Thursday, 20 December, 2001

The World Factbook

Doing some research recently I ran across The World Factbook, published by the Central Intelligence Agency.  This is an example of what the intelligence community calls Basic Intelligence--factual reference material on an issue.  And, oh boy is it full of facts.  Want to know the infant mortality rate in Angola?  How about the percentage of arable land in Zimbabwe?  A map of Central Africa?  It's all there, for free.  You can get a copy for yourself at http://www.cia.gov/cia/download.html.  68 megabytes is no big deal for a broadband connection, but you'll probably think twice if you're on a 56 KBPS modem.  It'll unzip to about 100 megabytes, or about $1.00 worth of storage space at current prices.  I'm going to make a point of downloading this every year and burning it to CD.  It'll make for some interesting historical research years from now.