Half of Vanuatu's government is going to jail

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/10/22/half-of-vanuatus-government.html

Just in case, like me you hadn’t the foggiest idea where that is…


Hmmmm, I still don’t know where that is.


Tomorrow’s headline: Vanuatu is the best governed nation.

(between 2010 and 2011 Belgium had no government for over 250 days (unsuccessful coalition negotiations after the elections) - the country was still functioning)



Isn’t it funny how “stability” requires that you punish little people harder and big people more leniently? It’s almost like somebody arranged it that way.


You’re an American, right? Geography is to an American like science is to the American Conservative–got no need for that shit and it’s all lies anyway. Basically it’s a place full of brown people that don’t make a lot of money, so we can go back to ignoring it now.

Actually, I think what P_Lenhart was referring to was that the linked map was zoomed in too much - it just showed an island in the ocean. If one thought it was a screenshot, it wasn’t particularly useful to show where Vanuatu actually was. It was only when I tried clicking on it that I found it was an embedded map control that could zoom out, to show where it actually is in relation to places that I know.

That aside… TIL - that in Vanuatu, when the president leaves the country, he is apparently no longer in charge of the country. Are there other countries that do this? It’s not like Biden is in Charge when Obama heads off on a summit out of the country.


Granted, and I kinda figured that (with apologies to @P_Lenhart). However, it’s been my experience that while (we) Americans can mostly find America on the map, we’re lost outside the borders of North America. And I only know about Vanuatu b/c of kiwi housemates and the thought that I might like to go there for the surfing someday.

Yeah, that appears to be a touch of a legislative oversight on the part of the Vanuatuans. Doesn’t seem to be any good functional reason that this is the way it is…


If you consider that leaving the country involves flying or sailing thousands of miles, and thus involves both time and risk (especially in preceding generations), you can see why this might have happened. It might be time for a Constitutional amendment, now that the internet exists.


Fair point, but it strikes me that such a group of people who have been so ready and willing to send men/materiel/weaponry to various places on the globe in order to flatten said places (or do other stuff, but the flattening is something we’re really good at) should know at least the names and areas of the places-to-be-flattened.

Two links:

“How long does it take to cross the bridge from Australia to New Zealand?" “Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?” The geographical (and historical) ignorance evinced in these American tourist questions is legendary, and the National Geographic Society confirmed it in 2002 with a study showing that, among Americans aged 18 to 24, almost 30 percent could not identify the Pacific Ocean on a map. More than half could not locate India, and 85 percent could not find Iraq. The young people of America, the richest and most powerful country in the world, ranked next to last in the nine countries surveyed...
(Source: "Americans’ Geographical Ignorance and Disinclination to Travel Abroad")

And for giggles: Americans Were Asked To Place European Countries On A Map. Here’s What They Wrote:

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Such a negative headline!

How about 'Half of Vanuatu’s government isn’t going to jail!

As far as American geographical ignorance goes…

We Asked Brits To Label The United States


I don’t disagree with you about average Americans and ignorance of, well, pretty much any subject except their (our) own navels. :frowning:

But I was trying to give a possible explanation for why the Vanuatu government would have what seems like a crazy clause, saying that the President was no longer in charge if not actually physically on one of the many islands that comprise that country.


I’d suck too. In HS I could nail every state and ~75% of countries. Today I feel chuffed if I know what street I’m on.

But my pub trivia team still wipes the floor with the competition.



There is nothing a black cat in a collar and tie cannot forgive!


I suppose… But at the same time telephones have existed for a good bit longer than the internet. You’d think once it was possible to have realtime conversation with the president when he was off-island(s), somebody might have thought to change how things worked. Of course, this may be the first time that the speaker has done anything quite so bonkers when the President was away.


I think we have a winner!

Laws don’t get changed until something makes it abundantly clear that it needs to happen NOW.


It’s the wiggly red bits, on the right-hand side.

Why? They’re either going-to-be- or have-just-been- flattened.

Are you particularly enamored of flat things?