10 Ancient Civilizations That History Forgot

MICHAEL VAN DUISEN MARCH 29, 2014

Much like Isaac Newton imagined when he gave his famous “shoulders of giants” quote, our modern civilizations owe a great deal to those which came before us. While examples like the Sumerians or Egyptians are deeply ingrained in nearly everyone’s minds, there are a number of other civilizations which have been largely forgotten. Here are 10 of them.

10Hattian Civilization

1- hattian

Photo credit: Bhushan Kotakar

The Hattians were a civilization which inhabited the area of present-day Anatolia, Turkey from the 26th century to around the 18th century B.C. Believed to be the earliest urban settlers of the area, their existence can be traced to 24th-centuryAkkadian cuneiform tablets. Most archaeologists believe that they were indigenous to the area preceding the more famous Hittite civilization, which arrived in the 23rd century B.C. The two cultures slowly merged together, with the Hittites adopting a variety of Hatti religious beliefs and practices. Many of the largest Hittite settlements, such as Alaca Hoyuk and Hattusa, are believed to have originally been Hattian.

While they had their own spoken language, no evidence of a written form of the Hatti language has ever been found. It’s likely that they were multilingual, perhaps to facilitate trade with their Assyrian partners. In fact, most of what we know about the Hattians comes from the widespread adoption of their culture by the Hittites. Their population probably existed as a majority for decades—if not centuries—while they were under the aristocratic rule of the Hittites, before they eventually faded away into obscurity.

9Zapotec Civilization

2- zapotec

Photo credit: Rod Waddington

While most people are familiar with the Aztecs and the Maya of Mesoamerica, the people known as the Zapotec remain relatively obscure. Among the first people in the area to use agricultural and writing systems, they also built one of the earliest recognized cities in North America—Monte Alban. Founded in the fifth century B.C., the city was home to a maximum of 25,000 citizens and lasted for over 1,200 years. In Monte Alban, a privileged class made up of priests, warriors, and artists ruled over the lower classes.

Like many of the civilizations of Mesoamerica, the Zapotecs subjugated the surrounding areas through a mix of warfare, diplomacy, and tribute. The sudden downfall of their culture seemed to have no reason, and their largest city was mostly left intact, though it was eventually ruined by years of abandonment. Some scholars believe that a failure of their economic system may have pushed the Zapotecs to find work elsewhere. The rest of the population grouped together into various city-states, which proceeded to fight each other (as well as outside forces) until they were no more.

8Vinca Civilization

3- vinca

Photo credit: Michel wal

Europe’s biggest prehistoric civilization, the Vinca, existed for nearly 1,500 years. Beginning in the 55th century B.C., they occupied land throughout Serbia and Romania. Named after a present-day village near the Danube River, where the first discoveries were made in the 20th century, the Vinca were a metal-working people, perhaps even the world’s first civilization to use copper (they also excavated the first mine in Europe).

Though the Vinca people had no officially recognized form of writing, examples of proto-writing, symbols which don’t actually express language, have been found on various stone tablets which date as far back as 4000 B.C. In addition, they were artistic and fond of children; archaeologists have found various toys, such as animals and rattles, buried among the other artifacts. They were also extremely organized—the houses of the Vinca civilization had specific locations for trash, and the dead were all buried in a central location.

7Hurrian Civilization

4- hurrian

Photo credit: Rama

Another civilization which influenced the Hittites was the Hurrian people, who lived throughout the Middle East during the second millennium B.C. It’s probable that they were around even earlier than that: Personal and place names written in the Hurrian language were found in Mesopotamian records dating back to the third millennium B.C. Unfortunately, very few artifacts of their civilization exist; most of what we know about them comes from the writings of other cultures, including the Hittites, Sumerians, and Egyptians.

One of their largest cities is known as Urkesh and is located in northeastern Syria. Urkesh is also where the earliest known text in Hurrian, a stone tablet and statue known as the Louvre lion, was found. Long believed to be mainly nomadic, scholars now believe that the Hurrians may have had a much bigger impact than previously thought, mostly due to the way their language differed from other Semitic and Indo-European tongues. However, by the end of the second millennium B.C., nearly all ethnic traces of the Hurrians had disappeared, with only their influence on the Hittites left behind.

6Nok Civilization

5- nok

Photo credit: Ji-Elle

Named after the area in Nigeria in which artifacts of their culture were first discovered, the Nok civilization flourished during the first millennium B.C. before fading into obscurity in the second century A.D. Some theories posit that the overexploitation of natural resources played a large role in the population’s decline. Whatever the case, scholars believe that they played an important role in the development of other cultures in the area, such as the Yoruba and Benin peoples.

Perhaps the best-known examples of their artistic nature are the terra-cotta figures which have been found throughout the area. They were also the earliest known Africans to have smelted iron, though it’s believed that it was introduced to them through another culture, perhaps the Carthaginians. The reason for this assumption is that no evidence for copper smelting has ever been found, which was a precursor to an iron age in nearly every other civilization. Although they’re believed to be one of the earliest African civilizations, evidence of their existence has been slow to come to light because modern-day Nigeria is a notoriously difficult place to study.

5Punt Civilization

6- punt
A popular trading partner with ancient Egypt, the land of Punt (pronounced “poont”) was famous for producing incense, ebony, and gold. Scholars differ on where they believe the civilization was, with a range from South Africa all the way up the coast to the Middle East. Even though the Egyptians wrote extensively on the land and its people, they never bothered to actually say where it was.

A lot of our knowledge of Punt comes from the reign of Hatshepsut, the famed female pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the 15th century B.C. Reliefs in her mortuary temple contain information on a rather large trade expedition to Punt, as well as more specific details, like pictures of beehive-shaped houses on stilts. A scene showing Hatshepsut receiving wondrous gifts from the exotic land is also carved into the temple walls. Unfortunately, no actual archaeological evidence showing the location of Punt has ever been found, although there have been numerous Egyptian artifacts inscribed with the civilization’s name, giving scholars hope that Punt might one day be unearthed.

4Norte Chico Civilization

7- norte chico

Photo credit: Sharon odb

Beginning with its arrival during the third millennium B.C. and lasting for over 1,200 years, the Norte Chico civilization dominated South America as the oldest sophisticated culture on the continent. Named for the region of present-day Peru which they occupied, they had 20 major cities, with advanced architecture and agriculture making up a large portion of their settlements. They also developed intricate irrigation systems, sophistication which was unheard of in the Americas at that time.

Artifacts recognizable as religious symbols have been found throughout the area, especially near the stone pyramids for which the Norte Chico civilization is famous. There is some debate over whether or not they qualify as a civilization, as well as what that term even means. Usually, indicators like a form of art and a sense of urbanization are key, but the Norte Chico civilization possessed neither of these. Whatever the case, there is no denying that they were an influence on later South American cultures, such as the Chavin civilization, which began a few hundred years after the fall of the Norte Chicos.

3Elamite Civilization

8- elamite

Photo credit: dynamosquito

Although their name for themselves was Haltam, the name “Elam” comes from the Hebraic transcription of the word. The Elamite civilization consisted mostly of land inside present-day Iran, along with a small portion of Iraq. One of the earliest civilizations, it was founded sometime in the third millennium B.C. and is by far the oldest in all of Iran. Situated along the borders of Sumer and Akkad, the land of Elam was similar to its neighbors, although its language was altogether unique.

Although they lasted as an independent kingdom for at least a millennium, if not longer, very little is known about them because Elamite scribes were not concerned with documenting their mythology, literature, or any scientific advancements. Writing was mostly seen as a way to honor the king or perform administrative duties. Due to this fact, they made a rather small impact on the development of future civilizations, especially when compared to the Egyptians and Sumerians.

2Dilmun Civilization

9- dilmun

Photo credit: Rapid Travel Chai

An important trading civilization in its heyday, Dilmun encompassed an area consisting of present-day Bahrain, Kuwait, and parts of Saudi Arabia. Although very little concrete evidence has been found as of yet, scholars believe that a few sites, namely Saar and Qal’at al-Bahrain, are ancient settlements of the Dilmun people. Saar is still being investigated, but a large number of the artifacts that have already been found there date to the third millennium B.C., lending credence to the theory that it was built by the Dilmun civilization.

Dilmun was a major commercial player in its day, with control over the Persian Gulf trading lanes and a communication network that reached as far away as Turkey. Numerous water springs flow all across the area, which researchers believe may have led to the legend of Bahrain being the Biblical Garden of Eden. In addition, Enki, the Sumerian god of wisdom, was said to have lived in the underground springs. Described as “the place where the sun rises,” Dilmun played a large role in Sumerian mythology; according to legend, Dilmun was the place where Utnapishtim was taken to live for eternity.

1Harappan Civilization

10- harappan
Also known as the Indus Valley Civilization, the Harappans were a group of people who lived in parts of present-day Pakistan and India. Gifted with the idea that planning cities in advance would be a good idea, their urban areas were second to none; unfortunately, due to what scientists believe to have been a massive,centuries-long drought, their culture slowly declined, never to rise again. This is currently nothing more than a theory, but it helps explain other cultural declines in the area as well.

Beginning sometime in the 25th century B.C., the Harappans also developed their own language, a script with nearly 500 different characters which has not been completely deciphered even today. Their most noteworthy artifacts are seals, usually made of soapstone, which depict various animals and mythical creatures. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are the two largest Harappan sites, with the former labeled as a UNESCO Heritage Site. When it collapsed, the ruins of the Harappan civilization provided a template for the various other cultures which sprang up after it.

http://listverse.com/2014/03/29/10-ancient-civilizations-that-history-forgot/

Armed police in tanks with overhead helicopter guards storm notorious Rio slum in controversial ‘clean-up’ ahead of World Cup

  • 1,400 armed police and marines have stormed one of Brazil’s biggest slums in bulletproof trucks
  • Helicopters circle as scores of military point guns at residents as they walk through the streets in which they live
  • Operation to rid Complexo da Mare, home to more than 130,000 residents, of violence and drug gangs started today
  • Since 2011, government has cracked down on slums within the city ahead of World Cup which begins in June
  • Brazilian police have attracted widespread criticism following use of violence and ‘covered-up’ murders

By Emily Kent Smith

The Brazilian government has deployed forces to one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest slums – in a clean-up operation which aims to reduce crime in the city ahead of the World Cup.

Federal forces are here pictured entering the violence-plagued Complexo da Mare – one of Brazil’s biggest slums – ‘favelas’ in Portuguese.

These pictures show troops storming the favela bearing guns in bullet-proof vehicles while a helicopter circles above.

The faces of the 130,000 residents who live on the Mare complex have also been pictured. Mare is formed of 16 separate communities and has been riddled with drugs and dominated by gangs and militias.

It is close to Rio’s international airport, which means that visitors must drive past it on their way into the city.

Senior officials have denied that the Mare clean-up is related to the World Cup – claiming that they aim to improve the lives of Rio favela residents.

