6 Largest Churches in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Largest Churches in the U.S.

Many people travel for an important reason: to savor new experiences that delight all of the senses. If you’re an experienced traveler, you often appreciate destinations of social, cultural, and historical significance. That said, a visit to a religious venue can be one way to explore your fascination with culture and history. Whether you love churches for their stunning stained-glass windows or historical artifacts, you’ll want to check out these churches below. Why? They are the six largest churches in the U.S.

Cathedral of St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota)

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The skyline of St. Paul, Minnesota, hasn’t been the same since the Cathedral of St. Paul held its first mass in 1915. On the exterior, you’ll marvel at the cathedral’s impressive dome, which measures a whopping 120 feet in diameter. The dome is made of steel beams, which are overlaid with clay tile and copper. Meanwhile, a 30-foot lantern sits at the apex of the dome. In all, the cathedral spans 306 feet in height, from its base to the top of the lantern.

The interior is no less impressive. The spacious sanctuary is the focal point of the cathedral and boasts a seating capacity of 3,000. Meanwhile, the marble altar is surrounded by an ornamental canopy called a baldachin. This majestic structure is supported by six columns of black and gold marble, each extending 24 feet high.

The building of the church was commissioned by Archbishop John Ireland in 1904. Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, a French architect trained in Paris, was chosen to design the Cathedral of St. Paul. Although the structure was usable in 1915, renovations weren’t fully completed until 1941.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York City, New York)

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City is the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the United States. The cathedral is approximately 405 feet long and 274 wide, and it seats around 2,200 parishioners. Its stunning spires rise 330 feet above the street.

Construction on St. Patrick’s began in 1858 under the direction of Archbishop John Hughes, who commissioned American architect James Renwick to design the structure. However, the cathedral didn’t open its doors until May 1879 due to a pause in construction during the Civil War.

Throughout the years, additional elements such as the West Front towers, the Lady Chapel, and the great organ were added to make St. Patrick’s the awe-inspiring vision it is today. St. Patrick’s is also known for its Pieta statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ, which is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Each year, more than three million people visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to light a candle, attend mass, or simply gaze in wonder at its impressive edifice.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles, California)

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Of the largest churches in the U.S., Our Lady of the Angels is the newest. Work began on the modern 11-story cathedral in May 1999 and was completed in early 2002.

Our Lady of the Angels is not only famous for its size but also its contemporary design, which was conceptualized by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo. Our Lady of the Angels is also famous for its 300-foot nave and largest single use of alabaster windows in the U.S., which admits around 33,500 square feet of natural light on any given day.

Washington National Cathedral (Washington, District of Columbia)

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It took more than two centuries to complete the Washington National Cathedral. However, the result is a majestic Gothic structure. Nestled atop Mount Saint Albans, the cathedral sits 400 feet above sea level, making the top of its tower the highest point in Washington, D.C.

In 1792, George Washington set aside a plot of land for a national church in Washington, D.C. However, nothing happened for 100 years. Construction on the church, designed by Frederick Bodley (a British architect for the Anglican church), finally began in 1907 after President Theodore Roosevelt presided over its dedication ceremony. Although major construction work was completed and the first chapel opened for service in 1912, Washington National Cathedral didn’t come into its full glory until 1990.

Throughout the decades, the cathedral has hosted numerous funerals for U.S. presidents, such as Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Washington National Cathedral also hosts prayer services when new Presidents are inaugurated.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, District of Columbia)

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic church in the United States. It’s 459 feet long, 240 feet wide, and reaches a height of 329 feet. Construction on the church began in 1920, but reports in Massachusetts newspapers suggest that the idea for constructing this massive church was conceived in the 1840’s.

The church held its first public mass on Easter Sunday in 1924. Today, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception serves as a gathering place for Catholics from all over the world. Mother Teresa frequently visited the shrine, and many Popes have made trips when in the U.S.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City, New York)

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St. John the Divine is an Episcopal church and the largest cathedral in the world. It stands at an impressive 601 feet and is 232 feet wide; the church also boasts a spectacular 120,000 square feet of floor space. Today, the cathedral houses the third largest rose window in the world; The Great Rose Window in the Cathedral’s western wall is constructed from 10,000 pieces of glass.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1892, after multiple bishops broached the idea for construction in the late 1820’s. Although the cathedral is more than 120 years old, it remains unfinished. Despite that, St. John the Divine held its first services in 1899 and continues to be an active place of worship today.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine also holds a special place in history for hosting ecumenical services during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, Martin Luther King preached at the church in 1956, and more than 6,000 people attended a service in 1964 to call for an end to racial segregation.

