7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

There are landmarks all around the world that excite, delight, and pique your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if the landmarks are human-made, naturally occurring, or even on dry land—they are sure to be impressive, and when they’re underwater, you’ll be wrapped in a quiet enveloping silence that is sure to leave you in awe.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

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A shipwreck that will excite even the most casual wreck enthusiast, Chuuk (also called Truk Lagoon) was a stronghold of Japan during WWII. It was bombed in 1944 and now boasts a ghost fleet of 60 ships and almost 300 airplanes. Inside the ships, a guided snorkeling tour can highlight some of the forgotten gas masks, ammunition, and guns, all settled on the sea floor. This underwater site is also home to reef sharks and a colorful array of ships.

Green Lake – Styria, Austria

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Up until mid-June, you would not know that Greek Lake is actually one of the most sought-after underwater sites for snorkeling tours. In June, snow from the Hochschwab Mountains melts, and this Austrian park transforms into an underwater gem for a few weeks. The lake, which is generally just a meter deep, becomes 12 meters deep. Trees, benches, and picnic tables all become submerged for a short time every year. This meltwater lake doubles in size every year when the snow from the Karst Mountains also melts. A snorkeling tour will make you feel like you are in a forgotten world since the entire park is submerged.

Yonaguni Monument – Okinawa, Japan

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No one can quite decide the origin of this underwater site, but one thing is for sure – it is exciting and captivating. When first discovered, Japanese divers thought it might be a temple. Standing almost 90 feet tall in the East China Sea, snorkeling explorers discovered solid rock slabs shaped like a pyramid. Years after its discovery, no one is quite sure what the underwater site actually is, but it is delightful all the same.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

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Even though it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to dive, Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction. Inside the well, there are four chambers. The first is a straight-down, 30-foot dive; the second is deeper at 80 feet; and the final two chambers are generally reserved for only experienced divers.

Underwater Post Office – Vanuatu

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The world’s first underwater post office is nine feet underwater and almost two hundred feet from shore. When you are ready to mail an underwater letter, schools of shimmering fish and other exotic marine life are your post office companions. Though the post office sustained some damage in 2014, it is still operational. Just look for the yellow mailbox and you can mail a waterproof postcard to just about anywhere in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef – Key Biscayne, Florida

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With plans to become the world’s largest human-made reef, this underwater site takes being buried at sea to a completely new level. It has been modeled after the famed underwater city Atlantis and has stone lions guarding the entrance. Since its inception, there have been almost 1,000 placements of cremated remains mixed with concrete and placed into the reef. At full capacity, this reef will be able to hold 125,000 sets of remains. This snorkeling tour is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be memorable.

Vaersenbaai Car Piles – Curacao

Credit: Sascha Caballero / Shutterstock.com

No snorkeling vacation would be complete without a visit to the candy-colored island of Curacao. Along the island’s southern coast, there are plenty of easy dives and snorkeling options. What sets this island apart from all others are the innumerable classic cars sunk off the coast. Classics from the 40s and 50s were junked and sunk with large heavy-duty cranes in an attempt to create a barrier reef. Though the reef did not flourish, the cars remained, making this an excellent photo opp for an underwater site tour.

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7 Most Earthquake-Prone Cities in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Most Earthquake-Prone Cities in the World

According to the United States Geological Survey, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States happened in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1964. That earthquake measured at the incredible magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter scale. And while earthquakes aren’t unusual for the area, they are usually much less severe. Prince William Sound experiences far fewer earthquakes than a lot of other cities around the world. Some areas in the Pacific measure seismic activity on an almost daily basis thanks to the Ring of Fire. The plate is in almost constant motion, according to CNN, and is home to several volcanoes as well.

But earthquakes aren’t exclusive to the Ring of Fire. They happen all over the world every day. Here are the seven cities where you are most likely to experience an earthquake.

