5 U.S. Town Names That Will Crack You Up

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Town Names That Will Crack You Up

Have you ever wondered why some towns don’t have more appealing names? For example, there’s a city named Bland in Missouri and one called No Name in Colorado.

That said, you’re probably grateful that you don’t live in Slickpoo, Idaho, for obvious reasons. Regardless of where you make your home, you won’t be able to help smiling when you learn the names of these five American towns.

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Two Egg, Florida

Two Egg, Florida

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This city is certainly a good egg – two of them to be exact. Two Egg is actually an unincorporated area in Jackson County, Florida. It doesn’t have a city government, so no one pays taxes or has access to municipal services.

The area was developed in the early 20th century, and one of its first businesses was a sawmill built by the Allison Company. In honor of the company’s contribution to the region’s economic growth, the city was named Allison. However, the newly-birthed city didn’t keep the name for long.

When the Great Depression hit, jobs began to disappear and people started to barter for their daily needs. As legend goes, a mother often sent her sons to trade two eggs for sugar at the general store in town. Eventually, the store came to be known as a “two-egg store.” As time progressed, even visitors began calling the town Two Egg.

The name, however, testifies to the resilience of the American spirit. At a difficult time in history, it represented the rugged optimism exhibited by the Greatest Generation. Two Egg officially made its way to the map of Florida in 1940.

In terms of popular culture, the city also has other claims to fame. Actress Faye Dunaway is from the region, and the area is said to be the roaming grounds of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

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The name of this town almost certainly gets laughs from everyone who hears it. While it may not be obvious from the name, this town sits in the heart of Amish Country in Pennsylvania. It’s surrounded by Amish farms, and the shops sell a variety of handmade Amish quilts, furniture, toys, and crafts. These attractions make it one of the top tourist destinations in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

However, none of the above explains how Intercourse got its name. Don’t fret; we’re getting to it. The town was originally known as Cross Keys. It didn’t get its more colorful moniker until 1814. There are three prevailing theories as to how Intercourse was named, although none are as racy as its name indicates:

Theory One: The town had an old racetrack named “Entercourse,” and in due time, the name evolved to “Intercourse.”

Theory Two: Intercourse may have been a reference to the town’s location at the intersection of Routes 340 and 772.

Theory Three: The city may have been named as a nod to the close fellowship enjoyed among its communities of faith. Such social cohesion was vital to the region and may have been reflected in the town’s name.

While the town of Intercourse is certainly worth a visit, you don’t need to go there to find out what it looks like. Instead, check it out in scenes from the 1985 movie “Witness,” starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis.

Humptulips, Washington

Humptulips, Washington

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This oddly-named town and its associated river is located near the Washington coast and gets a surprisingly high amount of traffic. Highway 101 passes through the town, taking tourists and travelers to Washington’s beaches or the Olympic National Forest. So, the odds are high that the name Humptulips has drawn many laughs from tourists over the years.

While the name combines two oddly-paired English words, its origins are not Anglo-Saxon. The name originated thousands of years ago and is actually a Salish word of the native Chehalis tribe. “Humptulips” actually translates to “hard to pole.” It was used to describe the Humptulips River, which was “hard to pole” or a challenge to navigate, due to downed timber in its waters. While this explanation makes sense, other sources claim the word really means “chilly region.”

So, if you ever find yourself in the city, let the name “Humptulips” remind you of the region’s proud native history — after you enjoy a good laugh, of course.

Hell, Michigan

Hell, Michigan

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It turns out that you can go to hell – you just have to plan a trip to Michigan to get there. Hell, Michigan, is actually located near Ann Arbor in the southeast region of the state.

The town was first settled in 1838; it only had a grist mill and general store then. The founder, George Reeves, was in the habit of paying farmers for grain with home-distilled whiskey. There are several legends about the name’s origin, however. The one embraced by locals is that farmers’ wives used to claim (tongue-in-cheek) their husbands had “gone to Hell again” when they visited Reeves during harvest time.

Meanwhile, others speculate that German visitors once described the town as “so schön hell,” which translates to “so beautifully bright.” Yet another theory involves Reeves, who allegedly said “I don’t know, you can name it Hell for all I care,” when asked what the town should be called. No matter the origin, the town officially became Hell, Michigan, in 1841.

Today, the town has fully embraced its notorious name and even leverages it as an important source of revenue. For example, anyone can pay to be the Mayor of Hell, Michigan, for one hour or one day.

