Watch The Sunset Twice From The World’s Tallest Building

It sounds completely crazy but if you are high enough, then you can watch the sunset happen twice in one day. You may think that would surely never be possible, but if you are a resident of Dubai or ever visiting the city, then just head over to the Burj Khalifa. This skyscraper is currently the world’s tallest building and contains residences, hotel accommodations, and businesses. It also is home to two of the world’s most popular observation decks: because who doesn’t enjoy looking down at the world from a massive height?

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Looking down upon the city of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa, you may be mistaken into thinking you are playing with legos. The Burj Khalifa is a record 828 meters tall, that is over 2,716 feet, it contains over 160 stories and holds multiple world records. Not only is it the tallest building in the world, but it is also the tallest free-standing structure, the highest number of stories in the world, the highest occupied floor in the world, the elevator with the longest travel distance, the tallest service elevator in the world and lastly, claims the record of the highest outdoor observation deck also!

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest structure and building since it was completed in 2009, primarily built out of concrete. It was built as the government of Dubai wanted to diversify its economy and start to invest in things other than oil. It serves as a way for Dubai to attract international business and achieve international recognition for other things than oil.

At one point during the architectural process, the developers ran into financial difficulties, however, Sheikh Khalifa who is the ruler of the United Arab Emirates granted them financial aid and funding. As a result, this is why the building holds his name. Unfortunately, the building itself has made little to no profit, however, the downtown Dubai area that sprung up because of the skyscraper has been booming. All the developments and malls built around the Burj Khalifa have been highly successful.

And then, of course, there is one of the main tourist attractions: seeing the sunset twice. You have to be able to move up the building extremely fast to see the sunset twice. This is possible by the form of a glass elevator on the outside of the building, allowing you to zoom to the top and watch the sunset for a second time.

Halo 3 Was So Successful It Was Blamed For Poor Box Office Sales

Back in 2007 during the first weekend of October, suddenly ticket sales of the box offices went down a huge 27% and no one could figure out why. Film executives went through all the data and studied the scenarios, the film’s had good ratings and there were no economical problems to go to the cinema at the time. So what was the problem? In the end, they blamed the Chief.

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Halo 3 was released in October 2007 and the franchise already had a huge following, especially in North America. It was something that the film industry had not really had to think about before, avoiding releasing your film on a major video game release date. Surely now it is something film executives take a look at, but at the time, nobody really knew better. The latest Halo 3 game did break all the box office records on its first day: making $170 million.

After a couple of days it had gone on to sell over $300 million worth of game copies, and the film executives were convinced it was the reason why kids were staying indoors and not going out to see a movie. Ben Stiller’s new film at the time The Heartbreak Kid was projected to make $20 million on its first weekend. Instead because of the Master Chief, it only made $14 million. Bear in mind the film cost $60 million to film, so this is a bad situation to be in.

When your film’s audience major demographic is focused on the ages of 18 to 35, well you may find yourself battling against video games: especially the major franchises like Halo. Over 3 million people owned an Xbox 360 in 2007, and most likely even more do today. So pretty much everyone you thought would come and see your movie, is at home training their aim and fighting against each other in the world of Master Chief and Halo.

The product manager at Microsoft at the time, Josh Goldberg, was not at all surprised by the numbers. He has been on record to state that they indeed advertised the release as if it was a film. They felt Halo 3 was just as big or even bigger than a major blockbuster film. However, the problem the film industry faces with this shift in the dynamics is that unlike a major movie release, where the majority of people will go see it on the first weekend. A major game release could cause a large portion of the population to clear their calendar just for playing the video game.

There Are Still Some Objects Around The World That Baffle Historians

Many explanations have been offered for the mysterious dodecahedrons from the Roman empire, but no researcher or historian has ever been able to confirm what they are or what they are used for exactly. A 12 sided beautifully crafted object that would have been expensive to make, but remains a complete mystery to what it may actually be.

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The first one was found over 300 years ago in the English countryside, and it has intrigued archaeologists ever since. A mixed piece of metal, with ancient brass and equal 12 sides. It was far from the only dodecahedron ever found, with more than 100 similar-looking objects found across Europe. They ranged in the size of golf balls to some a little larger than a baseball. They are all hollow and each of them has 12 equally sized faces, however, each face has a hole of varying diameter.

They are on display at dozens of museums and collections, but really nothing is known about them. This is because these objects have left zero paper trail. Historians have not found one shred of written documentation or reports about what these 12 faced objects might be. Of course, many theories have been brought up as a result, such as they were used for military purposes. Perhaps they were military banner ornaments, or maybe they were just candle holders.

