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Did you know... that willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus Salix, are around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Willows all have abundant watery bark sap, which is heavily charged with salicylic acid, soft, usually pliant, tough wood, slender branches, and large, fibrous, often stoloniferous roots. The roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity to live, and roots readily sprout from aerial parts of the plant. (Wikipedia)


Facts About Willows'

by Admin  |  March 2017


  • Willows are deciduous trees and shrubs which belongs to the family Salicaceae.
  • There are around 400 species of willows worldwide.
  • They are found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Some willows (particularly arctic and alpine species) are low-growing or creeping shrubs; for example, the dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) rarely exceeds 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) in height, though it spreads widely across the ground. It is one of the smallest woody plants in the world.
  • The white willow is the largest species of willow trees and grows to 30 meters (100 feet) tall.
  • Most willows are very short-lived. A 70 year old willow is a very old tree. Few live to be more than 100 years old.
  • The bark is generally grey, brown or dark and very scaly.



  • Willow leaves are generally 5 to 15 centimeters (2 to 6 inches) long, deciduous, alternate, and commonly elongated and serrated or smooth.



  • Willows are dioecious, with male and female flowers appearing as catkins on separate plants; the catkins are produced early in the spring, often before the leaves.
  • The male and female flowers are quite different from one another in appearance and, side by side, it would be easy to assume that a male and a female willow tree were two different species.
  • Male willow flowers – the bright yellow pollen is on the end of the stamens and this brushes onto the pollinators when the come to drink from the nectar.



  • Female willow flowers – these are much less showy and do not have the yellow pollen of the male flowers. They also provide nectar to attract pollinators with the hope that the previous flower visited will be a male willow of the same species and thus the pollen will be transferred and the female flower fertilized.



  • The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous tiny (0.1 mm) seeds embedded in white down, which assists wind dispersal of the seeds. The seeds must land in a moist location and germinate quickly or they dry out and soon die.



  • Willow trees are able to reproduce without any type of fertilization taking place. They are able to create genetic copies of the parent plant when fallen branches take root near water sources. Willow trees are notably adept at vegetative reproduction with the ability to sprout from branches, even upside-down.
  • Willows are very cross-fertile and numerous hybrids are known, both naturally occurring and in cultivation.
  • The weeping willow (Salix babylonica) tree is the most commonly known willow tree.



  • Willows produce a modest amount of nectar from which bees can make honey, and are especially valued as a source of early pollen for bees.
  • Some of humans’ earliest manufactured items may have been made from willow.
  • A fishing net made from willow dates back to 8300 BC.
  • Basic crafts, such as baskets, fish traps, wattle fences and wattle and daub house walls, were often woven from osiers or withies (rod-like willow shoots, often grown in coppices).



  • Willow wood is used in the manufacture of of boxes, brooms, cricket bats, cradle boards, chairs and other furniture, dolls, flutes, poles, sweat lodges, toys, turnery, tool handles, veneer, wands and whistles.
  • Willow is used to make charcoal (for drawing).
  • Willow is used to make living sculptures. Living sculptures are created from live willow rods planted in the ground and woven into shapes such as domes and tunnels.
  • Willow stems are used to weave three-dimensional sculptures, such as animals and figures.



  • In Assyria, Sumer and Egypt these trees were attributed with healing due to the salicylic acid found within the bark, a raw form of today’s aspirin.
  • In Ancient Greece the physician Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal properties in the fifth century BC.
  • Native Americans across the Americas relied on it as a staple of their medical treatments.
  • In 1763, its medicinal properties were observed by the Reverend Edward Stone in England. He notified the Royal Society, which published his findings.
  • The active extract of the bark, called salicin, was isolated to its crystalline form in 1828 by Henri Leroux, a French pharmacist, and Raffaele Piria, an Italian chemist, who then succeeded in separating out the compound in its pure state.
  • In 1897, Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin (in his case derived from the Spiraea plant), which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally acetylsalicylic acid, was named Aspirin by Hoffmann’s employer Bayer AG.



  • Willow is one of the “Four Species” used ritually during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
  • In Buddhism, a willow branch is one of the chief attributes of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion.
  • Christian churches in northwestern Europe and Ukraine often used willow branches in place of palms in the ceremonies on Palm Sunday.
  • In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows.
  • In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and
  • stalking travelers.
  • Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called “Under the Willow Tree” (1853) in which children ask questions of a tree they call “willow-father”, paired with another entity called “elder-mother
  • Old Man Willow in J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium, appearing in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Green Willow” is a Japanese ghost story in which a young samurai falls in love with a woman called Green Willow who has a close spiritual connection with a willow tree.
  • The “Whomping Willow” is a feature of the grounds of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter stories.



Source: Wikipedia - Willow  |  Facts About Weeping Willows

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Fact of the Day - HAGIA SOPHIA


Did you know.... that Hagia Sophia, officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia and formerly museum is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul, designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. (Wikipedia)


Facts About Hagia Sophia
by Christine M  |  May 11, 2020



Hagia Sophia is one of the world’s greatest monuments and was also once one of the largest Cathedrals in the world. It is more than 1500 years old, yet it was built within a short period of six years. This has rather popularized its architects. Interestingly, Hagia Sophia was a church then mosque turned museum. How is that for diversity. The top 10 facts about Hagia Sophia draw a vivid picture of the great piece of architecture and history of this Istanbul beauty.


1. The first great Byzantine ruler ordered Hagia Sophia’s reconstruction


Emperor Justinian and members of his court

Hagia Sophia is undoubtedly the most important Byzantine (Istanbul) empire buildings, and also one of the world’s greatest monuments. Emperor Justinian ruled for 38 years, during which a revolt took place, and the church building was destroyed. The emperor however ordered and oversaw Hagia Sophia’s construction and inaugurated it in 537 CE. He was very proud of this work.


2. One of Hagia Sophia’s features is a great dome


Hagia Sophia great dome and other smaller domes

Hagia Sophia’s walls once had to be reconstructed to support a huge dome that sits atop it, as its weight caused the walls to lean outward. Its sheer size which is 31.7 meters in diameter and 55.6 meters high from floor level is breathtaking. The pendentives that sit between the arches that support the dome were also a unique feature used in construction then. Getting a circular dome to stay on top of a square building by itself is impressive, hence the fascination with the Hagia Sophia. It is said that the huge dome is a symbol of the realm of heaven and its glory. This dome is worth the mention as it is the most striking element of Hagia Sophia, and the second biggest in the world- pantheon in Rome boasts a slightly bigger dome


3. Hagia Sophia’s design has been used as an architectural yardstick


Hagia Sophia outline
The Basilica style and the huge 32-meter dome of the Hagia Sophia structure make it outstanding. Its structure is almost square with three aisles separated by columns with galleries above it. Marble piers support a heavy dome that sits on its top. Hagia Sophia has windows that obscure the supports when the sun shines making the canopy appear to be floating. These and many other architectural marvels have made Hagia Sophia more than ordinary-its design inspired that of other mosques like the Blue Mosque of Istanbul and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.


4. Hagia Sophia boasts Islamic and Christian influences


Islamic writings at the Hagia Sophia Central nave

Hagia Sophia was built as a Cathedral and its name means holy wisdom. It was built under an officially Christian state at a time when citizens were dissatisfied with their government and were rioting. Justinian, the ruler then, managed to quell the riots and had the Hagia Sophia built with simple decorations that were mostly images of the cross, and later ornate mosaics. With the end of Justinian’s rule by way of defeat by Mehmed II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and changes in decorations were made. Christian decorations were covered up rather than destroyed. These were later unearthed, hence present-day Hagia Sophia museum presents both Muslim and Christian influences.


5. Hagia Sophia lost a lot of art to iconoclasm


Hagia Sophia’s mosaics lost in iconoclasm

The Hagia Sophia museum is rich in artworks of both Muslim and Christian varieties. One can only imagine how much more of Christian artwork there would have been if iconoclasm had not taken place- this is the belief in the importance of the destruction of images and monuments for fear of these becoming the center of reverence rather than God. During the iconoclasm period, many artworks or images were plastered over, destroyed, or altogether removed. People would actually come to pray and make wishes in front of Hagia Sophia’s icons with the belief that they would come true.


6. Hagia Sophia’s ‘ Weeping Column’ is said to have healing powers

Hagia Sophia
has a column known as the wishing column, perspiring column, or sweating column that is damp to the touch. It is located on the northwest portion of the church, and on it there is a hole in which people jam their fingers to receive healing from their ailments! It is believed that it has the blessing of St. Gregory who appeared near it, thus provides healing. A finger that emerges wet from the hole is believed to be an indication of the fulfillment of one’s wishes and the provision of healing. Protective bronze plates put over the hole was no determent to pilgrims who still found a way to access the hole.


7. Modernization of Hagia Sophia caused its conversion into a museum


Interior of Hagia Sophia

The first President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk came into power in 1923. He banned numerous Islamic customs and westernized Turkey. This was precedence for the secularization of the Hagia Sophia, later converted to a museum. Before its conversion, Hagia Sophia was Istanbul’s main mosque. Its conversion was seen as beneficial to the Eastern countries and the world as it would provide new knowledge. Turkey’s Kariye mosque turned museum was contested in court. The ruling made was in its favor, as the conversion was declared unlawful. This may have set precedence for other museums that were once mosques such as Hagia Sophia to revert to being mosques.


8. Hagia Sophia sits on the site of two other churches
Hagia Sophia
is the third construction at the spot on which it sits. The other two constructions were churches as well. The first one, Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, Megálē Ekklēsíā, meaning “Great Church” was burned in 404. Theodosius II ordered the erection of a new church which was built but was also razed to the ground during a revolt against Emperor Justinian I. This emperor commissioned architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles to build the Hagia Sophia in the wake of the revolt. The two men were Mathematician- Physicist, and Mathematician- Geometrician respectively.


9. Hagia Sophia windows are famous


Hagia Sophia windows’ panoramic view

Apart from the Hagia Sophia itself, and its dome, one other outstanding feature of Hagia Sophia is its forty windows beneath the large dome all around the building. When the sun shines, it casts a light into the cathedral that creates a mystical aura reflecting into the nave. The famous windows, while letting light into the building also would show structural problems or wear and tear, while easing the pressure of the dome on the pendentives.


10. Hagia Sophia was built from significant material


Column of green marble at Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia’s columns were from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Large stones were acquired from Egypt while black stone was acquired from the Bosphorus. Additionally, green marble and yellow stone were acquired from Thessaly and Syria respectively. All these materials from around the Byzantine Empire and beyond made Hagia Sophia as magnificent as it is. The features of the Hagia Sophia as described are splendid, and a visit there would help appreciate their individuality as well as their coming together to form the whole. Conversion of the church to mosque, then museum ensures that everything is available for viewing. It is feared that an earthquake might bring Hagia Sophia down as it was constructed over a fault line. The Museum could also do with some refurbishment as it has been said that Hagia Sophia is in such a state of disrepair it desperately needs work.


Source: Wikipedia - Hagia Sophia  |  Facts About Hagia Sophia

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The 2,000-Year-Old Body That Still Has Hair, Eyelashes, And Blood In Her Veins


Did you know.... that history is full of unexplained mysteries, and for some reason, we as humans tend to concentrate on the mysterious things more than the undeniable facts. So if you love historical mysteries, you are in for a treat since this list compiled by Bored Panda looks at some unexplained events that scientists have failed to explain. From a 2,000-year-old body that still had hair and eyelashes on it, to a text that nobody in the world can understand, this list shows you the weird history side. Feel free to share your theories in the comments! (BoredPanda)


Biggest Historical Mysteries That Will Probably Never Be Solved
By Owen Jarus  |  December 2021


Will we ever find Cleopatra's tomb or the Ark of the Covenant? Some mysteries may never be resolved.


There are some historical mysteries that may never be solved, from the date that Jesus was born to the identity of Jack the Ripper to the location of Cleopatra's tomb. Sometimes, that's because the relevant excavated material has been lost or an archaeological site has been destroyed. Other times, it's because new evidence is unlikely to come forward or the surviving evidence is too vague to lead scholars to a consensus. The lack of answers only makes these enigmas more intriguing. Here, Live Science takes a look at 14 of these historical questions that may never have definitive explanations.




The King Arthur statue Gallos by Rubin Eynon stands on a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of Cornwall. 

The story of King Arthur has been told and retold numerous times over more than 1,000 years. Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, the wizard Merlin and the sword Excalibur are all famous parts of the Arthurian tales. However, if King Arthur did really exist, the reality was likely less magical. The earliest surviving accounts date to the ninth century and tell of a leader (perhaps not even a king) who fought several battles against the Saxons; even the accuracy of these accounts is debatable. There are a number of sites in Britain that legends link to King Arthur, such as Tintagel, a coastal site that was supposedly King Arthur’s home; but excavations have not confirmed whether Arthur ever lived there or even existed. Ultimately, it seems unlikely that scholars will ever know for sure whether there was a real King Arthur or whether the man was purely fictional. 





In 1888, Jack the Ripper killed at least five women in London, mutilating their bodies. A number of letters, supposedly from the Ripper, were sent to police taunting officers' efforts to find the Ripper. (Whether any of them were actually written by the Ripper is a matter of debate among scholars.) The name "Jack the Ripper" comes from these letters. Needless to say, the Ripper was never found, and over the years, dozens of people have been brought up as possible candidates. In his 2012 book ""Jack The Ripper: The Hand Of A Woman,"" John Morris suggests that a woman named Lizzie Williams was the Ripper, although other Ripper experts cast doubt on it. It appears unlikely that the true identity of the Ripper will ever be known for sure. 




