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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Space (or Outer Space)

Space (or Outer Space) officially begins at the Kármán Line, an invisible boundary 100 km (62 miles) above the Earth. It takes its name from Hungarian engineer Theodore von Kármán (1881-1963) who calculated that the air is too thin to support aeronautical flight beyond that altitude.

Outer space is only an hour away, if you could drive your car straight into the sky at 60 MPH (96.5 km per hour).

 From high-altitude balloon launched by Kalamazoo College Make Stuff Club

Above altitudes of approximately 160 km (100 mi) the sky is completely black.

The term "space" was first used to mean the region beyond Earth's sky in John Milton's Paradise Lost in 1667.

The earliest known use of the phrase "outward space" was in the poem Maiden Of Moscow by Lady Emmeline Wortley in 1842. "Outer space" was first used as an astronomical term by Alexander von Humboldt in 1845. The expression was later popularized in the early 20th century writings of H. G. Wells.

The first film with outer space in its title was It Came From Outer Space in 1953.

The United Nations passed its Outer Space Treaty in 1967, precluding any country from claiming sovereignty over anywhere in space. The treaty also bans the nations that signed it from putting weapons of mass destruction into space.

The temperature of most of outer space is –270.45C, or 2.7 degrees above absolute zero.

When astronauts return from space walks and remove their helmets, they are welcomed back with a strange smell Astronauts have described it, like "seared steak." And also: "hot metal." And also: "welding fumes."


There is no sound in space. Space means no atmosphere which means there is nothing for the sound waves to travel though.

It used to be thought that Outer Space is a vacuum. It is now estimated that Space contains a few hydrogen atoms per cubic meter.

The picture below is part of the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image showing a typical section of space containing galaxies interspersed by deep vacuum. Given the finite speed of light, this view covers the last 13 billion years of the history of outer space.

A human being can survive exposed to space for about 15 seconds with no permanent damage. They would probably asphyxiate from the lack of breathable air and suffer from ebullism, in which a reduction in pressure would cause your saliva to boil, and your blood vessels to burst. There is one movie that got this right - Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Here is a list of songs about space.

Source Daily Express

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

South Pole

The South Pole is the the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth. It is located in Antarctica and is the center of the Southern Hemisphere.

On January 9, 1909 Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition, planted the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km) from the South Pole, the furthest south anyone had ever reached at that time.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team left in August 1910 intending to beat the Englishman Robert Falcon Scott, to become the first men to reach the South Pole.

On December 14, 1911 Amundsen and his men arrived at the South Pole and planted the Norwegian flag beating Scott by 34 days.

Amundsen's party at the South Pole, December 1911

Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, only to find that Roald Amundsen's team had arrived there a month earlier.

US Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, with the assistance of his first pilot Bernt Balchen, became the first person to fly over the South Pole on November 29, 1929.

Igloo, a Wire Fox Terrier flew traveled everywhere with Admiral Byrd in the 1920s, including flying over the South Pole.

Today there is an American science base at the South Pole, which is named the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to honor the two explorers. Established in 1956, it has been permanently staffed since that year. The buildings are raised on stilts to prevent snow build up.

Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station.  By Bill Henriksen, 

On October 31, 1956 humans set foot at the South Pole for the first time since Captain Robert F. Scott and his team in 1912, when a party led by Admiral George J. Dufek of the US Navy landed there in an R4D-5L Skytrain) aircraft.

Sir Edmund Hillary became the first explorer to reach the South Pole overland since Captain Robert F. Scott on January 4, 1958, The New Zealander — along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay — had become the first man to reach the 29,035ft summit of Everest five years earlier.

The Geographic South Pole is marked by a stake in the ice alongside a small sign; these are repositioned each year in a ceremony on New Year's Day to compensate for the movement of the ice.

The Ceremonial South Pole as of February 2008.

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in the South Pole recorded temperatures of 7.5 °F (-13.6 °C), making it the highest temperature to ever be recorded in the South Pole.

The North and South Poles have no official time zones. The South Pole has only one research station (US-owned), and they use New Zealand time because researchers fly in from Christchurch.

At the South Pole, the Sun does not set in December.

The South Pole has a desert climate. It almost never gets any precipitation. However, high winds can cause the blowing of snowfall, and the accumulation of snow amounts to about 20 cm (7.9 in) per year.

New York City gets 15 times as much snow as the South Pole.

