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Ten Things You Didn't Know About the World

I am a professional teacher, writer, researcher, and learner. I always try to learn because there is no age for learning.


The world, with all of its majesty and mystery, seems to have an unlimited number of stories just waiting to be told. Some are sad, some are beautiful, and others are simply full of crazy, weird facts that can make you wonder how it all even came to be. Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about the world that will make you rethink everything you’ve ever known about life on Earth.

The US is the Third Largest Country in the World

The only countries that are larger than it is Russia and Canada. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know it—even most Americans have no idea that their country is so massive. Many other countries have a similar misconception about America—they think we’re all living in one large metropolis on either coast. But in truth, more than half of all Americans live outside of metropolitan areas and at least 30% of Americans don’t even live near an urban center. If you took every single American city and put them together to create one super-city, our hypothetical mega-city would be rough twice as big as India—and almost exactly three times as populous as Japan! Ouch. No wonder everyone thinks we live on just two coasts... except it’s not true. Sorry, rest of the world. It's a small world after all: Both sides of the United States share a common border with four different states: Montana shares its borders with both Wyoming and Idaho; Utah shares its borders with Colorado and Arizona; California shares its border with Nevada, and Alaska shares its borders with both Washington State and British Columbia.

Man Pointing to Globe

An Interesting Use for Tampons

Tampons don’t just absorb blood. You can use tampons to break up clogs in sinks and drains, as one imager user discovered. For example, if your drain is slow or blocked and you've already tried plunging it with no success, stick a tampon down into the drain and wait for 30 minutes before running some water through. It should help clear up whatever is causing a blockage. This also works great for toilets! Just be sure not to flush used tampons. The string could get stuck around your toilet's inner workings and could cause more trouble than the initial clog ever did. And please: Don't forget to wipe yourself off afterward!

Countries with a Higher Life Expectancy are Happier on Average

One survey found that 78% of people in Denmark, 80% of those in Switzerland, and 82% of Norwegians report being happy. By contrast, only 56% of Americans say they're happy. Also, nations with happier citizens tend to be wealthier. Money does matter to happiness but it's far from everything. If you want to know what makes people happy in a country, check out our list below which will give you some insights into where your next trip should be! 1. New Zealanders are happiest. In last year’s Gallup poll, 57 percent of New Zealanders said they were thriving in their lives – more than all other countries surveyed by Gallup – putting them top of an index that considered measures including social connections, financial security, and personal freedom (Gallup also considers why some countries have happier citizens than others). It might help that around 63 percent of Kiwis feel safe walking home at night, while just 18 percent don’t – compared to 46 percent worldwide who don’t feel safe doing so. Perhaps it helps too that 9 out 10 people there own their home or live rent-free, while just 9 percent spend 30% or more on housing costs.

Smiling Makes you Happier

If you’re feeling down, put on a smile and go talk to someone. It’s impossible to feel bad when you’re grinning ear-to-ear. And by talking with others we get a greater sense of what they’re experiencing and how that compares to our situation, which helps us realize how small our worries are. Bonus: Smiling can also boost your mood through endorphins released by your brain in response to smiling – they make us feel happy! Simply changing your facial expression may not be enough though; add laughter as well to promote general good feelings. A few laughs with friends or colleagues may just lift spirits further than an even larger number of smiles alone. So no matter what, keep a smile (and some laughs) in your life every day.

Black Textile

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Alcoholism Rates are Different in Various Countries

How much you drink may depend on where you live. According to an infographic from Premium Wine & Spirits, 26 percent of Greeks admitted to excessive drinking during one year in 2014 compared with 15 percent of people in Spain and just 10 percent of people in Italy. It’s no surprise that those numbers are so different when you consider what wine can cost in each country. In most U.S. states, a glass of wine costs more than a bottle, making it hard for people to justify buying by the glass rather than bringing their bottle into a restaurant. Prices are cheaper—and glasses are larger—in most countries overseas. Mixing up red and white wines isn’t as simple as it seems: Next time you pull a cork, remember that white wines tend to be softer (that is, lower tannins) than red wines. This means pairing them with certain foods is easier than others. Fish might pair better with white wine, while hearty meats will stand up better against a bold cabernet sauvignon or merlot.

Women Live Longer than Men Everywhere Except Tonga

In one of only two places in the world where women outlive men, Tongan women live an average of 80.3 years, compared to 76.2 for men. The other place? nearby Niue, another Pacific island nation where both genders live an average of 80 years. Even though life expectancy at birth for both sexes has risen dramatically over time and is currently much higher than it was 50 or 100 years ago—to about 70 for men and 78 for women in Tongan—the gender gap still exists everywhere except these two tiny countries. And although we can’t say why scientists suspect that differences in lifestyle between men and women might be a factor: Women tend to smoke less than men and are more likely to take care of their health by going to doctors when they feel sick or getting regular checkups. There’s also evidence that nature may play a role: A 2015 study on mental ability found that male monkeys performed better on intelligence tests than female monkeys; humans aren’t so different from our primate cousins after all! A difference in smarts might translate into a difference in longevity, as well; perhaps because they can read maps better, more men die while traveling overseas.

Valentine's Day originated in Rome

February 14th was celebrated as Lupercalia, a festival in honor of fertility. It later became associated with romantic love and we now know it as Valentine's Day. Though today it is viewed as a day for lovers, historically it was also seen as a chance to honor Cupid—the Roman god of love—with feasts and competitions. The Romans held similar celebrations throughout April, where men would draw women's names from a container. Women would then get to choose their partner for that evening, who would be dressed in a bit of red to match her dress (which could be yellow or purple). The festival took place until at least 382 A.D. when Emperor Valentinian III officially banned all pagan festivals in an attempt to make Christianity more dominant.

Men Need More Sleep than Women on Average Worldwide

In one study, participants were restricted to four hours of sleep per night for six nights. Men's testosterone levels dropped by 10 percent; women's stayed stable. The result? Women's sex drive went up and their ability to focus and complete tasks improved. For men, it was just about worse performance on all measures. I'll leave you with a note from Smart Money: Incorporate as much shut-eye as you can into your schedule — even if that means hitting snooze more than once. Some (not all) scientific data shows that people who wake up naturally without an alarm clock have better energy levels overall throughout the day.

Pensive Asian Women

Marriage Rates Decrease During Economic Depressions

Our social life and psychology are tied to our material possessions. This is why, during an economic depression, people become more depressed and tend to withdraw from society. The same trend happens with marriage rates. During an economic recession or depression, many young people put off getting married until they feel financially stable, leading to a decrease in marriages overall. To avoid becoming a statistic, you may want to wait until things pick up before tying the knot. Some experts say it’s better for your mental health anyway! According to research conducted by Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University and others: Single people were happier than their married counterparts because they were less sensitive to pleasurable experiences. Indeed, as compared with unhappily married people (who were still quite happy), single people reported less pain overall and less pain associated with negative events (e.g., receiving unwanted gifts)..

Droughts Can be Predicted by Looking at Previous Years' Tree Rings

Droughts can be predicted years in advance based on how wide tree rings are. The idea is that droughts dry out trees, so if you're looking at a long-lived tree like an oak, and its ring is exceptionally thin, you know a drought will hit soon. To predict next year's drought season, look at last year's oak trees. Of course, there are some downsides to using tree rings as a method of predicting droughts—trees may not grow in regions suffering from droughts or they may just die off—but it could be a good way to gauge what areas will have low water supplies heading into future drought seasons.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

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