Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Historical Sites in the World

The world is filled with amazing things to see – both natural and man-made. There are many great historical sites built by ancient civilizations it is sometimes hard to just narrow it down to a few. Think of all the historical wonders list out there and how different they are sometimes. Everyone has their own list, including me. Below are the sites I find best, think give a great look at human history and civilization, and think every traveler should try to visit at some point. These are places so great that flocks of people fly from all corners of the world to see them each year. Yes you might have to put up with crowds but the he story these ruins tell is part of our humanities story and that is why I love them the best:
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Located in southern Peru, this fascinating city lies on top of a mountain that’s only accessible by train or 4-day trek. It was an important cultural center for the Inca civilization, but was abandoned when the Spanish came. It is famously referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas.” The location was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. It was also named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Concerns over growing numbers of tourists have led to limitations on how many people can enter the site, though only by a fraction of what is necessary. Hopefully they will limit it even more so this site lasts for hundreds of years more.
Tikal, Guatemala
This Mayan city-state is one of the largest and best-preserved ruins of the civilization, and was a dominant force in the Mayan world. Located in Guatemala, this place lets you experience your inner-Indy early in the morning or late at night when the tourists go home and it’s just you and the jungle. It was very serene and one of the best travel memories I have. I particularly enjoyed seeing the sunrise from atop the temples. It’s a wonderful place to explore, deserves at least two days, and is easily accessible from neighboring Belize. (Random trivia: The city at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope? Tikal!)
The Pyramids at Giza
The Pyramids at Giza
Over 3,000 years old, and we still don’t have a good idea as to how they were built or how the Egyptians got them so precise. The Pyramids align to the stars and the solstices and contain vast chambers we still haven’t opened. I mean what do those little chambers where people can’t even crawl through mean? How did they even build them?! Aliens? They are truly a marvel of human engineering that was fit for kings. The largest one, called the Great Pyramid, was built by the Pharaoh Khufu and has limited access to it. You will also find the Sphinx in this area, another historical site that baffles researchers with its mysteries and is the subject of many conspiracy theories. Due to the Egypt revolution in 2011, tourism is drastically down though the revolution is over. If you ever wanted a time to have the pyramids to yourself, now is the time to visit.
Angkor Wat
Angkor wat, cambodia
This ancient city in Cambodia was the center of the Khmer empire that once ruled most of Southeast Asia. This empire went extinct, but not before building amazing temples and buildings that were reclaimed by the jungle for hundreds of years. Though Angkor Wat is packed with tourists, it’s still breathtaking to see. And the temple regions to the north and south see far fewer tourists than the main temple group. (Though admittingly, some of them are simply piles of stone rubble now.) The best time to visit is early in the morning before the tour groups arrive and stay late. The most popular temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom, and Angkor Thom and they always have crowds. In order to really experience the temples, you’ll need to purchase the three- or five-day pass.
The ruins of Petra Jordan
Carved into a canyon in Arabah, Jordan, Petra was made famous by the third Indiana Jones film when he went to find the Holy Grail. Since then, everyone goes to look for it. It was “discovered” in 1812 by a Swiss explorer who followed some local tribesmen there. Prior to that, it had been forgotten to the Western world. Though its founding is not known, it appears this place had settlers as early as the 6th century B.C. Under Roman rule, the site declined rapidly and was abandoned by the late 4th century. In 1985, Petra became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is now one of the coolest and biggest attractions in the world.
stonehenge in salisbury england
Located near Salisbury, England, this megalithic structure is over 3,000 years old, and its stones come all the way from Wales. Scholars still are not sure how the builders got the stones from Wales, and have tried to replicate the feat with dismal results. Stonehenge is now fenced off, and you can no longer go into the circle. Visitors can only walk around the attraction. But it’s worth visiting for the mystery behind it and the really good audio tour.
roman colosseum
The Colosseum and the Forum are right next to each other in Rome, so I included them together. Remnants of a civilization that once controlled the “known” world, these sites are breathtaking not only for their beauty but also for their history and age. You’re standing in the spot Caesar walked and gazing into the arena where gladiators battled to the death. The Colosseum has slowly crumbled throughout the ages and much of it is restricted now, especially the floor and basement where everything was organized. The Forum is great to walk around (and it’s free!!), though a ticket is required for Palatine Hill. I would definitely get a guided tour because the information presented by the authorities doesn’t go into much depth.
Parthenon in Athens, Greece
Though currently getting a face-lift (and seemingly has been forever), the Parthenon is still amazing and breathtaking. The ancient temple to Athena stands as a symbol of the power of Athens and a testament to Greek civilization. Moreover, it provides a great view of Athens and nearby ruins. The surrounding ruins, temples, and buildings are equally as wondrous. Built in the 5th century B.C., the temple used to house the treasury. Over the centuries, much of it and the surrounding structures have been destroyed by war and thieves. Luckily, the structure still stands… at least for now. Note that there is scaffolding along the right side of the structure and considering it has been there for over 5 years, I doubt it is going anywhere anytime soon. They do things slowly in Greece.
Easter Island
the heads of easter isl
Located out in the Pacific Ocean and a special territory of Chile, Easter Island holds Moai statues that are the only thing left of a culture that once lived here. These gigantic and amazingly carved heads are just another reminder that primitive people are not really all that primitive. The stones that attract visitors to this island are made out of volcanic ash. Many still remain in the quarry, left by the settlers as diminishing resources on the island left their tribes doomed to war that finally killed them off.
Taj Mahal
Machu Picchu
Built in the 1600s, this building is a testament to undying love. Located in Agra, India, this white marble tomb built for Emperor Shah Jahan’s deceased wife is a must-see for everyone. In 1983, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Taj sees between two and four million tourists annually. There have been recent restrictions on tourism in an effort to help protect the site. However, the greatest threat to the site is the air pollution that is destroying the white marble the building is constructed of. It too was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Top 10 Super Bowl Performances of the Last Decade

