October 2009

Swine Flu Vs. Past Flu Pandemics

The first round of swine flu in spring 2009 was relatively mild. However, while the virus is currently no deadlier than seasonal flu, the large number of unknown factors has governments and scientists working to prevent a worse-case scenario: a repeat of the infamous "Spanish Flu" pandemic of 1918/19. As governments around the world race to deploy the swine flu vaccine, we wonder: How many people died worldwide during the 1918/19 influenza pandemic?

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Democracy’s Number Three in 2050

With nearly 1.2 billion people, India is the world's largest democracy. With about a quarter of that population level, the United States ranks second in size among the world’s democracies. From there, however, the top ranks become less evident. With population changes promising to shape the state of democracy in the coming decades, we wonder: What country will be the world's third-largest democracy in 2050?

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The Price of War

In October 2009, the war in Afghanistan entered its ninth year. While the conflict initially appeared to be an easy victory against the Taliban, it has in recent years turned into a geo-strategic conundrum for the United States and its NATO allies. As President Obama considers committing more U.S. troops to the country, we wonder: In total, how much has the United States spent on the war in Afghanistan?

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The G-20’s Fast Growers

As the world continues to cope with the aftermath of the financial crisis, China and India are the two fastest-growing countries among the G-20, with expected 2009 GDP growth of +8.5% and +5.4%, respectively. We wonder: Which country has the G-20's third-fastest-growing economy?

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What the World Emits

As the world continues to debate global warming, one big question is how to accommodate the increased growth of developing economies — especially India and China. This raises an interesting question: How many metric tons of greenhouse gases are emitted per person globally each year?

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