Instead of going through the entire history of the modern alphabet, I thought I would show you. Here's a quick look at how we arrived at the modern day 26-letter alphabet.
What are the biggest differences between animals and humans? Turns out we're not that 'advanced' after all. Some species of animals share the same traits as humans and they outperform us on everything except long-distance running. Click here for a larger image.
The World Database of Happiness has tracked how happy are around the world. Doesn't seem like we're too happy a bunch of people! Click here for a larger image.
In 2005, Carson Williams, an electrical engineer set up his Christmas lights at home to flash to the tune of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizard in Winter. So as not to disturb his neighbors, he put up signs asking passing cars to tune in to a low-power FM radio station to hear the music accompaniment. His light display proved so popular that it caused traffic congestion and he had to promise not to put up anymore lights.
red - countries that have right hand traffic
blue - countries that have left hand traffic
Would you be surprised to learn that 66.1% of countries drive on the right-side of the road? This means, the driver is seated on the left side inside a vehicle. And only 33.9% of countries drive on the left-side of the road?
Which side of the road do you drive on?
People throughout the ages have gone to great lengths to look young and healthy. And it's not just the women. Men too, are less shy about getting a facial these days. There are, however, people who take extra lengths to make themselves beautiful.
1. Elizabeth Bathory
The infamous Hungarian countess captured and killed young women, drained their blood and bathed in it. Some say a witch told her to do it, others say that idea came to the countess when she struck a servant. She noticed that spot on her hands where the servant's blood landed, seemed markedly rejuvenated.
Sebum is what makes your skin shine when you haven't washed it. It's nature's very own moisturiser. As sebum oozes out of your pores, it solidifies as a greasy coating on the skin's surface and acts as a barrier that holds in moisture. Sebum makes the skin soft and smooth, and it helps reduce water loss. Because of this, some people say that one way to moisturize your skin is to spread the sebum from one part of your body to another -- by wiping the oil off your face and onto your elbow, for instance.
Not eating it, but bathing it in. Cleopatra is said to have bathed in a mixtured of sour milk and honey, while the ancient Greeks bathed in olive oil to keep their skin moisturised.
4. Spread some animal
Many beauty products today claim to have some form of animal extraction and secretion, but some strange ingredients include cow dung, snake oil, donkey milk, crocodile oil and sheep oil. The ancients have used crocodile dung and oil from a sheep's wool.
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.
Here are some quick facts about the disease:
- The three main transmission routes of HIV are sexual contact, exposure to infected body fluids or tissues, and from mother to fetus or child during perinatal period.
- It is possible to find HIV in the saliva, tears, and urine of infected individuals, but there are no recorded cases of infection by these secretions, and the risk of infection is negligible. Anti-retroviral treatment of infected patients also significantly reduces their ability to transmit HIV to others, by reducing the amount of virus in their bodily fluids to undetectable levels.
- AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007,of which about 270,000 were children.
- According to UNAIDS 2009 report, worldwide some 60 million people have been infected, with some 25 million deaths, and 14 million orphaned children in southern Africa alone since the epidemic began.
- 67% of people with HIV live in Africa yet the continent is home to just 10% of the world’s population.
- It costs around 40 cents a day for the 2 antiretroviral pills needed to help keep someone living with HIV alive and healthy.
For the children:
WE CAN LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE NO CHILD IS BORN WITH HIV
If you can, please go to one.org to sign the petition to reach the goal of 'no child born with HIV' by 2015.
It's Thanksgiving!! Food, glorious food for me (and all Americans). Since it's Thanksgiving, and a holiday not celebrated outside of the United States, I thought I would share a few tid bits about this day and why Americans celebrate it, because the purpose of gathering with friends and family on Thanksgiving today, is something everyone can relate to.
The Mayflower brought the group of English settlers now known as the Pilgrims to North America. Leaving England in the fall of 1620, the Pilgrims were attempting to land near the mouth of the Hudson River, but instead ended up in Cape Cod Harbor. Plymouth, the colony established there by the Pilgrims in 1621, became the first permanent European settlement in New England.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Till today, families still gather in November for a feast. The purpose is to reflect upon and be thankful for the things that have passed over the last year as well as reconnect with the people one holds close.
Our must-have food at Thanksgiving include:
corn on the cobs
It's an old movie that have been referenced in movies, books, jokes, radio, comic strips (everywhere, really) countless times since 1960 and it's Alfred Hitchcock's most famous. Here are some facts about the movie that you might find interesting.
Of course, if you haven't seen it, and enjoy a good horror/thriller - please do!
- Alfred Hitchcock secretly bought the rights to the book for only USD9000 and then went out and bought as many copies of the novel as he could so no one could read the ending of the story before the movie was out.
- Chocolate syrup was used to represent blood in the famous 45 second shower scene.
- Alfred Hitchcock handed some money to the actor who plays Norman Bates and told him to "Go buy Norman some clothes". He did, and those were the clothes he wore in the movie.
- When the cast and crew showed up for work the first day, they were made to raise their right hands and promise not to divulge a word about the story. Hitchcock also withheld the ending of the script from the cast and crew until he needed to shoot it.
- Every theater that showed the film had a cardboard cut-out installed in the lobby of Alfred Hitchcock pointing to his wristwatch with a note from the director saying "The manager of this theatre has been instructed at the risk of his life, not to admit to the theatre any persons after the picture starts. Any spurious attempts to enter by side doors, fire escapes or ventilating shafts will be met by force. The entire objective of this extraordinary policy, of course, is to help you enjoy PSYCHO more. Alfred Hitchcock"
- Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie, 'Psycho'."
