Interesting Photo Manipulations by Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson, a young talented artist from Sweden, creates remarkable images by digitally modifying photographs that he took himself.


Interesting Facts about Germany

Land & People

# Germany is the most populous European country (apart from Russia), with a population of 81 million.
# Germany's land area was over 50% larger during the Second Reich (1871-1918) and included most of present-day Poland and parts of Lithuania.
# German people are the second biggest consumers of beer in the world (after the Irish), with an average of 119 litres per person per year (or 0.32 l per day).
# The German language was once the lingua franca of central, eastern and northern Europe, and remains the language with the most native speakers in Europe.
# 15 million people in Germany are of non-German descent (first and second generation), i.e. 18.5% of the population. About half of them are foreign residents, not German citizens.
# About a quarter of all American citizens claim at least partial German ancestry.
# Germany has nearly 700 zoological gardens, wildlife parks, aquariums, bird parks, animal reserves, or safari parks, including 414 registered zoos (more than the USA) ! Berlin's Zoologischer Garten is the largest zoo in the world, both in terms of number of species (1,500) and animal population (14,000).
# The world's youngest billionnaire is the German Prince Albert II von Thurn und Taxis, with net worth is estimated at around $1.9 billion (USD) as of 2006.
# German athletes have won a total of 1548 Olympic medals (summer and winter combined), i.e. more than any other country in the world except the USA.
# The Fairy Grottoes (Feengrotten) in Saalfeld, Thuringia, are the world's most colourful caves, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
# There are some 2.5 million half-timbered houses in Germany, by far the highest number of any country worldwide.

Culture & Sciences

# Classical music has been widely dominated by German-speaking composers. A few famous ones born on the present territory of Germany include Bach, Ha"ndel, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner and R. Strauss.
# Some of the world's greatest philosophers were German : Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger...
# The Germans can be credited for the discovery of insulin, the invention of the clarinet, the pocket watch, the automated calculator, the light bulb, television (partly), paraffin, petrol/gasoline & Diesel engines, the automobile (as well as the engine, differential gear and other important devices), the motorcycle, the jet engine, the LCD screen and the Walkman.
# There are 1,300 beer breweries in Germany, making some 5,000 kinds of beer. German people are the world's third biggest beer drinkers after the Czechs and the Irish.
# Germany was the first country in the world to adopt Daylight saving time (DST, a.k.a. summer time) in 1916, in the midst of WWI.
# The Walhalla temple (Hall of Fame and Honor of the German nation) in Regensburg was built by Ludwig I of Bavaria in the early 19th century to commemorate great figures and events in ethnic German history, beginning with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE).
# The Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre) was specifically conceived and built to host performances of operas by Richard Wagner. It opened in 1876 for the premiere of the four-opera cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen.
# As of 1998, there were 5,752 museums in Germany (about as many as Italy and the United Kingdom combined).
# Germany is one of the last Western European countries not to have banned smoking in workplaces, and restaurants (see map). One of the political reason for this is that the Nazi offcially frowned on smoking, and post-war German legislators have been afraid of imitating Nazi regulations.
# No less than forty-two Nobel Prize laureates studied or taught at the Georg-August University of Go"ttingen. Nobel Prize winners notwithstanding, famous people who taught there included Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), the Brothers Grimm. Alumni count among themselves Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) and the American J. P. Morgan (1837-1913).

Environment & Ecology

# Germans have been the pioneers of the ecological movement and green politics. The world's first Green Party, Die Gru"nen, was founded in 1979-1980. Germany is one of the rare countries (along with Belgium) where the Greens have been part of a government coalition (from 1998 to 2005, so far).
# The term "ecology" was first coined by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel in 1866.
# In 2005 Germany produced approximately 35% of the world's wind energy. There are over 20,000 wind turbines off the coast of northern Germany, the largest of which reach 200 metres in height.
# Germans are among the most avid recyclers. According to a BBC survey, Germany had the third highest recycling rate (48% of waste recycled), only just surpassed by its Swiss and Austrian neighbours.


# The oldest sun observatory currently known in Europe is the so-called Goseck circle in Saxony-Anhalt. It was built some 7,000 years ago.
# The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was founded by Charlemagne in Aachen in 800 C.E. It lasted over a thousand years, until 1806, when Napoleon dissolved it (mostly because he saw himself as the heir of Charlemagne, the new Emperor of the Occident).
# The Weihenstephaner Brewery in Freising, Bavaria, has been operating since its foundation in 1040, which makes it the world's oldest brewery.
# Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) is the first composer whose biography is known. Her works are considered the foundation to what later became known as opera (over 400 years later).
# Germany played a central role in the Reformation of Christianity. Johannes Gutenberg (1400-1468) printed the world's very first Bible in Mainz in 1456. The development the printing press allowed ordinary people to possess a copy of the holy book, previously reserved to the clergy and nobility. It didn't take long before another German, Martin Luther (1483-1546), compared the actual content of the Bible to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church, and found major discrepancies. In 1517, Luther famously posted his 95 Thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt), in which he emphasized the Bible as the sole source of religious authority and the church as a priesthood of all believers. The Protestant Reformation would cause the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) throughout the Holy Roman Empire, and resulted among others in the independence of Switzerland and of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
# The University of Marburg (Philipps-Universita"t Marburg), in Hesse, was founded in 1527 as the world's first Protestant university.
# The world's oldest savings bank was established in Oldenburg (Lower Saxony) in 1786.
# Germany has had quite a few capitals in its turbulent history, notably (in chronological order) : Aachen (from 794), Regensburg (seat of the Reichstag from 1663 to 1806), Frankfurt-am-Main (site of the election and coronation of German emperors between 1152 and 1792, seat of the Bundestag of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1871), Berlin (from 1871 to 1949, and 1990 to present), and Bonn (from 1949 to 1990 - West Germany only).

