Global IQ Ranking – WIF Lists

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The Smartest Countries

in the World

Imagine the world is a high school. You’ve got the big, jock countries like Australia, South Africa, and the USA. You’ve got the self-consciously old-fashioned intellectuals like Britain and France, and then you’ve got the cool kids everyone wants to hang out with (yeah, Italy, we’re looking at you). But what about the brainboxes? Who in our analogy are the nerds spending their spare time in the science labs while the other countries are learning to smooch and bum smokes?

Well, thanks to some slightly dubious science, we possibly have the answer! Between 2002 and 2006, a joint British-Finnish study carried out IQ tests in countries all over the world, then ranked each nation by their average national score. While IQ tests may not be perfect – they miss intelligence defects even clever people suffer from, like dysrationalia, which is a fancy way of saying “choosing the simplest answer to avoid having to think too hard” – and this particular study was controversial for its methodology, it still makes for a fun comparison. Want to discover which countries are getting beaten up for their lunch money every morning? Read on.

10. Austria (average IQ: 100)

We’re gonna go out on a limb here and suggest not many of us associate intelligence with wearing lederhosen. But maybe that’s why we’ve all been underestimating Austria for so long. They’re willing to dress like a person with their fashion sense surgically removed because they don’t care what we think. They’re too busy using those gigantic sausage-and-beer-fueled brains of theirs to pay attention to mere mortals like us.

Part of Austria’s geniusness (that’s a word, right?) may be due to its comparative wealth. The CIA World Factbook ranks it the 33rd richest nation by GDP per capita, which doesn’t sound all that impressive until you realize the much-larger UK ranks at 40th. Since income and education tend to go hand in hand, it stands to reason that Austria might have more brains to spare, especially given its tiny population. Only 8.474 million people call this spectacular alpine nation home, fewer than Czech Republic, fewer than Cuba, fewer even than London.

Historically, the Austrians have put those big brains of theirs to good use. Their Hapsburg dynasty once ruled most of Europe.

9. Switzerland (average IQ: 101)

A short hop across a near-impenetrable barrier of frozen mountains from Austria, Switzerland is the place to be if you want cuckoo clocks, triangular chocolate, guns, or Nazi gold. It’s also home to some of the smartest people on the planet. Yep, the Swiss apparently value intellectualism almost as much as they value morally-dubious neutrality, and they have the historical figures to back up this claim. It was in the capital of Bern that the German-born Albert Einstein dreamed up his general theory of relativity.

So what is it about living in this bracing mountain environment that turns the Swiss into such geniuses? Well, they’re rich for starters. Seriously, if you were to grab Switzerland by the ankles, turn it upside down, and shake it vigorously, enough spare change would fall out to finance at least three globe-straddling empires. The multilingualism of the Swiss may help, too. At the Federal level, Switzerland gives German, French, and Italian equal weight, which may be significant as some studies link speaking multiple languages with increased intelligence.

On the other hand, maybe they’re just spending so much time avoiding fighting wars that they’ve got time to read all those brainy books gathering dust on other nation’s shelves?

8. Mongolia (average IQ: 101)

A great, big expanse of vast steppe in Asia, Mongolia has desert, mountains, yurts, and almost nothing else. We mean that in all seriousness. Despite being big enough to squash Texas and California flat and still have room for Montana, it is home to barely 3 million people, most of whom could spend their whole lives swinging a string of dead cats and never get even remotely close to hitting anything. One apparent upside of all this space? Intelligence. Lots of intelligence.

When you think about it, Mongolia scoring so highly is kinda unexpected. While breathtaking, their country ain’t rich. The CIA World Factbook ranks them at 122nd for GDP per capita, only slightly above Albania. But it seems what little money they have, they spend wisely. The country ranks surprisingly high on education, beating out even some European systems. On a perhaps more controversial note, some “race realists” have suggested Mongolians may just naturally have better visual-spacial awareness, giving their overall IQ scores an additional boost.

Whatever the truth, it seems that one thing is clear. If you’ve ever had a hankering for sparkling intellectual discussion in the emptiest landscape you’ll ever see, go to Mongolia.