Today, daily life in one of Rio de Janerio's biggest shanty towns was disrupted by military personnel in an attempted to clean up the city before the World Cup

Today, daily life in one of Rio de Janerio’s biggest shanty towns was disrupted by military personnel in an attempted to clean up the city before the World Cup

 

Residents looked on bemusedly as armed federal officers in bullet-proof vests strode through the run-down streets in a bid to crack down on crime

Residents looked on bemusedly as armed federal officers in bullet-proof vests strode through the run-down streets in a bid to crack down on crime

 

This emaciated horse eating from a bin is not an uncommon sight in the violence-plagued Complexo da Mare, which is controlled by gangs and militias

This emaciated horse eating from a bin is not an uncommon sight in the violence-plagued Complexo da Mare, which is controlled by gangs and militias

 

Tanks were even rolled out into the complex early Sunday morning to carry more than 1,000 police and further military personnel on an impromptu patrol

Tanks were even rolled out into the complex early Sunday morning to carry more than 1,000 police and further military personnel on an impromptu patrol

 

 

Helicopters circle the Mare slum complex in Rio de Janeiro. The slum - 'favela' in Portuguese - is home to some 130,000 residents

Helicopters circle the Mare slum complex in Rio de Janeiro. The slum – ‘favela’ in Portuguese – is home to some 130,000 residents

Residents walk through the slum as dozens of police officers, in camouflaged uniform hold machine guns from behind heavy-duty navy trucks

Residents walk through the slum as dozens of police officers, in camouflaged uniform hold machine guns from behind heavy-duty navy trucks

Residents are seen walking out of the favela as armed troops in bullet-proof vests storm in

Residents are seen walking out of the favela as armed troops in bullet-proof vests storm in

Locals carried on with daily life as police officers and marines in uniform filed through the narrow streets. No shots have been fired so far

Locals carried on with daily life as police officers and marines in uniform filed through the narrow streets. No shots have been fired so far

 

 

 

Police in the city have attracted widespread criticism for their heavy-handed approach to controlling drug crime in the city. Last year, police were charged after bricklayer Amarildo de Souza, who lived in the city's biggest shanty town Roncinha, was tortured and murdered. Police were then charged with hiding his body

Police in the city have attracted widespread criticism for their heavy-handed approach to controlling drug crime in the city. Last year, police were charged after bricklayer Amarildo de Souza, who lived in the city’s biggest shanty town Roncinha, was tortured and murdered. Police were then charged with hiding his body

A special operations officer is pictured here in front of a graffiti drawing of Rio's symbolic statue: Christ the Redeemer. Troops have stormed the favela to rid it of drug gangs and clamp down on violence

A special operations officer is pictured here in front of a graffiti drawing of Rio’s symbolic statue: Christ the Redeemer. Troops have stormed the favela to rid it of drug gangs and clamp down on violence

In the coming days, army soldiers will begin patrolling the virtually treeless, flat area of about two square miles in northern Rio that hugs the main road to the airport and is home to about 130,000 people

In the coming days, army soldiers will begin patrolling the virtually treeless, flat area of about two square miles in northern Rio that hugs the main road to the airport and is home to about 130,000 people

A navy tank drives behind a police van carrying scores of police officers holding machine guns

A navy tank drives behind a police van carrying scores of police officers holding machine guns

One soldier hides behind a wall as he point his gun towards the street. It was dusk in Rio when troops entered the favela

One soldier hides behind a wall as he point his gun towards the street. It was dusk in Rio when troops entered the favela

 

 

 

Navy tanks roll through the favela. 
The police community pacification unit, known as the UPP, will step in once federal forces have left the area. The UPP will then remain in the shanty town in order to keep peace and control any uprising

Navy tanks roll through the favela. The police community pacification unit, known as the UPP, will step in once federal forces have left the area. The UPP will then remain in the shanty town in order to keep peace and control any uprising

A couple walks along as a navy tank storms into the place where they live. The army presence in favelas across Rio has sparked rage across the city. Last week, protestors set fire to a police office in the city

A couple walks along as a navy tank storms into the place where they live. The army presence in favelas across Rio has sparked rage across the city. Last week, protestors set fire to a police office in the city

 

 

A policeman stands next to a piece of graffiti bearing the words: 'Politicians and the UPP' will die. The UPP is a special community officer group which steps in to keep peace in the favela once government troops have left

A policeman stands next to a piece of graffiti bearing the words: ‘Politicians and the UPP’ will die. The UPP is a special community officer group which steps in to keep peace in the favela once government troops have left

One police officer is pictured here holding a man up against a wall while he searches him. Troops took over the favela this afternoon - six weeks before the World Cup

One police officer is pictured here holding a man up against a wall while he searches him. Troops took over the favela this afternoon – six weeks before the World Cup

Brazil will host the World Cup from June 14 and has been named host of the 2016 Olympics. The clean-up is an attempt to make Rio a safer place for tourists attending the events

Brazil will host the World Cup from June 14 and has been named host of the 2016 Olympics. The clean-up is an attempt to make Rio a safer place for tourists attending the events

Police wait outside an unknown house in the slum. Security forces will eventually set up permanent posts in Mare as part of the 'pacification' programme that began in 2008 and is meant to secure Rio ahead of the World Cup and also the 2016 summer Olympics

Police wait outside an unknown house in the slum. Security forces will eventually set up permanent posts in Mare as part of the ‘pacification’ programme that began in 2008 and is meant to secure Rio ahead of the World Cup and also the 2016 summer Olympics

 

Early evening today the troops stormed the favela. It is unknown how long the operation will last. Once troops leave a 'pacification' force will be introduced into Mare

Early evening today the troops stormed the favela. It is unknown how long the operation will last. Once troops leave a ‘pacification’ force will be introduced into Mare

The BOPE paramilitary police unit have been patrolling streets since dusk. Once they leave a more long-term patrol force will be established in the favela. Police have installed 37 such posts in recent years in an area covering 1.5 million people

The BOPE paramilitary police unit have been patrolling streets since dusk. Once they leave a more long-term patrol force will be established in the favela. Police have installed 37 such posts in recent years in an area covering 1.5 million people

 

 

 

Please line up outside a boarded up pharmacy. They are pictured here in Nova Holanda, a part of the Mare slum complex

Please line up outside a boarded up pharmacy. They are pictured here in Nova Holanda, a part of the Mare slum complex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three children sit on a sofa staring at the camera in the Complexo da Mare slum - one of the largest 'favelas' in Rio de Janeiro. Today, Brazilan government forces will clear out the favela ahead of the World Cup which begins on June 14

Three children sit on a sofa staring at the camera in the Complexo da Mare slum – one of the largest ‘favelas’ in Rio de Janeiro. Today, Brazilan government forces will clear out the favela ahead of the World Cup which begins on June 14

Little Jessica prepares to carry water from the one pipe with running water - available to dozens of residents in the impoverished area. Mare favela is located near to Rio's international airport

Little Jessica prepares to carry water from the one pipe with running water – available to dozens of residents in the impoverished area. Mare favela is located near to Rio’s international airport

Mother Quiva stands with her son Joao Vitor in the impoverished favela. The Mare complex has more than 13,000 residents

Mother Quiva stands with her son Joao Vitor in the impoverished favela. The Mare complex has more than 13,000 residents

An 'pacification' initiative was launched in 2010 by government forces to reclaim power of the city's slums from armed gangs. Pictured here Louis Carlos de Sousa and Tania Gozalves at their home on the Complexo da Mare

An ‘pacification’ initiative was launched in 2010 by government forces to reclaim power of the city’s slums from armed gangs. Pictured here Louis Carlos de Sousa and Tania Gozalves at their home on the Complexo da Mare

 

Mare resident Joao Vitor kneels with a dog in the slum. The Complexo da Mare is close to Rio's international airport, which means that visitors to Rio must drive past it on their way into the city

Mare resident Joao Vitor kneels with a dog in the slum. The Complexo da Mare is close to Rio’s international airport, which means that visitors to Rio must drive past it on their way into the city

Jessica washes dishes at the one with with running water available to dozens of residents in the area. The Brazilian government has claimed that the clean-up operation will improved the quality of life of favela residents'

Jessica washes dishes at the one with with running water available to dozens of residents in the area. The Brazilian government has claimed that the clean-up operation will improved the quality of life of favela residents’

Rubbish litters the floor and graffiti covers the walls in the da Mare slum. The favelas are self-contained communities within the city and even have schools and local shops on site

Rubbish litters the floor and graffiti covers the walls in the da Mare slum. The favelas are self-contained communities within the city and even have schools and local shops on site

Pacification officers, known as the UPP, will soon occupy and control life within the slum. UPP officers come in after federal troops 'clean-up' a slum imprisoning drug dealers in an attempt to rid the favela of crime. Pictured behind the children are community posters advertising items that are up for sale

Pacification officers, known as the UPP, will soon occupy and control life within the slum. UPP officers come in after federal troops ‘clean-up’ a slum imprisoning drug dealers in an attempt to rid the favela of crime. Pictured behind the children are community posters advertising items that are up for sale

Mothers gather to chat in the Mare complex. From today UPP officers will occupy the slum, the government pacification program was launched in December 2011

Mothers gather to chat in the Mare complex. From today UPP officers will occupy the slum, the government pacification program was launched in December 2011

Louis Carlos de Sousa (right) and Tania Gonsalves stand in their home on the complex. Police in the city have attracted widespread criticism for their heavy-handed approach to controlling drug crime in the city

Louis Carlos de Sousa (right) and Tania Gonsalves stand in their home on the complex. Police in the city have attracted widespread criticism for their heavy-handed approach to controlling drug crime in the city

Joao Batista da Silva (left) and wife Gizelda Alves da Silva pose on their bed in the Complexo da Mare slum. Police have been criticised for violent control tactics in the slums. Last year, police were charged after bricklayer Amarildo de Souza, who lived in the city's biggest shanty town Roncinha, was tortured and murdered

Joao Batista da Silva (left) and wife Gizelda Alves da Silva pose on their bed in the Complexo da Mare slum. Police have been criticised for violent control tactics in the slums. Last year, police were charged after bricklayer Amarildo de Souza, who lived in the city’s biggest shanty town Roncinha, was tortured and murdered

Friends hug in the complex while little Jessica washes dishes outside her home. 'Disappearances' of shanty town residents have become widespread in the police clean-up operation

Friends hug in the complex while little Jessica washes dishes outside her home. ‘Disappearances’ of shanty town residents have become widespread in the police clean-up operation

Mother Quiva stands in her home near son Joao Vitor. The police have been the subject of much controversy in the country. Last week. a police headquarters was burned down in a protest against government presence in the favelas

Mother Quiva stands in her home near son Joao Vitor. The police have been the subject of much controversy in the country. Last week. a police headquarters was burned down in a protest against government presence in the favelas

A Mare resident Louis Carlos de Sousa is pictured here. Since winning the World Cup host title and being chosen as host for the 2016 Olympics, Brazilian authorities have cracked down on violence and drug gangs in the country's major cities

A Mare resident Louis Carlos de Sousa is pictured here. Since winning the World Cup host title and being chosen as host for the 2016 Olympics, Brazilian authorities have cracked down on violence and drug gangs in the country’s major cities

Joao Batista da Silva lives in the slum. A clean-up operation began on Rio's biggest slum Rocinha in 2011. In the clean-up helicopters circled the slum and troops charged into the favela in bullet-proof clothing

Joao Batista da Silva lives in the slum. A clean-up operation began on Rio’s biggest slum Rocinha in 2011. In the clean-up helicopters circled the slum and troops charged into the favela in bullet-proof clothing

Community spirit is strong in the Brazilian slums where residents exist almost apart from the rest of society. Shanty towns in Rio are built into the hills weaved into the city

Community spirit is strong in the Brazilian slums where residents exist almost apart from the rest of society. Shanty towns in Rio are built into the hills weaved into the city

Rio has long been in the global spotlight for its slums and the drug-related violence. The government is hoping to change the face of the city with the upcoming World Cup

Rio has long been in the global spotlight for its slums and the drug-related violence. The government is hoping to change the face of the city with the upcoming World Cup

From the Game Boy to the revolver gun: Blueprints reveal humble beginnings of the world’s most iconic and life-changing inventions

  • The designs were the idea of the Florida-based art company Oliver Gal Artist Co, whose works feature not the intricate designs of the objects and their history
  • The company hopes that in a world where inventions that are becoming ever more complex, the images will stand as a reminder of the thinking that went into each of the classic designs
  • Re-worked blueprints include those of popular toys, weapons, technology and sporting equipment

By Sarah Griffiths

Inventions from the Wright brother’s flying machine to Apple’s iPod are some of the most instantly recognisable in the world and define entire eras.

Now a group of artists have sourced the patents for the game-changing gadgets and recreated their designs in a collection of stylish blueprints to celebrate the iconic designs.

They include inventions as simple as the Lego brick and other more complex designs, such as the first typewriter or a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

A group of artists have sourced the patents for iconic objects and recreated their designs in a collection of stylish blueprints. They include the print for Nintendo's Game Boy (pictured) which together with the later Game Boy Colour, sold almost 119 million units across the world

A group of artists have sourced the patents for iconic objects and recreated their designs in a collection of stylish blueprints. They include the print for Nintendo’s Game Boy (pictured) which together with the later Game Boy Colour, sold almost 119 million units across the world

 

The designs were the idea of the Florida-based art company Oliver Gal Artist Co, whose works feature not only the intricate designs of the objects, but also the history behind each.

The company hopes that in a world where inventions that are becoming ever more complex, the images will stand as a reminder of the thinking that went into each of the classic designs.

 

The reworked blueprints include some of our favourite toys such as the Lego brick, which was awarded it’s for U.S. patent for a ‘toy building brick’ in 1961 – and has now expired – meaning that anyone can copy it.

