September 27, 2011 · 8:18 am
The Rock Pillars of Stonehenge
Fun Facts About Stonehenge
- Stonehenge is located on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England – about 137 kilometers Southwest of London.
- The origins of the name Stonehenge is taken from the combination of ‘stone’ and ‘henge’, a tribute to the biggest henge in Britain.
- Though there is no specific evidence about who built the Stonehenge. It is believed that Druids, Greeks, or Atlanteans might have built the Stonehenge.
- Stonehenge was constructed somewhere between 3100 – 1100 BCE.
- On September 21st, 1915, C.H. Chubb purchased Stonehenge for 6,600 pounds
- Stonehenge and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 and is also legally protected by the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
- Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.
- The circle was aligned with the midsummer sunrise, the midwinter sunset, and the most southerly rising and northerly setting of the moon.
- The builders of Stonehenge have featured it in a way that it encompasses sophisticated mathematical and geometrical understandings of the framework and the structural engineering of the construction.
- Stonehenge has a henge, or a ditch and bank, which surround the large stone circle.
- The stones of Stonehenge were placed in such a way that they increase in size towards the centre and alternate in shape between tall, thin pillar-like stones and stones of a tapering obelisk shape.
- Two types of stone were used for the construction of Stonehenge- the ‘bluestones’ which weighed almost four tons and were brought from 240 miles away. The other type of stone used was the ‘Sarsen’ stones which had a height of about eighteen feet and weighed twenty-five tons.
- It is anticipated that more than thirty million hours of labor was required for the construction of Stonehenge.
- Stonehenge is the most well known among the nine hundred stone rings which exists in the British Isles.
- Most archaeologists believed that Stonehenge’s use had been limited to the ritual activities of different Neolithic chiefdoms before 1950. However, its use as an astronomical observatory was an equally important function of the Stonehenge.
Filed under Nature, Science, Travel
Tagged as archaeologist, astronomical, astronomical observatory, Atlantean, bank, bluestones, Britain, British Isles, builder, C.H. Chubb, center, centre, chiefdom, circle, construct, construction, crown, ditch, Druid, engineering, England, English Heritage, framework, function, geometrical, Greek, henge, labor, London, mathematical, midsummer, midsummer sunrise, midwinter, midwinter sunset, monument, moon, National Trust, Neolithic, Neolithic chiefdoms, northerly, northerly setting, obelisk, observatory, pillar, purchase, rising, ritual, Salisbury Plain, Sarsen, Scheduled Ancient Monument, setting, southerly, southerly rising, stone, stone circle, stonehenge, structural engineering, sunrise, sunset, ton, UNESCO, Wiltshire, World Heritage Site
September 26, 2011 · 8:32 am
Toronto, Capital of Ontario Province, Canada
Fun Facts About Toronto
- Southern Ontario
Toronto was founded in 1793, by the British because of its protected harbour as well as advantages of vast forests, countless river valleys and fresh water lakes in its territory.
- Toronto (GTA) is Canada’s largest city and is home to over 5.7 million Canadians.
- Toronto is the capital city of Ontario, and the most important city in Canada.
- Toronto is located in Southern Ontario which has shorelines on four of the five Great Lakes.
- Also, Southern Ontario is located, further south than parts of ten, northern states of the USA.
- The province of Ontario (415,000 square miles, in area) is larger than the state of Texas (267,000 square miles, in area) located in the southern USA.
- Toronto residents hold more university educations than in any other country in the world, based on percentage of the population, as referenced from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and last compiled in 2003.
- Within an afternoon drive from Toronto, seven million, more Canadians live and prosper.
- Ontario highways are well maintained and link with major freeways connecting Toronto with all of Canada and the USA.
- Toronto is the largest, financial centre in Canada and the fourth largest, economic centre in all of North America. Only, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, USA have larger economic centres.
- Toronto is Canada’s cultual, educational, entertainment, financial, high tech, commercial and industrial centre. Toronto is also, the “Silicon Valley” of Canada, and Toronto is known as “Hollywood North”. Los Angeles and New York are larger film and television centres.
- Toronto’s famous, theatre district is second in size only, to New York city, in the USA.
- Award-winning, theatre productions enjoy long runs, large audiences and world premieres in the theatre and entertainment district of downtown Toronto.
- Toronto’s Police Force is one of the most efficient, friendly and respected of all police forces in the world. Also, with respect to your safety and security, the city of Toronto is one of the most clean, safe, peaceful, large, cosmopolitan cities in the world.
