Researchers at Oxford University have bestowed upon Canada the dubious distinction of being the most boring of the six countries that comprise what’s known as the Anglosphere: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States.
“We think it’s important that this matter be settled once and for all,” says lead researcher Nigel Clappe, lecturer in political science and demographics at Oxford University. “Up until this point, people have been identifying the most boring country based on nothing more than their own gut feeling. And that wasn’t helping anybody.”
To achieve its findings, the researchers measured the inverse relationship each of the six country’s have with what the researchers call “markers for excitement.” The country with the lowest mean score on the six markers is deemed to be the most boring.
The six markers are 1) ex-felons in the national legislature, 2) prevalence and variety of sex scandals, 3) the percentage of the population that has auditioned for a reality T.V. show, 4) the likelihood of fights at major sporting events, 5) the unhealthiness of the cuisine, and 6) the number of smoking-hot women.
“In Canada, we’re proud to be first in many important areas, including the quality of our schools, the level of innovation of our world-class companies, and, not least, the sprit of the Canadian people,” says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement. “If we’re also the most boring country in the Anglosphere, then that’s another distinction we accept proudly.”
Clappe says Canada wasn’t a shoe-in for the recognition, because in the last several months the country uncharacteristically has been on the cutting edge of excitement, thanks in large part to the antics of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. “With his drunken stupors, the crack cocaine incident, and his boorish and loutish behavior, he almost single-handedly threatened to knock his country out of contention,” said Clappe. “But the country has such a deep well of boringness that even his craziness wasn’t enough to change the numbers.”
Identifying the least boring country was also a challenge, with England and the United States competing fiercely for the title. England scored higher than any other country by far on fights at major sporting events and it also excelled at the unhealthiness of its cuisine, but the United States was too far ahead on the ex-felons in Congress, the sex scandals, and the people queuing up to be in reality shows.
Australia was also quite competitive with England and the United States for excitement, but mainly because it has such a large number of smoking-hot women. “It’s just hard to be boring when everywhere you look there are awesome women who aren’t afraid to show what they got,” said Clappe.
New Zealand was never a contender for most boring because it’s main national government building looks like a beehive, and it’s simply impossible for boring people to design something like that, let alone govern from within the walls of such a building. “Plus, former prime minister Helen Clark was quite the outspoken rabble-rouser.”
And Ireland, with its leprechauns, housing bubble and bust, and its people’s capacity for drinking, also could never be considered boring.
Clappe says he doesn’t see the need to return to this research any time soon, because it’s unlikely the dynamics of the countries are going to change much in the next several years. So, Canada could be stuck with the “most boring” distinction for quite some time. “In any case,” says Clappe, “I’ll be preoccupied with my new research in Australia, which aims to measure the level of smoking-hotness of Australian women.”
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OTTOWA—Tired of living in the shadow of its much larger southern neighbor, Canada yesterday officially changed its name to Not USA and unveiled a new flag that government officials say is designed to tell the world that Canada is its own country and not simply a northern outpost of the United States. “Not USA has a long and proud history,” says Stephen Harper, prime minister of Not USA, formerly known as Canada. “With our new name and flag, we’re celebrating our unique place in the community of nations. People forget that Not USA defeated the United States in several key battles in the War of 1812 and beat the U.S. in the 2010 winter olympics hockey championship. What’s more, Not USA is the largest country on earth by land mass, has more ice than any other country, and is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup and moose souvenirs.” More.
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1. Violent crime
2. Illegal drug use
3. Prescription drug abuse
4. Teenage pregnancies
6. Preventable diseases
7. Obsolete infrastructure
8. Declining academic performance
9. Short-term corporate thinking
10. Religious fundamentalism
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Calling clowns creepy and not funny, lawmkers in both houses of Congress today passed legislation outlawing entertainers who wear makeup, big red noses, and floppy shoes in a belief that people find them funny. “I know there’s a tradition, dating back to the days of court jesters, of entertaining audiences by wearing costumes and makeup in goofy ways while engaging in antics, often with balls or bicycles,” says Rep. Snowden Baxter (R-Texas), principal sponsor the legislation. “But not all traditions are destined to survive in perpetuity, and clowns are one of those traditions whose time should come to an end.” Baxter pointed to overwhelming support from members of both parties for his bill and cited it as an example of the kinds of things Congress can get done when the need is clear and compelling. More.
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The English Language Institute removed “utilize” and “cleanse” from the English language today as part of the organization’s long-term plan to trim the language of unnecessary words. The words were recommended for removal by the organization’s Word Removal Committee last month and approved for elimination by the board of directors today. “We grow attached to words, so it’s never easy to say goodbye to them, even when they’re unnecessary,” says Nigel Porter, president of the English Language Institute. “But for the long-term good of our language, today’s actions were necessary and long-overdue.” According to the Institute, “utilize” has long been used as a complex variant of “use,” but it was found to have no meaning beyond “use.” More.