Top 4 Dangerous Airports

For every great thing in the world, there are equivalents which are not so pleasant. For every top-of-the-line cell phone model, there’s one with the barest of features and will probably cause cancer! For every wonderful, sparkling, luxurious resort, there’s a beach near a crime-ridden area, filled with litter and an old house near it to rent. And for every large airport filled with amenities and safety precautions, there are ones which are essentially an airstrip and a building. Here are those airports that have earned the title of most dangerous in the world.

1. Lukla Airport, Nepal – The people who attempt to climb Mount Everest know this place very well. Renamed in January 2008 as Tenzing-Hillary airport, after the two men who first ascended the highest mountain in the world, this airport is where all Everest climber aspirants land to start their journey. The runway is around half a kilometer long, 20m wide, with an incline being a staggering 20%! With a 700-meter drop on one end and a mountain in the other, and the airport being so high up, this is another added risk to adventurers. There have been five recorded plane accidents. Nevertheless, the people who do come here consider it as part of the risk they signed up for.

2. Courchevel, France – A ski area in the French Alps, it is the largest linked ski area in the world. This is the first resort in France to be constructed from scratch, as opposed to the others which were built around an already existing village. Courchevel’s airport is infamous for having a short runway of around half a kilometer and a gradient of 18.5%! Pilots have to land on the higher incline to slow down enough, and takeoffs must be done towards the decline to pick up speed.

3. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba – The only airport in Saba, in the Caribbean, it is well-known to flyers because of the methods of landing and taking off for the small airport. There have been no tragedies there, but it is still very dangerous. One side has high hills while all the others drop into the sea. The runway length is a bone-chilling 396m, only allowing small aircraft and helicopters to land! The tower is an advisory service only and does not provide air traffic control. You also can’t refuel, so tough luck if you run out.

4. Princess Juliana International Airport, Saint Martin – A very busy airport in the Eastern Caribbean, it is a major gateway for other airports nearby. Its runway of a little above two kilometers means that large jets have to fly low to land, and beachgoers at nearby Maho Beach are often treated to an up close and personal view of a big plane. Signs are placed nearby so no unfortunate spotter would be blown back by any plane’s powerful engines.

The ease of air travel allows lots of airports to pop up, including not so safe ones. Been to any of these airports? Speak up and tell us about your experience!

4 Amazing Things People Ate

Remember when you were a kid, and you swallowed that piece of gum accidentally? These people are kind of like that, only they didn’t think it was so chewy. Or did they? Remember the superheroes that could eat anything? Well, these people aren’t exactly heroes, but they ate things that we weren’t meant to eat!

1. A plane. But how can you eat one of those? Michel Lotito did. He broke a Cessna 150 into little pieces and ate it over two years. The term iron stomach now has a whole new meaning.

2. Rocks. Wait, people eat rocks? A lady from China did. She ate 20 cobblestones, which she thought would pass through her system. The rocks eventually had to be surgically removed.

3. Frogs and rats. Not just frogs and rats. Living ones. Yes, alive. Yang Dingcai from China has been eating them for 40 years, which he claims benefited his health. Whatever floats your boat, old man.

4. Hair. But hair isn’t a big deal! For one 18-year old girl, it is. A short lifetime of chewing her own hair led to a 10-pound hairball taking up her entire stomach, which had to be operated on.

Ate anything like these lately?

5 Interesting Facts About Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has come and gone! I made sure it was a special day for my dearest, even though I couldn’t take her to the resort she likes this year. The kids came to visit too, so it was a wonderful day for us all. To celebrate this special holiday for mothers everywhere, I’ve compiled these little tidbits about this special occasion!

1. There are at least 30 dates for Mother’s Day! The one we Americans know is on the second Sunday of May (May 11 this year), which is also the most common date it’s celebrated. March 8 is the next most common, which is mostly celebrated in some parts of Asia and Europe. British and Irish people celebrate Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is March 2 this year. Indonesia has theirs on December 22! If you forget the date there, at least you can claim your Christmas present is also for Mother’s Day!

2. Mongolia celebrates Mother’s Day twice! March 8 marks International Women’s Day in this country, which is treated like Mother’s Day. June 1 sees Mothers and Children’s Day, which is also celebrated! It’s the only country which celebrates this occasion twice. The moms there must be quite happy with all the attention!