If you love professional football – and more importantly – are looking to make some bankroll-boosting 2011 Super Bowl Prop bets courtesy of BetUS, then you’ll love this look back at the ‘real’ top 10 Super Bowl performers of the last decade. That’s right gridiron gamblers … this look back at the top 10 Super Bowl performers of the last decade, will help NFL fans and betting enthusiast formulate a good idea of just which players will have the best chance of winning this season’s Super Bowl MVP title should their respective teams make it to the big dance.

10. Super Bowl XXXV – Ray Lewis – LB – Baltimore Ravens 2001

Back in 2001, Lewis led the Baltimore Ravens to an emphatic 34-7 win over the New York Giants in a dominating performance that capped off Baltimore’s jaw-dropping, season-long defensive effort. Led by the Hall of Fame-bound Lewis, Baltimore allowed the third fewest yards in Super Bowl history. Lewis is just one of two defensive players to win the Super Bowl MVP award in the last decade, but the only one to truly ‘earn’ it.

9. Super Bowl XXXVI – Adam Vinateri – K – New England Patriots – 2002

Yeah, I know that Tom Brady won the first Super Bowl MVP award of his career in this game, but I say it was Adam Vinateri that was the best player on the field in this contest as he coolly nailed the game-winning kick from 48 yards out to lift the Pats to their first Super Bowl title.
If any kicker ever deserved to win a Super Bowl title, it’s Adam Vinateri. Besides, Tom Brady completed just 16 of 27 passes for one touchdown, so it’s not like he actually led the Pats to victory with an impressive aerial performance.

8. Super Bowl XXXVII – Dexter Jackson – CB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 2003

Jackson won the Super Bowl MVP award in this contest and I guess I have to say he was the best player on the field that day – even though he didn’t have to do much except open up his arms for two of the five interceptions that Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon so willingly tossed that day.

7. Super Bowl XXXVIII – Adam Vinateri – K – New England Patriots – 2004

Once again, I’m going to say the best player on the field was Adam Vinateri after he saved the Patriots from what could have turned out to be an embarrassing collapse.
I know Tom Brady won this Super Bowl MVP award, but he wasn’t even the best quarterback in this game as he threw three TD passes – and one interception while Carolina’s Jake Delhomme tossed three TD passes with no picks. Thanks to the ice in his veins, Vinateri nailed the game-winner with just 0:04 seconds remaining.

6. Super Bowl XXIX – Tom Brady – QB – New England Patriots – 2005

Ironically, this is the one Super Bowl MVP award that I think Brady should have won after completing 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Instead the MVP award went to teammate Deion Branch after he caught 11 passes for 133 yards – and no scores. I know one thing NFL fanatics, if the Pats reach Super Bowl XLV, then Brady will likely be the odds-on-favorite to win the MVP award in the 2010 Super Bowl Prop Bets Courtesy of BetUS.

5. Super Bowl XL – Willie Parker – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers – 2006

I know Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward won the Super Bowl MVP award in this contest after grabbing five passes for 143 yards and one touchdown, but if you saw this game and know the sports of professional football thoroughly, then you know it was ‘Fast’ Willie Parker’s Super Bowl record 75-yard run in the third quarter that really won this contest for the Steelers.
Not only did Parker’s jaunt put the Steelers up 14-3 at the time, but it also put the Seahawks back on their heels which then opened up the passing game for Hines Ward to make his five receptions.

4. Super Bowl XLI – peyton manning with super bowl trophy –QB – Indianapolis Colts – 2007

I guess Peyton Manning should have won this Super Bowl MVP award, in the Colts 29-17 win over Chicago, but let’s be for real for a moment and admit that Manning’s 25-for-38 day for 247 yards with one TD and one interception is not the stuff of legend, no matter how much you like the older of Archie’s two, NFL-playing sons!

3. Super Bowl XLII – Eli Manning, David Tyree – QB, WR – New York Giants – 2008

I know Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning won this award after going 19-for-34 for 255 yards and one touchdown, but there is no way he wins the award – or the game for that matter – without David Tyree’s now legendary ‘helmet catch’ where he miraculously held Manning’s high pass against his helmet while being tackled by a throng of defenders.
Yeah, Manning won this MVP award, but it is David Tyree’s one-of-a-kind play that NFL fans everywhere will remember for decades to come and should keep in mind for the quickly-approaching 2010 Super Bowl Prop Bets.

2. Super Bowl XLIII – Santonio Holmes – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers – 2009

Why the Steelers jettisoned their 2009 Super Bowl MVP and kept the disgraceful Ben Roethlisberger is beyond me, but this isn’t a morality contest so I’ll let it go by saying that, were it not for Holmes’ miraculous grab in the corner of the end zone – off a great pass from Roethlisberger – the Steelers don’t win this contest – and Kurt Warner wins the MVP!

1. Super Bowl XLIV –Drew Brees – QB – New Orleans Saints – 2010

Brees outplayed Peyton Manning in this Super Bowl matchup by completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while hooking up with a whopping eight receivers in the contest and seven of those on multiple passes.

Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today

Now that we are well into the new Millennium society has begun to recognize serious concerns with issues that kids have to deal with today. Some issues have always been there but are now coming to the eyes of the public to find solutions. Other issues are new trends as society begins to adapt to a faster pace of life. Below are the top 10 issues facing our youth today.

10. Single Parent Households

single parent households
The problems begin at home. Since the 1950s, the number of single parent homes has consistently increased to the point of catastrophe. Today, 14 million single parents are responsible for 28 million children. Raising a child is difficult enough in a two parent home, especially in tough economic conditions. The situation is even direr when there is only one parent. Economically, a single parent is likely to bring less income home. This equates to fewer opportunities for such vital necessities as education. Trying to make ends meet also takes time – time that is spent away from children who need a parent’s guiding/influence. Absent a parent’s diligent guidance, children become subject to higher dropout rates, higher risk of dangerous sexual behaviors and pregnancies, higher chances of drug and alcohol abuse –etc. It truly takes a village to raise a child.

9. Drug/Alcohol Abuse

drug and alcohol abuse
There was a time in cinematic history where virtually every actor/actress was portrayed on screen with a cigarette in hand. Smoking, it was implied, was cool. As a result everyone was doing it, including kids. Well, as awareness to the danger of smoking increased, “cool” images of smoking disappeared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about drugs and alcohol. These vices are staples in everyday media. Simply, drinking and using drugs is shown as being cool. The numbers bear the tale. 21% of high school seniors say they get high and 41% of the same group report drinking alcohol. Our kids are literally moving around in an intoxicated daze. Immature behavior is then amplified due to being under the influence. Drunk driving, poor grades and attendance, anti-social and violent behavior and the list goes on.

8. Growing up too Fast

growing up too fast
There was a time when kids enjoyed being kids. Today, even at the earliest of ages, children are partaking in adult activities with serious consequences. Similar to what we see with alcohol and drugs, sex is a very popular and portrayed subject matter. The movies, TV, the internet, essentially everywhere a kid turns he or she is bombarded with sexual suggestions. In fact, there are entire TV series marketed directly to kids dealing with sex – the egregious being The Secret Lives of an American Teenager and Teen Mom, to name two. Music is a culprit as well. Songs have always had sexual innuendos, but at least “back in the day” you had to be old enough to understand them. Today, it’s all about “How low can you go” and “baby let me sex you up.” Kids are having sex as early as 10 and 11, with teen pregnancies increasingly on the rise. The concept of childhood is literally being wiped out.

7. Violence in Schools

violence in schools
A child’s education is the foundation from which he or she will be able to go forth out into the world and build a life. Schools play a major role in this endeavor, and therefore it is reasonable to expect that these places of learning would be safe havens for the children while they are preparing for adulthood. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In many instances, especially in low income, urban settings, schools can be a war zone. We are not talking about minor bullying, but rather serious violence. Consider that in the last decade 284 kids were murdered due to school violence – these were shootings, stabbings, fighting and suicides. Growing up is tough enough without having to be worried about being killed while going to math class.

6. Materialism

We live in a society that promotes materialism and so we perpetuate this particular malady by instilling bad habits into our children. We teach our children that the measure of success and happiness in life is how much stuff you have. Kids naturally want things –especially if their friends have something similar. Unfortunately, there seems to be little restraint on accompanying guidance as we go about this. Essentially, we provide our kids with whatever they want that is within our financial ability to do so. The concept of “earning” what you get or the idea that something “you don’t need” seem to have been lost and discarded. Is there really any wonder why the average adult is $15,000 in debt at any given time? We have a mentality of getting what we want and when we want it that has been ingrained in us since childhood. The unfortunate result is that there are devastating consequences for such continued behavior later in life.

5. Obesity

childhood obesity
Our kids are fat and getting fatter. Recent numbers show that 20% of American children are obese. Not chubby –OBESE! Video games, TV, the internet and fast food are partly to blame. Kids are spending more time sitting in front of a TV/computer screen than running around outside. This sedentary lifestyle has consequences. Socially, it’s no secret that overweight kids are going to be subject to ridicule from their peers – it’s sad, but nevertheless true. This can result in such issues as low self-esteem, depression, etc. Then there are the health concerns. High blood pressure, diabetes and other maladies that is associated with obesity. Psychologically and physically, obesity is an issue that can be resolved with a simple increase in activity and awareness.

4. Education Disparity

empty school desk
Education is important. Few people would dispute this well regarded fact. A good education (in comparison with a bad one) will provide a child with an increased chance of taking advantage of opportunities to be successful in life. Unfortunately, some people have it better than other. This is not an issue of just one school being better than another school. Rather we are talking about whole classes of American children being denied a proper education that will prepare them to compete in a job market with their peers and have the same access to the American Dream. Disparity in educational quality is delineated by race and financial status. If you live in a poor neighborhood or are a minority, there is a good chance that the schools you attend are lacking many necessities. While Asians and Whites enjoy high graduating rates, African American and Latinos continue to lag behind. Not surprisingly, because job opportunities are lessen for dropouts, these two groups have the highest incarceration rates.

