Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Amazing Monkey Orchid

Nature doesn’t need an audience. These wonderful orchids come from the south-eastern Ecuadorian and Peruvian cloud forests from elevations of 1000 to 2000 meters and as such not many people throughout history got to see them. However, thanks to intrepid collectors we do get to see this wonderful Monkey Orchid. Someone didn’t need much imagination to name it though.

Its scientific name is Dracula simia, the last part nodding towards the fact that this remarkable orchid bears more than a passing resemblance to a monkey’s face although we won’t go as far as to be species specific on this one. The Dracula (genus) part of its name refers to the strange characteristic of the two long spurs of the sepals, reminiscent of the fangs of a certain Transylvanian count of film and fiction fame.

The orchid was only named in 1978 by the botanist Luer but is in a family containing over 120 species mostly found in Ecuador. Up in the cloud mountains the monkey orchid can flower at any time it is not season specific. It scent resembles that of a ripe orange.

The examples seen here are all cultivated though it remains very rare in ‘captivity’. For that reason don’t make a dash down to your local horticulturalist. Yet for those lucky enough to have one, if kept quite cool and in partial shade and it can thrive and flower. Like all orchids, however, it needs a lot of care and patience so you may want to consider a cactus instead!

"If you don't quite see why this orchid gets its name, then do one thing. Move back from your screen a few feet and take another look. Close up the similarity is good, from a distance it is astounding."

Michael Jackson - The Face of Change!

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Often referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance, and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. Michael Jackson has changed his face many time through surgery to change his appearance, to look more attractive. Now take a look at the timeline of Michael Jackson and his change of face through his life time.

1972 - Michael Jackson, aged 13, was the youngest member of Jackson 5.

1977 - Michael Jackson of Jackson 5 during the 1977 American Music awards.

1980 - Michael Jackson won three American Music awards in 1980.

1984 - Michael Jackson is seen backstage at the 26th annual Granny Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 1984.

1987 - Michael Jackson appears at the American Cinema Awards gala on  January, 9, 1987, in Beverly Hills, California.

1992 - Michael Jackson as seen in New York in 1992.

1993 - Michael Jackson performs during a show at the national stadium in Singapore during his 1993 " Dangerous " tour.

1995 - Michael Jackson smiles for cameras at the announcement of nominations for the 1995 MTV Video Awards in New York city on July 25, 1995.

1998 - Michael Jackson gives an interview to the Associated press in Detroit on July 8, 1998.

2000 - Michael Jackson arrives at the G & P Foundation for cancer research's Angel Ball on November 30,  2000, in New York.

2001 - Michael Jackson arrives at the University of Oxford Union in Oxford, England, on March 6, 2001.

2002 - Michael Jackson appeared at Al Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in the Harlem neighborhood of New York on July 9, 2002.

2004 - Michael Jackson speaks at a News Conference after his arraignment in his child molestation case at the Santa Maria, California, courthouse, on April 30, 2004.

2005 - Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Barbara County courthouse in Santa Monica, California, on April 27, 2005.

2007 - Michael Jackson poses in Los Angeles on November 8, 2007.

2009 - Michael Jackson at a press conference in London on March 5, 2009.

25 Interesting Facts About Some Countries...

Depending upon the recent studies, there are approximately 196 countries in the world. Each country has something that is different from each other. So while you may consider yourself to be a knowledgeable global citizen, and were sure you are, given the dynamic and complex nature of our planet there are still a couple facts on this list that you will find surprising. So, here we bring you 25 things that you would not believe about some of these countries...

25. Covers the most time zones - France

If you count everything, including overseas territories, then France claims the title by covering 12 time zones. The United States would be the runner-up with 11 and then Russia with 9.

24. Most likely to disappear beneath the waves - Maldives

With all the talks of global warming and rising sea levels, it is the residents of the Maldives that have the greatest reason to fear. With an average height of around 1.8 meters above sea level their nation is the lowest on Earth.

23. Most overweight population - Nauru

With over 95% of its population being overweight, the small island nation of Nauru is by far the fattest country on Earth. Its obesity epidemic is primarily attributed to the importation of western fast food that coincided with an increased standard of living in the 20th century due to the global popularity of its phosphate exports.

