How many countries are there? I know this one! Lessee there’s the USA, Russia, Europe, Atlantis, uh Pandora… Screw it, I give up.
The answer is actually a little tricky, even for smart people, because it’s a moving target and it depends on who’s counting.
The detail-oriented CGP Grey, responsible for such dizzyingly informative videos as “The Difference Between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England,” tries to explain this as best he can. He even gives a shout out to my homies and gangstas in the illegal breakaway “republic” of Transdniestr. No joke, there are gangsters there.
If you’re too lazy to watch, the generally accepted answer as of this instant is 193. (According to the big boy, UN rule-makers, the USA, France, China, Russia and England.) Unless you’re the Olympics, then the answer is 204, because, among other anomalies, they count Puerto Rico as a country, which, in a very confusing way, is actually part of the USA.
But the Olympics don’t count places like Vatican City and Kosovo, which are definitely counted by the people who are running around trying to visit every country in the world before [insert age].
And let’s no forget there are a bunch of so-called countries that aren’t really countries by most measures because the politics are… complicated. In an era where rules and laws are routinely made based on people’s opinions and millennia-old superstitious beliefs, despite facts to the contrary, can we really lean on those criteria? It probably depends on which news outlet you prefer.
And let’s not forget that there are a bunch of almost-a-country countries which are recognized as countries by some countries (usually each other), but not enough other countries that matter, by which again I mean members of the United Nations, in which case seriously just watch the video.