Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Top 10 Wonders of the Natural World

1. The Amazon Rainforest

Superlatives overflow when it comes to the Amazon rainforest. Despite being cut down at an alarming rate, it still covers 2.7 million square miles. Growing across nine different countries, it represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, making it the largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest in the world. The forest is fed by the Amazon river, the largest river in the world by volume, which also has the biggest drainage basin on the planet.

2. The Maldives

The Maldives deserve to be one of the greatest wonders of the natural world because they are among some of the most beautiful but low lying islands in the world. With the sea level rise associated with climate change, they could well not be here in a couple of generation’s time. The Maldives are composed of 1,192 small islands with stunning coral reefs strung out like pearls across the Indian Ocean, 435 miles south-west of Sri Lanka. Two hundred of the islands are inhabited and over 90% of the islands' GDP comes from tourism.

3. The Great Barrier Reef

The Aussies are justifiably proud of the largest coral reef on earth – the Great Barrier Reef. It can be seen from space and is believed to be the world’s biggest single structure made from living organisms. Composed of some 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands, it stretches for 1,616 miles and is strung out over 133,000 square miles of the Coral Sea in Queensland, north east Australia. Already a World Heritage site, it generates $1 billion a year in tourism revenue.

4. The Table Mountain

The only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it: Mensa ( "Table" in Latin ). Table Mountain is a South African icon. The flat-topped mountain has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 plant species. It is the most recognized site in Cape Town and is known as the gateway to Africa, owing to its unique flat-topped peaks that reach 1,086 metres above sea level.

5. The Galapagos Islands

Famed as being the inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. They are famed for their vast number of endemic species and are already a World Heritage Site. Tourism today is strictly controlled on the islands, having risen from just over 41,000 people visiting in 1991 to over 180,000 today. The islands are apparently a favourite haunt of Andrew Marr.

6. The Grand Canyon

The playground of Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, who liked to hunt there, the Grand Canyon was created by the Colorado River over a period of 6 million years. It is 277 miles long, ranges in width from 3.7 to 18 miles and has a depth of more than 1 mile. The area was first inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves.

7. The Mount Vesuvius

With a temperament similar to that of Italy’s soon-to-be-former PM Silvio Berlusconi, Mount Vesuvius is a volcano east of Naples. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, but is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It has erupted many times since and is today regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

8. The Sundarbans

The largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans, meaning “beautiful forest” in Bengali, has never got the recognition it deserves. A delta at the mouth of the river Ganges, the Sundarbans spread across parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. They feature a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The area supports a wide range of fauna, the most famous of which is the Royal Bengal tiger.

9. The Dead Sea

The lowest point on the surface of the Earth, tourists come from around the world to float in the Dead Sea, a lake lying between the countries of Israel and Jordan. At 418 m (1,371 ft) below sea level, it is almost nine times as salty as the ocean, which makes it impossible for most life to exist in it. However, it is not completely dead – some types of bacteria are able to live in the water.

10. The Jade Mountain - Yushan

Yushan, meaning “Jade Mountain”, is a central mountain range in Taiwan. It is also the name of the highest point of the range, 3,952 m above sea level and is part of Yushan National Park, known for its diverse wildlife and ecology. The environment around Yushan ranges from sub-tropical forests at its base to alpine conditions at its peak.

16 Amazing Facts that you Hardly Know About Facebook...

Facebook is a social network giant. Most of us use Facebook for various reason but here are some of the fact which everyone would love to know about Facebook...

Lu Hao - The 3 year old who weighs 132lbs and still growing...

At 132lbs, Lu Hao is already five times the size of a normal child his age. The three-year-old toddler from China eats a staggering three bowls of rice when he sits down for a family meal. When Lu Hao was born he weighed just 2.6kg (5.7 lbs), however, from the time he was three months old he began to gain weight rapidly.

'His appetite is so good that for a meal he can eat three big bowls of rice, even larger than I and his mother,' said Hao's father Lu Yuncheng. Since Hao was one-year-old his parents have tried to keep a careful eye on his diet. However, Hao's mother Chen Yuan comments: 'We have to let him be as if we don't feed him he will cry non-stop'.

No matter how hard the family restricts Hao's diet and pushes him to move more the toddler has still managed to put on 10kg (22 lbs) in the past year. Now Chen Yuan is unable to pick her son up. 'In both of our families, there was no such giant person,' said father Yuncheng.