Boogertown, North Carolina

Boogertown, North Carolina

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Sure, it’s a bit immature, but we’re willing to bet you couldn’t stifle a smile when you heard this one. While the name of this town sounds more like a playground taunt, it actually refers to the stories of boogeymen who haunted the forests of a North Carolina town.

No boogeymen ever existed, of course; it was just an invention of crafty bootleggers looking to keep townspeople and authorities out of the woods while they made moonshine.

So, where is this comically named town located? You’ll find it in Gaston County, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte. The vibrant area boasts plenty of exciting events and activities for visitors and residents alike. If you’re game, consider hunting for boogeymen yourself at night.

The 7 Most Densely Populated States

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Most Densely Populated States

The U.S. Census Bureau puts the current population of the United States at just under 330 million people. It estimates that a new person joins the country (either through birth or immigration) about every 13 seconds. And while the country may have 3,783,801 square miles of space to share, according to the CIA World Fact Book, some areas are more populated than others. For example, Wyoming may be a large state in terms of size, but more people live in the smaller state of New York.

So, what are the most densely populated states? If you broaden your question to include districts, then the most densely populated area of the United States is Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital has a population of just over 700,000 people, with 11,490 people per square mile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about ten times the population density of any of the 50 states. These are the most densely populated states.

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New York

New York

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Population Density: 414 people per square mile

New York City may have the highest population density of any city in the United States, but the rest of the state isn’t quite so crowded. According to NYC.gov, the population density of New York City is 27,000 people per square mile.

However, the state itself only ranks as the seventh-most densely populated, with just 414 people per square mile, according to the World Population Review. If you take the population of NYC out of the equation, New York would drop way down this list.

Delaware

Delaware

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Population Density: 500 people per square mile

Delaware comes in next with a population density of 500 people per square mile, according to the World Atlas. The state ranks a surprising number six on this list. Why surprising? That’s because Delaware’s population hasn’t even reached the one million mark yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, it’s densely populated because of its size. The state is smaller than Anchorage, Alaska, according to World Atlas, and is only 35 miles across at its widest point. So, it’s packing just under a million people into a state the size of a small city.

Maryland

Maryland

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Population Density: 625 people per square mile

Maryland packs a lot into 10,000 square miles, especially people. The state comes in fifth in population density in the United States, with 625 people per square mile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While Maryland may be one of the smallest states in the union, big cities such as Baltimore contribute quite a bit to its high population density. Baltimore itself has a population density of 7,657 people per square mile, according to Open Data Network.

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Connecticut

Connecticut

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Population Density: 737 people per square mile

This scenic state is the home of Yale, which counts Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush as graduates. It’s known officially as the Constitution State and unofficially as the Nutmeg State.

Connecticut is also home to about 737 people per square mile, according to the World Population Review. That puts it fourth in the nation for population density. The state packs about 3.5 million people into under 5,000 square miles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Most people in Connecticut live in New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, and Bridgeport, four of the largest cities in the state. Bridgeport, the largest city, has around 144,229 inhabitants and is New England’s fifth most populous city. It’s also the home of Beardsley Zoo, which has been Connecticut’s only zoo for 90 years.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts

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Population Density: 890 people per square mile

Massachusetts is home to nearly 7 million people spread out over almost 8,000 square miles of space, according to the U.S. Census BureauWorld Atlas puts the population density of the state at 890 people per square mile, more than twice that of New York. It’s also the home of Martha’s Vineyard, the Boston Pops, and the third-largest Chinatown in the U.S.

Additionally, Massachusetts is one of only four states to have the word “commonwealth” in its official name (the other three being Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia). As the location for many Revolutionary War conflicts, it will always hold a special place in the nation’s history.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

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Population Density: 1022 people per square mile

There are about 1022 people per square mile in Rhode Island, according to States 101. The total population is just over one million people.

Rhode Island is actually the smallest state in the union. It’s also one of the least populated. Yet, because of its size, it ranks at an impressive number two on our list of the most densely populated U.S. states. According to Rhode Island’s official government website, the distance from north to south is just 48 miles. If you want to travel from east to west, you’ll only need to drive about 37 miles at the widest point.

The total area of the state is about 1,500 square miles, but an astonishing 66% of that consists of bodies of water. So, those million or so Rhode Island residents are crammed into a region spanning 34% of inhabitable land.