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Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

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According to Earthquake Track, Quito has experienced 15 earthquakes with a magnitude of 1.5 or greater in the last year. And while the majority of those are too slight for most residents to feel, the city is no stranger to major earthquakes. Those earthquakes register 7.0 or more on the Richter scale. According to Reuters, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Peru–Ecuador border, shaking residents in the capital city of Quito. Earthquakes of a similar magnitude killed one person in 2018 and more than 700 in 2016.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

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Earthquake Track reports 14 earthquakes in Lima in the last year, with Volcano Discovery reporting more than 340 for the country as a whole. That’s in line with what Ecuador experiences each year. What’s interesting about Lima’s earthquake history is just how far back it goes. There are records of earthquakes going back to the 16th century. According to Lima Easy, major earthquakes in 1533 and 1555 rocked the capital city. Trip Savvy reports there is a major earthquake in the region about once every six years.

Manila, Philippines

Manila, Philippines

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The Philippines experiences frequent seismic activity because of its location. That’s because the country, and its capital Manila, sits on top of multiple shifting tectonic plates converging in the Pacific Ocean. ABS CBN news network reports that 20 earthquakes each day is an average for the area. While the majority of these earthquakes are not felt on the surface, Manila experiences stronger earthquakes with disturbing frequency. In April of 2019, Manila experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 during Monday’s rush hour.

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Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

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The Hurriyet Daily News reports that the Kandilli Observatory in Istanbul records about 10,000 earthquakes in Turkey every year. The capital city of Istanbul sits near the North Anatolian Fault. Three major universities are warning that things could get worse, according to newspaper Daily Sabah. In a joint-issued study, researchers warn that the city should prepare for a series of earthquakes. They predict three earthquakes measuring higher than 7.0 on the Richter Scale could strike in the near future.

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

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According to the United States Geological Survey, Southern California experiences about 10,000 earthquakes each year. Los Angeles sits in the middle of a lot of the action. Of all those quakes, though, only about 15 measure at 4.0 or greater on the Richter scale. Earthquakes above the 4.0 mark are usually strong enough that the city’s several million residents feel the tremors. The cause of all these earthquakes lies with the San Andreas fault, according to the Southern California Earthquake Center. This is where the Pacific and North American plates of the earth push together. That friction produces thousands of small earthquakes each year.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Jakarta is another city with an unfortunate position on the Ring of Fire. The Straits Times reported that Indonesia experienced more than 11,500 earthquakes in 2018, and those numbers appear to be growing. Previous years averaged around 6,000 earthquakes. While no one can account for the increase in activity, Jakarta is doing its part to get prepared. According to the Jakarta Post, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency presented a paper on how vulnerable the city is to a massive earthquake and how to mitigate the potential damage. There are over 800 high-rise buildings in the city that would be vulnerable in the event of a major earthquake. Measures are being taken to prepare both the citizens and the infrastructure for the next big quake.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

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According to the Meteorological Agency of Japan, about one in ten earthquakes measured in the world happen in Japan. The country can experience thousands of earthquakes every year, though most of them are too small in magnitude to feel on the surface. The reason the country experiences so many earthquakes is thanks to its direct position over the Ring of Fire, where the tectonic plates below the country are in almost constant motion.

Tokyo has a long history of suffering from earthquake-related damages. The good news is that most households and businesses are prepared for an earthquake to strike. Not only are buildings constructed to withstand the swaying motion of the earth, but most have an earthquake kit on hand. The kits contain enough food, water, and medical supplies to last for several days.

The 10 most populous islands in the world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

The most populous islands in the world

In order to identify the most populous islands in the world, we need to define what an island is and what it is not.

Technically, Australia fits the definition of an island: a mass of land surrounded entirely by water. But geographers go a step further to note that a mass of land cannot be both a continent and an island. For our purposes of identifying the most populous islands in the world, continents are out.

