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The World Cup of Everything Else

World FootballThe World Cup is well under way with quite a few teams having already qualified for the next round. But if you’re curious about how the countries participating in this years’ World Cup stack up in other areas, here’s a great interactive chart comparing all 32 countries across a range of measures: The World Cup of Everything Else.

You’ll have the peruse the chart yourself to see all the data, but here are some of the results I found most interesting.

  • The US pops up in quite a few places, of course, but some of the more ignominious include highest obesity rate, most McDonalds per capita (as well as the most Starbucks per capita), and most CO2 emissions.
  • Some of the other expected results included France having the most total tourists, Russia being the biggest drinkers, and Honduras having the highest murder rate.
  • Ghana spends the most on education as a percentage of GDP.
  • Algeria has the highest military spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Japan has the most forest as a percentage of total land.
  • The highest percentage of internet users lives in the Netherlands, which also the most water as a percentage of total land.
  • Iran gets both the highest inflation rate and the highest traffic death rate.
  • The team with the most Twitter followers is Mexico.
  • Costa Rica has the highest percentage of women in government.

There’s more, but you can read it for yourself.

Maternity Leave Policies Around the World

Mom’s apple pie may be one of the things America cherishes the most, but mom herself? Not so much.

maternity leave


via The Atlantic

Look Up: A Spoken Word Poem for an Online Generation

I think the critique of social media here is a tad over the top, but this video still raises some legitimate concerns in a creative way. I’ll probably use this as a discussion starter with my youth group sometime.

Why Do We Read Fiction?

I often hear people say that they struggle to appreciate fiction. Life is short, and they’d rather spend their time on books that are more informative or useful.


In his famous An Experiment in Criticism, C. S. Lewis offered some powerful reflections on why we read fiction. For him, it ultimately comes down to the idea that fiction allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Although much of what he says applies to all kinds of reading–after all, any time I read someone else’s words I’m trying to see the world from their perspective–he argues that fiction does this in uniquely powerful ways. Fiction shows us a world, it doesn’t just tell us about one. And, as a result, fiction shapes us in ways that no other kinds of reading can. I wrestled with this a bit in 6 Reasons you Should Waste Your Time Reading Fiction. But Lewis does it so much better.

Continue Reading…

The Effect the Internet Has on Memory

Is Belief in God Essential to Morality?

An interesting new survey from the Pew Research Center shows what people around the world think about whether belief in God is essential to morality. The variations between counties and continents is fascinating.

belief in god morality

10 Reasons People Prefer Paper Books Over Ebooks

I have to admit that although I read digital books regularly, I still prefer paper over digital and will almost always buy the paper version of a book if the price is comparable. And apparently I’m not alone. Although a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that E-reading continues to grow in popularity, it also shows that most Americans still prefer paper over digital. And according to this infographic from The Digital Reader, here are ten reasons why.

why choose a paper book

The High Cost of Multitasking (infographic)

This is geared for the business world, but it has clear implications for students as well. Multitasking in class (e.g. texting, Facebook) may seem like a great way to maximize your time, but notice the bit about how multitasking actually lowers your IQ. I could be wrong, but sacrificing IQ in the middle of a class seems like a bad idea.


via Christianity Today

America’s Growing Religious Diversity (infographic)

Here’s an interesting infographic from the Public Religion Research Institute (no idea what that is, but it has a very official-sounding name) that breaks down America’s religious affiliations by age group.

I have to admit, though, that I’m a little skeptical on the size of the “Unaffiliated” group among younger Americans. I wonder if there’s a possibility that reflects more an unwillingness to self-identify with a particular group rather than a reflection of religious practice in general. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the results of at least one survey.

relisious diversity by age

Books Aren’t Dead, And Neither Is Paper

Do you remember when people said that computers would end the age of paper? Everything would go digital and those heaps of paper on your desk would disappear. How did that work out for you? Now many are saying the same thing about books. After all, when digital music became popular, it took over the business, almost completely destroying other media. So the same will probably happen with physical books, right?

Once again, we may be surprised. Here’s an infographic pointing out some important differences between the music and book industries, differences that suggest the printed book may still be around for the long haul. (HT Justin Taylor)

And once you’ve checked out the infographic, scroll down for a couple of humorous videos arguing that there still a role for paper in general. Although tablets might be able to do some things better than paper, there are still at least a few areas where you really should use paper. (HT James McGrath)


And here are the videos on the dangers of a truly paperless society.


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