Great map for analyzing the movement of people from country to country in the world. See link at bottom.
For an astounding perspective on the world and universe check out the link at the bottom.
Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.
Oceanic whitetip shark and diver in the Bahamas.
On the trail to Goodnow Mountain, a yellow birch appears to be ingesting a boulder left behind by a glacier. With its tenacious trees and rebounding wildlife, Adirondack Park is a miracle of regeneration. Committed advocates and legal protections written into New York’s state constitution offer hope that it will remain forever wild.
Every year around the month of October, Dubai experiences heavy fog due to the still-high humidity and the falling temperatures. With all the new high-rise buildings (including the tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa) this provides a great photographic opportunity.
Swimmers, Lake Superior, Minnesota.
Smaller fish keep their distance when a blacktip reef shark swims amongst them in shallow water in the Maldives.
Buddhist monk and kung fu master Shi Dejian (above) and his disciples hauled bags of cement and roof tiles up steep mountain paths to build an isolated retreat (in background) away from the tourist crowds at the Shaolin Temple in China.
Temples at sunset in Burma.
Terraced crops in China.
Strange rock formations in the Algerian desert.
Elephant and its handler taking a dip in the ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka.
Playing pool outdoors in Nepal.
Buzkashi (“goat game”) is a traditional Central Asian team sport, played on horseback. It’s a known fact that the people of the steppes were skilled riders, able to pick up sheep and goats from the ground while riding a horse in full gallop, and this sport is inspired by their extraordinary skill.
The goal of a Buzkashi player is to pick up the carcass or head of a dead goat or calf, get it as far away from the other players and ultimately pitch it across a goal line or into a circle or vat. I know, it sounds a lot like horseback polo, except for the dead animal, but there is another big difference between these sports: players can use any means, except tripping the horse, to stop scoring attempts. Players usually wear thick clothes and head protection to shield them from kicks or whip lashes.
Although some Central-Asian countries have tried to get Buzkashi accepted as an olympic sport, they haven’t succeeded in convincing anyone.
The game is played in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, northern Pakistan, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China and Kazakhstan. The steppes’ people were skilled riders who could grab a goat or calf from the ground while riding a horse at full gallop.
Buzkashi is the national sport and a “passion” in Afghanistan where it is often played on Fridays and matches draw thousands of fans. Whitney Azoy notes in his book “Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan:…. (that) leaders are men who can seize control by means foul and fair and then fight off their rivals. The Buzkashi rider does the same.” During the rule of the Taliban regime, Buzkashi was banned in Afghanistan, as the Taliban considered the game immoral. But since the Taliban regime was ousted the game is being played again.
I guess the game must have started off as an ancient form of road kill removal. Those dead goats probably made a tasty stew. Having it as an Olympic sport is a long shot. But I bet the Aussies would be on the medal podium within a few years of adopting the game.
Grey — no data
Source – Wikipedia, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Report 2009
|21||20||Antigua and Barbuda||99.0|
|48||47||Trinidad and Tobago||98.7|
|53||53||Saint Kitts and Nevis||97.8|
|63||63||Bosnia and Herzegovina||96.7|
|97||97||United Arab Emirates||90.0|
|105||105||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||88.1|
|109||109||Sao Tome and Principe||87.9|
|124||124||Republic of the Congo||81.1|
|148||148||Democratic Republic of the Congo||67.2|
|159||159||Papua New Guinea||57.8|
|167||167||Central African Republic||48.6|
There are lots of beautiful and safe places in the world to visit. Therefore there is really no need to visit the areas listed below. Some of the countries mentioned below are totally safe if you stay with your armed tour guides. But many of the countries below have corrupt tour guides who would land up kidnapping you. And some of the countries below have never heard the term tourism.
In this crime-ridden, ex-Soviet state, no longer does the government stuff their Armani suits with rubles, but the vandals and gangsters. The Russian mafia runs amuck, there are more gangsters than police, and a Russian is assassinated every 18 minutes, averaging 84 murders per day in a nation of 143 million. The nucleus of Russian crime is stationed in the Republic of Chechnya, a region within Russia just north of Georgia. Prostitution, drug trafficking, and underground restaurants are arbitrarily controlled by the Chechens. Foreigners are kidnapped more frequently due to the higher ransom allocated. Crimes towards include but are not limited to: pick pocketing wallets, cell phones, cameras, cash, and physical assaults.