There are obvious signs that expert craftsmanship was needed to make the objects, which has given to the theory that they may have been props used for casting magical spells or rituals. This was a time when metal objects would have been expensive and hard to make. Others argue that the dodecahedrons hold value, but nobody knows what for, this idea was put forth because they were generally found along with Roman coins.

Another theory is that they are rangefinders, for military use, to quickly calculate how far an enemy is on the battlefield. They would hold the object up and theoretically only one of the holes would match up given the distance and the soldiers would know how far away the enemy was. However, this was rebuked because no two dodecahedrons are the same size. Others have said they are used as games to pass the time, but unless a manual is found, it seems dubious that we will ever know truly what these objects are.

The Infamous Hot Air Balloon Duel

It sounds crazy but the French have always had that flair for the dramatic to settle a dispute. There is always a thirst to defend one’s honor it was very regular for murders to be pardoned if it was associated with duels. Louis XIII granted over 8,000 pardons for murders that came out of a duel following a dispute. In 1808 there may have been the craziest duel of them all, it took place way up above Paris, in the skies. But they were not using fighter planes, they were standing in hot air balloons.

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The duel involved two gentlemen: Monsieur de Grandpré and Monsieur de Pique. They had both been sleeping with the same woman in secret: Mademoiselle Tirevit who danced at the Paris Opera. And both relationships were kept secret from one another until the men figured it out. So it was decided that the winner of this duel would win the hand of Mademoiselle Tirevit. Or if you would like it written how it was at the time, she would smile upon the survivor.

With the contest taking place over 2,000 feet in the air, with each man firing at their balloon. They were not even aiming at each other, they were shooting at the balloon trying to make the other fall to his death. The story goes that the Frenchmen were too proud for an ordinary duel, they said it had to be spectacular. They believed this airborne showdown would be perfect and cement their place in history. It is one of the first records of a mid-air dogfight taking place.

The idea was that shooting the balloon would cause the gas to escape and thus the victim would fall to the ground. Perhaps if they were lucky it would fall slowly and they would escape death. The duel started above Paris’s Tuileries Gardens, they were both allowed a shotgun and a co-pilot. Kind of crazy that the co-pilot would agree to such a job, but perhaps they were very good friends.

Curious spectators from all around Paris gathered to watch the duel and cheered the men on. The balloons went up to eighty yards and the signal was given to start the duel, with the lines anchoring the balloons cut. De Pique was able to take the first shot with speed, but incredibly, he missed the enormous target. This allowed Grandpre to aim calmly and hit his mark, causing De Pique’s balloon to collapse. As you could expect the result was not pretty with them being dashed to pieces on a housetop.

The Moving Rocks Of Death Valley

For many decades scientists have been stumped by the phenomenon known as sailing stones. Located in Death Valley, these 300-pound rocks appear to glide effortlessly through the sands. They are found in a particularly remote part of the Death Valley, which is why it has been so difficult to study them. Nicknamed the sailing stones because they are found on the dried lake known as the Racetrack Playa when they move they leave a cracked trail behind them in the mud.

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The explanation for the movement of these boulders and rocks has seen everything from space aliens, to pranksters, to magnetic fields. However, no one has ever seen them actually move, which is why they have been able to remain so mysterious. Park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg has stated that you tend to have that whole section of the playa for yourself if you go out there, nobody is around at all. It is very quiet and very open, so a rock moving by itself really is quite incredible.

Scientists, of course, have tried to solve this mystery for many generations. They even thought dust devils were moving the rocks, or that the strong winds were moving these boulders that weigh up to 700 pounds. All the theories were eventually disproved, leaving us with zero explanation around the movement. Until now.

While researching the weather conditions on a hydrocarbon lake on Titan, NASA scientists became interested in comparing it with the Death Valley conditions. And Ralph Lorenz became intrigued by the sailing stones. He figured out what most likely was happening was that during periods of rain and temperature drops, the rock’s were being encased in ice. As the lake dried up the water levels were extremely low so the rock encased in ice was still scraping on the sandy floor but the conditions were good enough to let it float a little.

Lorenz figured out that if the winter conditions were just right in Death Valley, with enough water and ice, the rocks could float across the mud of the Racetrack Playa. And then in a light breeze, they would glide across the sands.