The 7 Most Densely Populated States

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Most Densely Populated States

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

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

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New York

New York

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Population Density: 414 people per square mile

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

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

Delaware

Delaware

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Population Density: 500 people per square mile

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

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

Maryland

Maryland

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Population Density: 625 people per square mile

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

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

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Connecticut

Connecticut

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Population Density: 737 people per square mile

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

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

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

Massachusetts

Massachusetts

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Population Density: 890 people per square mile

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

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

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

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Population Density: 1022 people per square mile

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

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

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

New Jersey

New Jersey

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Population Density: 1211 people per square mile

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

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

5 States That Make the Most Money From Tourism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 States That Make the Most Money From Tourism

Every state has its unique charms. However, when it comes to vacation destinations, only a select few of the 50 states make everyone’s lists consistently. In fact, tourists from America and around the world tend to flock to five states in particular. Read on to discover the five states that make the most money from tourism, according to World Atlas.

New York

New York

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Unsurprisingly, New York City is the main attraction for people visiting New York. In 2018, the city set a record for the most tourists who visited, an impressive 65.2 million. Most tourists came from other parts of the United States. However, 1.24 million came from Britain, 1.1 million from China, and 1 million from Canada. The total revenues earned by the city last year was estimated at around $44 billion.

Tourism in New York tends to peak in the summer and slow in the winter. The cold and snowy weather tend to keep visitors away from the city, except at Christmastime, of course.

Even though tourists are drawn to the Big Apple to see sights like the Empire State Building, Wall Street, and Central Park, there’s still plenty to see inside New York state itself. For example, Niagara Falls is situated right on the border of the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, the Adirondacks Region has some of the best hiking spots in the country.

Nevada

Nevada

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Like New York, Nevada draws tourists mainly because of one major city — Las Vegas. Over 42 million people visited the city in 2018. However, while tourists from all over the world are drawn to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Nevada has a lot to offer anyone seeking an outdoor adventure.

The state boasts an expansive desert and is also home to the most mountain ranges in the country. It’s a great destination for hikers and anyone who just wants to get off the beaten path for a while.

Travelers looking to escape the hot summer heat or who want to take part in some outdoor sports can head to places like Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the country. The city of Tahoe gets around 15 million visitors every year, which is especially impressive when you consider that the population of the area year-round is only 53,000 people.

For a unique destination, check out the Mob Museum, the national museum of organized crime. In all, the Las Vegas region generated almost $60 billion in revenues for the state in 2016.

Florida

Florida

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There’s a lot going on in Florida. The state had about 126 million visitors in 2018, bringing it to the number three spot on our list. Out of those 126 million tourists, about 10.8 million were overseas visitors while 3.5 million were from Canada. In 2016, the tourism industry earned the state of Florida $112 billion in revenues.

Florida is a great tourist destination because of its location and climate. Warm winters bring snowbirds down from the colder regions of the northern states. The state is also home to some of the biggest amusement attractions in the world, such as Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando (not to mention popular spring break destinations like Key West and Miami).

If you’d like to visit Florida, try to avoid hurricane season, which is typically in the fall. Generally, hurricane season runs from June through November, but Florida tends to see the most damaging hurricanes beginning in the early fall.

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California

California

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The largest state in the United States is California, and it’s also the second most popular tourist destination out of all 50 states. In 2018, the state earned $140.6 billion in revenue from tourism alone. Over $28 billion came from international tourists. California’s robust tourism industry supported over one million jobs across the state.

There’s a lot to see in California. From the busy urban centers of Los Angeles and San Francisco to the less populated Redwood Forest in Northern California, there’s something for everyone. If you prefer sunshine and beaches, San Diego is close to several amazing beaches, like La Jollaand Coronado. Looking for some family fun? Head to LEGOLAND (30 minutes north of San Diego) or Disneyland in Anaheim. There’s really no limit to what you can see and do in California, which is what makes it an appealing destination for many visitors.

Texas

Texas

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In 2018, the Texas tourism industry made a $164 billion impact on the state’s economy. As the second-largest state in the country, Texas has a lot to offer tourists. Major cities like Dallas and Austin give visitors a taste of the big city with a uniquely Texan flair. Tourists can experience traditional Texas culture by visiting destinations like the Fort Worth Stockyards, a historic district in Fort Worth. You’ll step back in time to the days of cowboys and cattle drives.

Be sure to catch the Fort Worth Herd every day at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm. This is the only twice daily cattle drive in the world. You can also take a historic walking tour, visit the bull-riding hall of fame, and eat a meal at The Star Cafe, formerly a saloon built in the 1900s.