7. Iceland (average IQ: 101)

annnd we’re back in Europe, this time in the far, frozen lands of the north, where “banking” is synonymous with “crime” and summer is just God’s cruel joke breaking up the punishment of winter. Yep, it’s the teeny tiny island nation of Iceland, a place that was once just a glorified fishing port, became a casino banking mecca, and now is famous as one of the richest, safest countries on Earth. Evidently, all that safety has combined with all that enforced time spent indoors escaping the weather to create a nation that seriously likes to study.

What’s amazing about this is that you wouldn’t have put money on Iceland hitting so high up these rankings a few decades ago. Prior to the 1980s, the very-literally-named land of ice was a kind of mid-ranking boring outpost of fishermen. The economy exploded in the ’80s, blew up even larger in the ’90s, and somehow managed to claw out of the devastating financial crash by turning the entire country into one of the world’s tourist hotspots. See, that’s those clever Icelandic brains for you, thinking their way out of a pickle that doesn’t involve reckless borrowing or blowing the national budget on lottery tickets.

6. Italy (average IQ: 102)

Oh come on, this isn’t fair! Italy already has class, great looks, a cool persona, and more sun than most of us will ever see in a lifetime. And now you’re telling us they’ve also got a world-beating IQ? We don’t wanna moan and say that life isn’t fair, but clearly life isn’t fair.

The cause of high Italian IQs is as mysterious to us as it is to you. Going on a long Google search mainly turned up blogs with names like “race realist” and “not politically correct” so we decided it’d probably be more fun – not to mention informative – for all of us if we just cracked some light-hearted jokes about pasta and pizza, while secretly wishing we were Italian. Or we could, y’know, point back at Italy’s long, illustrious past as the seat of the Roman Empire, a multi-nation state that made staggering scientific and engineering advances at a rate usually reserved for countries in the grip of the industrial revolution, while also producing art and literature that would still stand up some 2,000 years later, but where would be the fun in that?

5. Taiwan (average IQ: 104)

So, this is a little controversial. We’ve included Taiwan on this list of countries, while excluding Hong Kong, despite the international community recognizing both as part of China. Well, it’s true that Taipei doesn’t have a seat at the UN and isn’t included on any other official list of countries. But it’s also completely self-governing, calls itself separate from China, and functions like a totally independent state, so we’re including it here. And that’s just as well, because Taiwan’s average IQ is enough to leave other countries eating its dust.

Founded after Chairman Mao’s victorious forces chased his enemies off the Chinese mainland at the conclusion of the Chinese civil war, Taiwan today is a prosperous, forward-thinking nation that also just happens to look darn fine in a picture. You better believe Taipei uses that prosperity to invest in its young. A 2015 study by the OECD comparing data from 76 studies placed Taiwan’s education at 4th best in the entire world (in case you’re wondering, the USA came in at a mildly-embarrassing 28th). Gee, it’s almost like an intelligent population might somehow be linked to investing heavily in your education system.

4. China (average IQ: 105)

If any Taiwanese readers were hoping to beat out their old nemesis in these rankings, we’ve got some bad news. The original study this article was based on had mainland China just edging out its breakaway state, with an average IQ of 105 compared to Taiwan’s 104. Ouch. Well, them are the breaks, Taipei. At least you guys can comfort yourself at night with your functioning democratic system.

Actually what’s driving China’s high score is unfortunately hard to say. Beijing is notoriously uncooperative about divulging actual, useful data relating to a lot of fields, and the OECD education rankings just miss China entirely. Still, China certainly has its fair share of very smart people. The Middle Kingdom is competing with and outperforming the US in key technological sectors, and much of the most interesting cutting edge tech is now coming with a ‘made in China’ stamp.

On the other hand, China is also notorious for grade inflation and handing out junk degrees from its universities, so we’re not really sure what this tells us. Except, perhaps, for reinforcing our introductory point about the IQ study this article is based on being more a guideline than the last word on the subject.

3. Japan (average IQ: 105)

Still in Asia, the next country on our list is one famous for technology, cuteness, and generally doing so many things in such a weird way that it fueled basically 90% of early internet memes. Yep, Japan is another world leader in the being really, ridiculously smart stakes, romping home with an average IQ score of 105. That’s over 100 times the intelligence of the average person you’ll find dynamite fishing, kids!

