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Mount Everest Isn’t (Necessarily) The Tallest Mountain In The World (Amazing Places)

We’ve all heard that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. It’s definitely tall: a smidge over 29,000 feet (or a smidge under 9,000 meters), or 20 times as tall as the Empire State Building. But you could actually make the case that other mountains in the world are taller. It all depends on how you measure mountain height.

Fig: Mount Denali (previously Mount McKinley)

HOW WE MEASURE MOUNTAINS NOW?

Currently, convention has it that a mountain’s “height” is how far it rises above sea level. This comes with some complications, though. For one, sea level varies across the world — by up to 100 meters — due to currents and gravitational variations. It’s higher on the West Coast of the U.S., for instance, than it is on the East Coast. Geologists deal with this by gauging where sea level would be if a mountain stood on water instead of land, and measuring from there to the mountain’s summit to find its height.

This gives some mountains an advantage, though. Some argue Everest, in particular, is gaming the system. Mount Everest stands on a roughly 16,500-foot plateau, making it a bit like a person getting their height measured while they wear heels. Measure Everest from the plateau to the summit, and it’s no longer the tallest mountain in the world. It’s dwarfed by Alaskan mountain Denali (previously Mount McKinley), which stands at roughly 20,300 feet (6,200 meters).

WHICH MOUNTAINS DOES EVEREST OVERSHADOW?

It’s not just Denali. The convention of measuring mountains from sea level to summit also gives short shrift to any mountains partially submerged in the ocean. Take the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea: If you measure from its underwater base to its peak, it’s nearly 33,300 feet (10,150 meters) tall. That’s almost a mile taller than Everest’s 29,000 feet!

Our measuring system also minimizes the height of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo. It rises just over 20,500 feet (6,250 meters) above sea level. However, it has a superlative of its own: Of all the mountains in the world, it’s the one whose summit is farthest from the center of the Earth.

Our measuring system also minimizes the height of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo. It rises just over 20,500 feet (6,250 meters) above sea level. However, it has a superlative of its own: Of all the mountains in the world, it’s the one whose summit is farthest from the center of the Earth.


References: (1) https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2007/10/how-do-you-measure-the-height-of-a-mountain.html (2) https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/globalsl.html (3) https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/highestpoint.html

Iceland Keeps Getting Voted For World’s Most Peaceful Place (Amazing Places)

What’s the most peaceful place on Earth? Since 2008, the answer has remained the same: Iceland, that quirky piece of Nordic paradise.

The 2017 Global Peace Index report named Iceland the most peaceful place on Earth, a ranking it has earned for seven years straight. According to the GPI, factors that correspond with a peaceful country include a well-functioning government with low levels of corruption and a free flow of information, equitable distribution of resources, a sound business environment, good relations with neighbors, high levels of human capital, and acceptance of the rights of others. Right behind Iceland on the ranking in 2017 was New Zealand in second and Portugal in third.

The report also ranked the least peaceful countries. The most dangerous place on Earth? Syria. In fact, the Middle East and North Africa were ranked as the least peaceful regions in the world.

The United States landed at 114 on the list—a substantial fall from its 2016 ranking of 103. That put the U.S. far behind places like Sierra Leone, Haiti, and Cuba.


References: http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

Nobody Knows Who Designed The Taj Mahal (Amazing Places)

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most recognizable structures. The UNESCO heritage site is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World — alongside the Great Wall of China and Petra in Jordan. But the Taj Mahal is one of the newer World Wonders on the list, having been commissioned in 1632. For this reason, its admirers are often surprised to find out that nobody actually knows who designed it.

The Taj Mahal’s combination of Indian, Persian, and Islamic influences makes it the most distinctive and outstanding example of Mughal architecture in existence today. The Mughals claimed descendence from Genghis Khan and Tamerlane and established an extremely diverse, religiously tolerant society largely considered to be India’s last Golden Age. The Taj Mahal represents a key turning point in the identity of the empire itself. Although the Mughals were proud of their Persian and Timurid roots, the design of the Taj Mahal shows that they now saw themselves as being Indian first, while respecting their Muslim heritage. One of the building’s most dominant themes is hierarchy, which played a critical role in Mughal religion and philosophy during the 17th century.

