Good old Wikipedia. I'm always amazed at the information you can find there.
I can understand how back when countries were pretty much isolated from each other that different languages, customs and standards would develop but you would think in this modern era of global trade, communications and travel this wouldn't happen- but it does!
When talk about upgrading television to a high definition digital system began back in the 1980s it was said that this was an opportunity to develop a single world-wide standard so equipment and programs could be easily exchanged between countries. So what happen? After years of bickering about which system was best we wound up with four different incompatible DTV standards!
It was then I realized that politics and chauvinism has more to do with developing standards than technical proficiency.