According to World Atlas, there are too many islands to count, as they exist in lakes, seas and oceans. Some islands deserve an honorable mention for being so densely populated, like Santa Cruz del Islote, with 500 people living in 115 houses on an island the size of two soccer fields.

The islands on our list have the largest population, regardless of the island’s overall size.

10. Borneo – 21.3 million people

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The third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia, Borneo is bordered by Java and Sumatra, two other islands on our list, and is renowned for its beaches, diving locations and lush rain forest landscape. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunel make up Borneo’s political position.

9. Sri Lanka – 21.44 million people

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Located at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is a gorgeous island rich in its cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity. Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka its #1 travel destination in 2019.

8. Taiwan – 23.76 million people

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Across 13,974 square miles, Taiwan holds the sixth spot of the most populous islands in the world, but by 2021 that may not be the case. The declining birth rate is attributed to long hours working away from home, which is not conducive to family life. Taiwan is the largest economy not a member of the United Nations.

7. Mindanao, Philippines – 25.53 million people

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This Philippine island is the second largest island of the archipelago after Luzon. Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines and an active volcano. Mindanao is the most religiously and culturally diverse of the Philippine islands.

6. Madagascar – 25.57 million people

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Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. While only 250 miles from Africa, most of the population is more closely related to the people in Indonesia, over 3,000 miles away. Wind patterns are attributed to the island’s settlement. Even wildlife is less like Africa and unique to Madagascar.

5. Luzon, Philippines – 49.52 million people

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Almost half of the Philippine population lives on the island of Luzon, the 15th largest island in the world. Luzon is one of the islands in the 7,641 Philippine archipelago, and only 2,000 of those islands are populated.

4. Sumatra, Indonesia – 50 million people

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The fourth-most populous island is Sumatra, an Indonesian island to the south of Java. Sumatra is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, including the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, because it lies between two tectonic plates. Coffee is its most well-known export, but Sumatra is also a major player in natural gas, crude petroleum, rubber, cocoa and palm oil.

3. Great Britain – 61 million people

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Great Britain is the world’s third most populous island. More generally referred to as Britain, the island consists of England, Scotland and Wales, three countries in Europe. The size of Britain’s population gives perspective to the islands of Java and Honshu (keep reading), as their populations greatly exceed Britain’s.

2. Honshu, Japan – 103 million people

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Japan is considered an archipelago, a cluster of islands. In this case, there are 6,852 islands, with Honshu being its most densely populated. Most of the country’s major cities can be found on Honshu, including Tokyo. Honshu is also home to Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1707.

1. Java, Indonesia – 140 million people

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The world’s most populous island is Java, an island of Indonesia. It is only the fourth largest island in Indonesia, but 57 percent of the country lives on Java. Located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, 35 out of 112 of Java’s volcanoes are active. In case you are wondering, Indonesia’s earliest coffee plantations were started on Java. Pun intended.

Why are there so many islands in Indonesia?

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You may have noticed several of the most populous islands in the world can be found in Indonesia. Indonesia is counting them and estimates there are 14,572 named islands and thousands more yet to be named. Its status as the largest archipelago in the world is an important distinction because its waterways are considered the most important in the world. The more islands it claims, the more waterways it can control for the country’s economically abundant trade industry.

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

There are 570 coastal cities that could be impacted by rising sea levels by the 2050’s, affecting some 800 million people, according to C40 Cities. Cities along the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and various parts of Asia are under the greatest threat. Here’s a look at the cities most at risk if sea levels rise significantly.

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

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Located on the southeastern tip of Florida, this low-lying city will be completely inundated with flood waters if sea levels rise as some predict. With a population of over 2.7 million, the entire Miami-Dade county is only an average of six feet above sea level, making it an easy target for flooding.

The city is trying to address the problem with $500 million worth of infrastructure changes and the installation of pumps and floodgates, according to NPR.

