5 Forgotten Airlines Everyone Used to Love

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Forgotten Airlines Everyone Used to Love

Today, everyone looks for the best airline with the most reasonable price. Searches start with the main companies: United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, among others. What travelers may not know, however, is that many of these popular airlines are descendants of several great airlines that came before. Here are five forgotten airlines everyone used to love.

Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)

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Pan American World Airways (Pan Am, as it is more commonly known) is not just the title of a fictional television series starring Christina Ricci. Pan Am is one of the most adored airlines of all time. Founded in 1927, it was a pioneer in the aviation industry, bringing popularity to jumbo jets and other aircrafts when no one else in the industry was really using them yet. It was also the first airline to begin using computerized systems for flight booking and reservation management. This airline was so beloved that, after it closed up shop in 1991, the Pan Am Historical Foundation was created, and it’s entirely devoted to archiving news about Pan Am and its historical significance.

Trans World Airlines (TWA)

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Trans World Airlines (TWA) was born to carry mail in 1920’s. Under the funding of billionaire aviator Howard Hughes, which started in 1939, the airline quickly became much more than that. Deemed “the airline run by flyers,” it released sleek new airplanes (this time for carrying people, not just mail), and was one of the first airlines to receive a jumbo jet. Unfortunately, though, according to USA Today, the airline began to crumble in the ’70’s, and was forced to file for bankruptcy in the ’90’s. In 2001, it was bought out by American Airlines.

Eastern Air Lines

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Like Pan Am, Eastern Air Lines was founded in 1927. It was one of the Big Four Airlines in the 1930s, and was led by a World War I flying ace named Eddie Rickenbacker. For much of its run, it was the undisputed leader in flights between New York and Florida, so much so that it was said to hold a monopoly over this area. As time went on, though, more and more problems began to plague the airline, such as debt and labor disputes, until it went out of business in 1991. The airline was so beloved, though, that the 2000s saw many attempts to bring it back to life. The latest attempt was short lived. According to Airways Mag, the new Eastern Air Lines was forced to give up its Air Operator’s Certificate less than two years after restarting.

Cimber Air

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Created in 1950, this Danish airline was extremely successful and was renowned for its great service. It has been linked with several great airlines that are still in business today, such as Lufthansa and Scandinavian Airlines. In 2008, it was large and powerful enough to absorb parts of a bankrupt airline called Sterling Airlines, but this proved to be its downfall. Just four years later it, too, had to file for bankruptcy, and the run was effectively over. There was an attempt by Scandinavian Airlines to get it going again according to The Local, but this did not pan out either.

Gandalf Airlines

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Gandalf Airlines is perhaps one of the funnest airlines to have been lost to time. This Italian airline, operated just outside of Milan, was created by Luciano Di Fazio, who just so happened to be a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan. He so loved The Lord of the Rings that the Eye of Sauron was emblazoned on the seat covers on every flight, and the theme from The Hobbit was played in every cabin. Unfortunately, though, this airline was short-lived. It opened in 1998, but according to RunwayGirlNetwork.com, it saw a huge decrease in the cities it served starting in 2003, and went bankrupt by 2004. Perhaps one day Frodo can go on a quest to bring it back.

5 Most Romantic Spots in Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Most Romantic Spots in Europe

Europe is made up of 50 fascinating countries, each of which has its own individual charm while also sharing similarities with its neighbors. From the heartland of two of the world’s greatest civilizations, to Mediterranean islands and mountainous regions, it is a continent of immense diversity. Its cities are often considered among the most romantic on the planet and visited year-round by couples and honeymooners. Here’s five spots to visit for when you want to add a touch of romance to your travels.