New Jersey

New Jersey

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Population Density: 1211 people per square mile

The Garden State has plenty to offer, including amazing beaches. There’s one area, however, where the state outshines its neighbor New York, and that’s in population density. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Jersey has 1,211 people per square mile. The state has a population of 8.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but packs them into an area that’s a little smaller than Maryland.

The Garden State is also home to some of the most densely populated cities in the world. According to NJ.com, Guttenberg, Union City, and West New York are three of the most densely populated cities on earth. Also, New Jersey isn’t just famous for having the highest population in the U.S. Turns out that the state also has more horses than any other state in the Union. According to NJ.com, there are about 4 horses per square mile.

Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates

There’s nothing more romantic than the sight of two people wedding in holy matrimony. Between the pretty clothes, the cover band, and the open bar, there’s a lot to enjoy. But the flip side of a harmonious wedding is a cantankerous divorce.

Does the U.S. have the highest divorce rate in the world? The most reliable data with international divorce rates is from 2016 (actual rates can be found here). But even then, every nation has its own reporting criteria, which can create inconsistencies. But let’s take a look at contributing factors on a national level and explore why divorce happens.

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Global Divorce

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The countries with the highest divorce rates, measured as number of divorces per 1,000 people, as of 2016 are:

  1. Russia (4.7) *Latest available Russian data is from 2013.
  2. Aruba (3.5)
  3. Belarus (3.4)
  4. United States (3.2)
  5. Latvia (3.1)
  6. Lithuania (3.1)
  7. Denmark (3.0)
  8. Kazakhstan (2.9)
  9. Cuba (2.8)
  10. Costa Rico (2.7)

Notable mentions: Guam (4.0) and Puerto Rico (3.2), which are U.S. territories.

5 Cities With the Most Bridges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities With the Most Bridges

There is some dispute over which city in the United States can claim the nickname of the City of Bridges. Portland, Oregon, claims the name in honor of the 12 bridges in the city limits that span the Willamette River, according to Open Oregon. While Portland’s bridges are well-traveled, those 12 bridges pale in comparison with fellow contender Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania city disputes Portland’s claim to be the City of Bridges. They want the nickname for themselves, according to WBUR, because of the 446 bridges crisscrossing the Pittsburgh city limits. But are 446 bridges enough to earn them the claim to fame of having the most bridges in the world? Check out the five cities in the world with the most bridges.

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Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

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Number of Bridges: 391

According to Venezia Autentica, there are an incredible 391 bridges in the city of Venice. It’s no wonder Venetians need all those bridges. They’ll need them to cross the more than 150 canals within city limits. Bridges in Venice were originally built from wood and laid flat across the canals, making it easy for horses and carts to traverse the city. But when residents found that boats were a more efficient means of transporting goods in the watery city, it changed the way they built bridges. Builders altered bridge designs to include an archway to allow boats to pass underneath.

The most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. According to Best Venice Guides, the bridge was incredibly expensive to build. But determined wealthy merchants of the time wanted to create a stand-out piece of architecture. It’s been one of the hallmarks of the Grand Canal for more than 400 years since it was completed in 1591.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

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Number of Bridges: 446

Pittsburgh might want to claim that it has the most bridges in the world, but it only comes in at number four on our list. Still, according to the BBC, it has an impressive 446 bridges. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spends more than $150 million each year keeping all those bridges in good condition. It’s no surprise that steel makes up those bridges, either, as Pittsburgh is often called “Steel City.” The name doesn’t come from the bridges, though. Rather, it’s due to the area’s history with the steel industry. That’s also why they named the local football team the Steelers.

According to Visit Pittsburgh, the most recognizable bridges in the city are the Three Sisters. Said to be the only trio of identical bridges in the United States, this set of bridges crosses the Allegheny River, connecting the two halves of the city.

New York City, New York, USA

New York City, New York, USA

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Number of Bridges: 789

The New York City Department of Transportation says they manage 789 bridges within the city. The actual number of bridges in NYC could be higher, though. There are many bridges in the city that aren’t under the department’s control. But 789 bridges is still an impressive number. Possibly the most famous bridge in the city is the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge opened in 1883, according to History.com, and cost more than $320 million to build (in today’s dollars).

While crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a rite of passage for most visitors to the city, it isn’t the busiest bridge in the city. That honor goes to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, according to the NYC Department of Transportation. Also known as the 59th Street Bridge, it spans the East River and carries more than 170,000 vehicles each day. The bridge originally opened in 1909 and was renamed in honor of former mayor Ed Koch in 2010. Whether you call it the Queensboro Bridge, the 59th Street Bridge, or the Ed Koch Bridge, it’s an impressive cantilevered bridge that’s served the city for more than one hundred years.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Number of Bridges: 1281

Venice isn’t the only city with an impressive network of canals and bridges. The Venice of the North, Amsterdam, surpasses it in number of bridges. According to Amsterdam for Visitors, the city has 165 canals and an amazing 1281 bridges. That network developed because Amsterdam sits on what was originally swampland. As people moved into the city, they drained sections of the swamp to create dry land on which to build. The canals surrounded the new areas, allowing the residents to get around via small boats. They were also handy for defensive reasons, making it harder to attack the city.

There are a lot of beautiful bridges in Amsterdam, and the pedestrian-friendly city makes it easy to get around to see them all. Hopping on one of the canal tours may be the best way to see the bridges, though, as you can glide under them while a guide tells you about the history. If you are lucky, you’ll see a few of the most famous bridges, including the Torensluis Bridge. According to I Am Amsterdam, this bridge was built in 1648, making it the oldest bridge still standing in the city.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

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Number of Bridges: More than 2300

Hamburg takes the number one spot on this list. The Telegraph reports that the German city has more than 2300 bridges. The bridges of both cities were born from a similar issue: too much water. Practically surrounded by water, Hamburg sits at a marshy fork in the Elbe. It’s thanks to that location that Hamburg is the second busiest port in Europe, according to Amusing Planet. Large container ships come in and out of the city every day. So while all that water helped to build a strong economy in Hamburg, it also meant those bridge builders had to get busy creating ways for vehicles and pedestrians to get around. And get busy they did, as the city has more bridges than all the other cities on our list combined.

Not only is the number impressive, but the architecture of the bridges themselves is pretty incredible, too. One of the most famous bridges in Hamburg is the Kolbrand Bridge, which was completed in 1974. The bridge carries more than 38,000 vehicles each day, according to Hamburg Port Authority. The bridge was never intended to handle that much traffic, though. So if you want to see this beautiful bridge, you’ll want to book your tickets to Hamburg soon. Authorities are in talks to start replacing the bridge in the next few years.

5 U.S. Cities Stuck in Time

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities Stuck in Time

Some cities are immune to change. These places make time travel feel possible, offering glimpses back into different eras. From historic cities with cobblestone streets to ghost towns that can’t seem to move forward, here are five U.S. cities stuck in time.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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In 1765, a Quaker merchant named Joseph Rotch identified New Bedford, Massachusetts, as a prime location for his business. Located along the Atlantic Coast, with a deep harbor and easy access to Boston and New York, he believed New Bedford to be the perfect candidate for a top-notch whaling port. Rotch was correct in his assertion — during the 19th century, this Massachusetts city became the whaling capital of the world. New Bedford is still known today as The Whaling City and its identity is entwined with the million-dollar industry that once profited from its shores.  From the mansions built by the captains of industry on County Street to the flagged bluestone sidewalks, much of the city is unchanged from when it was first built.

Inquisitive visitors should stop at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. And although whaling is no longer permitted, the citizens of New Bedford still make their living on the water, with commercial fishing as one of the top sources of income.

Pacifica, California

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Pacifica, California, is a mere 10 miles from San Francisco, yet it feels a world away. A beachside haven that has changed little since its incorporation, this foggy surf town is surrounded by two sections of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Pacifica was originally formed in 1957 when officials merged nine different communities to create one larger city. Although city planners envisioned growing Pacifica to 100,000 residents, these lofty plans never came to fruition. Much of the surrounding area became preserved land during the 1970s, which protected it from the rampant development happening elsewhere in the state. The result? Pacifica remains much the same as it was when it was incorporated, with stunning beaches perfect for surfing and acres of pristine public lands.

Some change, however, has found its way into this picturesque beach side community. In the past couple of years, new plans have been passed to turn Palmetto Avenue into a downtown area, making it more appealing to visitors and residents alike.

St. Augustine, Florida

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The oldest continually occupied city in the U.S., St. Augustine, Florida, was first established by Spanish settlers in 1565. Today, remnants of Spanish culture remain untouched in this historical gem of a city. From Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a 330-year old fortress built by the Spanish, to the well-preserved Plaza de Constitucion, visiting St. Augustine is like stepping back into the well of history. The Colonial Quarter harkens back to the days when Spanish was spoken on the cobblestone streets, including live black smith and musket demonstrations.