3. Shifting Economy

shifting economy
America used to sustain itself with making its own products through manufacturing and then turning around and selling those products. The economy is shifting to more of a service industry versus a manufacturing industry. In order to cut costs and keep product prices down companies are forced to outsource manufacturing to other countries. Other countries can produce products at much lower labor costs. Some companies have even begun to outsource call center jobs to keep labor costs down. Not only is America now having lower paying service jobs than the average blue-collar job with a sustainable income but our economy is now a global economy. For example, what happens in Japan or Iraq can drastically alter prices for our stock exchanges, gas/oil, and many other products. What exactly does this mean for our youth? The youth cannot graduate or even dropout of school without going through the pains of a low-income job. The jobs offered with no experience pay very little with very little room for pay increases. In fact, the competition to get a promotion can be fierce. In the past, your high school senior could graduate and go work at the local factory for the rest of his or her life and make a good living. They would not necessarily need to have a college education to survive. In fact, youth today will graduate from college with multiple degrees and still cannot find work that pays enough to sustain a decent lifestyle.

2. Poverty

The federal poverty level is $22,050 for a family of four. This equates to 21% of all children (15 million children) are considered in poverty. Just to cover basic expenses for a family of four you would need to have a salary of $45,000. This means that nearly 50% of our children are living in poverty. Half of those kids receive no government assistance because their parents earned more than $22,050 that year. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. Poverty impedes learning and contributes to social and behavioral problems. And guess what? There is no income to counteract these problems. Mommy cannot afford a tutor or Daddy cannot afford a counselor. There is a huge opportunity for society to stop being so materialistic and in turn poverty wouldn’t be such an issue because most children will all have the same things –things they need instead of what they want. This would decrease violence in schools because fewer kids would be teased.

1. Erosion of National Pride/Identity

erosion of national pride
If every year the Olympics were held, this probably wouldn’t be a problem. This list is indicative of the fact that America (like any nation) has problems. The issue at hand is collective though amongst the people affected about how to deal with them. Unfortunately most folks tend to focus on their self and not the whole. We see these problems as affecting “them” and not “me/us” When we hear that America’s children are the fattest among Western nations, this doesn’t sting. When we learn that America’s children lay educationally behind other industrialized nations, we don’t cringe. There is very little sense of collective identity of people, as Americans. This is a result of our children not being properly educated and guided. There was a time when every child would begin the school day by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Children were taught the significance of the 4th of July (besides fireworks). These practices are long gone and so is our sense of common destiny. With so many diverse nationalities, races, and ethnic groups that comprise America, the one common bond we all have with one another is that we are Americans.

Top 10 Websites that Changed Everyday Life

“Hooked on Internet?  Help is a just a click away.” – Unknown
The quote truly says it all. When it comes to the Internet, there is nothing that you can’t do. In today’s world, we are run by technology and the flow of updates to already existing technology seems to be never-ending. With that said, it is really no surprise that the Internet has definitely become a true part of everyday life. In the U.S. alone there are 266,224,500 Internet users; in Asia there are 825,094,396. Throughout the entire world there is said to be 1,966,514,816 people who use the Internet and the number continues to grow each day. Along with the Internet came the millions of websites that we all use. While some don’t become as popular as others, many have become so common that they seem like an everyday must have.
Below are 10 websites that have clearly changed how we function both online as well as offline. Even though the Internet has been available for public use since 1992, it’s only been in the last few years that some websites really became giants. The websites below can easily be called a part of everyday life for many.

10. Craigslist– Changed classified ads


Before the Internet if you ever had interest in a classified ad, you’d probably go straight to the local newspaper and see what you can find. Of course then the Internet came along and while you could find classified ads online, most of the websites were filled with spam posts or people looking to set you up while others were just unorganized and most of the time classified ads for smaller locations were nonexistent. However, today, if you’re ever looking for anything, and I mean anything, all you need to do is go to Craigslist.
You can find plenty of things on the classified ads website; from cars, to pets, to jobs, homes, and even a place to discuss anything you have on your mind. Despite recently coming under fire for its “personals” section of the website, Craigslist continues to be extremely popular among people all around the world. You can find ads in your state and then narrow down to a city which makes finding what you need much easier.
But, just like older classified ads websites, you will find spam ads and you will run into ads that are created by people looking to get your money and run. The website offers a service to report spammers and often shows a warning page explaining how many scammers work and what to look out for when using the site.

9. Geocities – Changed internet accessibility


Even though nowadays anyone and everyone can access the Internet, from your 3rd cousin to your great-grandmother, when the Internet was first created, those who used it were mainly those involved in the technology or scientific fields and many times these people were looking for bugs, fixes, and ways to improve the technology that existed. As crazy as it seems, at one point in time, the Internet was pretty boring and bare. However, as websites began to pop up, more and more everyday people started to use the Internet. To continue this growth, websites such as GeoCities were created, which opened a whole new world to those people who weren’t the most tech-savvy as others. GeoCities allowed people to easily create their own website.
The website was started in 1994 and was first known as BHI (Beverly Hills Internet), which at the time was a small web-hosting company based out of Southern California. The company offered free service to people within various locations in California and years later became a country-wide service and then world-wide.
Today the website is defunct in the U.S. and Canada, but is still offered as a service in Japan. When Yahoo purchased the service after 10 years of success during what is called the dot com bubble, it is said that almost 38 million GeoCities pages were shut down. Despite only being offered in Japan, it’s safe to say that GeoCities allowed for some of the earliest web designers.

8. Blogger– Changed the blogging scene


Blogging is the way of the world now. Who needs to scribble in a personal diary or to write random things on ripped pieces of notebook paper when you can hop on your computer, log in, and type all of your thoughts onto your computer screen, press upload, and have the opportunity to have the entire world read what you’ve got to say. Blogger was launched in 1999 and since then has allowed the blogging world to flourish.
While many want to credit LiveJournal or some other blogging site with raising the bar in the blogging world, Blogger most definitely came first and is often credited for setting the stage for the format of a common blog. The website has been designed and redesigned and most recently has begun to work closely with Google to include some of their most popular features.
The website on the Alexa scale is ranked #8 and each day over 388 million words are published on the website. Even though competitor websites such as WordPress, LiveJournal, and TypePad have come about, Blogger is easily credited with starting the blogging revolution.

