Monday, 31 March 2014

heaviest cabbage weighed 57.61 kg (127 lb)

The Guinness world record for the heaviest cabbage weighed 57.61 kg (127 lb) and was presented at the Alaska State Fair by Steven Hubacek.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

amazing Facts about Mount Everest

amazing Facts about Mount Everest

1. Everest was formed 60 million years ago

2. It is the highest mountain in the world at 29,035 feet, although its exact height is often disputed

3. George Everest, Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, discovered Everest in 1841.

4. In 1865 the mountain was renamed in his honour from its original name of Peak XV

5. Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to conquer Everest, on May 19 1953

6. It is almost 28 times the size of the Burj Al Arab, and will be 12.5 times the height of the Burj Dubai tower

7. Everest lies between Nepal and Tibet and climbers can scale the mountain from either side

8. It rises a few millimetres each year due to geological forces

9. Over 2000 people have reached the top of Everest

10. There are around 120 dead bodies of climbers on the mountain

11. Avalanches are the greatest cause of death for climbers scaling Everest

12. The summit is just below the cruising height of a jet

13. The youngest person to reach summit was 13 and the oldest 70

14. In Nepal the mountain is called Sagarmatha, meaning 'forehead of the sky'.

15. In Tibetan the mountain is known as Chomolangma for 'mother of the universe'

Death zone:

Above 25,000 feet, the air at Everest holds only a third of oxygen of sea level. This results in an increased chance of hypothermia, frostbite, high-altitude pulmonary, when lungs fill with fluid, and high altitude cerebral edema, when the brain swells up.

Even with bottled oxygen climbers experience symptoms such as fatigue, impaired judgment and coordination, headaches, nausea, double vision and sometimes hallucinations. Some experienced climbers have braved conquering Everest without the need of oxygen.

amazing Facts About Egyptian Pyramids

Interesting Facts About Egyptian Pyramids

If you broke the Great pyramid into slabs 30 cm thick you could build up a wall 1 metre high that would stretch all the way around France! If you had a little more time you could cut it into rods about 6cm 2 - join them together and it would be enough to reach a quarter of the way to the moon!

Some people have said that the pyramids are more than simply large graves; they were granaries or treasure houses.

All of the pyramids were probably robbed of their treasures within a couple of hundred years of the burials. The only tombs to escape until modern times were those dug into rock, not placed in pyramids. They belonged to Tutankhamun and Queen Heterpheres.

The Egyptians mummified more than their pharaohs. They also mummified the Pharaoh's pets and buried them in the pyramids to keep the dead kings company.

If you could weigh an average pyramid it would be around 5,400,000 tons. The average stone block weighs as much as 2 modern cars (2.5 tons). The largest single stone block (in the pyramid of mycerinus ) must weigh about 285 tons- that’s 200 to 250 cars.

Pyramid -builders tried to fool thieves by placing a blocking stone at the end of a passageway and plastering it in. If thieves broke through the plaster then they would come to the stone and give up. The real way into the tomb would then be through a hidden trapdoor in the ceiling.

The Egyptians didn’t have accurate measuring tape. They used fibre-cords that could shrink or stretch. Still, the greatest mistake in the Great pyramid in just 20cm on the side of 230 metres. They were even accurate in building a flat base. The Southeast corner is just one centimetre higher than the North-west corner.

The pyramids are not the most awesomely large human construction. The Great wall of China is much more awesome and the Mexican pyramid of Quetzacoatl is an even more awesome 54 metres tall and has a volume of 3.3 million cubic metres. The Great pyramid of Cheops is just 2.5 million cubic metres. But the pyramids of Egypt are the oldest stone buildings in the world.

Early tombs were flat-topped. These were called Mastabas because they looked like the mud brick seat found outside Egyptian peasant homes. Mastaba tombs were easily robbed. So someone built a slightly smaller Mastaba on top of the first one then another on top of that, then another, and they ended up with a step pyramid.

It is forbidden to climb the pyramids today. There have been to many accidents, so now you have to have special permission.

Amazing Facts About The Human Body

Amazing Facts About The Human Body

  • Children grow faster in the springtime.
  • It takes the human stomach an hour to break down cow's milk.
  • Your stomach needs to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it would digest itself.
  • It takes 72 different muscles to produce human speech.
  • Relative to size, the strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
  • There are 10 human body parts that are only 3 letters long - eye, jaw, rib, hip, arm, leg, ear, toe, lip and gum.
  • If you go blind in one eye you only lose about one fifth of your vision but all your sense of depth.
  • Babies are born without knee caps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2-6 years of age.
  • You were born with 300 bones. When you get to be an adult, you have 206.
  • Your nose and ears never stop growing.
  • After you die, your body starts to dry out creating the illusion that your hair and nails are still growing after death.
  • The length of the finger dictates how fast your fingernails grow. The nail on your middle finger grows the fastest, and on average, your toenails grow half the speed of your fingernails.
  • A healthy adult can draw in about 200 to 300 cubic inches (3.3 to 4.9 litres) of air at a single breath, but at rest only about 5% of this volume is used.
  • 15 million blood cells are destroyed in the human body every second.
  • The average human will shed over 18 kilograms or 40 pounds of skin in a lifetime.

amazing Facts About Italy

Interesting Facts About Italy

Italy is slightly larger than Arizona.

Almost 20% of Italy's population is over 65 years old.

Italy borders Austria, France, Vatican City, San Marino, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

Its longest border is with Switzerland.

The average Italian family has 1.27 children.

Everybody 18 and over can vote, however you have to be at least 25 to vote in Senate elections.

The Italian flag is inspired by the French flag introduced during Napoleon's 1797 invasion of the peninsula.

The average Italian makes $26,700 a year, however those in the more prosperous north make almost $40,000

The thermometer is an Italian invention.

Italy's unemployment rate is around 8.6%, but it is as high as 20% in the more impoverished south.

Italian farms produce grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives, beef, and dairy.

The average life expectancy at birth for an Italian is 79.54 years.

The famous children's story, Pinocchio , was written by an Italian.

The city of Naples gave birth to the pizza .

The piano hails from Italy.

The longest river in Italy is the Po.

The average Italian consumes half a pound of bread a day.

Italy's contributions to science include the barometer, electric battery, nitroglycerin, and wireless telegraphy.

Famous Italian explorers include Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, John Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci.

Today's modern Italian language originated in the region of Tuscany.

Enrico Fermi, inventor of the nuclear reactor, was an Italian.

The automobile, Fiat , is one of Italy's greatest products.

With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.

Italy is home to two microstates, San Marino and Vatican City .

Besides Julius Caesar, Shakespeare also set in Italy ( entirely or partially):
Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline,Much Ado About Nothing, Othello,The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona,The Winter's Tale

Cologne came out of Italy.

The ice cream cone is an Italian invention.

The majority of Italian-American immigrants came from Naples and southern Italy.

The ancient city of Pompeii was destroyed by the volcano Mt. Vesuvius.

Mt. Vesuvius last erupted in 1944, destroying a number of neighboring villages.

Eyeglasses are an Italian invention.

The average Italian is 41 years old.

Italy has 16 regions and 4 autonomous regions.

Before adopting the euro, Italy's currency was known as the lira.

The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.

Italy's major industries include tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, and ceramics.

Italy has more hotel rooms than any other nation in Europe.

The espresso machine hails from Italy.

Italy is the world's fifth largest industrial economy.

Barely a third of Italy's land is arable and suitable for farming.

Italy's biggest trading partners are Germany, France, the United States, and Great Britain.
Over 40% of Italy's labor force is unionized.

The telephone was created by an Italian (Meucci) *Note.

Most of Italy's industry is centered around the northern cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa .

Since the end of WWII, Italy has seen almost 60 governments come and go.

