Greetings Yahoo! Groups Community:
Since I joined Yahoo!, I have been extremely busy reading your wonderful ideas on the suggestion board and making sure the right people hear them. We were able to implement a few suggestions already. For example, John had some great ideas on how to update our help page to provide more information about editing membership, and we immediately made the changes here.
In fact, these suggestions kept me too busy to connect to a colleague with whom I had made several failed attempts to make a lunch date, until finally both our calendars opened up on July 21. He’s Belgian, and because Belgium is the world’s biggest producer of comics per capita, his email reply about lunch included some of his patriotic humor:
“Layla—Thank you for requesting to have lunch with me on the Belgian national holiday [July 21], rather than the French national holiday —Pieter” (July 14, Bastille Day, had indeed been one of our failed attempts for lunch.)
His email reminded me how I had met him in the first place: A friend had met him at Southbaybelgians, a Yahoo! Group dedicated to getting together with fellow Belgians to network. Although, if you want my opinion, they mostly meet to drink beer. After all, Belgium makes over 800 different beers, and each person in the country drinks an average of 150 liters of beer per year.
I figured Belgium’s National Day definitely deserved some coverage, and it would be fun to see what other Belgium-related Yahoo! Groups are out there. But first, what do we really know about the land of chocolate, French fries, mussels, and waffles?
I could give you an overview with all the right figures — but isn’t that what Jimmy Donal Wales and Larry Sanger created Wikipedia for?
Instead, I’ll focus on one of my favorite topics: food.
Belgium produces 220,000 tons of chocolate per year—but looking at the average Belgian tells me they don’t eat it all. Brussels’s national airport is the world’s biggest chocolate-selling point. (That would be an airport I definitely would not mind a long layover at.) A Belgian by the name of Adolphe Quetlet came up with the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is commonly used to determine a person’s ideal weight. (Probably his way of dealing with all the chocolate and beer intake.)
Proportionally, Belgium has one of the lowest number of McDonald’s restaurants in the developed world. It has seven times fewer McDonald’s than the U.S. and two times fewer than France. Can we assume this is a health-conscious nation? Well, Brussels sprouts really do originate in Belgium and have grown there for over 400 years, but this doesn’t stop the Belgians from visiting their own fast food chain: Quick.
So how many Belgians do we have involved with Yahoo! Groups? Currently we have over 2,000 groups that show up in search results for Belgium-related groups.