7. Pandora – Changed how we listen to music


The way we listen to music has drastically changed over time. Today MP3s and MP4s are the way of the world, but let’s not forget records, music cassettes, and of course, the radio. However, even though MP3s and digital music seem to be the latest fad, Pandora has stepped up and offered a way to listen to music online while you surf.
Pandora is an online radio station that basically lets you create your own station based on the music like you like to listen to. Of course, listening to music on the Internet isn’t something new, but being able to create your own music station is. Anyone can tune into music that is played on Yahoo or listen to your favorite radio station online, but the fact is that most of those songs are played every hour (or so it seems) and sometimes the song playing isn’t one that you particularly care for.
But, when it comes to Pandora, website will play a song and based on whether you like the band or not, the website will play similar music. The great thing is that Pandora often throws in new bands that are on the rise. You can easily type in a band on the website, listen to a song, and then have the chance to listen to a new band that is similar to your tastes.

6. Facebook – Changed how we interact


First there was the telephone, then pagers, then cell phones, then along came the internet with instant messaging services and chatrooms, and before all of this when people wanted to communicate, there was conversational speaking and letters. Today, we have Facebook, and this one social networking site has seriously taken the world by storm. Though technically not the first social networking site created, many will argue that it is the most useful and is the one that has made the largest impact on our society.
It seems like everything we do is based on Facebook these days. Pictures, friends, relationships, gossip; it all ties into Facebook in some way of another, and wherever you go, you’ll usually find something Facebook-esque. Musicians are asking fans to add them on Facebook as are authors, political candidates, businesses, and anything and everything between.
The website was launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg six years later the website has exploded, attracting more than 500 million users, ranging from your average Joe, to celebrities, and even political world leaders.

5. Wikipedia – Changed how we research/learn


Before Wikipedia came along, high school and college students had to do their own research the hard way. In all seriousness, before Wikipedia became one big booming e-encyclopedia, many of those that were offered online either required a paid membership to have access to information or the encyclopedia altogether lacked a lot of information. It was either go to the library to find the research you needed or dish out some money to get it.
However, Wikipedia changed all of this and really made research a breeze. The website became the first of its kind: a free e-encyclopedia that has grown and will probably continue to do so as long as the Internet is available. On April 16, 2010, the website had its 1 billionth edit and today it is ranked the #7 most visited website by Alexa. In the U.S. it is the 6th most visited website in the country.
The amazing thing about Wikipedia is that you can literally fin anything and almost everything on Wikipedia. With 3,410,052 articles and growing, there isn’t much you can’t find. If you can’t you can easily edit and add information yourself. The website appeals to Internet users from all over the world, offering information in various languages such as Spanish, Russian, French, German, Italian, and many others. And yes, Wikipedia has a Wikipedia page.

4. Amazon – Changed the face of retail shopping


When you need food, you go to the grocery store. When you need clothes, you go to the mall or your favorite retail store. If you need pet supplies, you go to the pet store. If you want to listen to music, you go purchase a CD at a store. All of this is common sense, and generally when people need things, they visit a brick and mortar store. However, when Amazon was launched in 1995, the company, based out of Seattle, changed the entire face of retail shopping. Their name says it all; Amazon is the largest river in the world and Amazon.com is the largest online store on could imagine. Where else can you buy jewelry, MP3s, clothing, vitamins, dog toys, and anything else from the same location?
Most recently Amazon even began selling food products that can be delivered to your door. With the creation of Amazon, it’s safe to say that less and less people are visiting brick and mortar stores to purchase certain items. The website offers free shipping with a $25 purchase as well as a Prime account which promises free 2-day shipping or $3.99 next day shipping. The point is, anyone can count on Amazon to have what they need. It’s truly amazing how an e-shop can stock and supply such a wide array of items.

3. YouTube – Changed daily entertainment


When it came time to looking or watching videos online, there wasn’t a wide variety of options. At times people would upload videos for people to watch, but many times due to bandwidth and other factors, those who owned websites just opted to stay away from the videos and other high bandwidth features. However, an easy fix to this problem came about in February 2005. YouTube, which has been successfully running for 5 years now, solved any and all problems when it came to entertainment on the Internet. Not only can you watch videos but you can also listen to music and even blog through videos.
Millions of people from all over the world enjoy the features of YouTube each day. Because of YouTube there is one great place for everyone to look at videos and even comment and review them. The website allows you to really watch anything you could ever think of. From music videos to bloggers, to tutorials and just outright random videos, you can surely find it on YouTube.
The website is ranked #3 on the Alexa scale and offers 29 different languages for users who live outside of the United States. Though other video websites are available, such as Hulu, none have been as successful as YouTube has been.

2. eBay – Changed how we buy and sell


While online shopping has become a great fad that it seems everyone has latched onto, eBay is one of many websites that should have credit for advancing this online phenomenon. Even though most websites today offer users the ability to purchase what they want online, eBay not only offers online shopping it also allows users to bid on some of the hottest items each year. eBay has most definitely made shopping something that anyone can do without having to get in the car, drive to a store or the mall, and then look around to find the right size or color.
With online shopping with a few simple clicks your shopping is done. eBay allows users from all over the world to bid and buy items. The good thing about the website is that many times you pay a lot less than you would in stores and even better is the fact that items are available that may not be sold in a store local to you. eBay has made it easy to find some of the most popular items as well as items that aren’t sold in stores anymore.
eBay is also well known for its ability for users to sell various items, from perfume to clothing to replica shoes and anything and everything in between. eBay is one of the very few websites that offers live real time auctions for products.