Construction & Architecture

# Ulm Cathedral is the tallest church in the world, with 161.53 metres (530 feet) in height. It was the world's tallest building from 1890 to 1908.
# The Wurzburg Residence possess the world's largest fresco ceiling (677 m^(2) or 7287 square feet). It is the work of Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770).
# The German Autobahn is the oldest motorway network in the world (first section completed in 1932), as well as one of the densest (12,000 km for a country of 357,021 km^(2)). It is also the only one in Europe to have no general speed limit.
# The world's two biggest cuckoo clocks are both located in Schonach im Schwarzwald, Baden-Wu"rttemberg. One of the cuckoos measures nearly five meters and weighs 150 kg.
# Over 300 bunkers and hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels built during the Nazi-era still remain under the modern city of Berlin - although mostly unaccessible due to crumbling and floods from water tables.


# Since 2003, Germany is the world's largest exporter of goods with $1.016 trillion exported in 2005. 10.1% of world exports come from Germany.
# Germany the world's second producer of cars (after Japan) and motor vehicle in general (after the USA).
# The German company BASF (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik) is the second largest chemical company in the world, employing some 87,000 people in 160 subsidiaries and joint ventures in 41 countries.
# Germany was ranked by the World Competitiveness Yearbook as No. 1 in patent and copyright protection.
# Germany now suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (12% in 2006).
# As of 2006, Germany had the highest corporate tax rate in Europe, close to 40%.
# The biggest train station in Europe opened in Berlin in 2006.
# The European Central Bank is located in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.
# Frankfurt International Airport claims the world record in the most international destinations served. The Lufthansa, based in Frankfirt, is the world's largest airline in terms of international passengers carried, and Europe's largest in terms of passenger-kilometers flown, freight tonne-kilometers flown and fleet size.
# DELAG, (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft, translating as "German Airship Transport Corporation") was the world's first airline. It was founded on 16 November 1909 in Frankfurt.
# The largest department store in continental Europe is the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) in Berlin, with over 60,000 square metres.


Interesting Facts about Jesse James

Mysteries & Secrets - Jesse James

[- A hero or desperado? -]
On February 1, 1874, Missouri newspapers carried the banner headline, "The Most Daring Train Robbery on Record!" The report went on to tell of a gang of heavily armed, uncommonly tall men, riding handsome horses, who had the previous day seized the Iron Mountain Railroad flag station in tiny Gads Hill, Missouri. The writer said that the brazen bandits had thrown the signal switches, stopping the southbound express to Little Rock and taking $22,000 in cash and gold from the train's safe.

Though the gang was not identified, everyone recognized the stylish work of Jesse Woodson James and his brother Frank. In fact, the news bulletin itself was penned by Jesse, who left his handwritten press release with the train engineer just before riding off into the woods with the loot. Jesse believed in publicity, for he knew that much of his success in Missouri was dependent upon the tacit approval of its rustic citizens. Poor and struggling farmers for the most part, they idolized him and his cohorts as symbols of bold defiance against the authorities.

Learning the Trade

Jesse James learned his wild and wily ways as a teenaged guerrilla in the Civil War "army" of William Quantrill. This gang of adventurers, working nominally for the Confederate cause in Union held Missouri, robbed Union mail, ambushed federal patrols, and attacked shipping along the Missouri River with a speed and brutality that the Union regulars could seldom match. As Quantrill's men were never on any payroll - indeed, the Confederate army officially disavowed any connection with them - the guerrillas supported themselves by any means available, including robbery and extortion.

In 1864 the 17 year old Jesse joined one of Quantrill's squads, a gang of cutthroats under the command of "Bloody Bill" Anderson, following his older brother Frank and his cousin, Cole Younger, both veteran bushwhackers. Anderson had much to teach them about planning raids, carrying out intelligence gathering missions, deploying attackers for maximum advantage, and using horses and small arms to deadly effect.

Anderson soon came to regard Jesse James as the "keenest and cleanest fighter in the command," a judgment confirmed in a bloody encounter with Union troops at Centralia, Missouri, on September 27, 1864. The guerrillas halted a passing train, stole $3,000 in Union currency, and slaughtered more than 225 armed Union troops. James, riding hard with the reins of his horse in his teeth and firing a six shooter in each hand, reportedly killed three of the enemy.

When the war ended, Confederate guerrillas like Jesse and Frank James were not offered amnesty, as were the regulars, but were declared outlaws and ordered to give themselves up for prosecution. Frank did so and was soon paroled, but Jesse was shot by federal soldiers outside of Lexington, Missouri. Seriously wounded, he was allowed to be carried home to his mother's farm in Kearney, Missouri, presumably to die. But Jesse was soon on the road to recovery, and as his strength returned, he and Frank, cousin Cole, and three others of the Younger clan decided to take up where they had left off, plundering at will, only this time going after a different enemy: banks, railroads, and large landowners.

Pursuing a Bloody Trade

On February 13, 1866, the James brothers launched their new careers in nearby Liberty, Missouri, with the holdup of the Clay County Savings Bank. While eight gang members took up defensive positions on the main street, Frank and Jesse went into the bank, their guns drawn, and ordered the cashier to open the vault and fill the wheat sacks they carried with cash and securities. Then, with an estimated $60,000 in their possession, the gang mounted up and rode out of town. None of the outlaws was recognized; and, when a citizen posse attempted to follow their trail, it was stopped by a blizzard. After dividing the spoils, each of the bandits slipped back to his family homestead where he did his best to avoid attracting attention. For more than three years, the gang pursued its bloody trade deliberately but infrequently, and without serious interference. Along the way they killed the mayor of one town, several bank clerks, and a score or more bystanders, collecting enough money to live comfortably. Though many privately suspected the James and Younger brothers, there was so much local sympathy for the gang's activities that no one dared testify against its members.

