Japan: Microsoft experimented with 4-Day Workweek, Productivity Jumped up 40%

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘INSIDER’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Microsoft experimented with a 4-day workweek, and productivity jumped by 40%

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. 
Microsoft
  • Microsoft found that implementing a four-day workweek led to a 40% boost in productivity, the company announced as part of the results of its “Work-Life Choice Challenge.”
  • The summer project examined work-life balance and its effect on productivity and creativity.
  • As part of the experiment, Microsoft’s Japan subsidiary closed every Friday in August, resulting in higher productivity than in August 2018, the company said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An experiment that involved reducing the workweek by one day led to a 40% boost in productivity in a Microsoft subsidiary in Japan, the technology giant announced last week.

The trial was part of Microsoft’s “Work-Life Choice Challenge,” a summer project that examined work-life balance and aimed to help boost creativity and productivity by giving employees more flexible working hours.

Microsoft Japan closed its offices every Friday in August and found that labor productivity increased by 39.9% compared with August 2018, the company said. Full-time employees were given paid leave during the closures.

The company said it also reduced the time spent in meetings by implementing a 30-minute limit and encouraging remote communication.

Microsoft isn’t the first to highlight the productivity benefits of a four-day workweek. Andrew Barnes, the founder of a New Zealand estate-planning firm, Perpetual Garden, said he conducted a similar experiment and found that it benefited both employees and the company, according to CNBC. It has adopted the four-day workweek permanently.

Studies have found there’s demand for a shorter workweek. Last year, in a study of nearly 3,000 workers in eight countries by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, most said their ideal workweek would be four days or less.

It’s not just the employees who benefited from Microsoft’s four-day-workweek experiment — Microsoft found that it helped preserve electricity and office resources as well. The number of pages printed decreased by 58.7%, while electricity consumption was down by 23.1% compared with August 2018, the company said.

7 Healthiest Countries in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Healthiest Countries in the World

When deciding where to live, most people consider the weather, job opportunities, and proximity to friends and family. One thing that might not be at the front of your mind is how healthy a particular location is. Health is a complicated analysis, taking into account physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index has done the heavy lifting. They’ve analyzed countries based on reliable indicators of good health such as life expectancy, and penalizing based on indicators of poor health, such as tobacco usage.

Read on to learn more about the seven healthiest countries in the world and what really sets them apart.

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Australia

Australia

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Australia is often thought of as an ideal place to live, from its beautiful beaches to the rustic outback. What isn’t immediately obvious is that Australia is also one of the healthiest places to live. In fact, it is one of the only English-speaking countries to rate in the top seven.

Australia has high marks for physical health. The Global Burden of Disease study ranked it 10th out of 188 countries, based on 33 health-related indicators. It received perfect scores for several indicators including war, malnutrition, water access, sanitation, and malaria.

In addition to several perfect scores, Australia also focuses on providing services for those who need them. Australia has one of the best health systems in the world. Australia also has effective tobacco control measures and a low infant mortality rate. All these factors combined lead to an impressive life expectancy – 80 years for men and 84.6 years for women. That leaves a lot of time for enjoying those beautiful beaches.

Sweden

Sweden

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It is easier for a country to come out on top of health rankings when the government makes healthcare a priority. This is definitely the case for Sweden, which was rated as the most health-conscious country in the world.  Healthcare is virtually free for all citizens until the age of 20.

In addition to great healthcare, Sweden prioritizes family. This begins before the baby is born, with free or subsidized courses for mothers to help them prepare for delivery. Sweden ensures that families can prioritize work and childcare by providing 16 months of parental leave for moms and dads. Even when parents go back to work, Sweden caps child care costs at approximately $150 a month for the first child.

Switzerland

Switzerland

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Similar to other healthy countries, Switzerland has a healthcare system that is highly accessible. Basic healthcare coverage is mandatory in Switzerland and is structured so that everybody living in Switzerland has access to medical care.

