100 things I learned and did in 2013

  1. I absolutely enjoy being a parent!
  2. Scottish Kilt was originally invented in France, while French Croissant came from Romania.
  3. Scientists estimate that currently there are approximately 400 billion stars and up to 50 billion planets in the Milky Way galaxy. If just 1% of those are in the system’s Goldilocks zone (region around a star whose temperature is “just right” for water to be present), then there would be 500 million planets in our galaxy alone that are capable of supporting life.
  4. This year I did 2 things from my bucket list, and both are in Japan: picnicking in a Sakura garden and visiting Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  5. When gentlemen in medieval Japan wished to seal an agreement, they urinated together, crisscrossing their streams of urine. How noble.
  6. The global trade in banana is more regulated than the global trade in weapons.
  7. 1st of January became the 1st day of the year in 153 BC. Previously, the 1st day of the year was 15th of March, however according to Theodor Mommsen in his book The History of Rome, Volume IV, this was changed due to disasters in the Lusitanian War, a war of resistance fought by the Lusitanian tribes of Hispania Ulterior against the advancing legions of the Roman Republic.
  8. So one day a Lusitanian chief named Punicus managed to invade the Roman territory, slew troops and defeat 2 Roman governors. The Romans then responded by sending a consul to Spain, where in order to accelerate the dispatch of aid the Romans made the new consuls enter to office two-and-a-half months earlier before the first official day of the year 15th March, thus effectively changed 1st January to become the 1st day of the year.
  9. There’s a bottomless river in the Philippines called the Enchanted. Many people, including scuba divers, have tried to reach for the bottom but failed. The locals also claim that nobody has ever successful in catching the fish in the river. Challenge accepted!
  10. In 1898 Andrew Carnegie tried to buy the Philippines, but failed.
  11. The 315 kph winds hitting Philippines on November was probably the strongest cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in history. And some scientists began to question whether climate change is to blame for typhoon Haiyan.
  12. Muhammad Ali has a star in Hollywood. But it’s the only star not written on the floor, for the respect of the name Muhammad.
  13. The United States Treasury’s gold reserves are kept at Fort Knox. However, the Federal Reserve’s gold reserves, and those belonged to more than one hundred other central banks, governments and organizations are stored in a vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s building at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan. They are stored 8 feet below street level and fifty feet below sea level.
  14. The theory of gravity was first written by Ibn Al-Haytham in the 1000s in some of his 200 published books, or 600 years before Isaac Newton discovered his theory of gravity in the 1600s.
  15. Algebra is also invented by a Muslim scholar, Muhammad al-Khawarizmi, a great scientist and mathematician who lived in Persia and Iraq from 780 to 850AD. His story is amazing.
  16. The board game Monopoly was originally intended to teach the players of the injustice nature of capitalism. The game was first called the Landlord’s Game, and was patented in 1903 by Lizzie Maggie, who believes in the theories of political economist Henry George who despised landlords and advocated a “single tax” on landlords to replace all other taxes altogether.
  17. In 1890s Gerard Philips stole Thomas Alva Edison’s design for lamps, and founded Europe’s most successful electronics company, Philips. It wasn’t an illegal thing to do as the Netherlands at that time didn’t have laws for intellectual property rights.
  18. In a 52-card deck, the four standard international symbols of diamond heart spade and club were first used on the French Deck made in 15th century in Lyon and Rouen. It’s largely believed that the Queen of Hearts is a representation of Elizabeth of York (the Queen consort of King Henry VII of England), the King of Hearts was Charlemagne, the King of Diamonds was Julius Caesar, the King of Clubs was Alexander the Great and the King of Spades was the biblical King David.
  19. In 1913 Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in the same city of Vienna.
  20. The polygraph machine (lie detector) was invented by a police officer John Larson in 1921 in Berkeley, California, to substitute police method of the third degree, I.e. Getting information from people by beating them up. John Larson based his invention on the systolic blood pressure test pioneered by psychologist William Moulton Marston, who would later become a comic book writer and spectacularly create, wait for it, Wonder Woman.