Then, in December 1869, the James brothers' luck changed when they raided a bank in Gallatin, Missouri. The ordinarily cool Jesse shot the cashier, who reminded him of a despised Union officer, and the noise of gunfire drew a crowd to see what was happening. The brothers barely escaped the hail of bullets fired by the townspeople, and in the melee Jesse's mount became skittish and galloped off, throwing Jesse from his saddle and dragging him some 30 feet. When Jesse finally freed himself, he was able to climb up behind Frank on another horse and get away. But Jesse's horse was caught and its owner's identity established for certain. Jesse and Frank decided it was time to lie low, and this they did for nearly two years.

When they did resume their raiding parties, it was in the next state, at Corydon, Iowa, in June 1871. The Corydon escapade turned out to be one of the easiest holdups of their career, and the outlaws enjoyed themselves immensely. Stopping briefly at the church on their way out of town, Jesse interrupted the minister to announce that "some riders" had just robbed the town's bank. "You folks best get down there in a hurry," said the bandit to the astonished worshipers. In the next three years the James brothers grew ever bolder, as one success followed on another. On September 26, 1872, they rode into the giant fairgrounds at Kansas City and, before huge crowds, stole the cash receipts rumored to be about $10,000. Then, to be sure that their exploits were duly appreciated, they rode through the throngs, shooting over their heads like some kind of Wild West circus act.
Going for Higher Stakes

Not long after the raid on the fairgrounds, the brothers decided to try their hands at robbing trains. As the gang's first target, they chose the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific express, which was scheduled to run eastbound with $100,000 in gold on July 21, 1873. On a curving stretch of railbed near Council Bluffs, Iowa, the gang pulled a section of track out of line. Before the approaching train's engineer had a chance to slow down, the engine overshot the curve and ran off the tracks, the following coaches crunching one into the next. One trainman died and a dozen passengers were injured. The James brothers boarded the baggage car and ordered the clerks to open their safes, only to discover that the gold had gone through ahead of schedule and that just a few thousand in federal notes remained. In subsequent attempts they did far better. In addition to the $22,000 carried off from the Gads Hill train robbery in January 1874, they netted $135,000 in three other train robberies.

As the roaster of crimes grew and local law enforcement officers did little or nothing to apprehend the outlaws, the bankers and railroad interests took matters into their own hands and hired the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. But because Allan Pinkerton himself had been closely allied with the Union cause, having set up a secret service for the Union army, his men were regarded as enemies among the large segment of Missouri society still sympathetic to the defeated Confederacy. The detectives were placed at further disadvantage by having no photographs of any of the alleged culprits to help them track their quarry without local help. The James gang, by contrast, had no trouble spotting Pinkerton men nor any compunctions about shooting them dead when the opportunity presented itself.

Three Pinkerton operatives were murdered in a single week early in 1874. Stepping up its efforts, the agency laid plans to surround the Kearney homestead where the James brothers' remarried mother, Mrs. Zerelda Samuel, lived on the presumption that they would trap Jesse and Frank during a filial visit. Hearing rumors that the James boys were already on the premises, one of the agents lobbed a bomb into the house. But all they managed to accomplish was to blow off Mrs. Samuel's right arm and kill Jesse's eight year old half brother, Archie. The outlaws were safely ensconced in Tennessee at the time. The vicious bombing only improved Jesse's reputation as a social martyr.

Forced into Hiding

The gang's luck ran out during a bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, on September 7, 1876. Two of the James gang were killed on the spot; a third died in a fight with a posse sent after them. The three Younger brothers were wounded and captured several days later. Frank and Jesse were the only ones to escape, and because they were now more earnestly sought by the law than ever, they decided that their only recourse was to take new names and hide out once more.

Had the James brothers remained incognito, Jesse might have died in bed of old age. But three years after disappearing, he and Frank formed a new gang and began stirring up more excitement. Missouri's new governor, Thomas T. Crittenden, put a price of $5,000 on the arrest of Jesse or Frank James, with added amounts if either were convicted for robbery or murder.

Robert and Charles Ford, two recent recruits to the James gang who felt none of the loyalty that their predecessors had known, found the offer too good to refuse. Bob Ford secretly went to Crittenden and won a promise of amnesty in return for delivering Jesse James. The two Fords then paid a social call on Jesse and his family, who were living in St. Joseph, Missouri, under the assumed name of Howard. James was delighted to see his comrades in arms and invited them to stay a while. The Fords waited several days until they found Jesse unarmed, of all improbable circurnstances, the moment came one morning when the outlaw took off his gun belt, climbed up on a chair, his back to Bob Ford, and began dusting a picture on the wall. Slowly, Ford drew his weapon, aimed at Jesse's head, and pulled the trigger. The bullet killed him instantly.

Five months later, 39 year old Frank James surrendered on his own, laying his gun belt before the governor with a ceremonial flourish. Crittenden promised him a fair trial; and, perhaps because the public had been so outraged by the treacherous nature of Jesse's assassination, Frank was acquitted of all charges. He lived out the rest of his life in peace.

