Monday, September 19, 2011


In May 2011, the United Nations Population Division released its report called World Population Prospectus, a set of population projections out to the year 2100 for the earth and for individual countries.  Global population is expected to rise to 10.1 billion (from its current 6.8 billion humans) and the following is a list of what the U.N. believes will be the most populous countries:
1) India - 1,550,899,000
2) China - 941,042,000
3) Nigeria - 729,885,000
4) United States - 478,026,000
5) Tanzania - 316,338,000
6) Pakistan - 261,271,000
7) Indonesia - 254,178,000
8) Democratic Republic of the Congo - 212,113,000
9) Philippines - 177,803,000
10) Brazil - 177,349,000
11) Uganda - 171,190,000
12) Kenya - 160,009,000
13) Bangladesh - 157,134,000
14) Ethiopia - 150,140,000
15) Iraq - 145,276,000
16) Zambia - 140,348,000
17) Niger - 139,209,000
18) Malawi - 129,502,000
19) Sudan - 127,621,000*
20) Mexico - 127,081,000
Of note on this list is the fact that while most nations are expected to decrease in population, many African nations make this top 20 forecast, including Nigeria, which takes the number three spot and bumps the United States to fourth.  *Population projections for Sudan are not reduced for the creation of South Sudan.

Currently, about 1 in 20 people on the planet is a resident of the United States

United States population by year:
  • 1790, the year of the first census of the U.S.A.:  3,929,214
  • 1900, the U.S.A. population jumped to 75,994,575
  • In 1920 the census counted more than a hundred million people (105,710,620)
  • Another 100 million people were added to the United States population in just fifty years when the two hundred million barrier was reached in 1970 with 203,302,031 counted in the census.
  • The 2000 Census counted a U.S.A. population of 281,421,906. 
  • Six years later the U.S. population had grown to 300 million. 
  • At 7:46 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the United States population officially reached 300 million.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau expects the U.S.A. population to grow to reach these estimates over the next few decades: 
                      2010 - 309,162,581                      
                      2020 - 336,031,546
                      2030 - 363,811,435
                      2040 - 392,172,658
                      2043 - 400,527,776 (the year of 400 million)
                      2050 - 420,080,587
      Prior to the late nineteenth century, time keeping was a purely local phenomenon. Each town would set their clocks to noon when the sun reached its zenith each day. A clockmaker or town clock would be the "official" time and the citizens would set their pocket watches and clocks to the time of the town - enterprising citizens would offer their services as mobile clock setters, carrying a watch with the accurate time to adjust the clocks in customer's homes on a weekly basis. Travel between cities meant having to change one's pocket watch upon arrival

      In 1878, Canadian Sir Sanford Fleming proposed the system of worldwide time zones that we use today. He recommended that the world be divided into twenty-four time zones, each spaced 15 degrees of longitude apart. Since the earth rotates once every 24 hours and there are 360 degrees of longitude, each hour the earth rotates one-twenty-fourth of a circle or 15 degrees of longitude
      United States railroad companies began utilizing Fleming's standard time zones on November 18, 1883. In 1884 an International Prime Meridian Conference was held in Washington D.C. to standardize time and select the prime meridian. The conference selected the longitude of Greenwich, England as zero degrees longitude and established the 24 time zones based on the prime meridian. Although the time zones had been established, not all countries switched immediately. Though most U.S. states began to adhere to the Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern time zones by 1895, Congress didn't make the use of these time zones mandatory until the Standard Time Act of 1918

      Today, many countries operate on variations of the time zones proposed by Sir Fleming. All of China (which should span five time zones) uses a single time zone - eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (known by the abbreviation UTC - based on the time zone running through Greenwich at 0 degrees longitude). Australia uses three time zones - its central time zone is a half-hour ahead of its designated time zone. Several countries in the Middle East and South Asia also utilize half-hour time zones

      July 21, 1873:  The first train robbery in America was pulled off as Jesse James and his gang took $3,000 from the Rock Island Express at Adair, Iowa

      A recent U.S. study purports that there are fewer births 9 months after a heat wave. The study found that an increase of 12 degrees Celsius (approximately 21.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer temperatures reduces births the following spring by up to 6 percent. Researchers at Kinsey Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University concluded that high temperatures could reduce people's sense of well-being, which could result in a reduction in sexual interest. Another study found lower sperm counts and higher rates of miscarriage during hot weather

      Over 15 billion prizes have been given away in Cracker Jacks boxes

      The golden silk orb-weavers (genus Nephila) are a genus of araneomorph spiders noted for the impressive webs they weave. Nephila consists of numerous individual species found around the world. They are also commonly called golden orb-weavers, giant wood spiders, or banana spiders. In North America, the golden silk orb-weavers (see also Nephila clavipes) are sometimes referred to as writing spiders due to occasional zigzag patterns (stabilimenta) built into their webs, though these occur much more frequently in the webs of Argiope, such as the St Andrew's Cross spider. The females usually eat their mate 

      Brazil and the Côte d'Ivoire are leaders in the cocoa bean belt, accounting for nearly half of the world's cocoa

      The name of the first airplane flown at Kitty Hawk by the Wright Brothers, on December 17, 1903, was "Flyer." The maiden flight of Flyer, however, was less than a flight — the plane stayed in the air only 12 seconds (about as long as a chicken can stay in flight). The brothers flew three more times that day, with their final flight covering 852 feet in 59 seconds  

      A whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound

      Potatoes were banned in Burgundy in 1910 because it was said, "frequent use caused leprosy"  