Hao hates walking and each day his mother takes him to kindergarten on a motorcycle. 'He is quite happy that I could ride him to kindergarten instead of walking him there,' said Yuan.

Hao has many toys at home but his favourite is Superman because, he says, 'Superman can fly and beat bad men!' When asked is he would like to fly like Superman Hao giggles and replies: 'No. I am too fat'.

To push Hao to do more sports, the family installed a basketball hoop in the yard and often take him to swim in a local river. But the exercise just makes him hungrier and results in him putting on more weight.

'We now worry the most about his health. As if he continues to grow at this rate his heart could fail,' said Yuan. They also worry that when he gets older and more aware of his weight Hao will be bullied.

'Our biggest hope is one day Hao could get slim,' said Chen.

17 Mysterious Landscapes in the World

1. World's largest salt marsh, in Bolivi - Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, and is elevated 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above the mean sea level. The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar.  

2. Efflorescent tower-like rocks, "The Fireplace Fairies" in Turkey.

A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They typically form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.  

3. Peculiar desert landscape, in Egypt - The White Desert

White Desert (known as Sahara el Beyda, with the word sahara meaning a desert). The White Desert of Egypt is located 45 km (28 mi) north of the town of Farafra. The desert has a white, cream color and has massive chalk rock formations that have been created as a result of occasional sandstorm in the area. The Farafra desert is a typical place visited by some schools in Egypt, as a location for camping trips. The Desert was also the featured location in the music video for "Echoes" by the Klaxons.  

4. "The Chocolate Hills", in Philippine.

The Chocolate Hills is an unusual geological formation in Bohol province, Philippines. According to the latest accurate survey done,[citation needed] there are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name. The Chocolate Hills is a famous tourist attraction of Bohol. They are featured in the provincial flag and seal to symbolize the abundance of natural attractions in the province. They are in the Philippine Tourism Authority's list of tourist destinations in the Philippines; they have been declared the country's third National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.  

5. Twixt Israel and Jordan, The Dead Sea - " bird's-eye view. "

The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 meters below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is 377 m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water. It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 miles) long and 18 kilometres (11 miles) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.  

6. Monument Valley, in the United States.

Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 m) above the valley floor. It is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah, near the Four Corners area. The valley lies within the range of the Navajo Nation Reservation, and is accessible from U.S. Highway 163.

7. Black Hill Like Desert, in Egypt - The Black Desert

The Black Desert is situated in the Egypt's Western Desert, at 50 kilometers from the Bahariya`s North. The other geographical coordinates are 150 kilometers from the Farafra`s South, 50 kilometers from the Agabat`s South-East, 60 kilometers from the Crystal Mountain's South-East and 100 kilometers from the White Desert's South-East. The Black Desert region has no inhabitants and the tourists who visit this desert usually come in organized tours that include the Farafra Oasis, the Bahariya Oasis, the Crystal Mountain and the White Desert. The contrast with the White Desert is huge since there the ground formations are white and in the Black Desert the ground is brown-orange. But the Black Desert is not as black as some people may expect. Tourists who were there said that this desert is totally atypical, making you feel like you are not on Earth but on the other planet. In the Black Desert the mountains has shapes of volcano and a big quantity of little black-colored stones. The ground has a brown-orange color and has black stones too. Black rocks with soft peek, that were blunt by the wind over the years, are all over the desert.

8. The Sahara Desert - " The World's largest desert "

The Sahara is the world's largest desert. At over 9,400,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi), it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna that composes the northern region of central and western Sub-Saharan Africa.  

9. Turkana Lake, in Kenya.

Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake. By volume it is the world's third-largest salt lake after the Caspian Sea and Issyk-Kul, and among all lakes it ranks twenty-fourth. The water is potable but not palatable. It supports a rich lacustrine wildlife. The climate is hot and very dry. The rocks of the surrounding area are predominantly volcanic. Central Island is an active volcano, emitting vapors. Outcrops and rocky shores are found on the East and South shores of the lake, while dunes, spits and flats are on the West and North, at a lower elevation.  