The area around Venice is the wealthiest region in Europe.

Over 75% of Italy is mountainous or hilly.

The typewriter is an Italian invention.

Italians used to be known for having large families, however Italy is now known for having Europe's lowest birthrate.

Italy owes much of its prosperity to thousands of small private family enterprises.

Italian families save more money than the Japanese and Germans, and three times more than Americans do.

The average Italian consumes 25 kilograms of pasta a year.
With over

5 million people, Rome is Italy's largest Italy.

Italy has a population of over 58 million.

Italians refer to their country as Italia.

Italy imports over 75% of its energy.

The service sector accounts for almost 70% of the Italian economy.

Agriculture used to make up over a third of Italy's economy. It now makes up less than three percent.

The official language is Italian, but German and French are also spoken in some regions.
Italy's north has warm summers and cool winters. Italy's south has hot summers and mild winters.
The Seven Hills of Rome are Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal.

The symbol SPQR can be found on many ancient buildings in Rome. It stands for "the senate and people of Rome."

Rome was founded in 753 BC.

Italy did not become a united country until 1861

The national protest song of Italy is Bella Ciao. It was made famous by Italian partisans in WWII, and can be heard at almost any protest.

Before Rome became a republic and an empire, it had seven kings.

The first king of Rome was its legendary founder, Romulus.

"Ars longa, vita brevis" is a common saying in Italy. It means "art is long, life is short" and reflects the Italian love of leisure.

An engineering marvel of the ancient world, Cloacus Maxima, is the sewer of Rome.

The first Roman Emperor was Augustus Octavian, who came to power in 27 BC.

The Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, after its last emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was forced to abdicate by barbarian invaders.

A Roman Centurion commanded 100 hundred men.

A Roman Legion was made up of 6,000 men.

Italy has a resident foreign population of 1.27 million.

Italy's current constitution took effect January 1, 1948

The president of Italy is a ceremonial figure.

The prime minister serves as the head of government and is the one who runs the country.

Since October 1946, the national anthem of Italy has been Inno de Memeli .

The Italian flag is green, white, and red.

The colors of the Italian flag represent three virtues: hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red).

The Italian Republic does not have an official motto, but it does have a common phrase: "L'Italia A~? una Repubblica democratica, fondata sul lavoro" (Italy is a democratic Republic, founded on labor).

St. Francis of Assissi and Saint Caterina of Siena are the patron saints of Italy.

98% of Italians are Roman Catholic.

The Roman Catholic Church is based in Italy.

Italy has over 3,000 museums.

The national sport of Italy is soccer (known as football outside of America).

Italy's national dish is pasta.

The Italian language evolved from the Latin of the Roman Empire.

The Italian peninsula is surrounded by five seas (the Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenean, Ligurian, and Mediterranean).

Italy has two large islands, Sicily and Sardinia , as well as a number of smaller islands.

The Italian island of Sicily is famous for being home of the illicit Mafia criminal organization.
Napoleon spent his first exile on the Italian island of Elba.

The Alps mountain range form part of Italy's northern border, and for a long time, protected the peninsula from invasion.

Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli.

Naples is the largest city in southern Italy.

Next to Rome, Milan is the second-largest city in Italy.

Milan is home to Italian fashion and finance.

Rome's nickname is "The Eternal City."

Florence is home to Italian art.

A vespa is an Italian-made motor scooter that many people ride around busy city streets on.

Interesting Facts About Atlantis

Interesting Facts About Atlantis

Atlantis is the name of an island first mentioned and described by the classical Greek philosopher Plato in the dialogues Timaeus and Critias.
Over 11000 years back (in 9000BC) there existed an island nation located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean populated by a noble and powerful race. The people of this land possessed great wealth thanks to the natural resources found throughout their island. The island was a center for trade and commerce. The rulers of this land held sway over the people and land of their own island and well into Europe and Africa.

This was the island of Atlantis.

Plato, in his dialogues the Timaeus and the Critias, tells of the high civilization that flourished there before the island was destroyed by an earthquake. The legend persists, and societies for the discovery of Atlantis remain active. Plato described Atlantis as an ideal state, and the name is considered synonymous with Utopia.

According to Plato, the walls of Atlantis were constructed of red, white and black rock quarried from the moats, and were covered with brass, tin and orichalcum, respectively.

Every passage to the city was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city's rings.

The island of Atlantis was the domain of Poseidon, god of the sea. When Poseidon fell in love with a mortal woman, Cleito, he created a dwelling at the top of a hill near the middle of the island and surrounded the dwelling with rings of water and land to protect her.

Greek myths tell us that Cleito gave birth to five sets of twin boys who became the first rulers of Atlantis. The island was divided among the brothers with the eldest, Atlas, first King of Atlantis, being given control over the central hill and surrounding areas.

At the top of the central hill, a temple was built to honor Poseidon which housed a giant gold statue of Poseidon riding a chariot pulled by winged horses. It was here that the rulers of Atlantis would come to discuss laws, pass judgments, and pay tribute to Poseidon..

To facilitate travel and trade, a water canal was cut through of the rings of land and water running south for 5.5 miles (~9 km) to the sea.

The city of Atlantis sat just outside the outer ring of water and spread across the plain covering a circle of 11 miles (1.7 km). This was a densely populated area where the majority of the population lived.

Beyond the city lay a very fertile plain 330 miles (530 km) long and 110 miles (190 km) wide surrounded by another canal used to collect water from the rivers and streams of the mountains. The climate was such that two harvests were possible each year. One in the winter fed by the rains and one in the summer fed by irrigation from the canal water.

Surrounding the plain to the north were mountains which soared to the skies. Villages, lakes, rivers, and meadows dotted the mountains.

Besides the harvests, the island provided all kinds of herbs, fruits, and nuts. An abundance of animals, including elephants, roamed the island.

For many generations the Atlanteans lived simple, virtuous lives. But slowly they began to change. Greed and power began to corrupt the Atlanteans. When Zeus saw the immorality of the Atlanteans he gathered the other gods to determine a suitable punishment.

Soon, in one violent surge it was gone(most probably a deadly earthquaqe but the reason of its destruction could be a volcanic eruption or a tsunami). The island of Atlantis, its people, and its memory were swallowed by the sea.

Interesting Facts About The Statue of Liberty

Interesting Facts About The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (“Liberty Enlightening the World”) is a 225-ton, steel-reinforced copper female figure, 151 ft 1 in. (46.05 m) in height, facing the ocean from Liberty Island1 in New York Harbor. The right hand of the statue holds aloft a torch, and the left hand carries a tablet on which is inscribed: “July IV MDCCLXXVI.”
The statue was designed by Fredéric Auguste Bartholdi of Alsace as a gift to the United States from the people of France to memorialize the alliance of the two countries in the American Revolution and their abiding friendship. The people of France contributed the $250,000 cost.

At the wind speed of 50mph the Statue of Liberty sways 3 inches (7.62 cm). While the torch sways as much as 5 inches (12.7 cm) at the same wind speed.

There are 354 steps to the crown of the Statue of Liberty.

The fingernail of the statue weighs about 3.5 pounds (1.5 kg).

The Statue of Liberty, the most famous symbolic statue of a woman, was modeled after Marie Bartholdi, the sculptor's mother. The Statue of Liberty is tremendous! Her nose is four and a half feet long, and her mouth is three feet wide. Her waist measures 35 feet around.

The 150-foot pedestal was designed by Richard M. Hunt and built by Gen. Charles P. Stone, both Americans. It contains steel underpinnings designed by Alexander Eiffel of France to support the statue. The $270,000 cost was borne by popular subscription in this country. President Grover Cleveland accepted the statue for the United States on October the 28th, 1886.