Another design featuring in the series includes the first iPod, which was released on October 23, 2001, just over eight months after iTunes was released. It had just 5GB of storage and because it was expensive and only compatible with Macs, sales were pretty slow until 2004

Another design featuring in the series includes the first iPod, which was released on October 23, 2001, just over eight months after iTunes was released. It had just 5GB of storage and because it was expensive and only compatible with Macs, sales were pretty slow until 2004

 

A collection of artists have sourced the patents for some of the world's most famous inventions, recreating their designs in a collection of stunning vintage blueprints

The designs were the idea of the Florida-based art company Oliver Gal Artist Co, whose works feature not only the intricate designs of the objects, but also the history behind each

The designs were the idea of the Florida-based art company Oliver Gal Artist Co, whose works feature not only the intricate designs of the objects, but also the history behind each. The patent for the corkscrew is pictured left and the design for the iconic American football helmet is pictured right

 

World-changing inventions such as the gun and first flying machine are also included in the series of blueprints. One of them (pictured) shows the firing mechanism of the revolver handgun, which was patented on December 6, 1881

World-changing inventions such as the gun and first flying machine are also included in the series of blueprints. One of them (pictured) shows the firing mechanism of the revolver handgun, which was patented on December 6, 1881

 

Since the Danish company began making its interlocking bricks in 1949, around 560 billion have been produced.

The blueprints also feature another childhood favourite – the Slinky – which was patented in 1947. The toy was invented by naval engineer Richard James in 1943 and was a sell-out hit when it launched for $1 two years later. In 60 years it has sold over 300 million units and has been used as a toy, teaching tool, wartime radio antenna and even as a physics experiment by Nasa.

Blueprints of the Rubik’s Cube go some way as to explain its fiendish difficulty to solve. In a classic Rubik’s Cube each of the six faces is covered by nine stickers in white, red, blue, yellow, green and orange and an internal pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently to mix up the colours.

A blueprint for the phonograph record

the tape had a surprisingly intricate and complex mechanism

The way we listen to music has changed dramatically over the decades. A re-designed blueprint for the phonograph record is pictured left, and another for the tape – a symbol of the 1980s – is pictured on the right, showing its intricate method of feeding film between rollers

 

The retractable ballpoint pen is pictured. Ballpoint pens have been around since 1888 and dispense a viscous ink from an internal reservoir through the rolling action of a metal ball at its point. The mechanism was originally developed as a cleaner and reliable alternative to fountain pens and millions are manufactured and sold every day

The retractable ballpoint pen is pictured. Ballpoint pens have been around since 1888 and dispense a viscous ink from an internal reservoir through the rolling action of a metal ball at its point. The mechanism was originally developed as a cleaner and reliable alternative to fountain pens and millions are manufactured and sold every day

 

Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies. Since the invention of the first working sewing machine, generally considered to have been the work of Englishman Thomas Saint in 1790, the sewing machine has greatly improved the efficiency and productivity of the clothing industry

The classic and intricate design of the typewriter is pictured

Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies. Since the invention of the first working sewing machine, generally considered to have been the work of Englishman Thomas Saint in 1790, there have been many designs, including the Wheeler & Dial model (pictured left).  The classic and intricate design of the typewriter is pictured on the right

 

World-changing inventions such as the gun and first flying machine are also included in the series of blueprints.

One of them shows the firing mechanism of the revolver handgun, which was patented on December 6, 1881.

The ingenious structure of the Wright brothers’ flying machine was patented in 1906 by the two American aviation pioneers who built the world’s first successful airplane and made the first controlled and powered human flight in a machine heavier than air, in 1903.

The Slinky was patented in 1947 and was invented by naval engineer Richard James in 1943. It was a sell-out hit when it launched for $1 two years later. In 60 years it has sold over 300million units and has been used as a toy, teaching tool, wartime radio antenna and even as a physics experiment by Nasa

The Slinky was patented in 1947 and was invented by naval engineer Richard James in 1943. It was a sell-out hit when it launched for $1 two years later. In 60 years it has sold over 300million units and has been used as a toy, teaching tool, wartime radio antenna and even as a physics experiment by Nasa

 

Photographic apparatus by H.A. Bing is included in the collection of re-worked patents

The zoomable compact cameras blueprint is pictured

Photographic viewfinder apparatus by H.A. Bing is included in the collection of re-worked blueprints, (pictured left) along with the design for a compact camera with a zoom, which was awarded a patent in 1932, pictured right, – despite looking more modern than the 1960s design on the left

 

Blueprints of the Rubik's Cube (pictured) go some way as to explain its fiendish difficulty to solve. In a classic Rubik's Cube each of the six faces is covered by nine stickers in white, red, blue, yellow, green and orange and an internal pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently to mix up the colours

Blueprints of the Rubik’s Cube (pictured) go some way as to explain its fiendish difficulty to solve. In a classic Rubik’s Cube each of the six faces is covered by nine stickers in white, red, blue, yellow, green and orange and an internal pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently to mix up the colours

 

It is easy to forget that items we take for granted, like the tennis racket, were invented and designed by someone

he design of boxing gloves (pictured right) was patented in 1923

It is easy to forget that items we take for granted, like the tennis racket, were invented and designed by someone. The method for stringing the racket (pictured left) was patented in 1907 and the design of boxing gloves (pictured right) was patented in 1923

 

In more modern times, objects such as the vinyl record, the iPod and Nintendo Game Boy are easily recognisable and are part of the series of artwork based on their original blueprints.

The U.S. patent for Nintendo’s Game Boy was awarded in 1993. It was Nintendo’s second held-held games console and together with the Game Boy Colour, sold almost 119million units across the world. The console has been a huge success since its launch, when it sold its entire shipment in the U.S. within a few weeks.

One of the most recognisable guitars in the world, the Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold in 1952. versions of the famous model have been played by guitar legends including Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townsend, Jimmy Page, Slash and Eric Clapton

A patent of the boom box, which became an eighties icon, is pictured right

One of the most recognisable guitars in the world, the Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold in 1952. Versions of the famous model have been played by guitar legends including Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townsend, Jimmy Page, Slash and Eric Clapton. A patent of the boom box, which became a must-have of the 1980s and 1990s, is pictured right

 

The re-worked blueprints include some of our favourite toys such as the Lego brick, which was awarded it's for U.S. patent for a 'toy building brick' in 1961 - and has now expired - meaning that anyone can copy it

The re-worked blueprints include some of our favourite toys such as the Lego brick, which was awarded it’s for U.S. patent for a ‘toy building brick’ in 1961 – and has now expired – meaning that anyone can copy it

 

A blueprint of the CD is pictured

Forward lean adjuster for ski boots

While CDs were not widely adapted until the late 1980s, and became the main music format in the 1990s, a patent for the technology (pictured left) was filed in 1960. A patent for the forward lean adjuster mechanism for ski boots is pictured on the right

 

The iPod might have spawned a hundred imitations, but the original AppleMP3 player was patented as recently as 2008.

The first iPod was released on October 23, 2001, just over eight months after iTunes was released with 5GB of storage but because it was expensive and only compatible with Macs, sales were pretty slow until 2004. Since then there have been six generations of iPod, the largest of which has 160GB of storage, as well as more compact iPod Minis, Nanos and Shuffles and the iPod Touch, which has a touch screen much like the iPhone.

Berliner Gramophone was an early record label, the first company to produce disc 'gramophone records' pictured playing on this intricate gramophone

An old camera blueprint is pictured using a traditional box design

Berliner Gramophone was an early record label, the first company to produce disc ‘gramophone records’ pictured playing on this intricate gramophone (left) and a version of the 1887 blueprint for an old camera pictured right

 

The ingenious structure of the Wright brothers' flying machine (pictured) was patented in 1906 by the two American aviation pioneers who built the world's first successful airplane and made the first controlled and powered human flight in a machine heavier than air, in 1903

The ingenious structure of the Wright brothers’ flying machine (pictured) was patented in 1906 by the two American aviation pioneers who built the world’s first successful airplane and made the first controlled and powered human flight in a machine heavier than air, in 1903

There have been many tweaks to bicycle design over the years, but this blueprint of the velocipede, patented in 1890 still has classic appeal

The yo-yo was patented in 1866

There have been many tweaks to bicycle design over the years, but this blueprint of the velocipede (pictured left), patented in 1890 still has classic appeal. The yo-yo was patented in 1866 and was first made popular in the 1920s but it was first invented in ancient Greece

 

 

Harley Davidson Inc was founded in the first decade of the 20th century and was one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. The motorcycles (pictured) are known for the tradition of heavy customisation that gave rise to the 'chopper' style of motorcycle

Harley Davidson Inc was founded in the first decade of the 20th century and was one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. The motorcycles (pictured) are known for the tradition of heavy customisation that gave rise to the ‘chopper’ style of motorcycle

It is hard to believe that Apple's first personal compute, which was patented in 1983, led to the development of the company's super slim offerings like the iPad and MacBook Air today

The blueprint for an elaborate cash register is pictured on the right

It is hard to believe that Apple’s first personal compute, which was patented in 1983, (pictured left) led to the development of the company’s super slim offerings like the iPad and MacBook Air today.  The blueprint for an elaborate cash register with beautiful art nouveau style detailing is pictured on the right

Playing With Plato

Philosophers eager to write for popular audiences are finding readers who want answers science can’t offer.

Associated Press; Wikimedia Commons; nserrano
By Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Pantheon

When I was 21, I was trying to decide whether to become a doctor or a philosophy professor. My older brother, whose advice I usually followed, asked me why I wanted to study philosophy. I was evasive. Finally I admitted that a lot of the books I loved had been written by philosophers and philosophy professors. Plus, one of my favorite books at the time, a book I’d read and reread since I was a teenager, was Hermann Hesse’s Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game, which unabashedly romanticized the life of the professor.

“Be practical. Books are dangerous things,” my brother warned me. “Just because it’s on paper, you think it’s true. Moneylove was one of the most damaging books I ever read. Not to mention How to Win Friends & Influence People.” (I should probably mention that my brother is a very successful luxury jeweler, who continues to love money and, as Dale Carnegie instructs, to “make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.”) This wasn’t what I wanted to hear, so I called my dad, at that time a broke New Age guru and sex therapist living in Jupiter, Florida—not exactly the oracle of Delphi, and not someone whose advice I usually followed. “Every doctor I know is miserable, son,” he told me. “They work all the time and complain about insurance companies.” (Not much has changed since 1988.) “Be a professor. You’ll never be rich, but you’ll be doing what you love: reading and writing. You get summers off. It’s a good life.”

Note that my father didn’t say the good life, which is how a philosophically minded adviser might have put it to me—except that philosophy in America in the 1980s and ’90s seemed to be losing its way in dry, scholastic debates about the most lifeless of topics (what is the meaning of and?). But he told me what I wanted to hear, and a quarter century later, philosophy is making the kind of comeback that leaves a Hermann Hesse groupie glad to have headed for graduate school and ended up with tenure. Amid hand-wringing about the decline of the humanities, the philosopher (and novelist) Rebecca Newberger Goldstein can write a book like Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, confident that she’ll find readers eager to turn to philosophers for help in thinking about the meaning of life and how best to live it. Books like Sarah Bakewell’s wildly popular study of Montaigne, How to Live, and the successful New York Times blog The Stone, back her up, as does the Harper’scolumn Ars Philosopha (full disclosure: I am a frequent contributor to the last).

We are deluged with information; the scientific method produces new discoveries every day. But what does all that mean for us?

But Goldstein wisely doesn’t take philosophy’s revival for granted in a culture committed to an increasingly materialistic worldview—materialistic in the philosophical sense, meaning convinced that the scientific study of matter in motion holds the answers to all our questions. The impetus for Goldstein’s ingenious, entertaining, and challenging new book is the theoretical version of the very practical problem I confronted when I graduated from college: Now that we have science, do we really need philosophy? Doesn’t science “bake bread” (not to mention make money) in a way that philosophy never has? Science is responsible for the grand upward march of civilization—so we are often told—but what accomplishments can philosophy claim?

In praise of Plato, the 20th-century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once wrote, “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” But this, as Goldstein points out, is precisely what might make us worry about philosophy as a discipline:

Those predisposed to dismiss philosophy—some of my best friends—might hear in Whitehead’s kudos to Plato a well-aimed jeer at philosophy’s expense. That an ancient Greek could still command contemporary relevance, much less the supremacy Whitehead claimed for him, does not speak well for the field’s rate of progress.

Or does it? The question that Goldstein’s book sets out to consider is what we mean by progress, and also what we mean by meaning. Her goal is to do more than prove how relevant philosophy still is. She aims to reveal how many of our most pressing questions simply aren’t better answered elsewhere. Much of what we take for progress delivers answers that miss the point, distort issues, ignore complications, and may be generated by badly formulated questions in the first place. Goldstein also wants to show us that figuring out how to live a meaningful life is something very different from understanding the meaning of special relativity or evolution. We are deluged with information; we know how to track down facts in seconds; the scientific method produces new discoveries every day. But what does all that mean for us? As the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard observed:

Whatever the one generation may learn from the other, that which is genuinely human no generation learns from the foregoing … Thus, no generation has learned from another to love, no generation begins at any other point than at the beginning, no generation has a shorter task assigned to it than had the previous generation.