1. Google – Changed virtually everything


As extreme as it sounds, it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to the Internet Google can be found anywhere and everywhere. No matter what kind of activity you do online, from watching videos, to blogging, to just reading the local news online, you’re probably some way, somehow using a service provided by Google, and many times you don’t even know it. When you watch a YouTube video, you’re using a Google service. If you’ve ever used Blogger, that’s a Google service. Chrome: Google browser. If you’ve ever seen a Doubleclick ad; yep, that’s Google too.
So in essence, Google is everywhere; ubiquitous. From watching videos to uploading pictures to show to friends and family, whether you know it or not, Google is a very well used service all over the world. If you ever need to get somewhere, you probably go to Google.com. If you need to search for something, Google.com is probably the first place you go.

10 Famous Pictures From Around The World

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community. In creating propaganda, people will focus on a specific set of facts that will elicit an emotional reaction in a population. If angered, humans will often overlook rational information. In the history of photography, thousands of famous images have been taken. Governments have popularized many of these pictures as a form of propaganda. Photographs give the human brain an opportunity to interpret a specific environment. This article is going to examine ten famous photographs and their remarkable stories.

10. Lee Harvey Oswald and His Rifle

Oswald with Gun and Communist Paper
According to four U.S. government investigations, Lee Harvey Oswald is the sniper who killed John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. On March 31, 1963, Marina Oswald captured a collection of photographs showing Lee Harvey Oswald in his backyard with a rifle in hand. Along with the gun, the photographs show Oswald holding two Marxist newspapers, The Militant and The Worker. He is wearing a .38 caliber revolver on his waist. In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined that the rifle in the picture was the same used to shoot Kennedy. The revolver was also determined to be the weapon used to kill Officer J. D. Tippit following the assassination. The collection of photos is widely recognized as some of the most significant evidence against Oswald.
The pictures have been subjected to rigorous analysis and many people have claimed they are altered. Oswald insisted they were forgeries. Some inconsistencies include unnatural lines in Oswald’s face, an identical background in all three photographs, unnatural shadows, and inconsistent body length between pictures. In 1978, a British forensic photography expert named Malcolm Thompson determined that the pictures were fakes. However, after seeing the evidence presented by the HSCA investigation, Thompson recanted his conclusion and agreed that the backyard pictures were genuine. After digitally analyzing the photograph of Oswald holding the rifle and paper, computer scientist Hany Farid concluded that the photo was “almost certainly not altered.”
Interesting Fact
On February 21, 1964 the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald in his backyard was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine. It was also placed on the front page of the Free Press. Certain alterations were visible between the two photographs. The Free Press picture completely removed the rifle’s scope. The occurrence caused distrust and fueled conspiracy theories.

9. Annie Edson Taylor

Niagara Falls is the most powerful collection of waterfalls in North America. They are situated on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario and forms the international border between Ontario and New York. The Horseshoe Falls drop about 173 feet (53 m), while the height of the American Falls varies between 70–100 feet (21–30 m) because of the presence of giant boulders at its base. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are located on the American side, separated from the main falls by Luna Island. On October 24, 1901, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She accomplished the feat on her 63rd birthday. Taylor used a custom-made barrel for her trip, constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress.
Annie Taylor was set adrift near the American shore, south of Goat Island. The Niagara River currents carried the barrel toward the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which has since become the site for all daredevil stunting activity at Niagara Falls. After the plunge, rescuers reached Annie’s barrel and she was found alive. Taylor was relatively uninjured, except for a small gash on her head. Annie Taylor told the press, “If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat. I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.”  In 1911, Bobby Leach became the second person to travel over Niagara Falls in a barrel. In the fall, Leach broke both knee caps and fractured his jaw.
Interesting Fact
Two days before Annie Taylor’s own attempt, a domestic cat was sent over the Horseshoe Falls in her barrel to test its strength. Contrary to rumors at the time, the cat survived the plunge unharmed and later posed with Taylor in photographs.

8. Patty Hearst

Patty Hearst is the granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. On February 4, 1974 the 19-year-old Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley, California apartment by a left-wing urban guerrilla group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). The Symbionese Liberation Army was an American terrorist organization born out of a number of radical prison advocacy groups. After Hearst was kidnapped, she was taken to a house in Daly City, California and kept in a closet. After 57 days of being blindfolded, gagged and tied up, Hearst was indoctrinated with SLA political literature.
The SLA demanded that the Hearst family distribute $70 worth of food to every needy Californian, an operation that would cost an estimated $400 million. Hearst’s father arranged for the immediate donation of $6 million worth of food. In response, Patty Hearst was never released. On April 3, 1974, Patty announced on an audiotape that she had joined the Symbionese Liberation Army and assumed the name Tania. She became a well-known victim of Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a phenomenon where hostages express positive feelings towards their captors. It is a condition caused by extreme mental and physical abuse.
On April 15, 1974 Patty Hearst was photographed wielding an M1 carbine rifle while robbing the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco. Cameras were able to capture Patty as she yelled “I’m Tania, up against the wall.” The images of Hearst quickly spread around the world. A warrant was issued for her arrest and in September 1975, Patty was arrested in a San Francisco apartment with other SLA members. Patty Hearst was convicted of bank robbery on March 20, 1976 and was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. Her sentence was later commuted to seven years and she served 22 months.
Interesting Fact
Patty Hearst was granted a full pardon by President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001. After her release from prison, Patty married her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw. They have two children, Gillian and Lydia Hearst-Shaw, and reside in Garrison, New York.