The Statue of Liberty was designated a National Monument in 1924 and a World Heritage Site in 1984.

On Sept. 26, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon dedicated the American Museum of Immigration, housed in structural additions to the base of the statue. In 1984 scaffolding went up for a major restoration and the torch was extinguished on July 4. It was relit with much ceremony July 4, 1986, to mark its centennial.

On a tablet inside the pedestal is engraved the following sonnet, written by Emma Lazarus (1849–1887).

The statue's mouth is as wide as 0.91.

From the ground to the tip of the flame, the Statue is 305 feet 1 inch tall. This is approximately the same height as a 22-story building.

On July 30, 1916, the “Black Tom” explosion took place. Because of this act of sabotage, the torch was closed to the public.

The crown has been closed to the public since September 11, 2001. Because the Statue of Liberty is not a traditional building, evacuating people in the event of an emergency proved to be logistically impossible.

The Statue of Liberty’s official name is “Liberty Enlightening The World.”

The torch that Liberty holds today is not the original torch. The original has been on display in the lobby since it was removed in 1984. The replacement was added in 1986. The copper flame on the replacement torch was covered in 24K gold. This makes it highly reflective in the daytime sun. At night, 16 floodlights illuminate it.

The lady in the Statue of Liberty has a waist of 10.67m. Thats really fat!

Interesting Facts About Dogs

Interesting Facts About Dogs

1. It is a myth that dogs are color blind. They can actually see in color, just not as vividly as humans. It is akin to our vision at dusk.

2. Dogs DO have better low-light vision than humans because of a special light-reflecting layer behind their retinas.

3. A German Shepherd guide dog led her blind companion the entire 2100-mile Appalachian Trail.

4. If never spayed or neutered, a female dog, her mate, and their puppies could produce over 66,000 dogs in 6 years!

5. Dogs' only sweat glands are between their paw pads.

6. Like human babies, Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot in their skull, which closes with age.

7. The breed Lundehune has 6 toes and can close its ears.

8.Teddy Roosevelt's dog, Pete, ripped a French ambassador's pants off at the White House.

9. President Lyndon Johnson had two beagles named Him and Her.

10. Franklin Roosevelt spent $15,000 for a destroyer to pick up his Scottie in the Aleutian Islands.

11. In Roman times, Mastiffs donned light armor and were sent after mounted knights.

12. The Russians trained dogs during WWII to run suicide missions with mines strapped to their backs.

13. A dog's mouth exerts 150-200 pounds of pressure per square inch

with some dogs exerting up to 450 pounds per square inch.

14. A one-year-old dog is as mature, physically, as a 15-year-old human.

15. The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world.

16. France has the 2nd highest.

17. The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog.

18. 87% of dog owners say their dog curls up beside them or at their feet while they watch T.V.

19. Dogs can be trained to detect epileptic seizures.

20. 15 people die in the U.S. every year from dog bites.

21.In 2002 alone, more people in the U.S. were killed by dogs than by sharks in the past 100 years.

22. Gidget is the name of the Taco Bell dog.

23. Newfoundlands are great swimmers because of their webbed feet.

24. Basset Hounds cannot swim.

25. Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on earth, with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.

26. Bingo is the name of the dog on the side of the Cracker Jack box.

27. The bible mentions dogs 14 times.

28. Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic - a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian, and a Pekingese.

29. The Labrador Retriever is the #1 favorite breed in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

30. Obesity is the #1 health problem among dogs.

31. An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner's will.

32. An American Animal Hospital Assoc. poll found that 33% of dog owners admit to talking to their dogs on the phone and leaving answering machine messages for them while away.

33. Dog's nose prints are as unique as a human's fingerprints and can be used to accurately identify them.

34. At the end of the Beatles' song "A Day in the Life", a high-pitched dog whistle was recorded by Paul McCartney for his sheepdog.

35. 70% of people sign their pet's name on greeting and holiday cards.

36. 58% put pets in family and holiday portraits.

37. There are only 350 Cisky Terriers in the world - perhaps the rarest breed.

38. The phrase "raining cats and dogs" originated in 17th century England when it is believed that many cats and dogs drowned during heavy periods of rain.

39. Dogs have no sense of "time".

40. Humans have kept dogs as pets for over 12,000 years.

41. The largest breed of dog is the Irish Wolfhound.

42. The world's smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua.

43. The St. Bernard is the heaviest.

44. Only dogs and humans have prostates.

45. But dogs do not have an appendix.

46. Every dog on earth likely descended from a species knows as the Tomarctus - a creature that roamed the earth over 15 million years ago.

47. The oldest known breed is likely the Saluki - originally trained by Egyptians to help them track game.

48. In 1957, Laika became the first living being in space via an earth satellite, while JFK's terrier, Charlie, father 4 puppies with Laika's daughter.

50. An African wolf dog known as the basenji is the only dog in the world that cannot bark.

51. There are 703 breeds of purebred dogs.

52. Dachshunds were originally bred for fighting badgers.

53. The world's smartest dogs are thought to be (1) the border collie, (2) the poodle, and (3) the golden retriever, while the dumbest dog is believed to be the Afghan hound.

54. A dog's smell is more than 100,000 times stronger than that of a human's, which they need because their eyesight is not as keen as a human's.

55. Dogs judge objects first by their movement, then by their brightness, and lastly by their shape.

56. Chocolate contains a substance known as theobromine (similar to caffeine), which can kill dogs or at the very least make them violently ill.

57. George Washington had thirty-six dogs - all foxhounds - with one-named Sweet lips.

58. All dogs are identical in anatomy - 321 bones and 42 permanent teeth.

59. Smaller breeds mature faster than larger breeds.

60. Female dogs are only ready to mate - "in heat" - twice a year for a total of roughly 20 days.

61. Puppies sleep ninety percent of the day for their first few weeks.

62. Rin Tin Tin was the first Hollywood Dog Star and he really signed his movie contracts - all 22 of them - with a paw print.

63. The Wizard of Oz's Toto was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry.

64. Up until the late 1800's, Collies were known as Scottish Sheepdogs.

65. Dogs have two times as many muscles to move their ears as people.

66. The longer a dog's nose, the more effective it's internal cooling system.

67. An elderly woman was saved by her 12-pound Yorkshire Terrier who fought off an 80-pound Akita and survived with only 9 stitches.

68. U.S. Customs dogs "Rocky" and "Barco" were so good at patrolling the border that Mexican drug lords put a $300,000 bounty on their heads.

69. Dogs are all direct descendants of wolves.

70. Wolves and dogs can mate to produce fertal offspring.

71. Female wolves have been known to travel great distances to regurgitate full meals for their hungry pups.

72. Cerberus was the tri-headed dog that guarded the underworld in Greek mythology.

73. Female dogs bear their young for 60 days before they're born.

74. Dogs' sense of hearing is more than ten times more acute than a human's.

75. Humans can detect sounds at 20,000 times per second, while dogs can sense frequencies of 30,000 times per second.

76. The earliest dog-fossil dates back to nearly 10,000 B.C.

77. Bloodhounds are prized their ability to single out and identify a number of scents simultaneously.

78. Dalmatian puppies are born completely white.

79. The Ancient Chinese carried Pekingese puppies in the sleeves of their robes.

80. Boxers are so named because of their manner of playing with their front paws.

81. All breeds of dog have been found to attack livestock - from 3-month-old puppies, all the way up to thirteen-year-old poodles.

82. A dog's heart beats up to 120 times per minute, or 50% faster than the average human heartbeat of 80 times per minute.

