Interesting Facts About Finland

We don’t hear about this country much in the media, because it’s just too awesome. Here are some facts that will make you want to live in Finland.

-Finland is the fifth largest country in Europe.

-68% of the country is covered by forest.

-Helsinki is the capital, with a population of 539,000 but with the little cities around it, it’s around 900,000.

-Other big cities include Tampere and Turku.

-The language of the elves in the famous movie based on a book, Lord Of The Rings, is based on Finnish.

-Finland is a bilingual country, the two official languages are Swedish and Finnish.

-The UN, voted Finland as the second most stable country in the world.

-The UN, voted Finland as the best country to live in.

-The total population of Finland is 5.1 million.

-The density of the population is low, 17 people per square kilometer.

-The most studied language is Finland is English.

-The elected President spends 6 year in the office.

-The Finnish currency is Euro.

-Finland was the first European country to give right to vote for women.

-Most Finnish are Lutherans. About 95%.

-Finland ranks 4th in the world for the well being of kids.

-The total consummation of pure alcohol is lower then any other country.

-Finland is ranked as the least corrupt country in the world.

-Most crimes in Finland are homicides committed by drunk people during weekends.

-Finland has one of the largest armies in the world per capita.

-85% of Finnish are willing to defend their homeland.

-Their military budget is around 2billion.

-The most famous Finnish company might be Nokia, in the west.

-Lordi, the Finnish monster rock band won the eurovision in 2006.

Interesting Facts about Flags

Everybody knows what a flag is but here are some more detailed and lesser known things about flags.

-The study of flags is called Vexillology

-If you study Vexillology, you can be referred as Vexillologist.

-This the definition of flag you would find in a normal dictionary : an emblem usually consisting of a rectangular piece of cloth with a special pattern. Note that some countries like Nepal, the piece of cloth is not rectangular.

-Objectives are represented by flags, and allegiances also.

-Flags are used for communication by the Navy and were also used by the Romans to signal people far away.

-Flag originated from the Saxon word “fflaken” which means to fly or float in the air,

-Flags often represent the country’s history.

-The colors in flags also mean something.

White: Means peace and Honesty. Black: means determination and the heritage of the people. Red: means courage, bravery. Blue: means vigilance, truth, loyalty. Green: means joy and hope. Yellow: means generosity.

-When wars were fought, warriors needed to know where their leader was in  order to follow, help him so the leader would carry a pole with a cloth. That’s where the idea of the flag started, the battlefield.

Interesting Facts About Halloween

Today is Halloween, kids are knocking at my door for candies, I will give them candies and FACTS.

Here are some facts for you but no candies.

-In late 19th century,  lots of Irish folks immigrated to the US and they associated Halloween to witch and goblins, creatures of the anglo-saxon myths. Before that it was just a festival for farmers, harvesters.

-Jack-o-Lanterns were an Irish tradition but that too was stuck with halloween.

-The word witch came from the old Saxon word “wicka” which meant a smart dealer, of herbs and medicines.

-Pumpkins originated from Mexico, where they too celebrate the dead.

-41% of adults who buy a candy bowl for kids, admit they take some candies themselves.

-43% of adults dress up and buy themselves a costume too.

-62% of adults hand out candy because it is a tradition.

-90% of parents take some of their child’s candies.

-More then 93% of kids go trick or treating each year in America.

Fun Facts About Soccer

In the US and Canada it is known as soccer, but everywhere else it is known as football. The world’s sport, the people’s sport. Here are some facts about it.

-The fact that soccer is so famous and liked, is that you can play on any kind of surface (except on thin ice), thats why so many people around the world play it.

-Angola, one of the ten most poor countries of the world and the most least advanced in education qualified in the 2006 world cup.

-The most watched event on tv is the world cup that happens each 4 year. Billions of people turn on to watch their teams.

-The world cup has been hosted in every continent since it’s start except Antartica. (Technically it hasn’t been hosted yet in Africa but the 2010 world cup will be in South Africa).

-The oldest club in football is Sheffield FC they were founded in 1857, the club resides in South Yorkshire.

-The first international match was played between Scotland and England in Glasglow, Scotland. It ended in a draw and had about 4,000 spectators. Since 1872 (when the first national match was played) to 1999, these to countries played each other 110 times.