Lake Superior Has 10% Of The World’s Freshwater And 6000 Shipwrecks

To most Americans and Canadians, Lake Superior is famously cold and known to be a massive lake, however, many do not know to what extent this lake is huge. Lake Superior contains 10 percent of the world’s total surface freshwater. It also offers many adventurers for anyone brave enough to look, being home to over 6,000 shipwrecks. Some refer to it as America’s biggest overlooked playground.

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Of course one of the problems is Lake Superior is located in an area that is notorious for bears. Wherever you walk around you will see signs saying to use caution, if you are camping then all food needs to be locked down airtight or you will find yourself in danger. Lake Superior is unlike any other lake, it has an average yearly water temperature of 40 degrees, infamous currents, and 25-foot waves that have sunk countless ships. Only in the summertime does the lake seem relaxed, and even then it is dangerous and never stress-free.

On the Canadian side, things are even more remote, with Pukaskwa National Park, a favorite for kayakers who know they can follow the rugged coastline and will need a good 10 days before getting back to civilization. A toughness that you find in the local inhabitants that have lived on the coastlines for generations: from the Ojibwe to the Nordic immigrant fishermen. There are some places that only the local indigenous Anishinabek people have seen.

Even though the lake is becoming increasingly seen as a place for recreational activities as its waters are pristine and its a less populated area, some of the local legends scare off the tourists. One of them is that Lake Superior never gives up its dead. And while it is a folklore tale, there is some truth in it, the lake is so cold that if you did die in its waters then it’s more than likely your body would simply freeze and sink.

Lake Superior is also seen as a great spot for diving in shipwrecks. The ice storms with over 80 miles per hour winds have made it a place where many boats have met their doom. Such as the infamous Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot freighter that went down in 1975 with over 29,000 tons of taconite pellets. It is found in a place known as the Graveyard of the Great Lakes, an area of 80 miles that due to heavy shipping traffic and poor visibility, along with extremely powerful storms has become a notorious spot of shipwrecks.

In The Silfra Fissure You Can Touch North America And Europe At The Same Time

There is a trench deep in the ocean off the coast of Iceland, where it is possible to dive down and touch North America and Europe at the same time by swimming between the two tectonic plates. It is the only place where you can dive between two continents. A crack between the two continents was formed due to the constant pulling on both tectonic plates. And as a result, the fissure provides us with many geological wonders.

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Though the real fame of the Silfra Fissure is down to being a top spot for diving. Divers and snorkelers can literally float and swim between North America and Europe as if it was their swimming pool. Once you get into the narrow openings you can touch both sides at once.

Naturalists and biologists are in awe alike when studying the fissure, because the water is the cleanest in the world. The secret is down to the natural filtration process due to melting waters from the nearby Langjokull glacier filter going through underground lava before reaching the sea. It filters through the lava from 30 to 100 years before finally reaching the ocean. When underwater you can enjoy clear views that are breathtaking, easily watching all the underwater geography and life.

You can dive in the Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral or Silfra Lagoon. The last one is the favorite for snorkelers due to the vibrant and colorful algae. The Big Crack goes down 45m and also is home to the narrowest parts of the fissure where some points are only half a meter wide. Another favorite is, of course, the Silfra Hall which widens up into a huge underwater cave and the Silfra Cathedral has lava rock walls. In fact, every location is spectacular, which is why it has become one of the top diving spots worldwide.

Luckily for divers, they should be able to enjoy this spot for many years to come as the location is inside Thingvellir National Park. This is a park that is protected by regulations and requires anyone wishing to swim in the fissure to be accompanied by a registered local guide.

Creator Of The Bulletproof Vest Shot Himself 190 Times

When you create an invention built to save lives, testing is without a doubt an important aspect of product design and production. That was no different when it came to creating the modern body armor that we know as the bulletproof vest. Richard Davis revolutionized wars and fighting forever when he took kevlar and turned it into a lightweight vest. Davis’s design turned into the body armor we know today, that police officers and troops wear into combat today. So how did he test such an invention? And how was it invented by a pizza guy from Detroit?

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Well first off, just ask yourself what would you invent if you were tired of being shot at when delivering pizza. Most likely you would create something that keeps you safe while doing your job. Body armor has of course been around for as long as war itself exists. Of course, once guns and grenades became the weapon of choice, metal plates no longer made any sense.

During World War II the British Army was using nylon with manganese steel plates, it kind of worked but it weighed heavily at 22lbs. And it was not comfortable at all, still, this was the type of armor used in the Vietnam War also as it was sort of effective. Richard Davis served in the U.S. Marine Corps and when he finished his army career, he opened up a pizzeria.