7. Mission Accomplished

The Iraq War began on March 20, 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by the United States under the administration of President George W. Bush and the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Tony Blair. To date, the Iraq War has lasted eight and a half years. Two months after the war started, on May 1, 2003 George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in Iraq. Visible in the background was a banner stating “Mission Accomplished.” Following the speech, the image became internationally recognized. George W Bush was criticized for suggesting the war was over, when in fact it was just beginning.
The controversy surrounding the speech and the banner made video clips and pictures of the speech famous. As criticism mounted, the White House released a statement saying that they didn’t mean to imply the Iraq War was over. Pentagon spokesman Conrad Chun said the banner referred specifically to the aircraft carrier’s 10-month deployment and not the war itself. The banner and picture have come to symbolize the irony of the President giving a victory speech only a few weeks after the beginning of a relatively long war. In November 2008, Bush indicated that he regretted the use of the banner, stating in a CNN interview, “To some, it said, well, Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over, when I didn’t think that. It conveyed the wrong message.”
Interesting Fact
Coincidentally, on May 1, 2011, exactly eight years after the speech, President Barack Obama announced that U.S. Navy SEALs had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The French newspaper Le Monde favorably compared Obama’s speech to that of Bush.

6. Flight of Refugees Across Wrecked Bridge in Korea

Towards the end of 1950, China entered the Korean War. They sided with North Korea and the reinforcements not only broke the United Nations advance, but sent U.S. forces in retreat. As the UN left the area, so did Korean civilians. A major obstacle in the way of escape was a destroyed bridge over the Taedong River near Pyongyang, North Korea. Despite intense danger, thousands of people attempted to cross the bridge at once. AP photographer Max Desfor was working the war and captured the refugees as they struggled to move across the ruined bridge. The picture was taken on December 4, 1950 and won the Pulitzer Prize in photography for Max Desfor. Desfor had trouble using his camera due to the cold temperatures. During an interview after the war, Max commented on the “deathly silence” of the scene.
Interesting Fact
During the Korean War, the Battle of Inchon turned the tide against the Korean People’s Army (NKPA) and the United Nations command. The soldiers were forced to retreat down the Chinese border, but were defeated in the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River. The 120 mile (190 km) retreat was the longest in U.S. military history.

5. Wait for Me, Daddy

On Saturday August 26, 1939 Hitler threatened Poland and demanded control of the city of Danzig. The same day, the Regimental Adjutant in British Columbia, Canada received a call from the Canadian capital instructing him to call out the BC Regiment. On September 10, 1939 the Parliament of Canada declared war against the German Reich. On October 1, 1940 the British Columbia Regiment was ordered to Nanaimo and then overseas. The soldiers made a famous march down Eighth Street in New Westminster.
At the intersection of Eighth and Columbia Avenue, Claude P. Dettloff captured a photograph of Private Jack Bernard’s 5-year-old son Warren (Whitey) running from his mother to join his father in line. The picture received extensive exposure during the Second World War and was used in war-bond drives. It documents the struggle that many children feel as their parents travel to war. The photo gained exposure in Life magazine and was hung in every school in British Columbia during the war. When Jack Bernard returned home, Claude Dettloff was on hand to photograph the family’s reunion. Jack and Bernice Bernard would eventually divorce.
Interesting Fact
Whitey Bernard doesn’t remember getting his picture taken, but does remember the next day when the image was published in the Province Newspaper. He soon became the most famous kid in Canada. Whitey was even enlisted to sell war bonds.

4. Portrait of Subcomandante Marcos

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is an armed revolutionary group based in one of the poorest states of Mexico, Chiapas. Since 1994, the group has been in a declared war “against the Mexican state.” The war has been primarily nonviolent and defensive against military, paramilitary, and corporate incursions into Chiapas. The group’s main spokesperson is Subcomandante Marcos. In January 1994, Marcos led an army of Mayan farmers into the eastern parts of Chiapas protesting against the Mexican government’s treatment of indigenous peoples. Marcos is an author, political poet, adroit humorist, and outspoken opponent of capitalism. He has advocated for having the Mexican constitution amended to recognize the rights of the country’s indigenous inhabitants.
Subcomandante Marcos is famous for using a pipe and always covering his face with a black balaclava. Many people have called him the leader of a new wave of revolutionaries. In the middle of the 1990s, Subcomandante Marcos shot to prominence around the world. He became viewed as a celebrity in many areas of Mexico. A famous portrait of Marcos was spread around the world. The picture shows the Mexican leader with a black mask and smoking pipe. The image has fueled the revolutionary spirit in many areas of Mexico, much the same way that the portrait of Che Guevara became the symbol for revolution in the 1960s. Between 1992 and 2006, Marcos wrote more than 200 essays and stories. He published 21 books.
Interesting Fact
Subcomandante Marcos denies it, but the Mexican government believes he is Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente who was born June 19, 1957 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

