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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, March 26, 2018

"The second ten"

A few weeks back I did this post on news stories out of the 10 smallest nations in the world, and mused that I might soon do a similar post on the next ten.

I don't know what exactly happened here.  Maybe it is related to the fact that first ten was evenly divided between scattered island nations and archaic continental leftovers, and the second ten is 9-1 in favor of islands.  But I just didn't get as much out of this gang.  But never one to give up, I'm going to give it the old college try in a much rockier tour of smallest nations #11-20.

Parachutes at the door for those who want to bail early...

20- Singapore

Size: 278 square miles ("about 1 and a tenth the size of Molokai, the fifth-largest Hawaiian Island.")

Population: 5.791 million (or about 788 times that of Molokai... and 4 times that of all of Hawaii)

News: As you recall, our guiding principle here is to feature the top featured story on the best place-based news site available.  For Singapore, one of the most densely populated places on earth, that would be the well-respected Straits Times.  And there, we find the top story is that Uber is selling its entire Southeast Asian operations to a local up-and-coming competitor called Grab.  For Uber, it still gives them 30 % control in the deal, and they get to get out of day-to-day management in yet another area they were taking a beating in.  For Grab, it gives them a leg up on their main competition out of Indonesia.  For us?  Well, you can muse about the wisdom in this #Metoo era of getting a ride in a "Grab" car.

19- Federated States of Micronesia

Size: 271 sq. mi. ( about 90% the size of New York City, or ten square miles for each letter in its name.)

Pop.: 106 K (about 0.5% of NYC's.)

News:  The big news there was a couple of sets of elementary school kids and their teachers got to go visit the national congress.  I thought this might be a big deal as the might have had to come the long way from one end of the 607 islands of the nation (22 for every letter in the name) to the other.  After some digging, I found out it was actually a 5 mile trip on the one island.  But despite the harrowing trip, the kids had their names memorialized on the internet for all time...

And their picture, too!

18- St Lucia

Size: 238 sq mi (Half of Los Angeles)

Pop: Almost 180K (70% of Fort Wayne)

News:  The same as it was on one of our later contestants, and #2 on another- Human Rights Watch is invading the Caribbean, demanding they eliminate the old, unenforced, colonial "buggery" laws.  Some of you might be asking what the heck buggery is.  Your answer:

In English law "buggery" was first used in the Buggery Act 1533, while Section 61 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861, entitled "Sodomy and Bestiality", defined punishments for "the abominable Crime of Buggery, committed either with Mankind or with any Animal". The definition of "buggery" was not specified in these or any statute, but rather established by judicial precedent. Over the years the courts have defined buggery as including either

-anal intercourse or oral intercourse by a man with a man or woman or
-vaginal intercourse by either a man or a woman with an animal,

but not any other form of "unnatural intercourse", the implication being that anal sex with an animal would not constitute buggery. Such a case has not, to date, come before the courts of a common law jurisdiction in any reported decision. In the 1817 case of Rex v. Jacobs, the Crown Court ruled that oral intercourse, even with an underage and/or non-consenting animal, did not constitute buggery or sodomy. (Per wiki)

I never thought that even this society would get to the point of legally defining "an underage or non-consenting animal."  Please pass that parachute.

17- Andorra

Size:  180.55 sq mi (half of Indianapolis)

Pop:  About 77 K (For you Indiana people, think Fishers)

News: Our one continental contestant this week, stuck between a mountain just across the Spanish border and a mountain just across the French border, the big news was an agreement to stop cigarette smuggling into France.  Apparently cigarettes cost around 5 euros (around $6) in Spain, but 7 euros ($8.65) in France.  Which beats the 10 euros ($12.30) they cost in the UK, but that's neither here nor there, so to speak.

16- Palau

Size: 180 sq mi (Takes you 4 Palaus to make one Maui)

Pop:  A bit under 22 K ( a typical Chicago suburb)

News: Well, Palau is a bit out of contact.  Almost every news site either couldn't be reached or was out of date by months or even years.  So I had to settle for their Government site- and in THEIR opinion the biggest news was the visit of the Russian delegation trying to drum up international support for holding the World Expo in Yekaterinberg- in 2025.  Did I mention Palau was a bit out of contact?

15- Seychelles

Size: This group of 110 islands (18% of the amount in FS of M) in Africa (well, 1,000 miles give or take off the east coast) clocks in at 177 sq mi (80% of Detroit).

