesture, however, I am willing to share my superior knowledge, to help my fellow Americans better understand the world outside the U.S. and A.  (This information should be particularly helpful to college kids looking for an edge in their upcoming World History and Geography exams.)

  • Canadians live in subterranean dwellings because of the ice dragons that roam the surface of Canadia in the long winters.
  • Italians are born with a 200-word vocabulary of sign language.  In Italy, speed limits from the Roman Empire are still in effect (3 leagues per hour for horse-drawn chariots, 2 leagues per hour for ox carts.)
  • The Russian language was invented as a prank by two Finnish schoolboys in 1759. Before they got their own language, Russians communicated by pointing, and throwing vodka bottles.
  • Scots have six stomachs.  This is a genetic mutation to enable Scottish people to deal with Scottish food. 
  • There’s no word in the German language for "fluffy", but seventy-two synonyms for "invade".
  • Belgium doesn’t actually exist.  It’s a place from Dutch fairytales, and the Europeans use it to perpetuate the world’s longest ongoing practical joke.
  • People in The Netherlands traditionally celebrate Christmas by gathering around a festively decorated wheel of cheese, and smoking hashish out of lacquered wooden pipes.
  • Swedes don’t own winter jackets despite their country’s arctic climate.  This is because of the alcohol content of their blood, which acts as antifreeze.
  • Every English person alive has met HRH The Queen.  Also, because of their stubborn insistence on driving on the wrong side of the road, the Earth’s spin rate is slowed there to the point that English hours have 62 minutes.  (This is true for all countries with left-side traffic.)
  • Austrians speak a peculiar dialect of German that lacks gender modifiers and adverbs.  They also celebrate Opposite Day every fifth of the month, where Austrians say the opposite of what they mean.  This has caused hilarious air traffic control mishaps involving pilots unfamiliar with Andersrum Tag.
  • Finnish people are legally limited to uttering a thousand words per year.  In Finland, it’s customary to express affection by cutting the other person with a knife.  Russians are considered game animals in most of Finland.
  • In Poland, the national sport is polo.  (This is where the sport derives its name.)  The original Polish version is played on yaks, and uses halberds instead of mallets.  Poland is also home to 86% of the world’s polar bears (again, hence the name).  The polar bears on display in the Arctic are currently on loan from the Warsaw Zoo.
  • “Australia” is actually a giant theme park run by New Zealand, and staffed with New Zealander college kids in costumes.  Income from tourists visiting “Australia” accounts for 93% of the New Zealand GDP.
  • Dachshunds originated in feudal Japan, where they were used as mounts for the city guards in the notoriously narrow streets of ancient Edo.
  • The ethnic makeup of Romania is as follows: 45% vampires, 13% werewolves, 21% Undead/Other, 12% peasants, 10% gypsies (as per the 2005 census.) 
  • Every Swiss citizen is required to keep a crossbow and fifty bolts in his home.  Because of the mountainous nature of their country, most Swiss commute to work via specially trained griffons.
  • Irish poetry is traditionally written on peat moss, with metabolized stout beer.

There you go: first-rate facts about the world, kept from you by the inadequate American schools.  Now go forth and use this new knowledge to wow your professors and impress your foreign friends!

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49 thoughts on “the authoritative world factbook.

  1. julie says:

    again … too much alcohol will do this to you ….

  2. Paul says:

    Just a thought but wouldn’t metabolized stout be piss? I can see why you write…with facts like these you would have trouble doing anything else.

    Always interesting.

  3. Please, even I know that the Queen is HBM not HRH.

    • Are the Frankenstein’s Monsters considered Undead/Other?

      Also all human Romanians are required to wear mustaches. This explains why their women aren’t very attractive.

      • Shrimp says:

        No, he forgot them.

        Didn’t you notice that his numbers add up to only 101%? Everyone knows that Romania’s population adds up to 106% when you add the Frankenstein’s Monsters.

        Otherwise, I don’t see much that he missed, except for when Spain conquered China in the early 13th century, but due to a massive clerical error involving too much wine, misplaced their maps and control of the Asian continent reverted back to the Vikings (not the NFL team, of course!).