The Jesse James legend lives on. To generations of Americans, the outlaw was remembered as a brazen hero who stole from the rich to give to the poor but fell victim to the unjust power of the state. It was an image perpetuated in dime novels, folk ballads, and theatrical entertainments. That he and his cohorts in fact made no distinction between rich and poor, murdered a dozen or more innocent people, and created a climate of fear and disorder in many parts of the West simply did not fit the populist image, and, consequently, was left out of the telling.


Interesting Beam Mounts

A montage of unique beam mounts,
Including Aisha Gerber, Alexandra Marinescu, Andreea Munteanu, Catalina Ponor, Charlotte Mackie, Daniela Silivas, Daniele Hypolito, Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu, Elene Zamolodchikova, Elise Ray, Elvire Teza, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Emilia Eberle, Grace Taylor , Hollie Vise, Ivana Hong, Kim Zmeskal, Kristie Phillips, Lavinia Milosovici, Li Li, Ludivine Furnon, Ludmilla Ezhova, Melanie Sinclair, Mo Huillan, Natalia Shaposhnikova, Olga Korbut, Olga Mostepanova, Shannon Miller, Shayla Worley, Svetlana Khorkina, Tatiana Groshkova, Tatiana Lysenko and Terin Humphrey.

Interesting Facts of Dynamite

Dynamite is an Explosive material based (in its standard form) on the explosive potential of nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth (kieselgur: United States spelling; kieselguhr: UK spelling) or another absorbent substance such as sawdust as an absorbent. It was invented by Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in 1866 in Krummel (Geesthacht, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), and patented in 1867. Military dynamite achieves greater stability by avoiding nitroglycerin.

It is usually sold in the form of a stick 20 centimetres (roughly 8 inches) long and 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) in diameter, but other sizes also exist. Dynamite is considered a high explosive, which means it detonates rather than deflagrates.

Another form of dynamite consists of nitroglycerin dissolved in nitrocellulose and a small amount of ketone. This form of dynamite is similar to cordite. This form of dynamite is much safer than the simple mix of nitroglycerin and diatomaceous earth/kieselgur


Briefly in the late 19th century, dynamite guns were used experimentally and in very limited combat. The early US Navy submarine USS Holland included a dynamite gun in its armament. Limited range and sensitivity of nitroglycerin based dynamite led to the early abandonment of dynamite guns.

Dynamite has been replaced for combat engineering purposes (construction) by 'military dynamite', a stable mixture of TNT, RDX, inert binders and anti-freeze agents. Military dynamite is equivalent in strength to 60 percent straight nitroglycerin commercial dynamite and is used by the military as a direct replacement for "60% straight dynamite".


Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel and was the first safely manageable explosive stronger than black powder. Nobel obtained patents for his invention: in England on 7 May 1867 and in Sweden on 19 October 1867. He originally sold dynamite as "Nobel's Blasting Powder". After its introduction, dynamite rapidly gained popularity as a safe alternative to gunpowder and nitroglycerin. Nobel tightly controlled the patent, and unlicensed duplicators were quickly shut down. However, a few American businessmen got around the patent by using a slightly different formula

United States

Advertisement for the Aetna Explosives Company of New York.

In the United States, in 1885, chemist Russell S. Penniman invented ammonium dynamite, a form which used ammonium nitrate in addition to the more costly nitroglycerin. These dynamites were marketed with the trade name "Extra". Ammonium nitrate has 85% of the energy of "straight" nitroglycerin. Dynamite was manufactured by the E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. until the mid-1970s. Other U.S. dynamite makers of the era included Hercules, Atlas, Trojan-US Powder, Austin, and several other smaller firms. Dynamite was eventually phased out in favor of water gel explosives, which are cheaper to manufacture and in many ways safer to handle.

Difference from TNT

It is a common misconception that TNT and dynamite are the same thing. Though both are high explosives, there is no other similarity between them. While dynamite is an absorbent mixture soaked in nitroglycerin, then compacted into a cylindrical shape and wrapped in paper, TNT is a specific chemical compound called 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene.

A stick of dynamite contains roughly 2.1 million joules of energy. The energy density (joules/kilogram) of dynamite is approximately 7.5 megajoules/kilogram, compared to 4.6 megajoules/kilogram of TNT.

source: wikipedia

Interesting Refeeres and Goalkeepers

Interesting Prison Hobbies

These are a few of the probably numerous interesting makeshift hobbies found in an Alabama maximum security prison. From custom guitars and cases built from balsa wood model boat kits to strip club VIP lounge blueprints, these guys are avoiding idle hands.

Interesting Facts about Copper

Did you know?

Archaeologists have recovered a portion of a water plumbing system from the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. The copper piping was found to be in serviceable condition after more than five thousand years.

Gold is so soft that it can be moulded with the hands, so to make it usable a small amount of copper is added. Even twenty-four carat gold contains some copper.

New York's Statue of Liberty is sheathed in more than 80 tonnes of copper mined in Norway and fabricated by French craftsmen.

To protect them from barnacles and other kinds of bio-fouling, the ships in which Columbus sailed to the Americas were fitted with copper skins below the water line. Today, a copper-containing coating is applied to most seagoing vessels to provide similar protection to the hull.

One of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls found in Israel is made of copper instead of more fragile animal skins. The scroll contains no religious writings but only clues to still undiscovered treasures.

Copper cookware is the most highly-regarded by the world's chefs. It has the best heat transfer of any material used in cooking, and as heating is uniform there are no hot spots.

Copper is a natural antibacterial, and so inhibits the spread of bacteria in water and air distribution systems made from it. In the same way, brass doorknobs, handrails and fingerplates in public buildings can help to minimise risk of bacterial transfer.