A few things that set the Swiss healthcare system apart include:

  • Pre-existing conditions are not a basis for denying coverage
  • Coverage is subsidized by the government for individuals with low income
  • Patients get to choose their providers and do not need referrals to access specialists
  • The health of expectant mothers is prioritized, including prenatal care, delivery, and coverage for postpartum hospital stays and house calls

Switzerland’s prioritization on healthcare also allows it to boast the second highest life expectancy in the world — that’s something worth bragging about.

Japan

Japan

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Only one country can tout a life expectancy higher than Switzerland, and that country is Japan. One factor that may contribute to this longevity is the Japanese diet.

One staple of the Japanese diet is seafood. The consumption of fish has been shown to lower risks associated with heart disease and to increase life span by 2.2 years. To accompany the physical benefits, diets filled with fish also promote mental well-being. Consumption of fatty fish has been shown to elevate mood.

Japan is also one of the top 10 tea drinking countries in the world. Tea, and green tea in particular, provides a multitude of health benefits. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer while also producing higher levels of cognitive function.

Iceland

Iceland

Credit: Mihai_Andritoiu/ Shutterstock

Iceland is another country that has a diet heavy in fish, meaning the population reaps benefits similar to the Japanese. Where Iceland really shines is in its environment. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development rates Iceland as the top performance in environmental quality, with the best air quality and high levels of satisfaction with water quality.

The beauty of the physical environment also contributes to the health of Icelanders. They are motivated to get outdoors and exercise in such a gorgeous setting. While the citizens of Iceland regularly hit the gym, they also list ice climbing, rock climbing, mountain climbing, and kayaking as popular activities.

Italy

Italy

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When people think of Italy, one of the first things that come to mind might be delicious pizza and pasta. It may come as a surprise, then, that diet is one big contributor to Italy’s status as second healthiest country in the world. The Mediterranean diet is primarily composed of fish, fresh vegetables, fruit, and olive oil. The emphasis on olive oil leads to lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. Another element of the Italian diet with similar benefits is garlic. Garlic has also been tied to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

While the Italian diet doesn’t include much meat, lean meats are the most popular. Even when Italians are consuming dishes that aren’t considered healthy, such as pizza, they prepare it in a more health conscious way. Their pizzas have less toppings and incorporate more fresh, healthy ingredients.

The Italian style of eating also contributes to mental health. Italian meals are focused on bringing families and friends together. Italians are known for maintaining large and healthy social networks. This emphasis on community helps reduce stress and promotes mental well-being.

Spain

Spain

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Spain has the honor of being named the healthiest country in the world. Like Italy, Spaniards follow the Mediterranean diet, with its focus on vegetables, lean meats, and olive oil.

Like Iceland, Spaniards live in a beautiful location, which likely promotes a natural inclination towards healthy, outdoor activity. One thing is for sure, it contributes to mental health, with 84% of Spaniards reporting that they are happy.

All these factors together also lead to the longest life expectancy of any country in the European Union. Even if you can’t move to Spain any time soon, perhaps it’s time to plan a vacation to celebrate this happy and healthy country.

3 Religious Temples With a Dark History

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Religious Temples With a Dark History

While many religious sites are viewed as beautiful, blessed places of worship, some of them are hiding a very dark history underneath their bejeweled exterior. Some temples have origin stories that include killing and/or threats of mythical proportions, and others are even said to be a path to Hell instead of Heaven. Here are three religious temples that just might give you more nightmares than miracles.

Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

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Built in the 16th century, the Tanah Lot temple in Bali is one of seven ocean temples built for the purpose of honoring the “spirits of the sea.” It is a beautiful piece of architecture, looking much like a ship made of stone, but its origin story is a rather dark one. According to legend, Niratha, a Brahmin priest, created the temple. Knowing it needed to be protected from evil, he took off the sashes he was wearing and threw them into the water, where they turned into snakes. To this day, scores of sea snakes surround Tanah Lot, protecting it from dark energies – and from people who just hate snakes. To make this temple even more secure, it is only accessible when the tide is low and a land bridge is revealed. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside unless you follow the Hindu religion, but either way you can observe the beautiful temple and its snake guardians from a short distance.

