What do the Zodiac signs really mean?




What do the Zodiac signs really mean?

In astrology, the 12 Zodiac signs are a loose guide to personality traits, which are a reflection of the behavior, attitude, passion, strengths, and weaknesses of people under each classification. They can be used for self-improvement, growth, entertainment, and fun!

Individuals are associated with a symbol—or a sign—depending on the date and month on which they were born. The 12 signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

These signs fall into elemental classifications of water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces); air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius); fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius); and earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn). These four elements have perceived underpinnings in their interaction with the 12 Zodiac signs.


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People who fall under this horoscope are those born between March 20 and April 20, and the representative symbol is the ram. This Zodiac sign represents people who are bold, courageous, ambitious, inquisitive, independent, natural leaders, and individuals who have a deep respect for justice. The negative characteristics of this group include aggression, selfishness, inconsistency, bad temperament, and pushy characteristics.


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Taureans are born between April 20 and May 20, under the bull. The characteristics are dedication, trustworthiness, and dependency compared to the negative traits like resistance to change and stubbornness. The bull signifies persistence and high energy, which propagates an endurance that extends beyond high patience levels.


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This zodiac class depicts twins as the symbol and consists of people born between May 21 and June 20. These individuals are agile, open to change, intelligent, have excellent communication skills, are insightful, and possess a readiness to make conversation. Within this category, their behaviors are inconsistent, they like to over-stress or amplify situations and information, and they are deceptive, scheming, dramatic, and extremely talkative.


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Birthdays of people under Cancer run from June 21 to July 20, and the symbol is the crab. The traits of members include compassion, healing, cultivating, reassuring, understanding, and incredibly loving. However, the same people display clingy behavior, passive aggression, moodiness, and indirect expressions, which hinder effective interaction.


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The representation sign is the lion, and the birth dates run from July 21 to August 20. Their association with the sun means that Leos introduce warmth to an interaction or bring a relationship to life. Hence, this group values relationships, and their charisma can charm many people into becoming their friends. Leos are also fearless, protective, fun, exhibit leadership, and are very generous, which parallels their inclination to dictatorship, stubbornness, and controlling and bragging behavior.


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The virgin is the zodiac symbol that describes people born between August 21 and September 20. People in this category come off as organized, investigative, rational, meek, modest, and responsible. They have an excellent memory and research skills, which makes it possible to be rational and analytical. This makes them an excellent addition to a discussion group. However, they can prove to be annoying due to their obsessive behavior, desire to make everything perfect, criticalness, and an extreme keenness to detail.


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Represented by the scales, Libras have their birthdays between September 20 and October 20. Members of this group have dignity, are easygoing, subtle, and charming despite their indecisive traits and hypocritical and gullible attitudes.


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Depicted by the scorpion, this zodiac sign describes people born between October 21 and November 20. Beyond the passionate, sensitive, expressive, and sacrificial characteristics, this group also displays envious, distrustful, malicious, and possessive behavior.


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The centaur (or an archer) is the representative symbol for Sagittarius, for people born between November 21 and December 21. This is a hopeful group due to their open-mindedness, and are bubbly, lucky, possess high moral standards, and are versatile. Negative aspects include sluggishness and being fidgety, irresponsible, and greedy.


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The symbol for Capricorn is the goat. This group is talented and values stability, strategy, tolerance, meticulousness, and responsibility irrespective of their negativity, rigidity, ruthlessness, and melancholic and cynical traits. Capricorns are born between December 21 and January 20.


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The Aquarius sign is also known as the Water Bearer, based on the symbol, and is comprised of individuals born between January 21 and February 20. The group reflects inherent characteristics such as intellectual or smart, generous, friendly, creative, and humane. The negative traits associated with this sign are irresponsible, emotionally distant, absent-minded, and impersonal.


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This Zodiac sign is the fish and signifies the temperament and attitudes of people born between February 21 and March 20. Pisces is romantic, thoughtful, sensitive, inventive, and empathetic, which complements the problematic elements of being unrealistic, docile, self-pitying, and needy.

6 Countries With Only One Border



6 Countries With Only One Border

Every country has boundaries. For island nations and the unique country-continent of Australia, that’s water. But other countries literally rub elbows with other nations. For most, there are many shared borders. But a select few have only one border.