Looking back in time: Really, far back…

Astronomy has always been one the most interesting and baffling subjects of all times. From the very first time when someone decided to watch the night sky and observe the different heavenly bodies, human beings have been mystified with this science. As more and more inferences were made, astronomers revolutionized the very basis of human thinking and reasoning. Observations of the sky led the famous astronomers like Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler to give us the structure of the solar system and the planetary bodies that revolve around the sun. The advances in technology give a stamp of approval to these theories. From the invention of the telescope to the highly sophisticated satellites roving Mars, these scientific instruments have enhanced our understanding of our world and the world beyond.

However, the more progress we make the greater is the expanse that opens up in front of us. From a single new discovery comes in a thousand other questions of ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘why’s. The more we know, the more controversial it gets.

Let us talk about the stars for example. The first thing that man must have observed when he looked at the night sky must have the thousands of twinkling dots, filling up the vast sky. That must have surely mystified him. However, thousands of years later, we are still struggling and trying to understand the existence of these stars. You surely know that the light that travels from a star does not reach us immediately. For instance, the light coming to us from the Sun takes 8 minutes to reach us. Therefore, the ray of light striking inside your room had actually started out 8 minutes ago. Similarly, the light coming from a star that is say, 100 light years away, is literally, 100 years old as we see it from the Earth! If you look up and spot that star in the sky you are actually looking at what it was like 100 years ago. That star may have exploded and died but you still see it very much alive! Therefore, you have actually seen something that was present in the past or more appropriately, you’ve seen back in time… 100 years ago!

Astronomers have just recently seen the furthest back in time that is they have gone back 13 billion years. They have measured light from a star that exploded back then, which was close to when our universe was formed. Having seen this light, we have managed to see back almost to the start of all times. This is the closest we have gone back to when The Big Bang happened.

Possibly, in a few years we will get to observe light from some other distant stars that were formed right when the Big Bang happened. Possibly, with light taking so many years to reach us from the distant ends of the universe, we may even see the Big Bang happening… LIVE! Now if that is not baffling, I do not what is!

Pamukkale – A crowning beauty among natural spas

Who doesn’t enjoy a nap in a calm, serene setting? Now imagine having that nap in a large natural spa filled with hot water springs and warm mineral water that is enriched with calcium. Therefore, not only do you enjoy a relaxing bath but the calcium rich water also relaxes your sinews and bones and heals the tension in them. Now, that is tempting, isn’t it? Now fill this scene with a little more magical elements; the warm water flowing down the cliff’s edge, cools down to solidify and form large terraced pools of deposited calcium, overlapping one over the other. Something is akin to the stalactites and stalagmites in the caves. Only these pools are not hanging vertically.

The scene that has just been created for you has not been pulled out from some fairy tale. You can see this place for real in Turkey. This place is called Pamukkale, which means ‘cotton castle’, and is located in the Denizli Province in Turkey. An ancient Roman town called Hierapolis was once built over these terraced pools. Heirapolis means ‘The Holy City’ or ‘The Sacred City’. The ruins of this city continue to exist and can still be seen over the terraced pools today.

If you see the photographs of this place, you are bound to be astounded. Such a strange and beautiful formation exists in our world. There are about seventeen hot water springs in the area. One can also see limestone formations in these hot springs. Underground volcanic activity in the area has led to the formation of some picturesque limestone and calcium walls over the cliff. The temperature of the region assists in the reactions that take place in the formation of the walls and pools as well as control the speed of the flowing water.

However, if you were planning to visit this place on your next vacation, then you are going to be disappointed. Until the mid 1980s, tourism was a major industry in the area. People from around the globe came here to enjoy the scenic beauty as well as use the curative powers of the water for healing themselves. However, the existence of roads and hotels built around these pools, and the increasing number of people bathing in them, began to drain out the water and damage the site.

The terraces began to be ruined and the water began to dirty and dry. As a drastic measure to stop further damage from ruining this site completely, UNESCO declared Pamukkale as a World Heritage Site. In order to preserve it, tourism in the area has now been stopped, the hotels have been destroyed, and people are not allowed to bathe in these pools anymore. However, despite these measures the flow of the water to the pool has reduced and is replenishing at a very slow rate.

So unfortunately, for those of you who may have been thinking of visiting this exquisite natural wonder, it may not be your best choice for a holiday spot. Nevertheless, you can always enjoy the pictures from this place and marvel at how stunningly the nature carves its wonders.

What’s next in the ad world?