Cappella Sansevero, Italy

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Cappella Sansevereo is technically a “chapel” instead of a “temple,” but it deserves to be included on this list thanks to its pure creepiness. Capella Sansevero in Naples, Italy began as a kind of temple where the Sansevero family could worship God privately, before it ultimately became their burial chapel. But this is not the dark part. This chapel is home to two “anatomical machines”: a male and a pregnant female skeleton with a perfectly preserved circulatory system still present in their bodies (there also used to be a fetus to go with them, but it has since vanished). These anatomical machines were made by an anatomist named Giuseppe Salerno and collected by another, much spookier man named Raimondo di Sangro, who was the head of the Masonic lodge in Naples and believed to be some sort of dark wizard. The locals believed that he could make blood out of nothing at all, and that he frequently murdered people to experiment on them. While he didn’t make “Adam and Eve,” there is a rumor that they are actually two of his servants that he killed so that Salerno could make his sculptures, which now lurk beneath the main part of the chapel.

Mount Osore, Japan

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Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea under tighter export controls

Xinhua
Japan to allow 1st export of chemicals to S. Korea under tighter export controls

Imagine china

Men hang up banners calling for boycott of Japan in Seoul, South Korean, on August 6, 2019.

Japan will soon issue its first permit for exporting to South Korea some of the chemicals needed in producing semiconductors and display panels since imposing tighter controls last month, local media quoted sources with knowledge of the matter as saying Thursday.

On July 4, Japan made it a requirement to file applications for each transaction for exporting fluoridated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and photo-resist to South Korea.

The move was believed by Seoul to be economic retaliation for its mishandling of an arbitration process connected to a wartime labor row stemming from Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsular.

Japan believes the matter of compensation for wartime laborers was dealt with “finally and irreversibly” in a 1965 pact inked between both sides that covered the issue.

Tokyo, has maintained that the tighter export controls have been put into place due to reasons of national security, but has also called Seoul out for repeatedly breaching previous pacts and causing mutual trust to be diminished.

7 Crazy Laws From Countries Around the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Crazy Laws From Countries Around the World

Laws enacted by government officials are supposed to keep citizens safe and countries in order. But what happens when some of these laws are completely crazy? From laws prohibiting the use of undergarments to laws about life after death, here’s a list of some of the craziest laws from around the world.

Italy

Credit: Luis Padilla/Shutterstock.com

In the city of Rome, goldfish are not allowed to live inside bowls. In order to keep pets healthy and happy, a law was created to ensure better treatment of dogs, cats and even pet goldfish. As a result, goldfish must reside within a full-sized aquarium, a luxurious upgrade from the traditional goldfish bowl.

Scotland

Credit: Ondrej Deml/Shutterstock.com

In Scotland, choosing to wear underwear can have consequences. According to The Scotsman, if you are wearing underwear beneath your kilt, you can be fined two cans of beer. It’s safe to say that this isn’t a strictly enforced rule, but Scots may want to stock up on beer, just in case.

Portugal

Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Portugal, a popular seaside destination, has a law against urinating in the ocean. Presumably, this law was made to protect the quality of the water at crowded beaches, but we have to wonder how this law is enforced? If you find a short line at the beach bathroom in Portugal, there may be some lawbreakers in your midst.

Singapore

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Since 1992, gum chewing has been banned in Singapore. The country has also banned littering and jaywalking. Oh, and when you use a public toilet, you are legally required to flush it. All of these laws are an effort to keep the country clean and welcoming for its residents and visitors, so we can’t complain about them too much.