Alexandria, Egypt

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Located on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the city of Alexandria is already feeling the effects of climate change. If sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, an estimated 3 million people would be directly affected, and millions more would eventually be displaced, according to The Guardian.

The drastic impact from rising sea levels is worsened by the Nile, the longest river in the world, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria. The low-lying river delta in this area continues to flood, causing the loss of much-needed crops in this heavily populated city, according to NPR. Climate change is also causing hotter temperatures and beach erosion. This is hampering tourism in the area, which is a very important aspect of the city’s economic livelihood, according to NPR. Making matters worse, the average elevation of the area is only 16 feet above sea level.

Osaka, Japan

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This large port city on the Japanese island of Honshu has been aware of the threat of climate change for a while. There has been massive coastal flooding in areas of the city, including its airport. According to The Guardian, an estimated 5 million people will be directly impacted by the rising sea levels, and an additional 6 million could be displaced in the city’s surrounding region.

Like other major coastal cities, Osaka has been updating its infrastructure in an attempt to combat the rising waters. Unfortunately, in a study by the Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science in Japan, it was found that the current designs for these walls may be insufficient against a prospective higher sea level.

Hong Kong, China

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The fate of this global financial hub depends on how high temperatures rise. A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius puts Hong Kong’s entire population of 7.4 million people at risk, along with many more in the surrounding coastal areas, according to The Guardian. A warm-up of more than 2 degrees could be catastrophic. The average elevation of Hong Kong varies, but it is typically only about 4 feet above sea level, worsening the situation.

Shanghai, China

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All of China’s coastal cities are at risk, according to GBTIMES. Its largest city, Shanghai, with a population of 24.2 million, is unfortunately at the forefront. Scientists have been warning the city for many years that it is already a major flood risk due to its dense population on the low-lying coast and its abundance of rivers, canals and other waterways, according to The New York Times.

According to The Guardian, 17.5 million people will be affected if sea levels rise to the current expectation. At just 13 feet above sea level, the city has been installing massive flood prevention walls in an attempt to prevent future problems. Only time will tell if these efforts help.

Widely Respected Japanese Humanitarian Among 6 Killed In Afghanistan Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Widely Respected Japanese Humanitarian Among 6 Killed In Afghanistan Attack

Tetsu Nakamura (right) is pictured in 2008 during a memorial service for a slain aid worker. The Japanese doctor was among six gunned down in an attack Wednesday in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

Rahmat Gul/AP

A prominent Japanese doctor who devoted his life to providing aid in Afghanistan was killed by unknown gunmen on Wednesday along with five Afghan colleagues. It’s the second attack on aid workers in the country in recent weeks.

Officials said Tetsu Nakamura, 73, was attacked while riding in an aid vehicle in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. He died of his wounds while he was being airlifted to a base for emergency care.

So far, there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Taliban denied involvement; ISIS is also active in the area.

Nakamura had recently been awarded honorary Afghan citizenship for his humanitarian work in the region, according to local officials. He headed the aid group Peace Japan Medical Services and served rural communities by providing health care and improving agriculture through irrigation projects.

The slaying of the native of Fukuoka, Japan, prompted an outpouring of grief from friends, colleagues and government officials. Many shared images of his work in the region on social media .

“Dr. Nakamura dedicated many years of his life in serving the needs of thousands of people by committing his precious time, energy and passion to turning a vast area of barren land into a green biologically productive, and henceforth bringing livelihood to the people of the region,” an Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said Wednesday.

Nakamura first arrived in the region in 1984, when he began working in the Leprosy Ward of a Pakistani hospital. Several years later, after opening a clinic in Afghanistan, he identified malnourished as the root cause behind his patients’ health issues. This prompted his NGO to shift focus to building canal projects.

Locals credited Nakamura with transforming vast areas of desert into fertile farming land. He said on a Japanese public broadcast show that he found inspiration in the teachings of ancient Buddhist philosophy.