Tools made from copper or copper alloys will not cause a spark, and thus are used wherever there may be a danger of explosion.

A copper coating applied to a surgeon's scalpel conducts electricity to heat the blade, rendering the instrument self-cauterising.

Copper's exceptional resistance to corrosion is invaluable in many inhospitable environments - not least in deep-sea oil and gas exploration and extraction. Sweden's nuclear authority is to encapsulate spent nuclear fuel in canisters protected by copper five centimetres thick. These canisters are required to remain effective for at least a hundred thousand years, but are expected to last even ten times as long.

Scores of lives and huge sums of money could be saved each year if buildings were properly protected against lightning strikes. A copper earthing system is all that is required.

It is estimated that about 80% of the copper humanity has ever produced is still in use. It will continue to be recycled over and over again without any effect on its properties.


Interesting Facts about Australia

Australia (officially the Commonwealth of Australia) is a country in the Southern Hemisphere. Here are some interesting facts about Australia.

* Australia is the sixth largest country by total area. However, the population is relatively small. Only 21.7 million people live in Australia.

* 60% of the population is concentrated in five capital cities- Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

* Australia was originally called ÑNew South Wales

* Australia is well known for its strong international sporting teams. Australians have very strong teams in cricket, hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union, cycling, rowing and swimming.

* The most popular sports in Australia are Australian Rules Football, rugby league and soccer (football).

* Well known Australian actors include Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackson, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett.

* Sydney is the most populous city in Australia.

* Almost 800,000 Australians live outside Australia.

* English is the most spoken language in Australia. It is the only language spoken in over 80% of Australian homes.

* In the 2006 census, 64% of the population were listed as Christian. However, weekly attendance in church services is very low. Only 7.5% of the population attend church services weekly.

* Australia largest export markets are Japan, China, the United States, South Korea and New Zealand.

* Australia has 755 species of reptiles.

* Australias carbon dioxide emissions per person is one of the highest in the world.

* The armed forces of Australia- the Australian Defence Force (ADF)- consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

* Australia is one of the founding members of the United Nations.

* There are six states and two territories in Australia. Each state and territory has its own parliament that makes laws.

* Voting in elections is compulsory for all Australians that are 18 years or older.

* The High Court of Australia is the highest court in Australia.

* The official currency is the Australian dollar.

* There are about 500,000 indigenous Australians (also called Aboriginals) living in Australia.


Interesting facts about Spain

The lovely serene country of Spain in Europe is famously synonymous for its bullfights, flamenco dancers and lively beaches. Spain is diverse and that is exactly where its true beauty lies. It has got the north that can be likened with the undulating green hills of Ireland, whereas the south gives out a tang of Morocco in its topography and architecture. Various extant ancient paintings, Moorish palaces, Roman ruins, rundown castles and cathedrals alongside the modern structures speak about its rich heritage and culture. Be it language, culture, cuisine or the art, it is the element of diversity present in all of these that truly entice a person. So let us grab some interesting quick facts about Spain.

* Spain was among the most powerful empires in the world during the 16th century.
* Spaniards habitually stand close and will, from time to time, touch one another on the shoulder while talking.
* Requesting for a second serving is taken as an indication that you liked the food.
* The low birthrate registered in Spain is the result of the high unemployment coupled with steep housing costs. These factors make it difficult for most people in Spain to buy houses big enough to accommodate more than two kids.
* Spaniards place a lot of importance on what others think of them.
* Soccer happens to be the most popular spectator sport in Spain. The important matches see the fans crowding homes as well as local bars.
* Bullfighting in Spain, which is regarded as an art as well as a popular attraction, is its biggest and most controversial sport. Bullfighting is a central part of Spanish history, art and culture and there are bull rings in all important cities and even a few minor ones.
* Teenagers in Spain normally start dating in groups when they are around 14 years of age and as couples at age 18.
* Instead of calling on a girl at her home, a boy usually prefers meeting her at a prearranged venue.
* More than men, it is women who are presently enrolled in Spain's universities.
* Around 40 per cent Spaniards between the 17 and 24 age group are smokers.
* Spain has one of Europe's highest rates of AIDS.
* The locals of Spain have lunch at 2 pm and dinner at around 9 to10 pm.
* Spain is just a little more than twice the size of Oregon.
* Spain comprises 85 per cent of the Iberian Peninsula.
* Spain kept a position of neutrality in World War I. In 1923, Gen. Miguel Primo de Rivera became dictator.
* Spain legalized gay marriage in June 2005 despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
* Spain gained freedom from the Moors in Granada (the last stronghold of the Moors) in 1492.
* Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain in order to find the New World.
* In Spain, 94 per cent of its population is Roman Catholic.
* In January 2002, euro was made the official currency of Spain.
* In Spain, prescription medications can be acquired Ñover-the-counter at medicine shops.
* The biggest industry in Spain is tourism. Benidorm, a beach town nearby Alicante has got the third most hotel rooms in Europe after London and Paris.


Interesting and Fun Facts about Ireland

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on 17 March, it is appropriate that we share with the world some fun and interesting facts about Ieland.

1. Obama Connection
In 1850 a gentleman by the name of Fulmuth Kearney made the journey, like so many others, from Ireland, to the United States. One of the huddled masses, he prospered and his line flourished. His great great grand daughter gave birth to a boy, who she named Barack, So it came about that Senator Obama of Illinois may well join the estimated 40% of American presidents who can claim some Irish heritage.