For anyone traveling to Brazil, it is not a matter of whether you get mugged, it is a matter of when! Grinding poverty still lives alongside incredible wealth in a country that is riding a wave of economic growth. But with prosperity, rates of crime have also soared. Street crime is rampant in parts of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, and whilst many victims are left unharmed, having a broken bottle put to your throat for your bracelet is not pleasant. The incidences of “quicknappings” has risen in major cities. This involves being abducted and taken to an ATM to pay your ransom. If you can’t pay, thanks to mobile technology, your family is only a call away. Along with street crime, organized criminal groups have waged wars against police and public institutions that were unable to be bribed. Prison riots are brutally suppressed, drugs and narco-terrorism claim civilian casualties and if you survive all that – the piranhas are waiting.
Any nation described as the ‘rape capital of the world’ should be one to take extra special care in. Another damning statistic for South Africa is its appallingly high murder rate. The 2010 World Cup host is consistently in the Top 5 list of countries by homicide rate. Most crime is confined to poor areas but it hasn’t stopped gated communities springing up all over South Africa and armed guards protecting wealthy tourist groups. Farming in South Africa has become one of the most dangerous professions in the world. And like anywhere, sex can be very dangerous in South Africa, where more than 10 million people are infected with HIV.
This small, densely populated and poor nation has giant problems. A civil war between Hutus and Tutsis tore the nation apart between 1993 and 2006. A ceasefire was declared, however most provisions have not been implemented. Mass murder and mayhem compete with environmental problems as the biggest headaches for the people of Burundi. The list of assassinated leaders is extensive, and control of the nation has changed hands numerous times in the last 50 years. Crimes committed by roaming gangs and armed children are risks for visitors. Muggings, carjackings and kidnappings await, so you are advised not to stop the car for souvenirs. Should you be injured or harmed while in Burundi, you may need to be well trained, as local clinics have almost no resources to assist you.
While murder, rape and robbery may not be a big problem in this part of the world, the hostile conditions are. Antarctica is home to some extreme weather conditions, with the mercury regularly dropping below -60 degrees Celsius (-100F) and winds tearing in at more than 100km/hr. If exposed to this weather for more than an hour, you will most certainly die. Antarctica has no hospitals, no food to forage and if you get lost, not a lot of hope. Stay with the tour groups. At least there is a McDonald’s at Scott Base if you manage to find it.
This nation has for hundreds of years, been one of the worlds most strategically important and lusted after territories. However it remains one of the poorest, undeveloped and unstable. During the Soviet invasion, the Red Army planted more than 12 million landmines in Afghanistan. Hundreds of people are killed, shredded, and maimed each year due to these insidious devices. Following the Soviets came the Taliban. In 2001, the United States overthrew the Taliban, but banditry, tribal rivalries and drug related violence has left the nation unstable. Suicide bombings are a constant threat, and nobody in Afghanistan is safe.
Somalia is a failed state known for its anarchy, corruption, lack of government, and starvation. Travelers are warned against entering Somalia, the self-proclaimed “independent Republic of Somaliland” or even sailing near the Horn Of Africa. Pirates patrol these waters armed with AK-47s and will seize craft and hold crews to ransom. Inter-clan fighting has claimed thousands of lives in the north of the country, while territorial control in the capital, Mogadishu is carved up between many clans and warlords. If this place is too much for the Marines, what chance do you stand? Make sure your insurance is fully up to date.
Desperation, death and destruction are synonymous with Sudan. Terrorism is a mainstay of this nation, which has been controlled by Islamic military regimes since its independence. Some of the worlds most famous killers have earned their stripes in Sudan, finishing with degrees in car-bombing, rocket launching and genocide. Violence is rife in the Darfur region between government-backed militias, government troops and local insurgent groups. Along with its bleak desert conditions, Sudan is one of the worst places on the planet.