Pop: 95 K (Somewhere between College Station and Compton)

News:  British Airways is resuming service to the Seychelles after dissing them for 14 years.  Why they dropped Seychelles I could not find, but why they are coming back, I think I can guess- Air Seychelles had begun to drop direct flights to places in Europe because "they weren't contributing to inbound tourism".  So basically, the big boys said, "let the colonials do it", and the colonials said, "with nothing in it for us? Screw you."  One thin BA is bringing to the table this time is an emphasis on the latest buzzword in the travel world- "sustainable tourism":

As she welcomed British Airways, the British High Commissioner in Seychelles Caron Rohsler laid a lot of emphasis on the environmental impact tourists can have on these fragile and beautiful islands.

She said that the British High Commission is adding a new information to its web pages about sustainable tourism.

“This will include tips on how visitors can help preserve the ocean and island habitats so that future generations can enjoy them,” Rohsler said.

In other words, "Could you people please stop acting like a-holes when you visit?"

14- Antigua and Barbuda

Size:  Despite Hurricane Irma's best efforts, 170 sq mi ( roughly the same size as the last three countries, so you figure it out)

Pop: Amazingly, Irma only killed three people there, despite taking out near all the housing and requiring the evac of all of Barbuda to Antigua.  So the population is still around 103 K.

News:  I was hoping for a reconstruction update.  What I got was this:

A chef was found dead in his home in Willikies this afternoon.
It’s not yet clear if foul play is suspected; the police are currently on the scene investigating.
A resident in the area told OBSERVER media that the hotel worker was discovered dead shortly before 4 p.m. March 24.
The resident said the dead man’s co-workers went in search of him after their calls went unanswered today.

His identity has not been revealed to the media as yet.

The Human Rights Watch anti-buggery-law campaign was #2, and the sole hurricane story I found was how the government in Antigua wants to help the Barbudans in recovery- by some arcane means- by making it legal to buy property in Barbuda, where all property HAS been owned in common.  The Barbudan courts have twice thrown the proposed change out as unconstitutional.

13- Barbados

Size: 167 sq mi (1/200th of Indiana)

Pop:  286 K (Bigger than anyone we've hit so far save Malta and Singapore, real close to 'bigger than Fort Wayne' )

News: Their electric utility's 42-acre (since I have my measuring site up, that would be 1/4 the size of Disneyland)  solar farm is saving the nation about $ 8-10 million a year.  They are starting production on another one.  Think on THAT, Puerto Rico.

12- St Vincent and the Grenadines

Size: 150 sq mi (About 4 Disney Worlds)

Pop: 109 K (Between South Bend and Evansville)

News: The whole "Buggery" thing.  So is this all an LGBT thing, or is PETA involved too?

11- Grenada 

Size:  134.6 sq mi (wouldja believe "750 billion times the size of a quarter"?)

Pop: 107 K (Just for Jo-Anne, two Wagga Waggas with a Katoomba thrown in)

News:  This is one of those places I'd like to copy-paste you a bunch of info, but lucky for you, the Grenada news site is C-P resistant.  Basically, Grenada is facing two ecological problems:  One, and the lead story, they've fished the crap out of the area and now the have major depletion in tuna, jack, and flying fish.  The government is starting a program that will funnel funds into a group to be "run" by the fishermen themselves, to change their fishing methods and "not exploit the marine resources for a few more dollars".  Good luck with that.  Part of that initiative has to do with the second problem- the natural coral reef on the west side of the island is 90% dead, and they are funding a vast swath to be turned into a "coral nursery" to bring it back to life. 

On the bright side, HRW apparently hasn't gotten to them yet.  Enjoy yer animals, folks!


  1. Wagga Wagga is never called just Wagga but Kurri Kurri is often called just Kurri, just thought I would tell you that even though it has nothing to do with this interesting post

  2. Chris:
    ---There's some very interesting factoids about those "nations".
    And I like your comparisons to places in Hoosierland...heh.
    Buggery...that's such a friendlier term than say Bestiality.
    Leave it to those wacky small nations, hmm?

    Good post.
    (now, get thee over to my blog - you're falling behind there, buster.)

    Stay safe up there, brother.

    1. If I have, blame it on work- worked Saturday, 9 hrs all this week. A bunch of Buggery!