Another way to put it might be that every generation could use a Plato to tackle those genuinely human lessons. That is the creative, verging on wacky, premise that has inspired Goldstein’s approach to demonstrating why philosophy won’t (and had better not) go away. She transports Plato into the 21st century and, adopting his own preferred literary form, puts him into fictional dialogue with a variety of contemporary characters. As Socrates was for Plato—the great philosophical interlocutor, living in literary form—so Plato becomes for Goldstein. She ratchets up the entertainment value (this isn’t ancient Athens!), eager for drama and topical issues. Plato is put through his paces with an array of in-your-face conversation partners, from a smart if smarmy young employee at Google, to several experts on child-rearing, to a “no-bull” cable-TV talking head, to a neuroscientist. This sounds dangerously facile and cute, but Goldstein mostly pulls it off, cleverly weaving passages directly from Plato’s dialogues into her own.

Goldstein’s Plato, like Socrates before him, is less interested in teaching those with whom he converses than he is in helping them see that they don’t know what they think they know. In sending Plato to Google, Goldstein deftly exposes the conceptual presumption at the heart of what looks like the latest high-tech methodology. On his visit with the new masters of gathering human knowledge, Plato considers a (fictional) algorithm they have developed called the Ethical Answers Search Engine, or EASE, which does just what its name suggests: it crowdsources answers to ethical problems, the same way businesses now employ crowdsourcing to predict political outcomes and stock-market fluctuations, or to select marketing strategies.

But ethical solutions are not as, well, easy as the search engine might have its users believe. Plato points out that EASE uses a preferential ordering system, so its designers have already begged the philosophical question: they have built into their design their own ideas about what the good life looks like. Furthermore, EASE assumes that the crowd will collectively possess greater knowledge about moral matters than an expert will—but when it comes to the hardest questions, is that the case? After all, most of us would admit we don’t know what the good life is—that’s why we turn to philosophers—so why would we trust a crowd of strangers who are likely just as confused about morality as we are?

Philosophy, at its best, probably doesn’t have to progress that much, because the most-difficult and most-important human problems don’t change that much.

Plato certainly did not think the crowd was a reliable source of ethical insight. It was the crowd, after all, who put Socrates to death. And one of Socrates’s favorite moves in Plato’s dialogues is to expose moral amateurism for the confused amalgam it is. Plato never managed to say exactly what counted as ethical expertise, but inTheaetetus and elsewhere, he has Socrates successfully undermine the moral relativism that was as popular and incoherent in fourth-century-B.C. Athens as it is today. In a similar spirit, Goldstein has Plato reduce his Google interlocutor to a sweaty, defensive mess after 30 or so pages. The whiz kid realizes that behind his clear-cut, EASE-derived answers lie dilemmas that demand a kind of pondering his sorting program can’t begin to manage. At one point, for example, Plato’s media escort remarks, “We don’t do slavery,” a view that any crowdsourcing approach would endorse. EASE might get it right sometimes: the moral prohibition against slavery that emerged in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries is surely an example of philosophical progress. But EASE can’t explain why it gets it right. And we expect more from truth than just collective agreement—because we often collectively agree in morally mistaken ways.

Like Socrates in the dialogues, Plato emerges from the Googleplex unflustered, looking “more than ever like he was carved in marble, sitting so still and staring so intently,” eager to investigate further. At first it struck me as odd that Goldstein’s Plato didn’t experience more culture shock in his American travels, but his aplomb is crucial to the point she’s trying to make—which echoes Kierkegaard’s. Philosophy, at its best, probably doesn’t have to progress that much, because the most-difficult and most-important human problems don’t change that much. The quest for answers bumps up against obstacles that don’t seem to diminish. And now as ever, the quest benefits from—as Goldstein’s Plato says, cribbing from Meno when he joins a panel discussion on the topic of “How to Raise an Exceptional Child”—“the teacher who [knows] how to ask the right questions and awakens in his mind a love for the beauty of logical connections.”

Goldstein, like Plato, is at her strongest when showing us that some questions just won’t go away. But she’s not about to deny philosophy plenty of credit for coming up with its share of answers, too—and for setting scientists on their way in searching for theirs. The list of philosophical leaps is impressive: most notable, perhaps, is the 17th-century idea of individual rights. Goldstein reminds us that virtually every scientific area of inquiry began with a question or an insight from a philosopher. Democritus proposed the atom; Ionian philosophers invented what we now think of as the scientific method; Aristotle founded biology. In mathematics and physics, she observes, the metaphysical problems considered by Plato are still being debated.

My brother was wrong, of course. Books often do tell the truth, as I learned long ago when I read Magister Ludi and was seduced by sentences like this one: “This same eternal idea, which for us has been embodied in the Glass Bead Game, has underlain every movement of Mind toward the ideal goal of auniversitas litterarum, every Platonic academy … every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion.” The eternal idea here is philosophy. Goldstein is with Hermann Hesse. Philosophy doesn’t merely tell us about the subjective, leaving the objective world to science. For Goldstein, who has also written splendidly on such highly abstract thinkers as Spinoza and Gödel, the finest scientific thinking will always be driven and informed by the philosophical spirit. The grand forward push of human knowledge requires each of us to begin by trying to think independently, to recognize that knowledge is more than information, to see that we are moral beings who must closely interrogate both ourselves and the world we inhabit—to live, as Socrates recommended, an examined life.

Clancy Martin, who teaches philosophy at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, is the author of the novel How to Sell and the forthcoming Love, Lies, and Marriage.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/playing-with-plato/358633/

An AP Photographer Is Capturing Life In North Korea On His Instagram Account

David Guttenfelder North Korea Instagram

David Guttenfelder/AP

 

David Guttenfelder, the Associated Press’ chief photographer in Asia, has been posting pictures documenting life in North Korea. 

Last year, North Korea’s primary local service provider Koryolink began letting foreigners access the Internet from mobile phones for the first time.

Guttenfelder’s images capture various parts of daily life, like the commute to work or the bizarre visit from NBA superstar Dennis Rodman.

Guttenfelder has traveled all over the world and people are obsessed with the images on his Instagram account.

We’ve rounded up some of the best photos he has from the country.


‘Tractor, wagon, & bicycle in the North Korean countryside.’

'Tractor, wagon, & bicycle in the North Korean countryside.'

David Guttenfelder/Instagram

‘Pedestrians in Pyongyang.’

'Pedestrians in Pyongyang.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘A North Korean nurse studies in a hallway at a pediatric hospital in #Pyongyang.’

'A North Korean nurse studies in a hallway at a pediatric hospital in #Pyongyang.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘Dennis Rodman & fellow USA basketball players arrive at a Pyongyang hotel ahead of a Jan. 8 game, the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.’

'Dennis Rodman & fellow USA basketball players arrive at a Pyongyang hotel ahead of a Jan. 8 game, the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘Dennis Rodman holds basketball try outs for North Korean players today to decide who will go up against NBA veterans coming to Pyongyang for a game next Jan. 8’

'Dennis Rodman holds basketball try outs for North Korean players today to decide who will go up against NBA veterans coming to Pyongyang for a game next Jan. 8'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘North Korean subway commuters gather around a public newspaper stand on the train platform in #Pyongyang to read the headlines about Jang Song Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle who was executed as a traitor’

'North Korean subway commuters gather around a public newspaper stand on the train platform in #Pyongyang to read the headlines about Jang Song Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle who was executed as a traitor'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘A wall chart showing examples of various teeth conditions hangs inside a dental clinic in Pyongyang, North Korea.’

'A wall chart showing examples of various teeth conditions hangs inside a dental clinic in Pyongyang, North Korea.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘Residents of #Pyongyang walk by a mosaic of the late leader Kim Jong Il in the 2nd anniversary if his death.’

'Residents of #Pyongyang walk by a mosaic of the late leader Kim Jong Il in the 2nd anniversary if his death.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘Rice wine with vipers. #Pyongyang, North Korea. Last night in the restaurant, we were told that no alcohol would be served to observe the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s death.’

'Rice wine with vipers. #Pyongyang, North Korea. Last night in the restaurant, we were told that no alcohol would be served to observe the anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘A pre-school playground set, shaped like the North Korean Unha rocket near #Pyongyang’

'A pre-school playground set, shaped like the North Korean Unha rocket near #Pyongyang'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘A group of children practicing with their instruments in Pyongyang.’

'A group of children practicing with their instruments in Pyongyang.'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘The yet to be completed, and often photographed, 105-story Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang’

'The yet to be completed, and often photographed, 105-story Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang'

David Guttenfelder/AP

‘Passengers walk across the snowy tarmac at Pyongyang’s airport as an Air Koryo flight arrives from Beijing tonight’

'Passengers walk across the snowy tarmac at Pyongyang's airport as an Air Koryo flight arrives from Beijing tonight'

David Guttenfelder/AP

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-instagram-photos-2014-3?op=1#ixzz2xAg92ybG

Photography Friday: Henri Cartier-Bresson

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From the age of 22, the French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) was on the road most of the time, always with camera in hand. While he experimented surrealism through street photography in the early 1930s, he then turned to photojournalism after World War II. Cartier-Bresson is notably known for his concept of “decisive moment”, which aspires to fix a precise instant, the instantaneous, the intuitive. His incessant travels enabled him to capture countless places across the world, including China during the Great Leap Forward that took place in 1958. The photographs above were taken in the late 1950s while Cartier-Bresson was working on an assignment for LIFE, the famous American magazine. The author offers a far-reaching visual account of the modern century, capturing the changing everyday life in China, both in astounding black and white and color photographs.

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See more of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work here

Photography Friday is a regular feature from Shanghaiist in association with Photography of China, Marine Cabos’s fantastic trilingual blog about photography and photographers in China.

http://shanghaiist.com/2014/03/28/photography-friday-henri-cartier-bresson.php

24 Experiences You Only Have At Asian Supermarkets

You’ll suffer through that peculiar stench for some Pocky sticks.posted on November 25, 2013 at 2:35pm EST

1. When you walk into one, you are met with a dangerously pungent mystery smell.

When you walk into one, you are met with a dangerously pungent mystery smell.

2. (That you can only blame on the unfortunate mixture of dried fish and durian fruit.)

(That you can only blame on the unfortunate mixture of dried fish and durian fruit.)

3. You’ve plucked “fresh” produce from cardboard boxes.

Or, if they’re slightly a more upscale establishment, plastic containers.

4. And it doesn’t even matter if they’re fresh. They’reridiculously cheap.

And it doesn't even matter if they're fresh. They're ridiculously cheap.

5. You’ve had to stand idly by with the shopping cart as your mother expertly selects one bundle of bok choy over another.

You've had to stand idly by with the shopping cart as your mother expertly selects one bundle of bok choy over another.

6. You’ve seen it all and nothing fazes you.

7. Well…not always.

Well...not always.

8. You can purchase fine pottery in the same vicinity as live octopus and fermented duck eggs.

You can purchase fine pottery in the same vicinity as live octopus and fermented duck eggs.

9. But you have to maneuver those aisles carefully ‘cause you know the consequences.

But you have to maneuver those aisles carefully 'cause you know the consequences.

And they’re not playing.

10. You’ve witnessed a butcher dismember and package an entire duck in literally under 10 seconds.

11. You’ve watched your mother lift and sling a 70-pound bag of rice like a fucking champ.

You've watched your mother lift and sling a 70-pound bag of rice like a fucking champ.

(You’ve tried and struggled.)

12. You and your family have been buying the same groceries your entire life, and you still don’t quite know what they are.

You and your family have been buying the same groceries your entire life, and you still don't quite know what they are.

I don’t know what you call these, but when you sautée them, it’s fucking delicious.

13. You’re extremely grateful of establishments that have a slightly higher standard of order and cleanliness.

14. Because when it’s Saturday afternoon and all the families are out, it is every-man-for-himself anarchy.

Because when it's Saturday afternoon and all the families are out, it is every-man-for-himself anarchy.

As a kid, you were always assigned to watch the cart at HQ while your parents ran back and forth.

15. You used to watch the live crabs crawl all over each other and wonder how they haven’t figured out how to escape.

You used to watch the live crabs crawl all over each other and wonder how they haven't figured out how to escape.

16. You’ve accepted that presentation means nothing.

You've accepted that presentation means nothing.

17. Except those moments when they mean everything (and no one else around you quite notices or cares).

Except those moments when they mean everything (and no one else around you quite notices or cares).

18. You rarely need to exchange a single word with the cashier.

You rarely need to exchange a single word with the cashier.

No small talk here: strictly business.

19. And there is usually no scanner because they somehow know the prices of EVERYTHING OFF TOP.

24 Experiences You Only Have At Asian Supermarkets

AND THEY’RE JUST MANUALLY TYPING IT IN WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT THE PRICE STICKER. HOWWWWWWWWW.