The teamster union leader known for his involvement in organized crime disappeared in Oakland County, Michigan, on July 30, 1975, and is presumed to be dead. The identity of his killer(s) and the location of his body are ongoing mysteries. Police and forensic anthropologists have searched a number of sites in Detroit and Oakland County to no avail. One popular theory was that Hoffa's body was buried beneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey. However, this theory has been debunked. On Oct. 25 and 26, 2021, FBI agents visited a former landfill in New Jersey to conduct a "site survey," according to The New York Times. The survey is a follow-up to a a deathbed confession by a landfill worker claiming that people had charged he and his father with burying Hoffa's body in a steel barrel under the dump in 1975. The agents apparently didn't find the steel barrel, Live Science reported. The identity of his killer is also unclear. Before his death in 2006, Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, a hit man, claimed to have killed Hoffa and dumped his body in a scrap yard, The Guardian reported. An author named Philip Carlo visited Kuklinski in prison before he died and wrote a book on Kuklinski's confessions. After the book came out, a number of police officers cast doubt on the confession in media interviews. As the years go by, it appears increasingly unlikely that Hoffa's remains will ever be found.  




Ancient writers claim that Cleopatra VII and her lover, Mark Antony, were buried together in a tomb after their deaths in 30 B.C. The writer Plutarch (A.D. 45-120) wrote that the tomb was located near a temple of Isis, an Egyptian goddess, and was a "lofty and beautiful" monument containing treasures made of gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony and ivory. The location of the tomb remains a mystery. In 2010, Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former antiquities minister, conducted excavations at a site near Alexandria now called Taposiris Magna, which contains a number of tombs dating to the era when Cleopatra VII ruled Egypt. While many interesting archaeological discoveries were made, Cleopatra VII's tomb was not among them Hawass reported in a series of news releases. Archaeologists have noted that even if Cleopatra's tomb does survive to this day, it may be heavily plundered and unidentifiable. 




President John F. Kennedy in the presidential limousine before his assassination with his wife Jacqueline next to him.

This is probably the biggest mystery in American history that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald (although some speculate that he wasn't the only one shooting). On Nov. 24, 1963, before Oswald could stand trial, Oswald was fatally shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Ruby died of lung cancer on Jan. 3, 1967. The most widely accepted explanation is that Oswald killed JFK on his own and Ruby killed Oswald, on his own volition. Ruby's stated motivation was to spare Jacqueline Kennedy "the discomfiture of [Oswald] coming back to trial." However there are still a significant number of professional historians, along with many amateurs, who do not agree with this explanation and since JFK's death, numerous alternative explanations have been brought forward by historians and amateurs. Given that significant new evidence is unlikely to appear, a firm consensus will probably never be reached.  




This relief sculpture shows Cleopatra VII and her son Caesarion at the Temple of Hathor. 

In 47 B.C., Cleopatra VII gave birth to a son named Caesarion whom she claimed was the son of Julius Caesar. Cleopatra named Caesarion as co-ruler of Egypt in 44 B.C., and surviving art depicts mother and son as co-rulers.  However, whether the child was truly Caesar’s son is uncertain. Caesar never acknowledged the child as his own. One of Caesar’s friends, Gaius Oppius, even wrote a pamphlet denying that Caesarion was Caesar’s son. Cleopatra VII died by suicide after she and Mark Antony were defeated by Octavian in 30 B.C. and Caesarion was killed not long after that. With no remains of Julius Caesar or Caesarion surviving, it is unlikely that scholars will ever be able to determine, with certainty, whether Caesar was truly Caesarion’s father. 




For more than two centuries, stories have circulated that Oak Island, located off Nova Scotia, Canada, held a money pit of buried treasure — supposedly left by the pirate Capt. William Kidd (1645-1701). Over that time, numerous expeditions costing millions of dollars have traveled to the island searching for the lost treasure, to no avail.  Despite centuries of searching no treasure has been found on Oak Island. Nevertheless that doesn't stop people from trying to find it. A History Channel show called "The Curse of Oak Island" follows a modern-day expedition; the show was just renewed for a fourth season in 2016. 




Here, strip 11 of the Copper Scroll.

Another treasure tale that will probably never be resolved is more ancient. In 1952 a copper scroll was found by archaeologists in a cave, along with other Dead Sea Scrolls, at the site of Qumran. As its name suggests, the writing was engraved onto a copper scroll. The scroll records a vast amount of hidden gold and silver treasure — so much, in fact, that some scholars believe that it is impossible for it to exist.  The scroll dates back more than 1,900 years to a time when the Roman Empire controlled the Qumran area. There were a number of revolts against Roman rule at the time the scroll was written, and scientists have hypothesized that the treasure was hidden to prevent its capture by Roman forces. Whether the treasure is real, where exactly it was hidden, whether it was ever found and whether it could still exist today are all mysteries that will likely never be solved. 




In 587 B.C., a Babylonian army, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, conquered Jerusalem, sacking the city and destroying the First Temple, a building used by the Jewish people to worship god. The First Temple contained the Ark of the Covenant, which carried tablets recording the 10 Commandments. The fate of the Ark is unclear. Ancient sources indicate that the ark was either carried back to Babylon or hidden before the city was captured. It's also possible that the ark was destroyed during the city's sacking. In any event, the ark's location is unknown. Since the disappearance, a number of stories and legends about the ark's fate have been told. One story suggests the ark eventually made its way to Ethiopia, where it is kept today. Another story says the ark was divinely hidden and will not appear until a messiah arrives. 




While many Christians today celebrate Dec. 25 as the birth of Jesus, he likely was not born on this day. The date Dec. 25 may have been chosen because it’s close in time to Saturnalia, a Roman festival that celebrated the god Saturn. The earliest records of Dec. 25 being the birthday of Jesus date to the fourth century – more than 300 years after his birth.  Ancient records suggest that early Christians were never able to agree on a date when Jesus was born and even today many Orthodox Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday as being on Jan. 6 or 7. In the end, it is unlikely that the date of Jesus’ birth will ever be known — in fact, even the precise year is not certain, although scholars generally agree that it was sometime around 4 B.C.  




Ancient writers describe a fantastic series of gardens constructed at the ancient city of Babylon in modern-day Iraq. It's not clear when these gardens were built, but some ancient writers were so impressed by the gardens that they called them a "wonder of the world." Around 250 B.C., Philo of Byzantium wrote that the Hanging Gardens had "plants cultivated at a height above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth." So far, archaeologists who have excavated Babylon have been unable to find the remains of a garden that meets this description. This has left archaeologists with a question: Did the hanging gardens really exist? In ­2013, Stephanie Dalley, a researcher at the University of Oxford, proposed in a book that the gardens were actually located at the Assyrian city of Nineveh. Over the past two decades, both Babylon and Nineveh have suffered damage from wars and looting, and it seems unlikely that this mystery will ever be fully solved. 




Writing in the fourth century B.C., the Greek philosopher Plato told a story of a land named Atlantis that existed in the Atlantic Ocean and supposedly conquered much of Europe and Africa in prehistoric times. In the story, the prehistoric Athenians strike back against Atlantis in a conflict that ends with Atlantis vanishing beneath the waves. While no serious scholar believes that this story is literally true, some have speculated that the legend could have been inspired, in part, by real events that happened in Greek history. One possibility is that the Minoan civilization (as it's now called), which flourished on the island of Crete until about 1400 B.C., could have inspired the story of Atlantis. Although Crete is in the Mediterranean, and not the Atlantic, Minoan settlements suffered considerable damage during the eruption of Thera, a volcano in Greece. Additionally, archaeologists found that the Minoans were eventually overcome (or forced to join with) a group of people called the Mycenaeans, who were based on mainland Greece. It's unlikely that this debate will ever be fully settled. 




The earliest surviving gospels date to the second century, almost 100 years after the life of Jesus (although recently, it was announced that a possible first-century fragment had been found). The lack of surviving first-century texts about Jesus leave biblical scholars with a number of questions. When were the gospels written? How many of the stories actually took place? What was Jesus like in real life? Archaeological investigations of Nazareth, Jesus' hometown, reveal more about the environment where he grew up. More recently, scientists discovered a first-century house that, centuries after Jesus' time, was venerated as being the house that Jesus grew up in, but whether it was actually Jesus' house is unknown. Although new research will provide more insight, scholars think it's unlikely they will ever fully know what Jesus was really like.




The Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus drank from at his last supper with his disciples before his crucifixion, has never been found and almost certainly never will be. In fact, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that there was much interest in it, after those writing some of the King Arthur stories described the search for the Holy Grail as a quest that King Arthur and his knights took on. There are no serious scholarly attempts to find the Holy Grail, although it continues to be popular in fiction, being used as a plot device in films like “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” where it was used to heal Indiana Jones after he was shot by the Nazis.  

Source: Mysterious Unexplained Stories in History  |  Facts About Historical Mysteries

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Earth history mapped to 24 hours

Did you know... that the geologic time scale is a system of chronological dating that classifies geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events in geologic history. The time scale was developed through the study and observation of layers of rock and relationships as well as the times when different organisms appeared, evolved and became extinct through the study of fossilized remains and imprints. The table of geologic time spans, presented here, agrees with the nomenclature, dates and standard color codes set forth by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). (Wikipedia)


Facts About Geologic Time That Made Our Brains Hurt

by Melissa Sartore  |  Updated May 6, 2021


Have you ever wondered about the age of the planet? To grasp just how old the Earth is might take some major mind bending. It definitely requires familiarity with technical geologic terms. After all, geologic time is so broad that it's been divided into more than 20 categories and subcategories. There are eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages - all of which form a complicated timeline of overlapping (and somewhat simplified) divisions of time.  We've avoided as much technical jargon as possible here, but there's still a lot about geologic time that's just really difficult to wrap one's head around. Dinosaurs, volcanoes, and woolly mammoths... oh my! Take a look at some geologic timeline facts that might actually make steam come out of your ears! 


1. Woolly Mammoths Were Roaming The Earth When The Pyramids Were Built



Species of woolly mammoths lived in North America, Europe, and Asia as far back as 300,000 years ago (if not before). By about 11,000 years ago, the number of mammoths on Earth had declined significantly, with only a few remaining in areas like Alaska, continental Siberia, and Wrangel Island in the Arctic. Most woolly mammoths died off about 10,000 years ago, but the Arctic group lived into the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, c. 2040-1786 BC. It was during the Old Kingdom, c. 2686-2181 BC, that the grandest of the pyramids were built. These include noteworthy structures like the Great Pyramid at Giza, constructed for Khufu (r. 2559-2566 BC).


2. Humans Have Existed For One-Thousandth As Long As The Dinosaurs Lived



The first dinosaurs existed on Earth during the Triassic period, about 245 million years ago. As species evolved, the climate of the planet changed, and other factors influenced dinosaurs' survival; they lived through the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and died off roughly 66 million years ago. This signaled the end of the Mesozoic Era and the start of the Cenozoic EraGeologic time classifications aside, dinosaurs were around for between 150 and 200 million years. In contrast, the first hominids appeared roughly 2 million years ago. Evidence indicates humans, or homo sapiens, first appeared 300,000 to 200,000 years ago. The time humans have been on Earth amounts to about one-thousandth of that boasted by the dinosaurs. 


3. Tyrannosaurus Rex And Stegosaurus Lived About 80 Million Years Apart



The Tyrannosaurus rex, a carnivorous creature whose name means "king of the tyrant lizards," might be one of the best-known dinosaurs in the world. T. rex, for short, stood as high as 40 feet tall and could weigh as much as nine tons, according to archaeological evidence. T. rex dominated North America during the Cretaceous period, about 65 million years ago. Another commonly known dinosaur, the Stegosaurus, was an herbivore with a deadly, spiked tail that also lived in North America. Stegosaurus could be found during the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. While it's common to see both T. rex and Stegosaurus together in popular culture representations of dinosaurs (like in movies from the Jurassic Park franchise), they actually existed as many as 80 million years removed from one another. This also means that T. rex lived closer to when humans were around than Stegosaurus.


4. During The Age Of The Dinosaurs, Volcanoes May Have Been Erupting On The Moon



Scientists know the moon was volcanically active between 3.5 billion and 1 billion years ago, but images taken by the LRO spacecraft suggest volcanic activity continued long after that. In fact, three volcanic deposits are believed to be less than 100 million years old, and one might be less than 50 million years old. The age of the dinosaurs, or Mesozoic Era, lasted between 245 million and 66 million years ago, which means volcanoes may have been erupting on the lunar surface during this time. As Space writes, "If only dinosaurs had invented telescopes, they might have seen lava occasionally oozing from the surface of the moon."


5. The Earth Experienced More Than 1 Million Years Of Rainfall During The Carnian Pluvial Episode



Roughly 232 million years ago, the Earth underwent a series of volcanic eruptions and climate changes that caused the extinction of one-third of all marine species - plus a number of animals that lived on land. Prior to this event, the supercontinent of Pangaea was a hot, dry place. Clouds could not move beyond coastal regions, and there were few mountains to break up the low-lying land. When the climate shifted, many animals were unable to cope with the wet, humid world. This wet period, known as the Carnian Pluvial Episode, lasted between 1 million and 2 million years. Rainfall during the Carnian was not continuous, but areas like modern-day Utah experienced an estimated 55 inches of rain annually - as much as a temperate rainforest in the current era. This increase in rainfall occurred across Pangaea, causing "mountain-flattening mega-monsoons" and permanent changes to the supercontinent's terrain. Experts believe this massive geologic change allowed the dinosaurs to become the dominant lifeform on the planet, and led to species' increased diversification in the Late Triassic.


