Monday, February 11, 2008

Wikipedia fact thread of the day

Not only is Bob Hawke the former Prime Minister of Australia, but he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest consumption of beer, downing 1.7 liters of suds in 11 seconds while attending the University of Oxford in 1953. There is a plaque and everything (pictured.)

In his memoirs Hawkes suggested this feat more than anything else was responsible for his political success, because it endeared him to Australia's large block of beer drinking voters. Australia ranks fourth in the world for annual consumption of beer, but trails international leader the Czech Republic by almost 50 percent.

When Bob Hawke left office in 1991 there was no Czech Republic. The Central European nation was born on January 1, 1993, after Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia is often called the "velvet divorce." Good feelings aside, the long-term prospects for both new countries are shaky at best as the Czech Republic has the 6th lowest birth rate in the world at 1.22, and Slovakia the 19th lowest at 1.33. Australia checks in at a relatively robust 1.79. Beer consumption supremacy may one day be theirs.

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