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Canada is one of three countries in North America and the only one that can claim a single border, and that’s with the United States. To the north is the Arctic Ocean, and its coasts are bounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. However, its entire southern border is shared with the U.S. along with a solid claim to four of the five Great Lakes. Eight of Canada’s 13 provinces touch one or more of 13 U.S. border states. The two nations share the distinguished title of having the longest international border. You might also be surprised to find that the Canada-U.S. border is the busiest border crossing in North America.

South Korea

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South Korea sits on the Korean peninsula and shares its northern border with its former compatriot, North Korea. Once a unified and sovereign nation, the two countries have technically been at war since American and Soviet troops officially ended armed conflict in the region in 1953. South Korea’s northern border sits right on the 38th parallel, an artificial border created at the close of the conflict to create two separate nations.

While the 38th parallel sits within the Demilitarized Zone (the DMZ) they are not the same thing. The DMZ refers to a 150-mile stretch of land that runs along the 38th parallel with 1.2 miles of neutral, unfortified grounds on the north and south sides of the parallel. If you’re feeling brave, you can take guided tours to the DMZ, and legally take a few steps into hermit kingdom North Korea.


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Some countries only have one border because they’re entirely surrounded by another country. While this is rare, there is one more nation that also has this feature. This is known as an enclave countryLesotho is completely enclosed by South Africa and boasts a population of 2 million people. The nation first came to be in the early 1800s under its original name, Basutoland, under King Moshoeshoe I. Over the years, Basutoland fell under British and Dutch control before being returned to its native people in 1966 and renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Vatican City

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As we mentioned, only two countries in the world have the distinction of being an enclave country, and Vatican City is the other one. Its official title is Vatican City State, and it is the home of the Catholic Church. The history of the Catholic Church’s papal states and autonomous rule within Italy and greater Europe is a long and complex one. But to keep it simple, even though the Vatican has existed for centuries, it didn’t become a separate entity from Italy until 1929. The lands are under the control of the Holy See with the pope serving as its ruler. However, even though the Vatican City State is sovereign from Italy, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need a special visa or even your passport to visit this famed religious state. As long as you can legally enter Italy, you can walk right into the Vatican.

Haiti/Dominican Republic

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So we know that there are a few nations in the world with only one border, but sometimes these countries occupy the same general lands. A perfect example of this is the island of Hispaniola, which is home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. If you remember your history lessons, Christopher Columbus mistook the island for India on his initial voyage in 1492. We’ll fast forward through the history lesson and say that the island was divided between the French and Spanish. The French created Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), and the Spanish created La Republica Dominicana or the Dominican Republic. During the island’s colonial days, relations between the two island states were strained, and to a degree, they still remain difficult today. However, both countries are popular tourist destinations for Americans and Europeans.

United Kingdom/Ireland

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Another popular “one island, two nations” situation is in Europe, although this one is a bit of a technicality. When you think of the United Kingdom, your first thoughts are of London, Manchester, or other famed cities in England. But the United Kingdom is comprised of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. So, since Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, the entire nation can claim a single border with the Republic of Ireland. Once again, this border is created by a complicated history.

Northern Ireland was created in 1921 after popular opinion—and the Government of Ireland Act of 1920—pushed for the northern portion of the island to remain with the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland was home to unionists and descendants of Britain. So, it’s understandable that they wanted to remain with their motherland. Today, both nations are also popular destinations with thriving tourism industries.

4 Endangered Animals That Are Making a Comeback



4 Endangered Animals That Are Making a Comeback

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is considered the global authority on all aspects of the natural world, including the conservation status of animal species. And with tens of thousands of animal species in its catalogue, there are plenty of animals to keep an eye on.

“Endangered” is a classification within this system. If an animal is endangered, it means they’re at “very high” risk of total extinction in the wild. (This is only one step away from the last category in the IUCN’s list—critically endangered—which mean the species is all but extinct.)

And while plenty of incredible species have gone extinct over the years, some come close to the edge and then bounce back. Local conservation efforts can help here, such as the U.S. Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, both of which have helped protect animals from extinction—here in the states and across the world.

1. Manatees

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Also known as “sea cows,” manatees come in three varieties: West Indian, West African, and Amazonian. And by 1967, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service had listed them all as endangered.

Did you know that manatees have no natural predators? It’s true! While we tend to view herbivores like these as prey for things like sharks or killer whales, manatees live in different waters than these predators, so they don’t really run across them too often.

But as shallow-water swimmers, what manatees do run across are plenty of humans. Like many animals on this list, the manatee’s struggle can be directly linked to human activity, such as commercial fishing accidents, pollution, climate change, and more factors that disrupt their ecosystem.