Amsterdam

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Rent a bike and explore the endless miles of canals that meander around the Dutch capital. Stop at a waterfront bar for lunch and admire a cityscape characterized by medieval merchant houses. At night, antique street lamps illuminate the cobblestone streets to create a fairytale-like setting. If biking sounds too energetic, consider renting a boat, or go one better by staying overnight on a houseboat. In summer, bring a picnic to Vondelpark and be sure to cross to quieter Amsterdam-Noord to hang out in the shadow of a windmill. Of course, there’s the coffee shops and a superb collection of museums to visit, too.

Budapest

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Budapest straddles the mighty Danube with magnificent works of architecture rising up on both sides of the river. Soak up the sights from one of the benches that line the embankment, traverse the zigzagging alleyways of Castle Hill and find a quiet spot to snuggle in the leafy grounds of the Citadella. After a busy day of sightseeing, you’ll want to indulge in some therapeutic treatments at thermal spas, such as Rudas Baths and Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Finish your evening with a champagne and sunset Danube cruise.

Florence

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Forget Rome and Venice and opt for this glorious city in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region. Renaissance art and architecture give Florence an old-world charm like no other, and you can pass the time strolling hand in hand through the narrow lanes of the Centro Storico. Take breaks at pavement cafes and grab a gelato at a traditional ice cream parlor. Sit on the steps of Piazzale Michelangelo for exquisite views of the city, and don’t miss the sunsets on the Arno River. If you simply want to relax, head to the beautiful gardens of Giardino Bardini and Giardino di Boboli.

Mykonos

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From kicking back on secluded beaches during the daytime, to dinner and drinks at Little Venice, Mykonos is a dream come true for couples. Jump on a quad bike and feel the breeze in your hair as you travel the twisting, hilly roads to stunning beaches. Agios Sostis and Lia Beach are two of many perfect spots for sunbathing and swimming in crystalline waters. Dress up for some excellent photo opportunities in Little Venice, whose quaint whitewashed and blue houses could have been lifted straight from a movie set. Why not take a snorkeling tour and spot exotic fish together?

Vienna

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Once home to the House of Habsburg, Austria’s imperial capital has enchantment at the turn of every corner. With labyrinthine lanes, arcaded courtyards and grand palaces, the Old City is a wonderful place to amble aimlessly and discover hidden treasures. Ride a horse-drawn carriage between major attractions or see the city from the water on a Danube river cruise. Make sure to spend an evening at either the Burgtheater or Vienna State Opera. Smell the roses in springtime at Volksgarten and follow footpaths through Vienna Woods. December’s Christmas markets add another welcome dose of romance.

5 Most Useful Second Languages For Travelers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Most Useful Second Languages For Travelers

In addition to the world’s most influential and widely spoken language of English, understanding a second language is key to unlocking authentic experiences on your travels and making and maintaining global connections. It’s a way of displaying respect to the people of the country as a traveler, and it will allow you to feel more comfortable in foreign destinations and ease the process of adopting a new culture. Before taking off on your next journey, consider picking up one of these useful second languages to better engage with locals.

Russian

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Outside of tourist hotspots in Eurasia, navigating the public transportation systems and ordering food can pose a challenge. Though the official Russian speaking nations of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus don’t regularly top bucket lists for many travelers, its Soviet Union legacy solidified Russian as a recognized second language in its 15 former countries, allowing Russian speaking travelers to move through Armenia, Estonia, Georgia and Uzbekistan with ease. Based on the 33 letters of the Cyrillic alphabet, a grasp of the Russian language is pertinent to Eurasian adventures of traveling on the Trans-Siberian and hiking the rugged paths of Lake Baikal.

Arabic

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As one of the United Nations’ six official languages, Arabic is a useful second language for exploring the Middle East and North Africa. Comprised of 30 modern types, Modern Standard Arabic is officially used in politics, books and news channels, while Classical Arabic is the language of the Quran and is used in Islamic literature dating between the 7th and 9th centuries. The squiggly lines of Arabic script written from right to left may seem intimidating and foreign to English speakers at first, but the biggest challenge of learning Arabic is deciding on which dialect to study, as these regional variations are the basis for daily interactions.