St. Augustine’s most famous piece of architecture, however, is the Lightner Museum. Originally built as the Alcazar Hotel in 1888, the establishment closed during the Depression; it was later bought and renovated by Otto Lightner in 1948. Today, the restored museum includes memorabilia from the Gilded Age, in addition to rotating art exhibits.

Galena, Illinois

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Although it is commonly referred to as “The City That Time Forgot,” considering Galena a “city” is a bit of a stretch. For all intents and purposes, however, this well-preserved gem has rightfully earned its place on this list. Once the busiest port on the Mississippi River, Galena became a mining town in the mid-1800s when a lead ore mineral called “galena” was found in the surrounding area. The newly born city, named for the mineral that put it on the map, eventually became a political, industrial and cultural hub. Abraham Lincoln gave a speech from the second-floor balcony of a Galena hotel and even Ulysses S. Grant called it home for a spell.

Today, the town holds the magic of yesteryear, with its immaculate Victorian homes and brick architecture on Main Street. The city also draws scores of tourists looking to grasp onto the charms of days gone by, and with its working blacksmith shop and many historical sites, this feat is easily achieved.

Detroit, Michigan

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Detroit, Michigan, truly looks like a city frozen in time — but which time exactly? When Michigan Central Station opened in 1913, the train station was a shining example of Beaux-Arts Classical architecture and the tallest train station in the world. But when the station closed in 1988, it stood vacant for 30 years, a sad reminder of Motor City’s former glory. In an effort to move Detroit forward, Ford bought the train station last year, with plans to revitalize the building and bring the workforce back to the area. Still, the city is often referred to as a ghost town, with its fleeing population, abandoned homes and empty skyscrapers. In this sense, Detroit seems to be stuck in the early aughts, as it certainly hasn’t made any large strides since the collapse of the auto industry. With dreams of Detroit’s revival on the horizon, this is one city we hope isn’t stuck in time forever.

Why Are Seasons Reversed in the Southern Hemisphere?

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Why Are Seasons Reversed in the Southern Hemisphere?

Have you ever talked on the phone with a friend who lives in the opposite hemisphere? It can be an eye-opening experience, particularly when they start complaining about the weather. While they’re experiencing icy winters and cold, bitter winds, you’re sweating it out in your t-shirt and shorts, trying to beat the summer heat.

But why do the northern and southern hemispheres have opposite seasons? To answer that, we should first take a step back and look at what causes seasonal weather shifts in the first place.

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A Primer on Seasons

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We’d explain the concept of seasons, but why not let National Geographic do it instead?

A season is a period of the year that is distinguished by special climate conditions. The four seasons — spring, summer, fall, and winter — follow one another regularly. Each has its own light, temperature, and weather patterns that repeat yearly.”

Of course, the classic four season framework applies only to regions at mid-latitudes between the equator and the poles. Seasons are largely dependent on the region’s location relative to the equator, and as you travel closer to or further from the equator, this pattern begins to shift.

Closer to the poles, temperatures are generally colder with fewer hours of daylight. (In Barrow, Alaska, it’s consistently dark throughout most of the winter — close to three months!) But nearer to the equator, it’s warm for most of the year, and daylight cycles stay consistent.

In other words, seasonal shifts are determined by two things:

  1. The region’s location on the globe
  2. The axis of the earth relative to the sun.

That first point is a factor in explaining how extreme seasonal weather shifts can be. But when explaining why seasons are opposite across northern and southern hemispheres, the axis makes all the difference.

The Axis of the Earth Is Key

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Our earth has a tilted axis relative to the position of the sun, which is why seasons are opposite across hemispheres.

The Extremes: Summer and Winter

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When Earth’s axis is tilted such that the northern hemisphere leans towards the sun, those regions receive more solar energy, and thus, feel hotter. At the same time, the southern hemisphere receives very little solar energy, producing cold weather. Six months later, the opposite occurs—the other hemisphere tilts towards the sun, and the cycle continues.

The Middle Ground: Autumn and Spring

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So, winter and summer are opposite. But what about autumn and spring?

These are even easier to understand. Since Earth’s axis produces a tilt that creates opposite seasons across the equator, there’s a sort of “middle ground” that occurs as Earth spins towards its summer/winter extremes. This middle ground is, essentially, the autumn and spring seasons.

Seasons Aren’t so Different

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During these mild seasons, both hemispheres receive the same amount of solar radiation, producing similar weather conditions across the north and south. The key difference comes from each region’s starting point.