With the ad space being saturated at a fast pace, companies are running out of space to promote their products and services. You only need to move your head around a bit and from your sitting spot you are likely to see at least five brand names in big, bold print, vying to catch your eye and your attention. For instance, as I type, I can see my HP laptop, my Samsung touch phone, my Logitech speakers, my Woodland shoes, a bottle of Kinley packaged drinking water and … well several other names… but you get my point. However, it is likely that unless you are looking consciously, your mind won’t register these names even though they are very much visible.

To deal with the increasingly crammed space in the ad world and get themselves in the head of the consumer, marketers are now making use of innovative techniques to get attention. A lot of creativity combined with the choice of a proper communication channel is the need of the day. No wonder our very favourite social networks like Facebook and Twitter have joined in as advertising mediums to reach the consumers. Almost any other web site you visit is likely to have an ad somewhere on the page. Most of the times they’ll just pop out on your screen and you’ll keep struggling to close the popped up windows to be able to read the actual content. Of course, we have our beloved pop-up blockers to stop those irrelevant ads from striking in our faces. But then sometimes I have to deal with pop up ads of pop up blockers as well. Well that’s somewhat funny. Anyhow, it is only a matter of time before the mind stops registering inputs from the sources of Internet as well. So what option is left unexplored?

Perhaps, companies would start getting personal. No, not like getting down then catching our collars and forcing the product on us, but getting personal in a different way. Possibly the next generation of kids in my family would be ‘co-sponsored by Pepsi’ and tattooed with the Pepsi logo to distinguish them from other Nike or Nokia kids. Just imagine what if this truly happened. You’d be able to see a herd of McDonalds and IBMs crossing the streets or an array of Googles, Disneys and Visas cheering in a football stadium. I know it is nasty to think of but it would definitely be effective. At least you won’t just see the brand; you would also register it, go over and develop an affinity for the brand (or socialize with the person in other words). A kinship would soon follow and culminate in friendships, marriages and other such associations and Cisco would get an alternate, literal definition when they say ‘Welcome to the Human Network’. Well, we only have to wait and watch what comes next from advertisers and how effective it proves to be.

The age of smart phones – Newcomers in the market

The world of smart gadgets especially in the mobile phones category is expanding exponentially. Who could have imagined a decade ago that a “phone” as was understood back then, could do anything more than make a call and enable one to talk to a person? Perhaps, that was the misplaced identity. Sure, when Alexander Graham Bell invented the first phone, his primary objective was to be able to talk to a person at a distance. But in the past few years, technology and phone manufacturing companies have gone way ahead to change this basic need that one associated with phones in the past. Now the need has altered and the requirement of the day is to be able to connect, communicate and stay in touch with not just one person but many people simultaneously.

With Apple’s iPhone launch in the market in 2007, the market of cell phones was revolutionized and smart phones began to kick in. Many other phone manufacturers began to follow suit and soon a stream of smart phones began to pour into the hands of consumers. Apple’s iPod, which had been launched in the market earlier in 2001, had changed the world of music lovers. In the same way, iPhone has changed the world of people who use phones.

This month Motorola has launched two new smart phones, Cliq and Droid. While Cliq can boast of a fully customisable home screen, Droid has the thinnest QWERTY keyboard among all the cell phones. Along with the age old features, both phones offer Web 2.0 application like My Space, Facebook and Twitter that are the hottest buzz today among youngsters worldwide. The MotoBlur software that comes with Cliq provides for an enriching social networking experience. All the status messages and updates from your contacts are streamed on to your phone and can be accessed with the aid of different widgets on the screen. As for Droid, it promises to be clutter-free. So even though there are several applications running simultaneously, their screens don’t overlap in the way that make some phones ugly to access and you can enjoy your phone to its maximum. Motorola has managed to join in the league of iPhone and Blackberry that is a favourite of consumers worldwide.

With the launch of these two new phones, the market has additional options for all those tech-savvy, electronic gadget lovers. These two phones offer the usual high-speed browsing, a must for Internet and Web users, a hi-resolution touch screen, hi-resolution in-built camera and video recording features, several other smart features and smart looks. More importantly, they offer upgrades to other versions of smart phones currently residing in the market. With each new launch of a phone comes a trendier, more desired, improved, new feature or version. And all this is what makes the phone enter the wish list of the consumers. Hopefully, Cliq and Droid will enjoy the same acceptance and popularity that other smart phones have been enjoying for a while now. Perhaps, these will become the new trend for people to fall in line with.