      Orca whales are voluntary breathers. For this reason, they sleep with only half of their brain at one time. The other half remains alert to regulate breathing. Resident whales typically remain near the surface, breathing and swimming in a pattern. When traveling together, resident pods have been observed to breathe in unison. Although it is not known why this occurs, it could be a way of helping the pod keep tabs on one another 

      Since its first appearance in 1912, OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies have remained the best-selling cookie in America. The basic design of the cookie has not changed for more than 50 years.  Over 491 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were first introduced, making them the best selling cookie of the 20th century 

      Norway  In 2004, the convenience store chain Deli de Luca started selling Oreo in all of their stores. It was welcomed by consumers, and is the top-selling cookie to young people. Other larger chains in Norway (Ica, Rema 1000, Meny and Ultra) began selling Oreo cookies as well, but in 2005, the stores stopped the importation to Norway because Kraft Foods took over

      UK  In May 2008, following stocking of Oreo cookies in the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, Kraft decided to fully launch the Oreo across the UK, repackaged in the more familiar British tube design, accompanied with a £4.5M television advertising campaign around the 'twist, lick, dunk' catchphrase.   Kraft recently partnered with McDonald's to bring the Oreo McFlurry (already on sale in many countries) to a few McDonald's locations during its yearly Great Tastes of America promotions. The UK Oreo website gives a slightly different ingredients list to that of the US product. Unlike the US version, UK Oreos contain whey powder and so are not suitable for people who avoid milk products

      Canada  In Canada, Oreo products are sold and made under the Christies brand. However, the Canadian version contains coconut oil, giving it a different taste from its American counterpart

      Poland  In February 2011 Oreo hit Polish supermarkets and shops. It features a huge ad campaign. After becoming a success, Kraft Foods Polska decided to introduce new flavors by the end of 2011

      Croatia  In February 2011, Oreo initiated a large advertising campaign, and the product is now available in supermarkets and shops. It is also availible in local McDonald's restaurants as an addition to McFlurry ice cream

      India  It was first introduced in India in March 2011 and is currently under Cadbury, a major chocolate brand. Before the launch of the brand in India, Britannia Industries launched a similar brand named Treat-O

      China  Oreo cookies were introduced to Chinese consumers in 1996 and sales gradually grew in the fast-growing Chinese biscuit market. In 2006 Oreo became the best-selling cookie in the People's Republic of China, after altering its recipe to have a lower sugar content to suit local tastes.  Kraft Foods also introduced smaller size packages of Oreo cookies that became more affordable to the majority of Chinese consumers. Kraft began a grassroots marketing campaign in China to educate Chinese consumers about the American tradition of pairing milk with cookies. The company created an Oreo apprentice program at 30 Chinese universities that drew 6,000 student applications. Three hundred of the applicants were trained to become Oreo brand ambassadors, and some students rode around Beijing on bicycles with wheel covers resembling Oreo cookies and handed out cookies to more than 300,000 consumers. Others organized Oreo-themed basketball games to reinforce the idea of dunking cookies in milk. Television commercials depicted children twisting apart Oreo cookies, licking the cream center and dipping the chocolate cookie halves into glasses of milk

      Although sales improved, Kraft still felt the Oreo could do better and decided to reinvent the traditional, round biscuit to a wafer. The new offering was called Oreo Wafer Sticks and consists of four layers of crispy wafer filled with vanilla and chocolate cream, and on the exterior is coated with chocolate. The wafer was also formulated to ensure that the chocolate coating was not too sweet for Chinese consumers and product could be shipped across the country---withstanding the cold climate in the north and the hot, humid weather in the south.

      The new Oreo was outselling traditional round Oreo cookies in China in 2006, and Kraft has begun selling the wafers elsewhere in Asia, as well as in Australia and Canada. Kraft has also introduced Oreo Wafer Rolls, a tube-shaped wafer lined with cream, in China. The hollow cookie can be used as a straw through which to drink milk
      Over the period of 2006–2007, Kraft doubled its Oreo sales in China, making China the second-largest Oreo market globally behind the United States. With the help of those sales, Oreo revenue topped $1 billion world-wide for the first time in 2007

      "On thermodynamical grounds which I can hardly summarize shortly, I do not much believe in the commercial possibility of induced radio-activity."
      - J.B.S. Haldane, biologist, Deadalus, 1923

      The name of the game “cricket” is believed to have been derived in the late 1500s from the Middle French word criquet, meaning “goalpost”

      There are no penguins at the North Pole. In fact, there are no penguins anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere (outside of zoos). All 17 varieties of the bird are found in the Southern Hemisphere, primarily in the Antarctica

      Before he pursued a career in the music industry, Elvis Costello worked as a computer operator at an Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory
      Costello poses for some early-career still shots, here posing on a bed with his only "love"
      NEWS FEED:
      The initial explanation by Melvin Jackson, 48, upon his arrest in June for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in Kansas City was to deny that he would ever do such a thing. Rather, he said, "I thought the lady was dead"

      The initial explanation by Thomas O'Neil, 47, upon his arrest in Wausau, Wisconsin in June 2011 for criminal damage to property (breaking into a neighbor's garage and defecating on the floor) was to claim that he thought he was in his own garage

      Budget cuts forced the closure of two of the three firehouses in Chillicothe, Ohio (pop. 22,000), and even that station failed a state fire marshal's inspection in March 2011. Because the station's own alarm system was broken, the chief was required, until the new system is installed, to assign one firefighter per shift to be on full-time patrol at the station, walking around the grounds constantly, upstairs, downstairs, looking for fires

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