Mandarin

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Widely used in Asia and beyond, Mandarin is the world’s most spoken language, with over one billion native speakers. Because few residents speak a language other than Mandarin, navigating China and Taiwan can prove difficult for foreigners. The most challenging aspect of learning the language is mastering its tonal component, as the meaning of the word changes depending on which of its four tones you use. But grasping the language means being able to engage in daily interactions with locals in the markets of Malaysia, with street food vendors in Singapore, and can also prove useful in the sizable Chinese communities of Indonesia and Thailand.

French

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A native language of France, French is also one of Canada’s two official languages. It remains a popular second language across Europe and is also widely spoken on islands of the Caribbean and parts of Africa. France consistently tops surveys as the most visited country in the world and is one of few places where tourists outnumber locals. Immerse yourself in the French culture by ordering delectable crepes from street vendors in Nice and sailing the sparkling blue waters of Corsica in the Mediterranean, all in French. Travelers fluent in the language can also lay on the sugary white sand beaches of Martinique, explore Montreal’s Old Port, or navigate the souks of Morocco without a hitch.

Spanish

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America’s second most spoken language, Spanish, also dominates Central and South America, allowing Spanish speaking travelers to easily navigate their way through the region’s most popular destinations of Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. Aside from its high geographic coverage in the Americas, Spanish is also a native language of Spain, and its commonalities with Portuguese and Italian assist travelers in communicating across southern Europe and Brazil. Due to regional accents, Spanish is spoken differently in countries around the world, but Guatemala’s neutral accent has been recognized by travelers as a favorite place to learn, resulting in a high number of Spanish language schools in the nation’s colonial city of Antigua.

6 Bridges Only the Bravest Travelers Would Cross

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Bridges Only the Bravest Travelers Would Cross

Bridges can be symbols of engineering and innovation. Not every bridge is a modern marvel, however. There are places where travelers will find bridges that are downright dangerous. Take a look at the following six bridges and question whether you’d even want to take the first step to cross.

Trift Bridge, Switzerland

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This bridge allows you to see and appreciate the Trift glacier in all of its glory. Trift bridge was built in 2004, when it was no longer possible to cross from one side of the glacier to the other after the loss of ice in the region. While it was replaced by a more secure structure in 2009, the bridge is still only for the bravest of the brave.

The Trift Bridge is currently one of the longest cable suspension bridges in the world, as it runs 560 feet and sits 330 feet high above the glacier lake. Travelers who are brave enough to cross take an average of 223 steps to reach the other side. Safe or not, one wrong step and…

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland

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While the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge is only 66 feet long, the first warning you will receive upon arrival is to make sure there are less than eight people in your group. This bridge is feeble enough that it has to restrict the amount of people crossing, so make sure you develop nerves of steel before visiting.

If you do visit this somewhat popular local attraction, try to look at the scenery around you. Even though you’ll be in Northern Ireland’s territory, you’ll be able to catch glimpses of Scotland while crossing. It’s definitely better to keep your eyes up than look down at the rocks below.

Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge, Peru

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This bridge is among the last that the Incas built. It crosses over the Apurimac Canyon, and it’s made entirely from woven grass and straw. Although the arrival of the Spaniards caused many of the bridges to be abandoned, the Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge, which is about 60 miles south of Cuzco, can be appreciated as it was 500 years ago.

If you dare, you could venture to Peru and walk the 118 feet as you look down on a ferocious river from about 60 feet above.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Canada

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This Canadian bridge is 214 feet above sea level and 460 feet long. It makes the list because it actually has some dark history. To start, back in June 2010, a 17-year-old boy fell off the Capilano Suspension Bridge and died.

That’s not all, in 2012, a 30-year-old Canadian died while trying to retrieve the debit card he had dropped on the bridge.

With these deathly stories, it’s surprising this metal bridge is still an attraction in Vancouver.

Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado, U.S.