  21. The Inca civilisation has a bisexual god, Viracocha.
  22. Religious traditions actually change over time: In the 10th century most rural Christian priests were married (the Catholic Church cracked down on this in the 12th century). In the 14th century, in both Ottoman and Persian art the figurative miniatures of the Prophet Muhammad existed, while 100 years ago radio, loudspeaker and telephones were haram (and therefore forbidden) for Muslims. In ancient times, animal sacrifice was a core part of Hinduism tradition, as described in Vedas and the Mahabharata (it is now widely abhorred).
  23. My favourite religious scholar Karen Armstrong then commented that “Medieval thinkers such as St Thomas Aquinas or Maimonides would be astonished at the way we read, preach and pray today.” She then elaborates “we’ve tended to lose older, sometimes more intuitive patterns of thought, [and thus] they would see some of the ways we talk about God as remarkably simplistic. We are reading our scriptures with a literalness which is without parallel in the history of religion, largely because of this rational bias of ours.”
  24. Hindu’s epic Mahabharata is 15 times the length of the Christian bible.
  25. Plastic surgery have existed since 600 BC, with Sushruta Samhita, India’s first surgeon, considered as the father of ancient plastic surgery.
  26. Hong Kong became a British colony up until 1997, believe it or not, was due to British people’s love of tea. Britain import their tea from several places and one of them was from China, and in the 19th century a growing British love for tea made its imports from China to surge, and consequently created a huge trade deficit with the country. In a desperate attempt to reduce the trade deficit, the British government then started to sell Opium – produced in their Indian colony – to China, which was of course illegal in China. Then in 1841 a Chinese official finally caught and seized an illicit cargo of this opium smuggling, and in an exagerrated response the British declared war. The Qing Dynasty of China was heavily defeated in what to be known as the First Opium War, and was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking on 29 August 1842, which required China to ‘lease’ Hong Kong to Britain until 1997.
  27. This might come in handy: The green stripe in a bottom-end of a tube bottle means the ingredients are all natural. Red means some natural but mostly chemicals. And black means only chemical are used to make the contents.
  28. Bulls are colour blind. Hence, contrary to popular belief, they aren’t enraged by the colour red used in caps by matadors, but instead enraged by the perceived threat by the matador that incites them to charge.
  29. Samsung is a Korean word for “3 stars.” The company was founded in 1938 and started out as an exporter of fish, vegetable and fruit. Look how far they have come.
  30. While Dutch East Indies company was the 1st ever listed company in the world, it wasn’t the oldest. The oldest surviving company in the world is Kongo Gumi, a building company who was founded by a prince in South Japan more than 1400 years ago. The company is now run by direct descendants of that prince.
  31. The world’s oldest high-rise settlement, with a history going back 1800 years, is the walled city of Shibam, in Southern Yemen’s isolated area Wadi Hadramut. Consists of mud-brick high rises, this stunning place is often referred as the Manhattan of the desert. This is the google image of that place.
  32. Pizza Margherita was invented in June 1889 by Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Queen Margherita of Savoy. The pizza, which consist of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, represent the colours of the Italian flag.
  33. Book of the year: I was pretty sure that I’ve read the best economic book when I read Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang. But then when I further research professor Chang’s ideas I stumbled upon How rich countries got rich and why poor countries stay poor by Erik Reinert. Hideous title, but it’s by far the best economic book I’ve ever read! What Edward Chancellor did on speculation in ‘Devil take the Hindmost’ and what David Graeber did on debt in ‘Debt: the first 5000 years’ Erik Reinert did ever brilliantly on economics with this book. Austerity by Mark Blyth is also brilliant.
  34. History’s shortest reign was Portugal’s King Luis II, whom in 1908 ruled for only 20 minutes, before succumbing to the head wound he sustained in the assassination that killed his father outright.
  35. The basis of Coca-Cola was arguably invented in Aielo de Malferit, Spain, by a firm called Aielo’s Fabrica de Licores in 1880. The factory was founded by 3 entrepreneurs Bautista Aparici, Ricardo Sanz and Enrique Ortiz, who manufactures quality products including liquors. Aparici, who was in charge of sales, was soon travelling to trade fairs in Paris, Rome, London and Chicago, and in 1885 he went to Philadelphia with a new beverage in his luggage called Nuez de Kola Coca. Before he left, Aparici gave few samples to American sales representatives, and “coincidentally” one year later US pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola.
  36. In the West when someone sneezes the exclamation by other people is: bless you. In Mongolia it’s: may your moustache grow like brushwood. Classy.