Meanwhile, Austin, Texas, is known for its high-octane music scene and is home to some of the biggest music festivals in the country, such as SXSW and Austin City Limits. Like barbecue? The nearby city of Lockhart has officially been recognized as the barbecue capital of Texas. It’s about 35 miles south of Austin and is well worth the drive. Austin is also a great place for families to visit since it provides easy access to lakes and biking trails.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love San Antonio, Texas, where you can tour the Alamo. Meanwhile, South Padre Island, home of the fourth-longest beach in the world, is your best bet for a rejuvenating vacation along the Gulf of Mexico.

Droves of Blacktip Sharks Are Summering in Long Island for the First Time

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF LIVE SCIENCE)

 

Droves of Blacktip Sharks Are Summering in Long Island for the First Time

Thousands of blacktip sharks swarm near the shore of Palm Beach, Florida.

Thousands of blacktip sharks swarm near the shore of Palm Beach, Florida.
(Image: © Steve Kajiura, Florida Atlantic University)

 

Sharks making their annual northward migration from Florida have a new summer vacation destination: Long Island.

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus), which range from 4 to 8 feet (1.2 to 2.4 meters) long, spend much of the year in Florida before heading north to cooler waters. In the past, the Carolinas were the sharks’ destination of choice. But not anymore. Because of climate change, the waters off North and South Carolina are no longer cool enough in the summer. So blacktips are seeking waters farther north — and Long Island fits the bill. And just like the New Yorkers eager to spend the last weeks of summer in the Hamptons, these finned beachgoers are traveling in droves.

“These blacktips are going way the heck up to Long Island in big numbers — not just a few, but 25, 30 percent of the population,” Stephen Kajiura, a shark expert at Florida Atlantic University, told Live Science. “It blows your mind when you see it.”

Related: On the Brink: A Gallery of Wild Sharks

Nearly every year since 2011, Kajiura has surveyed the coast of Florida in a plane to see these sharks make their great trek north. There are often so many sharks that, from the sky, it’s hard to distinguish the individual sharks. Thousands aggregate in dark clumps. “There are just so many of them,” Kajiura said.

Many of these sharks are tagged with devices that allow scientists to track their locations. But it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists noticed that many of the tagged sharks’ had new migration pattern. At first, it seemed like a fluke, but it’s happened every summer since then — including this one, Kajiura said. Kajiura was blown away by the change.

There are two possible reasons blacktips might choose the Hamptons over the Carolinas, according to Kajiura. It might be that the Carolina waters are getting too hot for them; most sharks, including blacktips, are ectotherms, so they can’t cool down their bodies like mammals can. Even a small change in ocean temperature can cause them to overheat. Or, it could be that it’s the fish the sharks eat, not the sharks themselves, that are moving due to warming waters —  and the sharks are simply following them, Kajiura said. Either way, there’s no question about this: Temperatures along the Atlantic Seaboard are changing rapidly. Since 1960, the temperatures of the waters between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and the Gulf of Maine have shot up by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), National Geographic reported.

“Whether they’re moving themselves, or whether they’re moving because their prey are moving, either way, it’s a temperature-driven phenomenon,” Kajiura said. “The end result is the same.”

For now, blacktip sharks may be adapting.There is no evidence that populations of this species are declining overall, according to Kajiura, just that they’re edging farther north during the summers. For humans (especially New York humans), the end result might not be as bright.

“You have the potential for more bites on humans than you ever had before,” Kajiura said.

Long Island is much more packed with humans than blacktips’ former habitat. That means more encounters between sharks and humans are probable, Kajiura said. Although blacktips don’t have the same reputation for aggression as their better-known cousins, great whites, these small sharks are responsible for the majority of bites in the US, Kajiura said. That’s because blacktips are shallow-water species; they hang out where people swim.

People don’t usually die from blacktip bites, Kajiura said. These encounters are typically exploratory “hit-and-runs” where the shark is just as surprised to get a mouthful of human as the human is to feel a shark chomping on their leg. But that doesn’t mean people walk away unscathed.

“You’re not going to lose a limb, but it’s nasty,” Kajiura said. “You’ll still have a mangled hand or foot.”

Most likely, it’s not just blacktips that are expanding their range, Kajiura said. It just so happens that scientists have the data for blacktips, and because they hug the coast more than other shark species do, people are more likely to notice them in places where they didn’t swim before.

“We can use blacktips as an indicator,” Kajiura said. “It’s a changing world. It’s exciting. But in a way, it’s terrifying.”

Originally published on Live Science.

6 Towns to Explore on the U.S.-Canada Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Towns to Explore on the U.S.-Canada Border

The United States of America is the world’s fourth largest country and Canada is the second largest. It is hardly surprising then that the two share the world’s longest land border between two nations. Scattered along the 5,525 miles are hundreds of cities, towns and villages in addition to islands, lakes, national parks and waterfalls. Here’s six towns that will brighten up any journey along this immense frontier.