3. Anna Marie Jarvis is the woman responsible for Mother’s Day in America. When her mother died on May 9, 1905, she devoted her time to making Mother’s Day a holiday for mothers everywhere. Her mother was an advocate of the holiday, joining campaigns for peace, worker’s safety and health, ever since the Civil War ended. It was first celebrated in 1907, with only a few people. In 1908, it was 407 children and their mothers. The holiday became official in 1910, and a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson came in 1914. By then it had finally turned into the holiday to appreciate mothers, not just for peace.

4. Mothering Sunday is deeply rooted in the church. It was originally a mass held in one’s mother church on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Families gathered at such days, and mothers and children were often reunited for one day of the year. Later, it became the day that servants would be allowed to visit their mothers. Today, it is interchangeable with Mother’s Day. It was also called Simnel Sunday, Rose Sunday and Refreshment Sunday before, due to certain traditions on the day. Talk about a deep history!

5. Ancient Greeks and Romans also celebrated Mother’s Day! Although it wasn’t called that specifically, the two peoples celebrated dates related to their gods. Greeks honored Cybele, great mother of the Greek gods, at a date around mid-March. Romans had a holiday called Matronalia, dedicated to Juno. At the same time, mothers got gifts on that day.

Pretty interesting, hm? Mother’s Day is a holiday rooted within our society, as appreciation to those hardworking women who gave birth and took care of us. Did you give your mom a present this year? If not, at least give her a call!

4 Firsts in Exploration

Humans are known for their inherent curiosity, the desire to learn more about the world around them. In the past, man’s need to explore was as strong as his need to eat and breathe! Even now this is the case for many, who, even with very few places left to discover, now try to explore the world with conditions set upon them to further challenge themselves. We’ve heard of the disabled man who reached the top of Mount Everest, or the men who reached the South Pole only on skis. To many of us, this sounds absurd, but they are merely following the built-in call for travel and exploration that all humans have.

There are, however, men who set an example in the past, men who were undoubtedly the first people to unlock yet another place in this earth for everyone to see. Who are these men?

1. Roald Amundsen and his party were the first men to reach the South Pole, on December 14, 1911. He was 39 at the time. This man from Norway was obsessed with reaching the poles ever since he was a child, training his body just for the task. He was beaten to the race to the North Pole, but eventually became the first to reach the South. We could learn from him! Even after he was beaten, he did not falter and still went for the other goal.

2. Pavel Kononovich Sen’ko, Mikhail Michailovich Somov, Pavel Afanasyevich Geordiyenko and Mikhail Yemel’ Yanovich Ostrekin were the first men officially to have reached the North Pole. There are earlier claims of having reached it, which stopped Roald Amundsen’s trek, but this Soviet party is the earliest one with complete proof. Earlier claims were eventually proven to not have actually reached the pole. They got there using planes, but it was still dangerous as the conditions there did not favor flying that type of aircraft.

3. Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni are the two climbers to have reached the summit of K2, the world’s second tallest mountain. The Italians were heavily aided by their teammates, the two reached the summit on July 31, 1954. Efforts to reach the top started in 1892, but success only came much later. It was thanks to the previous expeditions that they were successful.

4. Ferdinand Magellan led the fleet that first circumnavigated the world, giving firsthand proof that the world is round, even though it is known already because of mathematics as early as the Greek times. Only one of his ships survived. Magellan was killed on April 17, 1521, in the Philippines, fighting the natives, before he could finish the journey. Juan Sebastian Elcano took over and eventually finished the trip. Magellan did not intend to sail around the world, it had simply turned out that way due to his exploration.

I didn’t mention Mount Everest since everyone knows that already. These people are indeed remarkable pioneers of their time, and led the way to future explorations. What do you think of these men?

5 Interesting Airline Facts

Like many other things, corporations like airlines have their own little facts and figures that may surprise some people. Here are a few of the more interesting ones I found on this website.

1. Singapore Airlines ranks second when it comes to buying Dom Perignon in the entire world! Business class has almost 100 bottles of champagne assigned to it, all by itself. That’s a lot of champagne! No wonder passengers have a good time there.