  37. During the time of Peter the Great, any Russian man who wore a beard was required to pay a special tax. So, if they have Movember back then, the month of November would be their best performing month for tax revenue!
  38. The Movember movement, aka the no shave November movement, was started by 4 people to raise awareness of male-related diseases such as prostate cancer by no shaving for the whole month. I participated Movember this year, but can’t stand the itches after 2 weeks. The beard came in handy though, to tickle the hell out of my son.
  39. 2013 is really the year for Bitcoin. Crashed on April from $266 down to $105 (a -61% crash, the biggest in history), only to rebound up to $1237.96 by 4 November, before crashing -21% to $877.46 two days later. Some got rich and earned the nickname of Bitcoin Jesus, some fanatically support it like Max Keiser, while others like former Dutch central banker sees Bitcoin hype worse than Tulip Mania in the 1630s. Meanwhile, several stores started to accept Bitcoin as a legitimate payment method, some began to receive their salaries in Bitcoin and there’s even a person who beg for money by posting a flier with a QR code asking for Bitcoin. This virtual currency is either going to be great or disaster.
  40. As far as the people of Laos are concerned, they live in Lao (without the s), a proud heir to the kingdom of Lan Xang. During the colonial time the French split the country into 3 parts, and the country was called: les Laos. After the French left, however, no one has ever got round to updating the name, and so the name remains Laos.
  41. The real meaning of celebrating thanksgiving: celebrating the genocide of Native Americans.
  42. Fart travels approximately at an average of 10.97km/hour. Of course, unless you had a curry the night before. Sneeze, meanwhile, travels at an average of 160 km/hour.
  43. According to Saxo the Learned’s Deeds of the Danes, Denmark and England have the same ancestral root. Denmark was founded by brothers Dan and Angul. But Angul then left, leaving Dan to rule as a king alone, in which the people and the country adopted his name for their country Denmark. Meanwhile, Angul formed his own tribe, the Angles, and then migrated and invaded the southern part of Britain and renamed the conquered land “England.”
  44. Modern English language was actually not spoken until the 16th century.
  45. Our son is 1 year and 9 month by December, and so like any other loving parent, me and my missus are now well-versed with Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Club, Timmy Time, Thomas and Friends, etc. Apparently, the fictional island of Sodor in the Thomas and Friends got its name from a historical kingdom.
  46. So the story goes, when the vikings settled in the islands off northern Britain they divided the islands into 2 kingdoms Nordr (the northern Isles) or present-day Shetland and Orkney, and Sodor (the southern Isles) or present-day Hebridges and the Isle of Man. The name Sodor was preserved by the Church in its Diocese of Sodor and Man, and 7 centuries later when Reverend Wilbert Awdrey visited the Church he was struck that while there was an Isle of Man, the island of Sodor did not exist. He then decided on the spot to use the name of this ancient Viking kingdom as the fictional land where his cartoon characters live.
  47. There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets. The earliest image of Vikings wearing horned helmets was found in 1876 production of the “Der Ring des Nibelungen” opera cycle by Richard Wagner.
  48. Christopher Colombus was not the first European to discover the American continent. The first one was a viking named Leif Ericsson, who discovered America 500 years before Columbus. Interestingly, Leif’s father Erik the Red was the founder of Greenland. Conversations at their family dinner table must be very interesting.
  49. The story of Easter and the mainstream definition for Christianity are shaped by the Nicene Creed, which was produced in the First Council of Nicaea, a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea, Bithynia, in 325 AD by the Roman Emperor Constantine I.
  50. The Dominican Republic is the only country in the world to display the Bible on its flag.
  51. Armenia was the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity, converting in 301 AD (36 years before the Roman Empire).
  52. The world’s first church was St. Peter’s Church, built in Antioch (Antakya), present-day Turkey.
  53. Turkey produce 70% of the world’s hazelnut. Meanwhile, Bolivia is the biggest exporter of Brazilian nuts. Somewhere in that last sentence lies a very funny joke.
  54. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population living outside Japan, with approximately 2.5 million Japanese Brazilian (1% of Brazil’s total population). The Japanese immigration to Brazil started in 1907 when the end of feudalism in Japan created poverty in rural areas, and thus many seek better living condition abroad. At that time, coffee was Brazil’s main export product, and due to the abolishment of slave trade there was a shortage of plantation workers, which the Japanese then filled the void. A lot of the Japanese immigrants settled in São Paulo, where most of the coffee plantations were located.