South Korea


After Japan lost World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on leaving Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel. Separate governments, each with its own ideology were established. Syngman Rhee, an opponent of communism, who had been backed and appointed by the United States as head of the provisional government, won the first presidential elections of the newly declared Republic of Korea in May 1948.

The ceremony inaugurating the government of the Republic of Korea took place in August 15, 1948.

Ceremony inaugurating the government of the Republic of Korea 

Following the establishment of the South Korean state , the current flag was declared official by the government of South Korea on October 15, 1949, although it had been used as the de facto national flag before then.

In 1950 communist North Korea, seeking unification of the Korean peninsula, launched a large scale invasion of South Korea. US President Harry Truman ordered troops to assist South Korea and after three years fighting the Korean War ended in stalemate with no land lost or gained.

Though the United States, China, and North Korea all signed an armistice agreement, Syngman Rhee, President of South Korea, refused to sign, resulting in the two countries remaining technically at war. However the South Korean pledged to observe the armistice.

Seoul hosted the Olympic Games in 1988, which was widely regarded as successful and a significant boost for South Korea's global image and economy.

Fireworks at the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul

Roh Moo-hyun, President of South Korea from 2003 to 2008, killed himself in 2009 by jumping off a cliff. His left-wing party chose to delay the opening of parliament until the right-wing government of the time accepted responsibility for his suicide.

The 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Winter Olympic games saw 2,952 athletes from 92 countries take part.


South Korea has completely Autonomous Turrets, SGR-A1 developed by Samsung, deployed along its entire 160 mile border with North Korea, making it the most militarized border in the world.

Seoul, the South Korean capital, just means "the capital" in the Korean language.

About half of the country's people live in iSeoul, or near the city in the metropolitan area.

South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area.

Topography of South Korea. By Sadalmelik - Wikipedia

Christianity has been flourishing in South Korea for many decades. From the beginning of the First World War where there were under 200,000 Christians in the whole of Korea the numbers increased dramatically helped by the efforts of American missionaries to around 15 million by the end of the century. This is in spite of the partitioning of Korea in 1948 whereby the communist North Korea has one of the the most atheistic countries in the world.

Hangul, the alphabet which is used to write Korean, was published by King Sejong the Great of Joseon in 1446. It is the only alphabet in the word whose creator, invention day and invention principle is known.

The most famous traditional food of Korea, kimchi, is eaten with nearly every meal. It is a side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings.

Various kimch By National Institute of Korean Language.

Park Geun-Hye was the first female Korean president, serving as the President of South Korea from 2013 until her impeachment in 2017. She is the daughter of a Korean former president, Park Chung-hee.

In South Korea, the number of guests at a wedding is so important that "fake guest" agencies exist.

60% of South Korean families use professionals to find a name for their newborns.

In Korean, there are no words for 'brother' or 'sister', but there are words for an older or younger brother, and an older or younger sister.

In South Korea, where great emphasis is placed on academic success, children average 4.9 hours of sleep a night.

South Korea has what is known as the 'Cinderella Law' which bans children under 16 from online gaming between midnight and 6am.

According to the 2000 census in South Korea, there are 426,927 people in the country with the surname Moon.

South Korean women are nearly 8 inches (~20cm) taller today than 100 years ago.

In South Korea, men who win Olympic medals do not have to participate in the two year long mandatory military service.

The tiger is the national animal of South Korea.

In order to legally give someone a tattoo in South Korea, one must obtain a doctor's license.

In South Korea only the blind or visually impaired may become licensed masseurs.

South Dakota

The indigenous American peoples lived in what is now South Dakota for thousands of years before the coming of Europeans. By the 19th century, the Sioux had become dominant.

In 1861, the Dakota Territory, an organized incorporated territory, was established by the United States government. It was named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory.

The area was settled sparsely by European Americans until the late 19th century, when settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains in the southwest part of the state, and the construction of railroads from the east.

Deadwood, one of Black Hills towns founded after discovery of gold.

The Dakota Territory was split and became the states of North and South Dakota on November 2, 1889.

The last major conflict between U.S. military forces and Native Americans took place at Wounded Knee, South Dakota on December 29, 1890. More than 200 Lakota Indians were killed, for the loss of 31 cavalry.

Since 1990, South Dakota has been the only state that celebrates Native American Day instead of Columbus Day.

Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, is the only state capital name that shares no letters with the name of its state.

Pierre's population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second-least populous state capital (after Montpelier, Vermont) in the United States.

South Dakota State Capital building in Pierre by Jake DeGroot,

Sioux Falls, with a population of about 174,000, is South Dakota's largest city.

The population of South Dakota is 865,454 (2016 estimate), ranking 46th in the United States. The state's land area is 78,116 square miles (199,729 km2), and is ranked the 17th largest.

South Dakota's most famous landmark is Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota in the United States, which has the heads of four of America's presidents carved on its granite face: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Mount Rushmore By Jonathunder 

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the area.

The largest hailstone ever recorded in the US fell in South Dakota in 2010. It measured 8 inches across and weighed nearly 2 pounds

South Carolina

The Province of Carolina was granted by charter on March 24, 1663 to eight Lords Proprietors in reward for their assistance in restoring Charles II of England to the throne.

In 1665, the charter was revised slightly with the northerly boundary extended to include the lands of settlers along the Albemarle Sound who had left the Virginia Colony. Likewise, the southern boundary was moved to just south of present-day Daytona Beach, Florida, which had the effect of including the existing Spanish settlement at St. Augustine.

Carolina was originally named by King Charles II of England in honor of his father Charles I (Latin name Carolus).

The Carolina Colony grants of 1663 and 1665 By Decumanus 

In 1712 the land was divided into present day North Carolina and South Carolina.

The colony of South Carolina passed a law on December 12, 1712 requiring "all persons whatsoever" to attend church each Sunday and refrain from skilled labor and travel. Violators of the "Sunday Law" could be fined 10 shillings or locked in the stocks for two hours.

Following their division in 1712, both North and South Carolina remained in the hands of the same group of proprietors. A rebellion against the proprietors broke out in 1719 which led to the appointment of a royal governor for South Carolina in 1720. After nearly a decade in which the British government sought to locate and buy out the proprietors, both Carolinas became royal colonies in 1729.

Charleston was the capital of South Carolina until 1786 when Columbia became capital.

South Carolina ratified the Constitution as the eighth American state in 1788.

In the 1830s, South Carolina residents, frustrated by agricultural tariffs, broached the possibility of secession. Tariff reform appeased them for some time, but following the election of President Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina became on December 20, 1860 the first of eleven slave states to secede from the Union. The state's governor immediately demanded all federal property within the state, including Fort Sumter. The firing on Fort Sumter by Confederate batteries in 1861 precipitated the Civil War.

After the American Civil War, South Carolina was readmitted into the United States on June 25, 1868.

Representative Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first African American congressman in December 1870.

The population of South Carolina is just over 5 million people, ranking 24rd in the United States. The state is relatively small in land area, and is ranked the 40th largest.

South Carolina's largest city is Charleston with a 2016 population of 134,385.

Charleston By Khanrak - Own work,

South Carolina has the second highest number of workers employed by international companies per capita in the United States.

Tattooing was illegal in South Carolina until 2004.

South America

South America is the fourth largest of the continents, nearly twice as large as Europe.

South America ranks fifth in population of the continents (after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America).

A composite relief image of South America

The population of South America was originally American Indians, who survive chiefly in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

In the 16th century the arrival of Europeans with the Spanish and Portuguese conquest, resulted the American Indians being mainly killed or assimilated. Where they were unsuitable for slave labor, the Indians were replaced by slaves imported from Africa.

In the 19th century Napoleon's toppling of the Spanish throne opened the way for the independence of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Brazil became peacefully independent, large scale European immigration took place and interstate wars took a heavy toll such as the Paraguayan war and the Pacific War.

The proclamation of the Independence of Brazil by Prince Pedro

The final boundaries of the southern United States were formed on December 30, 1853 creating North and South America.

In the 20th century there was rapid industrialization and high population growth in South America. Heavily indebtedness was incurred to fund economic expansion, which led in the 1980s to an inability to meet interest payments and a world stump.

South America is separated from North America by the Panama Canal.

Brazil, the largest country in South America, comprises almost half of the land area and population of the continent.

The remaining countries and territories are divided among three regions: The Guineas, which include Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, The Andean Republics, which include Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile  (not considered to be geopolitically an Andean State), Ecuador, and Peru and The Southern Cone, which comprises Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile (geopoltically) and Argentina.

Spanish and Portuguese are the most spoken languages in South America, with approximately 200 million speakers each.

