Chit Chat Never heard of Nauru? Join 'Geography Olympics'

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by helenheaven, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    Never heard of Nauru? Join \'Geography Olympics\'

    NEW YORK: America may dominate the world in sports and culture but in one arena where size doesn't matter, the "Geography Olympics," the United States was 88th behind minnows such as Madagascar and the Marshall Islands.

    More than 46,000 Americans have taken part in this online geography competition started by a man with a mission: Roger Andresen, who quit his job as a fibre optic engineer two years ago when he realized most Americans have never heard of Nauru and don't know Cameroon is in Africa.

    Working from his home in Georgia – the US state, not the country – he created a jigsaw puzzle with pieces shaped like the countries of the world and launched what he calls the "world's biggest ongoing geography puzzle" on the web.

    Players have 200 seconds to locate 10 randomly selected countries on a map of the world with the names blanked out.

    The site has attracted more than 300,000 players from 179 countries so far. National rankings fluctuate throughout the day depending on the latest scores.

    Topping the leader board at one point on Friday were players from Trinidad and Tobago, the Philippines and Madagascar – three countries that won a single bronze medal among them at this year's Olympics. The United States won the most medals –103.

    Among US states, New Mexico led the board followed by South Carolina and Idaho. South Dakota, Maine and Arkansas were last.

    Geography is just a building block for understanding what's going on in the world," said Andresen, whose family includes Christian missionaries and who has travelled to 44 countries.

    "Being the world's superpower we should be informed voters," he said. "Sitting back and not worrying about these things is terrible, and it might be why the rest of the world doesn't care for us."

    The best players tend to find seven of 10 locations, he said. Americans' average score is around 5.7 out of 10.

    Norway and Sweden are big players, with more than 50,000 participants each, though not very successful in 84th and 173nd place respectively.

    "That's what happens when thousands of people join in (the game) from new countries," Andresen said. "Initially they're terrible, they bring down the country."

    Belgium and Italy are consistently high scorers. The north Pacific atolls of the Marshall Islands were doing well in 5th place. Last place was occupied by Cambodia with an average of four out of 10 but only 253 participants.

    For those who don't know, Nauru is a small island in the South Pacific.

    Geography is one of my better subjects :)
  2. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    Its very understandable the US scored badly. We dont do a very good job keeping up with things outside our own backyards.

  3. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    I understand this. The US is very US-centric, and we have a hard time seeing things outside our country. The main reason I think is our size. If I go on a 1000 mile backpacking trip or vacation Im still in the US, if I lived in Europe and did that Id be across 6-10 countries.
  4. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    I think it is the american mindset, the over time it has been supmmlimented(sp) by the other countries. For example, there are multiple African tours that specifically dont cater to Americans, because they dont want to deal with us. So we dont always know all of our options.