83. The oldest dog on record - a Queensland "Heeler" named Bluey - was 29 years, 5 months old.

84. Davy Crockett had a dog named Sport.

85. Dogs were first domesticated by cavemen.

86. Dogs live 15 years on average.

87. Many foot disorders inn dogs are simply an issue of long toenails.

88. More than 5,000,000 puppies are born in the U.S. every year.

89. More than 1 in 3 American families own a dog.

90. Average body temperature for a dog is 101.2 degrees.

91. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts both offer merit badges in dog care.

92. Dogs are natural pack animals.

93. They are naturally submissive to any creature with higher pack status - human or canine.

94. Dogs instinctively require the pack leader's approval.

95. Dogs with little human contact in the first three months typically don't make good pets.

96. The Chihuahua was named after the state in Mexico where they were discovered.

97. After birth, puppies' eyes do not fully open until they're about 12 days old.

98. Their vision is not fully developed until after the 1st month.

Interesting Facts about Penguins

Interesting Facts about Penguins

  • Penguins are birds.
  • The name is derived from Welsh terms ‘pen’, meaning head and ‘gwyn’, meaning white.
  • Penguin is an unofficial symbol of the United States Libertarian Party.
  • They mate for life.
  • Linux mascot tux is also a penguin.
  • They are ancient species that appeared 40 million years ago in the Eocene.
  • Penguins don't fly, they swim.
  • Penguins lay eggs.
  • Penguin chicks have fluffy feathers.

  • A group of penguins is called colonies or rookery.
  • They usually move in huge groups.
  • Penguins use their wings for swimming.
  • Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Some penguins live in Antarctica, Coast of South America, South Africa, Galapagos, Southern Australia and New Zealand.
  • Penguins hunt for fish, squid or shrimp like krill in the oceans to fill their stomach.
  • Most penguins can swim about 15 miles per hour.
  • Penguins have insulating layers of air, skin, and blubber.
  • Penguins have tightly packed feathers that help them to keep warm.
  • Penguins open their feather to feel the cold.
  • There are at least 18 different species of penguins.
  • There may be as many as 100 million penguins in the world.
  • Penguins can be endangered by oil spills, water pollution, and the over harvesting

                                                        Penguins Fun Facts
  • Penguins are social creatures.
  • They adapt to various climates.
  • They live in large colonies called rookeries.
  • They waddle when they walk.
  • Penguins are dresses in classic black and white.
  • Penguins communicate with each other through body language.
  • They spend most of their lives in water.
  • They don’t fear humans but are endangered by oil spills, water pollution, and the over harvesting of ocean fish.
  • Their body is insulated with a thick layer of blubber that keeps them warm.
  • They leap out of water while swimming.
  • They can walk faster than humans.
  • They can hold their breath for about 20 minutes under water.
  • They have more feathers per square inch that keeps them warm in frigid waters.
  • They are counter-shaded for camouflage.
  • Baby penguins have soft feathers known as down.
  • They count on their parents for food until they grow up with waterproof juvenile feathers.
  • They pick up stones and store them in their crop. This helps them to float when they are in water.
  • They can control blood flow through fat.
  • Rockhopper penguins have very loud calls.

Interesting Facts About The Woolly Mammoth

Interesting Facts About The Woolly Mammoth

The Age of Mammals

Small mammals were alive when dinosaurs roamed the earth. No one is quite certain why dinosaurs died out. Some scientists think it could have been a change in the climate. Others have said that there might have been a major disaster, like a comet crashing into the earth. With these large creatures out of the way, the mammals could develop. It took many millions of years. The woolly mammoth lived during one of the ice ages. When scientists named it, they called it Elephus Primigenius. This means 'first born elephant'. Scientist called it this because when fossils were discovered they thought it was a very early kind of elephant, but this was not correct. Other fossil remains which have been discovered show that it was one of the later elephants. Many other elephants had been on the earth before the woolly mammoths appeared. The first true elephants had lived millions of years before the woolly mammoth.

Creature of the Ice Age

There were Ice Ages which lasted for 200,000 years. When this happened the earth was covered with a coat of ice. Plants did grow and the woolly mammoth was able to feed on them. The temperatures were very low, however. To overcome these conditions the woolly mammoth developed a very thick coat of hair. It was a long shaggy coat. To keep the animal warm in these very cold conditions, there were two layers to the coat.

Where did they live?

The remains of the woolly mammoths have been found in the northern parts of Asia, America, and Europe. They lived in the selocations from about the middle of the Pleistocene until the end of that period. The last of the large woolly mammoths probably died out about 10,000 years ago. The Pleistocene was the last period in the Cenozoic era. It is because mammals became the main creatures on the earth during the era that it is often called the 'Age of Mammals'.

How do we know about the mammoth?

We know about most of the animals which lived in the past because of the fossil remains which have been found. Much of what has been written and drawn has been pieced together. There has also been a great deal of guesswork. In the case of the woolly mammoth the situation is different. Although much of the ice disappeared at the end of the last Ice Age, there were still parts of the world which were very cold. They have been very cold since that time. During the Ice Age, mammoths died and were trapped in the ice. The ice has preserved them. Instead of just having bones to examine, as we do with most extinct creatures, whole mammoths have been discovered. With most prehistoric animals we have to guess what the skin looked like. It is very different with the woolly mammoth. Because whole animals have been preserved, we can look at the hair and tusks. In fact, we can look at the entire body.

What did they eat?

Although they were large creatures, woolly mammoths fed on plants. They ate willow, fir, and alder leaves. They also ate the leaves from bushes. We know what the woolly mammoth ate because complete dead animals have been found in Siberia. When the stomach contents were examined many different kinds of leaves were found. Woolly mammoths probably used their tusks to clear snow from the ground so they could get at their food.

What was the earliest elephant like?

The earliest elephants were small. They were like pygmy hippopotamuses or pigs. They grew larger as new species evolved over a long period of time. One of the largest elephants was the imperial mammoth which measured about 13 feet at the shoulder. The woolly mammoth was about 10 feet tall.

Why did the mammoth become extinct?

No one is quite sure why woolly mammoths became extinct. Various suggestions have been made. It could have been due to changes in the climate. When the woolly mammoth lived it was during one of the Ice Ages. The ice gradually melted and the earth got warmer. This change could have affected the woolly mammoth. Man also appeared on the scene. He might have hunted and killed the creature. It is also likely that man moved into the places where mammoths had lived. Man would have used some of their feeding grounds to grow his crops. The woolly mammoths would have been driven out with no where to go.

Interesting Facts about Dolphins

Interesting Facts about Dolphins

How do dolphins sleep?

Dolphins have to be conscious to breath. This means that they cannot go into a full deep sleep, because then they would suffocate. Dolphins have "solved" that by letting one half of their brain sleep at a time. This has been determined by doing EEG studies on dolphins. Dolphins sleep about 8 hours day in this fashion.

A dolphin's behavior when sleeping/resting depends on the circumstances and possibly on individual preferences. They can either:
1. swim slowly and surface every now and then for a breath
2. rest at the surface with their blowhole exposed
3. rest on the bottom (in shallow water) and rise to the surface every now and then to breath.

How smart are dolphins?

The short answer to this is that we do not know. There is no reliable method to measure intelligence in humans across cultures, so it is not surprising that comparing humans, dolphins, apes, dogs, etc. is impossible. There are some indications of their potential: they are fast learners and can generalize (which is also true of pigs). Also they can learn to understand complicated language-like commands (which is also true of the great apes).

How much do dolphins eat?

Bottlenose dolphins eat several kinds of fish (including mullet, mackerel, herring, cod) and squid. The compostion of the diet depends very much on what is available in the area they live in and also on the season. The amount of fish they eat depends on the fish species they are feeding on: mackerel and herring have a very high fat content and consequently have a high caloric value, whereas squid has a very low caloric value, so to get the same energy intake (calories) they will need to eat much more if they feed on squid than if they feed on mackerel or herring. On average an adult dolphin will eat 4-9% of its body weight in fish, so a 250 kg (550 lb) dolphin will eat 10-22.5 kg (22-50 lb) fish per day.