- The stabbing scene in the shower is reported to have taken seven days to shoot using 70 different camera angles but only lasts 45 seconds in the movie.
- This was Alfred Hitchcock's last feature film in black and white, filmed November 30 1959-March 1 1960
sources: cocoajava, imdb, hollywoodlostandfound, newser
Since it's the weekend, I thought I would give everyone some food for thought, so hopefully this weekend, you'll try to do your bit for your planet.
1. It takes 1000 years for polyethylene bags to break down (polyethylene is the most common plastic used)
2. we produce 20 times more plastic now than 50 years ago!
3. 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
4. Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
5. According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere." Plastic bags have been found floating north of the Arctic Circle near Spitzbergen, and as far south as the Falkland Islands.
How you can do your part:
1. When you go out shopping this weekend, remember to bring your own cloth bags, or recycled bags.
2. If you're eating out, bring your own container to take home the leftovers.
3. Buy laundry detergent in paper boxes instead of detergent in plastic containers
4. If you purchase something packaged in glass, clean out the glass container and reuse it for food storage
5. When ordering drinks, say 'No straw, please!'
6. Buy your music online, instead of at the store
7. When you're buying coffee to take away, bring your own container. The drink lid and the lining in your cup are plastic, and will live for another 100 years!
8. When you're having food delivered, remind them not to send plastic utensils. You already have your own cutlery at home! You can also keep a set of utensils handy in the office as well!
These are just a few of the things you can do. Every little bit helps! Tell us what you've done to reduce your use of plastic.
source: wikipedia, takepart, waste online, squidoo
We're running out of cotton. If you like wearing cotton, perhaps it's time to stock up on your favorite cotton T-shirts, shorts and dresses! Or start wearing spandex and silk?
India's cotton export trade policies have made the price of cotton skyrocket. To protect its local textile industry, India (the world's second largest cotton exporter) has restricted / banned the export of cotton.
source: textile world and the economic times
"Gloomy Sunday" is a song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezso Seress in 1933 and it now known as 'the Hungarian suicide song'. It is claimed that the song was banned because it was linked to many suicides in Hungary and United States, and while Seress did commit suicide by jumping off a building, all other claims that listening to the song causes suicide and encourages suicide has not been proven.
- People believe that someone is a werewolf if he/she has a unibrow, hairy palms, tattoos, and a long middle finger.
- Vampires are mythical beings who defy death by sucking the blood of humans.
- In 1962, the Count Dracula Society was founded.
- To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies with people claiming to be real vampires.
- There really are so-called vampire bats, but they're not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.
- Many people still believe that gargoyles were created by medieval architects and stone carvers to ward off evil spirits.
- Halloween is second only to Christmas in spending. Consumers will spend over $2.5 Billion during Halloween. That's a whole lot of candy, costumes, decorations, and party goods.
- In English, Dia De Los Muertos translates to "The Day of the Dead". It is an important Mexican holiday. Where Americans shy away from the topic of death, Mexicans embrace it. On this day, they celebrate it in a big way. Asian cultures are also known to honor the dead in October.
- It is believed that the Irish began the tradition of Trick or Treating. In preparation for All Hallow's Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast in the town.
source: halloween traditions, halloween trivia,
Ann Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, is said to roam the Tower of London where she was executed, as well as her childhood home in Kent.
The ghost of Benjamin Franklin - founding father of the United States, inventor of the bifocal glasses and the lightning rod, has been seen near the library of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Some have said that his statue comes alive at night and dances in the street!
Abraham Lincoln, the first President of the United States, has been seen by many since his death in 1865, including first ladies, dignitaries and esteemed guests.
What famous historical ghost stories have you heard from your country?
The answer is 'no!' Ostriches do not hide their heads in the ground when they are scared. Instead, they lie down flat on the ground or run away when threatened. When cornered, ostriches can deliver a kick so powerful that it kills.
sources: answers.com and wikipedia
Did you know that the original Jack o'Lanterns were made out beet, potatoes and turnips?
Why do people carve faces out of pumpkins? The story originates from Ireland, where it is said a man named Stingy Jack once tricked the Devil to turn into a coin so he could buy a drink. When the Devil turned into a coin, Stingy Jack put the coin next to a silver cross so that the Devil could not turn back into his true form unless he promised to leave Stingy Jack alone for a year and that if Stingy Jack died, the Devil was not allowed to take his soul.
When Jack died, God would not allow him into Heaven and the Devil refused to allow him into Hell, but because the Devil had promised he would not take Jack's soul, he gave Jack a burning coal and sent him out into the night. Jack then put the burning coal into a turnip and continues to roam the Earth today. The Irish named this ghostly figure 'Jack of the Lantern'. It was then shortened to 'Jack o'Lantern'.
To scare away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits, people started making their own version of the Jack o'Lantern by carving scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes. Immigrants then brought the tradition to the United States and discovered that pumpkins, a fruit native to the United States, made perfect Jack o'Lanterns. And have since been carving scary faces on pumpkins since!
Astronomers have found a planet close to a nearby star that could support human life. It is also three times larger than Earth. Do you think aliens could already be living on that planet? Or that one day, we'll be able to visit it?
source: national geographic
Monopoly is the most played game in the world - more than 1 billion people have played Monopoly. The original board game was also circular.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the game, Hasbro will be releasing a circular edition of Monopoly
source: pocket-lint and wikipedia