6. The Planet Only Started Making Oxygen 2.5 Billion Years Ago



Oxygen is essential to the life of planet Earth - at least for the multicellular variety like plants, animals, and human beings. Earth's ability to maintain a rich oxygen atmosphere is what sets it apart from the other planets in our solar system, but it's a relatively recent amenity. The Earth is more than 4.5 billion years old, and for the first 2 billion years of its existence, the atmosphere was largely oxygen-free. Then, the Great Oxidation Event occurred. It's not known precisely how this happened, or exactly when, but it's generally believed that cyanobacteria in the ocean began pumping out enough oxygen to alter the atmospheric composition of the planet.  Single-celled organisms first appeared on Earth about 3.5 billion years ago, and this change would have been lethal for many of them. Others, however, used this new resource to form more complex structures, evolving into multicellular life forms and eventually leaving the ocean altogether.


7. Horseshoe Crabs Are 450 Million Years Old, But Some Algae Have Lived More Than Twice As Long



Fossil evidence indicates the earliest living animals on Earth were those with shells. Species such as horseshoe crabs can be traced to 450 million years ago, which means they outlived all of the dinosaurs twice over. While horseshoe crabs have survived at least five mass extinctions, they're not the oldest living organism on the planet. In early 2020, researchers discovered green algae that existed a billion years ago. The fossilized seaweed, Proterocladus antiquus, is believed to be one of the ancestors of land plants on Earth. There's also red algae from Canada and India that date to 1.2 and 1.6 billion years ago, respectively.


8. Days Were Shorter And Years Were Longer For Dinosaurs



Dinosaurs lived between 250 and 66 million years ago, a time period that constitutes the Mesozoic Era. Divided further into three periods - the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous - this era experienced days between 21 and 23 hours long. Shorter days were the result of a closer proximity to the moon and the spin of the Earth, factors that continue to influence our ever-extending days. Although days were shorter, researchers have determined that years were actually longer. They used fossil shells to estimate that years were 372 days long.


9. The Sahara Has Only Been A Desert For About 6,000 Years



As few as 6,000 years ago, what the modern world knows as the Sahara Desert was green - very green. The area was vast grasslands with plentiful precipitation and an array of plant and animal life. The change in climate that shifted the African landscape continues to be explored by researchers, but evidence suggests humans played a role. According to archaeologist David Wright, pastoral humans may have overgrazed the Sahara, "reducing the amount of atmospheric moisture... and enhancing" the amount of light that reflected into the area. Contrasting opinions indicate the Sahara vacillated between desert and lush grasslands regularly, highly influenced by monsoon winds in the region. With this in mind, the Sahara might be poised for a wet comeback in roughly 14,000 years. 


10. The Oldest Zircon Crystal Ever Found On Earth Is More Than 4.3 Billion Years Old


Not to be confused with cubic zirconia, a synthesized alternative to diamonds, zircon is a naturally-occurring mineral (the transparent variety is considered a semi-precious gemstone). A zircon crystal discovered in Australia is currently the oldest known fragment of early Earth - about 4.375 billion years old.  That means the crystal was formed roughly 165 million years after the Earth coalesced from a cloud of dust into the planet we call home. That's a significant timespan to a human being, but the blink of an eye on a geologic scale. 

According to geochemist John Valley, the trace elements discovered in this zircon reveal that early Earth "wasn't an inhospitable place" and "was more like the Earth we know today."


Source: Wikipedia - Geologic Time Scale  |  Geologic Time Facts

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Fact of the Day - TEMPLES


LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah


Did you know..... that a temple is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called churches), Hinduism (whose temples are known as Mandir), Buddhism (often monasteries), Sikhism (whose temples are called Gurdwara), Jainism (whose temples are sometimes called Derasar), Islam (whose temples are called mosques), Judaism (whose temples are called synagogues), Zoroastrianism (whose temple are sometimes called Agiary), the Baha'i Faith (which are often simply referred to as Baha'i House of Worship), Taoism (which are sometimes called Daoguan), Shintoism (which are sometimes called Jinja), Confucianism (which are sometimes called the Temple of Confucius), and ancient religions such as the Ancient Egyptian religion and the Ancient Greek religion. (Wikipedia)


The Most Ancient Temples in the World

By Stephanie Strasnick  |  February 19, 2018


Of the buildings that still remain today from the early years of civilization, many of the most spectacular are the ancient temples. Given the importance of religion in ancient civilizations, it's not surprising that these spiritual sites were built using the latest architectural innovations and are imposing in scale. Many of these sites are still shrouded in mystery about their past uses and creators, while others are well documented and have been studied for more than a century. Luckily for architecture and history buffs, some of the oldest temples around the globe can actually be toured by visitors today. Get your Indiana Jones hat and field boots ready—we’ve rounded up 10 awe-inspiring temples you’ll want to explore right now.


Temple of Hatshepsut


Location: Egypt. Built: Around 1,470 B.C. Also known as Djeser-Djeseru, this ancient funerary shrine in Egypt was designed by pharaoh Hatshepsut’s royal architect, Senenmut, and can be recognized by its lengthy colonnade and many terraces. Although many of the site’s original statues and ornaments have been stolen or destroyed over the years, its relief depicting the divine birth of a female pharaoh is still intact. A monastery was built on top of the temple in the seventh century A.D. The site's first large-scale excavation took place in the 1890s and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Egyptologist Herbert E. Winlock led an excavation and restoration of the site from 1923 to 1931.


Temple of Amada


Location: Nubia. Built: 18th and 19th Dynasties (Between 1,550 and 1,189 B.C.) Originally constructed on the east bank of the Nile, this temple, which is the oldest temple in Nubia, was moved in the 1960s and '70s to a new, higher site on Lake Nasser to protect it from flooding. The effort was led by French Egyptologist Christiane Desroches Noblecourt and included a number of Nubian temples and historic sites. The temple’s most notable features include a well-preserved relief and two significant inscriptions describing the military accomplishments of the pharaohs who built the temple, Tuthmosis III and his son Amenhotep II.


Göbekli Tepe


Location: Turkey. Built: 10,000 B.C. It is believed that 6,000 years before Stonehenge was built, a remarkable stone temple was erected on a hilltop in southeastern Turkey by prehistoric people. Known as Göbekli Tepe, the site was previously dismissed by anthropologists, who believed it to be a medieval grave. In 2008, however, the German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt determined that Göbekli Tepe is, in fact, the oldest known temple in the world. The site was purposefully buried around 8,000 B.C. for unknown reasons, although this allowed the structures to be preserved for future discovery and study.


Luxor Temple


Location: Egypt. Built: Between 1,100 and 1,600 B.C. This Ancient Egyptian temple on the east bank of the Nile has served as a place of worship for nearly 3,500 years. The site is known for its avenue of sphinxes and the towering Pylon of Ramses II. The structure was constructed during the reigns of several pharaohs, including Amenhotep III, Ramses II, and Tutankhamen, who is credited with much of the temple's decoration. The Luxor Temple is considered the largest and most important site in ancient Egypt and was dedicated to Amun, the king of the gods, as well as the mother goddess Mut, and Khonsu, god of the moon and time.


Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni


Location: Malta. Built: Around 2,500 B.C. Unlike the other temples on our list, the Hypogeum in Malta was constructed underground. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this enormous, subterranean labyrinth has false windows, trilithon doorways, decorative red ocher paintings, and carved-stone ceiling accents that mimic corbeled masonry. The Hypogeum was discovered in 1902 during construction and was first excavated beginning in 1903. The site was closed between 1990 and 2000 for conservation, and while it has reopened to the public, only 80 visitors are permitted per day.




Location: England.
Built: Beginning in 3,000 B.C.
One of the world’s most famous—and mysterious—monuments, Stonehenge dates back approximately 5,000 years, when an early monument, consisting of a circular ditch with inner and outer banks, was installed. The stone structure we know today was constructed around 2,500 B.C. Though its original function remains unknown, it’s possible that Stonehenge was built as a temple for the worship of ancient earth deities. Comprising a symmetrical arrangement of bluestones (some weighing up to four tons), the structure is regarded as a major feat of engineering. The monument was privately owned until 1918, when it was given to the country. Stonehenge and its surroundings were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.


Ġgantija Temples


Location: Malta. Built: Between 3,600 and 3,200 B.C. Inhabitants of the island of Gozo once believed these two temples were built by a race of giants, hence their name, which is derived from the Maltese word for giant. The temples are constructed of coralline limestone, and some of the stones weigh over 50 tons. Inside, softer globigerina limestone was used for decorative elements. The temples, as well as five other temples in Malta, were named UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1980.


Temple of Apollo (Delphi)


Location: Delphi, Greece. Built: 330 B.C. The Temple of Apollo is located at Delphi, the center of the Ancient Greek world, and was built on the site of two earlier temples. The architects, Spintharus, Xenodoros, and Agathon, built the peripteral Doric temple following a similar plan as the previous temple, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 373 B.C. Athenian sculptors Androthenes and Praxias created work that decorated the pediment. The village of Kastri was built over the site in the seventh century A.D. and was later removed in 1891 for long-term excavations. Delphi was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.


Tchogha Zanbil

Location: Iran. Built: 1,250 B.C. Tchogha Zanbil was founded by Elamite ruler Untash-Gal as the religious center of ancient Elam, a site which is now part of the Khuzestan Province. The holy city contains a ziggurat (a rectangular stepped tower), temples, and three palaces. The ziggurat at Tchogha Zanbil is the largest outside of Mesopotamia and the best-preserved structure of its kind. The city was never completed and was attacked and damaged by Assyrian king Ashurbanipal around 640 B.C. It was discovered in 1935 by prospectors for an oil company and was excavated between 1946 to 1962 by archaeologist Roman Ghirshman.


Ziggurat of Ur

Location: Iraq.
Built: 21st century B.C. The Ziggurat of Ur was built by King Ur-Nammu and dedicated to the god Nanna. Today only the foundations remain, and part of the structure, including the staircase and lower façade, was rebuilt by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. It has been closed to the public since 2003, although U.S. military personnel have been able to access the site thanks to its proximity to the Tallil Air Base.


Source: Wikipedia - Temple  |  Facts About Some of the Oldest Temples

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December 31st Fact




Welcome sign for Palmyra Atoll, June 2005


Did you know.... that in our childhood, many of us were dreaming of finding ourselves on a mysterious island with many treasures and tropical fruits. However, it’s not that simple when that island contains cryptic atolls, abandoned hospitals, or not-so-playful wildlife. (Wonder Places)


Uninhabited and Mysterious Islands With Bizarre Pasts

Getting away from it all on a deserted island sounds like a wonderful way to live, doesn’t it? But then again, there are some islands you can’t live on, some you aren’t allowed to visit, and some that have terrifying pasts that may give you nightmares—even by reading about them.


1. Daksa

The island of Daksa in the Adriatic Sea near Dubrovnik, Croatia, was the home of the Franciscan Monastery of St. Sabina from 1281 CE to the 19th century. The small island also has a villa and an ancient lighthouse, and it was little used after the monastery closed, and even less so after what happened in 1944. At the height of World War II, Partisans came to Dubrovnik and rounded up 53 men suspected of being Nazi sympathizers, including the mayor of Dubrovnik and the local parish priest. They were never seen alive again. They were taken to Daksa and executed without trial. In 2009, two mass graves were unearthed on the island. DNA samples were taken from the victims of the Daksa Massacre, and some were identified. The remains finally received a proper burial in 2010, 66 years after they were executed. But there are tales of the ghosts of the victims haunting the island, still crying out for justice. The little island is for sale, and has been for several years—without any takers.


2. Clipperton Island

Clipperton Island is a coral atoll south of Mexico and west of Guatemala in the Pacific. It was first claimed by the French, then Americans, who mined it for guano. Mexico took possession in 1897, and allowed a British company to mine guano there. Around 1910, Mexico sent 13 soldiers to guard the island. They were joined by their wives and some servants, and soon children were born. Another island resident was a reclusive lighthouse keeper named Victoriano Álvarez. In 1914, supply ships stopped coming due to the Mexican Civil War, and malnutrition set in. The soldiers living on the island started to die off, until only three of the wives and their children remained. Victoriano Álvarez, the lighthouse keeper, also survived. Álvarez seized control of the survivors and declared himself king of the island. He spent the next few years terrorizing the women and children of Clipperton Island, until they banded together to kill him. In 1917, the last surviving islanders, three women and eight malnourished children, were rescued and evacuated by an American ship. Ownership of the island reverted to France, which manned a lighthouse on Clipperton Island, but after World War II it was completely abandoned. There are now only occasional scientific expeditions to the atoll.


3. North Brother Island


North Brother Island, looking southwest from Barretto Point Park

North Brother Island in the East River in New York City is a protected nesting area, and therefore off-limits to the public. The island has quite a lurid history, spanning 130 years. Riverside Hospital opened a quarantine facility for smallpox patients on the 20-acre island in 1885. The hospital later took in patients with other communicable diseases, like typhoid. It was here that Typhoid Mary was housed involuntarily for two decades until her death in 1938. The hospital closed in 1942, but the buildings were used for veterans' housing for a while, and then as a rehab center for young drug addicts, until corruption, abuse, and rights violations forced the facility to close for good in 1963. The island was purchased by the City of New York in 2007. The buildings still stand in their ruined state, and are said to be haunted by the many who died or suffered there.