10. Twin Buttes of Monument Valley, in the United States.

Monument Valley’s most famous attractions are the Mittens, twin buttes that have long spires protruding up on one side making them resemble hands inside mittens, and the Totem Pole, a tall, slender pinnacle made of sandstone. The twin buttes of Monument Valley ("the Mittens"), the "Totem Pole," and the Ear of the Wind arch, among other features, have developed iconic status. They have appeared in many television programs, commercials, and Hollywood movies, especially Westerns.  

11. Red dunes in Namib Desert.

The Namib Desert is a desert in Namibia and southwest Angola that forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the largest game reserve in Africa. The name "Namib" is of Nama origin and means "vast place". Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for 6 thousand years, it is considered to be the oldest desert in the world. This area is traversed by the Tropic of Capricorn and it's mostly flat, although some scenic canyons and elevations are found in some areas, for example in the Moon Valley system. While most of the soil is rocky, sand dunes are still occasionally found in this region; for example, sand dunes occupy much of the coastline between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. The Namib desert is an important location for the mining of tungsten, salt and diamonds.  

12. Circular landscape at center of the Sahara Desert - The Richat Structure or Eye of the Sahara.

The Richat Structure, also known as the Eye of the Sahara and Guelb er Richat, is a prominent circular feature in the Sahara desert of west – central Mauritania near Ouadane. This structure is a deeply eroded, slightly elliptical, 40-km in diameter, dome. The sedimentary rock exposed in this dome range in age from Late Proterozoic within the center of the dome to Ordovician sandstone around its edges. The sedimentary rocks comprising this structure dip outward at 10°-20°. Differential erosion of resistant layers of quartzite has created high-relief circular cuestas. Its center consists of a siliceous breccia covering an area that is at least 3 km in diameter.  

13. Dracaena draco, on Yemen islands.

One of several species of Dragon Tree (Dracaena), the dramatically shaped Dragon Blood Tree is native to the Socotra archipelago in Yemen. When the bark or leaves are cut, the dragon tree secretes a reddish resin, one of the sources of a substance known as dragon's blood. Dragon’s blood was used in ancient times as a dye, a varnish and for medicinal purposes; it was also used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy.  

14. Peculiar Hawaii Island landscape - Kauai Island

Kauai is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands, it is the fourth largest of the main islands. Seaside lava ledges make for other worldly experiences on this often-overlooked Hawaiian island. Kauai also known as the "Garden Isle", Kauai lies 105 miles across the Kauai Channel, northwest of Oahu. Kauai is a natural playground with countless waterfalls, secluded beaches and endless hiking trails. The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, a retreat into Hawaii’s past where you will discover an island rich with history and local charm.

15. Lake in Blue Mountains National Park, in Chile - Cordillera del Paine

The Cordillera del Paine is a small range in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The most famous section of the range is the photogenic Torres del Paine pictured here. The torres (towers) are granite monoliths formed by glacial ice. The peaks are about 8,000 feet in height.

16. Fly Geyser, in the State of Nevada, the United States

When you first see this stunning geyser you don't believe it's real. But it is. This geyser is called Fly Geyser and it's located approximately 20 miles (32 km) north of Gerlach, in Washoe County, Nevada. Fly Geyser is located on the private Fly Ranch owned by Todd Jaksick and is accessible only by a small private dirt road. The owner wanted to keep the people away from the geyser so he placed a high fence and a locked gate with several metal spokes on the top to keep trespassers out. Several organizations have tried to purchase the land for conservation, and make it open to the public, but have been denied.  

17. Geyser named "Strokkur", in Southeast Asia.

Strokkur is a fountain geyser in the geothermal area beside the Hvítá River in Iceland in the southwest part of the country, east of Reykjavik. It is one of Iceland's most famous geysers, erupting about every 4-8 minutes 15 - 20 m high, sometimes up to 40 m high. Strokkur is part of Haukadalur geothermal area, where are located various other geothermal features: mud pools, fumaroles, algal deposits, and other geysers beside and around it, such as Geysir. Strokkur and its surrounding areas regularly attracts tourists to view the geyser, as it is one of very few natural geysers to erupt frequently and reliably.

Art Gallery in a Cup of Coffee...

Would you like to have every cup served this way? Not only you should enjoy the taste of coffee but also the beauty of it's look. Perhaps these photos will help you in creating your first morning coffee. Start the game of creativity and continue to have fun all day. Surprise your loved ones and friends, and then organize a competition in artistic coffee – making.