How long do dolphins live?

The maximum age for bottlenose dolphins is between 40 and 50 years. The average age a dolphin can get (the life expectancy) can be calculated from the ASR Annual Survival Rate (the percentage of animals alive at a certain point, that is still alive one year later). For the dolphin population in Sarasota Bay, the ASR has been measured to be about 0.961. This yields a life expectancy of about 25 years. For the population in the Indian/Banana River area, the ASR is between 0.908 and 0.931. This yields a life expectance between 10.3 and 14 years. So the actual life expectancy differs per region.

How deep can a dolphin dive?

The deepest dive ever recorded for a bottlenose dolphin was a 300 meters (990 feet). This was accomplished by Tuffy, a dolphin trained by the US Navy. Most likely dolphins do not dive very deep, though. Many bottlenose dolphins live in fairly shallow water. In the Sarasota Bay area, the dolphins spend a considarable time in waters that are less than 2 meters (7 feet) deep.

Other whale and dolphin species are able to dive to much greater depths even. The pilot whale (Globicephala melaena) can dive to at least 600 meters (2000 feet) and a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) has been found entangled in a cable at more that 900 meters (500 fathoms) depth.

Recent studies on the behavior of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) has revealed that they regularly dive to depths of 800 meters. The deepest dive recorded of a beluga was to 1250 meters.

Do dolphins drink salt water?

Most dolphins live in the ocean and the ocean water is too salty for them to drink! If they would drink sea water, they would actually use more water trying to get rid of the salt than they drank in the first place. Most of their water comes from their food (fish and squid). Also, when they metabolize (burn) their fat, water is released in the process. Their kidneys are also adapted to retaining as much water as possible. Although they live in water, they live as desert animals with no direct source of drinkable water.

Mass strandings: Why?

If a single whale or dolphin strands, it usually is a very sick (and exhausted) animal. Such an animal often has some infections (pneumonia is almost always one of them) and a lot of parasites (worms in the nasal passages are very common). Sometimes these animals can be rehabilitated, but often they are so sick they won't make it.

Some species of whales and dolphins occassionally strand in groups. A stranding of 2 or more animals is usually called a mass stranding. There are a number of theories that try to explain the occurrence of mass strandings. No theory can adequately explain all of them. In some cases it will be a combination of causes. The most common explanations are:

*deep water animals (the species that most often are the victim of mass strandings) can not "see" a sloping sandy beach properly with its sonar. They detect the beach only when they are almost stranded already and they will panic and run aground.

*whales and dolphins may be navigating by the earth's magnetic field. When the magnetic field is disturbed (this occurs at certain locations) the animals get lost and may run into a beach.

*in some highly social species, the group leader may be sick and wash ashore. The other members try to stay close and may strand with the group leader.

*when under severe stress or in panic, the animals may fall back to the behavior of their early ancestors and run to shore to find safety.

Interesting Facts about the Planet Mars

Interesting Facts about the Planet Mars

Distance to Sun:
14 Million Miles

Length of year:
12,295 Earth days

Length of Day:
49 hrs, 12 minutes

Orbit eccentricity:
.65 (highly eccentric)

Orbit inclination:
.86 degrees (leans to the left)

4,456,789,399,309, 927,555

97 quadrillion tons

Nearly four times that of Earth.

Tilt of Axis:
365 Degrees

Often called "The Orange Planet" because of its citrus-like hue, Mars was largely ignored until it was first identified as the fifth planet in our solar system by pioneer astronomer and lens-crafter Hans Smickel in 1710. For almost a century following this discovery, astronomers dismissed the planet as a transient piece of stellar ice and speculated that it would be completely melted by cosmic rays sometime early in the nineteenth century. This hypothesis, obviously, did not prove correct.

Today, Mars is recognized as not only the most fascinating planet in our entire galaxy--the "Galaxy 500," as it is known by scientists-- but as a promising vacation spot for interplanetary leisure-makers, those who will likely be able to travel to Mars quickly and conveniently in the very near future. Future travelers to Mars should be advised to take a good parka and several pairs of long underwear, as the planet is now known to get as cold as thirty degrees below zero and to be the site of frequent snowstorms, with snowfalls in northern regions of the planet often averaging eighty inches per Martian winter--a season that lasts the equivalent of two earth years. The snowfall in more extreme portions of Mars is even more hellacious--roughly equivalent to that of Buffalo, New York, making it a challenging destination for the weak-of-heart. You'd also need a good sunscreen on Mars, especially if you'd planned an excursion to the southern polar regions, an area of the planet where, while scientists speculate the water is quite swimable, (and a great place to surf with wave peaks averaging a totally gnarly thirty meters high) surface temperatures often soar to a back-blistering 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

On Mars, one would find spectacular scenery: giant chartreuse mountains with icy peaks thirteen thousand times the size of our Mount Everest, massive, natural pyramids which reflect the spectacular light that bounces, kaleidoscope-like, off the planet's 82 moons; icy lakes filled with fresh water larger in area than the North American Continent, and breath-taking, but impassable, realms of spickland, vast plains that are populated by three hundred foot mineral spikes, each spaced only inches apart. These Titanic towers, surrounded at their tops by bands of wine-colored maloxin gas, are perhaps best compared to overgrown stalagmites, the protuberances found on the bottom of certain caves and caverns here on civilized Earth, as well as in parts of northern and central Kentucky. The largest area of spickland on Mars, a region known as "the devil's hairbrush," lies near the planet's south pole and can be easily seen with a simple telescope or pair of binoculars. No traveler to Mars would want to miss a trip to "The Navel," the six thousand mile, circular canyon that resembles the hole on the top of a navel orange. The Navel is nearly perfectly centered on the north pole of Mars, and topographically, it is nearly a perfect concave bowl shape. This "bowl" is nine thousand miles deep at its deepest point, and the lower third of the valley is filled with a sea of creamy liquid helium.

For years one central question about the planet has been debated: is there life on Mars? Until the Martian probe nicknamed "Trinka" landed on the equatorial surface of the planet in 2002, equipped with a remotely-controlled grappling arm, it seemed that this question would never be answered. But, when the probe was successfully delivered and returned by the Russian craft Vostok 9 in late 2003, packed with many samples of Martian rock, several water, urine and ice specimens, and a few very neat souvenirs, many scientists began to proclaim Mars as, indeed, an inhabited planet.

The key to this discovery was a Martian ice sample which contained a dormant form of life scientists have dubbed martia primatia, a simple animal most closely related to what we know as "Sea Monkeys" here on Earth. Martia primatia are about a third of an inch long in their desiccated, dormant, form, but it is speculated that if scientists could successfully reconstitute the creatures, they would average about an inch in length and exhibit their original back cilia--hairs which they would use to propel themselves in the Martian seas--and also have the animated and friendly little faces that prompted many legions of children to order sea monkeys by mail-order in the mid twentieth century, Why can't scientists bring these Martian creatures back to life when kids did so by the thousands in their suburban dens throughout the 1960's? The problem lies in replicating exactly the environmental conditions on Mars. First of all, the water on Mars is heavily chlorinated, not unlike a working-class Earth family's ill-maintained above-ground pool. Secondly, the atmosphere of Mars contains an unusual amount of tritium, a heavy metal not unlike our copper, the stuff from which we fashion American pennies.