Things looked grim—but conservation efforts throughout the latter half of the 20th century would eventually pay off. Population numbers began to rise, and eventually, the IUCN downgraded the status of all three manatee species from endangered to merely vulnerable.

2. American Alligators

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If you live in the marshy wetlands of the American South, you’re probably well-acquainted with alligators. These large, hulking reptiles lived happily for millions of years in the wild—until, of course, humans came along and ruined things.

In the past, people didn’t really understand alligators or the vital role they played in the wetland ecosystem. They were hunted for sport and hunted out of fear. Combined with growing industrialization that destroyed their habitats slowly over time, the future of these majestic creatures was in doubt. Per the 1966 Endangered Species Preservation Act, American alligators were officially considered endangered.

Of course, American alligators are long past the endangered phase. Conservation efforts have been quite successful in restoring their populations, and as of today, the American alligator is listed as a species of “least concern” by conservation experts.

3. Northern Elephant Seals

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Much like manatees, the northern elephant seal is a seafaring giant, coated in a thick layer of blubber and weighing between 1,000 and 4,000 pounds. These are the largest seals in the northern hemisphere and can be seen migrating from the cold Alaskan shores to the warmer waters of the California coast.

But the northern elephant seal almost didn’t make it. As rich sources of fat, blubber, and hide, these seals were prime targets for hunters looking for fuel in the icy north. They were so aggressively hunted that they were thought to be extinct in the late 1800s until small, isolated colonies began to crop up. It was at this point that conservationists realized that they had a chance to bring this noble species back from the brink.

Thanks to a multi-national conservation effort to protect these seals (which involved cracking down on seal hunting), the northern elephant seal began to bounce back. Recent estimations put their total population in the wild at 100,000.

4. Bald Eagles

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The bald eagle is one of the most iconic animals in American history, being chosen as the country’s national symbol back in 1782. In those days, bald eagle populations were plentiful, and it was common to see them soaring majestically.

But everything changed after World War II. Shortly after the war, a new chemical called DDT became popular, with plenty of advocates pushing for it as a commercial and household pesticide. This push would have terrible, long-lasting effects on the environment—including our bald eagles. DDT caused defects in bald eagle eggs and prevented much of the population from growing. Eventually, there were fewer than 500 nesting pairs alive in the lower 48 states.

Thanks to the banning of DDT and rise of other environmental protections, bald eagles made a healthy comeback. Recent estimates say that there are now over 5,000 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states, not counting those living in Canada.

Preserving Natural Wildlife

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Research tells us that certain animals are “selected” for extinction by virtue of survival of the fittest. But others (including all on this list) face much bigger threats from human activity. And while we humans can’t protect every species out there from extinction, we need to do our part to protect the ones we’re directly harming with our day-to-day lives.

The ( 10) most-watched TV shows of 2018



The most-watched TV shows of 2018

There’s nothing like coming home after a long day and relaxing with some delicious takeout and your favorite TV shows. And thanks to Nielsen, a television ratings and consumer market research firm, we can tell you which shows were the most popular. According to their stats, these were the 10 most-watched TV shows in the United States in 2018.

10. Bull (CBS) – 13.5 million viewers

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Bull debuted in 2016 as a sophisticated law drama, but lead actor Michael Weatherly might look familiar if you’re a long-time NCIS fan (formerly holding the role of Anthony DiNozzo). The show centers around a trial jury consulting firm with Weatherly’s character, Dr. Jason Bull, offering psychological profiles of potential jurors and argument strategy tips for cases. 2018 was Bull’s second season, and the show is currently wrapping up its third.

9. America’s Got Talent (NBC) – 14.3 million viewers

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Everyone loves a talent show, especially when the stakes are as high as they are with America’s Got Talent. The NBC amateur talent competition is part of the larger “Got Talent” franchise launched by entertainment executive Simon Cowell. Identical shows air in countries around the world and follow the same format. An all-star judging panel reviews contestants through numerous rounds of performances. Finalists in the American version vie for the ultimate prize—a large cash sum and the opportunity to perform on the Las Vegas Strip.

8. The Good Doctor (ABC) – 14.5 million viewers

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This show premiered in 2017 in the U.S. but is based on a show with the same name that aired in South Korea in 2013. Daniel Dae Kim (from Lost and Hawaii Five-O) bought the rights to the original South Korean drama and brought it stateside for production through his own company. The Good Doctor follows the story of an autistic surgeon with savant syndrome, played by Freddie Highmore. While he struggles with interpersonal relationships with patients and colleagues, his brilliant medical capabilities make him an essential member of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital’s medical team.