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Travelers describe crossing this Colorado bridge as an adrenaline-pumping adventure. It’s 1247 feet in length, so it’s definitely meant for the bravest of souls looking for a thrill. It may be tempting to look down at the Arkansas River, but perhaps you should focus on crossing to the other side.

While no accidents or deaths have come from crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge, there are enough restrictions placed to make everybody understand that this is a dangerous construction. For example, regular cars are allowed to cross, but only when it’s verified that there are no pedestrians crossing. Heavy goods vehicles are prohibited.

Hussaini Suspension Bridge, Pakistan

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At the top of the list of the most nerve-wracking bridges is the terrifying Hussaini Suspension Bridge, found in the small town of Hussaini. It’s high above the Borit Lake, and is long and poorly maintained. Travelers who have been brave enough to cross often say it’s “hanging by a thread.

The village dwellers on both sides of the Hunza region built this suspension bridge with materials from the area. Even though it’s dangerous, it is the only means the villagers have to see each other from time to time. Nobody knows how long this bridge will last, but those who have had the guts to cross do highlight the view of the beautiful Himalayan Mountains.

4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

Many U.S. cities experience extreme temperatures, sometimes changing as much as 50 or even 65 degrees in a day. The honor for the hottest place ever recorded in the U.S. goes to Death Valley, California, with a whopping temperature of 134° F recorded in 1913. You’ll find the coldest place in the U.S. in the tiny northern Alaska town of Prospect Creek — temps fell to -80° F in 1971. The following four cities can claim some of the largest temperature variations within a year.

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa

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The Midwest experiences some of the greatest temperature variations between winter and summer. In Waterloo, Iowa, you’ll see temperature differences averaging about 57.5 degrees. Winter temps average 10° F to 27° F and summer highs reach the mid-80s. Waterloo residences enjoy a recently revitalized downtown area along the Cedar River that includes a riverwalk trail, plaza, splash pad, amphitheater, DekHockey rink, shopping, dining, cultural entertainment and nightlife. You can tour the John Deere factory here, which builds large and small tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers and more. Guided tours will take you through each step of the manufacturing process, from the first steel cut to the final product.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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Head to Sioux Falls, which sees annual temperature differences averaging 59 degrees. Winter temps range from 7° F to 26° F, with summers reaching comfortable highs in the low 80s. Named for the falls along the Big Sioux River that flow through the city, Sioux Falls is home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science) Data Center. In contrast to modern satellite-image processing, you’ll find ancient Native American ceremonial burial grounds dating back 1,600 years in the South Dakota town. If you happen to visit in late summer, you can attend one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor music festivals, the LifeLight Festival.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

St. Cloud, Minnesota

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Minnesotans must become accustomed to extreme low temps in the winter, seeing some of the coldest temperatures of any place in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Fifteen of the top eighteen cities with the greatest temperature differences are found in Minnesota. Annual temperature variations average 61 degrees in St. Cloud, a small city in central Minnesota located at the junction of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers. St. Cloud residents experience average winter lows between 2° F and 18° F. By summer, temps increase to a comfortable 82° F. If you happen to visit during the warmer summer months, be sure to visit the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, which overlook the Mississippi River.

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Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

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Long before the 1996 blockbuster film Fargo hit cinemas, North Dakota’s largest city was famous for topping the list for the broadest annual temperature differences of any U.S. city — 63.8 degrees. Fargo residents must bundle up in January, with lows averaging around 0° F and highs only about 18° F. However, come July, residents are able to head out in shorts and t-shirts with highs in the low 80s. If you’re a fan of the movie, you can have your picture taken with the actual wood chipper used in the infamous murder scene at the Fargo Moorhead Visitor Center.

7 Longest Hiking Trails in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Longest Hiking Trails in the U.S.

While trail measurements differ slightly among sources, this information is pulled from Backpacker Magazine, a trusted source by avid hikers. The American Discovery Trail (6,800 miles), North Country Trail (4,600 miles) and similar long-distance hikes are not included on this list, because they are either heavily disjointed or include loops. With that out of the way, here are the seven longest hiking trails in the United States.

