You can sail a straight line from Norway to Antarctica without hitting land, but just barely [8 pics]

June 20, 2014 | No comments

Redditor Groke used Google Earth to show that sailing north from Norway, it’s possible to sail all the way around the world to Antarctica without ever touching land…

Norway to Antarctica - 01

Norway to Antarctica - 02

The feat is just barely possible, as the oceanic route brushes past several islands along the way. There’s also the pesky polar ice cap to deal with, so we’ll have to wait for global warming to take its toll before actually attempting to sail this stretch.

The route begins near the westernmost point of Norway…

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Instead of begging, homeless man reviews books on the street and sells them (but not to kids)

June 20, 2014 | 4 comments

Philani is a homeless man in his mid-twenties in Johannesburg, South Africa. Many people in his situation simply stand at corners begging. And that can sometimes meet basic needs…but it certainly doesn’t set a person apart or motivate people walking or driving by to donate.

But Philani does it differently. Every day he takes his ever-changing library to a different corner and sets up a sort of impromptu literary discussion group and bookshop.

Homeless Bookworm

For anyone interested, he will review his books…which he has read all of…and then you can buy one from him. In this way, he raises money for himself and his homeless friends as well as spreading happiness. He says…

Reading is not harmful. There’s no such thing as harmful knowledge. This thing is only going to make you a better person.

(via Reddit, SA People)

And if he has a kids book you’re interested in, it’s free, so that you can give it to a child. Because…

They can still take this reading thing and turn it into their habit, their life-long habit.

Using the World Cup bracket for other “competitions” — like population, murder, and Starbucks [9 pics]

June 12, 2014 | 3 comments

We may not know who’s going to win the World Cup, but we know a few teams that will definitely not win. So how about looking at some other things these countries could compete in, so that more teams get a chance to win…or lose, depending on how you look at the categories.

The Wall Street Journal used the World Cup bracket to set the 32 competing countries against each other in things other than soccer. We start with a few soccer-related categories, and then move on to other intriguing stats…

Best World Cup Record

World Cup Teams Compete in Other Things - 02

Heaviest Soccer Team

World Cup Teams Compete in Other Things - 08

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Fascinating world map includes countries’ ocean territory in their borders [5 pics]

June 10, 2014 | No comments

While virtually every world map draws political borders around land masses, international law actually defines the first 200 nautical miles off the coast of any country as belonging to that nation as well. This is incredibly important, as any resources contained in the coastal stretches of these countries belong to them.

Incorporating these coastal areas, known as Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), architects Rafi Segal and Yonatan Cohen created a world map for openDemocracy to reflect the extended borders of every country in the world…

(Click images for larger versions…)

World Map

Of course, many countries have less than 200 miles between them, so various treaties between these nations govern who controls these waters. In some cases, the map reflects open disagreements, such as the dispute between Brunei, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

In other cases there are regions of joint control, such as the waters surrounding the Serranilla Bank and nearby Bajo Nuevo Bank in the Caribbean Sea. In this region, there’s a combination of shared rights and open disputes between Colombia, Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States over how exactly to administer several partially submerged coral reefs. Most disputes are related to tiny, desolate, uninhabited islands, as the nation governing these remote islands controls the surrounding waters.

All of these disputed regions are in constant flux as countries battle for control of the ocean’s resources, so their statuses are bound to change with time. However, this map, updated within the last year, offers some perspective for how much maritime territory each country actually controls.

Here are several close-ups of more crowded waters around the world, where the sea disappears in a mass of political boundaries…

Caribbean Sea

World Map Caribbean

For comparison, here’s the map of the Caribbean Sea that we’re used to seeing…

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John Oliver’s hilarious takedown of FIFA — Why soccer’s governing body is terrible

June 9, 2014 | No comments

John Oliver is a huge soccer fan, so he’s naturally ecstatic about the World Cup that begins this week. However, the sport’s governing body, FIFA, has come under heavy scrutiny over allegations of bribery and gross overspending on elaborate stadiums.

With mixed emotions, Oliver embarks on a hilariously brutal dismantling of soccer’s overseers…

(Some PG-13 language…)

Mega-dramatic ad starring trapped Chilean miners will almost make you cheer for Chile in the World Cup

June 5, 2014 | 2 comments

The miners who were trapped in a collapsed Chilean mine for 70 days in 2010 gather at the location of their near-death experience and proclaim their national pride as Chile prepares to compete in the World Cup…

Their first date went well…so he spent 4 years recording a marriage proposal video in 26 countries

May 28, 2014 | 5 comments

Jack Hyer was just a college freshman when he met Becca and immediately fell in love, writing in his journal that night that he’d met the woman he would marry.

Hyer’s adventures around the world while in college allowed him to record a global marriage proposal that’s going to be difficult for anyone else to match…

Beautiful glass hermit crab homes shaped like iconic architecture [pics & video]

May 24, 2014 | 1 comment

In a bizarre and whimsical series, Tokyo artist Aki Inomata created shells for hermit crabs representing the architecture of various cities and countries…


Hermit Crab Shell - NYC

Inomata created a 3D model of a snail’s shell using a CT scanner, and then used a 3D printer to make glass shells with an interior shaped like the snail shell and an exterior that was a miniature sculpture.

Once complete, Inomata left the shells to see if the hermit crabs would use them. Fortunately, they did…

Dutch windmills

Hermit Crab Shell - Windmill

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The amazingly massive and bizarre loads carried on Vietnamese motorbikes [10 pics]

May 23, 2014 | 1 comment

Dutch photographer Hans Kemp has been living and wandering in Asia for decades. In the 90′s he moved to Ho Chi Minh City and began photographing the amazing use of motorbikes there.

He says of his first visit…

I couldn’t believe my eyes…There were entire families on a bike, guys in suits, girls dolled up. I stood there mesmerized, intoxicated by this all-permeating scent of petrol mixed with perfume, sound, color, and motion. There was an incredible vibrancy to it all.

We’ve seen the intensity of motorbike traffic in Vietnam’s largest city before. But instead of focusing on how many motorcycles flow through the city, Kemp turned his eye toward how many of these 2-wheel vehicles get used as if they’re moving trucks.

His series ended up in a book called Bikes of Burden. Here is a sampling…

Motorbike Loads - 01

Motorbike Loads - 07

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Steven Tyler sang with Lithuanian buskers playing Aerosmith…then randomly met the president

May 20, 2014 | No comments

Aerosmith is on tour in Europe and they just played a show in Vilnius, the capitol of Lithuania. Before the show, Steven Tyler was wandering the town and joined a pair of street musicians who played his song “Crazy” when they saw him.

He tries to sing along, but he seems to have forgotten the words and lost his pitch.

That was a little weird, right? Well, it gets weirder.

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