4. Lazzaretto Nuovo

Lazzaretto Nuovo is an island situated at the entrance of the lagoon that envelops Venice, Italy. It was a monastery in medieval times, then in 1468 was designated as a quarantine area for ships approaching Venice, to protect the city from the plague. This continued until the 18th century, when the quarantine facilities were abandoned, and Lazzaretto Nuovo became a military base. The Italian Army abandoned the site in 1975, and it suffered years of neglect. Community efforts have since turned it into a cultural museum site, now supported by the Italian Ministry of Arts and Culture. The island is currently open for tourism.

5. Ernst Thälmann Island

Ernst Thälmann Island is a tiny piece of land located in the Gulf of Cazones off the coast of Cuba. It has always been uninhabited, and is casually set aside to remain in a pristine condition. It has a great deal of biodiversity, and includes a healthy reef. The island’s historical name was Cayo Blanco del Sur until 1972, when Fidel Castro hosted a state visit for East German leader Erich Honecker. Castro’s welcome included a renaming of the island in honor of Ernst Thälmann, who was a German communist revolutionary executed by the Gestapo in 1944. Castro ceremonially handed the island over to the German Democratic Republic, though the territory was never legally given away. A bust of Thälmann was erected on the island, and stood there alone until it was toppled by hurricane Mitch in 1998. Ernst Thälmann Island is the center of a "war" between the Republic of Molossia, a micronation which consists of one household in Nevada, and East Germany, which ceased to exist in 1990. The rationale is that since Castro gave the island to East Germany in 1972, and the territory was not mentioned in the documents that dissolved East Germany, the island is the last remaining part of the German Democratic Republic. This “war” has been going on since 1983.


6. Palmyra Atoll


Coconut palms on Strawn Island at Palmyra Atoll

Located 1000 miles south of Hawaii, Palmyra Atoll is a territory owned by the United States, and it is officially uninhabited (though a handful of "non-occupants" working for The Nature Conservancy or the U.S. government temporarily inhabit the island). The U.S. military built an airstrip there during World War II, which has fallen into disrepair, although it is still used for infrequent supply runs. The atoll is now administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency, with the exception of Cooper Island, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. The atoll was formed by a growing reef that caused quite a few shipwrecks, one in which resulted in a rumored cache of gold on the land. It is said to be haunted by the sailors who died there, and it was also the setting for a sensational double murder in 1974 that became the basis for the novel and then miniseries called And the Sea Will Tell.


Source: Mysterious Islands: Wonder Places  |  Facts About Mysterious Islands

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Fact of the Day - JEJU ISLAND


Halla Mountain in Jeju

Did you know.... that Jeju Island is the largest island in South Korea, located in Jeju Province (Jeju Special Self-Governing Province). The island covers an area of 1,833.2 km2 (707.8 sq mi), which is 1.83 percent of the total area of South Korea. In 2020, the resident registration population is about 670,000, the largest among the islands in South Korea. Jeju Island has an oval shape of 73 km (45 mi) east–west and 31 km (19 mi) north–south, with a gentle slope around Mt. Halla in the center. The length of the main road is 181 km (112 mi) and the coastline is 258 km (160 mi). The northern end of Jeju Island is Kimnyeong Beach, the southern end is Songak Mountain, the western end is Suwolbong, and the eastern end is Seongsan Ilchulbong. It is in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, Sea of Japan border South Korea's economic and political as well as in military also an important position. The island was "formed by the eruption of an underwater volcano approximately 2 million years ago." It contains a natural world heritage site, the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. Jeju Island belongs to the temperate climate, and it has a moderate climate; even in winter, the temperature rarely falls below 0 °C (32 °F). Jeju is a popular holiday destination and a sizable portion of the economy relies on tourism and economic activity from its civil/naval base. (Wikipedia)


Interesting facts about Jeju Island

by Admin  |  August 2018



Jeju Island also known as Jeju-do is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. The island is the world’s first recipient of UNESCO’s triple crowns in the fields of nature and science – Biosphere Reserve (2002), World Natural Heritage (2007) and World Geoparks (2010). Also, in 2011, Jeju was voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is a volcanic island, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. Oval in shape, the island measures approximately 73 kilometers (45 miles) across, east to west, and 41 kilometers (25 miles) from north to south.




The island has a surface area of 1,826 square kilometers (705 square miles). The island is dominated by Hallasan: a volcano 1,950 meters (6,400 feet) high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The island formed by volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago. The island consists chiefly of basalt and lava.




Hundreds of crater-formed hills from which volcanic material once flowed, seaside precipices with waterfalls, and lava tunnels (or tubes) are international sightseeing attractions. The island’s lava tubes and certain other volcanic formations (including Mount Halla) were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface.




An area covering about 12% (224 square kilometres or 86 square miles) of Jejudo is known as Gotjawal Forest. This area remained uncultivated until the 21st century, as its base of ‘a’a lava made it difficult to develop for agriculture. Because this forest remained pristine for so long, it has a unique ecology.

Gotjawal Forest


Seongsan Ilchulbong, also called ‘Sunrise Peak’, is an archetypal tuff cone formed by hydrovolcanic eruptions upon a shallow seabed about 5 thousand years ago. Situated on the eastern seaboard of Jeju Island and said to resemble a gigantic ancient castle, this tuff cone is 182 meters (597 feet) high, has a preserved bowl-like crater and also displays diverse inner structures resulting from the sea cliff.



Seongsan Iichulbong


Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is a waterfall on Jeju Island. Literally, the name Cheonjiyeon means sky (Ch’eon) connected with land (ji). It is one of the main tourist attractions on Jeju-do. It is 22 meters (72 feet) high and 12 meters (39 feet) wide.



Cheonjiyeon Waterfall


Jeju Island’s iconic stone sculptures, the Dol Hareubang are stone statues carved from the island’s porous volcanic rock, they stand up to three metres high. They’re easily recognizable thanks to their stylized shape: the sculptures all have bulging, pupil-less eyes on a grim or slightly smiling face, their hands rest atop their bellies, one slightly higher than the other, and all the sculptures wear mushroom-shaped hats that are often interpreted as phallic. Their origins are mysterious, but are often attributed to the island’s shamanic traditions.



Dol Hareubang


Haenyeo are female deep-divers on this island. It is the professional job of getting seafood. Known for their independent spirit, iron will and determination, the haenyeo are representative of the semi-matriarchal family structure of Jeju. Jeju’s diving tradition dates back to 434 AD.





Jeju is well known for its beautiful beaches and they are popular with tourists throughout the year. However, during summer things step up a notch as tourists and locals alike aim to make the most of the hot summer weather. As of August 2019, the population of Jeju Island was estimated to be about 700,000 people. The island hosts about 15,000,000 visitors per year. Jeju has a humid subtropical climate. Four distinct seasons are experienced on Jeju; winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy.


Source: Wikipedia - Jeju Island  |  Just Fun Facts About Jeju Island

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Fact of the Day - STONE AGE


Did you know... that the Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4,000 BCE and 2,000 BCE, with the advent of metalworking. (Wikipedia)


Interesting Facts About The Stone Age
by James Dilley  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  Updated: Dec 28, 2020



1. The Stone Age is the longest time period in the human timeline... 
You could take all the following time periods (to the modern day) together, multiply them several times, and the Stone Age would still be longer. However the Stone Age starts and ends in different places at different times. The first period in the Stone Age: The Palaeolithic, is longer than the following time periods put together too! In Britain, the Palaeolithic lasts at least 900,000 years, while the following time periods to the modern day are only around 12,000 years combined!

2. The oldest stone tools date to around 3.3 million years ago. 


The simple tools were found at Lake Turkana, Kenya from 2012 - 2014 by archaeologists from a number of institutions. It is thought the tools were made by Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, based on the age of the tools which was established by relative dating of the soil layers. Previously it was thought only species of the genus Homo produced flaked stone tools, however this discovery demonstrates some of our earliest ancestors had the ability to manipulate natural resources around them.

3. Stone Age people did not always live in caves...

As caves do not exist everywhere, people had to make use of other shelters (or not inhabit the area at all). Caves are excellent locations for preserving archaeology as they provide shelter even when the human inhabitants are long gone. Animals living in caves can dig burrows, and later humans can dig out deposits left by previous humans (damaging or destroying what was left). If there were no caves in an area that were accessible, humans built shelters of a variety of designs. These shelters almost certainly had wooden frames which were covered with hides, bark or tatching, though little is left besides post holes after thousands of years. Where caves existed however, they were generally used if they were there (and accessible).

4. The oldest musical instrument found is around 35,000 - 40,000 old...


Found at Hohle Fels in southern Germany in 2008, the five-holed flute from the radius bone of a griffon vulture (found with ivory fragments of other flutes) is the oldest clear instrument. Dating from the Aurignacian techno-complex, this type of artefact demonstrates the broadening of raw materials consistently used by humans (Neanderthals appear to have only used bone occasionally) and exploration of art and expression through different sounds or music. Both Hohle Fels, and the nearby site of Geissenklösterle have yielded huge amounts of archaeology from the time when the first anatomically modern humans were moving westwards from the Balkans.

5. The dog was domesticated during the Stone Age around 20,000-40,000 years ago...


Though the oldest dog bones date to 14,000 years ago, researchers found that they could trace back even earlier evidence of the divergence of the grey wolf and dogs through DNA. By looking at dog bones dating to between, researchers were able to determine the rate of change in DNA to the oldest specimen. This allowed them to work out roughly how long ago this change began. By 7000 years ago, the dogs that roamed would not be considered pets by modern standards, but would have almost certainly been effective tools for hunting and security.

6. Neanderthals died out around 40,000 - 30,000 years ago, but coexisted with modern humans for several thousand years...
The exact reasons behind the disappearance of Neanderthals remains debatable. It could be pressure from incoming modern humans, it could be disease, climate change or a combination of issues. What we do know is that as the Neanderthal species began to decline, modern humans (H. sapiens) were present in the same regions and coexisted for several thousand years. Based on changes in Neanderthal technological behaviour, it is possible modern humans had some influence on the way Neanderthals made tools. We also do not know if modern humans and Neanderthals fought, ignored each other or were friendly to each other, the evidence in the archaeology is missing. 

7. The oldest known art dates to 73,000 years ago...

A flake of silcrete (a mineral made of cemented sand and fine gravel) was drawn on around 73,000 years ago using a piece of red ochre. The drawing is simple: a series of lines, some of which intersect one another. This is the earliest evidence of modern humans creating lines or using a colouring agent on an object or wall, but its meaning remains unclear. Could it be an attempt to teach an inexperienced tool maker how to strike off flakes? Or could it just be simple doodling? The find comes from Blombos Cave in South Africa, around 185 miles of Cape Town.

8. The oldest ceramic object from the Stone Age is approximately 30,000 years old... 
It is a figurine of a female form, and like others of a similar style it has been labelled as a “venus figure”. The figure comes from the Upper Palaeolithic site of Dolní Věstonice in the Czech Republic where it was discovered in 1925 (broken in two pieces) next to a hearth (fire place). The site has provided a wealth of archaeological material from the hunters who lived there and built shelters from mammoth bones. The 11cm tall figurine was made from one piece of wet clay (instead of several being sculpted together) which had small fragments of burned bone mixed in. What these venus figures represent is difficult to answer, they may have been fertility symbols, good luck charms, toys or a 3D image of a loved one.


9. Holes were cut or scraped into the skulls of other living people! 
The act of Trepanning is to bore a hole into a skull to relieve pressure. The earliest evidence of this practice on humans dates to around 7000-8000 from near Kiev (Ukraine). The patient was a male who showed complete healing after the practice and lived on into his 50s. A later Neolithic cemetery in France provided evidence that 40 out of 120 human skulls discovered showed evidence of the practice, many with evidence of healing and bone regrowth. Trepanning is still used today in extreme cases of bleeding on the brain, though it is covered with a patch or plate. It was only in remote parts of the world where the practice continued to follow its prehistoric roots (without modern surgical methods or patching) up until the early 1900s.

10. The oldest wheel so far found dates to the very end of the Stone Age... 

Dating to 5150 years ago during the transition between the Stone and Bronze Ages (the Chalcolithic), a pile-dwelling  settlement of houses on stilts in Slovenia yielded what was first thought to be an unremarkable wood plank in 2002. On further excavation, the plank turned out to be an ash wood wheel measuring 70cm wide and 5cm thick. A further surprise was the presence of the intact axle for the wheel, made of oak and measuring 120cm. The site is located about 20km southeast from the capital: Ljubljana, in an area known as the “Ljubljana Marshes”. The wheel and axle are believed to have come from a single-axle push cart on which the wheel and axle rotated together (as the wheel has a square socketed).




Source: Wikipedia - Stone Age  |  Facts About the Stone Age

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Fact of the Day - RIVER


The Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Did you know.... that a river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water.  Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague. (Wikipedia)



by National Geographic Kids


Yellow River


From the world’s longest waterways to our streams, brooks and underground springs, rivers flow all around our incredible planet. Learn all about them with our fascinating facts about rivers! Rivers only hold a small amount of the Earth’s water, but they have always been vital to human life, carrying freshwater to people and animals all over the world. And they’re super-powerful forces of nature, too – carving out deep valleys and gorges, and shaping the land as they flow to the ocean! Let’s dive in to find out more…


15 facts about rivers


1. The Nile River is widely accepted as the world’s longest river. Found in north Africa, it flows through 11 different countries and stretches a whopping 6,695km – that’s as long as 65,000 football pitches!