When a region moves into autumn, it’s moving from a period of high solar energy (summer) into a lower period. And conversely, regions moving from winter to spring slowly gain solar energy. In this way, autumn and spring are functionally the same thing. The only difference is where each region begins.

6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

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6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report reveals the U.S. cities with the cleanest air. According to data from 2015 to 2017, all of these cities had zero days when ozone and particle pollution reached unhealthy levels. If you want to enjoy some clean, crisp air on your next stateside vacation, consider one of these cities.

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Bangor, Maine

Bangor, Maine

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The city of Bangor in south-central Maine ranks 23rd for cleanest U.S. cities for year-round particle pollution and also had no days with unhealthy levels of ozone or short-term pollution.

Bangor’s success, unfortunately, isn’t replicated throughout the state, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country — approximately 10% among adults and 11% among children. Experts suspect that a critical factor affecting the state’s pollution levels is contaminants sweeping into the region on ocean and air currents from upstream urban areas.

In Bangor, however, you can breathe freely. Work your lungs with a hike through nearby Acadia National Park or take a more leisurely stroll along the city’s Penobscot River Walkway.

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

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Lincoln ties with Bangor at 23rd for year-round pollution with zero days of unhealthy ozone and short-term pollution.

If you find yourself in the Midwest, take advantage by visiting some of its many outdoor attractions. The Sunken Gardens, recognized by National Geographic as one of the 300 best gardens in North America, are full of vibrant year-round flora. Meanwhile, the Pioneers Park Nature Center boasts hiking trails with informative exhibits on the area’s ecology. You’ll also find information on the factors that contribute to the city’s fresh air.

If you’re in Beatrice, you’ll want to visit the pristine Homestead National Monument of America, where you can hike among the prairie grasses and browse the outdoor exhibits depicting the history of American homesteading.

Finally, the Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department has monitors that provide air quality data to residents so those with respiratory conditions can stay safe and healthy.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina

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Wilmington, North Carolina, is another city to be congratulated for its air quality. Known as the Port City, Wilmington is recognized for everything from its nearby beaches to the country’s largest movie studios outside of California. The city is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Diligence vessel.

Wilmington’s residents have benefited from statewide environmental initiatives such as the 2002 North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act. The city’s air also got a boost when Duke Energy, the regional electricity provider, converted the energy source of its Wilmington–adjacent plant from coal to natural gas.

If you visit Wilmington, you’ll want to take advantage of its nearly two miles of Riverwalk along Cape Fear River. The pedestrian boardwalk also connects to the Sea Bikeway and East Coast Greenway.

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Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

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Tied with Wilmington for the 13th lowest year-round pollution — and the same zero days of dangerous ozone or short-term pollution — is the metro area of Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville in central Florida.

The region is also known as the Space Coast, due to the presence of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral. Anyone interested in the history of our solar system will enjoy visiting the Space Center with its interactive tours and exhibits. You’ll breathe easy knowing that all that rocket exhaust hasn’t overwhelmingly increased pollution in the region.

Meanwhile, enjoy more clean air at the renowned Cocoa Beach or browse the wildlife at Brevard Zoo. You can also explore the various downtown districts, each of with its own unique character and the same pollutant-free atmosphere.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

With no days of unhealthy ozone or particle pollution levels, the metro area of Burlington–South Burlington ranks 12th overall for year-round particle pollution and is another American city with the cleanest air in the country. As the largest city in the state, Burlington is home to the University of Vermont and is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful college towns in the country.

In 2015, Burlington became the first American city to run entirely on renewable electricity, which has undoubtedly played a role in its clean air success. Along with biomass, solar, and wind power, its largest energy source is hydro, thanks to its use of dams and its location on Lake Champlain.

Burlington also has an ongoing “Great Streets Initiative,” a municipal project aimed at enhancing the city’s sustainability. From a new City Hall Park to improved bike lanes, the various changes make Burlington a vibrant place to visit and explore — with the added bonus of pollutant-free air.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Credit: Izabela23/ Shutterstock

Tied for the lowest year-round particle pollution, in addition to zero days of dangerous ozone or particle pollution levels, Honolulu has some of the cleanest air in the country. While the Hawaiian islands are known for their natural beauty, what is remarkable is that the state has managed to preserve its fresh and vibrant atmosphere even in its urban capital — and largest city — of approximately 350,000 people.