California Coastal Trail, 1,200 miles

California Coastal Trail, 1,200 miles

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The California Coastal Trail is a network of public trails for not only hiking, but biking as well. It runs the length of the state — from Del Norte County to Mexico via the gorgeous California coast. Go through San Francisco, Malibu and so many other sun-soaked coastal cities in between.

Pacific Northwest Trail, 1,200 miles

Pacific Northwest Trail, 1,200 miles

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This trail in the Northwest goes from the Continental Divide (yes, near the trail of the same name) and spills out at the Pacific Ocean, some 1,200 miles away. It crosses through three national parks: Glacier, North Cascades and Olympic. You’ll even get to take a ferry to cross the Puget Sound to complete it (the only saltwater ferry crossing on a National Scenic Trail).

Florida Trail, 1,400 miles

Florida Trail, 1,400 miles

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This trail runs from the Florida Panhandle at Pensacola Beach to Big Cypress National Preserve just north of the Everglades. Popular sites along the way include Lake Okeechobee and the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. You’ll also pass Ocala, Osceola and Apalachicola forests and the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. It represents, perhaps, the best inland view of the state of Florida.

Buckeye Trail, 1,445 miles

Buckeye Trail, 1,445 miles

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The trail goes through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Hocking Hills, the Erie Canal and Wayne National Forest. It also goes through Cincinnati and Cleveland. There are 26 sections of the trail, meaning a lot of maps or topographical knowledge of the areas are needed to hike the whole distance.

Appalachian Trail, 2,189 miles

Appalachian Trail, 2,189 miles

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Now we’re onto the Triple Crown of hiking, led by the “shortest” of the hikes, the world-famous Appalachian Trail, which runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia at the south terminus to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail was completed in 1937. Its highest point is 6,643 feet at Clingmans Dome in Tennessee and 124 feet at its lowest point, Bear Mountain State Park in New York. More than two million people are said to take a hike on a portion of the trail each year, but only 600 or so finish it (though thousands make the attempt).

Pacific Crest Trail, 2,650 miles

Pacific Crest Trail, 2,650 miles

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Known as the PCT, this is the western behemoth most closely in competition with the Appalachian Trail as most-famous thru-hike in the country. At a little over 450 miles longer, it also boats a more strenuous elevation gain (the highest point is Forester Pass in California at 13,153 feet and the lowest is the Cascade Locks in Oregon at 140 feet). It runs from the U.S.–Mexico border at Campo, California, to the U.S.–Canada border south of Manning Park, British Columbia (another trail continues into Canada for the truly adventurous). Perhaps the most gorgeous bit runs through Yosemite National Park as part of the John Muir section of the trail.

Continental Divide Trail, 3,100 miles

Continental Divide Trail, 3,100 miles

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This one travels the Continental Divide, as its name suggests, so the lowest point on the trail is a whopping 3,900 feet above sea level in Columbus, New Mexico. It’s a Rocky Mountain hike that’s certainly not for the faint of heart and weak of leg. It traverses Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico — and like the PCT, it touches borders with Mexico (at the Big Hatchet Mountains) and Canada (at Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park). Only about 200 people even attempt this entire trail each year. It takes about six months to complete for those who do.

How do tornadoes form?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

How do tornadoes form?

Tornadoes are thunderstorms that create violent air-to-ground force. They are capable of massive destruction, destroying houses, uprooting huge trees, making shambles of large buildings, and swirling vehicles into the air. Annually, the United States averages 1,200 tornadoes. They produce an average of 65 fatalities and over 1,500 injuries per year. The loss of property is estimated in the millions.

