Infographics: Happiness Index Around the World

happiness around the world

 

A data visualization beautifully compiled by movehub.com, which specializes in assisting people moving overseas. And here are the findings:

1. Latin America may be plagued with violence (especially drug wars, gun battles between gangsters and security forces, and many nefarious things else to describe), but surprisingly, majority of the people are living a happy life (exception for Bolivia and Uruguay, which, in recent years, have pretty low rates of violent crime).

2. US and Russia score very low on happiness. US is still dealing with some remaining effects of the 2008 depression, and is now getting torn in reignited racial division, while Russia has seen its economy significantly crumble due to sanctions imposed by Western countries in regard to the Ukrainian crisis which is still ongoing (and also high depression rates with a rapid decline in population).

3. The Latin American model can’t always be replicated in Africa. Most of the African countries, with the exception of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Madagascar, are still struggling to cope with sporadic violence, ethnic riots, and sectarian crises dividing the nations, despite high economic growth in recent years (Ebola is not as sporadic as those above)

4. Surprisingly, Syrians and Iraqis remain ‘happy’. I’m not sure what the researchers in Movehub do that define their happiness as real ‘happy’, but what I can assume from this point is that in wars, everyone suffers, and everyone does the very hard to become ‘happy’. Perhaps that can be an explanation.

5. Where are South Korea and Taiwan? The results are somewhat unclear, but in the case of Korea, it is very well-known that this country has the world’s highest suicide rate, given the country’s somewhat unforgiving competition in most aspects. Singapore, another Asian tiger, also faces the same thing.

What else can you observe from the visualization? Share your thoughts.

 

Source: Business Insider (Singapore)

 

Infographics: countries with the most self-made billionaires

self-made billionaire

 

 

Note: the contradiction is that some of these countries, when surveyed by The Economist, also score disproportionately high in terms of crony capitalism index, particularly for Hong Kong and Singapore. Still, you can barely generalize all the data as your final conclusion.

Read the full report in Business Insider.

China’s fearsome future: ghost cities

ghost city

 

Spanning over three decades since its limited market reforms in 1978, China has seen a dramatic rise in GDP growth unprecedented in any scales before. It was still one of the world’s poorest when it decided to open up, with GDP per capita little more than 100 US$; as of today, it is, having defeated other ages-old industrial powers like Japan, Germany, France, and United Kingdom, the world’s second largest economy, with GDP values now gradually threatening those of the United States.

Okay, calm down, Washington, Beijing’s not gonna reclaim your throne that soon.

Since 2012, though, China has already experienced a slowing down, and, apparently, many of the by-products resulting from its overheating growth are now being felt across the whole country. Overproduction, property bubble, and environmental destruction, these are only a handful of negative consequences the country’s over-rapid growth has caused.

And property bubble, in particular, despite the country’s increasingly growing middle-class strata, has become a tremendous headache for the central government themselves. For this reason, the costs being paid are highly painful: ghost cities are mushrooming elsewhere. Imagine scenes of skyscrapers, shopping malls, office towers, and government buildings, and there are barely any persons living inside. They are plain dead concrete structures, with a complete void surrounding everything.

Ghost cities, in short, are merely tips of a huge iceberg, of something deeply going wrong with Chinese economy.

 

See the full photographs in Business Insider, and be ready to get yourself surprised.

 

Bonus: you can view GIFs here to see how spectacularly Chinese cities have grown in the last three decades (although some of them end up completely empty), still in Business Insider.

Even more bonus: Chinese developers, indeed, once built a huge metropolis in Angola, one of the country’s closest African oil trading partners, only to find out the whole city was completely uninhabited. See the pictures in the same website here.

The changing face of Kabul

kabul

 

What comes to your mind whenever the word ‘Kabul’ appears? If you know enough about the ongoing war in Afghanistan, your perception – as having been molded by mainstream media – most likely suggests that you end up associating that country’s capital with continuous gun battles, suicide bombs, and a constant battlefield. Of refugees sprawling across the city like mushroom, of one where lawlessness is the fundamental tenet of life, and of one in unceasing strains of fear, uncertainties, and savagery.

While on some aspects, these remain the misfortunes Kabul dwellers still have to face, it turns out that the capital is, by today’s standards, no more an intense battlefield. What you might imagine of a land of mines, of shattered buildings, of brutality beyond human morale is now nearly non-existent within a short span of time. The Kabul you – and I – perceive was the Kabul we saw one decade ago; today, thanks to Business Insider, it is now a booming metropolis, one comparable to any you can see in emerging markets, or developing countries.

Yes, some things remain unsolved, though: corruption remains endemic, battles occasionally take place, administration overhauled by numerous technical problems, and poverty, and all social problems associated with it, is heartfelt nearly everywhere. But that doesn’t mean hope will soon be gone from this city, which now enjoys a rapid post-war economic transformation; maintain the optimism, and work hard to solve all the problems, and it is not impossible that sometime later, Kabul will flourish again.