Stunning and Striking – The Island of Bliss

Many marvellous places around the world can astound you. Some of them are architectural marvels that have designed with meticulous care and a lot of vivid imagination. Then there are some natural wonders scattered across the globe. One of the most fascinating places bursting with natural bounties is Socotra. If you woke up here some day and were, unable to recall how you got there in the first place then you’d think either that you’re still dreaming or that you’ve managed to transport yourself back in time to the prehistoric days.

Also known as Soqotra or Suqutra, this place is a part of Yemen and is located 220 miles off the coast of Africa. It is located in the Indian Ocean and is a group of four islands. Its existing beauty can attributed to the fact that this island is very isolated from the rest of the world and until 2002, was one of the most inaccessible places. Geographically, it continues to be isolated even today.

The photos of this place look like they have cut right out of some fantasy movie and altered with high-effects. It truly feels like this place is out of this world. It houses a myriad of flora and fauna that are extraordinary to say the least. About a third of its vegetation could not found anywhere else in the world. One can only imagine how rich the biodiversity of this place must be.

One of the strangest looking trees that founded here called Dracaena Cinnabari or more commonly, the Dragon’s Blood Tree. A weird umbrella shaped tree looks more like an overgrown mushroom with a green cap on top. The only mammals which are native to this island are bats. It is however home to several birds and aquatic animals. Another strange looking plant is the Desert Rose, also known as the Elephant’s Leg Tree. These plants have thick bottoms and trunks and thin branches with red and pink colored roses at their tips and grow right on top of rocks where there is hardly any soil. The Cucumber Tree and the Socotra Fig are other trees that founded on the island. Besides these trees, one can find over 20 different spiders and a couple of birds that are exclusive to Socotra. The climate of this region is mainly harsh, hot and dry and is one of the reasons why such diverse and unique plant and animal life has managed to sustain it here.

This place seems like a well-guarded secret that has remained hidden for long and thus unexploited. The name Socotra literally means ‘The Island of Happiness’ or ‘The Island of Bliss’. It entered UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List in 2008 and since then eco-tourism in the region has kicked off. There are however no sturdy roads or any hotels for the tourists to stay in. So if you enjoy hiking and exploring the wild this might just be the place for you. However, of course, if what you are looking for is an out-of-the-world destination then here is one, right on Earth.

Minimalist Horror – The Way for Movies to Go

If you think that “seeing is believing” then you may want to think again. Minimalist horror as a movie genre is selling hot in the entertainment industry. Remember those good old flicks of the old that used to scare you with their blood-curdling screams and the sudden appearance or disappearance of something? Remember how that used to jerk you in your seat and scare you? Well, minimalist horror doesn’t make use of any of those techniques. It is almost free of any gore and other scenes that you may associate with a horror movie. Then what makes it a horror movie?

These movies work on the method of implication. They don’t really show as much as they imply or hint at something. So you’d probably see a door squeaking and expect some strange figure to walk in, but nothing of that sort happens. By such methods, the tension in the mind of the viewer heightens to an extent that it becomes a cause of fear and this is what makes these movies scary.

Perhaps the best example of minimalist horror is The Blair Witch Project which was released back in 1999. If you’ve seen this movie you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t you may want to watch it. It is a faux-documentary and is shot in the first-person, with just three people in it.

You almost start living the scenes with the actors as they move along their journey, another movie that falls in this genre is Paranormal Activity. Released last week, this movie too does the trick in the way the other one did… simply makes you believe there is something out there even though it isn’t shown.

The popularity of these movies can also to a great extent be attributed to the way they’ve been marketed. Both of them have made extensive use of viral marketing, a form of marketing where the social networks are flooded with the information relating to the movie. In the case of The Blair Witch Project this marketing was so successful that the rumours spread by the marketing team, “three people were lost in the forest and this camera footage of theirs was found a year later”, were believed to be true especially by the people who lived around the area where this film was shot. A similar technique has been used by Paranormal Activity, made by Oren Peli, which has been doing the rounds around the world for two years now, and was finally bought over by Paramount’s DreamWorks to be released last week.

The beauty of the two movies is that they seem original and thus very much real and shot by the actual people in the movie. They have no huge fanfare of a big star cast or scenic locations or even anything out of the ordinary homes of ordinary people. They are in fact low budget movies and are shot with hand-held cameras or security cameras under natural or minimal artificial lightning. So you not only believe you see what you don’t but you also believe that all of it is true and has happened for real to the people in the movie. No wonder with their initial, low budget investments and the huge popularity after release, both these movies have gone on to gross high revenues, shattering records of profit to cost ratios at the box office.