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The World at a Glance: Surprising Facts

surprise.jpgHere we go again! It's time for another installment of "The World at a Glance," a new feature we added to The World Almanac 2007 to call attention to some of the thousands of eye-opening facts we packed into the book. This time, the focus is on "Surprising Facts"—from hard-to-believe bits of geographical trivia, to startling statistics that made us wonder whether one of the interns was playing a practical joke. (They weren't, but we still made them triple-check the fourth item on this list.)
  • Young American men (18-24) watch less TV per week than any other group, an average of 23 hours, 1 minute in 2005.
  • Despite rising 2005 domestic gasoline prices, U.S. prices averaged among the lowest in the world: 46% lower than in Japan and nearly 60% lower than in Germany and the U.K.
  • Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 8 inches along the coast and far less inland.
  • The African nation of Equatorial Guinea had the world’s second-highest per capita GDP in 2005 ($50,200, up from only $2,700 in 2002), thanks to booming oil sales.
  • The easternmost point in the U.S. is in Alaska: Pochnoi Point, on Semisopochnoi Island, is at 179°× 46' E longitude.
  • All 50 of the world’s tallest mountains are in Asia.
  • U.S. defense spending of $465 billion in 2004 was more than 3 times the combined estimate of spending by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
  • The most popular radio format in the U.S. is country (19% of stations), but rock music sells the most (32% of sales).
  • In the U.S., firearm deaths by suicide outnumber those by homicide by more than 40%.
Got some surprising statistics of your own? Let us know in the comments.

Previously: The World at a Glance: Number Ones
Related: "Unbreakable" Sports Records

Photo from Meredith Farmer's Flickr stream (CC)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 18, 2007 10:30 AM.

The previous post in this blog was This Day in History: Jan. 18.

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