View the complete photographs of this changing city in Business Insider.

I Explored China’s Biggest Ghost City, And It’s Even Crazier Than People Think

ordos

 

 

Darmon Richter, a freelance writer who blogs about the world’s bizarre places in his The Bohemian Blog, paid a visit to one of China’s landmark ‘ghost cities’, Ordos, which, as analysts are concerned regarding the country’s unprecedented rise in debt levels, will become the dominant face of China’s urban future.

Read the full article, and look at its dazzling photographs, in Business Insider.

 

Excerpt:

 

Inner Mongolia is an interesting place. Once the birthplace of Genghis Khan, only 79% of the population belong to China’s predominant Han ethnicity, while 17% are of Mongol origin. It was once a part of Greater Mongolia, though consecutive Chinese empires and the latter-day rise of the Communist Party saw Inner Mongolia moulded and cast, time and time again, as a subservient province of China.

Interestingly however, Inner Mongolia is one of the only places in the world that still uses traditional Mongolian script. While Mongolia itself adopted Cyrillic during the communist years, perhaps the Mongols of China felt they had more to prove; clinging fiercely on to their heritage, and with it, the ancient characters that still now appear on street signs across Ordos and Kangbashi.

When a conglomeration of property developers began planning a new urban centre just outside the existing city of Ordos in 2003, the Kangbashi New Area, Ordos seemed set to become the futuristic jewel in China’s crown of city states.

However, nobody quite anticipated how quickly this new development would fall flat on its face. Deadlines weren’t met, loans went unpaid, and investors pulled out before projects could be completed – leaving entire streets of unfinished buildings. The ridiculous cost of accommodation in this dream city put off many would-be inhabitants, so that even fully completed apartments became difficult to sell.

Infographic: Ukrainian invasion – the sum of all fears

russian invasion

 

 

Will Russia invade Ukraine over Crimea’s matter? That remains a critical concern in today’s international relations.

First thing Kremlin has to consider though: it is technically, cost-wise, impossible for Moscow to launch a huge military offensive on a country populated by more than 45 million people, but that doesn’t also mean improbable as well. Russia had gotten with similar conflict with Georgia in 2008, but the government would be considerate enough to assume that Ukraine is no Georgia.

Well, there’s something that may inhibit Putin’s plan, at the very least: as much as 60 billion US$ has evaporated from Russian stock indices in a single day. A goddamn single day. He must have had enough inner fear himself.

But one analyst, in a counter-argument, and with his similarly risky data analysis, dares himself to invest in Moscow’s stock market. Read the full article in Quartz. Perhaps it’s also the same consideration that comes along Putin’s mind. Think again.

 

Infographics’ source: Business Insider

The boom and bust of monster porn literature

monster-porn-cover03

 

As conventional publishing industry is regarded gradually obsolescent, a great deal of authors have resorted to self-publishing measures, particularly e-books, now in a rate so unprecedented since its initial negative outlook that, given the very little interest readers put in, it would be fated to doom. With the availability of Internet, smartphones, or even computer tablets, the exponential growth of this industry is obviously inevitable.

Hypnotized with its prospects of bringing authors mounts of cash pretty fast, though, it generates a setback for the industry itself: it is critically lackadaisical of quality control. Oftentimes with no reliable editors to examine the drafts back, it can spawn countless low-grade works online, with poor plots, grammatical errors, and improper use of language.

Monster erotica, or widely known as monster porn – that literary prose where young girls, mostly sexy and, expletive to say, bitchy, engage in various abnormal sexual positions with mythological creatures, oftentimes ugly –  is one of the by-products.

Read the full article on Business Insider to know more what the hype this brand-new genre is all about.

 

Excerpt:

 

In October, the online news site The Kernel published an incendiary story called “An Epidemic of Filth,” claiming that online bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WHSmith, and others were selling self-published ebooks that featured “rape fantasies, incest porn and graphic descriptions of bestiality and child abuse.” The story ignited a media firestorm in the U.K, with major news outlets like the Daily Mail, The Guardian, and the BBC reporting on the “sales of sick ebooks.” Some U.K.-based ebook retailers responded with public apologies, and WHSmith went so far as to shut down its website altogether, releasing a statement saying that it would reopen “once all self-published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available.” The response in the U.S. was somewhat more muted, but most of the retailers mentioned in the piece, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, began quietly pulling hundreds of titles from their online shelves — an event Kobo COO Michael Tamblyn referred to last month as “erotica-gate.” 

The crackdown was meant to target the obvious offenders — ebooks like “Daddy’s Birthday Gang Bang” and others that fetishized incest and rape — but in their fervor to course-correct, the online bookstores started deleting, according to The Digital Reader blog, “not just the questionable erotica but [also]…. any e-books that might even hint at violating cultural norms.” That included crypto-porn. Wade’s sexy Sasquatch, not unlike the elusive hominid beast of legend, vanished without a trace.