We’re all familiar with the Japanese stereotypes: absurdly hard-working, absurdly dedicated to their jobs, and absurdly stressed out by their high pressure schooling. But, hey, it seems to be working. In that 2015 study we told you about earlier, the OECD ranked Japan joint 4th with Taiwan for education, where math and science were concerned. Countries 3rd, 2nd, and 1st were… well. You’ll be finding that out as you keep on reading.

Given their great education system and general braininess, it’s perhaps no surprise that Japan spent decades at the forefront of technological change. For a long, long time, everything exciting and important was coming out of Tokyo.

2. South Korea (average IQ: 106)

Did you know South Korea comes 3rd in global education rankings? Well: surprise! And get used to these references, by the way, because from here on out, all countries are ones that are going at the education rankings like gangbusters. The democratic brother of despotic North Korea, South Korea is a hi-tech paradise, with world-beating internet, widespread use of smartphones, and all other things that point to an entire industry of clever people doing clever things to collectively make the world a cleverer place. And all this in a country that manages to cram more than 51 million people into a place smaller than Iceland (pop: 334,252).

Of course, a lot of South Korea’s intelligence wins likely come from it being a wealthy country with a sterling education system. Not that it was always this way. Back in the dark ages of the mid-20th century, Pyongyang was actually richer than its southern neighbor by a significant margin. North Korea was blessed with the monetary backing of the Soviets, and had a huge amount of mineral wealth. South Korea, by contrast, had to transform itself through sheer brute willpower alone. Even ignoring the IQ scores, we guess it paid off.

1. Singapore (average IQ:108)

When Singapore declared independence from Malaysia in 1965, it was one of the poorest states in the world. Literacy was at third world levels. Not a desirable start for a country that wanted to be a world leader in education, attainment, and wealth. Yet, somehow, Singapore managed to pull it off. From being a tiny island with no natural resources, its exceptionally long-serving leader Lee Kuan Yew managed to turn his home into a global powerhouse. In doing so, he raised the education level of Singaporeans so high that they cruised to an easy first place in these very rankings.

According to the OECD, Singapore has the single greatest education system in the world. The only other territory that hits the same level on the IQ rankings is Hong Kong, but since that ain’t a country, it doesn’t get a spot on this list! The city state – one of only three left in existence – is also home to fantastic infrastructure and cleanliness that is so strictly enforced you can get publicly caned just for chewing gum. Whether that’s worth it just to live surrounded by a country of brainboxes is another matter entirely.


Global IQ Ranking –

WIF Lists

Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.”

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Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.” continued below tribute to Leonard.

 We love you Spock, RIP.

Leonard Nimoy, ‘Star Trek’s’ Spock, Dies at 83


 

FEBRUARY 27, 2015 | 09:21AM PT

Leonard Nimoy lived up to his longtime catchphrase: Live long and prosper. Having achieved success in many arenas during his lifetime, the actor, director, writer and photographer died Friday in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Most widely known for his performance as half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock on the classic sci-fi TV show “Star Trek” and its many subsequent film and videogame incarnations, Nimoy was also a successful director, helming “Star Trek” pics “The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home,” as well as non-“Star Trek” fare; an accomplished stage actor; a published writer and poet; and a noted photographer. He also dabbled in singing and songwriting.

But despite his varied talents, Nimoy will forever be linked with the logical Mr. Spock. Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on NBC in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

After the series wrapped, Nimoy joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible” as master-of-disguise Paris, leaving after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow,” with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna, and the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland and Jeffrey Goldblum. The actor also made a series of TV films throughout the ’70s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda.”

Also during the ’70s, Nimoy narrated the docuseries “In Search of …,” which investigated unexplained events, paranormal phenomena and urban legends long before these matters become the common fodder of pop culture.

Then the siren call of “Star Trek” beckoned again and Nimoy returned to the role of Mr. Spock for 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The film opened well at the box office, and though not well reviewed, it did spawn enough interest for Paramount to greenlight sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy was in all of them, albeit briefly in “The Search for Spock.”