A sample of Martian ice in which pink martia primata, a form of life not unlike "sea-monkeys," 

can clearly be seen

Of course, those obstacles, alone, are by no means insurmountable. So, what really prevents scientists from creating a simulated Martian environment and, thus, bringing Martian "Sea Monkeys" back to life? In a word: pressure. Mars is under extremely high pressure, The Martian environment has an universally-indexed pressure quotient of over 6.2 baraunits, almost seven thousand, six hundred, and fifty-three times greater than the pressure we experience at sea level. Thus far, all attempts to create extreme Martian surface conditions in a man-made chamber on Earth have failed, some with deadly results. In early December, 2003, for example, three space scientists, a biologist, and "Becker," a laboratory iguana and favorite pet at the Department for Space Research at the University of Arizona at Mezcal, were blown to bits when their Martian simulator spheriod chamber, dubbed "the Big Red Machine," exploded, claiming not only their lives, but much of the science wing complex and the southwestern end of a girl's dormitory. As a result of this tragedy, and several other abortive attempts to reanimate Martian life, scientists have all but given up on seeing the smiling faces of Martian sea-monkeys beaming to them from fish-bowls here on Earth anytime soon.

So--Does life exist on the planet Mars? Almost certainly, scientists agree, but as Melvin Schperling, head of the astronomy department at Vanderlitz University and winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Science once quipped, "Until we actually catch the space-bus to Mars, lay our money down on the hallowed, orange dirt, and get these darned Martian sea monkeys kickin' after their seven thousand year nap, there will always be those who will doubt what pure science has revealed as the obvious."

Monday, 23 December 2013

Interesting Facts about Tornado

Interesting Facts about Tornado

What is a Tornado?

A Tornado is a column of air violently rotating  across the earth's surface.  The column of air most frequently attached to a cloud or thunderstorm overhead, which then extends down to the ground.  Tornadoes can form into any shape, but generally form the shape of a tunnel, narrow near the bottom and larger at the top.

What causes a Tornado?

The most common cause of a tornado is from a thunderstorm.  Tornadoes form when warm, moist air or air from a  thunderstorm meets cooler, dry air creating an unstable atmosphere. After creating an unstable atmosphere, changes in wind direction and wind speed creates a spinning effect near the earth's surface, eventually forming a tunnel of wind that rapidly grows and violently rotates along the earth's surface, destroying homes and uprooting trees that are in it's path.

Where are they  most likely  to  occur?

Tornadoes are likely to occur anywhere in the world, but most tornadoes occur in "Tornado Alley," which stretches from Texas to Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and into the Dakotas.  The reasoning for "Tornado Alley," is because warm, moist air from the gulf of Mexico mixes with the cooler, dry air from the north creating dangerous tornadoes.  Tornadoes can occur during any time of the year, but typically happen during the spring.

What to do in case of a Tornado-

If you find yourself in danger of a tornado, it's important that you take shelter to protect yourself.   The safest place to be in the case of a tornado is in the basement of your house or the building that you are in.
Do not go near the walls that face in the southern or western directions, this is generally the direction tornadoes move in.  You should seek shelter under a stair case, inside a closet or under a heavy table.  You should also use a heavy blanket or trash can for protection against debris.
You may also seek shelter in the bathtub, in many homes that have been destroyed by tornadoes, the bathtub plumbing is the only thing left standing.  This is because the plumbing is anchored into the ground.  If you driving near a tornado, you should leave your car and find shelter inside, you should not keep driving, you may not know what you may encounter on the road. It's also important to realize that a car cannot outrun a tornado.

15 Facts About Tornadoes

1. In order for a vortex to be classified as a tornado, the violently rotating column of air must be in contact with both the cloud above and the ground below.

2. Though tornadoes do occur on other continents, North America’s geography makes it more vulnerable to them. Bradley Smull, an atmospheric scientist at the National Science Foundation, explained yesterday in a Washington Post online chat: “In particular, the proximity of a major north-south mountain range…and the Gulf of Mexico…all in a latitude range frequented by strong upper-level jetstreams amounts to something of a “perfect storm” for severe (supercell-type) thunderstorm formation.”

3. Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced F (EF) Scale (the old scale was called the Fujita (F) Scale), which assigns a number (0 to 5) based on estimates of 3-second wind gusts and damage. There have been more than 50 F5/EF5 tornadoes recorded in the United States since 1950.

4. Rain, wind, lightning and/or hail may accompany a tornado, but none of them is a reliable predictor of an oncoming tornado.

5. A tornado can last from a few seconds to more than an hour. On average, they persist for about 10 minutes.

6. It is a myth that a tornado cannot pass over features like valleys, mountains, lakes and rivers. When it passes over a lake or river, a tornado becomes a waterspout.

7. Tornado alley is the region in the middle of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent. However, every U.S. state and every continent (except Antarctica) has experienced a tornado.

8. A tornado watch means that conditions are ripe for a tornado; a warning means that a storm has been spotted on the ground or via radar (and you should take cover immediately).

9. Since the first tornado forecast was made in 1948, tornado warning lead times have been increasing and now average 13 minutes. However, they have a 70 percent false alarm rate, which may lead some people to take them less seriously than they should.

10. Mobile homes aren’t more likely to get hit by a tornado than any other type of building, but their flimsy structure provides little protection against strong winds and flying debris.

11. It’s also a bad idea to take shelter in a car—which can be easily tossed about—or under a bridge, where a person would be vulnerable to flying debris or a bridge collapse.

12. The single deadliest tornado killed 695 people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on March 18, 1925. The series of tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama and other Southern states in April 2011 set a new record. According to NOAA, there were 312 recorded tornadoes that touched down from 8 a.m. on April 27 through 8 a.m. on April 28. The death toll these storms was over 250 people, and did not break the 1925 record mentioned above.

13. A tornado that struck Washington, D.C. on August 25, 1814, is credited with driving the British invaders out of the city and preventing them from carrying out further destruction. They had burned the White House and much of the city the day before.

14. The city of Greensburg, Kansas was flattened by a tornado in 2007, but instead of abandoning the town, the people are rebuilding with an emphasis on green technology.

15. In 2009 and 2010, more than 100 scientists participated in VORTEX2 (funded by the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), which set out to track tornadoes as they formed and moved across the landscape. The V2 researchers are trying to answer many basic questions about tornadoes, such as how, when and why they form, how strong the winds get near the ground, how they do damage, and how predictions can be improved. During the two years, they collected data from dozens of storms and tornadoes. In order for a vortex to be classified as a tornado, the violently rotating column of air must be in contact with both the cloud above and the ground below.

Friday, 20 December 2013

The Forbidden City

Interesting Facts About The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City occupies 720,000 square meters (7,747,200 square feet / 180 acres). The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul measures 700,000 square meters; the Vatican measures 440,000 square meters; and the Kremlin measures 275,000 square meters.

There are 9,999 rooms in this series of exquisite palaces inside the City. Nine is a lucky number for the Chinese. (Some books quote 8886 rooms — but this does not include antechambers.)

The walls are 32 feet high (10 meters). The surrounding drainage moat is 165 feet wide (50 meters). The main part of the city was constructed over 14 years (1407-1420) using 200,000 laborers. Building materials were shipped over thousands of miles from all parts of China using the network of canals constructed in the 6th and 7th centuries.

All of the buildings are made from painted wood. To deal with the fire risk, giant bronze cauldrons filled with water were placed at intervals throughout the Palace.

At the end of the 18th century approximately 9000 people lived within the Forbidden City, composed of guards, servants, eunuchs, concubines, civil servants and the Royal Family.

The inner sanctum rooms were forbidden to women except to the Empress on her wedding day.

The tradition of castrating male servants dates back over two thousand years. The Qing Dynasty started with 9000 eunuchs, reducing to about 1500 in 1908. Their testicles were mummified and stored in jars, to be buried with them after their death. Many eunuchs were harshly treated, or executed at whim. Corruption, power struggles and personal vendettas flourished.