20. But that’s OK: Your total will always be under $100, and you have a trunkload of food.

But that's OK: Your total will always be under $100, and you have a trunkload of food.

21. Somehow, to this day, most Asian supermarkets are still cash only.

Somehow, to this day, most Asian supermarkets are still cash only.

(But let’s be real: No matter how big, most stores still don’t want to pay that credit card processing fee.)

22. You and your family have been going to the same local grocer for years now, and you’ve accepted its quirks.

You and your family have been going to the same local grocer for years now, and you've accepted its quirks.

23. Because it has what you really want.

Because it has what you really want.

JUNK FOOD AISLE = CRACK.

The Ultimate Gentleman Cheat Sheet Every Man Needs

LEISURE LIFESTYLE MARCH 25 BY 

 

Have you ever been out for the evening and witnessed a classy-looking man who was well put together and knew all the right things to say and do? Almost like he knew what to do or was prepared in every way for anything coming his way? Well, let me be the one to tell you, you were witness to the rare and illusive gentleman. Some women think seeing a true gentleman is like seeing a unicorn or having a leprechaun hand you a map to his pot of gold.

Having the male gene does not mean you are a gentleman. In fact, not every guy has it in him to be a gentleman. Part of being a gentleman can be taught while other parts seem like they are ingrained into the man. The list of infographics below is a gentleman cheat sheet. A gentleman is not always the good guy. A gentleman is usually the best suited up, smoothest talking, single malt whiskey drinker in the building.

Take a look at the information in them. I have no doubt may know some of the information. Here is a good reason you might consider learning to be a gentleman: A woman sees a man in a perfectly tailored suit in much the same way as a man looks at a women in lingerie. There is a reason Frank Sinatra and the fictional Don Draper had ladies swooning when they entered a room… they were gentlemen.

Some people say the clothes make the man. An air of sophistication, the allure of manners and possibly a better life are all part of the mystique. Being a true gent is truly a combination of many things and that’s what this ultimate gentleman cheat sheet is all about.

Evening Etiquette for the True Gentleman

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Guide to Wearing a Suit like a Real Gentleman

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Tying a Scarf for Style and Warmth

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Gentleman’s Guide to Shoes. Because Women Look at your Shoes. Yes Really.

guide-to-shoes

 

Complete Gentleman’s Guide

guide-to-all-things-gentleman

 

Suit Tailoring for the Beginner Gentleman

suit-tailoring

 

Guide to Choosing the Correct Belt for the Occasion

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You’re not in College Anymore. Your Clothes Should Fit Properly

proper-fitting-clothing

 

Bourbon vs. Whiskey Read Carefully.

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Buying (Pre-owned) Rolex Watches

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Pairing the Correct Wine with Food is a Sexy Skill

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Gentlemen are Remembered for How Well They Entertain

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Guide to Wet Shaving (The Lost Art)

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Buying an Engagement Ring Like a Knowledgeable Gent

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Gentlemen Don’t Need a Guide, Just Dating Reminders

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Regional Food Knowledge for the Carnivorous Gents

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Rockin’ a Mustache Like a Gent

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Choose the Right Color Clothes to Fit Your Personality

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Gentlemen Know How to Drink Whiskey

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Valentine’s Day is a Real Gent’s Time to Shine

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Gentleman’s Neckwear Flow Chart

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Gents Wear Tuxedos and Tie Their Own Bow Tie

PrintGentleman’s Etiquette Mantra

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Be a Gentleman, Not a Saint

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That’s a Great Head of Hair Sir

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Featured photo credit: pslifestyle via visual.ly

 

Graeme Hamilton: Pauline Marois refuses call to reveal details of her sizeable personal wealth

Graeme Hamilton | March 25, 2014 8:31 PM ET

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois and her husband, businessman Claude Blanchet in 2011. Blanchet was a millionaire by age 32 after going to work in real estate for tycoon Robert Campeau.

John Mahoney/Postmedia NewsParti Québécois leader Pauline Marois and her husband, businessman Claude Blanchet in 2011. Blanchet was a millionaire by age 32 after going to work in real estate for tycoon Robert Campeau.

MONTREAL – As the Parti Québécois called into question the integrity of Philippe Couillard’s Liberal team Tuesday, Mr. Couillard attempted to turn the tables by challenging PQ leader Pauline Marois to make public the extent of her considerable personal wealth.

Mr. Couillard announced that he would be publishing on his party’s website before Thursday’s leaders’ debate his 2012 tax return as well as an accounting of all assets held by him and his wife, Suzanne Pilote. He called on the other leaders to do the same in the interest of transparency.

“People have to know, who is the person … asking me to nominate him or her as premier of Quebec,” Mr. Couillard told reporters in Trois-Rivières. “What is the character? What is the life story? What is her or his personal situation? How can he or she understand and feel what common people in Quebec do feel every week?” He maintained that the assets of party leaders’ spouses must be included in the disclosure because it is easy to shift wealth between members of a couple.

Ms. Marois promptly rejected the invitation. “The answer is no,” she said, noting that she made public her own tax return before the 2012 election and that she and her husband, Claude Blanchet, file a confidential report of their assets with the National Assembly’s ethics commissioner.

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Mr. Couillard’s move was a thinly disguised attempt to focus attention on Mr. Blanchet, a businessman who has been practically invisible since Ms. Marois launched the campaign three weeks ago.

In January, the Charbonneau commission into corruption in the construction industry heard wiretap evidence suggesting the Quebec Federation of Labour had a “deal” with Mr. Blanchet to ensure the PQ, then in opposition, would block a public inquiry into corruption. Mr. Blanchet is a former head of the FTQ-sponsored investment fund, the Fonds de solidarité, which also later invested in one of Mr. Blanchet’s companies.

Ms. Marois and Mr. Blanchet had been summoned to testify about the alleged deal before a National Assembly committee, but the election was called and the legislature dissolved before the testimony could take place. Ms. Marois has denied that any deal existed and said her party was never asked to stall a public inquiry.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press/Files

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press/FilesQuebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard and his wife, Suzanne Pilote. “People have the right to know who is the person before us, and that includes their financial situation and that of their spouse,” Couillard said.

It is no secret that Mr. Blanchet is rich. He and Ms. Marois last year sold their sumptuous chateau-style home in the Montreal suburb of Île-Bizard for a reported $6.5-million. With their four children grown, they downsized to a $2.5-million condominium in Old Montreal, TVA reported last year.

The son of a gas-station owner, Mr. Blanchet was a millionaire by age 32 after going to work in real estate for tycoon Robert Campeau. Mr. Blanchet moved on to the Fonds de solidarité and later the Société générale de financement, a Quebec government investment agency. He had a mixed record there and left when the Liberals came to power in 2003. But he draws an $80,000 annual pension for his six years at the head of the SGF.

For Philippe Couillard, a surgeon who acknowledges he did well for himself in the private sector after resigning as health minister in 2008, the appeal for transparency also serves to contrast the PQ’s avowed commitment to social democracy with the fortunes amassed by some of its leading players. Star recruit Pierre Karl Péladeau, the former chief executive of Quebecor Inc. touted by some as a future PQ leader, is estimated to be worth close to $1-billion.

“It’s not the amount; it’s the transparency,” Mr. Couillard said. “I am not fighting wealth. I am fighting poverty. If people have succeeded financially, all the better. Excellent. Bravo for them. But people have the right to know who is the person before us, and that includes their financial situation and that of their spouse.”

With less than two weeks left before the April 7th vote, Mr. Couillard is looking to widen what appears to be a strong enough lead over the PQ to win the Liberals a government, if current polling is to be believed.

On Tuesday, the PQ and the Coalition Avenir Québec worked to hammer Mr. Couillard’s Liberal party over questions of ethics.

Ms. Marois repeatedly referred to former leader Jean Charest, warning Mr. Couillard would return Quebec to the days when corruption scandals were the norm.

“I am happy that we have finally reached the point where we can unmask Mr. Couillard and his team,” she said in Blainville, north of Montreal. “We ask him questions, and he doesn’t answer. He does not want to distance himself from the legacy of Mr. Charest.”

Tuesday afternoon, the PQ announced it had filed a complaint with the chief electoral officer related to evidence uncovered during a police raid of Liberal headquarters last summer. In an affidavit used to obtain a subsequent search warrant, made public three weeks ago, anti-corruption investigators said they had found evidence of a Liberal fundraising cocktail party that raised $428,000 and was not reported in the party’s financial statements. The date of the event is unknown, but it would have been before Mr. Couillard became leader.

“Philippe Couillard must tell us what he knows about this illegal funding system,” Pierre Duchesne, the Minister of Higher Education, said in a statement. “Where did the money go?”

Reflecting a consensus that the Liberals are now the clear front-runners, François Legault, the CAQ leader, joined the PQ attack. “It’s the same team that were thrown out because they were worn out and corrupt. And now people are thinking of re-electing them on April 7,” he said.

National Post

• Email: ghamilton@nationalpost.com | Twitter: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/03/25/graeme-hamilton-pauline-marois-refuses-call-to-reveal-details-of-her-sizeable-personal-wealth/

Interesting!

These Charts Reveal How To Negotiate With People From Around The World

So you’ve got a meeting in France. Speaking French is a good idea, but it’s also valuable to understand the French communication patterns that will define your meeting.

British linguist Richard D. Lewis charted communication patterns as well as leadership styles and cultural identities in his “When Cultures Collide,” now in a 2005 third edition. His organization offers classes in cross-cultural communication for big clients ranging from Unilever to BMW.

In support of cross-cultural studies, he writes: “By focusing on the cultural roots of national behavior, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate with a surprising degree of accuracy how others will react to our plans for them, and we can make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us. A working knowledge of the basic traits of other cultures (as well as our own) will minimize unpleasant surprises (culture shock), give us insights in advance, and enable us to interact successfully with nationalities with whom we previously had difficulty.”

Although cultural generalizations can be overly reductive, Lewis, who speaks ten languages, insists it can be done fairly, writing: “Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm.”

In his communication diagrams, conversational range is shown with increasing width, obstacles are marked in gray, and cultural traits are noted as well.

Americans, for instance, lay all the cards on the table, respond confrontationally to discord, and resolve with necessary concessions, finishing as quickly as possible.

French, on the other hand, approach negotiations as a vigorous logical debate, using language like a rapier.

We’ll go over the rest in brief after a selection of charts taken with permission from “When Cultures Collide.”

 

 

As you may surmise, “When Cultures Collide” spends relatively little time on today’s emerging markets, which is unfortunate but not surprising since it was originally published in 1996. The book does offer some commentary on Africa, South America, and other places not mentioned here, however, as well as much further commentary on these 25 countries — and we advise anyone interested to check it out.

Let’s go over the other diagrams in brief,  paraphrasing and quoting from Lewis:

Canadians, compared to Americans, tend to be more low-key and inclined to seek harmony, though they are similarly direct.

English tend to avoid confrontation in an understated, mannered, and humorous style that can be powerful or inefficient.

Germans rely on logic but “tend to amass more evidence and labor their points more than either the British or the French.”

Spanish and Italians “regard their languages as instruments of eloquence and they will go up and down the scale at will, pulling out every stop if need be to achieve greater expressiveness.”

Scandinavians often have entrenched opinions that they have formulated “in the long dark nights,” though they are reasonable conversationalists. Swedes often have the most wide-ranging discussions, Finns tend to value concision, and most Norwegians fall somewhere in between.

Swiss tend to be straightforward and unaggressive negotiators, who obtain concessions by expressing confidence in the quality and value of their goods and services.

Hungarians value eloquence over logic and are unafraid to talk over each other.

Bulgarians may take a circuitous approach to negotiations before seeking a mutually beneficial resolution, which will often be screwed up by bureaucracy.

Poles often have a communication style that is “enigmatic, ranging from a matter-of-fact pragmatic style to a wordy, sentimental, romantic approach to any given subject.”

The Dutch are focused on facts and figures but “are also great talkers and rarely make final decisions without a long ‘Dutch’ debate, sometimes approaching the danger zone of overanalysis.”

Chinese tend to be more direct than the Japanese and some other East Asians; however, meetings are principally for information gathering, with the real decisions made elsewhere. Hong Kongers negotiate much more briskly to achieve quick results.

Indian English “excels in ambiguity, and such things as truth and appearances are often subject to negotiation.”

Australians tend to have a loose and frank conversational style.

Singaporeans generally take time to build a relationship, after which they can be shrewd negotiators.

Koreans tend to be energetic conversationalists who seek to close deals quickly, occasionally stretching the truth.

Indonesians tend to be very deferential conversationalists, sometimes to the point of ambiguity.