2. Most scientists agree that the Amazon River comes in a close second, winding a huge 6,840km through the mountains and rainforests of South America!



Save our rainforests


3. That’s a very long distance, wouldn’t you agree? Well, believe it or not, in 2007 a man named Martin Strel swam the entire length of the Amazon river! To complete his amazing jungle journey, Martin swam ten hours a day for 66 days!


4. But what about the world’s deepest river? That’s the Congo River in Central Africa. Whilst its true depth remains a mystery, scientists believe the waters run at least 230m deep in parts – deep enough to submerge London’s famous clocktower, known as Big Ben, 2.5 times on top of each other!




5. As rivers flow their course across the land, they form lots of fascinating geographic features, such as amazing mountain valleys, canyons, lakes and, of course, wonderful waterfalls!


6. Some record-breaking waterfalls formed by our planet’s rivers include…

Angel Falls, Venezuela – the world’s highest waterfall at a staggering 979m tall!

Khone Falls, Laos – the widest waterfall, measuring an incredible 10,783m!

Inga Falls, Democratic Republic of the Congo – the world’s largest waterfall, if we’re talking about the amount of water. Every second, 25,768 cubic metres plunges down the fall – that’s more than ten Olympic swimming pools!



Inga Falls


7. Rivers can be all kinds of colours – not just blue, clear or muddy brown as you might expect! In ‘blackwater rivers’, found in swamps and wetlands, the waters look like strong black tea. And in Colombia, the aquatic plants of Caño Cristales – known as the ‘River of Five Colours‘ – make the waters flow with bright blue, red, black, yellow and green!




8. Not all rivers flow overland – ‘subterranean rivers‘ run secretly beneath the surface! This is sometimes because of human engineering. Ever heard of London’s ‘lost rivers‘? These are streams of the River Thames and River Lea that were built over as the city grew.


9. Subterranean rivers can also exist naturally. In the Philippines for example, the Puerto Princesa Underground River flows beneath a mountain for five miles, before finally emptying into the South China Sea. Cool, eh?




10. It’s not just rivers themselves which are fascinating – it’s the wonderful wildlife that lives in them, too! Rivers provide a home for all kinds of creatures, including insects, amphibians, birds, reptiles, mammals and over 10,000 species of fish!


11. Some of the most fascinating river creatures include Amazon river dolphins (which have pink skin!), electric eels (which stun prey and predators with powerful electric shocks!), freshwater stingrays (which can grow to an enormous 5 metres!) and freshwater turtles, which have been around for 200 million years!




12. Rivers and lakes are a vital source of freshwater for life on Earth. But did you know they hold less than 1% of the world’s water? Most (over 99%, in fact) is in the salty ocean or frozen in our polar ice caps. That’s why it’s super important that we protect our rivers and look after the freshwater our planet provides.


13. Sadly, our rivers and waterways are being polluted by chemicals, sewage and household waste, which can cause serious harm to animals – and humans, too. In fact, an estimated 300-400 million tonnes of waste is thought to pollute our rivers and seas every year!


14. The good news is that people around the world are working hard to keep our rivers and fresh water supplies clean and safe. And you can help, too! Be sure to reuse and recycle whenever you can, and bin rubbish responsibly! And you can help save water, too – be sure to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and why not opt for a short shower over a long bath?




15. Did you know there’s a day dedicated to our planet’s wonderful waterways? Every September, millions of people from more than 70 countries celebrate World Rivers Day. This global event raises awareness of the importance of rivers and how we can best protect them for years to come!


Source: Wikipedia - River  |  Facts About Rivers

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - AI'S IN TELEVISON


Kismet, a robot with rudimentary social skills.

Did you know.... that Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to natural intelligence displayed by animals including humans. Leading AI textbooks define the field as the study of "intelligent agents": any system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of achieving its goals. Some popular accounts use the term "artificial intelligence" to describe machines that mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as "learning" and "problem solving", however, this definition is rejected by major AI researchers. (Wikipedia)


Captivating TV Shows depicting Artificial Intelligence



From big screen to small screen, directors and script writers around the world have been dazzling us with some intriguing plots surrounding Artificial Intelligence. The small screen is gradually following this fad with some nerve-wracking, mind-twisting TV shows. The transcendence of robots beyond the consciousness line has ever an interesting theme for directors of these TV shows. The extent and the manner in which most of these shows brought in AI have been characteristically different over the years. Some introduced AI-based characters, while others introduced plots where the actors had to specifically solve and AI issue, or make use of the technology in overcoming an impediment. But with years, we have seen the inception of shows which are rather completely based on AI, yet these shows never fail to bring in something new and entertaining for the viewers in every episode. This article is a throwback to some of those well-directed televised programs which have successfully depicted AI is a more interesting theme.


Almost Human
In a near-distant future, around 2048, a detective named John Kennex wakes up from a 17-month long coma following the aftermath of a catastrophic attacked launched against the police department. As John recovers from the death of his old partner and loss of his memory and legs, he must partner with Dorian, an Android of a DRN model. This action-packed cop drama has been directed by J. H. Wyman, represented a futuristic timeline, where every police officer is partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. Karl Urban and Michael Ealy play the respective roles of John and Dorian, respectively, in this 2013-produced hit TV series.



Battlestar Galactica
Created by Glen A. Larson and Ronald D. Moore, this show ran from 2005 to 2009. This is a magnificent sci-fi show, depicting the scenario when AI turns nasty against humans. The show focuses a lot on the tension and war between humans and robots. The TV series stresses on the dark side of humans, while bringing out the humanity element in robots. The show has received exceptional reviews form Time Magazine, Rolling Guide, etc.




The show revolves around two families, the Graystones and the Adamas, who live a peaceful life on the planet Caprica. But a breakthrough in AI brings about unforeseen consequences on the planet. The show is a spin-off from “Battestar Galactica,” and is set in a timeline 50 years prior to events of the original series. The show is filled with provocative, daring, and controversial ideas.



This British-American show was first released in 2015, and ran on Channel 4 in the UK and AMC in the US. This show is originally based on the popular Swedish production “Real Humans.” The show draws in an alternate reality, where artificially intelligent robots, known as “Synths,” serve as highly-developed robotic servants. Humans presents the picture of a dystopian society, touching upon the psychological impact of AI – for both humans and robots, alike.




The plot for this intelligent show revolves mostly around the central character Gabriel Vaughn, played by Josh Holloway. As Gabriel, Josh acts as a high-tech intelligence operative who has brain implant containing a super-computer microchip, in this high-octane dramatic thriller. The implant presents him with abilities to connect directly with the global information grid, giving him complete access to Internet, WiFi, telephone, and satellite data. Hacking into any data center and accessing key intel are some of his specialties, which he uses to defend US from its enemies. The show projects Josh as the first supercomputer with a beating heart, a secret weapon in States’ defense strategy.




Person of Interest
Created by Jonathan Nolan, the show aired successfully on CBS network from 2011 to 2016, and is essentially a science-fiction drama. The show starts renown actors like Jim Caviezel, Emmy Award winner Michael Emerson and Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson.

The plot revolves around a crime-fighting team who use AI to predict future murder instances. The team makes exclusive use of an AI program, the “machine” to apprehend possible criminals, before they execute their dreadful acts. Additionally, the show explores the relationship of humans with AI.




Small Wonder
This is yet another popular 80s sitcom about this family who create a robot, named VICI (Voice Input Child Identicant), and adopt her as their daughter. The actual identity of VICI is kept a secret throughout the show, and the AI never failed to amuse the audience. VICI’s AI programming was imperfect, making her incapable of reflecting emotions. The central character was played by Tiffany Brisette. Small Wonder was created by Howard Leeds.




Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
This series is a spin-off from the popular Terminator movie franchise, and the plot is based on a timeline, four years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. John and Sarah are hiding from the government and Skynet’s agents from future. Skynet is the infamous revolutionary artificial intelligence system, designed originally to establish a new order of intelligence. The season moves on to Sarah realizing that hiding was a futile attempt, and they plan to destroy Skynet, in order to stop Armageddon. This show ran from 2008 to 2009.




Total Recall 2070
Directed by Art Monterastelli, this show came in 1999 and is about a dark, multi-cultural mega-city on earth in 2070s. The central characters of the plot David Hume and Ian Farve are played by actors Michael Easton and Karl Pruner, respectively. David Hume is a smart and dedicated human and has to partner with Ian Farve against his wishes. Ian is an advanced android of mysterious origins as the show dictates. The central characters are part of Citizens Protection Bureau (CPB), who investigate crimes related to rogue or self-aware androids, advanced cyber technologies espionage, and illegal genetic experiments.




The show from HBO managed to catch a much larger audience, last year, as it hit the screens. Artificial Intelligence is the central theme of the story, and it goes on to explore the relation of AI with human consciousness. The story is about a Western-themed futuristic park, populated with artificial intelligence, where high-paying guests go on to live their own fantasies, killing people in a frenzy. “Guest” are the real humans who visit Westworld, while the AI beings are termed “host”. The show additionally delves on ideas such as what would happen if AIs started gaining consciousness. Remember, the “host” only act oblivious till they transcend the fine line of consciousness, which is basically the idea the show will move forth with in its second season.





Source: Wikipedia - Artificial Intelligence  |  Facts About Artificial Intelligence in Television

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Fact of the Day - DEER


Did you know... that deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk, the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer, white-tailed deer, the roe deer, and the moose. (Wikipedia)


Interesting Facts About Deer

by Admin  |  May 2016



  • Deer (plural and singular) are the members of the Cervidae family of the order Artiodactyla, or even-toed hoofed mammals, with two large and two small hooves on each foot.
  • There are about 50 species of deer including elk, moose, caribou or reindeer, muntjac, red deer, and white-tailed deer, among others.
  • Deer are native to Europe, Asia, North America, South America  and northern Africa. Humans introduced deer to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
  • A characteristic of deer is that almost all species have antlers, a biological structure that is unique to deer. Other ruminants have horns. Antlers consist of bony outgrowths from the head with no covering of keratin as is found in true horns.




  • Deer generally have lithe, compact bodies and long, powerful legs suited for rugged woodland terrain.
  • Most species of deer live in forested or partly wooded areas, although some live in grasslands, marshlands, and tundra.
  • Deer range from very large to very small.
  • The moose or elk is the largest species in the deer family. It can grow up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) from hoof to shoulder and weigh around 820 kilograms (1,800 pounds).




  • The Southern pudu is smallest species in the deer family. It weighs only around 9 kilograms (20 pounds) and gets to be only around 36 centimeters (14 inches) tall when fully grown.




  • The lifespan of deer is from 10 to 25 years depending on the species; though many die long before then due to predators or environmental dangers such as collisions with cars.
  • Deer are herbivores which means they eat grass, leaves, plants, fruits, acorns, and nuts when they are available.
  • Biologically speaking, deer are crepuscular; feeding mainly from before dawn until several hours after, and again from late afternoon until dusk.




  • Deer have their eyes on the sides of their head, giving them a 310 degree view. This wide view does make it hard for deer to focus on a single point. Deer have a good night vision, which is useful in the early morning and near dusk.
  • Deer have a great sense of hearing. They have a lot of muscles attached to their ears which allow them to turn their ears in any direction, without moving their heads. They can hear higher frequencies of sound than humans.




  • Also they have an excellent sense of smell, which allows them to detect predators from a long distance away. Deer lick their nose to keep it moist, which helps odor particles stick to it, improving their sense of smell.
  • Deer are social animals and travel in groups called herds. The herd is often led by a dominant male, though with some species the herds are segregated by sex. Sometimes the females will have their own herd and the males will have a separate herd. In other cases, a female herd is watched over by a herd of males. Some reindeer (also known as the caribou) herds can have as many as 100,000 members.




  • Although most deer live in herds, some species, such as South American marsh deer, are solitary.
  • Deer use three main types of communication: vocal, chemical, and visual.




  • Deer produce scents with glands located on their head, legs and hooves. These scents provide information to other deer about their gender, social status, physical condition and whether an area is safe.
  • In temperate-zone deer, antlers begin growing in the spring as skin-covered projections from the pedicels. The dermal covering, or “velvet,” is rich in blood vessels and nerves. When antlers reach full size, the velvet dies and is rubbed off as the animal thrashes its antlers against vegetation. Antlers are used during male-male competition for mates during breeding season, and are shed soon afterwards.




  • Although most deer are polygynous, some species are monogamous (e.g., European Roe deer). The breeding season of most deer is short. In some species, males establish territories, which encompass those of one or more females. In some deer, females may form small groups known as harems, which are guarded and maintained by males, and in other species males simply travel between herds looking for females.
  • Deer carry their young for a gestation period of 180 to 240 days.
  • Deer usually only have one or two young at a time (triplets, while not unknown, are uncommon) and these young are called fawns. Some of the large deer babies are also called calves.




  • The fawn is able to stand in 10 minutes and can walk in 7 hours!
  • Deer range in color from dark to very light brown; however, young are commonly born with spots, that helps camouflage them from potential predators.
  • Fawns are protected by a lack of scent. Enemies cannot smell them. The mother keeps them hidden in bushes and checks up on them about 6 times a day to feed them. Young deer stay with their mothers for 1-2 years.




