5 Facts That Will Change How You Picture Famous Places
You don't need a degree in foreignology to know a few things about the world, just a grounding in good old-fashioned stereotypes: The U.S. is a hotbed of technical ignorance, India is a hotbed for tech jobs, Japan has a hot, sentient bed that gives "tech jobs" to all interested parties ...
But just like all those after-school specials tried to warn you, stereotyping isn't always the best practice, and some of our most common conceptions of famous places are due for a serious tweak.
India's Engineers Have to Be Outsourced
When they were handing out national stereotypes, India lucked out and got "good with technology," while other countries had to settle for "raging drunks" or "most polite." Every other Indian on TV is some kind of scientist: Raj on The Big Bang Theory, Mohinder on Heroes ... even Apu from The Simpsons, a convenience store clerk, has a doctorate in computer science.
The numbers back it up, too, with India producing twice as many engineers, scientists, and IT specialists as America every year. That's all true: We're not disputing those facts. But the hidden implication is that India's science programs are unrivaled genius mills, and that may have ... slightly less basis in reality. An Indian firm called Aspiring Minds recently stepped up to test the veracity of the Super-Science Indian myth, and according to their results, a third of the tested engineers lacked the most basic mathematical skills needed in everyday life. An incredible 42 percent couldn't multiply or divide simple decimal numbers.
"6.2 can go into 31 as many times as it wants. This is a free country."
The study concluded that only 4.2 percent of the engineering graduates were fit to work at a software company, with 17.8 percent having some chance to be picked up by a general IT services firm. The low quality of India's specialists and their additional lack of English-comprehension skills have reportedly gotten so bad that some large Indian tech firms are hiring liberal arts majors and training them from scratch. That's right: The engineers' knowledge is so tainted that it's better to start with a blank slate, which is probably the nicest thing a tech company will ever call a liberal arts major. Even more ironically, other Indian tech companies have to outsource jobs abroad because they can't find qualified employees at home. When the Indian call center firm 24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd. needed to hire 3,000 new IT employees in 2011, they were so desperate for qualified candidates that they had to expand their search to the Philippines and Nicaragua.
So that woman in Bangalore pretending to be in Wisconsin might really be a woman
from Nicaragua pretending to be a woman in Bangalore pretending to be in Wisconsin.
So who's to blame for this situation? The rest of the world, for foisting our unrealistic stereotypes on an entire country? Or those stupid Indians, for being so stupid? Neither! The Indian tech boom was a totally legitimate swing toward science, and there still are a lot of incredibly talented and brilliant scientists coming from Indian universities. It's just that, as India becomes increasingly known for its skilled engineers, the demand is outpacing the supply, and schools are growing desperate enough to start fudging the numbers. Low teacher salaries, out-of-date programs, and rampant cheating are all fairly common, resulting in poorer education standards overall. And all this in order to keep pumping out cheap nerds for the rest of the world to abuse over the telephone.
So we guess the lesson here is never succeed at anything, because people will expect waaay too much of you down the line. That's a credo we at Cracked have been living by for years.
Japan Doesn't Like Sex Enough
Japan is, to put it simply, a sexually complicated nation. We know that Japan likes to censor all of its porn, but on the other hand, holy damn, have you seen Japan's porn? So even though the country might not exactly be ground zero for God's Insanity Bomb like everyone (especially us!) makes it out to be, we can at least say for sure that they do like having sex ...
In real life, though? Not so much.
Tragically, scenes like this are forever condemned to the realm of fantasy.
In a recent study, nearly 40 percent of the polled Japanese singles and about 35 percent of married couples aged 16 to 49 admitted to not having sex for over a month, with many expected to continue their dry spell for up to a year. That's roughly 31 million sexually unsatisfied people residing in the country we know best for its used-panty vending machines.
But that's just one study. Globally speaking, Japan probably likes to get its tentacled cartoon freak on as much as any other place, right? Not according to Durex, whose 2005 global sex survey put Japan dead last on a list of countries sorted by the frequency of their yearly boner interactions, with an average score of 45 sexings annually.
"Six more days of this, and we'll be finished with the foreplay."
If 45 times a year seems like a lot -- that's, like, 46 times more than we average (yes, apparently you can have a negative score) -- you should know that the next country up in Durex's survey, Singapore, scored 73 junk-slam sessions annually. (Greece came out on top with 138 yearly kebabings, and the U.S. placed 11th, with 113).
It'd be easy to blame this entire problem on the hectic Japanese work life, and that surely plays some part, but it might also be down to a lot of Japanese simply not giving a fuck -- literally. In a 2008 Chicago study, roughly 17 percent of Japanese men and 10 percent of Japanese women reported experiencing sexual satisfaction in bed. Few considered sex to be important to their lives at all. This has put Japan behind such renowned sex-crazed porn empires as China, Algeria, and Egypt. And because we know you're curious: Australia placed highest, with about 65 percent satisfaction. (G'day, mates! Doing anything later?).
"Sex feels even better when you've dodged poisonous animal death a dozen times before dinner."
The United States Has Too Many Scientists
We own as many bald eagles as the next guy, but even we have to admit: America is firmly holding down last place in the Great Science Race. Bill Gates said as much in 2008 when he testified in front of Congress about "a critical shortfall of skilled scientists" in the West. It sounds true, so it must be true, right?