7. Manifest (NBC) – 14.6 million viewers

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What if a time shift made a plane disappear? Manifest is a fairly new NBC supernatural drama that explores the spooky concept of a brief moment of turbulence that creates a time shift, which in turn causes passengers and crew to somehow miss out on five and a half years of their lives. Meanwhile, in the normal timeline, their plane was considered lost at sea. No one can explain this time shift or the supernatural events that happen after they land. “Manifest” debuted in 2018 to strong ratings in the first half of the season.

6. Young Sheldon (CBS) – 15.7 million viewers

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If Sheldon is your favorite character on The Big Bang Theory, then Young Sheldon might be a fun treat. The spinoff show focuses on Sheldon Cooper’s childhood and helps to explain why his character is so… quirky. The show debuted in 2017 and has been a favorite for the CBS network, airing directly after The Big Bang Theory. It has only shot two seasons, but CBS approved it for a total of four to air through 2020.

5. This Is Us (NBC) – 16.6 million viewers

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Life is complicated, and This Is Us takes an unvarnished look at the life of the Pearson family. Each episode typically presents a dual storyline that relies heavily on flashbacks to provide context for the characters’ present-day behaviors. Even though “This Is Us” sits only at the middle of this list for viewership, it’s a cult favorite and highly influential in pop culture: The now infamous Crock-Pot disaster episode caused the appliance maker to issue statements defending the safety of its products.

4. NCIS (CBS) – 16.7 million viewers

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NCIS may not be the first in the crime forensics genre, but it’s earned the distinction as the second longest-running, non-animated scripted U.S. primetime TV series behind Law & Order: Special Victims UnitNCIS debuted all the way back in 2003 and is now in its 24th season. If you love military shows, you might be surprised to learn that NCIS is a spinoff of JAG (1997-2005) and even launched its own spinoffs, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans.

3. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – 18.3 million viewers

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If you’ve ever considered yourself a nerd then The Big Bang Theory is your vindication. The sitcom follows four brilliant yet socially awkward scientists, two of whom eventually marry women considered out of their league. The show debuted in 2007 and is completing its 12th and final season this spring.

2. Sunday Night Football (NBC) – 19.5 million viewers

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Football is a huge American pastime, so you shouldn’t be surprised that the weekly matchup of AFC and NFC teams continue to bring in ratings. The weekly Sunday Night Football matchup held its own as the second-most-watched serial event on U.S. television last year.

1. Roseanne (ABC) – 20 million viewers

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The Roseanne reboot was the most watched show of 2018. After originally going off the air in 1997 at the close of its ninth season, the show came back in 2018 to follow the Conner family once again. Creative leaps were taken to bring the character of Dan (John Goodman) back to life. The show was so well-received that even after troublesome behavior by star Roseanne Barr, her character was written off and the show renamed as The Conners. That spin-off debuted on ABC on October 16, 2018.

6 Longest Rivers in the World



6 Longest Rivers in the World

Determining the world’s longest river is more challenging than you might think. There’s often debate over where a river actually starts. With that in mind, we looked into the most agreed-upon top six longest rivers in the world. Here they are.

Yellow River

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The Yellow River, also known as the Huang He, is the sixth longest river in the world and the second longest in China. The river measures 3,395 miles long, and runs from the Bayan Har Mountains in Western China to the Bohai Sea. While the Yellow River was the birthplace of ancient Chinese culture, it has also caused deadly floods and is responsible for several natural disasters.

Yenisei River

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The Yenisei River in Siberia measures 3,445 miles long. Starting in Lake Baikal, the river eventually makes its way to the Arctic Ocean. The Yenisei is one of the three great Siberian rivers, which also includes the Ob and the Lena.

Mississippi River

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The fourth largest river in the world, the 3,902-mile-long Mississippi River runs from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The area where the river meets the sea is known as the Mississippi River Delta. More than just a straight shot dividing the country, the Mississippi is part of the largest river system in North America.

Yangtze River

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Not only is the Yangtze river the third longest river in the world, but it is also the longest river in Asia at 3,917 miles. It also happens to be the longest to flow through one country, as the entire river is located within China. As much as one third of the Chinese population resides within the Yangtze River basin.