Israelis tend to proceed logically on most issues but emotionally on some.

And that’s how one respected, well-traveled, and highly multilingual linguist sees the world.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/communication-charts-around-the-world-2014-3#ixzz2xAfJZHqd

Caught in the poverty trap: The other side of Hong Kong

By  Dec 20, 2013 3:08PM UTC

The city of Hong Kong is like the mythical Janus, the god who supposedly guarded ancient Roman doors: it has two faces. On the one hand, you have the rich, cosmopolitan city which never sleeps, and on the other hand the metropolis of the poor, with its old, lousy  buildings. The two worlds live side by side, hugging each other in a maze of skyscrapers and crappy edifices.

Despite being one of the world’s most coveted destinations for millionaires, poverty is a serious issue in the former British colony. On September 28, Chief Executive CY Leung announced that about 1.3 million people – roughly 19.6 per cent of the city’s population – are officially poor. The number recedes to 15.2 per cent if welfare payments are included, but even then it remains stubbornly high. The elderly are particularly vulnerable: one in three falls below the poverty line.

Among this  social group are those who live in the so-called “caged homes”, essentially beds crammed one next to the other, divided by wooden or metal bars. A room can be segmented into various cubicles, each as small as 1.5 square meters, to be rented out individually to people who cannot afford proper housing. Reportedly, caged homes are often infested by bugs, lack heating and have poor wiring, which means they are also potentially dangerous for their inhabitants.

The Gini Coefficient (GC), the indicator most commonly used to gauge differences in a society, shows an increasingly wide rich-poor gap among locals. The index – a number between 0 and 1, with 0 being perfect equality and 1 maximal  inequality – has been creeping up for decades. According to a 2012 official report, “in the 1970s, the GC stood at around 0.430, and began to go up quite visibly since 1980s. Such rise further accelerated between 1986 and 1996, in which the GC increased from 0.453 to 0.518, sharply by 0.065.” The document says that the Coefficient grew moderately after the end of the nineties, “and its latest pick up in 2011 (up 0.004) was actually the smallest as compared to the previous 25 years”. The 2011 final reading, however, stood at 0.537, making Hong Kong the 11th most unequal place among those included in the CIA World Factbook.

“As only the privileged have the right to vote, the government works for the rich, not for the poor,” said Sze Lai Shan, a Community Organizer at the Society for Community Organization (SoCO), an NGO supporting the have-nots living in the city. “We advocate for the rights of the underprivileged and lobby the government. At the same time, we mobilize resources for the poor and provide them with food, blankets and other things.” SoCO has established community learning centers for disadvantaged children and claims they help more than 1,000 families living in caged homes.

The problem is not confined to policymaking. “It is also the society. On November 17, the Court of Final Appeal ruled that immigrants will not need to wait seven year before being allowed to apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance. But people on the web are 90 per cent against the decision. They are self-interested,” argued Ms Sze. “They just want to keep the money for themselves.”

Migrants are among the most disadvantaged, together with children, single women and elderly people. Yet they keep on coming to Hong Kong, attracted by higher wages and by the city’s security. “It is so safe around here, you can go around at night and nobody will even touch you,” said a Pakistani national we met in Yau Ma Tei district.

Jane, an immigrant we met in Kowloon, confirmed that the city is totally safe. “You know, in Hong Kong the government controls everything, nobody will do anything to you,” she said mimicking a fist with her hand. “It’s good.”

Jane arrived three years ago from Nigeria, leaving behind her two children, and has since been dividing her time between Hong Kong and southern China. In both places she does the same job: prostitution. “But here it is better than in southern China, it is not so good there,” she said.

Life has been hard on this woman who, at 4am, was still looking for customers in the empty streets. “Of course I want to go back to Nigeria, everyone wants to go to his own country, no?” she asked rhetorically.

“Sometimes I sleep in the morning, sometimes I don’t sleep at all. And I have been in prison three times, every time for three months,” added Jane. Whatever the outcome of her encounters with the law, things had not changed much for her: she was still out there sipping Heineken and looking for customers. “What can you do? It is all in God’s plan. Sometimes you want to do one thing, but God wants another.”

http://asiancorrespondent.com/117485/hong-kong-poverty-trap/

The assault on press freedom in Hong Kong

By  Mar 26, 2014 12:33PM UTC

Brutal assaults highlight worrying erosion of media integrity

Before the People’s Republic of China opened its doors to outsiders, Hong Kong used to be the keyhole through which the world peered into the vast, yet little known, country. After that it remained a place where journalism could thrive. But there are worrisome signs that being a journalist in the former British colony is becoming increasing difficult, if not dangerous.

On February 26, Kevin Lau, former chief editor of the Ming Pao daily, was stabbed in public by one assailant who then fled on a motorbike driven by a second individual. He is now recovering from serious injuries in a local hospital. Being slashed was the second piece of bad news that hit him in a few weeks; the month before he had already been sacked as chief editor of his paper. The Ming Pao daily is owned by  Tiong Hiew King, a Malaysian tycoon who reportedly has large economic interests in mainland China.

The new editor – who seems likely to be Chong Tien-siong, the former chief editor of Nanyang Siang Pau – will not enter the most friendly newsroom in the world: over 90 per cent of the paper’s editorial staff have signed a petition asking the company to explain why Mr Lau was sacked. Sin Wan-kei, a member of the concern group which was formed to demand explanations, told the South China Morning Post that “the chief editor not only leads the newsroom in reporting, but more importantly in resisting pressure from the invisible hands who try to meddle in the newsroom at critical moments.” He added: “We know nothing about the future chief editor, including his background and values. We are not even sure if he will help us to fight against the interference.”

In the aftermath of the attack, a joint statement issued by Hong Kong media organizations sounded the alarm bell for press freedom in the city. “Hong Kong is a society that upholds the rule of law, and we do not tolerate the spread of violence. We are worried that the incident will pose a threat to the freedom of press and speech in Hong Kong. We are very angry about it,” it read.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association wrote that it “urges the authorities to pursue his [Kevin Lau’s] attackers and those malignant forces behind them without fear or favour. The attackers must be brought to justice as quickly as possible to allay public fears.”

Just a few weeks later, however, a new assault was reported. On March 20, two executives of a yet-to-be-launched newspaper were ambushed by four men wielding metal pipes. Just as it had happened in the case of Lau, the attack took place during the day. The victims were Lei Lun-han, vice president of Hong Kong Morning News Media Group Ltd, and Lam Kin-ming, who works as an executive for the same company.

Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) denounced the episode on its website. “The FCC condemns the latest attack on senior figures in Hong Kong’s media industry, which comes less than a month after the brutal stabbing of former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau,” it wrote in an online statement.

“After the attack on Kevin Lau, who remains in hospital with grave injuries, this latest incident only underscores the deepening shadows being cast over the media landscape in Hong Kong from violence, intimidation and interference by political and commercial interests.”

This is not the first time that journalists have targeted in the city, but the rapid sequence of events has rattled the industry and sparked fears that the local media could be following a dangerous path, to the point that even Chris Patten – the city’s last British Governor – spoke about recent developments. After praising the professional life of Mr Lau, Mr Patten argued that the attack “may have more to do with his courage and integrity as a journalist, which would be deeply worrying.”

Unfortunately, it seems that concerned comments are spot-on. This year’s World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders, ranks the Hong Kong at 61 in terms of press freedom in the world, down from 58 last year and 54 in 2012. And the trend is all the more disquieting when one takes the long view. In 2002 Hong Kong ranked 18th worldwide, a position which now – after assaults and fears of increasing pressure on the part of Beijing – seems a very distant memory.

http://asiancorrespondent.com/120971/the-assault-on-press-freedom-in-hong-kong/

These 10 Corporations Control Almost Everything You Buy

image

A chart we found on Reddit.com (click photo for larger version) today shows that most products we buy are controlled by just a few companies. It’s called “The Illusion of Choice.”

Ever wonder why you can’t get a Coke at Taco Bell? It’s because Yum! Brands was created as a spin-off of Pepsi–and has a lifetime contract with the soda-maker.

Unilever produces everything from Dove soap to Klondike bars. Nestle has a big stake in L’Oreal, which features everything from cosmetics to Diesel designer jeans.

Despite a wide array of brands to choose from, it all comes back to the big guys.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-10-corporations-control-almost-everything-you-buy-2012-4#ixzz2xAbwo400

Hey! Funny!

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Book reveals hilarious collection of ‘faces in places’ which pop up in everyday life

By MARK DUELL

A father-of-one has compiled a hilarious book showing just how many expressions can be found in everyday objects and locations.

Jody Smith, 36, of London, has compiled the collection of images from around the world into ‘Faces in Places’ after starting a blog charting his own observations.

More than 6,000 people have posted images to it, and the book is in aid of the Hope For Children charity. He said: ‘The only rule is that it has to be a randomly occurring or accidental face.’

Plane funny: Jody Smith, 36, of London, has compiled the collection of images from around the world into a book called 'Faces in Places'

Plane funny: Jody Smith, 36, of London, has compiled the collection of images from around the world into a book called ‘Faces in Places’

Looking glass: More than 6,000 people have posted images to Mr Smith's website, and the book is in aid of the Hope For Children charity

Looking glass: More than 6,000 people have posted images to Mr Smith’s website, and the book is in aid of the Hope For Children charity

 

A watering can looking shocked

From a humble slice of bread to a whole castle, anywhere can seem to take on a life of its own in the book

Dry sense of humour? From a watering can to a piece of rope and plastic, anything can seem to take on a life of its own in the book

 

 

Wheely good spot: Mr Smith says the the internet 'should be used as a playground to create projects, share ideas and collaborate with other people'

Wheely good spot: Mr Smith says the the internet ‘should be used as a playground to create projects, share ideas and collaborate with other people’

 

Corking good fun: Mr Smith shared his exploits on the photo website Flickr and was so moved by the number of people saying they saw faces in places

Corking good fun: Mr Smith shared his exploits on the photo website Flickr and was so moved by the number of people saying they saw faces in places

 

Give us a smile: The father-of-one said the only rule for his photos is that they have to show 'a randomly occurring or accidental face'

Give us a smile: The father-of-one said the only rule for his photos is that they have to show ‘a randomly occurring or accidental face’

Frightened: The book raises money for a charity that supports orphaned, poor, exploited and other marginalised children in developing countries and in the UK

Frightened: The book raises money for a charity that supports orphaned, poor, exploited and other marginalised children in developing countries and in the UK

Nailed it: The website's creator receives regular submissions from people in South America, Asia, as well as Europe and the US

Scary face in an object

Nailed it: The website’s creator receives regular submissions from people in South America, Asia, as well as Europe and the US

 

 

King of the castle: Mr Smith said he had not yet seen any faces yet that look like celebrities, 'but with a little imagination, you can claim a found face looks like anyone'

King of the castle: Mr Smith said he had not yet seen any faces yet that look like celebrities, ‘but with a little imagination, you can claim a found face looks like anyone’

 

My lips are sealed: The book shows just how many expressions can be found in everyday objects and locations

My lips are sealed: The book shows just how many expressions can be found in everyday objects and locations

 

Joining forces: The creator said his blog is popular around the world 'because it's about photos, language isn't a barrier'

Joining forces: The creator said his blog is popular around the world ‘because it’s about photos, language isn’t a barrier’

 

Happy days: Mr Smith has had emails from parents 'thanking me for giving their kids a distraction - face spotting when they're on holiday'

Happy days: Mr Smith has had emails from parents ‘thanking me for giving their kids a distraction – face spotting when they’re on holiday’

Jewellery with a smile: So far 6,637 people from all over the world have submitted photos to the website

Jewellery with a smile: So far 6,637 people from all over the world have submitted photos to the website

Starry-eyed: The book's creator gets sent the 'classic Hitler or Mother Theresa' or items that appear to have Jesus Christ's face on them

Starry-eyed: The book’s creator gets sent the ‘classic Hitler or Mother Theresa’ or items that appear to have Jesus Christ’s face on them

Button eyes: Mr Smith says that people can't send it photos after 'arranging bacon and eggs on a plate to make a face - that's cheating'

Button eyes: Mr Smith says that people can’t send it photos after ‘arranging bacon and eggs on a plate to make a face – that’s cheating’

Flower power: The 176-page book Faces In Places, published by Ammonite Press, is out now and has a recommended retail price of £6.99

Flower power: The 176-page book Faces In Places, published by Ammonite Press, is out now and has a recommended retail price of £6.99

 

Ever get the feeling you're being watched? Taking a look around might never be the same again once you've realised the world is full of faces in places

Londoner Jody Smith's book 'Faces in Places' shows just how many expressions can be found in everyday objects and locations

Angry clip: Taking a look around might never be the same again once you’ve realised the world is full of faces in places. A face is seen in aloe vera (right)

 

 

Beak: This object featured in Mr Smith's book Faces in Places appears to be more like a bird's face

Beak: This object featured in Mr Smith’s book Faces in Places appears to be more like a bird’s face

Rock solid: Can you see the face in this stone?