Tornadoes can hit a revolving wind speed of 200 miles per hour and average 30 miles per hour of forward momentum. However, they can also remain stationary or accelerate to 70 mph, obliterating everything in their paths. How do these enormous energy waves from Mother Nature originate?

Thunderstorms

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Thunderstorms form tornadoes. According to Weather Wiz, the ingredients needed are warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air from Canada. When these two elements meet, they create an unstable atmosphere. As a result, a change in wind direction mixed with the increase of wind speeds creates an invisible effect in the atmosphere.

Then, the rising air from the ground is pushed up and forms swirling air. The swirling air itself starts to suck up warm air from the ground. Next, the spinning funnel grows longer and is stretched, elongating toward the ground. Finally, the funnel may reach and travel along the ground, and it is not technically called a tornado.

Funnel cloud

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Besides thunderstorms, tornadoes are also started by funnel clouds. These are turning columns of air shaped like a funnel or cone. They extend downward from a thunderstorm’s base and do not touch the ground. When the funnel cloud touches the ground, it is called a tornado.

Like other natural disasters, tornadoes develop, climax, and die. Proactive preparation is the best we can do when they come our way. This means having an escape route out of the area, or hiding in a basement, a bathroom, or other safe room.

Winds

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Unlike thunderstorms and funnel clouds, tornadoes are formed by winds. When it comes to forming tornadoes, winds occur when the air begins to spin, blowing from different directions. According to UCAR, the air immediately begins to rise and is pushed by the wind. Next, the air continues to rise and is pushed again by the shifting winds.

Finally, the wind is moving at different speeds, directions, and altitudes, which causes the air to spin at a rapid rate. Therefore, even though thunderstorms and funnel clouds contribute to forming tornadoes, the winds are a huge factor. The wind itself allows the tornado to swirl around in circles. As a result, this can create an enormous tornado, depending on the width.

Supercells

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Although thunderstorms, funnel clouds, and winds contribute to how a tornado is formed, there are also supercells. According to UCAR, supercells are one of the strongest types of a thunderstorm as the air rises while spinning. However, the revolving air does not form a tornado. In order for a tornado to be formed, the rotating air needs to be near the ground so the tornado can balance itself, like a child’s toy top. This event occurs when the air inside the storm goes straight to the ground, and the storm spreads out like gusts.

Multiple atmospheric elements come together to form a tornado. Thunderstorms, funnel clouds, rapid winds, and supercells collaborate to generate a mass of circling air. Lastly, they assume their rightful position of balance by touching the ground. Like a domino effect, if one of these elements were missing, there would not be a tornado. This violent and devastating force of nature is one that must be respected.

The History of Hong Kong in 2 Minutes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The History of Hong Kong in 2 Minutes

The territory of Hong Kong, officially known as the Hong Kong Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, has a fascinating and tumultuous history on the world stage. While we know it today as a global hub of international trade and exotic exports, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, given its divisive history, it’s a bit surprising that it even still exists.

Hong Kong’s Origins

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The Hong Kong we know today is home to over 7.4 million people spread across 426 square miles and stands as the fourth most densely populated region in the world. But getting there was a long road, with its story beginning as far back as BCE 214.

Even then, the Hong Kong island region had been occupied by humans for thousands of years. Early settlers migrated into the region from inland China and used their knowledge of agriculture to begin farming the land. These settlers wouldn’t be independent for long, as the dominant Chinese government—the Qing dynasty—saw the value of the region and integrated the island into the fold. The Hong Kong area would change hands over the years as Chinese dynasties rose and fell, each laying new claim to the territory.

Its value came from its location: Hong Kong was situated at a strategic point between the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea, making it an ideal port for maritime trading. This defining feature was the key driver of Hong Kong’s development over the years, particularly as the region began to draw international interest.

The Rise of International Trade

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Beginning in the early 1500s, Portuguese and European merchants began trading in Hong Kong, bringing significant prosperity to the region. This prosperity would continue over the next several hundred years, sparked by European interest in Chinese products—spices, silk, tea, and porcelain.