Amazon River

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Though a collection of scientists believe the Amazon to be the longest river in the world, confusion over where the river actually begins places it second on this list.

The currently agreed upon length is around 3,976 miles, though, like we mentioned, some say the river is longer. If currently argued values are proven and accepted, the river could be as long as 4,435 miles.

Nile River

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Though it may one day be displaced from its throne by the Amazon, the Nile is currently considered to the longest river in the world, with a generally agreed upon length of around 4,132 miles. This figure could be even longer, actually, with some saying the true length of the river is 4,405 miles.

The Nile is widely known for providing water to Egypt, but is also shared by Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

5 Discoveries in the 5 Smallest States



5 Discoveries in the 5 Smallest States

America’s smallest states might not have a lot of territory to work with, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t jam-packed with exciting sights and experiences to discover. As an added bonus, you’ll have more time to visit even more curious destinations than you would criss-crossing some of the nation’s more massive states.

It is also convenient that America’s smallest states are all located in relatively close proximity to each other, filling in the nooks and crannies of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Did someone say road trip?

Hit the road and check out these five unique discoveries in each of the smallest states.

Rhode Island: The Providence Athenaeum

At just over 1,200 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, but don’t let its size fool you. Little Rhody, as the locals affectionately call it, is big on things to do. From devouring some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted to exploring its multitude of prestigious museums, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Ocean State offers something for everybody.

One place you don’t want to miss is the Providence Athenaeum. Founded in 1836, this historic library was frequented by early horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and poet Edgar Allan Poe (you can even see his original library record). Peruse its unrivaled rare book collection and you can find an 1855 copy of Leaves of Grass with handwritten notes by Walt Whitman.

Delaware: Rothschild Patent Model Collection

Famously ridiculed in “Wayne’s World” for having nothing to do, Delaware is actually an overlooked gem with sandy beaches, NASCAR races, and a ton of colonial historic sites.

Of course, you can find all of those things elsewhere. But Delaware offers one thing you can’t find anywhere else: the world’s largest collection of patent models. Up until 1880, inventors had to include physical models along with their patent applications, resulting in some 200,000 models being created.

At the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, you can see an array of pieces from Alan and Ann Rothschild’s collection of 5,000 patent models. Explore this one-of-kind collection of contraptions to discover creations such as George Stillman’s original Roller-Skate, and early versions of washing machines, animal traps, dust pans, and reclining chairs. Can’t make it to The First State? Luckily you can browse a huge chunk of the fascinating collection online.

Connecticut: Traveler Restaurant

Before you leave Connecticut, make sure you stop at the Traveler Restaurant in Union to get a delicious meal and a free book or two. That’s right, diners at the Traveler Restaurant are invited to select a book of their choice from the restaurant’s ever growing library of donated tomes.

The food isn’t bad either. With four stars on Yelp, the Traveler Restaurant menu features classic diner starters like sweet potato fries and onion rings as well as heaps of fresh battered seafood. You can also choose from a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, pastas, and steaks.

After you get your fill of books and grub, discover some of the Nutmeg State’s other unique destinations like Zaffis Museum of the Paranormal in Stratford or the ruins of abandoned religious theme park Holy Land USA in Waterbury. And if you visit the state capital, Hartford, don’t miss John Steward’s Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities located in the Old State House building.

New Jersey: Batsto Village

Think ghost towns are only found out west? Take a short drive from the glitz and grime of Atlantic City to discover a village lost in time. Batsto was founded in 1687 and developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as an iron-working community. Batsto was an important part of securing America’s independence, supplying the Continental Army with iron ore.

Over time, the industry waned, and the last resident moved out in 1989. Now the village is open to the public, and visitors can wander about and observe more than 40 intact historical structures.

If you don’t get your ghost town fix in Batsto, head up the New Jersey Turnpike to Berkeley Heights to see the deserted village of Feltville. Just don’t take a wrong turn and end up in Valkenvania.

New Hampshire: Madison Boulder

New Hampshire rocks. Yes, we mean that literally. Take one look at the Madison Boulder in Madison and you are sure to agree.

The Madison Boulder is exactly what it sounds like, but you have to see it to believe it. The boulder measures 23 feet tall, 83 feet long and 37 feet wide. The giant boulder weighs 5,000 tons. It is the largest known “glacial erratic” in North America, meaning the boulder landed in its current position after being carried a far distance by melting glacial ice.