  55. In the Napoleonic War era, from 1808 to 1821 the capital city of the whole Portuguese empire was moved to Rio de Janeiro, making it the only capital city for a European Empire that is located outside Europe.
  56. The Pope used to be very powerful and politically active. In 800 AD Roman Emperor Charlemagne established the precedent that no man would be emperor without being crowned by a Pope. In 1511 Henry II of England had to ask for a permission first from an English Pope Adrian IV, before he proceeded with the invasion of Ireland. The Pope also acted as a mediator for European kingdoms, where in 1493, in the fight between Spain and Portugal on colonial territories, Pope Alexander VI “grant” the Americas to the Spanish and Africa to the Portuguese. The Pope remained powerful until a reform movement “Conciliarism” emerged and limit the Pope’s power.
  57. The Vatican City was given to the Pope in 1929 by Benito Mussolini as a present. Previously, in 1870 Italian troops succesfully blasted through the city walls of Rome as the final act of Italian unification, and occupied the city. The unification of Italy left the Papal State without any physical territory for the first time in 1200 years, and the situation was made tricky when Pope Pius IX declared that he was a prisoner and locked himself in his palace. This protest was maintained by his successors for the next 59 years until Mussolini grant the Vatican City as a separate state.
  58. This year Pope Gregory XVI resigned. The last time a Pope resign was Gregory XII in 1415, and last time a Pope resign voluntarily was Celestine V in 1294. Pope Gregory XVI’s successor, Pope Francis I, is without a doubt one of the kindest and most sincere people I’ve ever seen, loving this new Pope! He’s my person of the year.
  59. Apparently Time magazine also loves Pope Francis and named him their Person of the Year 2013. Even The Advocate, a gay rights magazine, also named him their Person of the Year 2013 – now that’s big.
  60. There’s a group of people in China who are allegedly alliens that are still living on earth. They are called the Dropa Tribe.
  61. This year I turned 30, and so I’m opening a new chapter in life. Being twenty-something was awesome, I pushed myself to the many extremes, find my limits, find my strengths and weaknesses, discovered what I like dislike and cannot tolerate, and learned where I am most comfortable in society. And now as I have turned 30, I’m starting to read Der Spiegel more frequently. Uhm, is that normal?
  62. The breakfast cereal business was created by accident.
  63. There are 24 hours in a day because the first civilisation that divided the day into smaller parts, the Egyptians, didn’t count in base 10 like we do today, but in base 12 (duodecimal) using fingers and finger joints (excluding the thumb, which are used to point the fingers ans joints when counting) to count up to 6 in each hand.
  64. In 1500 BC the Egyptians created a device that divide the interval between sunrise and sunset into 12 parts using sexagesimal numeral system (base 60), that’s why there’s 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. And because there was no artificial light yet, people in that time period treat the daylight and the night as two separate realms instead of the same day, and they counted the night in breakdown of 12 using the observation of 24 stars. Combine the 12 parts during the day and 12 parts during the night, and eureka we have 24 hours!
  65. The positions of the pyramids in Egypt are aligned with the star constalation Orion.
  66. The story of the Egyptian pyramids is in Al Qur’an (28:38). In the verse, the holy Qur’an even specifically that the pyramids were made by baked bricks, long before archaeologists concluded that baked bricks were indeed the raw material used.
  67. Massive demonstration erupted once again in Bangkok on November by the yellow shirt supporters, after Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra tried to pass an amnesty bill that would effectively legalise her brother Thaksin’s return to the country. But who exactly are the yellow shirt supporters, and why do they hate Thaksin so much?
  68. According to Joe Studwell in his book Asian Godfathers Thaksin Shinawatra crossed the line from businessman to politician with the backing of some of the most powerful fellow-Godfathers in the country, in the dream that with Thaksin as frontman they will control the nation politically, for their own benefit. Thaksin present himself as a populist, and once elected Prime Minister he kept his populist campaign promises, which is why the people love him, but then abandoned his fellow-Godfathers and leave them with nothing. At the same time, however, Thaksin’s own businesses got leniencies in regulations, easily won tenders, etc, making him richer all by himself in the process. This abuse of power is the basis of corruption allegations on Thaksin that made him a fugitive since the coup in 2006, which is legitimate. The yellow shirt movement, or officially People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), was then formed 2 days after the 2006 coup and was funded by the group of Godfathers that Thaksin lured and then ditch. That’s why the yellow vs red supporters can be seen as the elite vs the poor, while in reality it’s more of a battle between the Godfathers.