Shah Jahan ruled at the peak of Mughal power and commissioned the Taj Mahal to be built as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died tragically after the birth of their 14th child. Shah Jahan oversaw the design and construction of the palace personally, taking great care to participate in nearly every aspect of the building’s construction.

While historians know that Shah Jahan was very interested in architecture, he could not have designed the building himself — it was almost certainly designed by a team of world-class professionals, and that could be one of the reasons why their names are lost to history while Shah Jahan’s remains most closely tied to the mausoleum. Shah Jahan may have been interested in promoting the building as part of his imperial legacy and a testament to the loss of his beloved rather than a work of art to be appreciated independent of those factors.

SO WHO DESIGNED IT?

The official Mughal histories account for 37 designers and architects who would have been able to contribute to the Taj Mahal commission for Shah Jahan. The person who most likely played the role of the chief architect was Ustad Ahmad from Lahore, an Indian of Persian descent who was credited with designing the Red Fort at Delhi. Modern historians tend to agree that the Taj Mahal was a collaborative effort; for example, the famous Turkish dome-builder Ismaili Afandi probably played a role, along with Amanat Khan from Shiraz, the master calligrapher whose signature graces the Taj Mahal’s gateway.

With a team like this, it’s likely that Shah Jahan acted in the capacity of something like an artistic director, gathering various world-renowned experts and giving them specific tasks to perform according to his own project schedule. More than 20,000 workers from throughout India, Europe, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire contributed to the construction of the Taj Mahal, alongside 1,000 elephants performing heavy lifting duties. Whether or not one person designed it, the final product was certainly a group effort.


References: (1) https://www.history.com/topics/india/taj-mahal (2) https://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/taj_mahal/tlevel_2/t3build_design.html

A Gaint Hole Sucks Oregon’s “Disappearing Lake” Dry Every Year (Amazing Places)

What good is a lake with a hole in it? Two holes at the bottom of Oregon’s Lost Lake suck the water dry every summer. It’s not a manufacturing defect—it’s leftovers of ancient volcanic activity.

Oregon’s Lost Lake is a stunning natural sight, if not extremely perplexing. Every summer, this body of water drains itself, only to refill once the dry season is over. The water gets sucked down a hole in science fiction-like fashion, earning Lost Lake the nickname “disappearing lake.” Though the water rushing down the natural hole looks like the opening of a portal to another dimension, it has an explanation: lava tubes.

A lava tube is a naturally formed conduit that transports lava. Once lava flow is ceased, the lava tube basically becomes a hollow channel. Lost Lake has two small lava tubes that are continuously sucking down the lake’s water. During the wet season, the lake is filled with more rain and snow than the lava tubes can suck down. During the summer, the tubes drain the lake completely. It’s unknown what happens to the water slurped down by these lava tubes, but scientists believe it eventually becomes groundwater.


References: https://www.livescience.com/50749-lost-lake-lava-tube.html

The Oldest And Deepest Lake In The World (Amazing Places)

At nearly 25 million years old, Lake Baikal in southern Siberia is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, and as these photos show, it’s also one of the clearest. Reaching as far as 5,387 feet (1,642 meters) deep, the lake freezes over to a thickness of 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 meters), making it a prime lake for walking across in winter. For that reason — and of course for its beauty — the lake has become a popular tourist spot, even attracting campers who set up tents atop the frozen water.

The huge and relatively isolated lake is exceptionally biodiverse, with more than 700 endemic species of animals, including the world’s only true freshwater seal. Its flora and fauna are of special interest to evolutionary scientists hoping to study how life adapts to a specific location over time. Because of its specialized wildlife, Lake Baikal is also called the Galápagos of Russia.

Photographer Kristina Makeeva visited the lake in early 2017 and took these breathtaking photos from on top of the frozen water. “Ice is cracking all the time,” she writes on Bored Panda. “When the frost is very heavy, cracks divide ice on different areas. The length of these cracks is 6-8 miles (10-30 kilometers), and the width is 1-2 feet (2-3 meters). Cracks happen every year, approximately at the same areas of the lake. They are followed by a loud crack that is reminiscent of thunder or a gun shot. Thanks to the cracks, the fish in the lake don’t die from the lack of oxygen. Generally, the ice of Baikal carries a lot of enigmas, the majority of formations provokes the interest of scientists.”

