Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Two

After Random Stuff You May Not Know, I give you the sequel.

1- The Aldabra Atoll

Aldabra is the world's second largest coral atoll after Kiritimati Atoll — also known as Christmas Atoll. It is located in the Aldabra Group of islands in the Indian Ocean, which form the Outer Islands of Seychelles. Uninhabited and remotely isolated, Aldabra is virtually untouched by humans.

It has distinctive island fauna including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) with two thirds of their world population. The atoll is also the largest raised coral reef in the world with an elevation of 26 feet (7.9 m). Apart from the tortoises, there is a habitat for the biggest crab, the coconut crab; as well as a habitat for the Indian Ocean’s Aldabra Rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri), also known as The white-throated rail or Cuvier's rail — the only surviving flightless bird species of its kind in the world. 

Sir David Attenborough has called the south western atoll of Aldabra
One of the wonders of the world”. It is also dubbed The Crown Jewels of the Indian Ocean”.

This magical place was visited by Portuguese navigators in 1511. However, the islands were already known to the Arabs, from whom they get their name — originally Al-Hadra or Al-Khadra, meaning the green. In the middle of the 18th century, they became dependencies of the French colony of Réunion, from where expeditions were made for the capture of the giant tortoises.

Fortunately, Aldabra has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1982. BirdLife International has equally declared it as an endemic bird area in 2001 on account of its large seabird colonies. 

2- Flies

During my many trips to Sinai over the years, I had to drive through the empty desert for 4.5 hours (440 kms/274 mi) to reach that dream destination. Depending on the weather, almost every time I stop to answer nature’s call I find a fly or two just appearing around me out of nowhere. This was bedazzling because if we think of the odds with the time/space factor, it shows that flies are almost everywhere all the time.

So one day recently I remembered the memory and decided to Google the number of flies in the world. And they are 17 quadrillion (17,000,000,000,000,000 or 17 thousand million million) of them. That means for each one of us humans there are 2328767 flies. Insane, huh.

3- Male/Female Buttons

When buttons were invented they were highly expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left; and because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right. That's where women's buttons have remained since.

 4- Checagou

The name Chicago” is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word Shikaakwa, translated as wild onion or wild garlic from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as Checagou was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir written about the time. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called Chicagoua”, grew abundantly in the area.

During the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples. The 1780s saw the arrival of the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who was of African and European (French) descent.

5- Piggy Bank

A long time ago during the 15th century in Europe, dishes and cookware were made of a dense orange clay called Pygg’. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as Pygg Banks”. When later in the 18th century an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig. And it caught on.


Random Stuff You May Not Know

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Three

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Four

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Five

Random Stuff You May Not Know: Six

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