Nimoy also appeared as Spock in a couple of episodes of series spinoff “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” several videogames based on the property and the J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Trek” reboot, playing Spock Prime to Zachary Quinto’s young Spock in the 2009 film and its sequel.

After directing several TV projects, including episodes of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” and his “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner’s “T.J. Hooker,” Nimoy signed on to helm “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” Variety said the production was “helmed with a sure hand by debuting feature director Leonard Nimoy, who also appears briefly but to good effect as the indestructible half-human/half-Vulcan Spock.” The review went on to say “Nimoy’s direction is people-intensive with less of the zap and effects diversions of competing films.” He went on to direct the next pic in the series, “The Voyage Home,” as well as four other feature films, including the 1987 comedy “3 Men and a Baby,” starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg, and the Diane Keaton-Liam Neeson drama “The Good Mother” (1988).

Nimoy also had a long history of stage work. He appeared on Broadway in “Full Circle,” directed by Otto Preminger, in 1973, and as a replacement for Anthony Hopkins as Martin Dysart in “Equus.” In 1996 he directed “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” on the Rialto. But he also starred in many regional productions — he played Stanley Kowalski in a 1955 Atlanta production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” — and starred in several touring shows: He was Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1971, Sherlock Holmes in a play of that name in 1976 and Vincent Van Gogh in solo show “Vincent: The Story of a Hero,” which he also produced and directed, in 1978-80.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston; his parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, and the language at home was Yiddish. He developed an interest in acting at an early age, first appearing on stage at 8 in a production of “Hansel and Gretel.” He took drama classes for a while at Boston College, and after leaving home to pursue his career in Hollywood, he landed his first lead role in the 1952 film “Kid Monk Baroni.”

After serving in the Army from 1953-55, he appeared in small roles in a few films, but mostly found roles in TV series, appearing in episodes of “Dragnet,” “Sea Hunt,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Virginian,” “Get Smart” and “Gunsmoke” before rising to fame in “Star Trek.”

Most recently, he recurred on Fox sci-fi series “Fringe” as maniacal, genius professor William Bell, and he voiced Spock for a 2012 episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

In addition to his work on “In Search Of…,” Nimoy lent his resonant, intelligent voice to a variety of films, TV projects and documentaries, including A&E docu series “Ancient Mysteries.”

He wrote two autobiographies. The first, published in 1977, was called “I Am Not Spock.” Though “Star Trek” fans thought he was distancing himself from the beloved character, Nimoy had always enjoyed playing the character but was also using the book to talk about other aspects of his life. The book features dialogue between the thesp and Spock and touched on a self-proclaimed identity crisis because he became so associated with his character. In his second autobiography, “I Am Spock” (1995), he embraced that association.

He also wrote several books of poetry, including “You and I,” “Warmed by Love” and “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life.” Some of his poetry books featured his photos.

Nimoy studied photography at UCLA in the 1970s, and his work as a photographer was shown in museums, art galleries and in published works, including “The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy” and “Shekhina.” He was active in philanthropy and endowed Hollywood’s Temple Israel’s Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center.

In music, Nimoy released five albums on Dot Records, the first of which was space-based music and spoken word, “Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”

Nimoy was married twice, first to actress Sandra Zober. They divorced in 1987. In 1988, he married Susan Bay, an actress who is the cousin of helmer Michael Bay.

He is survived by his wife; two children from his first marriage, son Adam, a director, and daughter Julie; a stepson; and several grandchildren.

“Live long and prosper.”

Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.”

Leave a comment

Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.” continued below.

 We love you Spock, RIP.

Leonard Nimoy, ‘Star Trek’s’ Spock, Dies at 83

FEBRUARY 27, 2015 | 09:21AM PT

Leonard Nimoy lived up to his longtime catchphrase: Live long and prosper. Having achieved success in many arenas during his lifetime, the actor, director, writer and photographer died Friday in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Most widely known for his performance as half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock on the classic sci-fi TV show “Star Trek” and its many subsequent film and videogame incarnations, Nimoy was also a successful director, helming “Star Trek” pics “The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home,” as well as non-“Star Trek” fare; an accomplished stage actor; a published writer and poet; and a noted photographer. He also dabbled in singing and songwriting.