Poland

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Winnie the Pooh, the beloved storybook character, was banned from a public playground in Poland due to the bear’s crude way of dressing. This is because Winnie the Pooh does not wear pants. Pooh’s outfit was deemed “inappropriate” by city council members, and children are no longer allowed to bring any items bearing Winnie the Pooh’s likeness to the town playground.

Japan

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In Japan, those extra pounds you gain around the holidays could get you into big trouble. This is because it’s illegal to be fat in Japan. In order to enforce the law, Japanese higher-ups have a mandatory waistline maximum for anyone over the age of 40. According to Pri, a man’s waistline measurement cannot exceed 33.5 inches, while a woman’s waistline cannot exceed 35.4 inches.

Greece

Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com

In 2009, Greece went as far as creating a law to ban certain types of footwear. High heels are not allowed to be worn at archeological sites around the country. Apparently, the fashionable ladies’ footwear was causing major damage to the Odeon in Athens and lawmakers decided to take a precautionary measure to protect the country’s historical monuments.

Japan: 6.3-magnitude earthquake hits northeastern Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INDIAN NEWS AGENCY THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

6.3-magnitude earthquake hits northeastern Japan, no tsunami threat

The quake jolted large areas in the region at 7:23 pm (1023 GMT) with its epicentre located 54 kilometres (34 miles) east of Namie, eastern Fukushima, according to the US Geological Survey said.

WORLD Updated: Aug 04, 2019 19:20 IST

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Tokyo
A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific off Fukushima, northeastern Japan, on Sunday, but there was no tsunami threat
A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific off Fukushima, northeastern Japan, on Sunday, but there was no tsunami threat(HT Photo)

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific off Fukushima, northeastern Japan, on Sunday, but there was no tsunami threat, US and Japanese authorities said.

The quake jolted large areas in the region at 7:23 pm (1023 GMT) with its epicentre located 54 kilometres (34 miles) east of Namie, eastern Fukushima, according to the US Geological Survey said.

The quake was also felt in Tokyo.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said there were no worries about tsunami damage.

The weather agency issued an emergency warning when the quake hit, but there was no immediate report of injuries or damage.

Shinkansen bullet train services were temporarily suspended in the region, public broadcaster NHK said.

No abnormality was detected at nuclear plants in the region, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, NHK said.

More than 18,000 were killed after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami on March 11, 2011, leading to the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima plant.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Aug 04, 2019 17:30 IST

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Japan to remove South Korea from favored trade partners list

Decision comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

WORLD Updated: Aug 02, 2019 18:44 IST

Reuters
Reuters

Tokyo
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko.
Japan’s industry minister Hiroshige Seko. (AP Photo)

Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan to remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, a move likely to escalate tensions fueled by a dispute over compensation for wartime forced laborers.

The decision to drop South Korea from the “white list,” a step that has been protested fiercely by Seoul, comes a month after Japan tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels.

The cabinet has approved the move, Japan’s industry minister, Hiroshige Seko said.

Japan has said the measures are based on national security concerns, citing South Korea’s insufficient export controls as well as the erosion of trust after South Korean court rulings ordered Japanese firms compensate wartime forced laborers.

Japan says the issue of compensation was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

(The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text, only the headline has been changed)

First Published: Aug 02, 2019 18:31 IST

10 Most Populated Cities in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Most Populated Cities in the World

Earth is home to more than 7.7 billion people and we have to put them somewhere. For millions of people, cities are that somewhere, with everyone existing next to each other with varying degrees of comfort. These are the 10 most populated cities in the world, according to the World Population Review.

Osaka, Japan | 19.2 Million

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For tourists, Osaka is about two things. The first is eating. The Japanese term “kuidaore,” which translates to “eat yourself broke” or “eat until you drop,” is frequently used to describe the city. The second is shopping. The city is full of stores, outlets, malls, bodegas, stalls and vendors. Between those two, you should have a pretty good idea of what your itinerary will be full of in Osaka.

