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I am digging this countrycode package in R I just found, written by a UM grad student Vincent Arel-Bundock. Very nice. Thanks!

 countrycode("2","cown","iso3c") [1] "USA" 

It would be better if the package could handle failed matches a little more gracefully: e.g.,

 > countrycode(c(2,730,818),"cown","iso3c") [1] "USA" 
when the user was expecting to get back a vector of length 3 (including, possibly, NAs when matches aren’t found). This just needs a little bit of care in the internals of the program, but otherwise this is a nice utility.