Derby Line, Vermont

Derby Line, Vermont

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Derby Line, and its Canadian neighbor Standstead, Quebec, are one of the finest examples of a border town. The two share several streets, although the names change into French once you get into Canada. Rumor has it that officials were inebriated when mapping the border, and today it zigzags around houses and through public buildings. The best instance of this is at Haskell Free Library and Opera House, where the entrance is in the U.S. and the books in Canada. This is also the only place in the world to have a stage in one country and the audience in another.

Eureka, Montana

Eureka, Montana

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Just nine miles south of the border crossing between Montana and British Columbia is Eureka, a gateway to superb outdoor adventures. There’s great hiking on the Pacific Northwest Trail, which travels along the Tobacco River at the edge of town. Drive south on the Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway with tall pine forests on one side and views across the Kootenai River to Kootenai National Forest on the other. The fishing is superb at the Ten Lakes Scenic Area, as is the skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Eureka is also only a 90-minute drive from the heart of Glacier National Park.

International Falls, Minnesota

International Falls, Minnesota

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International Falls has the cult claim to fame of being the inspiration for Frostbite Falls, the hometown of the protagonists from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. The city lies on the opposite side of the Rainy River from Fort Frances, Ontario, and at the point where the river meets Rainy Lake. A major attraction of the town is the opportunity to view the aurora borealis (northern lights) from Voyageurs National Park. Across the river, Fort Frances is a starting point for cross-country skiing, ice-fishing and snowshoeing in Ontario.

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Lubec, Maine

Lubec, Maine

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A bayside setting and clapboard houses surrounded by white picket fences give Lubec a quintessential New England charm. Interestingly, for geography fanatics at least, this is the closest point of the U.S. mainland to Africa. While here you can visit the McCurdy Smokehouse Museum, which retraces the town’s once booming smoked fish industry. South of town, the picture perfect West Quoddy Head Lighthouse has great views over the Bay of Fundy. Passport in hand, cross the Lubec Narrows waterway and visit Roosevelt Campobello International Park, an island retreat and former summer residence of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls, New York

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Straddling one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls are two cities that go by the same name and are linked by the arched Rainbow International Bridge. The Niagara Scenic Byway brings you into New York State’s Niagara Falls, the home of the Niagara Falls State Park. Come here to ride the Maid of the Mist boat and descend slippery wooden walkways to the Cave of the Winds. With amusement arcades, quirky museums, an observation wheel, and vibrant nightlife, the Canadian Niagara Falls is somewhat of mini theme park. There’s unbeatable views of Horseshoe Falls, too, and the fascinating Journey Behind the Falls attraction. Not bad for a 30-minute drive from Buffalo or 90-minute car journey from Toronto.

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

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Until 1812, Sault Ste. Marie, and its namesake sister city in Ontario, were one city that sat on either side of St. Mary’s River. Today the aptly named Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge connects the two. In Michigan’s version, history fanatics flock to the Museum Ship Valley Campto learn about the wrecked SS Edmund Fitzgerald. The Tower of History affords uninterrupted views of ships arriving at the river’s canal locks. A 40-minute scenic drive from downtown is Point Iroquois Lighthouse, the place where Lake Superior flows into St. Mary’s River. Over the bridge you’ll find a pretty 19th-century red sandstone storehouse at Sault Ste. Marie Canal and riverside walking trails at Whitefish Indian Island Reserve.

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

When people think of high-end wine producers, regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont are the powerhouses that usually make the list. However, if you want to try something new, without significantly sacrificing on quality, consider sourcing wines from one of these seven up-and-coming wine regions.

Anderson Valley, California, U.S.A.

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Given its remote location several hours north of San Francisco, the Anderson Valley doesn’t see as many vineyard hoppers as Napa and Sonoma. That doesn’t mean the wines aren’t worth it, though. The cool climate has shown tremendous success with both pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, perfect as well for producing French-style sparkling wines. Today, Anderson Valley produces some of the best sparkling wines in the country.

Rias Baixas, Spain

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Rias Baixas is located along the Galician coast in Spain. There are a number of small inlets, called rias, where you’ll find nutrient-rich waters. The water plays a big role in making Rias Baixas wine so delicious. One wine variety that has shown significant success is albariño, a white wine with a nice blend of minerality and acidity.

Finger Lakes, New York, U.S.A.

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New York is one of the largest wine producers in the country, thanks in part to the Finger Lakes region that is producing some phenomenal cool-climate wines, especially rieslings. There are more than 200 brands of rieslings produced in the Finger Lakes region alone. Impressive for a wine region that only really established itself in the early 1980s.