3. Winston Churchill and the Tommy Gun

On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill made a historic speech. “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!” His words were an inspiration to British troops and in the summer of 1940, Churchill scheduled a collection of public tours across the UK. During one of these tours on July 31, 1940, he was photographed trying out an American 1928 Tommy gun or Thompson SMG.
The picture was taken at the defense fortifications near Hartlepool in Northern England used by the British media in 1940. It quickly spread across the world and became an important picture of the Second World War. Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels extensively used the photograph. During the Battle of Britain, the Germans dropped leaflets with the picture and the English text “WANTED, for incitement to MURDER.” The Nazi propaganda was attempting to portray Churchill as a gangster.
Interesting Fact
It is not the same gun as in the picture, but the World War II London Underground Headquarters, now a museum, has a similar Tommy gun on display that Churchill planned to use if the Nazis came to London. If they had successfully invaded he is quoted as planning “to light a good cigar, take a sip or two of his favorite brandy, and go out in the streets and take as many German troops with it as he could, perhaps fighting alongside the Queen and the royal family when the end came.”

2. Alexey Yeremenko

Soviet war reporter and photographer Max Alpert captured one of the most famous pictures of World War II. The photograph shows junior political officer Alexey Yeremenko leading an attack against German troops. It was taken by Alpert on July 12, 1942 during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The image was initially titled Kom-bat, which is a Soviet military acronym for “commander of battalion.” The exact location of the battle is difficult to determine, but all accounts say that Alexey Yeremenko was killed right after the photograph was taken. The picture gives an excellent profile of the Soviet soldier and his weapon. During World War II, the image became a symbol of the Great Patriotic War and the Soviet fight against the Axis Powers of the Eastern Front. It represents courage on the battlefield and is a lasting symbol of the Soviet victory.
Interesting Fact
The identity of Alexey Yeremenko was not uncovered until May of 1965, 23 years after the picture was taken. He was identified after his wife and children saw the famous image on the front page of the Pravda 20-year jubilee issue. The article was dedicated to the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

1. American Soldier at D-Day

The Invasion of Normandy began on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). It was the largest amphibious operation in history. Allied soldiers faced intense fire as they attempted to reach the shoreline and gain cover. Robert Capa is a famous Hungarian combat photographer. To escape Nazi control, Capa moved to New York during the Second World War and became a photographer for the Allies. He accompanied American troops during the Invasion of Normandy and was able to capture 106 action photographs. Capa sent his film to Life magazine in order to have it developed. After an error occurred, Life magazine destroyed the film and only 11 pictures were salvageable.
Robert Capa’s most famous photograph shows an American soldier moving through the water and attempting to reach the shoreline of Normandy. At the time of the picture, the men were under intense gunfire. The image has been praised for showing the true nature of the Normandy landings. Robert Capa remembers, “The water was cold, and the beach more than a hundred yards away. The bullets tore holes in the water around me, and I made for the nearest steel obstacle. A soldier got there at the same time, and for a few minutes we shared its cover. He took the waterproofing off his rifle and began to shoot without much aiming at the smoke-hidden beach. The sound of his rifle gave him enough courage to move forward. I felt a new kind of fear shaking my body from toe to hair, and twisting my face.”
Of all the photographers sent to Normandy with the Allied invasion, only Robert Capa was able to capture pictures showing an active resistance. Other photographers were either foiled by bad weather or landed on beaches that faced little German opposition. This fact makes the loss of Robert Capa’s film tragic. The U.S. soldier in the photograph was identified as Edward Regan. Regan remembers that “there was so much chaos and mass confusion that one was reduced to a state of almost complete immobilization.”

Top 10 Biggest, Fastest and Craziest Ambulances

Golf Ambulance
Golf players might get experience heart failures when they get a bit to excite about the game. That’s when you need the golf ambulance since a normal ambulance would ruin the golf course.
Golf ambulance
Ranger Ambulance
Heart failures in the middle of the forest can also be handled. All that is needed is one of these ranger ambulances (it also works as a small fire truck).
Ranger ambulance
Super Ambulance Truck
Gigantic ambulance from Japan with six wheels and room for a lot of patients. Perfect for when Godzilla finally attacks.
Super ambulance
Bus Ambulance
A normal city bus converted into large-capacity ambulance with room for 15 patients. Apparently it was built for the World Cup in football in Germany, but nowadays it is mostly being used to transport obese patients.
Bus ambulance
Hummer Ambulance
No idea how the fire department managed to get this Hummer ambulance. It looks like they are in the middle of a city, so why do they need an off road vehicle with a crazy number of search lights?
Hummer ambulance
Land Rover Ambulance
Even more badass than the Hummer ambulance is this Land Rover ambulance from the UK. Clearly built for off road use, so maybe this ambulance actually hit the terrain once in a while.
Land Rover ambulance
Jet Ambulance
It used to be a normal ambulance, but then the fire department decided they needed a faster vehicle. Now there is no room for patients anymore. All the medical equipment had to go to make room for the jet engine.
Jet ambulance
Porsche Cayenne Ambulance
The fastest ambulance in the world that is actually being used as a normal ambulance. It is being used to race patients around in Stuttgart, Germany.
Porsche Cayenne ambulance
Mercedes-Benz AMG Ambulance
Even faster than the Porsche Cayenne ambulance, but this one was specially built for Formula 1. Apparently it is being used to get wounded race drivers to the hospital as fast as possible. Top speed is around 250 km/h or 155 mph.
Mercedes-Benz AMG ambulance
MRAP II Armored Ambulance
Armored ambulance for use in Iraq and other unfriendly environments. Fitted with explosive reactive armor, so it can counter land mines and so on.
MRAP II armored ambulance