18 countries that are #1 in an unexpected way

Who are the tallest nation? Who sends you all that spam? Who grows the most potatoes?!
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IRELAND IS GREAT at a lot of things, but we can’t be the best at everything.

The top international rankings round up the best and worst achievers in a range of magical feats–kinda like the Guinness World Records for nations.

Here are a few highlights.

Starting with ourselves–according to the Economist Quality-of-life index, Ireland had the best as of 2005, scoring 8.333 out of 10. That’s great and all, but can we see the data? Maybe it has something to do with our achievement of most Eurovision wins (7 between 1956 and 2012).

Argentina is the country with the highest consumption of beef per capita, gnawing their way through 65.2 kilograms a year. They also have bragging rights for the best performance at the Paddle Tennis World Championships (both men and women) with a combined 14 gold medals. Possibly something to do with all that protein?

Sick of emails offering you ways to enlarge certain appendages? Blame Brazil, as they are the largest electronic spam producers, bombarding the internet with 7.7 trillion messages per year.

Think learning your ABCs was hard, even with Letter Land? Spare a thought for Cambodia‘s kids, home to the longest alphabet in the world, with 33 consonants, 23 vowels (that make 47 sounds) and 12 independent vowels.

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In stereotypical outcomes, Canada is the largest producer of maple syrup, with an output of 14,890 cubic metres a year. That’s a lot of pancakes.

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Sticking with stereotypes, China is predictably the largest rice producer. Not only that, but garlic, peanuts, cabbage–basically any fruit or veg you can imagine. Even our beloved potato.

Oh those smug Danes. Denmark is ranked as having the highest satisfaction with life according to Satisfaction with Life Index–their score is 273.4. So now.

Ireland isn’t too far behind, in at 11th with a score of 253.33.

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Lads, if you’re looking to be a big fish in a small pond, get yourself to Estonia. The country is home to the highest prevalence of females in population, with 0.84 males per female.

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While you may think you drink enough coffee to fuel an entire country, Finland have you beaten to the highest consumption of coffee per capita, drinking down 11.4 kg of the stuff a year. They possibly have the milkiest coffee too, with the highest consumption of milk per capita also attributed to the Finnish. What about tea? Paraguay have the highest consumption of 11kg a year.

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While their vice is pretty unhealthy, it’s not as bad as Greece‘s. The Greeks have the highest consumption of tobacco per capita, puffing an average of 4,313 cigarettes per year.

Luxembourg are getting in on the action, with the highest consumption of wine per capita at 8.16 liters a year.

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India is the proud home to the most tigers, with a headcount of 3750. Abandon, abandon.

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Thought our summer was uncomfortable? Try being in Libya when the country achieved the hottest air temperature ever recorded, 57.8 °C. Schweatin’.

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Here’s one that might take a minute. Lesotho boasts the highest lowest point among all countries (it’s 1400 m)… Oooh.

How about Uruguay having the most southernmost northernmost point on land (30°05′S)?

This one’s a bit simpler: Netherlands is home to the tallest people, both men (6ft) and women (5.7 ft). How do us Irish measure up? Men average 5.10 ft while women come in at 5.4 ft. End the leprechaun jokes, end them now.

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Ah, the United States. They’re home to the most people in prison (2,310,984) as well as the most billionaires (359). There’s a contrast.

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The most attractive ladies in the world seem to come from Venezuela. They have the best performance at the Big Four Beauty Pageants (Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, Miss Earth) claiming a winner 19 times. Lovely girls, lovely girls.

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