But despite his varied talents, Nimoy will forever be linked with the logical Mr. Spock. Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on NBC in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

After the series wrapped, Nimoy joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible” as master-of-disguise Paris, leaving after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow,” with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna, and the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland and Jeffrey Goldblum. The actor also made a series of TV films throughout the ’70s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda.”

Also during the ’70s, Nimoy narrated the docuseries “In Search of …,” which investigated unexplained events, paranormal phenomena and urban legends long before these matters become the common fodder of pop culture.

Then the siren call of “Star Trek” beckoned again and Nimoy returned to the role of Mr. Spock for 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The film opened well at the box office, and though not well reviewed, it did spawn enough interest for Paramount to greenlight sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy was in all of them, albeit briefly in “The Search for Spock.”

Nimoy also appeared as Spock in a couple of episodes of series spinoff “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” several videogames based on the property and the J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Trek” reboot, playing Spock Prime to Zachary Quinto’s young Spock in the 2009 film and its sequel.

After directing several TV projects, including episodes of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” and his “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner’s “T.J. Hooker,” Nimoy signed on to helm “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” Variety said the production was “helmed with a sure hand by debuting feature director Leonard Nimoy, who also appears briefly but to good effect as the indestructible half-human/half-Vulcan Spock.” The review went on to say “Nimoy’s direction is people-intensive with less of the zap and effects diversions of competing films.” He went on to direct the next pic in the series, “The Voyage Home,” as well as four other feature films, including the 1987 comedy “3 Men and a Baby,” starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg, and the Diane Keaton-Liam Neeson drama “The Good Mother” (1988).

Nimoy also had a long history of stage work. He appeared on Broadway in “Full Circle,” directed by Otto Preminger, in 1973, and as a replacement for Anthony Hopkins as Martin Dysart in “Equus.” In 1996 he directed “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” on the Rialto. But he also starred in many regional productions — he played Stanley Kowalski in a 1955 Atlanta production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” — and starred in several touring shows: He was Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1971, Sherlock Holmes in a play of that name in 1976 and Vincent Van Gogh in solo show “Vincent: The Story of a Hero,” which he also produced and directed, in 1978-80.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston; his parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, and the language at home was Yiddish. He developed an interest in acting at an early age, first appearing on stage at 8 in a production of “Hansel and Gretel.” He took drama classes for a while at Boston College, and after leaving home to pursue his career in Hollywood, he landed his first lead role in the 1952 film “Kid Monk Baroni.”

After serving in the Army from 1953-55, he appeared in small roles in a few films, but mostly found roles in TV series, appearing in episodes of “Dragnet,” “Sea Hunt,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Virginian,” “Get Smart” and “Gunsmoke” before rising to fame in “Star Trek.”

Most recently, he recurred on Fox sci-fi series “Fringe” as maniacal, genius professor William Bell, and he voiced Spock for a 2012 episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

In addition to his work on “In Search Of…,” Nimoy lent his resonant, intelligent voice to a variety of films, TV projects and documentaries, including A&E docu series “Ancient Mysteries.”

He wrote two autobiographies. The first, published in 1977, was called “I Am Not Spock.” Though “Star Trek” fans thought he was distancing himself from the beloved character, Nimoy had always enjoyed playing the character but was also using the book to talk about other aspects of his life. The book features dialogue between the thesp and Spock and touched on a self-proclaimed identity crisis because he became so associated with his character. In his second autobiography, “I Am Spock” (1995), he embraced that association.

He also wrote several books of poetry, including “You and I,” “Warmed by Love” and “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life.” Some of his poetry books featured his photos.

Nimoy studied photography at UCLA in the 1970s, and his work as a photographer was shown in museums, art galleries and in published works, including “The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy” and “Shekhina.” He was active in philanthropy and endowed Hollywood’s Temple Israel’s Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center.

In music, Nimoy released five albums on Dot Records, the first of which was space-based music and spoken word, “Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”

Nimoy was married twice, first to actress Sandra Zober. They divorced in 1987. In 1988, he married Susan Bay, an actress who is the cousin of helmer Michael Bay.

He is survived by his wife; two children from his first marriage, son Adam, a director, and daughter Julie; a stepson; and several grandchildren.

“Live long and prosper.”
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