2.Nosey, Nosey
Ever been called a nosy parker? Well the name has its origins in Ireland. Edward Parker (died in 1896) was a gentleman from County Laois. He was a sergeant in the British army, which must have made him popular. What made him unforgettable, however, was the huge tumour he had on the end of his nose. This tumour was so large it extended way below his chin. The soldiers he worked with - generous to a soul - gifted him the name Nosey Parker which lived with him even after death. Even today when people clamour for fame of any kind, it would be a particularly odd person who would wish to be remembered in this way.

3.Bury Me Right
There was once a Doctor of Dublin - Jonathan Osborne was his name. His own peculiar claim to fame comes from the fact that he had himself buried in an upright coffin. Many have heard jokes about coffins shaped like a Y, but this is a strange on. It seems on his death in 1864 he did not wish to be at a disadvantage when the Day of Resurrection came. The poor chap had arthritic hips, you see!

4.Tongue Twister
Wales may have the longest place name in Europe but Ireland isn't far off! The village of Muckanaghederdauhaulia is located in County Galway. The name means Ómarsh of the pigs between two seasÔ - in this case two inlets (but no one could ever accuse the Irish of exaggeration, could they!). Although not the longest name place in the world by along way, it is believed to be the longest name for a port. The shortest, incidentally, is ÓUÔ in the Caroline Islands.

5.The Irish Empire
The English weren't the only ones prone to a bit of colonialism. Montserrat is often referred to as ÓThe Emerald Isle of The CaribbeanÔ and boasts areas caked Kinsale and Cork. Many of the locals have Irish last names. This was because the island was settled in the seventeenth century by Irish Catholics. Unfortunately, the Irish settlers chose poorly as there was a huge volcanic eruption in 1995 which made a lot of the island uninhabitable and it is only just starting to recover now.

6.Scientific Eire
The Irish may not have as rich a heritage of scientific discovery as say, the Scots, but John Tyndall, and Irish scientist, discovered the answer to one of those really irritating questions that almost every child comes up with at some point. The question is, of course, ÓWhy is the sky blue?Ô. The answer is because the eye is most sensitive to the colors blue and reddy purply stuff, The molecules in our air scatter the bluey molecules quicker than the reddy pruply stuff. So, in the day and without clouds, the sky looks blue as the sun is close to you at the time and reddish in the morning and evening because the light must travel further to get to you and the more of the bluey light has been scattered. Until Tyndall people thought it was because it was dustier in the evening.

7.Up the Pole
It's official! According to the most recent census, there are now more Polish people in Ireland than there are native speakers of the original language of the isle, Gaelic. Obviously the Emerald Isle has a huge plumbing problem that isn't mentioned often!

8.Girls Allowed
Although Ireland doesn't necessarily spring to mind when one is asked to name countries at the forefront of gender equality, it certainly holds one record. Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland. She was followed, with little fuss, by Mary McAleese. This is the only instance in the world where one female President was replaced by another.

9.Who Wants to Live Forever?
Have the Irish discovered the secret of immortality? The most recent census showed that the population had risen to 4.2 million and the rise was a fifty fifty split between immigration and births. However, the average age of 33, meaning that the Irish as a population did not grow any older between to censuses. They now have a younger population than any of the other states of the European Union.

10.Like They Say
The best Irish proverb? ÓA man is incomplete until he marries. Then he is finished.


Interesting Facts about Swine Flu (H1N1)

Influenza Season and the Swine Flu H1N1:
While the typical influenza season is usually during the cold and dry months of Winter and early Spring months (Science Daily article on typical human flu); the current H1N1 flu (Swine or Pig Flu) has spread very rapidly during the months of April and May which are in fact warm in Mexico, current temperatures in Mexico City are in the 70-80's °F during this time of the year. A study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City found that normal flu thrives in winter months because of the low humidity and low temperature.

The jury is still out on whether this influenza virus will thrive in the hot months only or if its effect will increment during the cold months of winter/early spring. This is a reason why the development of a vaccine is necessary: so that we can be prepared for it when we are the most vulnerable. It is still unclear if the colder weather will make the spread of this virus more aggressive.

Genetic Makeup of H1N1 Swine Influenza Virus:
The current H1N1 Influenza Virus has a genetic makeup that includes genes from three different virus that affect pigs, birds, and humans. It is now apparent that the predecessor to the current H1N1 pork flu had already been around in pigs for 10 years and just recently acquired the additional genes that have allowed it to become virulent in humans.

The H1N1 chimeric virus is mostly of swine origin, with 6 segments from pig virus, 1 from bird, and the last from human.

The pig flu virus can jump back and forth from Humans and Poricine species.
The H1N1 virus is first thought to have jumped from pigs to humans in Mexico, and it has been confirmed that once it made it to Canada, it infected pigs jumping from a human host. Humans that work in proximity with pigs are rarely infected with porcine-viruses, it is even more rare that a human infected with porcine virus infects another human (happens every 5 decades or so), but what was never documented is the virus of pig oringin jumping back to pigs.

Ten facts about swine flu

Swine flu is an acute respiratory disease which affects pigs. In pigs, according to the World Health Organisation, "morbidity tends to be high and mortality low" - which means that it spreads quickly but kills between 1 and 4 per cent of its victims.

Pigs are the perfect mixing vessels for what is known as reassortment of flu strains, when genetic material from swine flu, human flu and avian flu is jumbled up to create entirely new influenza strains to which humans have little or no immunity.

The currrent H1N1 virus contains genetic elements from North American swine flu, North American avian (bird) flu, and human and swine flu strains normally found in Asia and Europe. According to the Centres for Disease Control it is "an unusually mongrelised mix of genetic sequences".

This new strain of swine flu is not infecting pigs - and has never been seen in pigs.