This man wouldn't lie to us about anything but the stability of a Windows release.
Nope! Gates probably pulled those figures from Bing, because it turns out that America produces so many high-quality scientists each year, we don't know what to do with most of them.
About 18,000 American citizens graduate with a science-related Ph.D. each year, which, it turns out, is more than we can actually use. As in any other country, there's a limited number of research facilities available to the top American eggheads, allowing only 25 percent of them an opportunity to continue their academic research. Furthermore, less than 15 percent will end up doing any significant scientific work -- the rest will probably end up studying the tensile strength of Japanese boners.
"Dear Lord, 4.5 Holmses."
So no, there's no shortage of keen scientific minds in America. We just can't build enough scientist playpens to hold them all, even though the U.S. still has more research institutes than anywhere else in the world. But it's not just colleges. Everyone's favorite whipping boy, the American education system, is also doing way better than you might think. Based on the K-12 Trends in International Math and Science Study tests, the U.S. has more high-scoring kids than any other country, rivaling Japan and Korea in math, of all subjects. So the U.S. has a whole closet full of smarty pants, thank you. It's just that we have a lot of dumb people, too, and our dumb people are really, really loud.
"You may have a Ph.D., but I have a job."
Dubai Doesn't Have a Universal Sewage System
Imagine an adult version of Disneyland designed by a drunken billionaire with some serious penile insecurities, and chances are you will end up with something closely resembling the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. In the span of just a few decades, Dubai has gone from a depressing scrap of desert into a burgeoning super economy, today home to the tallest structure in the world and freaking man-made custom islands.
Enjoy looking at 'em, folks. Your gas money provided the funding.
Also, they've got poop roads. Roads full of poop. Because there's no centralized sewer system in the city of the future that can handle their shit.
Now, don't get us wrong: There are municipal services in Dubai. It's just a matter of not everyone being hooked up to them. And loads of places -- like, say, Southeast Asia -- suffer from a similar problem with limited waste-chute infrastructure. Then again, none of those other places are building sci-fi luxury underwater hotels.
Plumbing is so last century -- just poop right out the window!
Burj Khalifa, the aforementioned tallest structure in the world, is still not connected to Dubai's central sewage system, relying instead on tankers to transport its guests' waste to one of the city's treatment facilities. Let us repeat: The steel-and-glass techno-behemoth that Tom Cruise scaled in the fourth Mission: Impossible film has a giant poop room that slowly fills up with all the building's crap until a crap truck comes by and drives it all away.
Admittedly, it's not exactly a "problem" nowadays, because even though Dubai still relies heavily on a convoy of portable cisterns to transport its waste, it has enough sewage treatment facilities to handle even a citywide Fourth Meal. But as recently as 2009, their Poop Truck lines stretched for miles every day, where drivers could expect to wait up to 24 hours in line. Yes, 24 hours! That's roughly 24 more hours than anybody wants to be stuck in a line of idling Poop Trucks.
You'd pretty much have to fill the whole passenger seat with air fresheners to make this tolerable.
Speaking of 2009, that's also when the problem of impatient drivers dumping their waste into swimming areas around the Persian Gulf supposedly stopped, which is definitely a good thing -- but can also be phrased as "The problem of people throwing shit into Dubai waters only stopped in 2009."
There's a leak in that pipe, and it's some poor bastard's job to clean up after it.
Mecca Is Turning into Las Vegas
Mecca is the holy site in Saudi Arabia where the prophet Muhammad was born, and where every follower of Islam must make a pilgrimage to at least once in their lives. With a place so holy and so important to an entire culture, we're sure it is carefully preserved and kept an austere and solemn center of prayer that in no way resembles a giant rave in Las Vegas ...
And once again, we are incredibly, incredibly wrong. Man, we should really start looking one paragraph down before making these assumptions.
So basically, Vegas with non-alcoholic beverages and less scantily clad strippers.
Much like Vegas, in recent years Mecca has become a densely populated desert town filled with luxury accommodations like the Mecca Clock Royal Tower Hotel, high-end brand shops, and super-malls that display all the tactful, understated grace of a dubstep orgy. Which is all fine and dandy if the entire point of your existence is satisfying a dark rainbow of human vices like Las Vegas does, but less so if you're supposedly a sacred site for one of the biggest religions on the planet.
There's nothing wrong with selling coffee near a holy site, but it could at least be coffee that doesn't smell like burnt cat piss.
This isn't even about the general gaudification of Mecca, or the fact that roughly 90 percent of its pilgrims could never afford to visit any of the high-end shops and hotels surrounding the city's Great Mosque. The problem is that these new luxury add-ons to Mecca often come at the cost of important historical sites.
The Islamic Heritage Foundation claims that as many as 500 historical sites might have already been dynamited due to Mecca's continuous development, and many more are under threat, including the mountain where Mohammed received his Quran revelations and the house he was born in. That's like discovering the actual manger where Jesus was born and then tearing it down to put up a kiosk that sells "Jesus Is My Bro" T-shirts and giant foam "First Commandment Is No. 1" fingers.
For more you're just plain wrong about, check out The 5 Most Statistically Full of Shit National Stereotypes and 6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Computer Programs With Hidden (Obnoxious) Personalities.
And stop by LinkSTORM so we can continue with your reeducation.
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