Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Size is ALL That Matters

We Americans see everything in terms of ourselves, no matter where on the planet we may be. If we're going to travel to your country, for instance, we'd like to be sure there will be Coca-Cola, a Starbucks and of course, a McDonald's close at hand. Some American TV channels would be nice, too. And when we go to your country, we don't like to think in terms of kilometers or Celsius. Give us the conversion formulas so we understand the REAL distances and temperatures. (Kilometers x .6 = miles. An easy, if slightly inaccurate Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion is "double it and add 30.") And do us a favor: speak English.

And when we measure your country, we measure it against what we know. Don't talk to us about strength of the dollar vs. your currency. Don't talk to us about culture, history or how many years we might need to subdue your tiny country if we ever have to put you in your place.

The following comparisons come from the extremely comprehensive and very useful CIA World Factbook, a great resource. It gives us some comfort to know that, besides Russia, we've got most of you beat. Don't be insulted by these comparisons. Embrace them. Perhaps we can create a sister-state organization whereby, for example, Vietnam and New Mexico exchange ideas and cultural ambassadors.

  • Denmark: slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts
  • Belgium: about the size of Maryland
  • Germany: slightly smaller than Montana
  • Greece: slightly smaller than Alabama
  • UK: slightly smaller than Oregon
  • Iraq: slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
  • Afghanistan: slightly smaller than Texas
  • Costa Rica: slightly smaller than West Virginia
  • France: slightly less than the size of Texas
  • Iran: slightly larger than Alaska
  • Vietnam: slightly larger than New Mexico
  • China: slightly smaller than the US
  • Russia: approximately 1.8 times the size of the US
  • Cuba: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
  • Kenya: slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
  • Israel: slightly smaller than New Jersey
  • Lebanon: about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut
  • Saudi Arabia: slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
  • Switzerland: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
  • Ghana: slightly smaller than Oregon
  • Czech Republic: slightly smaller than South Carolina

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