“Light up your corner of the world,” Nakamura told NHK’s OnDemand. “These were the words of Saichō, a Japanese Buddhist monk who lived over a thousand years ago, when he pondered the question of national treasures. He said that it wasn’t about trying to save every single person in the world or trying to make the whole world prosper.”

Wednesday’s attack is the latest killing of Afghanistan-based aid workers in recent weeks. A United Nations vehicle was heavily damaged by a bombing in late November, wounding five and killing one American worker.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

South Korea to continue intelligence-sharing pact with Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

South Korea to continue intelligence-sharing pact with Japan

Protesters demand an extension of the intelligence-sharing pact in front of the US embassy in Seoul on November 22, 2019Image copy right AFP
Image caption Protesters outside the US embassy in Seoul called for an extension of the pact, known as GSOMIA

South Korea says it is to continue a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan that had been threatened by a long-running dispute.

The move was welcomed by the US which had urged the two countries to settle their differences.

Seoul announced its decision on Friday, just hours before the pact was due to expire.

Tensions between South Korea and Japan go back decades but have recently led to a series of tit-for-tat measures.

The tensions have historical roots, and the two countries became embroiled in a deepening trade and diplomatic dispute this year.

The intelligence pact, known as GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement), allowed the two countries to share information about North Korea’s military and nuclear activities directly with each other.

Without it, information would have had to go through their joint-allies in Washington, slowing the process down.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks to reporters about GSOMIA pact with South Korea in Tokyo, Japan on November 22, 2019Image copyrightREUTERS/KYODO
Image captionJapanese PM Shinzo Abe welcomed the “strategic decision”

What has been announced?

In August, South Korea announced it would terminate the intelligence-sharing agreement and Japan removed South Korea’s favoured trade partner status and imposed export controls on its electronics sector.

Earlier this month the leaders of the two countries briefly met at a summit in Bangkok, Thailand, to try to resolve their differences.

Then on Friday South Korea said it would “conditionally” suspend the expiry, with national security official Kim You-geun confirmed that the GSOMIA would not be allowed to lapse at midnight.

He said the Japanese government had “expressed their understanding” but warned that the agreement could still “be terminated at any time”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said bilateral relations were vital and that South Korea had made a “strategic decision” in sticking with the accord.

A US State Department spokeswoman welcomed the decision, saying: “This decision sends a positive message that like-minded allies can work through bilateral disputes.”

What’s the background?

The two countries share a complicated history. They have fought on and off since at least the 7th Century, and Japan has repeatedly tried to invade the peninsula since then.

In 1910, it annexed Korea, turning the territory into a colony. Resentment over this period, when many South Korean workers were forced to work for Japanese firms, continues today.

The issue was recently brought to the fore by a 2018 South Korean supreme court ruling that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans it used as forced labour.

The decisions drew condemnation from Japan, which argues the dispute was settled in 1965 when diplomatic ties were normalised between the neighbouring countries.

The row has since escalated and has impacted their modern trade relationship, threatening industries such as technology.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Healthiest Countries in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Healthiest Countries in the World

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

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

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Australia

Australia

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

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

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

Sweden

Sweden

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

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

Switzerland

Switzerland

Credit: Eva Bocek/ Shutterstock

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

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

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

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

Japan

Japan

Credit: SeanPavonePhoto/ iStock

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

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

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

Iceland

Iceland

Credit: Mihai_Andritoiu/ Shutterstock

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

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

Italy

Italy

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

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

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

Spain

Spain

Credit: May_Lana/ Shutterstock

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

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

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

3 Religious Temples With a Dark History

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Religious Temples With a Dark History

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

Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Credit: saiko3p/Shutterstock

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

Cappella Sansevero, Italy

Credit: Juraj Kamenicky/Shutterstock

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

Mount Osore, Japan

Credit: IZZARD/Shutterstock

10 Most Educated Countries

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Most Educated Countries

For most countries, the average education level of the population can be an indicator of its financial stability and literacy rates. It can even contribute to how healthy the country is overall. With all of this in mind, do you know which countries rank as the most educated in the world? While you might be able to guess a few, there may be some countries on the list that surprise you. Here are the top 10 most educated countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