Beijing, China | 20 Million

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There’s some irony in the fact that 20 million people have such ready access to the Forbidden City, a palace that traditionally carried strict, and often fatal, punishment for unauthorized visitors. Though not ironic is the fact that Beijing remains the seat of the Chinese government. That was the original point of the Forbidden City, after all.

Mumbai, India | 20.2 Million

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Mumbai is another one of those old cities that was renamed by the British empire, and has made the modern decision to change back. That’s why some readers may recognize the name Bombay, which was the name of the city up until 1995, when the political party Shiv Sena came to power in the city. Whatever you call it, there are a lot of people living in the city.

Dhaka, Bangladesh | 20.3 Million

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For a city with so many people, we haven’t heard a whole lot about Dhaka. It’s the capital of Bangladesh, so that’s something. It kind of makes it seem like a city of more than 20 million people is some kind of well-kept secret. Not to Bangladeshis, obviously, but to the rest of us.

Cairo, Egypt | 20.5 Million

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Unlike the other cities on this list, Cairo’s population growth is apparently on track for disaster. Just 11 years from now, in 2030, the city’s projected to hit 119 million and the government’s scrambling for solutions. Hopefully they figure something out quickly because 11 years is pretty much the blink of an eye when it comes to city planning.

Mexico City, Mexico | 21.7 Million

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Mexico City’s origins are in some very cool terraforming done by the Aztecs. They expanded a small natural island in Lake Texcoco into an island large enough to house their fortified city, Tenochtitlán, by dumping dirt into the lake until the island was big enough. Today, the sprawl of Mexico City has far exceeded what the island could have held.

São Paulo, Brazil | 21.8 Million

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São Paulo’s size caught us a little off guard. Rio de Janeiro is in the news so often that it’s almost like the default Brazilian city. But São Paulo’s population beats Rio’s by millions. It’s a financial center for Brazil but doesn’t sacrifice culture to achieve it. Case in point, São Paulo’s ethnic diversity is huge, with reasonably large Jewish, Japanese, Italian and Arab populations, among others.

Shanghai, China | 26.3 Million

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The fact that Beijing wasn’t the most populous city in China was a little surprising, though we’d say Shanghai would have been our second guess for “largest Chinese city.” Shanghai’s a great place to experience the convergence of old and new Chinese culture and certainly has enough going on that you won’t be bored. Lost maybe, but not bored.

Delhi, India | 29.4 Million

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Delhi is expanding so much that it’s approaching the next step in the development of cities, where the word city may not even apply anymore. Megacity gets closer, but we’re almost thinking that a modernized form of city-state might be more appropriate. City will work for now, but we imagine there’s going to be an etymologically significant conversation happening in the Indian government soon.

Tokyo, Japan | 37.4 Million

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Tokyo was the only city that could possibly be expected to top this list, even if you didn’t know the exact population. It’s huge and full of people, two things that seem like simple statements until you actually put them in context. It’s constantly brought up in conversations about population density, city planning and the psychology of living in a huge modern city and is the place to watch if humanity’s going to understand its urban future.

7 Unique Bridges You Can Drive Across

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Unique Bridges You Can Drive Across

Most people don’t think much of crossing a bridge like the Golden Gate in San Francisco or even the Verrazano Narrows in New York. But there are some bridges that can make your heart fall to your stomach. For those with a fear of heights, water, or just freakishly rickety structures, please proceed with caution. For everyone else, this article is for you.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway – USA

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If you’re not from Louisiana, you probably first heard about the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway during Hurricane Katrina when it suffered serious damage but was later repaired. The bridge is listed as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Historical Society. Until 2016, the causeway was considered the longest bridge in the world until it was unseated by the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge in China. After some contention between parties in the U.S. and China, the Guinness Book of World Records created a new category to clarify any confusion. Today, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, spanning 24 miles.