22. Roads made of coral - Guam

Because Guam does not have any natural sand, but rather coral, the island nation makes its asphalt using a mix of ground coral and oil rather than importing sand from abroad.

21. Has 350 sheep for every person - Falkland Islands, UK 

With only about 3,000 people the Falkland Islands are home to approximately half-a million-sheep. Not surprisingly wool is a major export.

20. Oldest sovereign state - Egypt

This largely depends upon your definition of a sovereign state but if you are going by first acquisition of sovereignty then Egypt would be the first country in the world to achieve sovereignty based upon the formation of the first dynasty in 3100 BC.

19. Most lakes in the world - Canada

With over 3 million lakes 9% of Canadian territory is actually fresh water and over 60% of all the lakes in the world are found within its borders.

18. Least likely place to meet your neighbor - Mongolia

At 4 people per square mile Mongolia is the least densely populated country on Earth. Compare this to the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong that has the highest population density in the world with 340,000 people per square mile.

17. Largest number of tanks - Russia

It is a strange title to hold, but Russia has by far the most tanks of any army in the world (21,000). Unfortunately for the motherland most of these outdated machines are tributes to its past, and although outnumbered (16,000), the United States has a much more advanced tank inventory.

16. The land of no rivers - Saudi Arabia

Sounds a bit strange does not it? For a country as big as Saudi Arabia there has to be at least some sort of flowing water. Well, there isn't. Most of their fresh water comes from desalinization plants or underground reservoirs.

15. Youngest population of any country - Niger

Generally the worlds youngest country is determined by calculating the portion of the population that is younger than 15. Presently it is Niger that holds this distinction with roughly half of its population having barely reached puberty (49%).

14. Most diverse country in the world - India

In almost every category culturally, economically, climatically, racially, linguistically, ethnically, and religiously India is either the most diverse countries in the world, or the runner-up.

13. Fastest disappearing nation - Ukraine

With a natural decrease in population of .8% annually, between now and 2050 Ukraine is expected to lose around 30% of its people.

12. Most of its citizens live abroad - Malta

After some rough economic times coupled with an increased birth rate, Malta experienced significant immigration. It was so significant that there are now more Maltese living abroad than within the country itself.

11. Smaller than Central Park in New York City - Monaco

Although Vatican City is smaller ( 0.17 sq mi ) than Monaco ( 0.76 sq mi ), unlike Monaco it does not have any permanent residents which leaves Monaco as the smallest permanently inhabited nation in the world smaller than Central Park.

10. Almost entirely covered in jungle - Suriname

With 91% of its land covered in jungle Suriname s half-a-million residents live primarily along the coast near the capital. Only 5% of the population (mainly indigenous people) live inland.

9. Almost entirely treeless - Haiti

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Haiti , a country that has been so badly deforested that you can tell where it borders the Dominican Republic by looking at a satellite image. ( Haiti is on the left in the photo above )

8. Largest country with no farms - Singapore

Although there are a number of small nations in the world that show no hint of having an agriculture based economy, (take Vatican City for example) Singapore is the largest of these urban city-states.

7. Most languages spoken - Papua New Guinea

Although English is its official language, only 1-2% of the population actually speak it. As the most linguistically diverse country in the world, over 820 languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea or 12% of the worlds total.

6. Most educated people - Canada

With 50% of its population having been educated at the post secondary level, Canada easily has the most educated populace in the world. It is followed by Israel at 45% and Japan at 44%.

5. The country desert - Libya

With 99% of the country covered in desert Libya is one of the most arid places in the world and in some regions decades may go by without a single drop of rain.

4. Least peaceful nation in the world - Somalia

Although for the last three years Iraq has been ranked as the least peaceful country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index Somalia overtook it this year for the top spot.

3. Produces most of the worlds oxygen - Russia

Siberia is home to approximately 25% of the worlds forests that span an area larger than the continental United States , making Russia the largest converter of CO2 into breathable compounds.

2. Worlds largest opium producer - Afghanistan

Producing a whopping 95 percent of the worlds opium, not even 10 years of occupation by American forces have slowed down the industry.

1. Most people behind bars - United States

When it comes to incarcerating its population, the United States is the worlds uncontested leader. With 2.2 million people behind bars it has 5% of the worlds population but 25% of the worlds incarcerated population. China comes in second place at 1.5 million and Russia comes third at 870,000.