  • Deer are prey to many wild animals around the world including wolves, coyotes, lynx, pumas, jaguars, tigers, bears and occasionally foxes. They are also hunted by humans.
  • The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species includes the Calamian deer, Bawean deer, hog deer, Persian Fallow deer and the Chinanteco deer. The Père David’s deer is extinct in the wild and now can only be found in captive populations.
  • Only one species, the reindeer has been domesticated.
  • The only female deer with antlers are reindeer.
  • Chinese water deer are the only deer species not to have antlers. Instead, it has very long canine teeth that it uses to attract mates.
  • Moose have the largest antlers.
  • Deer antlers are the fastest growing tissue on Earth!
  • The Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus or Megaceros) is a huge extinct deer and the largest known species of deer to have ever lived. It died out about 11,000 years ago. It is famous for its formidable size (about 2.1 meters (7 feet) at the shoulders), and in particular for having the largest antlers of any known deer (a maximum of 3.65 meters (12 feet) from tip to tip)
  • Deer appear in art from Palaeolithic cave paintings onwards, and they have played a role in mythology, religion, and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry.


Source: Wikipedia - Deer  |  Facts About Deer

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - STORKS


Did you know.... that storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. They belong to the family called Ciconiidae, and make up the order Ciconiiformes. Ciconiiformes previously included a number of other families, such as herons and ibises, but those families have been moved to other orders. (Wikipedia)


Interesting Facts About Storks

by Admin  |  November 2016



  • Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills.
  • They live on all continents except Antarctica and are most common in tropical regions.
  • Many species prefer to be in or near wetlands, though some occur in drier areas.
  • There are 19 species of stork.
  • The lifespan is about 30 years and sometimes up to 40 years.
  • The largest species of stork is the marabou stork, with a height of 152 centimeters (60 inches) and a weight of 9 kilograms (20 pounds). A wingspan of 3.7 meters (12 feet) was accepted by Fisher and Peterson, who ranked the species as having the largest wing-spread of any living bird.



Marabou Stork

  • The smallest stork is the hamerkop at 56 centimeters (22 inches) in length with a weight of 470 grams (17 ounces).




  • Some species are slate gray, while others sport white, red, and black.
  • Strikingly colored bills in various combinations of red, black, and yellow often complement these plumages.
  • Storks have a dignified appearance, standing graceful and tall or marching deliberately on slender legs. The legs vary in shades of black, gray, or orange.
  • Storks are very beautiful in flight. They fly mostly by soaring on warm air currents, with long, broad wings that only flap occasionally. They stretch their neck out and dangle their legs behind them as they fly, making them recognizable even from far away.



Stork Flying

  • Most storks eat frogs, fish, shellfish, insects, earthworms, small birds and small mammals. Some storks are scavengers.
  • The stork is almost voiceless and largely silent, although it does communicate with brief hissing noises and, most importantly, bill-clattering.
  • Many stork species are migratory.



Migration of Storks

  • Various terms are used to refer to groups of storks, two frequently used ones being a muster of storks and a phalanx of storks.
  • Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only true to a limited extent. They may change mates after migrations, and migrate without them.
  • When it comes to nesting, storks may be either colony nesters or solitary nesters. Colony nesters gather in large groups, from a few pairs to several thousand birds.
  • Depending on the species, nests can be found in trees, on buildings, among rocks, or on the ground.



Stork Nest

  • Their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Some nests have been known to grow to over two meters (six feet) in diameter and about three meters (ten feet) in depth.
  • Female lays between 2 and 5 eggs. Incubation period lasts 25 to 35 days.
  • When stork chicks hatch, they are almost naked, but they quickly develop a covering of fluffy down feathers. They are altricial and need their parents to care for them, so both parents are kept busy flying back and forth to bring them food. Chicks can eat up to 60% of their own body weight per day.



Stork Chicks

  • After about 3 or 4 weeks, the chicks start to stand up in the nest and flap their stubby wings. After a few
  • months, their flight feathers start to grow in, and they learn to fly. Even then, they are still dependent on their parents for food for several weeks before they start fending for themselves.
  • Like most families of aquatic birds, storks seem to have arisen in the Paleogene, maybe 40–50 million years ago.
  • Birdlife International lists three species as Endangered (Oriental white stork, Storm’s stork, and Greater adjutant) and two as Vulnerable (Lesser adjutant and Milky stork). The Painted stork and the Black-necked stork are listed as Near Threatened. Many other species are suffering regional declines in the face of ever-increasing pressure for land for agriculture and building development.
  • Storks’ size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture.



Stork Baby

  • The legend about storks bringing babies got started in Victorian times. When a child asked, “Where did I come from?”, the parents simply said “The stork brought you.” This tied in nicely with the fact that European white storks often nests on the roof and chimney of houses in the spring, a time when many babies are born. The bird became a symbol of fertility and is considered good luck.
  • In Ancient Egypt, it was associated with, and was the hieroglyph for, the Ba, or “soul“.
  • The Hebrew word for the white stork is chasidah (חסידה), meaning “merciful” or “kind“.
  • Greek and Roman mythology portray storks as models of parental devotion, and it was believed that they did not die of old age, but flew to islands and took the appearance of humans.
  • Ottomar Anschütz’s famous 1884 album of photographs of storks inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal’s experimental gliders of the late nineteenth century.
  • Storks are closely related to herons, spoonbills and ibises.


Source:  Wikipedia - Stork  |  Fascinating Facts About Storks

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Fact of the Day - HISTORY


Did you know.... that history is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events. (Wikipedia)


Historical Facts That Will Warp Your Sense of Time
BY: Madison Troyer  |  March 27, 2019


In most schools, history is generally taught by geographical region or theme. For example, an ancient history class is usually broken down into the histories of different areas (Greece, Rome, Egypt, Eastern Asia, etc.), and art history is taught totally separate from political history. While this sort of system may make it easier for students to retain information, it also results in most people having a pretty warped sense of history.


The last guillotine and 'Star Wars'


The last execution by guillotine in France happened after the premiere of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” Adopted by Louis XIV as a humane method of execution, the guillotine remained in use for nearly two centuries, dropping for the last time on Sept. 10, 1977, nearly four months after the first "Star Wars" film hit theaters.


Oxford University and the Aztec Empire


One of the most renowned universities in the world, England's Oxford University has existed (in some form) since 1096. In 1231, the masters were officially recognized as a “universitas.” The Aztec Empire, which is commonly thought of as the oldest empire in the world, wasn't established until 1430—nearly 200 years after Oxford officially became a university.


Fascist Spain and Microsoft


From October 1936 up until Francisco Franco's death in November 1975, Spain was ruled by a fascist dictator (other notable fascist dictators include Mussolini and Hitler). On the other side of the pond, in May 1975, Microsoft was founded by Americans Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The contrast between the development of these two countries at this point in time is stark to say the least.


The fax machine and the Oregon Trail


The first major wagon train of nearly 1,000 pioneers left Elm Grove, Mo., and set out to follow the Oregon Trail in search of a new future on May 22, 1843. Five days later, on May 27, 1843, Alexander Bain filed his patent for the fax machine. It's crazy to think that newly arrived pioneers could have sent a fax to their east coast family to let them know they'd arrived safely.


'Starry Night' and Nintendo


One probably wouldn't associate video games and 19th-century oil painting with the same moment in history, but they'd be wrong. Vincent van Gogh painted his masterpieceThe Starry Night” in 1889 while staying at a mental asylum, the same year that Nintendo formed as a corporation (although, Nintendo's first product was actually playing cards, not PlayStations).


Kublai Khan and New Zealand


New Zealand was one of the last places on earth to be settled. Thanks to radiocarbon dating, archeologists have been able to determine that Polynesian explorers first arrived around 1250 A.D. At the same time, Kublai Khan, one of history's greatest conquerors and the ruler of the Mongol Empire, assumed leadership of his homeland.


The abolition of slavery and the iPod


In 2001, Steve Jobs changed the world when he launched the first version of the iPod. With room to hold 1,000–2,000 songs and a battery life of 10 hours, the first-generation iPod now sits in history museums. Five years later, when the sixth-generation iPod was launched, slavery was abolished in Mauritania, the last country on earth where it was still legal. And while technically the practice is criminalized here, Mauritania is still widely regarded as the slavery's last stronghold.


Former slaves and World War II


World War II officially began in 1938, although America staved off any involvement until 1941. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and slavery officially became illegal with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. It stands to reason, then, there would have been many former slaves alive at the time of WWII—those who had been slaves as children would have been in their late 70s or early 80s by the time America became involved in the war.


Disneyworld and Sylvester Magee


On October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Fla. to massive fanfare. Fifteen days later, Sylvester Magee, widely acknowledged as the last living former slave in America, died in Columbia, Miss.


Woolly mammoths and the Egyptian pyramids


The pyramids of Giza remain one of the world's biggest mysteries—how, exactly, were they constructed without modern machinery? Built between 2550 and 2490 B.C., the pyramids were completed during a massive flurry of construction. They were also built when pre-historic woolly mammoths were still walking the earth. The last Ice Age creature died in 1650 B.C., 900 years after the pyramids were complete.


Source: Wikipedia - History  |  Brief Historical Facts That You've Not Heard Of

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Fact of the Day - SIDNEY POITIER (February 20, 1927 – January 6, 2022)



Did you know... that Sidney L. Poitier KBE was a Bahamian-American actor, film director, activist, and ambassador. In 1964, he was the first black person and first Bahamian to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. He received two Academy Award nominations, ten Golden Globes nominations, two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, six BAFTA nominations, eight Laurel nominations, and one Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) nomination. From 1997 to 2007, he was the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan. (Wikipedia)


Sidney Poitier: 6 Fascinating Things To Know About The Oscar Winning Actor
By Jason Wiese  |  July 03, 2020


"Lilies in the Field"


Many prefer to ignore one of Hollywood’s darker legacies, in which actors of color were constantly subjected to poor stereotypes and simply egregious misrepresentations of race. Fortunately, times have changed for the better and the work of Sidney Poitier is a key ingredient to that progress. After becoming the first black man to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964, Sidney Poitier continued to make history in films that challenged racial tensions of the era. Most notably, he played a defiant Philadelphia detective investigating a Mississippi murder in Best Picture Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night and a doctor seeking the approval of his fiancée's white parents in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, both of which were released in 1967. The Bahamian-raised performer also endured a career in producing and directing amidst continuing to star in projects of a great variety until his retirement in the early 2000s. You may know his name and his work, but what more do you know about Sidney Poitier? Perhaps these six intriguing, lesser-known facts will shed light on the inspirational man behind his aspirational career.


Sidney Poitier Had No Precedent Of Discrimination Before Coming To America
Although born in Miami, Florida, on February 20, 1927, Sidney Poitier was raised in the Bahamas and it was not until he returned to his birthplace as a teenager when he discovered the limitations forced upon people of color in the United States. In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey, the icon credited his overcoming of "racial dogma" to his lack of awareness of, nor even belief in, those limitations, as his parents had raised him to understand his own human rights and to be "someone." Poitier would be able to channel his strong sense of identity outside of race into many of his most memorable performances, such as his Oscar-nominated role in 1958's The Defiant Ones, in which he and Tony Curtis play escaped prisoners chained to each other, forced to set aside their differences to survive.



The Defiant Ones


Sidney Poitier Attempted To Leave The Army By Faking Mental Illness, But Then Confessed
In All the Young Men, another film commenting on racial tension from 1960, Sidney Poitier plays a military sergeant put in charge of a squad of racist, white soldiers, but in reality, according to the book Heroes with Humble Beginnings by F.M. Kail, he did enlist in the Army in 1943 seeking a "change of scenery." Dissatisfied by his stationing at a veterans hospital, Poitier began feign "anti-social tendencies" in hopes of an early discharge, only to confess the act after he was prescribed shock treatment. His psychiatrist decided to let him go anyway, allowing him to pursue acting, during which he would continue to face even more challenges.



All the Young Men


Sidney Poitier Studied Radio Announcers To Shed His Bahamian Accent
When Sidney Poitier first auditioned to be in a production for the American Negro Theater in the mid-1940s, his thick accent cost him the role and he was told by founder Frederick O'Neal he would be better off as a dishwasher, which, coincidentally, was his occupation at the time. As he recalled on The Dick Cavett Show, determined to evolve from his Bahamian dialect and prove his worth as an actor, Poitier bought a radio and observed the speech pattern of one of his favorite announcers to develop a new accent. However, when he first went back for another audition months later, out of stage fright, he accidentally "slipped back into" his natural speech, but would eventually achieve his goal and became friends with O'Neal, happy to learn he was proven wrong.



Lilies in the Field


Sidney Poitier Took A Major Pay Cut To Star In Lilies Of The Field
By the early 1960s, Sidney Poitier had become a respected Hollywood star able to pursue projects that exceeded racial stereotypes, such as a role he was particularly enthusiastic about as Homer Smith, a handyman enlisted to build a desert chapel for a group of desperate nuns, in Lilies of the Field. According to Colleen McDannell's book Catholics in the Movies, Poitier agreed to star in the movie for $50,000 and 10% of the box office returns, which was significantly less than his usual salary. However, in 1964, the film would earn him an honor that no amount of money could equal to and his second Academy Award-nomination became his first Oscar-win, which was also the first Best Actor Academy award given to a black man.



Six Degrees of Separation


A Man Conned His Way Into Peoples’ Homes By Posing As Sidney Poitier’s Son
By the 1980s, Sidney Poitier's prestige and influence to break racial barriers was so widespread that David Hampton, a con artist in his late teens, decided to convince white, upper class New York families to let him into their penthouses by pretending to be the actor's son. The scam worked until his 1983 arrest after a host found him in the room they provided with a male street hustler, kicked him out, and reported him when he called from a payphone to apologize. The incident would inspire John Guare's stage play Six Degrees of Separation, which was later adapted a 1993 film starring Will Smith as Hampton.