Concrete evidence: Mr Smith has compiled the hilarious collection of images

Rock solid: Can you see the face in this stone (left)? Mr Smith started a blog after sharing his exploits on the photo website Flickr

Green with envy? Mr Smith compiled the collection of images now sent to him from around the world after he began a blog charting what he saw around him

Green with envy? Mr Smith compiled the collection of images now sent to him from around the world after he began a blog charting what he saw around him

 

 

 

 

 

Watch out! This car looks like it is about to run over a very-scared looking cardboard box lying on the road

Watch out! This car looks like it is about to run over a very-scared looking cardboard box lying on the road

 

The eyes have it: Mr Smith says that with some of the coin-operated binoculars for tourists, 'can't help but smile at [them], they look so happy'

The eyes have it: Mr Smith says that with some of the coin-operated binoculars for tourists, ‘can’t help but smile at [them], they look so happy’

Home sweet home: This piece of brickwork between numbers 4535 and 4533 appears to have a face of its own

Home sweet home: This piece of brickwork between numbers 4535 and 4533 appears to have a face of its own

 

 

 

 

Unusual: Mr Smith started to take photographs of faces around a decade ago when he took a year out to travel, and 'found I had a camera on me all the time'

Unusual: Mr Smith started to take photographs of faces around a decade ago when he took a year out to travel, and ‘found I had a camera on me all the time’

 

 

Through gritted teeth: Mr Smith said his favourites were photographs that showed a distinctive personality or emotion

Through gritted teeth: Mr Smith said his favourites were photographs that showed a distinctive personality or emotion

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2590553/New-book-project-reveals-hilarious-collection-faces-places-crop-everyday-life.html#ixzz2xAZEMjK0

From Victoria Falls to Taj Mahal, Lonely Planet reveals the world’s top 10 greatest wonders that’ll have you reaching for your camera

By CAROL DRIVER

They’re the great wonders of the world that every intrepid traveller must have on their wish list.

From Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, to India’s Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, to not see them, really is missing out.

A new book by Lonely Planet reveals the top 50 must-see world wonders – with the experts picking out their top 10 especially for MailOnline Travel.

The top 10 wonders of the world…

1. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia
2. Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia
3. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
4. Taj Mahal, India
5. Terracotta Army, China
6. Great Wall of China, China
7. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
8. Kilauea, Hawaii
9.  Hagia Sophia, Turkey
10. Potala Palace, Tibet

World’s Great Wonders brings together the most amazing manmade structures and natural creations from across the globe.

From the formation of the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia to the painstaking creation of the Terracotta Army, the book dedicates at least four pages to each site’s fascinating facts, stunning photography and detailed illustrations which give the reader an insight into its creation.

The foreword for the book is provided by art historian and BBC presenter Dan Cruickshank who explains: ‘The aim of this book is straightforward – to inform, to inspire and to encourage its readers to travel.

‘If you know key facts about your destination you will surely enjoy it – and most certainly understand it – better.

‘Of course the term “wonder” is loose, clearly subjective and poetic, rather than scientific or objective. I suggest anything that surprises, mystifies, or takes the breath away by its sheer size, beauty or audacity is a wonder.’

Jheni Osman, the author of The World’s Great Wonders, adds: ‘This book takes you a step further on your travels, revealing the science and engineering behind how epic structures were built or incredible natural wonders formed.

‘It was always going to be tough to reduce all the world’s amazing wonders into 50 must-see sights, but this book spans the heights of engineering, the spectrum of beautiful architecture, and the eons of time.’

World’s Great Wonders, which is now on sale priced £19.99, is available through Lonely Planet.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia: Explorer David Livingstone named the waterfalls of the Zambezi River after Queen Victoria, but locals call them Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning 'the smoke that thunders'. Located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the falls plummet 108m, creating a mist that is visible from 20km away

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia: Explorer David Livingstone named the waterfalls of the Zambezi River after Queen Victoria, but locals call them Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’. Located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the falls plummet 108m, creating a mist that is visible from 20km away

 

Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia: Dallol volcano in the Great Rift Valley - the world's largest rift system which stretches 6,000km from the Red Sea down to Lake Malawi. Up to 74km in places, it's cradled by a series of cliffs, rising from the valley floor to the top of the highest escarpments, up to 1.6km above

Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia: Dallol volcano in the Great Rift Valley – the world’s largest rift system which stretches 6,000km from the Red Sea down to Lake Malawi. Up to 74km in places, it’s cradled by a series of cliffs, rising from the valley floor to the top of the highest escarpments, up to 1.6km above

 

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland: Legend claims this rocky peninsula is the handiwork of an angry giant, but the real story behind the striking basalt columns is even more extraordinary

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland: Legend claims this rocky peninsula is the handiwork of an angry giant, but the real story behind the striking basalt columns is even more extraordinary.

Taj Mahal, India: This marble-clad mausoleum, considered the most beautiful building in the world, and said by its creator to have made the sun and moon shed tears, is the jewel in India's crown

Taj Mahal, India: This marble-clad mausoleum, considered the most beautiful building in the world, and said by its creator to have made the sun and moon shed tears, is the jewel in India’s crown

 

Terracotta Army, China: More than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots and 670 horses from this vast, life-size clay army, protecting China's first emperor in the afterlife

Terracotta Army, China: More than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots and 670 horses from this vast, life-size clay army, protecting China’s first emperor in the afterlife

 

Great Wall of China, China: The stone dragon weaves 6,500km across mountaintops and plunges deep into canyons. But its magnificence hides its tumultuous history

Great Wall of China, China: The stone dragon weaves 6,500km across mountaintops and plunges deep into canyons. But its magnificence hides its tumultuous history

 

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania: At 610m deep and 260sq-km, this is the largest unflooded caldera in the world. A blue-green vision from above, it's a haven for endangered wildlife and maasai livestock

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania: At 610m deep and 260sq-km, this is the largest unflooded caldera in the world. A blue-green vision from above, it’s a haven for endangered wildlife and maasai livestock

 

Kilauea, Hawaii: The world¿s most active volcano has been constantly erupting for over three decades on Hawaii, creating the fastest-growing land on the planet

Kilauea, Hawaii: The world¿s most active volcano has been constantly erupting for over three decades on Hawaii, creating the fastest-growing land on the planet

 

Hagia Sophia, Turkey: Cathedral. Mosque. Museum. The Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) has withstood the ravages of war and earthquakes, a testament to Istanbul's tumultuous past

Hagia Sophia, Turkey: Cathedral. Mosque. Museum. The Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) has withstood the ravages of war and earthquakes, a testament to Istanbul’s tumultuous past

 

Potala Palace, Tibet: An architectural wonder and the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama, the world¿s highest palace - at 3,700m above sea level - rises 13 storeys, and contains more than 100 rooms

Potala Palace, Tibet: An architectural wonder and the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama, the world¿s highest palace – at 3,700m above sea level – rises 13 storeys, and contains more than 100 rooms

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2590028/Lonely-Planet-reveals-worlds-10-greatest-wonders.html#ixzz2xAYl15EV

PHOTOGRAPHY – Crazy Russian Climbers Scale Hong Kong’s Skyscrapers

Date: 2014.02.18

Over 21 million people have watched Russians Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov climb the 2000+ ft Shanghai Tower on YouTube. During their adventures in Asia, they also paid a visit to Hong Kong for a spot of skyscraper ‘extreme free climbing’…

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Check out an interview with the thrillseekers over at That’s Online.

http://hongwrong.com/russians-scale-skyscrapers/

Are the Suburbs Making People Live Paycheck to Paycheck?

Households without any cash savings are twice as likely to be wealthy as poor.

Reuters

Most people living paycheck-to-paycheck aren’t actually poor. They make a decent amount, and they have a decent amount of wealth.

And, believe it or not, this makes sense.

Now, you might expect that people without any liquid savings like cash or checking accounts wouldn’t have any illiquid savings like housing or retirement accounts, either. Basically, that everyone follows Suze Orman’s advice, and builds up an eight month emergency fund before putting any money into investments.

But a new Brookings paper shows that this isn’t the world that we live in. The researchers found that about 33 percent of households have very few liquid savings, but, of those, about 66 percent have at least $50,000 in illiquid savings. In other words, someone living “hand-to-mouth,” as the authors put it, is twice as likely to be middle class as poor. And, as you can see below, that’s been true throughout the past 25 years.

(Note: The blue bars show the overall percentage of “wealthy hand-to-mouth” households and the red bars show “poor hand-to-mouth” ones.)

So who are these wealthy cash-poor people? Well, they tend to be older, married, and better-paid. You can see some of this in the chart below. Most poor hand-to-mouth people (the red line) are younger, peaking around 22 years old and then falling rapidly from there. But most wealthy hand-to-mouth people (the blue line) are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. It’s a U-shaped distribution: there aren’t many young people who are wealthy and cash-poor, it goes up as people hit middle age, and then it falls as people get to retirement.

This shouldn’t be too much of a mystery. Imagine a couple that’s getting ready to have kids, and wants to buy a house near good schools. Well, that’s expensive. As Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi pointed out in The Two Income Trap, buying a house in a school district you can’t really afford is one of the biggest causes of bankruptcies. Couples can only afford the mortgage with both their salaries, so they’ll get in trouble if either of them loses their job. 

But even if everything goes right, they’ll still be cash-poor for a long time. They’ll probably have to use most of their savings on the down payment, and use a big part of their income on the mortgage payments. In other words, the wealthy hand-to-mouth are parents overextending themselves to get their kids into the best schools possible in our de facto private system.

This has big policy implications. For one, school vouchers might be a good idea to cut the link between housing and education. That could keep so many people from becoming cash-poor and wealthy—a precarious thing—in the first place. For another, it tells us that we shouldn’t phase out tax cuts quite so much when we’re doing stimulus. Economists typically think that richer people are less likely to spend, say, a tax rebate, because they have fewer things they need to spend on. But that’s not true for the wealthy hand-to-mouth. They’re almost as likely to spend as poor households.

In any case, it’s a frightening reminder that there’s nothing riskier nowadays than trying to live a middle class lifestyle.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/03/are-the-suburbs-making-people-live-paycheck-to-paycheck/284586/

19 Under-The-Radar Places In Southeast Asia That Will Actually Change Your Life

Posted: 03/22/2014 7:00 am EDT Updated: 03/22/2014 7:00 am EDT

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If the flocks of postgrad travelers in elephant print pants haven’t told you already, Southeast Asia is having what we like to call “a moment.”

It’s not an area of the world that tops everyone’s bucket list, but Southeast Asia does have its share of over-touristed sites, and tourist traps certainly exist.

Want to know which authentic places backpackers really get amped about?