Despite its favorable ranking, however, Honolulu’s air quality has suffered dramatic swings thanks to the existence of “vog,” the island term for volcanic smog. When Kilauea erupted on the Big Island in 2018, winds spread the resulting sulfur dioxide to other islands in the archipelago, including Oahu, on which Honolulu is located. When vog levels are high, residents — and visitors — can experience symptoms ranging from eye/skin irritation to coughing, headaches, and fatigue.

However, when the winds are favorable, the islands do indeed have the best air in the country. The city’s outdoor attractions are also perfect for visitors who prize clean air and pristine environments. From outdoor gems like Waikiki Beach to the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, this beautiful Hawaiian city certainly offers plenty of value for all tourists.

3 Facts About the 3 Biggest Islands in the Caribbean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

3 Facts About the 3 Biggest Islands in the Caribbean

Did you know that there are more than 7,000 islands in the Caribbean? While many of these islands are quite small, plenty of them are large enough to be home to millions of residents.

Take, for instance, three of the biggest islands in the Caribbean: Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. While they all call the Caribbean home, each of these islands has a unique character and culture. Ready to be amazed? Read on to learn three fascinating facts about the Caribbean’s biggest islands.

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Cuba Isn’t Just A Single Island

Map of Cuba and surrounding islands
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Cuba, or as it is properly called, the Republic of Cuba, is the largest island in the Caribbean, with a landmass of over 42,000 square miles. It has the largest population of a single country in the Caribbean, too. Cuba is home to over 11 million people.

But what you may not know is that Cuba isn’t just one island. While most people recognize the alligator-like shape of Cuba’s mainland, the country actually includes more than 4,000 small islands and cays.

Many of these islands are quite tiny. Some are home to all-inclusive resorts and others are uninhabited, but some of them are quite respectable in size. For instance, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba’s second-largest island, measures a little over 900 square miles, and has a population of about 100,000.

Hispaniola: Two Countries, One Island

Map of the island of Hispaniola split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Credit: Peter Hermes Furian/ Shutterstock

Hispaniola is the second-largest island in the Caribbean. It has a landmass of over 29,000 square miles and a population of more than 20 million.

But if it’s so big, why is it that so many people have never heard of it? That’s because the island of Hispaniola actually includes two countries: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While most people are familiar with these names, it’s not as well known that the island spanning both of them is called Hispaniola.

While these two countries are locked together by land, they are very different. The Dominican Republic is far wealthier, with a robust tourism economy and several world-renowned resorts. Haiti, on the other hand, has significant poverty issues and is not as popular for tourists.

Sugarcane Is Not Indigenous to Jamaica

Photo of a sugarcane field at sunset
Credit: Mailson Pignata/ iStock

Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean by landmass, spanning over 4,200 square miles. This makes it slightly larger than the next-biggest island, Puerto Rico, which measures in at about 3,500 square miles. However, in terms of population density, Puerto Rico is slightly larger, with a population of about 3.25 million as opposed to Jamaica’s at about 2.9 million.

When you think of Jamaica’s most significant crops, you probably think of sugarcane, which is key to making the country’s famous rum. But did you know that sugarcane is not indigenous to Jamaica?

The original residents of Jamaica, the Arawak Indians, grew things like cassava, corn and yams. But when Spanish settlers came through in 1510, they brought sugarcane with them.

Along with the sugarcane, they also brought the custom of slavery. Thousands of Africans were imported to the island to work on sugarcane and tobacco plantations. When the British took over Jamaica, agriculture became the island’s main economy.

While slavery was later abolished, the tradition of agriculture has remained strong in Jamaica. Agriculture is one of the main economies on the island, with the sugar industry being the oldest continuously-run operation on the island.

How’s That For Some Tropical Trivia?

Photo of a beautiful orange sunset behind two palm trees
Credit: thekopmylife / iStock

The Caribbean may be one large tropical region, but the area’s biggest islands are all quite different from one another. While they may share similar climates and geography, there’s still plenty of economic and cultural diversity among these tropical destinations.

4 Tallest Mountains in Norway

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Tallest Mountains in Norway

While traveling the Scandinavian country of Norway, there are going to be plenty of locations you’ll want to visit. Oslo, the capital, and the Bryggen wharf are likely high on that list, but if you’re into more adventurous experiences, you may be thinking of something taller.

The snowy peaks of Norway offer an experience for only the bravest and most prepared travelers. Stretching thousands of feet into the sky, the mountains of Norway are a predominant feature that many aim to climb. There are, after all, 291 peaks that top out over 6,000 feet above sea level.