7 surprising facts about email



7 surprising facts about email

Email, that magical way of sending instant messages between electronic devices, is used and consumed round-the-clock by people the length and breadth of the planet. But have you ever stopped to think about how it came about, or how often we use it? Next time you find yourself with a group of friends too busy on their telephones to talk, reignite the conversation with these fun email facts.

Email predates the Internet

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Although it didn’t become popular until the early 1990s, the first emails were sent in 1965 via a system called MAIL at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was four years prior to the creation of ARPANET, which itself laid the foundations for the Internet. Pioneering programmer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email as we know them today in 1971, almost two decades before the World Wide Web appeared.

The content of the first email is unknown

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Legend once had us believe that Tomlinson’s first email, which incidentally was sent to himself between two computers in the same office, included the words “Hello world“. In fact, according to the man himself, the actual content was in all probability something along the lines of “QWERTYUIOP.” As there’s no official record we’ll just have to take his word for it.

Hotmail was launched as recently as 1996

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Over three decades after the first emails were traded, Microsoft’s Hotmail took the world by storm with its messaging service. Rebranded as Outlook in 2012, it now has 400 million users and is available in 106 languages. RocketMail was Hotmail’s biggest contender in the early days, and later became what we know today as Yahoo!

Today, 2.8 million emails are sent every second

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Thanks to our technology-savvy friends Internet Live Stats, we can see that in just one second, 2,780,870 emails are sent on their journey. Let’s put this into some more impressive numbers: that’s a whopping 240 billion per day. If every person on Earth was sending then that would equate to 31 emails per person per day. We are also watching 77,925 YouTube videos and sending 8,415 Tweets per second.

The curious origins of the word spam

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Spam is that wonderful folder in your webmail service that gets bombarded with offers to inherit a fortune from a generous widow, purchase products from phantom companies and earn hundreds of dollars for taking part in surveys. Spam was originally, and still is, the brand name of a canned meat introduced during World War II. In the 1970s, British comedy team Monty Python referred to Spam as something unavoidable and repetitive. Techies later coined the name spammers for the people that repeatedly send you dishonest and unsolicited emails.

We spend over five hours per day checking email

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For many, email and the Internet have taken over our lives, so much so that in 2017 a vast majority of us were spending 5.4 hours every day checking messages. Naturally, this has a knock-on effect on productivity. Statistics show that time spent distracted by emails and social media costs the U.S. economy $997 billion annually.

Studies have proved that decreased email usage leads to increased health

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Fancy reducing your stress levels, relaxing your heart rate and increasing both focus and productivity? Simple: reduce your email time. A study by the University of California Irvine and U.S. Army on a group of office workers proved this. So it must be true, right?

4 Terribly Designed International Cities



Terribly Designed International Cities

When you’re putting together any kind of urban development project, there are going to be logistical hiccups. That’s completely forgivable. What’s not forgivable is when the plan is completely thrown out the window and buildings and streets just pop up without any kind of flow or guide. But plans are thrown out disturbingly often. These are four of the most terribly designed cities on the planet.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Jakarta is the poster child of poorly planned and executed cities. It’s frequently ranked among the worst cities in the world to live in and regularly takes the top spot of Indonesia’s worst urban offerings. Traffic is horrible and constant, the city’s sinking as people extract more and more water from the ground, and a majority of the residents have some kind of respiratory issue thanks to the polluted air. Three things a city needs to conquer to offer even average quality of life for its citizens.

The main problem is that the city government let itself get overwhelmed by small issues, then didn’t properly research the solutions they implemented. For example, when the city tried to alleviate traffic by investing in mass transit, they chose buses. But when they built the bus lanes, they didn’t modify the roads at all, which meant the buses got caught in the omnipresent traffic, which was made worse by the lessening of available lanes. It’s like when they decided to build mass transit, instead of using a common sense solution used by cities all over the world, the Jakartan government left its common sense in the trash and doubled down on making everything worse. Then they did that for every other problem the city faced too.

Naypyidaw, Burma

Naypyidaw, Burma

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Where Jakarta was poorly built for the amount of people they had, Naypyidaw was built for people no one can see. Everything’s empty everywhere. They have twenty-lane highways that are completely devoid of cars. And we’re not being hyperbolic to prove a point. When Top Gear went to Burma to film a special, they were able to stage a super-sized drag race in the middle of the highway.

