How Many?

A recent exchange of emails with a friend about how to determine who should win a Nobel Prize for Literature brought up a totally different question in my offer of a solution, which I won’t bore you with at this time.

The question is, “How many countries are there on this planet”.  It seems important for many reasons, the most prominent  of which would be, “How do we answer if aliens land on earth and ask how many countries there are on this planet?” and the most important question thus arises, “If we answer incorrectly will the alien blast us with some never-before-seen-weapon?”

If you go to http://www.ask.com  you will see:

Jul 9, 2011  Many sources offer different answers, and depending on the source, there are 189, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195 or 196 independent countries in the 
 
Obviously this answer would not be acceptable to some alien who is out pandering for votes, intent on enslaving the planet, here to eliminate the governing bodies of every country and give us a fresh start, or a myriad (I like that word, myriad) or even plethora (good, but not as good as ‘myriad’) of other reasons which for reasons of total inanity I don’t want to lose you as a reader.
 
So, the reason for todays blog is to take a survey and ask you to comment on how many countries YOU think there are.  If you care to tell me why, I am sure the other readers would find your comments enlightening. So, how many?
 
For reasons of suspense, and because I really can’t decide if a place named “Mauritania” is really a country, and then how about “The Duchy of Grand Fenwick”?  Let us never forget the consequences of ignoring “The Duchy of Grand Fenwick”, but if you did, Google “The Duchy of Grand Fenwick” and you will learn–despite the deaths of the main characters there.
 
Bill
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