If the notion of adventure and heights grabs your interest, chances are you’ll be enthralled to scale these four incredible summits, which can be found on the tallest mountains in Norway.

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4. Store Styggedalstinden

Photo fo remote, snow-covered mountain peak
Toreroraas/ CC BY-SA 3.0

Elevation: 7,831 feet

The snowy slopes of Store Styggedalstinden saw their first human ascent on August 6, 1883. Many others have made it to the eastern summit of this serene mountain, despite the many challenges present throughout the 7,831-foot ascent to the top.

Store Styggedalstinden can be found within the eastern part of Luster in Sogn og Fjordane county. You’ll find its peaks tucked between the Sentraltind and Jervvasstind mountains. Though the view from both the bottom and top may be stunning, Styggedalstinden’s name, when broken down, roughly translates to “Ugly Valley.”

Regardless, there is no doubting the overt beauty of the mountain’s slopes, which offer three different climbing experiences dependent on climber skill and the conditions of the mountain.

3. Store Skagastolstinden

Photo of a jagged snow-covered mountain peak
Credit: Erik Eskedal/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

Elevation: 7,890 feet

Getting to the summit of Store Skagastolstinden means climbing up nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. As the third-highest mountain in all of Norway, Skagastolstinden has drawn a lot of attention from curious climbers. The conditions aren’t unsafe for travelers, though the brisk chill in the air can bite and cause discomfort if the adventurers are not properly dressed.

In 1876, William Cecil Slingsby and Emanuel Mohn journeyed up the side of Skagastolstinden. Along the way, they passed a glacier known today as Slingsbybreen, which is a relevant landmark in knowing where to find two additional mountains that climbers pass when trying to tackle Store Skagastolstinden.

To reach the base of Skagastolstinden, you’ll have to park at the nearest hotel and trek to the best starting point once it’s time to start climbing. There are four routes to explore, each with varying degrees of difficulty. Slingsby’s Rute, Andrew’s Renne, Heftye’s Renne, and Nordvestveien await the bravest of travelers.

2. Glittertind

Photo of hikers walking through a snowy mountain field
Credit: Sasha64f/ iStock

Elevation: 8,087 feet

A national park found within Norway’s Lom municipality, Glittertind of the Jotunheimen mountain range is also the second highest snow-covered mountain. At just over 8,000 feet above sea level, it takes quite a bit of work to get to its summit. Travel from the Spiterstulen lodge to get to Glittertindand prepare for a hike that isn’t too difficult, but should also only be tackled by professionals.

During the summer, walking around the summit is made a little more difficult thanks to the melting snows of winter. In the winter months, the path is a little easier as it’s not coated in a layer of water melted off the glacier.

Glittertind may be on the higher side, but its difficulty level is actually a bit easier than some of its shorter counterparts.

1. Galdhopiggen

Photo of a mountain valley
Credit: Enter6/ iStock

Elevation: 8,100 feet

On a list of the tallest mountains in the world, Galdhopiggen would have quite a ways to go to catch up to them. But that doesn’t take away from the awe and wonder that comes from staring up at this 8,100-foot natural formation in Oppland, Norway. Many have climbed the snowy slopes of Galdhopiggen to enjoy the panoramic view.

Located in the Jutunheimen National Park in southern Norway, Galdhopiggen is the tallest peak in Norway, but the Norwegians didn’t always know that. Early Nords knew of Galdhopiggen but weren’t aware of just how tall the mountain’s peak is.

Starting in 1844, several attempts were made to reach the summit. It took six years before a group of three men traveling from Lom were able to reach the top of Galdhopiggen. Before them, geologist and mountaineer Baltazar Mathias Keilha attempted to complete the journey to the summit but didn’t make it.

Like many mountains in Norway, Galdhopiggen is often covered in a layer of pristine white snow. While it adds a beautiful touch to the rocky mountain, it poses a risk for anyone hoping to make the climb to the summit.

The Many Mountains of Norway

Photo of a hiker standing on a cliff enjoying a stunning valley and fjord view
Credit: Olga Danylenko/ Shutterstock.com

Think this is all that Norway has to offer in the way of mountainous peaks? If you’re the type who wants to tackle as many adventures as possible, you can count on the Scandinavian country to deliver. These four are a very small fraction of the snowy peaks that beg to be scaled. The question is — just how high do you want to go?

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