One night a delivery took him out of his neighborhood and into a back alley, suddenly he was held up by gunpoint and robbed. Weeks later the same order and address came in, this time he took his .22 revolver with him. A gunfight broke out and Davis took a shot into his leg and another even grazed his temple. He left his attackers wounded also, and while he was recovering it appears they burnt his pizzeria down. He only had $70 to his name when he came out of the hospital.

Kevlar a super-strong synthetic fabric had just been invented and Davis was able to get his hands on some. He turned it into a vest and worked on them all day, at night he would go out and attempt to sell them to police officers. He called it the Second Chance vest, but he was finding it difficult to sell the product.

So he staged the ultimate marketing scheme and gathered up the police for a demonstration. He then proceeded to shoot himself in the chest, despite the fest never having been tested at all. It worked like a charm, sure it hurt, but Davis was fine. His pitch was so well down that the police immediately proceeded to order a whole batch. And variations of his design are still used today.

A Violent Attack That Created A Math Genius

A salesman by the name of Jason Padgett from Futon did not care about anything apart from chasing girls and partying, until one crazy night that changed anything. Jason Padgett is now a maths genius, he sees math everywhere. No matter what he is doing he will see certain connections with mathematics. If he turns on the tap then and dips his toothbrush in the water, then he will probably do it 16 times.

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That is because 16 times will form a perfect square and Jason likes square things. Two to the power of four, or four squared, that is what 16 times means to Jason. He has noted that he automatically does that type of stuff with everything. He is so obsessed with maths that some have started to call him a genius. That is because he can draw geometric patterns known as fractals, one of the most complex mathematical operations, by hand.

Yet it would come as a surprise to find out that Jason was not always interested in maths. In fact in his early life he was very different, he says that he rotated around girls and drinking. He always thought that maths was a stupid skill and he had no desire to learn it any further. On Friday 13th September 2002 everything changed for Jason, he was out with friends when he was violently attacked.

The robbers ran up behind Jason and smashed him in the back of the head. Next he saw flashes of white light, he was on his knees and the world was spinning. Jason was able by some miracle to stagger into a hospital closeby, where he was told he had a concussion and probably internal bleeding from punches to the gut. He was just given a pain medication and sent home.

That is when all of his behaviours changed, he had sustained a traumatic brain trauma that brought on an obsessive compulsive disorder. Better known as OCD, in Jason’s case he became scared of the outside world and started to stockpile food. He even glued his front door closed and became increasingly scared of germs. But at the same time he started to see the world pixelated and drawing fractals everything, he dove into the internet and started to learn quantum physics.

Eventually ending up enrolled in a community college for a maths class, where he finally started to learn the language of his new obsessions. He also got therapy to overcome his fears of the outside. Later he went into research and they believe Jason has a form of synaesthesia where the brain mixes up the senses. This is why he now sees the world as maths.

Svalbard The Norwegian Archipelago Is Visa Free

Svalbard is the Norwegian archipelago if you translate the name of the place it is called “cold edge.” Which makes a lot of sense as it is very cold and at the edge of the world. It is famous as it is one of the only places in the world that is entirely visa-free. Situated between the Greenland Sea, the Barents Sea, and the Arctic Ocean the little islands that make up Svalbard have an extremely small population. Simply due to the insane weather conditions, one has to deal with if living in Svalbard, the area is barely inhabited.

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Norway, however, wants people to live in Svalbard and keep a footing in these lands. Therefore anyone can come and live there and work, without needing a visa. The only way someone can get deported from Svalbard is a violation of laws and regulations or by not having the means to support themselves. There are five little settlements across the main island known as Spitsbergen. Longyearbyen is the capital of the region and that is where most people reside, there is also a Russian settlement known as Barentsburg.

Even though Norway is part of the Schengen Area in Europe, Svalbard is not and remains a neutral territory. But you can only get into Svalbard by traveling through Norway so technically you would still require a Schengen Area visa to make it to the territory. Though if you hold a European Union passport than this point does not matter.

A funny fact about Svalbard is that weather conditions are so brutal, there is not a single tree growing on the island. The only vegetation you will find is moss and the occasional arctic flower. Polar bears are a real threat on the island when visiting Svalbard, tourists are told not to leave the settlements. And if they did decide to go walking around the snow then you should carry a rifle to defend yourself against the bears.

Despite the small population, the island celebrates four festivals, mostly to celebrate the changing of the polar nights. The Sunfest Week is for celebrating the end of the polar night, and then you also have several jazz festivals such as the Polar Jazz or the Dark Season Blues. Extreme tourism is one of the ways the economy of Svalbard survives.