Kakheti, Georgia

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The country of Georgia has been producing wines since at least 6,000 B.C., based on archaeological excavations that uncovered qvevri, a traditional winemaking vessel that allowed ancient winemakers to ferment wine underground. Today, wines produced in this mountainous region of Georgia utilize both traditional and modern techniques. UNESCO has since recognized the importance of the qvevri winemaking tradition, adding it to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

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Lebanon is another place where winemaking traditions date back quite a ways. Even in modern times, Lebanese wineries have faced their share of challenges, including Château Musar, which still managed to produce wine throughout the horrific civil war that tore Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990. When the war ended, there were only around five wineries left in Lebanon. By 2014, that number had jumped to almost 50. While French grapes primarily dominate here, there are some local Lebanese wine grapes like merwah and obaideh present.

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

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When most people think about Mexico and drinks, they probably picture tequila, mezcal and beer, not wine. Mexico is bucking the stereotypes and demonstrating that it has areas that are capable of producing award-winning wines as well. The mountainous terrain helps cool the hot summer days, allowing the grapes to flourish.

Texas Hill Country, Texas, U.S.A.

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The hot and dry climate of Texas is not the ideal condition you’d think of for an up-and-coming wine region, but Texas Hill Country is producing some pretty incredible wines, especially big reds. The climate is working well for varietals like tempranillo, syrah and tannat.

3 States With Very Restrictive Gun Laws With Three Mass Shootings This Weekend

3 States With Very Restrictive Gun Laws With Three Mass Shootings This Weekend

 

This letter to you this evening is one filled with my opinions on guns and gun laws here in the U.S. as well as some facts for you to consider. New York, Illinois and California are three of the most restrictive gun law States in our Nation. Since Friday evening through Sunday night there were three mass shooting that I am aware of. First, Friday evening at a block party in Brooklyn NY some coward opened fire on the crowd killing at least three and wounding eleven. Sunday evening in the city of Gilroy in north central California another coward, or two, did the same at their annual festival, again killing at least three and wounding eleven. Over the weekend in Chicago the police there say that from 5 PM Friday through Sunday evening 40 more people were shot with at least 8 being killed. One thing that these three States have in common is that they are three of the most restrictive gun law States in our Nation.

 

What I mean by ‘restrictive’ is simple, it means that the laws in those States make it very difficult to buy and possess a firearm legally and to carry one on you, almost impossible. But, as all the world knows that in most cases it is not a person who bought a legal firearm that tends to go around shooting people. Don’t get me wrong, I am for several restrictions being in place to stop really bad people from buying guns. Restrictions like 5-7 day waiting periods to possess a firearm that is bought from a store. Federal background checks are a very good thing and I believe that people who are obviously a looney tune should never be able to get a firearm. I believe that ‘gun shows’ should have major curbs on them such as no firearms being allowed to be bought in the parking lots outside of the buildings and the same 5-7 day waiting periods with background checks for weapons being bought inside the shows.

 

Think about the situation just across our southern border in Mexico, they have very tough gun laws there which makes the law abiding citizens nothing but fodder for the drug gangs, the people aren’t allowed to defend themselves and the bad folks know it. I live in the State of Kentucky which has extremely lenient gun laws, probably about the most lenient ones in the whole Country. I have a concealed license as does every member of my family, we had them even before our ignorant governor made it legal for anyone and everyone to carry concealed shortly before the spring elections. This means that you don’t have to have any training at all to carry a hideaway gun on you, a very stupid idea. But there is one issue I would like you to think about concerning gun law reality here in Kentucky compared to Illinois, New York or California. Here in Kentucky if an idiot pulls out a firearm in a store there is a very very good chance that patrons within the store are going to shoot that person dead on the spot. If in a case like what happened in Brooklyn or in Gilroy happened here where a coward opens fire on a crowd many of the people in that crowd will have guns on them and they will without a doubt kill that shooter or shooters on the spot, thus limiting the body count of the murderous cowards. Please notice one thing about these shooters, the reason I call them cowards, they always commit their crimes where they are pretty positive no one will be shooting back at them. States with these highly restrictive gun laws only end up getting their innocent law abiding citizens murdered.  What I am trying to do in this letter to you this evening is to point out realities. After every mass shooting the ‘progressive left’ starts using the deaths as an excuse to disarm the law abiding civilians. One of the most gut wrenching realities is when a total coward goes into a school and kills a bunch of kids or into a place of worship and kill all the unarmed people. Cowards always choose the easiest unarmed targets, don’t be one. Don’t let the far left politicians or anyone else get you and your family murdered by one of these cowards. If you notice, the ones who do the most screaming about disarming you are the ones who have the protection of people with guns all around them, think about it.