Emperors were entitled to several wives and many concubines. (Qianlong had two official wives and 29 concubines). Concubines were well-educated women selected from the best Manchu families. Nightly, the Emperor would decide which concubine would visit him that evening. She would then be stripped, bathed and depilated before being carried to his chamber. The wife or a concubine that was chosen by the emporer was brought into his room naked all the way from her room. This was not done to make her horney bu8t to make sure that she is not carrying a weapon. The number of times a concubine was chosen secured her social standing.

Depending upon status, each rank would dine from "color-coded" plates, cups and bowls. Only the Emperor and Empress were entitled to use real gold or "radiant yellow" porcelain. Over 3000 pieces of gold and silver plate were held in Qing kitchens during the 18th century.

The Emperor's choice of successor was usually kept secret until after his death, when it was verified by bringing together a document held by the emperor with a document previously concealed in a sealed box.

Ministers and officials had to prostrate themselves on the floor before reporting to the Emperor.

No one was allowed to see the emporer's face in the whole dynesty except from a very few people. The panelty for seeing the emporer's face was none other than death.

The Supreme Harmony Hall of the Forbidden City was attacked by fire and struck by lightening many times.

Manchu women did not bind their feet, but wore shoes mounted on six- to eight-inch platforms, giving them the tottering gait considered seductive.

There were alot of shemales in the Forbidden City who worked there. At one time there were 70,000 shemales in the forbidden city. They were not shemales naturally but males used to get themselves operated to live in the Forbidden City. Sometimes parents also turned their boy into a shemale by getting him operated without his consent. Though with the passage of time number of shemales kept on reducing and the last emporer had just 1500 of them in the Forbidden City.

Instead of jousting with lances, Chinese courtiers took part in the competitive sport of poetry composition.

Portraits have a special significance in China because of the widespread practice of ancestor worship.

"The Last Emperor", familiarly known as Puyi, succeeded to the throne when he was not even three years old. He was forced to abdicate in February 1912, but was held in the Forbidden City until 1924. During those years he had a British tutor, Reginald Johnston, who gave him his first bicycle.

Puyi once said that he was weeping when he first sat on that huge throne. People in his palace whispered that weeping is a bad omen and it proved to be a bad omen as he was forced to abdicate three years later. This ended the 2000 years old rule.

Puyi was imprisoned for a total of 15 years, first in Russia and then in China.

The forbidden city might have still been forbidden for the general public if the last emporer Puyi would not have planned to go back to the forbidden city. It was converted into The Palace Museum by the government to stop him from going back to the forbidden city.

The Palace Museum holds close to 50,000 items of paintings. Of these, more than 400 date from before the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). This is the largest such collection in China and includes some of the rarest and most valuable paintings in Chinese history.

The Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world, with more than 1000 pieces.

The Palace Museum's bronze collection dates from the early Shang Dynasty (founded c. 1766 BC). Of the almost 10,000 pieces held, about 1600 are inscribed items from the pre-Qin period (to 221 BC). A significant part of the collection is ceremonial bronzeware from the imperial court, including complete sets of musical instruments used by the imperial orchestras.

The articrafts of the Palace Museum were moved away from the museum because of the Japanese invasion on China in 1933. Later they were restored to the Palace Museum and surprisingly it is claimed that none of the articrafts were lost or destroyed, though some of them are now in taiwan but not destroyed.(Some historians disagree with this and they are of the view that some articrafts were lost.)

The Palace Museum holds 340,000 pieces of ceramics and porcelain. These include imperial collections from the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty, as well as pieces commissioned by the Palace, and, sometimes, by the Emperor personally. This collection is notable because it derives from the imperial collection, and thus represents the best of porcelain production in China. The Palace Museum holds about 320,000 pieces of porcelain from the imperial collection. The rest are almost all held in the National Palace Museum in Taipei and the Nanjing Museum.

The Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world, with more than 1000 pieces. The collection contains both Chinese- and foreign-made pieces.

The first mechanical clock was brought to the Forbidden City by a priest in 1601.

The biggest time piece in the Palace Museum is more than 2 meters long.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Interesting Butterfly Facts

Interesting Butterfly Facts

  • The word butterfly came from the English word Buttorfleoge. Perhaps because, in mediaeval times, butterflies could be seen hovering around butterchurns or that their excrement is yellowish in colour.

  • There are 292 species of butterflies in Canada. Most of which are found in British Columbia (176) and the fewest on Prince Edward Island (42). In Ontario we have 142 species.
  • Some butterflies, such as the Northern Pearly Eye, will fly at night.
  • Butterflies are the second largest group of to bees.
  • Harvester larvae are carnivorous. They feed on aphids not plants.
  • Monarchs have been known to migrate over 3000km. In fact a Monarch tagged at Presqu'ile, here in southern Ontario, was recovered in Mexico and is on record as being the longest insect migration.
  • Butterflies don't have lungs.
  • The larvae of some of the some Blues, Coppers and Hairstreak butterflies produce a sugary excretion that is consumed by ants that in turn protect the larvae from predators.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • The Monarch's Mexican wintering site was only discovered in 1975.
  • The Mourning Cloak and Compton Tortoiseshell are Canada's longest lived butterfly. They can last up to 11 months.
  • In Canada we have two butterflies that use evergreens: the Pine Elfin and the Juniper Hairstreak.
  • Monarchs can fly a 1000km without stopping.
  • Butterflies make up 20 percent of the order lepidoptera.
  • Caterpillars shed their skin to accommodate growth.....just like snakes have to.
  • The Giant Swallowtail is the largest butterfly found in Canada. It's wingspan can reach up to 5".
  • It takes two years for the Macoun's Arctic to complete one life cycle.
  • The largest threat to butterflies is loss of habitat.
  • Since butterflies are cold blooded it is necessary for them to warm up their flight muscles. This is done by basking in the sun in order to absorb heat.

  • True butterfly antennae are filament like with a bulbous end.
  • Butterflies can attain a flight speed of up to 50 kph.
  • Even though Skippers are considered to be butterflies their appearance would suggest that their might be more closely related to moths than butterflies. Skippers have a thicker hairy body and hooked antennae....unlike true butterflies.
  • Monarchs can attain an altitude of a kilometer or more during migration.
  • The major cause of death to the Cabbage White larvae is rain, which knocks them off their plants where they drown or are severely injured.
  • Northern Pearly Eyes are very territorial. They will attack other male intruders.
  • Butterflies are really cool.
  • Eastern Tailed Blue, Marine Blue, Bog Elfin and the Small Checkered Skipper all share top honours for Canada's smallest butterflies at wing a span of 16mm. Worldwide the smallest are the Pygmy butterflies at 11mm.
  • The Mourning Cloak has been known to play dead in order to escape predators.
  • Mourning Cloaks and Compton Tortoiseshells frequently feed at Sapsucker drillings.
  • Butterflies smell with their antennae.
  • The Painted Lady is the most wide spread butterfly species in the world. Occurring on all continents accept South American and Antarctica.
  • When it rains butterflies find shelter in crevasses, in dense undergrowth and tree cavities.
  • Skipper antennae are filament like with a slight hook on the end.