1. Pai, Thailand 

If you uprooted the hippie neighborhoods of San Francisco and plopped them into the jungles of northern Thailand, you’d (roughly) end up with Pai. Ride your motorbike a few hours into this mountain town for a chillaxing weekend of zenning out at Rasta bars, napping in woven hammocks, and — if you can manage to leave your field hut — exploring the waterfalls and hot springs. pai thailand

2. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam 

Almost everybody agrees that Phu Quoc is about to become Vietnam’s next hot destination, but thankfully the perfect beaches are still mostly empty. You can rent a motorbike (no license needed, no questions asked) and zip up, down, and around the red dirt roads of this island paradise. Then, take a snorkeling or scuba dip. Hurry up, before other people discover the secret. phu quoc

3. Bagan, Myanmar 

Temples seem to pop out of nowhere in Bagan, which has the highest concentration of Buddhist ruins the world. A hot air balloon ride over the temples during the quiet dawn or sunset hours is an absolute must.bagan

4. Mui Ne Sand Dunes, Vietnam 

They’re not far from Saigon, but these sand dunes seem like they belong on another continent entirely. You can sled, bike, or just freely frolic down both white and red mountains of bliss. Be sure to find the Fairy Stream, a magical river with a soft, sandy bottom that flows between dry rocks. mui ne sand dunes

5. Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar 

This is a pristine chain of hundreds of tropical rainforest islands in the Andaman Sea. Check in at one of the two hotels and kayak or sail the uncharted blue waters, where you might run into sea gypsies who, for part of the year, live on boats while they dive for pearls.mergui archipelago

6. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia 

This is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular hill stations, holiday towns at the base of lush, low mountains. Travelers agree the Cameron Highlands are a perfect escape when you’re too hot to withstand another day of astronomically-sizzling Malaysian temperatures. You can tour one of several authentic tea factories before cozying up to a mug overlooking the rolling green hills. cameron highlands

7. Ngwe Saung Beach, Myanmar 

Weary travelers looking to literally escape it all should head to Ngwe Saung, an astonishing NINE MILES of beach that just recently opened to the public. It’s unspoiled, uncrowded, and some of the best scenery you’ll see in Myanmar. ngwe saung beach

8. The Mekong Delta, Vietnam 

The Mekong River creates a rich marshland responsible for the bulk of Vietnam’s rice crops. There are oodles of tiny villages and floating markets to visit, with kindly locals who will gladly let you sample their fruit or teach you to birdwatch. Avoid feeling like a yuppie in a tour boat by biking the Delta— that way, you can see the impressive rice paddies and stop off at destinations on your own. mekong delta

9. Sapa, Vietnam 

There’s nowhere on Earth like Sapa: tiers on tiers of bright-green rice fields are dotted with the colorful clothes of hill-tribe dwellers and roofs of French colonial villas. Sometimes the view gets clouded by a warm, jungle-y mist, but it only makes your day of hiking even prettier. sapa

10. The Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 

This $5.7 billion hotel — which also boasts shopping, a dinosaur museum, and a concert hall — has a yacht-shaped infinity pool teetering on the 57th floor. When you take a swim, it feels like you’re about to spill over the edge and onto glittering Singapore beneath you. 125891354

11. The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand 

It may look ancient, but the White Temple (technically named Wat Rong Khun) was actually designed by a Thai artist in the 1990s, and it’s still a work in progress. A tangle of gnarled statues and outstretched hands — symbolizing the cycle of rebirth — lead you into the temple, where you’ll find intricate (although haunting) murals of Keanu Reeves and planes hitting the Twin Towers.white temple thailand

12. Luang Prabang, Laos 

UNESCO named Luang Prabang a World Heritage Site, partly for its architecture that fuses Asian and European styles together. As in much of Asia, elephant tourism is huge here. But not many places have four-day mahout courses where you can learn to expertly (and humanely) ride elephants as their keepers do.luang prabang

13. Kep, Cambodia 

This seaside village was a hip getaway for wealthy Frenchies in the early 1900s, and it’s about to tip over into another big tourist boom. For now, though, you can feel like a total local in Kep’s tranquil beaches, where cute seafood spots on stilts serve some of the yummiest crab in the world.kep cambodia

14. Mae Sot, Thailand 

“Perfectly remote” might be a good way to describe Mae Sot, which teeters right at the border of Thailand and Myanmar. The crowd here is a zesty mix of Burmese, Thai, hill-tribe natives and Westerners making visa runs. Locals hang out at the town’sherbal sauna and open-air markets, and visitors get a kick out of adorably furry rescued apes at the Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary. mae sot

15. Angkor Wat, Cambodia 

This larger-than-life temple complex really is as epic as it looks. The biggest religious monument in the world is surrounded by a wide-open moat– you’ll march down a massive stone causeway to enter a village of temples, life-size stone-carved faces, and giant tree roots that have grown to twist over and around dark, windowed hallways. angkor wat

16. Inle Lake, Myanmar 

This massive, shallow lake is over 13 miles long and a big draw for visitors, as it’s inhabited by many local tribes who set up waterside “workshops” for intriguing traditional crafts. Despite the touristy-ness of it all, most agree Inle is unmissable because of its peaceful floating gardens and entire towns hoisted onto stilts. inle lake

17. Ko Lanta, Thailand 

When backpackers want to visit one of the hundreds of islands off Thailand’s coast, they normally head for the “big names” like Ko Tao (known for its scuba diving) or Ko Phangan (home of the famous full moon parties). These islands are pretty and so are the foreigners that visit them, but for a true Thai experience, try the blissfully emptyKo Lanta, where the National Marine Park protects unpolluted oceans that explode with angelfish. ko lanta

18. Cu Chi Tunnels in Saigon, Vietnam 

Viet Cong soldiers used these narrow, claustrophobia-inducing tunnels as hiding places during the Vietnam War. Trap doors in the jungle led down into the underground network, where soldiers suffered from malaria and parasites while guarding food sources. The eeriness is all too real during a modern-day tour. c chi tunnels

19. Chiang Dao, Thailand 

This forested region is a Disneyland for nature junkies complete with waterfalls, hot springs, and incredible limestone cliffs. The biggest attractions of all are the Chiang Dao Caves, which consist of about 100 caverns that extend as far as 40,000 feet into the mountains. You can enter five of the caves alone or with a guide to explore narrow rocky hallways, hanging stalactites and hidden Buddha statues.

chiang dao cave

7 Amazing Views That Make You Stop and Appreciate Life

Bagan-Myanmar


Whether it’s civilization or serene nature, there’s nothing like stopping to enjoy the view. From Hong Kong’s famous Victoria Peak viewpoint to the amazing temples of Bagan in Myanmar, we searched the entire world for seven views that will make you stop, think, and appreciate life.

1. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand-Canyon,-Arizona
Whether you choose to view it from the glass-bottomed skywalk or the numerous great walking trails in Grand Canyon National Park, there’s no denying the Grand Canyon is an incredible sight.

At over 277 miles in length and as much as 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon puts other river valleys to shame. It also offers some of the most spectacular views that travelers can enjoy of anywhere in the world.

No skyscrapers, no commercialization, no civilization whatsoever – the view from the edge of the Grand Canyon is truly nature at its finest. Bring your camera – and some binoculars – to capture this view as it’s meant to be seen.

What makes it amazing: Beautiful nature stretching for hundreds of miles into the distance. Nowhere else in North America can you feel so isolated and in touch with nature.

How to get there: The Grand Canyon is easy to access. Board one of the many tours departing Phoenix or Las Vegas, or drive there yourself for a more exciting (and less crowded) adventure.

2. Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford-Sound-New-Zealand
Visit Milford Sound as the sun rises and you’ll feel like you stepped right into Middle Earth. This incredible fjord is located on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island – a region known for some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Four hours from civilization, getting to Milford Sound is a journey in itself. Visitors need to travel through the ultra-isolated Homer Tunnel and pass some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in New Zealand.

Get the best experience by arriving early and boarding one of the tour boats before other visitors get there. There’s nothing quite like seeing the sunrise illuminated on the deep, perfectly blue water.

What makes it amazing: Completely isolated in one of the most sparsely populated places in the world, there’s no feeling quite like watching the sun rise over Milford Sound early in the morning.

How to get there: Milford Sound is located four hours drive from Queenstown – a resort town in New Zealand’s South Island. Either drive there by yourself or board one of the many tour buses that travel to the coast.

3. Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

Hong-Kong-Island-Hong-Kong
Massive skyscrapers, amazing junks and cruise ships, and some of the world’s most imposing inner-city mountains make the view from Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak one to savor.

While it’s not naturally beautiful, the amazing cityscape is one of the world’s most imposing sights. Manhattan has more history and Chicago might be an architect’s dream, but nothing beats Hong Kong Island when it comes to sheer amazement.

Don’t like climbing mountains? Visit the Ritz Carlton Hotel on the other side of the harbor and enjoy the view from the 118th floor bar. Whichever angle you choose, a view of Hong Kong at night is sure to blow your mind.

What makes it amazing: Mile after mile of incredible skyscrapers. Hong Kong may not be a beautiful city like Paris or Rome, but it’s hard to deny it doesn’t blow your mind at night with its incredible light shows and 100-floor skyscrapers.

How to get there: Easy. Board the Peak Tram and walk to The Peak platform, walk up the mountain from Central, or take a taxi. Once you get there, avoid the crowds at the Peak Galleria and walk down Lugard Road for an even more spectacular view.

4. Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan-Myanmar
From the 11th to 13th centuries, the Kingdom of Pagan constructed more than 10,000 amazing Buddhist temples. Today, only 2,200 survive, but they are every bit as great as they were during the Kingdom’s peak.

Unlike the other amazing views in this list, most of which are easy to access, Bagan is one of the world’s few amazing sights that’s rarely crowded. Due to the military junta in Myanmar, access to the temples was long forbidden to tourists.

Today, this incredible site is attracting hundreds of thousands of adventurous new visitors to Myanmar every year and kick starting the country’s tourism industry. Get there are dawn for the most spectacular historical view you’ll see in your life.

Why it’s amazing: 1,000 years ago, the Pagan Empire ruled over Burma. Today, it’s been replaced with a brutal military regime. Visit the ancient city to see what life in this amazing part of the world used to be like for millions of people.

How to get there: Bagan isn’t as difficult to access as it once was. Visitors can fly in from Bangkok or Yangon, or travel by rail on Myanmar Railways. Overnight buses to the ancient city also depart from Mandalay and Yangon.

5. Tianmen Mountain, China

Tianmen-Mountain-China
Amazing views and one of the world’s scariest walkways make Tianmen Mountain a must-see attraction for any visitors to China’s Hunan Province. With a temple on its peak, the mountain is a favorite walking destination for tourists and locals alike.

Feel adventurous? Instead of traveling up the mountain using the cable car, walk up the 200-foot see-through skywalk and look down on incredible mountain scenery. A trip on the heart-pumping skywalk is essential… unless you have a fear of heights.

What makes it amazing: Tianmen Mountain has a lot to offer, from its incredible natural archway to the spectacular views. The see-through skywalk and terrifying walkway is just the icing on the cake.

How to get there: Tianmen Mountain is located within Tianmen Mountain National Park in China’s Human Province. Visitors can access the mountain on a chairlift, the scary skywalk, or a 4.3-mile road for visitors without the energy (or the nerves) to walk.

6. Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres-del-Paine-Chile
In the isolated region of Magallanes in southern Chile, you’ll find one of the world’s most incredible mountain ranges. Torres del Paine National Park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in all of South American, including this fantastic vista.

Almost everywhere in Torres del Paine National Park is mind-blowingly beautiful, but our favorite sites are the French Valley and the view of Cuernos del Paine from the shore of Lake Pehoe.

What makes it amazing: Almost anywhere in Patagonia is amazing, but the Torres del Paine National Park is the best of the best. From mountain ranges to glaciers, it’s the best destination in South America for incredible temperate scenery.

How to get there: Torres del Paine National Park is about two hours from Puerto Natales, and is easy to reach via tour bus. Transportation is available in the park, although adventurous visitors will want to do plenty of walking.

7. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marina-Bay-Sands-Singapore
It’s one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, an award-winning casino, and a truly spectacular city view all in one. Marina Bay Sands is one of Singapore’s most well-known hotels, and once you’ve seen the pool you’ll know exactly why.

With an infinity pool that stretches across the rooftops of three separate towers, the view from atop this hotel is truly stunning. Sit back in one of the loungers with your favorite cocktail or swim right up to the edge for the ultimate in urban views.

What makes it amazing: Singapore’s skyline might not be as impressive as Hong Kong’s or Manhattan’s, but it’s tough to beat with a mojito in your hand and a huge infinity pool to relax in.

How to get there: Singapore’s public transportation is excellent, so getting to the hotel isn’t difficult. Exit the MRT at Bayfront Station. Visitors can access the rooftop sky park for a fee, but the swimming pool is for guests only.

http://www.earthporm.com/7-amazing-views-make-stop-appreciate-life/

Difficult to get 6% return rate these days!

Want To Retire With $1 Million? Here’s How Much You Need To Be Saving Right Now

We recently pointed out that starting to save early for retirement is extremely helpful, and also a useful chart showing how much you should have saved at different stages of your career to ensure a comfortable retirement.

To show how these ideas work, we figured out how much money you would have to set aside monthly, starting at different ages, and under different rates of return, to end up with $1,000,000 in savings when you are ready to retire at 65.

Here is how much you would need to save each month at a 6% annual rate of return, starting at different ages.

So if you’re 20, and you want to retire a millionaire, you should be socking away $361 per month. If you’re starting at 25, that jumps to $499. You can see how as you get older, you need to be saving much, much more:

monthly savings chart new

Business Insider/Andy Kiersz

Bottom line: It is much better to start saving young. Two things are happening here. First, by starting to save at 20 instead of 40, you have many more individual monthly payments, and can spread out your total principal investment over a longer period of time.

Second, and much more importantly, by saving earlier, you can better take advantage of compound interest. If you start saving when you are 20, your first payment of $361.04 will, at 6% return, grow into $5336.16 when you are 65.

How much you need to save also depends on  the return rate. This chart shows how much you need to put into your savings account each month for a variety of annual return rates:

monthly savings table good

Business Insider/Andy Kiersz

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/compound-interest-monthly-investment-2014-3#ixzz2wyrm0eUj