October 24, 2013
Running an international research group and leadership institute keeps me constantly curious about the world and trying to understanding it. It’s one of the few things in life that keep me constantly engaged and leaning forward. (Want to know the few other things or people who can keep me leaning forward and engaged? There aren’t many of those, but you can ask! 🙂 I may or may not answer you. :-)) The following information may or may not change your world, but perhaps for some of you it will scratch an itch – or create an itch to constantly pursue understanding the world and the people who are in it.
ISSUE ONE: WHAT ARE THE MOST SPOKEN LANGUAGES IN THE WORLD?
Communication is important – so let’s take a look at who’s speaking what. According to Listverse, the top five most spoken languages are:
- Russian: 277 million. If you want to know what President Putin is saying about Obama behind his back – you’d better learn Russia. Or I guess you could just ask any of 277 million people to translate for you. 🙂
- Spanish: 392 million – Thank you, Spain, South America, Central America and Texas. 🙂
- Hindustani: 497 million – The primary language of India (though there are lots of dialects.) Experts say that even if India’s population surpasses that of China, Hindi speakers will not surpass Chinese speakers. Why? Too many Indians speak English!
- English: 508 million – Good old English comes in second place – but still, it is the “official” language of more countries than any other.
- Mandarin (Chinese): 1 billion+ – Well, it is the most populated country on earth, so I guess this makes sense. According to www.listverse.com, it’s not an easy language to learn. Each word can be pronounced four different ways. Ugh – that sounds like a lot of work to sort out!
ISSUE TWO: WHO HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS?
Rarely a week goes by that there’s not something in the media about Iran developing its nuclear program and what the world should do (if anything) about it. More than 24 countries have nuclear power, but who has nuclear weapons?
Known to have nuclear weapons:
- USA: Estimated warheads – 7650 total
- Russia: Estimated warheads – 8420 total
- United Kingdom: Estimated warheads – 225 total
- France: Estimated warheads – 300 total
- China: Estimated warheads – 240 total
- India: Estimated warheads – 80-100 total
- Pakistan: Estimated warheads – 90-110 total
Suspected of having nuclear weapons
- Israel: Estimated warheads – 80 total. (No confirmed tests, no confirmed warheads, but the Federation of American Scientists estimates that they have about 80 warheads. Do they have them? Of course.)
Pursuing nuclear weapons
- North Korea: Estimated warheads – fewer than 10 (Most experts don’t think they’ve been able to bring their nuclear tests and ballistic missile tests together yet.)
- Iran: Nothing yet – lots of talk and angst about it. Time will tell.
ISSUE THREE: WHICH ARE THE MOST HONEST CITIES IN THE WORLD
Readers Digest wanted to see how different cities responded to an opportunity to be honest. So, they left 12 wallets in plain view in a variety of places in each of these cities. Every wallet contained a cellphone number, a family photo, coupons, and business cards, plus about $50. So, who returned the “lost” wallets? Where are the most “honest” cities?
- Helsinki, Finland: 11 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- Mumbai, India: 9 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- Budapest, Hungary: 8 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- New York City, USA: 8 our of 12 wallets were returned.
- Moscow, Russia: 7 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands: 7 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- Berlin, Germany: 6 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- Ljubljana, Slovenia: 6 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- London, England: 5 out of 12 wallets were returned.
- Warsaw, Poland: 5 out of 12 wallets were returned.
**(Lisbon, Portugal had only 1 out of the 12 wallets returned!)(Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/16-major-world-cities-ranked-from-most-to-least-honest)
So, there’s your world for this week – the talk, the weapons and the kindness of it all. We live in an ever-changing, growingly complex world. It’s filled with variety, danger, nobility and possibilities. How are you fitting in? And who’s better because of you? Not a bad question to ask yourself!www.globalnext.org www.facebook.com/drphiljohnson www.twitter.com/globalnext