2. Cathay Pacific carries rice cookers, toasters, cappuccino makers and skillets on board their airplanes. Breakfast there is always fresh!

3. Qantas, Australia’s national airline, originally stood for Queensland And Northern Territories Air Service. I guess that had to drop it when they went international.

4. Abu Dhabi Airport Services once did a complete turn around for a Boeing 777 in under 40 minutes, as opposed to a normal minimum of one hour. They unloaded passengers, cargo, mail, cleaned the aircraft, and loaded outbound passengers, cargo and mail in that short time. It must have been exhausting!

5. Virgin Atlantic lists catering as their third biggest expense, after fuel and maintenance.

These are interesting little things to know! Do you know any more little facts?

Three Fastest Ships

Since I already talked about fast planes, how about fast ships? Boats have been around longer than planes, thus people have been using them for centuries. As with all modes of transport, man still aims to break his limits and go faster. So, what are these ships that have earned the right to be called the fastest?

1. Fastest Yacht-class Sailboat. Wind-powered ships may be a thing of the past, but they are still wildly used because you don’t need an engine for them. The Maltese Falcon costs $100 million and is the fastest yacht sailboat at 14 knots, and also the largest! It took one million man-hours to make. Talk about a waste of time and effort! At least the owner has bragging rights.

2. Fastest Yacht. This record is held by the 118 WallyPower. With three gas turbines generating 16,800 horsepower, it can cruise at 60 knots. It also makes for a smooth ride. That’s a fast boat!

3. Fastest Battleship. It’s difficult to compare battleships since the standards are different for every nation. The honor for US Battleships goes to the New Jersey, reaching 35.2 knots during the Vietnam War.

So, what do you think of these fast ships?

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sharks

After digging out pictures on a sighting of a small, non-threatening shark (at least that’s what the locals say) on a trip to Hawaii quite a while ago, (I went here in case anyone was wondering) I got to thinking. Sharks are really fascinating creatures! They have captured the hearts of men all over. Feared for their apparent eating habits, only further fed by news reports and Hollywood movies, sharks are avoided and sometimes have been hunted and now not too many remain in the seas. However, many people have recognized the true majesty of the shark, thanks to science. In light of that, here are five things you probably didn’t know about sharks.

1. Only four types of sharks present a large threat to humans. There are more than 360 species of them, but only the great white, bull, tiger and the oceanic whitetip sharks are known for biting humans. These attacks are provoked more often than not, and sometimes even mistaken! There are a few more species which have attacked humans, but they rarely cause death.

2. Sharks only bite…sometimes! A shark cannot eat several times in a row like we can. Oftentimes a shark will bite something to check if it’s worth eating, much like people checking the back of the box for price and nutrition! If it senses that what it’s biting isn’t worth the digestive time, it releases the person, animal or object and goes off to find better food. Talk about discriminating!

3. Sharks may be afraid of dolphins! We’ve heard tales of dolphins protecting humans from sharks. An experiment was also done by Mythbusters where a mechanical dolphin was placed near a seal cutout and raw bait, while a great white shark was feeding. Instead of going for either target, the shark opted to stay away! He only went for it when the dolphin was removed. Scientists still can’t explain why, so don’t try to rent out a dolphin just yet.

4. Sometimes, sharks don’t need a mate to reproduce. There has been a documented case of a shark giving birth without male contact for three years. The newborn had no parental DNA, which makes it a close copy of its mother! This may be a last resort if there are no males around, but since they can’t evolve because of that, it may cause them to become extinct.

5. Sharks are worshipped as gods! Hawaii, that group of islands out in the Pacific Ocean, has more than its share of sharks. It’s not surprising that they model gods out of these creatures. These gods are said to be able to transform from human to shark at will! Many of them are said to be originally human. A common type of story about these gods goes like this: the shark in human form warns beach-goers about sharks in the water. They ignore him, and are later eaten by the human who warned them, who had turned into a shark. When someone warns you about sharks in the water, follow it!

We humans have not fully unraveled the true workings of the shark. Is it friend or foe? Hopefully these facts will make you appreciate sharks more. What other little tidbits do you know? Share them with us!

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