Lake Baikal, which holds about 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater, has 5,521 cubic miles of water (23,013 cubic kilometers). That’s about the size of all five of the North American Great Lakes combined, according to Geology.com. It’s also 397 miles long. ” You can see everything till the bottom: fish, green stones, plants and bluish gulf,” Makeeva writes. “The water in the lake is so clear, that you can see various objects on the depth of 40 meters.


References: (1) http://geology.com/records/largest-lake.shtml (2) https://www.boredpanda.com/fairy-lake-baikal-in-siberia/ (3) http://www.ipai.ru/ (4) http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/754

Boston Sidewalks Have Secret Poems That Only Show Up In The Rain (Amazing Places)

“Raining Poetry” is an art installation in which poems are stenciled onto concrete sidewalks with a water-repellant paint and show up after rainstorms.

WHY ITS COOL?

Public art installations are awesome, because they make culture available to the masses. But public art installations that are kind of like a treasure hunt and only reveal themselves in the rain? That’s just brilliant. That’s what happens with “Raining Poetry,” a collaboration between Boston’s City Hall and the nonprofit group Mass Poetry. The project, which launched in April 2016 and kicked off a second installation in September, involves stenciling poems on Boston city streets in water-repellant spray paint. After a rain storm, the words show up, adding a much-needed pick-me-up from bad weather. The poems include works by Langston Hughes, Elizabeth McKim, and Kathi Aguero, and all touch on the theme of rain and water.

WHY YOU SHOULD TELL YOUR FRIEND?

Well, if he lives in Boston, he should run, not walk, to one of these locations, where the current poems can be seen:

– 1961 Centre St. in West Roxbury

– 1520 Dorchester Ave.

– 500 Columbia Road in Dorchester

– 1328 Blue Hill Ave. in Mattapan

Pro tip: If it’s not raining, just bring a glass of water, dump it out, and prepare to be wowwed.

Boston’s raining poetry

How does rain activated art work?


References: (1) http://www.masspoetry.org/rainingpoetry/ (2) https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/bostons-streets-are-covered-in-secret-poems

North Sentinel Island Is Home To The Last Uncontacted People On Earth (Amazing Places)

It’s just a fact: There are almost no uncharted places left on the map. Even the most adventurous explorer isn’t going to stumble on a group of people who haven’t experienced the modern world. Well, unless you’re in the Bay of Bengal. Just head over to North Sentinel Island if you want to try contacting the world’s last uncontacted people — but you’d better be careful.

How does an island population survive into the 21st century without ever running into a modern Magellan? Basically, by keeping any would-be “discoverer” at bay with bows, arrows, and spears. The people of North Sentinel Island have kept their corner of the Indian Ocean free of intruders for as long as they’ve lived there — about 60,000 years. It’s not because they or their island are unknown, either. North Sentinel Island can be found in the writings of Marco Polo (although modern historians doubt he ever landed there), and every three to five decades a ship tends to find itself on the island’s shore, whether on purpose or by accident. Today, the Indian government recognizes the island as a sovereign entity and makes efforts to ensure they’re left undisturbed.

One of the first deliberate encounters with the people that English-speaking mainlanders have come to call the Sentinelese came in 1880, and it might explain why they’ve been so hostile to outsiders ever since. Led by anthropologist M.V. Portman, this expedition ended when the European researchers kidnapped an elderly couple and four children in order to “study” them. To make things worse, many of these unfortunate victims died shortly after from disease.

Even before Portman’s voyage, though, the Sentinelese weren’t especially welcoming. Thirteen years before the 1880 incident, an Indian merchant ship called the Ninevah was wrecked on the surrounding reefs, and after three days on the beach, they were assailed from the jungle. Something very similar happened in 1981 when the merchant vessel Primrose was grounded on the reef. The crew kept the Sentinelese at bay with improvised weapons, including their flare gun, and sent distress calls back to the mainland that left recipients scratching their heads in confusion. Still, they were rescued after approximately one week via helicopter — an event that must have been quite the sight to the Sentinelese further inland.