On the same Top Gear episode, the three hosts talked about how Naypyidaw wasn’t a waste because it was built in anticipation of massive growth, though they admitted the growth wasn’t there yet. We’d disagree a bit and say it was at least a partial waste because the Burmese government built the massive city for growth without actually doing anything to enable growth in the country. The Burmese people are incredibly poor and it is highly unlikely any of them are going to be able to afford the lifestyle the city’s prepared for. The only people making any money are the ones building the city, and there aren’t enough of them to populate things the way it seems the Burmese government wants.

Chennai, India

Chennai, India

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Chennai’s bad planning manifests itself in the fatal flooding the city has recently experienced. Back in November and December of 2015, the city saw a series of floods that claimed the lives of at least 90 residents. Urban planners maintain this was not a failing on their part, but was instead the result of haphazard planning executed by the local government. A man named RR Kuberan and his New Chennai Project submitted a redevelopment plan that turned Chembarambakkam Lake into a reservoir that would have supplied Chennai with plenty of clean drinking water, a transformation that would also have dried out surrounding land enough for development. But instead of going with that plan, the city allowed private developers to sell off land piecemeal and turn it into housing, which made water management next to impossible. It was a case of a city going for short term economic growth and urbanization instead of long term planning.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

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The planning for Dhaka’s expansion is nonexistent, which makes sense when you consider the way it grew. It started as a simple town, then exploded in size after Bangladesh won its independence in 1971. When it did, the city started on a path that would see its population increase a hundredfold, turning it into one of the most densely populated cities in the world. In that explosive growth, Dhaka failed to implement any planning or ordinance laws, which means buildings are often private ventures completely free of regulation or zoning and can be thrown up wherever and wherever, often to the detriment and destruction of any kind of unified sense of community. The city is a sprawling mass of slums, private construction, and traffic traffic traffic. It’s chaos incarnate, though people are slowly starting to realize how destructive that chaos can be.

3 Essential Cities to See While Traveling Europe for the First Time



3 Essential Cities to See While Traveling Europe for the First Time

This is a vast world with many exciting places to see. Planning a European trip is your first step in seeing even just a small portion of it. When planning a travel itinerary, it’s crucial to have a layout of what you want to see and when you want to see it. If you’re looking at the long list of places to visit in Europe, it’s best to narrow down your options.

To help with the process, here are three essential cities you should see while you’re traveling through Europe for the first time.

Paris, France

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When you think of dream destinations or romantic getaways, chances are Paris is high on that list. It may seem like the atypical choice for European getaways, but there are plenty of reasons why the City of Light is such a crucial stop.

One could focus on the obvious choice of the Eiffel Tower, which is a spectacle that the Las Vegas iteration barely does any justice, but the city of Paris is brimming with cultural wonders, other historic landmarks, and restaurants just waiting to stuff patrons full of staple French cuisine.

During your stay, you’ll want to stop at awe-inspiring sights like the Pere Lachais, the largest park and cemetery in the city, Cathedrale Notre-Dame, the Louvre Museum, and the Tuileries Garden. When you’ve expended your energy, you can re energize at one of the many cafes found streetside. Croissants, macarons, and an over-abundance of additional pastries will leave you full but still wanting more.

For first-time European travelers, Paris is relatively easy to navigate. French is the primary language, but it won’t be too difficult to find someone who speaks English.

Venice, Italy

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Venice is an entire city built on a network of mud islands and canals. It already sounds like the perfect place you would want to visit during your European vacation. Right off the bat, the waterways that cut through the city are a sight to behold as they serve as viable routes to get from point A to point B.

Being an Italian city, there is no denying that the food is going to be everything you could want. Pasta dishes will be made with freshly-rolled dough, and bread will have that unmistakable freshly-baked taste. There is no shortage of restaurants to grab a seat at, but you’ll have to pry yourself away from the exquisite food at some point.

Many sights showcase the history of the watery city. The buildings that line the canal are an important part of Venice’s history, but attractions like the Campanile di San Marco, St. Mark’s Square, the Correr Civic Museum, and the Peggy Guggenheim are going to be what drives the trip.

If you can pry yourself away from the incredible food, there are many experiences to be had. While it’s always best to learn the native language, it’s not impossible to get around only knowing English.

Edinburgh, Scotland

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When you travel to Scotland, you’re treated to some of the most beautiful views and unforgettable experiences, making it a shoo-in for the most essential city to visit during your first-time trip to Europe. There is no getting over the rolling plains, the historic architecture, and the friendly people, and that’s only a small piece of why Edinburgh is an ideal choice for your vacation.