Vasco da Gama Bridge – Portugal

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The Vasco de Gama Bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe. It measures over 10 miles, connecting northern and southern Portugal over the Tagus River. It is named after one of the most famous Renaissance-era explorers, Vasco da Gama, who was the first European to reach India by sea.

Royal Gorge Bridge – USA

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If you don’t have a fear of heights or are ready to face that fear, the Royal Gorge Bridge should be on your travel list. This is the tallest suspension bridge in the U.S. at a dizzying 955 feet. However, once upon a time, this, too, was the tallest bridge in the world until Liuguanghe Bridge in China surpassed it in 2001. The bridge connects both sides of the Royal Gorge and sits above the Arkansas River in Colorado, just two hours outside of Denver. Interestingly, this bridge is a shared highway where both cars and people cross on the same roadway. So, be sure to be mindful of the cars behind you while traversing it.

Beipanjiang Bridge – China

Credit: ShakyIsles / CC SA 4.0

It’s no secret that China has been beefing up its infrastructure in recent years. This means massive construction projects and numerous new bridges around the country that currently hold  world records. One of these bridges is the Beipanjiang Bridge, which has the title of the highest bridge and the second-longest spanning bridge in the world. At 565.4 meters in height, the equivalent of a 200-story skyscraper building, the bridge connects the Guizhou and Yunnan provinces in southeastern China and crosses over the Beipanjiang Valley.

Eshima Ohashi Bridge – Japan

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The Eshima Ohashi Bridge in Japan is considered one of the scariest bridges to cross and is referred to as the Rollercoaster Bridge. This bridge has some of the steepest grades in the world, reaching an unreal 6.1 percent on one side and 5.9 on the other. But there’s a real purpose for these intense inclines. The bridge is only 1 mile long and must reach a height of 44 meters so that ships can safely pass beneath it on Lake Nakaumi.

Confederation Bridge – Canada

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A sturdily built bridge can still create white-knuckle experiences. The Confederate Bridge connects Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick over the Northumberland Strait. So, why is this considered one of the scariest bridges? It has the honor—or dubious distinction—of being the longest bridge spanning ice water in the world, sitting 60 meters above seawater at its highest point. For five months during the winter, the waters beneath the bridge are packed with ice. It’s so serious that the actual piers are built with breakers to prevent any serious damage from ice crashing into them. As if that’s not enough, because the bridge is primarily over open water, wind gusts can be dangerously high. The official Confederate Bridge website actually monitors and provides real-time wind conditions 24 hours a day.

Kuandinsky Bridge – Russia

A bridge doesn’t have to earn a Guinness record to make it onto this list, and the Kuandinsky Bridge is the perfect example. Officially, this bridge is not in service, but that doesn’t stop people from crossing it. Located in Siberia, the Kuandinsky Bridge originally served as a railway passage spanning the Vitim River in the Zabaikalsky region. These days, locals and daredevil tourists take their chances by driving across this ice-covered wooden bridge without guardrails. Even though the bridge is roughly half a kilometer long, it’s only about the width of a car, which adds to the terrifying aspect of this trip. Plus, the Kuandinsky Bridge is known to be so windy that drivers cross it with their windows open to minimize impact.

So, now you know about a few bridges that many seasoned travelers find intimidating. Which one do you think was the scariest bridge? Which will you be adding to your travel plans?

The Most Populous Cities Throughout History

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The Most Populous Cities Throughout History

Over the course of human history, the ranking of the most populous cities has changed many times over. Jericho was the most populous city back in 9000 BCE. Now it is Tokyo, thousands of miles away. Population growth, climate change, and political shifts are largely responsible for moving the world’s biggest urban centers, but there are truly countless reasons as to why populations move and fluctuate.

When evaluating the most populous cities throughout history, archaeologists look at the total estimated global population to determine the cultural hubs of the period. Before the widespread use of recorded history, many cultures relied on oral traditions to help keep their chronicles alive. Because of this, it is challenging to calculate how many people lived in cities before recorded history.

