Government: Reaching Into the Grave and Beyond….

The People's Republic of China prohibits reincarnation without prior permission of the government. The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the revered monk without approval from Beijing. source

Which Country is in All Four Hemispheres?

The Republic of Kiribati is located in the central Pacific Ocean, 2,400 miles (3,855 km) southeast of Hawaii. Its population of 100,000 is spread over its 33 atolls and reef islands. Those islands and atolls straddle the Equator, thus placing the country in both the southern and northern hemispheres. It also straddles the 180th meridian,... Continue Reading →

The Awkward Tale of the Countries with Identical Flags

What can be more awkward than two ladies showing up at a social event, wearing identical outfits? How about two countries showing up for the Olympics, waving identical flags? That's what happened at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. The Haitian civil flag dates back to the early 1800's. Unlike the national flag, which includes... Continue Reading →

One Order of Meatballs, Please — Hold the Meat

Government regulations in the food industry generally require truth in advertising about a product's ingredients. It makes sense that a company should not be able to advertise its product as "100% fresh ground beef" if the product was neither fresh nor made entirely of beef. In Finland this concept has been applied strictly, causing one... Continue Reading →

If You Crave Peace and Quiet, This Place is For You

When your "quiet place" isn't quiet enough, what do you do? For Microsoft the answer was obvious: they built their own.   Located in Building 87 of Microsoft's Redmond, Washington campus is the "anechoic chamber." Its name means "echo free," and that is precisely what it is. The room is used for testing Surface tablets... Continue Reading →

Lincoln’s Dog Followed Him Even in Death

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) knew the value of a faithful friend. Maybe that's why he acquired a yellow mixed-breed dog in 1855 when he lived in Springfield, Illinois. The future President named the dog Fido, and they quickly became inseparable. Their connection would unite them in life -- and in death.  Fido accompanied Lincoln everywhere in... Continue Reading →

The Dragon that Almost Ended the Lord of the Rings

English is a language of exceptions, with few concrete rules. When it comes to adjectives, however, there is a very specific hierarchy most English speakers know, instinctively, must be followed to avoid utter confusion. Those rules may be broken only at great risk -- including the risk of derailing one of the greatest literary geniuses in history.... Continue Reading →

English is Hard, But Can Be Understood Through Tough Thorough Thought Though

Although English is not the hardest language to master (see this post for ten languages that are even harder), it frequently presents problems, even for its native speakers. Consider the problem with writing the sentence, "I never said she stole my money." What meaning are you attempting to convey? There are seven different meanings the... Continue Reading →

Scottish Independence Started with a Broken Axe

History records that Scots won their freedom at the Battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314. The battle raged for two days before the heavily outnumbered Scots defeated the professional military of England's Edward II.  The battle could easily have been over before it started. On June 23, as the two armies caught sight of... Continue Reading →

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