  • If the scales are removed from a butterfly's wing what is left is a transparent membrane.
  • The Karner Blue butterfly became extirpated in Ontario around 1991.
  • The Spring Azure is one of the shortest lived butterflies lasting only a couple of days.
  • There are only six species of butterflies, in Canada, that are found above the 75th parallel on Ellesmere Island (that's up there); Polaris Fritillary, Dingy Fritillary, Arctic Blue, Hecla Sulphur, Labrador Sulphur, and the American Copper.
  • The male, of some species of butterflies, emits it's pheromones through special scales on their wings.
  • Overwintering species of larvae avoid freezing by producing glycerol.....a kind of antifreeze.
  • Some larvae communicate with ants by producing sounds.
  • Male Monarchs never make the return journey the following spring.
  • Some members of the Skipper family of butterflies can attain flight speeds in excess of 50 kph.
  • Milbert's Tortoiseshells lay eggs in clusters containing upwards of a thousand.
  • Butterflies breath through openings in their abdomen called "spiracles".
  • Butterflies are divided into two main groups called skippers (hesperioidea) and true butterflies (papilionoidea).
  • Chryxus Arctic displays territorial mating behaviour known as "leks". Although well documented among birds, it would appear to be a rare and unusual behaviour with butterflies.

Interesting Facts about Tsunami

Interesting Facts about Tsunami

  • On July 12, 1993 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in the Sea of Japan produced tsunami that totally destroyed the southern half of Okushiri Island. Waves were greater than 30 feet and some could have been 100 feet. The earthquake was about 50 miles offshore and the tsunami arrived within minutes. 120 people died.
  • The states most at risk for Tsunami are California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Hawaii is at greatest risk and they have about 1 tsunami a year and a dangerous tsunami about every 7 years.
  • On March 28, 1964 an extremely large earthquake (magnitude 8.4) struck Alaska. It caused tsunami waves that were very destructive in southeastern Alaska, in Vancouver Island, Canada, and in the States of Washington, California and Hawaii. Waves ranged in size from 6 to 21 feet. The tsunami killed more than 120 people and damages costing more than $106 million. It was the costliest tsunami ever to strike the Western United States and Canada.
  • Although a large asteroid impact is highly unlikely, scientists studying the possibility have decided that a moderately large asteroid or about 5-6 km in diameter falling in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, would generate a tsunami that would travel all the way to the Appalachian Mountains in the upper two-thirds of the United States. Coastal cities would be wiped out by such a tsunami.
  • Nuclear explosions could possible create tsunami but none have ever been generated from testing yet. Furthermore, such testing is currently banned by international treaty.

 What causes a tsunami?

When an undersea earthquake or other major disturbance causes a section of the ocean floor to suddenly rise or sink, the mass of water above the affected area also rises or sinks. This unexpected movement of the water creates a series of powerful waves.
Undersea earthquakes that cause massive changes to the ocean floor and the displacement of a large volume of water are the most common cause of a tsunami.
Tsunami can also be caused by other undersea events such as volcanoes or landslides
A tsunami can also be caused from events above the ocean floor. These events could include a meteorite crashing into the ocean, major landslides near a coastline or material from an erupting volcano forming a landslide. The impacts of tsunami triggered this way tend to be localised.
More than 75 per cent of tsunami are caused by undersea earthquakes.

Where do tsunami occur?

Most tsunami occur in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The boundary of the Pacific Ocean experiences frequent earthquakes. This boundary is commonly known as the Ring of Fire. There are two major subduction zones in the Indian Ocean that can also generate tsunami.
Subduction zone earthquakes are the most common source of destructive tsunami. These earthquakes are generated when two tectonic plates meet and one goes under the other, usually at a rate measured in centimetres. The sinking (subducting) plate drags against the upper plate, causing flexing. Continued stress on the plate boundary results in the upper plate rebounding to its original position, displacing the sea water above.
The Questacon Tsunami show includes a demonstration of this process (between the 8 and 16 minute mark).

Sumatra earthquake and tsunami, 26 December 2004

In the case of the December 2004 earthquake off Indonesia, the tsunami was generated 10 minutes after the event when the displaced sea surface spread outward from the epicentre as a tsunami. In this illustration, the red arrows indicate the direction in which the upper plate is deformed due to drag and release of the lower plate. (Copyright Geoscience Australia)

A Tsunami can really move!

In the deep water of the ocean, the waves that are created have a large wavelength but are not usually bigger than one metre tall. A tsunami wave may be hundreds of kilometres in length and it moves at a high speed across great distances without losing much of its energy.
Tsunami waves move out from where a large body of water has been disturbed, similar to the way ripples move away from the place where a rock has been dropped into a pond.
In the open ocean, a tsunami can travel as fast as 950 kilometres per hour, which can be represented by the speed of a passenger jet. It loses speed as it approaches land, but it does not lose much of its energy. As it slows down, the height of the waves build.

How big is a tsunami?

In the open ocean it can be difficult to notice a tsunami wave. However, as a tsunami wave approaches land and moves into more shallow water, the leading edge of the wave slows down but the back of the wave is still travelling at its original speed. This causes the water to bunch up and increase the wave height. This is known as ‘shoaling’. When it reaches land, it may behave like a series of breaking waves or a large, powerful wave.
The tremendous energy of the wave can cause great quantities of water to surge inland, far beyond where even the highest of tides would commonly reach.
Some of the largest tsunami waves have been generated by the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. This tsunami reached a height of 37 m. In 1737, a tsunami was estimated to be 64 m high as it struck Cape Lopatka in northeast Russia.

Tsunami waves are different from normal waves

Tsunami are different from normal waves. Normal waves are generated by the wind and it is only the water near the surface that is moving. In a tsunami all the water from surface to sea bed is moving and the movement has been generated by something (usually an earthquake) that has displaced water. In the open ocean, tsunami create little movement and little threat to shipping.
When a tsunami wave reaches the shore, its wavelength might be more than 100 km.  Tsunami can last for several hours or even days depending on location. This is much different to the waves that we are used to seeing at the beach. Typical ocean waves usually last for less than a minute and have a wavelength of 100 m.
The energy behind a tsunami can strip sand off beaches, undermine trees, and crush buildings.
People and boats are powerless against the force of a tsunami. The amount of water carried inland is capable of inundating vast areas of normally dry land.

Case studies

Chile tsunami 27 Feb 2010

This tsunami followed an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre of the earthquake was 115 km NNE of Concepcion. The epicentre of this quake was 230 km north of the largest earthquake ever recorded (9.5 in 1960). This quake was the result of movement between the Nazca Plate on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean and the South American Plate. The first waves hit about 34 minutes after the earthquake. Properties and businesses were damaged and over 200 lives were lost.

Samoa tsunami 29 September 2009

At 6.49am an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter Scale triggered this tsunami. The earthquake epicentre was located on the Pacific tectonic plate near its boundary with the Australian Plate approximately 200 km south of Samoa. Dozens of magnitude 4 and 5 aftershocks followed the initial earthquake, continuing through the next day. This area, near the Tonga Trench, is one of the most active earthquake regions in the world. The tsunami struck the islands of Savi’i, Upola, and Tutuila minutes later with waves that were approximately 3 m high. Smaller tsunami hit other Pacific islands farther away from the earthquake’s epicentre. The tsunami caused a great amount of damage to property and the natural environment and caused the death of over 100 people.

Solomon Islands tsunami 2 April 2007

On 2 April 2007 an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter Scale had its epicentre 350 km NW of Honiara. The earthquake occurred in shallow water in the early morning and was quickly followed by a tsunami. The waves were up to 10 m high. Over 50 deaths were reported and thousands were left homeless. A tsunami warning was issued for Australia and Alaska 15 minutes after the earthquake.

Indian Ocean tsunami, 26 December 2004

This event was one of the most devastating caused by a natural hazard in recent years. The earthquake that triggered the tsunami occurred west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra and measured 9.0 on the Richter Scale, making it the largest earthquake worldwide in 40 years. The death toll in March 2005 was over 273 000 people, with many still missing.

Papua New Guinea tsunami 17 July 1998

An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale just off the northern coast generated a destructive tsunami. Waves up to 10 m high hit the villages in the Aitape region extremely quickly. More than 2000 people were killed and there was great damage to buildings and farmland.