  69. Orangutan has 96.7% human DNA. Too close, that’s way too close.
  70. The myth of flat earth is actually a modern misconception. According to historian Jeffrey Burton Russell the myth about the dark age where people believed in flat-earth was developed between 1870 and 1920 as a result of ideological setting created by debates over evolution, and was popularised by historians Andrew Dickson White, John William Draper and Washington Irving. In reality since the 3rd century BC onwards no educated person in the history of Western Civilisation believed that the earth was flat, thanks to the spherical viewpoint expressed by the Ancient Greeks. In fact, all major medieval scholars accepted that the roundness of the earth is an established cosmological fact, and Christian scholars even know the earth’s approximate circumference.
  71. As reported by John Pilger, The CIA actually has an ‘entertainment industry liaison office’ that “helps” Hollywood remake US image. The 2010 Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, a torture-apology movie, was a recent example of movies licensed by the Pentagon.
  72. Another example is Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning Argo, where Pilger describes as “the first feature film so integrated into the propaganda system that its subliminal warning of Iran’s “threat” is offered as Obama is preparing, yet again, to attack Iran.” Pilger then elaborates that “Affleck’s “true story” of good-guys-[vs]-bad-Muslims is as much a fabrication as Obama’s justification for his war plans is lost in PR-managed plaudits.”
  73. The movies Psycho, the Texas chain saw massacre, Deranged and the Silence of the Lambs all inspired by the story of a real-life serial killer Ed Gein.
  74. In Ancient Rome, all convicted rapist will have his balls crushed by a pair of rocks. Ouch. I bet if this we implement this today, rape cases will go down significantly.
  75. The huge Irish emigration to places like the US was triggered by the Great Famine between 1845 and 1849 that caused hunger in Ireland. The British gov, though, instead of sending help they sent soldiers to suppress unrest, which prompted the emigration.
  76. The Rwandan genocide 1994 and the more recent M23 rebel movement against Democratic Republic of Congo can be traced back to conflicts between etnics Tutsi and Hutu. But if we dig much deeper, we’d find out that Both Tutsi and Hutu are actually fake races created by the colonial ruler Belgium. Yes, in reality Tutsis and Hutus are both belong to the same race and ethicity.
  77. Beer mat was invented by a German man robert Sputh in 1892. Today, Germans continue to dominate world beer mat production, with the Katz Group produce 12 million daily (that’s 75% of the world’s total).
  78. Electric cars were actually common in the early 1900s. Two gentlemen in Cleveland, Ohio, named Jacob Rauch and Charles E.J. Lang started a car company named Rauch and Lang, and in 1905 began to sell electrically powered cars. They were quite popular that by 1908 the company was producing 500 cars per year, and electric cars were actually favoured by many over oil powered engines. But then in 1928 the company stopped producing due to lack of funds, and there were extreme advances in the internal combustion technology that made the electric models looks much slower and more expensive thanks to companies such as the Ford Motor Company that can mass-produce oil-powered cars, which electric models couldn’t.
  79. The Three Wise Monkeys have names: Mizaru (See no evil), Mikazaru (Hear no evil), and Mazaru (Speak no evil).
  80. Pakistan is an acronym for 5 Indian province which then occupied the territory: Punjab Afghan/North-west frontier, Kashmir, Sindh and BalochisTAN. Pakistan, felicitously, also means ‘land of the pure’ in Urdu.
  81. The name India is derived from the Indus River. The majority of its flows is now in the territory of Pakistan.
  82. In 2009 a Hindu nationalist group in India set out plans for “Cow Water”, a cow urine soft drink. Mixed with milk, ghee and cow poo, cow urine becomes known as “Five Cow Nectar”, a tonic believe to be able to soothe stomachache and heart burn. I think I just found my limit on my taste-almost-everything-at-least-once rule.