And while the Chinese markets didn’t care as much for European goods, there was one product that caught their attention: Indian opium. European traders funneled so much opium into the area that Hong Kong (and China as a whole) realized that they were facing a full-fledged opioid crisis.

In response, the Emperor sought to snuff out the opium trade altogether by prohibiting the trade of opium and forcing his subordinates to destroy all existing opium stockpiles. This culminated in a complete stop to all foreign trade in 1839, something that didn’t sit well with British merchants.

The Opium Wars

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The British responded to this trade embargo with aggressive military action, resulting in the First Opium War. This conflict raged for three years until the Qing dynasty surrendered, ceding control of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom in 1842.

Under new rule, Hong Kong experienced an economic upturn that greatly improved the region, aided in part by an influx of wealthy Chinese who fled to Hong Kong in the wake of the Taiping Rebellion. Unfortunately, hostilities over the opium trade weren’t resolved, and tensions between the British and the Chinese escalated to the point of a Second Opium War in 1856.

This war lasted four years, ending in another Chinese defeat, which did little to stop the expansion of Hong Kong as a port of international trade. The rapid economic growth brought on by the administrative infrastructure of British rule combined with the influx of wealthy Chinese made Hong Kong a desirable region for international investors, despite its political troubles.

This international interest would set the stage for Hong Kong as a region of great global significance, if it survived that long.

The World at War

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The beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 spelled further trouble for the region.

Although the governor of Hong Kong declared Hong Kong a neutral zone during the war, the Japanese army attacked Hong Kong on December 8, 1941—the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a result, Hong Kong was occupied by Japanese forces for nearly four years until the British re-took control in 1945.

Hong Kong’s population suffered during this occupation, but it bounced back thanks to further influxes of those fleeing from the Chinese Civil War and those who fled from the Communist Party takeover of China in 1949. This influx of population would be a crucial part of Hong Kong’s post-war restoration.

Hong Kong’s Growth and Modernization

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In the 1950s, Hong Kong saw tremendous advancements to its infrastructure and public services. While Hong Kong’s production capabilities were limited compared to those of mainland China, Hong Kong’s diverse international population gave it an advantage in the service economy. It wasn’t long before Hong Kong established itself as a global center for shipping, finance, and trade.

But this economic growth did little to ease political tensions in the area that had been growing throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. In the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, it was decided that Hong Kong would be returned to Chinese control when Britain’s lease ended, triggering a mass emigration of citizens concerned for the future of their civil liberties. In 1997, Hong Kong was officially transferred back to China after 156 years of British rule.

Today, Hong Kong is supposedly an autonomous entity, but there are serious concerns about Hong Kong’s being truly independent from China, as was promised in the transfer. But as we’ve seen, Hong Kong’s history is characterized by political unrest—and against all odds, the territory always seems to endure, no matter what challenges it faces.

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4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4

U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

Many U.S. cities experience extreme temperatures, sometimes changing as much as 50 or even 65 degrees in a day. The honor for the hottest place ever recorded in the U.S. goes to Death Valley, California, with a whopping temperature of 134° F recorded in 1913. You’ll find the coldest place in the U.S. in the tiny northern Alaska town of Prospect Creek — temps fell to -80° F in 1971. The following four cities can claim some of the largest temperature variations within a year.

Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa

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The Midwest experiences some of the greatest temperature variations between winter and summer. In Waterloo, Iowa, you’ll see temperature differences averaging about 57.5 degrees. Winter temps average 10° F to 27° F and summer highs reach the mid-80s. Waterloo residences enjoy a recently revitalized downtown area along the Cedar River that includes a riverwalk trail, plaza, splash pad, amphitheater, DekHockey rink, shopping, dining, cultural entertainment and nightlife. You can tour the John Deere factory here, which builds large and small tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers and more. Guided tours will take you through each step of the manufacturing process, from the first steel cut to the final product.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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Head to Sioux Falls, which sees annual temperature differences averaging 59 degrees. Winter temps range from 7° F to 26° F, with summers reaching comfortable highs in the low 80s. Named for the falls along the Big Sioux River that flow through the city, Sioux Falls is home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science) Data Center. In contrast to modern satellite-image processing, you’ll find ancient Native American ceremonial burial grounds dating back 1,600 years in the South Dakota town. If you happen to visit in late summer, you can attend one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor music festivals, the LifeLight Festival.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

St. Cloud, Minnesota

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Minnesotans must become accustomed to extreme low temps in the winter, seeing some of the coldest temperatures of any place in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Fifteen of the top eighteen cities with the greatest temperature differences are found in Minnesota. Annual temperature variations average 61 degrees in St. Cloud, a small city in central Minnesota located at the junction of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers. St. Cloud residents experience average winter lows between 2° F and 18° F. By summer, temps increase to a comfortable 82° F. If you happen to visit during the warmer summer months, be sure to visit the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, which overlook the Mississippi River.

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Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

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Long before the 1996 blockbuster film Fargo hit cinemas, North Dakota’s largest city was famous for topping the list for the broadest annual temperature differences of any U.S. city — 63.8 degrees. Fargo residents must bundle up in January, with lows averaging around 0° F and highs only about 18° F. However, come July, residents are able to head out in shorts and t-shirts with highs in the low 80s. If you’re a fan of the movie, you can have your picture taken with the actual wood chipper used in the infamous murder scene at the Fargo Moorhead Visitor Center.

3 Best Road Trips in Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Best Road Trips in Europe

If you live in the United States, you probably tend to think of road trips as “an American thing.” When you were growing up, you and your family probably went on a road trip every summer to go camping or to a theme park in another state. It was a bonding experience full of traveling songs and car games and lots of chips and snacks. Road trips aren’t just for Americans, though. There are tons of great road trips to take in Europe too. Here are the top three.

Autobahn, Germany

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The Autobahn is legendary. It is one of the only roads on the planet that lets you go as fast as you want – or as fast as your car will let you. In non-residential areas, there is literally no speed limit, which can be quite a thrill, especially for those who hate getting stuck behind slow drivers here in the States. The Autobahn isn’t just a racetrack, though. It was built through some truly stunning parts of the German countryside, which allows you to catch a glimpse of some beautiful scenery as you speed on by. It is almost pretty enough to make you want to ease up on the accelerator… almost.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Italy is a gorgeous destination in general, but it can be difficult to navigate through most cities like Milan and Rome in a car. In fact, many of the big tourist cities in Italy are walking cities, and there are a lot of places where vehicles can’t go (or if they do go, they get stuck in traffic jams for hours). If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle in the northern cities, you can head out on a road trip along the Amalfi Coast. Southern Italy is much less crowded than the north, and it is full of natural wonders like mountains, forests, beaches and grassy hills. A road trip along the Amalfi Coast will let you see all that nature, plus it will take you through towns that are much the same as they were hundreds of years ago. You can stop off and try the local food at the restaurants you pass along the way, and you can get a taste of the culture as you pass by the ornate cathedrals, statues and other buildings that have been standing tall and proud for centuries.

Bucharest, Romania to Vienna, Austria

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Many people don’t realize just how close the countries in Europe are to each other. You don’t have to take a plane or a train to go from Romania to Austria. You can take a road trip in a rental car and see all the amazing sights along the way. Starting in Bucharest, you can travel north through the Carpathian mountain range to Transylvania – yes, the Transylvania. Here you can visit the actual castle that was said to be home to Dracula himself. Next, get onto the Transfagarasan mountain road, “one of the most incredibly beautiful routes in the world.” It will take you through numerous ancient cities full of historical castles and into Budapest, where you can visit actual Roman baths before heading onto Vienna, which has some amazing, unique architecture in its own right.