Kidnapping is the main worry in Colombia. There were 2338 kidnappings in Colombia in 1998. Of the victims, 138 were killed by their captors. Ranked Fourth in the world for murders with 69.98/100000 in 2006, the popular targets are mayors, with dozens of them being slain each year. And of course, who can forget cocaine? Colombia supplies 75% of the worlds supply and thanks to Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel, paramilitary groups have waged war on the government in a bloody conflict with no end in sight. Even those working in the name of charity are not excluded from the frenzy. In 2005, 5 Catholic missionaries were murdered, down from 9 in 1999. Colombia’s beautiful coast and rugged mountains should make it a tourist paradise, instead it is among the most feared destinations you can visit.
You are not safe in Iraq, that’s for sure. Despite its rich history and its oil reserves, it is a ruined nation that is wracked with violence, despair and confusion. Al-Qaeda, Sunni insurgents, Shiite security forces, Kurdish rebels, American soldiers, Turkish troops and criminals are involved in a cycle of violence that unfortunately, will not abate any time soon. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) and mines are a constant threat, as are suicide bombers who have slain hundreds. Kidnappings and random killings are reported with almost mind-numbing frequency. Since 2003, 2 million Iraqis have fled to neighboring countries and another 1.9 million in Iraq remain internally displaced. Depleted uranium used as armor-piercing rounds will poison Iraqi civilians and US servicemen for decades. Truly, a hell on earth.
Winnipeg has been experiencing sustained heat this summer. The humidex is consistently around the +30 mark. But some days it gets up to +34-35. But this heat is nothing compared to the cities below. I don’t imagine everyone in these cities has air conditioning. So the people can obviously take the heat.
At least two cities contend closely for the title of ‘Hottest City in the World’. What city ranks the hottest depends on how you look at the temperatures. Here we compare the world’s most sweltering cities in terms of highest temperatures, hottest nights, and most days of extreme heat. So you can judge which is the World’s Hottest City.
In the world’s hottest cities, temperatures get above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) nearly every day for months at a time. Dozens of cities in the Middle East and Africa have extended periods of 40-degree weather. It’s in deserts along the Persian Gulf, on the Arabian Peninsula and in Iraq and Iran, where cities have exceptionally searing summers. In two cities here, the heat rises above the rest. Only Kuwait City and Ahwaz report having months with daily maximum temperatures averaging above 46 °C (115 °F).
Kuwait City lies on the coast near the head of the Persian Gulf. Capital of the tiny country of Kuwait, the city itself houses just over 30 thousand people, but it adjoins other cities that together form a large metropolitan area extending into the desert.
Ahwaz, also spelled Ahvaz, sprouts from the desert of western Iran with a population of close to a million. Although inland from the Persian Gulf, Ahwaz sits at just 23 metres (75 feet) above sea level.
The only cities that come close to the regular 46-degree temperatures of Kuwait City and Ahwaz lie roughly between the two cities. In southern Iraq, maximum temperatures average 44.8 °C (112.6 °F) in July and August at An Nasiriya, while Al Amarah has average highs of 45.5 °C (113.9 °F) in July and 44.9 °C (112.8 °F) in August.
A 46 °C climate is so hot that it’s well beyond the hottest weather ever experienced in many other countries. Forty-six Celsius tops by a degree ( 1.8 degrees F) Canada’s record high temperature and is 7.5 degrees C (13.5 degrees F) warmer than the hottest day in the United Kingdom. Temperatures that would break records in some counties are normal weather, day after day, for several months a year in the world’s hottest cities.
The only place in the United States with 46-degree heat is North America’s hottest spot, Death Valley in eastern California. Summer temperatures at Death Valley soar to average highs of 46.5 °C (115.7 °F) in July and 45.4 °C (113.8 °F) in August.
Death Valley, California
Ahwaz and Kuwait are nearly equal in their average maximum temperatures during the year’s two hottest months. For both cities in July, highs average 46.7°C (116.1 °F).
Despite Kuwait City having a marginally greater average, Ahwaz leads the way in extreme temperatures. Several times Ahwaz has achieved temperatures higher than those ever recorded in Kuwait City.