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Luxembourg comes in as the smallest country to make the list. The country has only around 615,70 residents. Luxembourg is a landlocked country, surrounded by Germany, France, and Belgium. According to the OECD, 87% of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed at least a secondary education (compared to the OECD average of 84%). Also, 54% of residents in this age group have completed at least some level of higher education. Maybe this has something to do with why Luxembourg comes in as the wealthiest country in the world.

Norway

Norway

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It probably comes as no surprise that Norway ranks among the most educated countries. The European nation consistently ranks high for various quality of life factors, including healthcare, environmental awareness, and overall happiness. Colleges in Norway are tuition-free, which gives citizens greater access to higher education. The rate of adults with higher education has been increasing in Norway, and the country saw a 5% jump from 2007 to 2017. In 2017, 48% of adults aged 25 to 34 had some level of tertiary education.

Finland

Finland

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Another country with free education, this Scandinavian nation ranks among the most educated in the world. It’s not just Finnish residents that can take advantage of the free education. Non-native residents can get free schooling, as well. The Finnish education system is a stark contrast to that in the United States. Some key differences are that Finnish children receive 75 minutes of recess every day (as opposed to 27 minutes in the U.S.), there is no mandated testing until the age of 16, and most teachers stick with the same group of students for at least five years. It’s no wonder Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for two years running.

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Australia

Australia

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The land down under just barely misses the top five when it comes to the percentage of adults who have a higher education. An impressive 52% of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed higher education courses. The country also ranks among the highest level of citizens who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is despite how Australia has some of the highest tuition rates in the world.

United States of America

United States of America

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Public opinion on the state of the education system in the United States varies, depending on who you ask. The country is known to have an unbelievable amount of student debt, and tuition continues to be on the rise. On the other hand, the United States has some of the best universities in the world and is one of the world’s strongest powers. So it’s probably not surprising that the U.S. comes in smack dab in the middle of the top 10 most educated countries. The U.S. Census estimates that 59% of adults have completed some college.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

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One thing that sets the United Kingdom apart from other countries is its focus on early education. The country sees high enrollment levels for young children. Education is a top priority for citizens as reports have shown a direct correlation between education level and pay. In fact, one study found that residents with upper education earned on average 48% more than their peers without upper education. The United Kingdom is home to two of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

South Korea

South Korea

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South Korea places high demands on its students. Consequently, the country has a high number of adults with upper education. When it comes to students graduating from secondary school, Korea ranks number one. 98% of citizens graduate from secondary education. South Korea also ranks number one for attaining tertiary education, with nearly 70% of its residents completing some higher education.

Israel

Israel

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The education system in Israel is different from those in most of the world, but it still ranks as one of the best. In Israel, most schools are divided by the student’s faith. It is also not uncommon for schools to include weapon training. Because of its strong focus on education, the country has more university degrees per capita than any other country in the world. According to the OECD, nearly 25% of all residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Japan

Japan

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It may be hard to believe, but Japan does not come in at the top spot when it comes to education. Though the country is world-renowned for its education levels, it falls just short of number one. The amount of tertiary schooling comes in at a staggering 60% for adults between the age of 25 and 34. While the country has one of the highest percentages of adults expected to complete a bachelor’s degree, it has one of the lowest levels for doctorate degrees. Just 1% of its citizens are expected to attain a doctorate.

Canada

Canada

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Canada just barely edges out Japan when it comes to adults who will complete some amount of college. A whopping 60.9% of Canadians between the age of 25 and 34 have completed some level of college, whereas that number is 60.4% in Japan. There seems to be some level of correlation between education level and happiness because Norway, Finland, and Canada all ranked among the happiest countries in the world.

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