Seasonal flu viruses (which mutate every year) kill between 250,000 and 500,000 people a year.

The symptoms produced by the current strain of swine flu resemble those of seasonal flu - fever, coughing, muscle aches and extreme tiredness - but it also appears to cause diarrhoea.

The currrent H1N1 virus contains genetic elements from North American swine flu, North American avian (bird) flu, and human and swine flu strains normally found in Asia and Europe. According to the Centres for Disease Control it is "an unusually mongrelised mix of genetic sequences".

The most lethal flu pandemic of the past century was also caused by a swine flu strain. One billion people are thought to have contracted "Spanish flu" in 1918-19, of whom around 50 million were killed - although the death toll could have been much higher.

In 1976, an Army recruit at Ford Dix, New Jersey, complained that he was feeling tired and weak. He died the following day. After Swine flu was diagnosed panicked officials persuaded Gerald Ford that the entire population needed vaccination. About 40 million people were vaccinated before another fear took hold - that the vaccine was more dangerous than the disease - and the programme was aborted.

The WHO's pandemic alert level has been raised a notch to level 4. Level 5 is considered a pandemic - with "sustained community-level transmission" in at least two countries - and level 6 a full-scale global pandemic affecting more than one region in the world.

Symptoms of H1N1 (Swine Flu)

This Video Cures Swine Flu


Interesting Facts about Evolution of Car Logos

The Volkswagen Automobile Company originally founded in 1938, also known as Volkswagen Passenger Cars, or just VW, is an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany, and is the original brand within the Volkswagen Group, as well as the largest brand by sales volume.

Renault S.A. (Euronext: RNO) is a French automaker producing cars, vans, buses, tractors, and trucks. Due to its alliance with Nissan, it is currently the world's 4th largest automaker. It owns the Romanian automaker Automobile Dacia and the Korean automaker Renault Samsung Motors. Carlos Ghosn is the current CEO. The company's most successful car to date is the Renault Clio, and its core market is France. The company is known for numerous revolutionary designs, security technologies, and motor racing.

Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroe"n, the second largest carmaker in Europe.

Peugeot's roots go back to nineteenth century coffee mill and bicycle manufacturing. The Peugeot company and family is originally from Sochaux, France. Peugeot retains a large manufacturing plant and Peugeot Museum there. It also sponsors the Sochaux football club, founded in 1928 by a member of the Peugeot family.

The Mitsubishi Group, Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese conglomerate consisting of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark and legacy.

Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. It is currently a division of the parent company, Daimler AG (formerly DaimlerChrysler AG), after previously being owned by Daimler-Benz. Mercedes-Benz has its origins in Karl Benz's creation of the first automobile in January 1886, and by Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's conversion of a carriage by the addition of a petrol engine the same year.

Mazda Motor Corporation is a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Hiroshima, Japan.

During 2007, Mazda produced almost 1.3 million vehicles for global sales. The majority of these (nearly 1 million) were produced in the company's Japanese plants, with the remainder coming from a variety of other plants worldwide.

Ford was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge (who would later found their own car company). During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies. Henry Ford was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the world's largest and most profitable companies, as well as being one to survive the Great Depression. As one of the largest family-controlled companies in the world, the Ford Motor Company has been in continuous family control for over 100 years.

Fiat S.p.A., an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (English: Italian Automobile Factory of Turin), is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial and industrial group based in Turin in the Piedmont region. Founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. Fiat has also manufactured tanks and aircraft.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), (English: Bavarian Motor Works) is a German automobile and motorcycle manufacturing company. Founded in 1916, it is known for its performance and luxury vehicles. It owns and produces the MINI brand, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The company traces its origins back to 1899 and August Horch. The first Horch automobile was produced in 1901 in Zwickau. In 1909, Horch was forced out of the company he had founded. He then started a new company in Zwickau and continued using the Horch brand.

Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. is an Italian automaker founded on 24 June 1910 in Milan. Alfa Romeo has been a part of the Fiat Group since 1986. The company was originally known as A.L.F.A., which is an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (translated: Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company).

Interesting Facts About The Human Body

Children grow faster in the springtime.

It takes the human stomach an hour to break down cow's milk.

Your stomach needs to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it would digest itself.

It takes 72 different muscles to produce human speech.

Relative to size, the strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

There are 10 human body parts that are only 3 letters long - eye, jaw, rib, hip, arm, leg, ear, toe, lip and gum.

If you go blind in one eye you only lose about one fifth of your vision but all your sense of depth.

Babies are born without knee caps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2-6 years of age.

You were born with 300 bones. When you get to be an adult, you have 206.

Your nose and ears never stop growing.

After you die, your body starts to dry out creating the illusion that your hair and nails are still growing after death.

The length of the finger dictates how fast your fingernails grow. The nail on your middle finger grows the fastest, and on average, your toenails grow half the speed of your fingernails.

A healthy adult can draw in about 200 to 300 cubic inches (3.3 to 4.9 litres) of air at a single breath, but at rest only about 5% of this volume is used.

15 million blood cells are destroyed in the human body every second.

The average human will shed over 18 kilograms or 40 pounds of skin in a lifetime.


George Washington Fun Facts

A few things you may not know about America's first president:

* Clothing was always important to George Washington. As the commander of Virginia's militia in the 1750s, Washington designed his soldiers' uniforms himself. The unit became known as "The Virginia Blues," a nickname arising from their color-coordinated outfits. Washington's earliest known fashion statement was a note he wrote during his late teens – a set of instructions to his tailor for altering a coat. The message ran more than 150 words in length.

