Friday, December 08, 2006

An interesting observation

I was reading an article last night where the author mentioned that in his 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica 152 countries are listed. He then poses the following question:

How many of those countries made it from 1911 to today, nearly a century later, with their systems of government and law intact (allowing for minor constitutional adjustments like expansion of the franchise), without having suffered revolution, civil war, major dismemberment, or foreign occupation?

I'll allow you to ponder that for awhile and see what number you come up with. While you're thinking I'll tell you another story...

So today was the annual department christmas party. And one of the games they decided to play was a variation on Clue. They had a list of potential kidnappers (Heat Miser, Scrooge McDuck, Rudolph, etc.), potential locations (Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal, Pyramids, etc.), and potential tools (icicle, sled, tinsel, etc.) So everyone got a certain number of cards which allowed the to elminate things and from what was left you were supposed to come to a solution. Initially the plan was to pass out cards before the party as well as at the party. Well I think they didn't realize that people were going to pool their cards before hand and come up with an answer well in advance of the party (Frosty, Snowman's Carrot Nose, and Rice-Eccles Stadium if you're curious), so at the last minute they changed the answer, but I think their cleverness (or greed) got the better of them.

Now that we're half way through the blog for those of you who want to know the number of countries highlight the rest of this line: According to the columnist only six countries survive in their 1911 form, so now the question is which six?

So on the day of the party we split into teams and each team got a big stack of cards, after going through the cards and eliminating things we were left with three kidnappers, three locations and three tools which couldn't be eliminate. Among this group of nine where the three mentioned above. So using my Sicilian Logic I easily determined that I could not choose the combination that everyone knew about before the party, which left me with only six I couldn't eliminate. Also the combination of Frosty with the Carrot nose told me that the three should be related, the remaining kidnappers consisted of Hermie the Elf and The Abominable Snowman, Locations were Hogwarts, and the Taj Mahal, and Tools were Sled, and Jingle Bells.

Hermie and Hogwarts seemed obvious, and bells seemed a little more elfin than the sled. But then they announced that they were going to have some games where people could get more clues, so we participated in those, we didn't end up getting any more clues, so as soon as those games were over, knowing that we had all the information we were going to get I recommended going for it right then, the team agreed and wouldn't you know I was right, so we all got some movie tickets. Okay yes this story was fairly egomaniacal, but I wanted to give you a chance to think about the initial question.

Now for those who want to know not only the number of countries, but the names, highlight the section below:

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. The author admits that this isn't any kind of definitive list, and that there may be some ommissions, but so far everytime someone has mentioned something they thought was an ommission I've looked into it and it hasn't been. For those wanting to read the actual article here's the link.

I guess I should start thinking about christmas shopping


Anonymous ed said...

I wonder if he also has a number of countries to which we've sent troops, either in war or peacekeeping missions. I bet the number we haven't would also be about the same.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" ... for those of you who want to know ... highlight the rest of this line:"

I like how you did that. Cool trick.

Interesting observation about the troops. Strange that the commonwealths survived while the UK didn't make the list.

3:28 AM  

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