But historians have done their best to determine where populations converged throughout history. These cities were at one point considered to be the biggest in the world.

Jericho, West Bank

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Population in 9000 BCE: 2,000; current population: 14,674

Most academics agree that Jericho is among the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places, as settlements have been uncovered dating back to 9000 BCE. Jericho is considered the oldest and most populous city throughout history. It is located near Mt. Nebo and the Dead Sea in what is now the West Bank. The plentiful natural irrigation from the Jordan River makes it an ideal ancient city for long-term habitation.

Uruk, Iraq

Credit: Marcus Cyron / Wikimedia

Population in 3500 BCE: 4,000; current population: Uninhabited

Uruk was once an agricultural hub that lay the foundation of Mesopotamia. However, Uruk is no longer inhabited. Nestled between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, Uruk was once a thriving trade center that specializes in local crafts, writing, and grain.

Mari, Syria

Credit: Heretiq / Wikimedia

Population in 2400 BCE: 50,000; current population: Uninhabited

Researchers discovered a large population migration from Uruk to Mari, indicating a flourishing trade and livelihood in that region of Mesopotamia. Estimates place the population of Mari, which is located in what is now Syria, at 50,000 people in 2400 BCE. It was the trade capital of the region and had a fully functioning government and recorded history.

Ur, Iraq

Credit: M.Lubinski / Wikimedia

Population in 2100 BCE: 100,000; current population: Uninhabited

Ur was a very rich city in 2100 BCE, with a huge amount of luxury items made from precious metal and semi precious stones. After 500 BCE, Ur was no longer inhabited due to drought and changing river patterns. Today, the Iraqi city of Tell el-Muqayyar is at the site of Ur.

Yinxu, China

Credit: tak.wing / flickr

Population in 1300 BCE: 120,000; current population: uninhabited

Eventually, the world’s biggest population centers shifted away from the Middle East. The earliest forms of Chinese writing can be found in the modern day ruins at Yinxu, sometimes written as two words (Yin Xu). At its height, this city was the academic center of the Chinese world.

Carthage, Tunisia

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Population in 300 BCE: 500,000; current population: 20,715

Located in present-day Tunisia, Carthage was an enlightened civilization until drought and famine sped up the decline of this ancient city. It was not until 1985 that the mayors of Carthage and Rome officially ended their 2,000-year-old conflict.

Rome, Italy

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Population in 200 CE: 1,200,000; current population: 2,754,440

What started as a small village a thousand years ago is now a bustling metropolis. In 200 CE, Rome was the most populated city in the world. It is no secret that Rome has been one of the longest occupied settlements and for a good reason. As a center for government, politics, religion, fashion, ancient history, archaeological sites and culture, it is still a top travel destination for millions of people.

Beijing, China

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

Population in 1500: 1,000,000; current population: 22,000,000

Still one of the world’s most populous cities, Beijing broke out around 1500, when it relied on grain and monetary taxes from the population to feed and supply the city. However, that was not enough. The population was so large that commerce destroyed all of the forests in the region. This irrevocably changed the ecosystem in the area.

London, England

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Population in 1825: 1,335,000; current population: 13,945,000

During the pinnacle of the British Empire, crime and terror in London ran rampant. The city was considered unsafe. However, this did not stop people from finding their way in the Empire’s capital. Today, it remains a global capital that welcomes millions of visitors every year.

Tokyo, Japan

Credit: yongyuan / iStock

Population in 2000: 20,500,000; current population: 36,000,000

After this trip through history, we arrive at the present day. Tokyo is the most populous city in the modern world, home to an astounding 36 million people in its metropolitan area. There was a brief interlude following World War II until Tokyo recovered economically. Prosperity and a strong bond to Japanese tradition, family, and history maintain Tokyo’s high population today.

The draw and allure of cities continue to bring human civilization closer and closer together. Currently, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban centers, and this number is expected to climb. The current practice of census-taking will undoubtedly help future historians.

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