        Excellent history lesson, Marko.

  4. Actual LOL.

    Best part was “& throwing vodka bottles”… I know some native Russians.

    Sad part is, some kid will read this & accept it as fact because “I saw it on the interwebz”!

  5. aczarnowski says:

    Waiting for CrankyProf to mention she’s seen this text included in a late filed paper in 3… 2… 1…

  6. Vertel says:

    “Australia” is actually a giant theme park run by New Zealand, and staffed with New Zealander college kids in costumes. Income from tourists visiting “Australia” accounts for 93% of the New Zealand GDP.

    Excuse me? Other way around, thank you very much!

  7. LittleRed1 says:

    That explains why my parents would only take us on vacation to Canada in the summer. Spoilsports – I wanna dragon!

    • George Smith says:

      Judging from the weather outside, if you came now, you wouldn’t have long to wait. And others think that people from the Great White North don’t know sport when we see it.

      Regards.

  8. Pursuant to Annex XXXIV of the Treaty of Derental, dated February 29, 1873, France is required to formally surrender to Germany no less frequently than once every fifty years.

  9. BobG says:

    It’s like listening to Cliff from Cheers

  10. Matt says:

    Marko,

    That’s not what I was taught about Canada when growing up. I know there are no ice dragons since I was raised there.

    But Canada does get 11 months of winter per year in the south so we lived in igloos. The north was in winter year-round. Polar bears and moose roamed freely during the winter months and enterprising families would ride them around. The rest of us used snowmobiles as primary transportation. We always wore snowshoes in going to school.

    Glaciers were visible in Canada from US border cities even when they had no snow on the ground. Canada’s climate is different than the USA’s, hence the long winters. New Yorkers would routinely come into Canada in July to go skiing (not a joke, I have personally witnessed this!).

    Just trying to help update the World Fact Book!

    • Laughingdog says:

      I live in Virginia, and flew to Las Vegas with friends two years ago to see Richard Cheese play on New Years Eve. I planned to rent a motorcycle for the few days before the show and see some of the southwest, including Death Valley. When I mentioned this to people at work, I had some warn me to make sure I stay hydrated, since it’s so hot in Death Valley……in December.

  11. Dirk says:

    There should have been a beverage warning on this… :)

  12. eli says:

    Great post, Marko!

    perchance, you spared us the history of that bloody ground south of Romania, to Constantinople?

    Or mayhap the Habsburgers distracted you?

  13. Tony says:

    Russians are considered game animals in most of Finland.”

    Complete nonsense. I mean, have you ever actually tried to eat a Russian? Blech.

    The phrase you were looking for was probably “varmint”. :)

  14. Snake Eyes says:

    So, this created a lot of confusion for me, since I’ve actually BEEN to Belgium. Then I remembered that I went to Belgium on a train, direct from Amsterdam–where the celebrate EVERY day with cheese and hash. And very fine hash it is….hence my obvious hallucination of Belgium.

  15. Schmidt says:

    Some of my more widely travelled compatriots like to sneak similar ‘facts’ about former Czechoslovakia to unsuspecting Americans, each one more outrageous than the last, to see how much they can get away with.

    It’s no fair. Ignorant people are all over the world, and I think a fair few Czechs would be willing to believe inhabitants of North Dakota live in yurts, hunt bison with crossbows or work on the web from yurts, using satellite uplinks and PCs powered by electricity from methane burning generators. Methane obtained from fermented bison bullshit of course. (that’s where most people start being a little suspicious..)

    @Tony
    I heartily agree. Russian flesh is tainted with vodka, their livers are awfully hard to cut up and their flesh is very tough…

    Mormon missionaries, on the other hand… they’re ideal. Polite, virginal, teetotaller, young, tender and they show right up on your doorstep, plus, they’re far from home and very gullible. It could only be better if they came gift-wrapped and already dressed. Far easier than going out hunting for deer.