10 Cities All Architecture Lovers Need to Visit Before They Die

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Cities All Architecture Lovers Need to Visit Before They Die

From towering skyscrapers to the ancient Colosseum, the world is filled with architectural marvels. And since architecture is best enjoyed in person, here are 10 cities that architecture lovers simply must visit.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Credit: Semmick Photo/Shutterstock

It’s called the “City of Big Shoulders” for a reason. Chicago is home to some of the oldest skyscrapers, such as the Manhattan Building, built in 1891; the Reliance Building, built in 1895; and Chicago Savings Bank Building, completed in 1905. Most of Downtown Chicago was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, but the iconic Chicago Water Tower, built in 1869, was left standing. Built solely of yellow Lemont limestone, seeing the 182-foot tower firsthand should be on every architecture lovers bucket list.

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

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Rome is home to some of the world’s most photographed structures, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Trajan’s Market. Had it not been for the Romans, designs like the arch and the dome would never have come to be. Rome’s classical structures are a must see. That’s a given. But the city’s Baroque style buildings, which were mostly constructed during the 17th century, are also well worth your time. The sheer grandness of structures like St. Peter’s Basilicaand the Trevi Fountain can’t be captured in a photograph. Few things in life will leave you as awestruck as taking a stroll inside St. Peter’s, with its massive dome, and looking up. You may never want to look down again.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

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Influenced by the legendary 19th century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s architecture, much like the city itself, is imaginative and colorful. One sight that’s a must see is Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. The façade of the building is constructed of broken ceramic tiles, thus creating an eye-popping mosaic that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Other structures that are inspired by Gaudi’s vivid imagination include Jean Nouvel’s Tower, which is designed to resemble a geyser of water shooting through the air, and Frank Gehry’s Fish.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Credit: Rastislav Sedlak SK/Shutterstock

In addition to being home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai skyline is filled with twisty-turny steel buildings. If you find yourself wandering in this desert city, be sure to check out the Burj al Arab, which is designed to look like an Arabian dhow ship, as well as the curving Cayan, with its seemingly impossible 90-degree twist. There’s also the famed underwater zoo located in the Dubai Mall, which features 300 different species of aquatic life, including all types of fish, sting rays and sharks.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

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Fueled by government investment, Shanghai has grown rapidly in recent years. It’s almost as if a glossy new structure pops up each month. The architecture in Shanghai is modernistic, and best represented in buildings like the Hongkou Soho office building, with its pleated exterior. Shanghai is also home to the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower, which features a twisted, glass façade that stretches upward for 2,073 feet.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Credit: Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

The birthplace of Art Deco and Gothic architecture, Paris is a city whose rich architectural history stretches back centuries. Gothic style, which is marked by colorful stained glass windows and flying buttresses, can be seen in a number of Paris cathedrals, including the Sainte-Chapelle, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais and, most famously, Notre-Dame, which was in the news earlier this year after sustaining serious damage during a 15-hour fire. Paris’s famed Art Deco buildings, with their notable exteriors that feature numerous horizontal lines, began popping up shortly before World War I and were dominant in the ’20s and ’30s. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Grand Rex movie palace are two prominent structures that exhibit this style. This is a small sample of the numerous architectural wonders in the City of Light.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

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The Russian capital is home to some of the most recognizable architecture in the world with a style known simply as Russian architecture. Arguably the most renown structure in the Russian style is Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Constructed in the 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral is known for its vibrant, onion-shaped domes. Moscow is also home to more recent architectural wonders like the Ostankino Tower, which was completed in 1967 and was for a period of time the tallest building in the world, and a group of Moscow skyscrapers known as the Seven Sisters. The seven buildings, which were built during the reign of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, are wide and blocky, and scattered throughout Moscow. They were constructed in the Stalinist style of Russian architecture, which borrows elements of the Russian baroque.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

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Several ancient monuments from Athens’s classical era are still standing, most notably the Parthenon, with its enormous stone columns. There is also the Theatre of Dionysus, which was the birthplace of Greek tragedy and the first theater ever constructed. And what would a historically rich city like Athens be without its ancient temples? During its heyday, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which was completed around the 2nd century, had an unthinkable 104 columns, although only a few remain standing today.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

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The most populous city in Turkey is known for two distinct styles of architecture: Byzantine and Ottoman. The Hagia Sophia, which was constructed in the 6th century, is a church that is emblematic of the Byzantine style, with its massive dome and elegiac mosaics depicting Christ and other biblical figures. The Ottoman style of architecture also flourished in Istanbul. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries a number of imperial mosques were constructed throughout the city, including Faith Mosque, Yeni Mosque\ and Bayezid Mosque. The mosques all have the key features of the Ottoman style, with extensive use of domes and columns, and are an absolute marvel to experience in person.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

From the Art Deco masterpiece that is the Chrysler Building (1930), to the Gothic Revival design of the Woolworth Building (1913), to the more recent green design of the Conde Nast Building, New York City’s skyscrapers employ a wide range of stylistic elements. The character of the city can also be seen in the architectural designs used in its residential neighborhoods. From the brownstones in Brooklyn to the tenements on the Lower East Side, New York’s five boroughs are an architectural cornucopia whose styles are as diverse as the city itself.