Sidney Poitier Is An Honorary Knight
Among his many titles (actor, director, author, trailblazer, to name a few), one of the lesser known titles that Sidney Poitier can claim is "knight." Indeed, he was knighted in 1974, but unlike most of those who acknowledge their knighthood with the common prefix "Sir" (i.e., Sir Anthony Hopkins), instead, the actor often uses the abbreviated suffix K.B.E., as in "Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire." Years later, Poitier was rewarded for his artistic efforts in America with "the nation's highest civilian honor," Medal of Freedom, given to him by former president Barack Obama in 2009.


Be sure to check back for additional information and updates on Sidney Poitier and other inspirational voices, as well as more inside looks into the lives of your favorite celebrities, here on CinemaBlend.

Source: Wikipedia - Sidney Poitier  |  Imposing Facts About Sidney Poitier

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Did you know.... that art competitions formed part of the modern Olympic Games during its early years, from 1912 to 1948. The competitions were part of the original intention of the Olympic Movement's founder, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. Medals were awarded for works of art inspired by sport, divided into five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. The juried art competitions were abandoned in 1954 because artists were considered to be professionals, while Olympic athletes were required to be amateurs. Since 1956, the Olympic cultural programme has taken their place. (Wikipedia)


Notable Medalists in the Olympic Art Competitions
BY SCOTT ALLEN  |  FEBRUARY 6, 2014  |  (UPDATED: JULY 27, 2021)


Jack Butler Yeats once won an Olympic medal for his art.

Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting and sculpture. Here are some notable medalists in those categories.


The founder of the International Olympic Committee and the man responsible for reviving the Olympic art competitions won a gold medal in literature at the 1912 Games for his “Ode to Sport,” which was submitted under a pseudonym. Were the judges tipped off? We may never know.


Born 20 days before the death of his grandfather, Mormon leader Brigham Young, Mahonri Young won gold in the sculpture competition at the 1932 Los Angeles Games for his sculpture, titled The Knockdown.




The younger brother of Irish poet W.B. Yeats won the silver medal in painting at the 1924 Paris Games for his piece The Liffey Swim. It was the newly formed Irish Free State's first Olympic medal.


Walter Winans was one of two people who won an Olympic medal in the arts and one in athletics, and the only person to do it in the same year. Winans, a United States citizen who lived in England, won the silver medal in the team running deer shooting competition and gold in sculpture for his bronze An American Trotter in 1912. Winans suffered a heart attack and died while driving a horse in a trotting race eight years later.



An American Trotter (Walter Winans)


The architect of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in architecture for his design of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Pope submitted an entry for the 1936 Games, but did not receive a medal or an honorable mention.


The Hungarian won a pair of gold medals in freestyle swimming at the 1896 Athens Games. Nearly 30 years later, Alfred Hajos won silver in the architecture competition at the 1924 Paris Games for his design of the Budapest Swimming Center.




Percy Crosby created the comic strip “Skippy,” which debuted in 1925, ran through 1945, and was published in 28 countries. During the height of his popularity, Crosby won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in the watercolors and drawings competition for his Jackknife.


Jean Jacoby, from Luxembourg, is the only artist to receive two gold medals in the Olympic art competitions. He won the gold for his painting Études de Sport at the 1924 Games and another gold four years later in Amsterdam for his drawing of rugby players [PDF]. Jacoby earned honorable mentions in 1932 and 1936.



Etudes de Sport (Jean Jacoby)


The Finnish poet was the only woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic art competitions. Aale Tynni won the gold in 1948 for her poem “Hellaan Laakeri.”


The 73-year-old British graphic artist was awarded the silver medal in the engravings and etchings competition at the 1948 Games for his Polo Player. When counting medals from the art competitions, John Copley was the oldest medalist in Olympic history.



Polo Players (John Copley)

The Swiss graphic artist only submitted works in two Olympics, but he’s the only artist to win gold, silver, and bronze medals, as well as an honorable mention.


Source: Wikipedia - Art Competitions at the Summer Olympics  |  Medalists in the Olympic Art Competitions

Edited by DarkRavie
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Did you know.... that the London Underground is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. The Underground has its origins in the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground passenger railway. (Wikipedia)


Fun Facts You Didn't Know About London Underground's Past – and Its Future

by Charlotte Luxford  |  March 2018


London Transport Museum has launched two new exhibitions, Digging Deeper and The Secret Life of a Megaproject, which delve into the fascinating history of London’s incredible Underground network and offers a peek behind-the-scenes at the latest Crossrail project due to be completed by the end of 2018. Here’s what we learned from the shows…


1. Marc Isambard Brunel created the first-ever underwater tunnel
Ever gone on the Tube and wondered how the Underground tunnels were actually built without collapsing? Well it was the genius idea of Anglo-French engineer Marc Isambard Brunel to create a tunnelling shield (a circular temporary support structure), which was used to build the Thames Tunnel in 1843 – the first tunnel in the world to be constructed underneath a river. Once completed, the tunnel was dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ and a million Victorians flocked to see it. It was Brunel’s shield concept that paved the way quite literally for the Tube network in the future. Now, his famous Thames Tunnel has been unblocked after being abandoned for around 150 years and has been transformed into part of The Brunel Museum.


A lithograph of the Thames Tunnel 
(Another fun fact: Brunel didn’t always pull off his projects – he ended up in a debtors prison in Southwark for 88 days. It was only once he’d been communicating with Alexander I about coming to work for the Tsar instead that the British government intervened, not wanting to lose one of the country’s greatest engineers to the Russians.)


2. The world’s first-ever tube tunnel was built in 1870
It was called the Tower Subway, which was built with the aid of a machine designed by James Henry Greathead. Just like the Thames Tunnel, the Tower Subway was a commercial failure, but lead to the Greathead Shield, which dug the first electric railway in 1890. Subsequently, similar machines were used for the entire central London tube network over the preceding 50 years.



The giant audio-visual tunnel projection in the Digging Deeper exhibition in London Transport Museum

3. Eight giant tunnel boring machines burrowed beneath London to create 42km of tunnels for the new Crossrail
The tunnelling machines have got a bit more high-tech since Brunel’s day – the latest tunnel boring machines weigh 1,000 tonnes and 20-person ‘tunnel gangs’ have been working together around the clock to average around 100 metres of tunnelling a week. More than 200,000 tunnel segments were used to line to the 42km of tunnels for the new Elizabeth Line.


The tunnel boring machines used for the Crossrail project that have evolved since Brunel’s first shield concept 


4. All sorts of artefacts were unearthed during the Crossrail excavation
From the jawbone of a medieval mouse to the left leg of a Roman horse, there were plenty of human and animal bones turned up during Crossrail’s excavation, including plague victims discovered under a road near Charterhouse Square in Farringdon dating back to the 14th century.


Mass burial uncovered at the Crossrail Liverpool Street site 


5. More than 3 million tonnes of excavated material is being used for a nature reserve
A new 1,500-acre RSPB nature reserve called the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is being created in Essex out of the 3 million tonnes of excavated earth from the tunnels. The new saltmarsh, lagoons and mudflats, known as Jubilee Marsh, has been made by raising the land above sea level in order to create a wildlife-rich environment for birds. It’s the perfect place to brush up on your bird-watching skills – look out for marsh harriers and short-eared owls.


Wallsea Island Nature Reserve in Essex 

6. There are 10 new Elizabeth Line stations being built as part of the Crossrail project
The brand-new stations include central locations Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Paddington and Farringdon, as well as Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood. Of all the stations, Farringdon will become Britain’s busiest, with 140 trains per hour passing through the station – a sevenfold increase in commuters. The entire line will stretch more than 60 miles from the east, including Shenfield and Abbey Wood, all the way to Reading and Heathrow in the west.


Paddington Station’s proposed ticket hall 


7. A unique piece of artwork has been commissioned for each of the new Elizabeth Line stations
The Secret Life of a Megaproject reveals some of the new artworks that have been created specifically for Crossrail, including one of the largest artworks ever to be produced in London. A Cloud Index by acclaimed artist Spencer Finch consists of 60 hand-drawn panels to create a collage of clouds, installed into the roof of Paddington station. In addition, it’s just been announced that Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will be designing her first permanent UK installation for Liverpool Street’s Elizabeth line station at Broadgate, while a bronze sculpture by British artist Conrad Shawcross will be erected outside of Moorgate station. In fact, all of the artists’ works can be seen in a new exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery called Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth line, which runs until May 6 2018.


Digital rendering of Infinite Accumulation by Yayoi Kusama 


8. The 500 Elizabeth Line roundels are made by craftsmen on the Isle of Wight
Working in collaboration with Exeter’s Wood & Wood, which has created signs for the likes of John Lewis and the BBC, a relatively small company in the Isle of Wight called A. J. Wells & Sons Ltd has been working on creating the 500 new Elizabeth Line roundels that will sit alongside the iconic red and blue Edward Johnston design. The very first roundel was designed as far back as 110 years ago, but it wasn’t until 1972 that it became the officially recognised symbol of the London Underground.


The new Elizabeth Line roundel on display in The Secret Life of a Megaproject exhibition

9. Faster services mean 1.5 million more people will live within a 45-minute commute of the city
The new line will increase central London’s rail capacity by an impressive 10%, with many commuters being able to get to work much quicker. The journey time from Heathrow airport to Liverpool Street will fall from just under an hour to 34 minutes, while a trip from Paddington to Liverpool Street will take just 10 minutes, as opposed to the 23 minutes it takes at the moment.


Display of the Crossrail route from Secret Life of a Megaproject


10. More than 90,000 new homes will be created by 2021 off the back of the Crossrail project
Those already living in London around the 41 stations along the Elizabeth Line are also reaping the benefits – the ‘Crossrail Bump’ means house prices have gone up dramatically, with prices around stations such as West Ealing and Forest Gate increasing by as much as 40% since work began on the line in 2009. In 2012, a study commissioned by Crossrail stated that house prices around new stations were predicted to rise 25% more than the average price rise in central London by 2021.


Architect’s impression image of Woolwich’s Crossrail station with adjoining new homes 

Find out more about London Transport Museum’s new permanent exhibition, Digging Deeper, here, and its temporary exhibition, The Secret Life of a Megaproject, here. Both exhibitions open on March 23 2018 at London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BB. The nearest tube station is Covent Garden.



Source: Wikipedia - London Underground  |  Facts About the London Underground

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - STARS


A star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud


Did you know.... that a star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other stars are visible to the naked eye at night, but due to their immense distance from Earth they appear as fixed points of light in the sky. The most prominent stars are grouped into constellations and asterisms, and many of the brightest stars have proper names. Astronomers have assembled star catalogues that identify the known stars and provide standardized stellar designations. The observable universe contains an estimated 1022 to 1024 stars, but most are invisible to the naked eye from Earth, including all individual stars outside our galaxy, the Milky Way. (Wikipedia)


Amazing Facts About Stars
BY HOW IT WORKS TEAM  |  April 2021



Human beings have been making up stories and theories to explain the stars since prehistoric times, and the study of the stars has played a crucial role in the development of science and technology throughout history, inspiring everything from calculus to clockwork. But the idea that the stars might be ‘suns’ in their own right, unimaginably distant from Earth, is a surprisingly recent one, and it’s only in the past century or so that astronomers have really got to grips with the true variety of stars. Along the way, they’ve discovered that the Sun is really nothing special – a distinctly ‘average Joe’ compared to some of the extremes found elsewhere in our galaxy and the wider cosmos. And the journey of discovery is still ongoing. While we now have convincing theories to explain the birth and death of stars, their internal power sources and their varied properties, new telescopes and satellites are continually revealing surprising new bodies that challenge our thinking and continue to inspire us with awe and wonder 'Are we stardust?'


1. Are we stardust?
Absolutely – if it weren’t for generations of stars, the universe would contain nothing more than the light elements that formed in the Big Bang. Everything else, from the calcium in our bones to the carbon in our DNA, ultimately comes from stars. Deep in their cores, nuclear fusion forces the nuclei of lightweight atoms together to form heavier ones, and the heavier the star, the further this process goes. Stars like the Sun create elements such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen through their lives, and then scatter them across space when they die. Heavier stars release iron, gold and uranium when they go supernova.


2. What colour can stars be?
The colour of any star is a mix of different wavelengths of light, ranging from high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted by the hottest materials, to lower-energy, longer- wavelength red and orange emitted by cooler gases. White stars represent an even balance between the two.


4. Why do stars twinkle?
They don’t. Their light gets distorted by churning gases in Earth’s atmosphere – hence why telescopes are built on mountains, above the bulk of the air. We only notice the twinkling as stars are tiny points of light; planets don’t twinkle as they’re close enough to appear as tiny discs. Click here to read more.


5. Which is the farthest star that we can see?
Ignoring occasional flare-ups such as supernovas, the farthest star we can reliably see with the naked eye is the obscure V762 Cassiopeiae, which is just visible under dark skies and is around 16,300 light years away. The most distant well-known star, meanwhile, is Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. It lies a still impressive 2,600 light years away and is the 19th brightest star in the sky, suggesting it is around 200,000 times more luminous than the Sun.


6. What is neutron star?


Neutron stars are extreme stellar remnants formed after a giant star goes supernova. When the star runs out of fuel, it collapses under its own weight, creating a huge shockwave that compresses the core from the size of our Sun to roughly the size of London. Atomic nuclei in the core are torn into their subatomic components and protons are transmuted into yet more neutrons that can reach crazy densities: a pinhead of neutron star material can weigh as much as a fully laden supertanker!