  83. The US nickname “Uncle Sam” was derived from Uncle Sam Wilson, a meat inspector in Troy, New York. During the War of 1812 against Britain, the demand of military meat supply for the troops increased significantly, and Samuel Wilson was appointed as a meat inspector for the Northern Army. His duties included checking the freshness of the meat and properly package them according to the government’s specifications; where most of the meat he packaged was shipped to a camp of 6000 soldiers in Greenbush, New York. A lot of the soldiers stationed there were locals of Troy, and knew and/or acquainted with “Uncle Sam” and his meat packing business. And they began to associate the label in the meat packages of U.S (United States) that came from Troy as packages from U.S (Uncle Sam).
  84. I believe we have arguably found the future model for NGOs: read the extraordinary story of Audette Exel, a banker who saves 20,000 people from Nepal to Uganda with her profits.
  85. Spitzberger, in the island of Svalbard, Northern Norway, is the northernmost place on earth with human inhabitant.
  86. During the month of Ramadan this year, Muslims in places like Spitzberger and Kiruna, Northern Sweden, followed the fasting time (when Muslims fast when the sun is up) in Saudi Arabia because the sun always up for 3 months in there.
  87. New York’s Central Park is bigger than Vatican City and Monaco.
  88. The Grimaldi family bought Monaco in 1419, from Genoa. And then they paid France 4.1 million francs for it in 1861. Yes, they bought it twice.
  89. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were actually built 300 miles north of Babylon, in neighbouring Nineveh, by the great Assyrian ruler Sennacherib, and not, as historians have always thought, by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This revelation was concluded by Dr. Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University’s Oriental Institute, whom after more than 20 years of research has finally pieced together enough evidence to prove her conclusion beyond reasonable doubt.
  90. Wanker of the year: Senator Ted Cruz, for holding the whole country in hostage during the debt ceiling debate in the US, which have ripple effects on the global markets. But Benjamin Netanyahu wins the lifetime achievement award, for the biggest wanker in history.
  91. The biblical story of Onan, who was killed by God’s wrath after he masturbated, might not be accurate. According to Scott Korb in his brilliant book life in year one, a more accurate interpretation on the writing of the story suggest that Onan performed a coitus interruptus – a.k.a pulling out before he comes, to prevent Tamar, his sister in law, to get pregnant. I’m sorry, but that makes it more hilarious.
  92. NASA satellite data shows that on August 2010 East Antarctica set the record for the coldest temperature ever measured with -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-93.22 Celcius) below zero. This July the temperature almost hit that low again, with -135.3 Fahrenheit (-92.94 Celcius). Scientists say it is painful to breathe at that temperature.
  93. Racistly portraying Arabs or Muslims as terrorists is like stereotyping all American women solely from Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashians, Lindsay Lohan, Snooki. And as a matter of fact, Islamic law forbids terrorism.
  94. According to Murtaza Hussain, the 1400 years of conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslim is a myth.
  95. Currently Indonesia has 255,000 mosques, 13,000 Hindu temples, 2,000 Buddhist temples, 1,300 Confucianism temples and over 61,000 churches. With over 61,000 churches, Indonesia has relatively more churches than Great Britain and Germany, two Christian-majority countries. Hence, despite with what the media are portraying Indonesia is actually a tolerant nation.
  96. According to investigative journalist Andre Vltcheck in his book Indonesia: the archipelago of fear, Indonesia didn’t experience a regime change when our dictator Soeharto stepped down (not ousted, but stepped down) in 1998. Instead, the regime only had, in Vltcheck’s words, a “change of clothing.” Actually this makes a lot of sense, and explains pretty much most of the things going on with the current politics.
  97. The Indonesian slang word for money, duit, is actually comes from a copper coin named ‘duit’ that was introduced by VOC in 1724 during the Dutch colonial times in Indonesia.
  98. The Aral Sea was once the size of Ireland, but since the 1960s the sea has shrunk into a string of salty puddles. Before the end of this century, the remaining of the Uzbek half of the sea will dry up altogether to be replaced by a poisonous dust-bowl desert.
  99. Early next year we are expecting our 2nd child, so in 2014 I’ll definitely be a sleep-deprived father of two. Can’t wait! 🙂
  100. And so, to wrap things up, I leave you in the good hands of the cool people at Twisted Sifter, which on August posted 40 fantastic maps that will help us make sense of the world. Have a great 2014 guys!