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

America is home to more than 328 million people, but did you know that more than 53 percent live in just 10 states?

Naturally, these 10 states are home to the country’s biggest urban centers. The most popular states are, for the most part, located along the United States’ borders, giving rise to the term “flyover states” to refer to the more sparsely populated interior states.

The following population estimate numbers were obtained from the most recent count by the U.S. Census, which was completed in 2018.

10. Michigan

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With 9,995,915 residents, Michigan beats out New Jersey by more than 900,000 people to slide into the tenth spot. The auto industry in Detroit has historically been linked to population growth in the Great Lakes State. While that industry has downsized considerably, cheap real estate has recently attracted home-hungry millennials to the state.

9. North Carolina

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About 10,383,620 people call the Tarheel State home. There are lots of reasons North Carolina has grown to be such a populous state, including its temperate climate, prestigious universities, and a relatively low cost of living. Perhaps chief among them is the favorable business climate, which has drawn many employers to the state and jobs to boot. Forbes named North Carolina the Best State for Business two years in a row (2017 and 2018).

8. Georgia

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The Peach State is home to 10,519,475 people. Like North Carolina, its population blossomed between 2010 and 2018, growing a robust 8.57 percent. Close to half of the state residents, more than 5.8 million people, live in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area. The next biggest metro area, Augusta, is home to 600,000.

7. Ohio

Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

The perennial swing state of Ohio has 11,689,442 million residents. While many of its traditional Rust Belt cities like Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron have seen shrinking populations, the capital city of Columbus has boomed, growing more than 11 percent since 2010.

6. Illinois

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Buoyed by Chicago, the country’s third-most populous city, The Land of Lincoln is home to 12,741,080 people. Of all the states in the top 10, Illinois is the only one that actually shrunk during the last eight years. The state shed 0.71 percent of its population, the equivalent of over 90,000 people.

5. Pennsylvania

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The Quaker State grew at a snail’s pace of 0.82 percent over the last eight years, but it was enough to take the fifth-place spot from Illinois. Pennsylvania is now home to an estimated 12,807,060 people.

4. New York

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

From the top of the Adirondacks to the hot dog stands of Coney Island, about 19,542,209 people call the Empire State home. A big chunk of them, about 44 percent of the state’s population, live in close proximity to each other in New York City.

3. Florida

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Florida is the second-fastest growing state on the list, boosting its population by 13.27 percent over the last eight years. That brings the state’s total population to about 21,299,325 people. A steady flood of retiring Baby Boomers has given a bump to the Sunshine State’s growth.

2. Texas

Credit: Art Wager / iStock

Everything is bigger in Texas, including population growth. The Lone Star State is the fastest-growing state in the country, expanding its population at a rate of 14.14 percent since the last census tally and is now home to 28,701,845 million people.

Texas’ growth is powered by its cities. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas all have a spot in the top 10 most populous cities in the country. Austin is right behind in 11th place. All told, some 6 million Texans live in it four biggest cities.

1. California

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Apparently, everybody wants to move to California, and for good reason. Not only is the California economy the largest in the nation, but if California were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.

The Golden State grew more than 6 percent from 2010 to 2018, reaching a population of 39,557,045 people. It is also the third-largest state by area, covering more than 163,000 square miles. That gives California even more room to grow.

Some people, however, think California should be broken up into three smaller states. Activists came close to getting a referendum to break up California on the ballot in 2018. Proponents argued that the proposal would allow all residents to obtain better infrastructure, better education, and lower taxes, according to venture capitalist Tim Draper who sponsored the failed measure. It would also give the people more representation in the U.S. Senate, giving the population within its boundaries six senators instead of just two.

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Trump: Democrat congresswomen ‘love’ al-Qaeda, use ‘anti-Semitic’ language

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Trump: Democrat congresswomen ‘love’ al-Qaeda, use ‘anti-Semitic’ language

US president says ‘many people agree with me’ that lawmakers Tlaib, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley should ‘leave the country’ if they hate it

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Made in America showcase event on the South Lawn of the White House, July 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US President Donald Trump speaks during a Made in America showcase event on the South Lawn of the White House, July 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Unbowed by searing criticism, US President Donald Trump on Monday emphatically defended his tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “broken and crime infested” countries. Condemnation of his comments “doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump declared, adding that the lawmakers employ “anti-Semitic” language and have “love” for terror group al-Qaeda.