7. How are stars named?
The brightest stars have proper names that often originated with Ancient Greek or Arabic astronomers – for instance, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, has a name derived from the Greek for ‘scorcher’. The bright stars in each constellation are also named with Greek letters in alphabetical order – so Sirius is also Alpha Canis Majoris.


8. Can we tell if the stars we see have died?
Stars take millions or billions of years to move through their life cycles, but the light from stars in our galaxy usually spends a few thousand years at most travelling to Earth. On the law of averages, then, it’s pretty unlikely that a star will have died in the intervening time, but there are some exceptions, eg Eta Carinae might have already exploded.


9. How can a star burn with no oxygen in space?
Blame astronomers for the misleading word ‘burn’ – stars aren’t going through the same kind of combustion we see on Earth. Instead, stars feed off their hydrogen fuel by forcing individual nuclei together until they transmute into helium and eventually other elements in a process known as nuclear fusion.


10. What exactly is a white dwarf?
White dwarfs are the superhot, burnt-out cores of stars like the Sun, exposed when a dying red giant star sheds its outer layers. With no nuclear fusion left to support it, the core collapses under its own weight until it is about the size of Earth, but typically still contains roughly half a Sun’s mass of material.


11. What’s the difference between a nova, supernova and hypernova?
Novas are relatively small explosions in double star systems. They come about when a white dwarf’s intense gravity tugs material away from a companion star. Gas piles up around the white dwarf and eventually becomes dense enough to ignite in a burst of nuclear fusion. Most supernovas, meanwhile, mark the deaths of massive stars and the formation of neutron stars. They are triggered when a shockwave tears through the outer layers of a dying star, igniting a firestorm of nuclear fusion. Finally, hypernovas are ultra-energetic supernovas marking the birth of black holes and associated with the release of intense gamma-ray bursts.


12. Where is Betelgeuse?
With a diameter large enough to swallow up Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun, Betelgeuse is the closest supergiant star to Earth 640 light years away in the Orion constellation. Nearing the end of its life, it has developed a series of internal shells creating energy from the fusion of various elements, increasing its energy output to the equivalent of 120,000 Suns. The pressure of radiation pouring out from the star’s interior has caused its outer layers to balloon to a vast size and cool to a deep red.


13. How many stars are there in the universe?


Brace yourself for some big numbers. Astronomers believe there are probably somewhere between 10 sextillion (21 zeros) and 1 septillion (24 zeros) stars in total. That’s based on recent discoveries that there are a lot more tiny, faint stars lurking in large galaxies than previously thought, and some educated guesswork on the total number of galaxies themselves.


14. If we poured a giant bucket of water on a star, could we extinguish it?
Funnily enough, it would probably have the opposite effect. The ferocity of nuclear fusion in a star depends on the temperature and pressure in its core, so if we added a huge amount of extra mass to the star in the form of all that hydrogen and oxygen, we’d increase the star’s mass and central pressure, in turn making it shine brighter.


15. How is the distance to a star calculated?
The only way to measure a star’s distance directly uses parallax – measuring the tiny difference in a star’s apparent position in the sky when we look at it from different points of view (on opposite sides of Earth’s orbit around the Sun). This only works for nearby stars, but, using parallax, astronomers can discover patterns in stellar behaviour from which they can work out the brightness of stars independently. They can then use this to extrapolate the distance of more remote stars.


Source: Wikipedia - Star  |   Facts About Stars 

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5 hours ago, Ally Walker said:

I mostly prefer meds like modafinil or something. Can't trust needles :)

I totally agree on the meds.  Needles make me squeamish but sometimes we have no choice but to get them. :) 

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Fact of the Day - CURSES


A woman performs a cursing ritual (Hokusai)

Did you know.... that a curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to one or more persons, a place, or an object. In particular, "curse" may refer to such a wish or pronouncement made effective by a supernatural or spiritual power, such as a god or gods, a spirit, or a natural force, or else as a kind of spell by magic (usually black magic) or witchcraft; in the latter sense, a curse can also be called a hex or a jinx. In many belief systems, the curse itself (or accompanying ritual) is considered to have some causative force in the result. To reverse or eliminate a curse is sometimes called "removal" or "breaking", as the spell has to be dispelled, and is often requiring elaborate rituals or prayers. (Wikipedia)


Famous Curses That'll Make You Question The Supernatural And Logic
by Rishabh Banerji |  Updated on May 10, 2017, 12:24 IST


Remember the curses we used to spell out for each other in school? Some of them were so crass, they aren't even worth writing about. But you know what I'm talking about, don't you? Back then we would do everything we could to lay it off, particularly if we were superstitious. But are you still superstitious? If yes, great. Reading these will be like digging gold. But if you're a part of the practical lot, like me, these might be a bit hard to digest. It's an intriguing read nonetheless, but finding logical reasoning behind these are nearly impossible. That, however, shouldn't stop you from giving these a try.  


1. Curse of the Hope Diamond


This 112-carat gorgeous beauty was found in India, where it was supposedly stolen from the head of an idol in the 1600s, and the priests of the temple where the idol was housed cursed the stone. It was passed into the hands of King Louis XVI of France where it was worn by Princess de Lamballe and Marie Antoinette, who were both later beheaded along with Louis during the French Revolution. Many believe that whoever is in possession of the Hope Diamond will meet a gruesome death. Even the jewelers who kept the diamond in their shop died mysterious deaths. The diamond is currently on display in the United States.


2. The Madden Curse


Weirdly funny (not for the players I'm sure), this is a one-of-its-kind video game curse. Although considered to be an honour, some NFL (American Football) players resent being on the cover of their famous franchise video game - Madden. Apparently, many athletes who have appeared on the cover of the Madden NFL game either have a horrible season afterward, or end up on the injured list, or completely fade into obscurity. Michael Vick (Madden 2004), Donovan McNabb (Madden 2006), Shaun Alexander (Madden 2007), Vince Young (Madden 2008), Brett Favre (Madden 2009), Troy Polomalu (Madden 2010) and Peyton Hillis (Madden 2012) all had unfortunate years after being on the cover. Weird, right?


3. The Kennedy Curse


The Kennedy curse was 'set-off' with President Kennedy being assassinated in 1963. It was more like a brutal domino effect that followed. Robert Kennedy was assassinated five years later in 1968. Senator Ted Kennedy survived a plane crash, but later drove off a bridge that killed Mary Jo Kopechne, thus ending his presidential dreams. Robert Kennedy’s son died of a drug overdose, his other son died in a skiing accident, JFK Jr. died in a plane crash (along with his wife and her sister) and most recently, Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of RFK Jr., hanged herself.


4. The Poltergeist Curse


One of the better horror flicks out there, the Poltergeist curse was pretty creepy. FOUR cast members of this horror franchise died in the six years between the first and third film. Real cadavers were used as props in various scenes, and that’s what the curse is attributed to. So in case you were wondering how legit the film was, remember while filming, they were actually sh*t scared.

5. The Superman Curse


Perhaps one of the most famous curses of the lot. This curse began because the original comic book creators of Superman cursed their own superhero, after they were denied the rights and money to the character. The Superman curse remains one of the most infamous curses of modern times. George Reeves committed suicide. Christopher Reeve became paralyzed after falling from his horse. Dana Reeve, Christopher’s wife and a non-smoker, died of lung cancer at the age of 44. Lee Quigley died in 1991 at the age of 14 due to solvent abuse. Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) suffers from bi-polar disorder. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were abused by DC Comics. Henry Cavill seems to have broken this jinx. An opportune moment to say *touchwood*?


6. The Kohinoor Diamond


A lot like the curse of the Hope Diamond, but there's something else that sets it apart. Every time the Kohinoor has fallen into the hands of a female, it has resulted in bringing great fortune and luck in her life. But for every male who ever owned this diamond, a terrible death lay in the future. Guess that tells us why diamonds are a girl's best friend, right?


7. The 27 Club


The fact that the 27 Club fell on number 7  is a pure coincidence (or is it?). The 27 Club refers to the really famous, and equally talented musicians who died at the age of 27, right from legends like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, all of who were very famous rock stars at their time, to the more recent Amy Winehouse, who drank herself to death. What is even more bizarre about this curse is that all of them (barring Amy perhaps) became famous at the age of 25, and then died two years later.


8. The Curse Of 0888-888-888


Some things are too bizarre to explain, but can't be ignored either. This one fits as an example. One doesn't really have cursed numbers, until and unless it's the wretched sales people who disturb incessantly. But  an exception here is the phone number 0888-888-888. This phone number has been the number of many people throughout the 2000s, up until now, but every single person who has had the number has died. Some owners died of cancer, while others were shot to death or died in a gunshot accident. Is 888 the new 666?


9. The Iceman Curse


Back in 1991, the body of an iceman was discovered in the Alps. It was estimated that the body dates back to over five thousand years. But after his discovery, seven of the people who found him died over the course of thirteen years. Which would have been acceptable had they been of natural causes, but none of them were. For instance, one person died in a car accident, another was killed in an avalanche, another died from accidentally falling off a cliff, and another from a blood disorder. The Iceman curse is currently one of the most famous curses of modern times.


10. The Spider-Man Curse


Even though most of us only know of the Superman curse, it stands nowhere in comparison to the more recent Spider-Man curse. This one's not Hollywood though, it's Broadway (theatre), and involves the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Back in 2010, during rehearsals the first mishap took place when an actor suffered broken feet and a concussion after a failed catapult stunt. Later, the stunt double broke both his wrists. On the night of the first preview performance, one of the main actresses sustained a concussion when she was hit in the head by a rope. She left the show shortly thereafter. T.V. Carpio stepped in to replace her, but was sidelined for two weeks after sustaining neck injuries during an onstage battle scene. Then, in the most dramatic and widely publicized accident, a cord snapped during an aerial stunt, causing Christopher Tierney to fall three stories and crash into the orchestra pit. His injuries were severe - the actor fractured his skull, scapula, and elbow, in addition to breaking four of his ribs and three vertebrae. The most recent injury occurred on August 16, 2013 and involved a dancer’s leg being mangled after getting caught in some machinery. To date, five actors have been hurt or maimed during the production. Apart from Tony Adams, the original producer who suffered a stroke and died before the supposedly cursed show opened on Broadway.

11. The Crying Boy painting


Nothing like a masterpiece, but this painting of a young boy was set on the walls of multiple homes throughout Europe. However, folk in many of the homes ended up being victims of fires and explosions. Even though the homes would be burned down to the ground, The Crying Boy painting was always found to be completely intact in the aftermath. What’s even more bizarre about this ‘supposed curse’ is the fact that the painter claimed that he had made the painting of a wandering orphan whose parents had died in a house fire. Eerie. It gets better - even a priest had warned the painter that each home the boy was let into, was destroyed due to a fire one time or another. The painter didn’t believe him and took the boy into his studio to paint him, but sure enough, his studio caught fire as well, and burned down, causing the painter to banish the orphan from his presence.


12. The Curse of the Dead Man’s chair


This one dates back to the 18th century. Legend has it that anyone who dares sit on Busby’s stoop chair will die soon after. It all started in North Yorkshire, back in 1702. Somehow, the town drunk, a man by the name of Thomas Busby, managed to marry the beautiful Elizabeth Auty. However, her father was vehemently opposed to the marriage, as he thought his daughter could do better. One day, Busby returned home to find his father-in-law sitting in his favorite chair. Auty announced he was there to take his daughter home. Like any reasonable man, he bludgeoned his father-in-law to death with a hammer and hid the body. But it wasn't about the daughter, it was about that chair, all along. As he was being led to his execution, he reportedly shouted that anyone who sat on his favorite chair would die. The inn where Busby lived with his wife was re-named the “Busby Stoop Inn,” and the chair has supposedly claimed an untold number of lives over the past 300 years. In 1968, Tony Earnshaw took over the inn. Earnshaw was not a superstitious man; he initially dismissed the Busby curse as nonsense and the previous deaths associated with it as coincidences. But then people started dying on his watch. First, Earnshaw overheard two RAF airmen daring each other to sit on the chair. Both did, and both died in a car crash later that day. Then there was the group of builders who came into the pub at lunchtime and dared a young laborer to sit on the chair. The brave lad obliged, and that same day he fell off a roof and cracked his skull open on the concrete below. That was the last straw for Tony Earnshaw. He begged the Thirsk museum to take the chair off his hands, but only if they agreed to never let anyone sit on it. For nearly 30 years, despite many requests, no one has been allowed to tempt the curse.


13. The Curse of Sinatra


It is true, that sometimes you do feel like killing those annoying voices trying to emulate legendary songs on karaoke nights. But that's not to be taken literally right? Well, some say Frank Sinatra does in Philippines. And specifically with one song - 'My way'. At least six people have been killed while singing it at karaoke there over the last ten years. It would be crazy if these people had died in a supernatural way, but they didn't, they were murdered. In one case, a 29 year-old was shot dead by a security guard because he thought the guy was off-key. In another story, the friend of one singer overheard the people at the next table commenting on how shitty he was, so the friend (an off duty cop) stood up and drew his gun on them, chasing them the hell out of the bar and forever convincing the man's family to not play "My Way" at family gatherings. But this seems to be a purely Philippines-specific problem. Theories about the ability of "My Way" to trigger incandescent rage range from the song's ability to "evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer", both of which karaoke fans of the far east view as reasons to level a murderous ass-kicking.  



Source: Wikipedia - Curse  |  Facts About Famous Curses

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