If you need your fill of castles, Edinburgh has them. It is also home to Arthur’s Seat in the highest point of Holyrood Park, the Royal Botanic Garden, St. Giles Cathedral, Calton Hill and the Scottish National Monument. There is plenty to see in Edinburgh, and these adventures and activities just barely scratch the surface.

There is a lot to enjoy in Edinburgh, but there is no denying that the views top that list. A steady emerald green courses through the city, contrasting the old look and feel of its existing buildings. If you can pry yourself away from the architecture for long enough, you may even be able to indulge in the delicious cuisine and whiskey-barreled, aged-right in Scotland.

The Oldest Continually Inhabited Cities on Each Continent



The Oldest Continually Inhabited Cities on Each Continent

On every continent we find some of the oldest cities that early human civilizations called home. Successful long-term dwelling habitation occurs from a blending of sources. The region needs a strong economy with quality and consistency in the creation of trade. A perpetual food and water supply, availability of work, enduring infrastructure and uninterrupted peace and harmony are classic explanations.

Maintenance of the ratio of birth and death rates, as well as immigration and migration, must balance the population. All these society-friendly conditions continue to come together in some of the oldest cities on the continents of North America, South America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

North America: Cholula, Mexico

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In North America, the pre-Columbian city of Cholula is found in the state of Puebla, Central Mexico. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America, expanding from a settlement to a village and is now a regional city. The available data regarding the establishment of first-time inhabitants are conflicting, ranging from anywhere from 2000 B.C., between 800 B.C. and 200 B.C., and from the 7th century. The current thinking is that Toltec refugees settled in the area following the fall of Tula. However, other information indicates that the peoples were the children of one of the seven Aztec tribes.

Eighteen neighborhoods make up the city, and each one has a leader. This city is well known for the Iglesias de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary. The local economy continues to endure, thanks to visitors from all over the world.

South America: Quito, Ecuador

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In South America, the oldest inhabited city is Quito in Ecuador. Located at the Guayllabamba river basin, it is the capital of Ecuador. Sources cite varying dates for first-time inhabitants, stretching from the occupation of the Kingdom of Quito from 2000 B.C. to 980 A.D., or the 13th or 16th century.

Despite earthquakes, there is enough water for residential and industrial use that the city’s population continues to replenish itself. A renewing spirit of culture, economy and environmental resources has engaged the 2 million residents and their government. Rebuilding and renovation projects have included a new airport, the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, an ecologically sustainable Metrobus-Ecovia that links the northern and southern edges of the city and a new subway system.

Middle East: Jericho, West Bank

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Based on archeological support, it is suggested that Jericho is among the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Destroyed, abandoned, re-inhabited and enlarged many times, the city dates back to 11,000 to 9000 B.C. with the walled defenses around 6800 B.C. Researchers have uncovered 20 successive communities.

Located below sea level, Jericho has the distinction of not only being the oldest inhabited, walled city, but also geographically the lowest, located 847 feet below sea level. Local springs found near the city from the nearby Jordan River are a welcome water supply to the nearly 20,000 current residents. Considered the oasis of the Jordan Valley, tourists make a pilgrimage to soak in the unique history of this biblical-era city.

Africa: Luxor (Thebes), Egypt

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The oldest continuously inhabited city in Africa, Luxor is home to about 500,000 residents and situated near the Nile River. Estimates place the time of habitation as 7200 B.C. to 3200 B.C. Luxor was established as a sacred religious capital, yet saw decline during the Roman occupation.

Today, visitors travel the globe to explore this ancient Egyptian city. Ruins and classical artifacts abound within the monuments of the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the West Bank Necropolis, and the ruins of the temples of Karnak and Luxor. Supported by the tourist economy, Luxor continues to contribute to antiquity art, culture and knowledge.

Europe: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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Assessments place the establishment of Plovdiv at 6,000 years ago. Rich in history, the city was a travel crossroads for the Roman Empire, connecting Western Europe and the Middle East. The survival of thousands of years of conflicts and occupations have left behind a vibrant cultural tapestry. Architectural landmarks, monuments, statues, art and education unite with the Thracian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times. Ethnic diversity is still seen today, as Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria, is home to 340,000 inhabitants of Roman, Armenian, Greek, Jewish, and Turkish heritage.

The world’s oldest cities evoke thoughts of faraway places and classical times. Archeological discoveries link us to our common ancestry, and there are many histories yet to be revealed. From the seven hills of Rome to the Americas, communities are the cornerstone of humanity.

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