* From the time he was a young man, George Washington was renowned for his towering stature – he was well over six feet tall – and his remarkable strength. He was able to hunt on horseback for as many as seven hours straight, and on one occasion, threw a rock to the top of a famous Virginia landmark, a 215-foot-high rock formation known as the Natural Bridge. The shot was roughly the equivalent of a quarterback tossing a touchdown pass from his own 30 yard-line into his opponent's end zone ... a 70-yard throw.

* The familiar portraits of Washington that stare at us from dollar bills and postage stamps suggest a man who lacked any emotion. The contrary, however, seems to have been true. Washington's biographers, and those contemporaries who actually knew him, describe Washington as an intense and passionate man who worked hard at keeping his feelings in check. One incident illustrates the struggle. During his early twenties, Washington found himself in a heated argument with a man known to history only as "a Virginia landowner and politician." The dispute turned violent when the man knocked George to the floor with a stick. Though George was much taller than his assailant – and almost certainly stronger – he chose not to retaliate. Instead, he left the room, collected his thoughts, returned and apologized ... even though the other man was at fault.

* During his military career, George Washington inspired a popular belief that in battle he was protected by "Providence" so that he might play a central role in the destiny of the nation. This view first surfaced in 1755, during the French and Indian War. At the Battle of the Monongahela, the French decimated the British force that Washington served with. Hundreds of men were killed and Washington's own clothing was pierced by several bullets. Still, Washington emerged from the fighting without a scratch and was soon being hailed as the "Hero of the Monongahela." While visiting the western frontier several years later, Washington encountered a party of Native Americans who had fought against him in the battle. These former enemies greeted Washington with the utmost respect – as a warrior who was protected against death by "The Great Spirit."

* The decimation of the British army at Monongahela was so extensive, that George Washington's family apparently concluded that he was among those killed. They further assumed that he had uttered a dramatic "dying speech" as was the custom in those times. Upon learning of this, Washington wrote to his brother with a touch of humor, " ... As I have heard ... a circumstantial account of my death and dying Speech, I take this ... opportunity of contradicting the first, and assuring you that I have not, as yet, composed the latter."

* During the early years of the American Revolution, Washington was eager to meet the British in a face-to-face, winner-take-all battlefield confrontation. This was especially true during his siege of the British in Boston, an eight-month stand-off that began when he assumed command of the army in July of 1775. By the winter of 1775-76, Washington was itching for an all-out attack. He proposed numerous invasion plans to his war council, including one that supposedly called for American soldiers to put on ice skates, glide across the frozen expanse of Boston Harbor in the dark of night and assault the British. The plan was eventually abandoned as impractical.

* From the start of the Revolution, Americans hailed George Washington as both the champion and symbol of their cause. His exalted status was confirmed when the township of Washington, Massachusetts, was incorporated in early 1776. By all accounts, this was the first geographical place named for the Commander in Chief. A few months later, Mount Washington (now known as Washington Heights) on Manhattan Island received its name. By the end of the year, the town of Washington, New Hampshire and the Washington district in North Carolina had also been established, as well as Washington counties in Virginia and Maryland.

* The plight of Gen. Washington's starving, frost-bitten army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778 has been recounted numerous times. One of the less well-known measures Washington took to alleviate the suffering was his engineering of a monumental cattle drive that reportedly moved more head of beef than any operation up until the era of the railroads in the 1870s. Washington sent agents throughout New England, Maryland and Delaware to buy up herds of cattle, or requisition them from those farmers reluctant to sell. Some cattle would be driven from as far away as 250 miles and the entire operation had to be orchestrated without drawing the attention of British or Tory spies. After several weeks, the first cattle began to arrive in Valley Forge, a trickle that soon grew into a flood of roughly a thousand head each week. The British captured only one herd, and George Washington, cattle-drive mastermind, was able to save his soldiers from starvation.

* By the spring of 1778, the bitter Valley Forge winter was becoming just a bad memory. Food was plentiful and the men were healthy. General Washington ordered a camp holiday to be held on May 6. A highlight of the festivities was a traditional European military exercise, a complex maneuver involving some 10,000 soldiers. Each man fired his musket, shooting immediately after the soldier next to him. The soldiers reloaded, and repeated the cycle – three times. All told, some 30,000 shots were fired in sequence ... a thunderous, non-stop display of power and precision. The party was still going strong when Gen. Washington mounted up and began to ride back to his headquarters. In a spontaneous outpouring of affection and respect, the men began to cheer. Washington turned towards his army and waved his hat. The soldiers responded by tossing their own hats into the air – all ten thousand of them.

* George Washington had no children of his own and would outlive both of his stepchildren. His stepdaughter, Patsy Custis, died in Washington's arms in 1773 – a victim of epilepsy at the age of sixteen. In September 1781, Washington's 26 year old stepson, Jackie, joined him during the Siege of Yorktown as an impromptu aide. The British surrendered on October 19th, ending the last major campaign of the American Revolution. Just two weeks later, Jackie Custis came down with what was known as "camp fever," which was probably meningitis. He died on November 5th, with Washington at his bedside.

* Washington's victory at Yorktown in October of 1781 marked the end of Britain's attempt to subdue its rebellious colonies. All that remained was to hammer out a peace treaty which would formalize what had been accomplished on the battlefield. With their political future suddenly upon them, many Americans, including members of congress and officers in the Continental Army, wanted George Washington to become King of America. To one such suggestion, Washington responded in no uncertain terms. "Be assured Sir, no occurrence in the course of the War has given me more painful sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing in the Army ... If I am not deceived in the knowledge of myself, you could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable ... if you have any regard for your Country ... or respect for me ... banish these thoughts from your Mind. ..."