From 1970 to 2000, Ahwaz made it to 52 °C (125.6 °F) or more on three days. Ahwaz had a high of 52.0 on July 12, 1971 and 52.2 °C (126 °F) on July 1, 2000. Neither of those broke any temperature records for the city, since it had already reached 54.0 °C (129.2 °F) on July 15, 1967.
Meanwhile, 52 °C has never been officially documented, as of 2010, in Kuwait City.
In most hot cities when daytime temperatures top 40 °C, it usually cools down at night to the mid-20s. Just a few cities have a month of nighttime lows that stay above 30 °C (86 °F), and Kuwait City is one.
During the hottest months of the year, Ahwaz at night normally gets about a degree Celsius cooler than Kuwait City. But the Kuwaiti nights are not the warmest among cities.
Even hotter nights occur in Oman, a country located south of Kuwait on the Arabian Peninsula. Several cities in Oman stay above 30 °C at night in summer, including Buraimi, Sur and Rustaq, plus the capital, Muscat. The country’s hottest city that measures weather is Samail, where from June to August nights generally don’t go below 30 degrees. Samail’s hottest nights are in July, which average 31.4 °C (88.5 °F), while the days climb to around 43 °C (109.4 °F).
|Month||Kuwait City||Ahwaz, Iran|
Human beings never cease to amaze. What possessed these people to start carving stones into spheres. It must have taken months or years to complete one of these. Some people just have too much time on their hands. But then maybe it wasn’t humans who did this, does the term Space Aliens come to mind?
The stone spheres (or stone balls) of Costa Rica are an assortment of over three hundred petrospheres in Costa Rica, located on the Diquis Delta and on Isla del Caño. Known locally as Las Bolas, they are also called The Diquis Spheres.
The spheres range in size from a few centimetres to over 2 metres (6.6 ft) in diameter, and weigh up to 16 short tons (15 t). Most are sculpted from gabbro, the coarse-grained equivalent of basalt. There are a dozen or so made from shell-rich limestone, and another dozen made from a sandstone.
The stones are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1500 AD. However the only method available for dating the carved stones is stratigraphy, and most stones are no longer in their original locations. The culture of the people who made them disappeared after the Spanish conquest.
Spheres have been found with pottery from the Aguas Buenas culture (dating 200 BC – AD 600) and also they have been discovered with Buenos Aires Polychrome type sculpture (dating 1000 – AD 1500). They have been uncovered in a number of locations, including the Isla del Caño, and over 300 kilometres (190 mi) north of the Diquis Delta in Papagayo on the Nicoya Peninsula.
The spheres were discovered in the 1930s as the United Fruit Company was clearing the jungle for banana plantations. Workmen pushed them aside with bulldozers and heavy equipment, damaging some spheres. Additionally, inspired by stories of hidden gold workmen began to drill holes into the spheres and blow them open with sticks of dynamite. Several of the spheres were destroyed before authorities intervened. Some of the dynamited spheres have been reassembled and are currently on display at the National Museum of Costa Rica in San José.
The first scientific investigation of the spheres was undertaken shortly after their discovery by Doris Stone, a daughter of a United Fruit Co. executive. These were published in 1943 in American Antiquity, attracting the attention of Samuel Kirkland Lothrop of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. In 1948, he and his wife attempted to excavate an unrelated archaeological site in the northern region of Costa Rica. The government of the time had disbanded its professional army, and the resulting civil unrest threatened the security of Lothrop’s team. In San José he met Doris Stone, who directed the group toward the Diquís Delta region in the southwest (“Valle de Diquís” refers to the valley of the lower Río Grande de Térraba, including the Osa Canton towns of Puerto Cortés, Palmar Norte, and Sierpe) and provided them with valuable dig sites and personal contacts. Lothrop’s findings were published in Archaeology of the Diquís Delta, Costa Rica 1963.
Brooklyn-based Hasidic Jewish newspaper Der Tzitung, supported their belief that women and men should not work together by printing a version of the now-iconic Situation Room photo in which Hillary Clinton and counter-terrorism analyst Audrey Thomason have been removed. Rabbi Jason Miller of Jewish Week points out that Der Tzitung might have actually been in violation of Jewish law:
Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g’neivat da’at (deceit).
Hasidic Jews and Muslim fundamentalists. People that take their religions way too seriously.