Trump responded to questions at the White House after his Sunday tweet assailing the lawmakers, all of whom are US citizens and three of whom were born in the country. He has been roundly criticized by Democrats, who labeled his remarks racist and divisive, and a smattering of Republicans, who also have objected. Most leading Republicans have been silent.

“When I hear the way they talk about our country, when I hear the anti-Semitic language they use, when I hear the hatred they have for Israel, and the love they have for enemies like al-Qaeda, then you know what, I will tell you I do not believe this is good for the Democrat party,” Trump said.

Resurrecting language not prevalent in the US for decades, he added that if the lawmakers “hate our country,” they “can leave” it.

“If you’re not happy in the US, if you’re complaining all the time, you can leave, you can leave right now,” he said.

The lawmakers’ criticism has been aimed at Trump and his administration’s policies and actions.

Earlier Monday, Trump made clear he had no intention of backing down, asking on Twitter when “the Radical Left Congresswomen” would “apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said.”

“So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!” he wrote.

It was yet another sign that Trump, who won the presidency in 2016, in part by energizing disaffected voters with incendiary racial rhetoric, has no intention of backing away from that strategy going in 2020. Trump has faced few consequences for such attacks, which typically earn him cycles of front-page media attention.

Asked whether Trump’s comments were racist, Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, defended Trump, telling reporters he had been responding to “very specific” comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia, and was not making a “universal statement.”

But Trump did not make that distinction in his tweets. He cited “Congresswomen” — an almost-certain reference to a group of women known as “the Squad” that includes Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

This combination image shows, from left, US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, July 10, 2019; Ilhan Omar, March 12, 2019; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, July 12, 2019; and Ayanna Pressley, July 10, 2019, all in Washington. (AP Photo)

“I don’t think that the president’s intent any way is racist,” said Short, pointing to Trump’s decision to choose Elaine Chao, who was born outside the US, as his transportation secretary.

Chao is one of the few minorities working among the largely white and male aides in high-profile roles in Trump’s administration. She is the wife of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who had made no comment on Trump’s attacks as of midday Monday.

Omar ignited a bipartisan uproar in Washington several months ago, when she suggested that some members of Congress support Israel because of money, while Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, riled up a supportive crowd by calling the president a profane name and predicting he would be removed from office.

Tlaib and Omar are fierce critics of Israel and have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state. Ocasio-Cortez has also criticized Israel on multiple occasions. Pressley, on the other hand, has said she opposes BDS and supports the two-state solution.

Tlaib is organizing a congressional visit to the West Bank in August, to compete with Israel trips organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of AIPAC.

Following a familiar script, Republicans remained largely silent after Trump’s Sunday morning broadsides that caused Democrats to set aside their internal rifts to rise up in a united chorus against him.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump wants to “make America white again,” while Ocasio-Cortez said Trump “can’t conceive of an America that includes us.”

“Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States,” she tweeted, adding that, “You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”

Omar also addressed herself directly to Trump in a tweet, writing: “You are stoking white nationalism (because) you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”

Pelosi announced Monday that the House would be holding a vote on a resolution condemning Trump’s comments.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president who golfed with him over the weekend, advised him to “aim higher” during an appearance on “Fox and Friends,” even as he accused the members in question of being “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.”

US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Don’t get personal. Don’t take the bait,” said Graham. He said Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues “are American citizens” who were “duly elected,” while adding: “We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country.”

Trump’s words may have been meant to widen the divides within the Democrat caucus, which has been riven by internal debate over how far left to go in countering him, and over whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings against the president. Instead, the president’s tweets, which evoked the trope of telling black people to go back to Africa, brought Democrats together.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential front-runner, tweeted Sunday that Trump “continues to spew hateful rhetoric, sow division, and stoke racial tensions for his own political gain.”

“Let’s be clear about what this vile comment is: A racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate.

Among the few GOP lawmakers commenting, Rep. Pete Olson of Texas said Trump’s Sunday tweet was “not reflective of the values of the 1,000,000+ people” in his district. “We are proud to be the most diverse Congressional district in America. I urge our President immediately disavow his comments,” he wrote.

It was far from the first time that Trump has been accused of holding racist views.

In his campaign kickoff in June 2015, Trump deemed many Mexican immigrants “rapists.” In 2017, he said there good people on “both sides” of the clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and anti-racist demonstrators that left one counter-protester dead. Last year, during a private White House meeting on immigration, Trump wondered why the United States was admitting so many immigrants from “shithole countries” like African nations.

Repeatedly, Trump has painted arriving immigrants as an “infestation” and he has been slow in condemning acts of violence committed by white supremacists. And he launched his political career with false claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Fearful of his Twitter account and sweeping popularity among many Republican voters, GOP lawmakers have largely tried to ignore the provocative statements.

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