  16. Right,

    I’ll tell you what doesn’t exist: the Belgian government! Some years ago, the Belgian government fell through and the Belgians were without a government for over a hundred days (seriously, this is actually true)

    (…)

    Not only does Belgium not exist, but the likes of me are paid a small sum of money every year to post online and travel around on a “Belgian” passport. This has understandably spawned forth a wide market of novelty Belgian passports which get reported as “fake” in the media to keep up appearences (run a google search for Belgian passport, stories of fakes are abundant).

  17. Bob says:

    Just because the Finns are allowed 1000 words a year, should not by any means imply that they use them.

    • perlhaqr says:

      Finnish people are legally limited to uttering a thousand words per year.

      This must be lashback from the “Russian” prank.

      Also, if the Finns were allowed to effectively communicate with each other, they’d take over the world. Actually, I can think of worse fates.

  18. Assrot says:

    I love it. Keep it up. You are becoming a regular “Howard Zinn”.
    :-)

    Joe

  19. Matthew Carberry says:

    The population of Romania adds up to 101% due to the fact that werewolves are technically 1-1/3oth of a person.

    Fun fact, due to conflict of interest they may vote in every local election except that for dog catcher.

  20. mpk19 says:

    What about Zee French? I know nothing of their history!

  21. wolfwalker says:

    “Dachshunds originated in feudal Japan, where they were used as mounts for the city guards in the notoriously narrow streets of ancient Edo.”

    No, that’s whippets. Dachshunds are the result of a failed attempt at breeding canine snakes.

    And harlequin Great Danes were bred to be watchdogs for circuses.

  22. wolfwalker says:

    Oh, and during the communist years, things got so bad in Hungary that they couldn’t even manufacture mops. So they created self-propelled household mops. It was so successful that they bred a larger version for use in barns, factories, and warehouses.

  23. Kaerius(SWE) says:

    **ROFLMAO**

    “Swedes don’t own winter jackets despite their country’s arctic climate. This is because of the alcohol content of their blood, which acts as antifreeze.”

    I see you’ve met some of my countrymen… *owns a few winter jackets actually, but only wears one while skiing(downhill), leather jacket suffices otherwise, without the alcohol*

  24. Leit says:

    Heh. Take it you’ve seen this?

    http://humon.deviantart.com/gallery/#Scandinavia-and-the-World

    Great fun, with posts under the comics explaining the stereotypes. :D

  25. wrm says:

    Verified quote from Finn, when asked “What do you do”:

    “In summer, we fish and we f*ck. In winter, we don’t fish so much”.

    1000 word quota, with change at the end of the year, indeed.

  26. DH in Manchester says:

    c/f Jeremy Clarkson (noted British oaf.).
    ‘Belgium was invented as a place for Britain and Germany to settle their differences.’
    Also, ‘Uniquely, Belgium’s moterway network is the only one to be entirely illuminated.’
    Only one of these facts may actually be true.

  27. Schmidt says:

    @DH
    Netherlands has illuminated autobahns too, I believe.

  28. Justthisguy says:

    Hmm. I think I recall reading in Albert Speer’s memoirs, a conversation he had with Hess, in Spandau Prison. That psycho-ceramic fella Hess proposed lighting the highways and having everyone turn off their headlights, as it would save energy. The other guys, being better at arithmetic than Hess, immediately changed the subject.

  29. Justthisguy says:

    P.s. I think the other guys were, besides Speer, Doenitz and Raeder. Ain’t it a shame how competent technicians can be seduced and traduced by charismatic demagogues?

  30. al terego says:

    There is a “world outside the US and A”? Huh.

    al t.

  31. Rupert Neve says:

    Ze Germans have a word for fluffy, although it’s probably only there because the Swiss and Austrians speak kraut too…

    Daunenartig.

  32. ibex says:

    This made my day, thank you!

  33. militant_marmot says:

    That reminds me of the fact that Italian is primarily a gestural language, with vocals only added for emphasis.

  34. Windy Wilson says:

    What I want to know is, how come the Rhineland is right by the Rhine River, but Poland is so far from the Po River?

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