By Patrick87 - This file was derived from:  Languages of South America.svg, 

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia

South Africa

The area of what is now South Africa was originally inhabited by Bushmen and Hottentots.

Location of South Africa By OCHA,

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic group were Bantu-speaking peoples who had migrated from other parts of Africa about one thousand years before.

The Cape of Good Hope was rounded by Bartholomew Dias in 1488. He called it the "Cape of Storms" and it was King John II of Portugal who changed the name to "Cape of Good Hope". He called it this because the cape gave the Portuguese a new opportunity to find a sea route to India.

Dias turned back to Portugal at the Great Fish River, a river running 400 miles (644 kilometres) through the South African province of the Eastern Cape.

The coast of Natal was sighted by Vasco da Gama in 1497. He named it Natal as Christmas in Portuguese was “Natale”. The Vasco Da Gama Memorial in Durban today immortalizes Vasco Da Gama's first sighting of South Africa.

The Dutch East India Company founded Cape Town in 1652 as a port of call on the way from the Netherlands to the East Indies. The first colonial administrator was Jan van Riebeeck who arrived in Cape Town on April 6, 1652 and was Commander of the Cape until 1662.

Charles Davidson Bell's painting of Jan van Riebeeck arriveingin Table Bay

As there were very few native people living in the Cape, slaves were brought from Indonesia, Madagascar and India to work at the colony.

The Cape was under Dutch rule from 1652 to 1795 but they lost the colony to Great Britain following the 1795 Battle of Muizenberg.

Britain returned the Cape Colony following the 1802 Peace of Amiens. It was re-occupied by Britain following the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806, and Cape Town and the hinterland were purchased by Britain in 1814 for £6 million.

In 1836 some 10,000 Dutch Boer wishing to escape from British rule, set out north on the Great Trek and founded the Republic of Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

The first newspaper in Afrikaans, Die Afrikaanse Patriot, was published in Paarl on January 15, 1876.

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 intensified British efforts to gain control over the indigenous peoples. The Boer Republics successfully resisted British encroachments into Transvaal during the First Boer War (1880–1881) using guerrilla warfare tactics. The British were defeated at Majuba and the Transvaal once again became independent.

Battle of Majuba

The second Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902 between the Boers and the British. The Treaty of Vereeniging ended the Boer War and ensured British control of South Africa. It was signed at Melrose House, Pretoria, on May 31, 1902. Transvaal and the Orange Free State became British colonies.

The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the South Africa Act 1909, creating the Union of South Africa from the British Colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal Colony.

The term ‘apartheid’ was coined in the late 1930s by the South African Bureau for Racial Affairs (SABRA), which called for a policy of ‘separate development’ of the races.

The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalizing previous racial segregation.

In the 1950s the African National Congress (A&C) led a campaign of civil disobedience until it and other similar movements were, in 1960 declared illegal.

"For use by white persons" – apartheid sign

In 1964 the ANC leader Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged sabotage.

South Africa was one of the few countries that was unable to watch the Moon Landing live in 1969. Television was banned in South Africa at the time because there were fears that it would promote race mixing against nonwhites as the country was under Apartheid.

By the 1980s, thousands of the apartheid regime opponents had been imprisoned without trial and more than 3 million people had been forcibly resettled in black townships.

International condemnation of police brutality followed the news of the death in detention of the Black community leader Steve Biko in 1977. By the mid 1980s there were calls for economic sanctions against South Africa.

The 1994 South African general election was the first democratic general election in the country in which black citizens could vote.

Nelson Mandela the first black South African president By South Africa The Good News 
The flag of South Africa was adopted on April 27, 1994, at the beginning of South Africa's 1994 general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928.


South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world. With close to 56 million people, South Africa is the world's 24th-most populous nation.

There are eleven official languages of South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. No other country has as many.

80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (colored) ancestry.

Njesuthi in the Drakensberg at 3,408 m (11,181 ft) is the highest part in South Africa.

South African officials built in 1999 a special polling station in the remote Drakensberg mountain area where there was only one registered voter. Sure enough, he stayed home and didn't vote.

South Africa has separate legislative, executive, and judicial capitals: Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein.

The Agulhas Current, off the coast of Durban, in South African, produces some of the biggest waves in the world. In this busy shipping area, waves can easily reach heights of over 100 feet (30 meters).