Mapping My Spam

I have to admit, I’m fascinated by the sheer amount of spam comments this site gets. Fortunately, thanks to the site’s settings, none of it actually makes it through to the page you see. But where does it come from? Cursory glances at the moderation list seem to show it coming from the same dozen…

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The Line of Largest Settlements

What are the northernmost/southernmost cities in the world? It’s a somewhat ambiguous question whose answers depends on how you define a city versus a town versus a settlement and how minute one wants to get. Alert, Nunavut may be the northernmost permanently occupied settlement, but it hardly qualifies as a city. The same goes for…

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Novelty Globes: 1578 Italian Replica Globe Bar

A couple of years in an article about the phantom island of Hy-Brasil, I mentioned an item that has been a longtime presence in the actual basement this website is named for: a replica 16th-century Italian globe/mini-bar. From the outside, it looks like an old globe (if you ignore the rolling cart wheels on the…

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National Days Around the World

This week not only marked the beginning of another new year but also brought around the first of the massive slew of national holidays that are celebrated around the globe each year. 1 January marks the date of the national holidays of Cuba (commemorating both its independence from Spain in 1899 and the day in…

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The Aurora Australis

Source: A. Sparrow, http://www.flickr.com/photos/49937157@N03/7574363700/. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. The vast majority of people on Earth (around 88 to 90 percent) live in the Northern Hemisphere. As such, when it comes to natural light displays in the atmosphere, the northern lights or aurora borealis (named after the Greek name for the…

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DVD and Blu-ray Region Codes

Have you ever been travelling abroad and purchased a DVD of a foreign film to bring back home as a souvenir, only to find that it won’t work in your DVD player? That’s because many to most mass-market DVDs and DVD players are equipped with DVD region codes, a digital rights management feature designed to…

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Popularity of Dog Breeds in Various Countries

Note: This article capitalises proper names of dog breeds as per Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard. Although the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) was domesticated from the grey wolf no later than 15 000 years ago and possibly tens of thousands of years before that, most modern breeds of dogs as we know them are…

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