The only successful contact came in 1991 when the anthropologist TN Pandit finally interacted with them after two decades of distant observation. But the Sentinelese still don’t want you there. In 2006, two poachers were killed when they broke the island’s quarantine and ran afoul of its residents, and in 2018, a Christian missionary was killed when he attempted to visit the island.

Obviously, there’s a lot that we don’t know about how exactly people live on North Sentinel Island. But there are a few things that we can say for sure. First, the population numbers somewhere between 50 and 400 — we said “for sure,” not “specifically.” Also, they live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and have dwelled on the island since before the invention of agriculture.

A lot of what we know about life on North Sentinel Island can be inferred from the peoples of the surrounding islands. After all, North Sentinel Island isn’t that isolated — it’s only 20-odd miles from the other Andaman islands, which are now bustling with their own cities and roads. The way aboriginal societies once thrived on the other islands can offer clues as to the current lifestyle on North Sentinel Island. For now, that’s how it’ll stay. The Sentinelese want it that way.


References: (1) https://www.businessinsider.in/thelife/This-isolated-tribe-has-rejected-contact-for-centuries-and-remained-hostile-toward-outsiders/articleshow/52295336.cms (2) https://theamericanscholar.org/the-last-island-of-the-savages/ (3) https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1548-1425.2009.01140.x (4) https://northsentinelisland.com/north-sentinel-history/ (5) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/12/theobserver.worldnews12 (6) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/american-killed-isolated-tribe-india-s-north-sentinel-island-police-n938826 (7) https://northsentinelisland.com/

This Man Can Sing The Lowest Notes In The World (Biology / Science/ Singing)

The man who holds the world record for lowest note can sing a note that only elephants can hear. The name of the record holder is Tim Storms.

His voice is so deep, the lowest note he can hit is eight octaves lower than the lowest note on the piano. According to Storms, an ear, nose, and throat doctor observed that his vocal chords were about twice as long as normal, giving him this incredible ability. His lowest note is as low as G-7 (0.189Hz). But that’s not his only record: Storms is also the world record holder for largest vocal range.

This Effect Shows How Simple Word Swaps Can secretly Trick Your Brain (Psychology)

Words have power. Don’t believe us? Answer us this: Which is worse, getting dumped or breaking up? Which product is better, one that’s 95 percent effective, or one that has a 5 percent failure rate? Which is more dangerous, global warming or climate change? The words you choose affect a statement’s “framing”, and that can have big effects on how you make decisions.

Here’s a thought experiment: imagine you have just been given $50. You can either gamble that money and see what you get with it, or choose to not gamble and instead lose $30 of it. Which would you choose? What if, instead, your options were to gamble or to keep $20?

In a 2006 study in the journal Science, 62 percent of participants chose to gamble with the money if the other option was to lose $30, but only 43 percent of people chose to gamble if the other option was to keep $20. That is, of course, despite the fact that the second option in both scenarios leaves the participant with $20. This shows the power of the framing effect: setting up a question in a way that makes someone think about losing something will make them come to a different decision than if the question made them think about keeping something.

This plays out in bigger decisions, too. A 1981 paper by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman describes the results of a questionnaire in which college students had to decide what to do about a theoretical disease outbreak that’s expected to kill 600 people. In a scenario presented to one group, program A will save 200 people and program B has a 1/3 probability that 600 people will be saved, and a 2/3 probability that no people will be saved. Another group got the negative version: program C will kill 400 people, and program D has a 1/3 probability that nobody will die, and a 2/3 probability that 600 people will die. 72 percent of the first group chose program A, whereas only 22 percent of the second group chose program C. That’s because program A, while identical to program C, is framed as risk aversion (it will save 200 people!) and program C is framed as risk taking (it will kill 400 people!).

The framing effect has real consequences in everyday life. Should a driver be punished less if their car “contacted” another car than if it “smashed” another car? Are you more likely to buy a product that costs $30 or the same product that costs $50 but comes with a $20 gift card? We make hundreds of decisions every day, and it’s important to be aware of how easily those decisions are manipulated. To know more watch the video given below:

How the framing effect works?


References: (1) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6898981_Frames_Biases_and_Rational_Decision-Making_in_the_Human_Brain (2) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/211/4481/453