- All major federally chartered, Canadian banks have world headquarters in downtown Toronto, including, the Bank of Montreal which is located at “First Canadian” Tower, in Toronto’s financial district. As well, all foreign banks have their Canadian headquarters in Toronto.
- Casa Loma (Home on Hill)
Canada’s largest general, life and re-insurance companies and other financial institutions have their world headquarters in downtown Toronto. Canada’s version of “Wall Street” is called “Bay Street” in the centre of Toronto’s financial and business district.
- Within an hour’s drive of downtown Toronto is the greatest concentration of industry and auto manufacturing in Canada. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and others have Canadian head offices, and large manufacturing plants in the Toronto GTA.
- Toronto has the only, real castle in all of North America. Most people never forget “Casa Loma” (home on hill) with vista views of the downtown skyline of Toronto, and of Great Lake Ontario.
- Toronto has beautiful islands protecting its natural harbour. The islands are a mix of parklands, nature reserves and protected wetlands, maintained by the Parks Department responsible for this unique, natural resource. No private vehicles are permitted on the Toronto islands.
- The Toronto Islands are reached by public ferry boats crossing the Toronto harbour.
- On the islands, the city seems far removed, and a feeling of being in the country prevails just a mile offshore from Toronto’s exciting, vibrant downtown.
- English is the primary, and first language spoken in Toronto and in Canada. “French-Canadian” (an old dialect) is Canada’s second, official language. Other minority groups speak over 100 languages in Toronto.
- The laws of Toronto, and Canada are based on British law and English parliamentary system of government except for the separatist “state” of French Quebec, located three hundred miles (500 km) to the north and east from downtown Toronto.
- Less than a two hour drive, north of Toronto is the “Muskoka Lakes” Region where beautiful lakes, rivers and forests are set in the wilderness, and as it looked, many hundreds of years ago.
- One of the wonders of the world, Niagara Falls is just, an hour away by car from Toronto.
- People are amazed at the great volume of water that spills over the (Canadian) Horseshoe,
- Niagara Falls, each second, as they stand, less than 20 feet (3 meters) from the “Brink”.
Filed under Travel
Tagged as "Muskoka Lakes" Region, "Silicon Valley" of Canada, bank, Bay Street, brink, British Law, CA, Canada, Canadian, Canadian banks, capital, capital city, Casa Loma, castle, chartered, Chicago, Chrysler, city, clean, commercial, cosmopolitan, country, cultural, downtown, economic, economic center, economic centre, education, educational, efficient, English, English parliamentary system, entertainment, ferry, ferry boat, film, financial, financial center, financial centre, Ford, forest, freeway, French Quebec, French-Canadian, fresh water, friendly, GM, government, Great Lakes, GTA, harbor, harbour, headquarters, high tech, highway, Hollywood North, Honda, Horseshoe, hour, industrial, industry, lake, language, large, life, Los Angeles, manufacturing, Muskoka Lakes, New York, Niagara Falls, North America, OECD, offshore, Ontario, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, parliamentary, peaceful, police, police force, population, prosper, province, Quebec, re-insurance, real castle, resident, respected, river, river valley, safe, shoreline, Silicon Valley, Southern Ontario, television, Texas, theater district, theatre district, Toronto, Toronto GTA, Toronto Islands, Toronto's Police Force, TX, university, USA, Wall Street, wilderness
September 15, 2011 · 9:51 am
Fun Facts About the U.S. Federal Reserve
- The Federal Reserve holds a monopoly on the issuance of currency in the USA. In essence, this is the power to borrow an infinite amount of money at 0%. The dollar bill in your pocket is a 0% loan to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve then uses these 0% loans to purchase income-producing assets. Before 2008, the assets purchased were primarily Treasury debt, which is backed by the taxation power of the US Government. In other words, we are exchanging the property rights to our valuable assets (land, labor, entrepreneurship) for little slips of green paper to buy trinkets with. The government can then tax these valuable assets to pay for our excess. The more we spend, the more the Fed owns.
- If all money created is debt and counts as principal, where does the money come from to pay interest on this debt? It comes from the money that gets printed in the future. This is why inflation is a natural result of our current monetary system.
- Prior the the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act/TARP Act of September 2008, commercial banks were required to hold 10% of deposits as reserves. This placed a limit on the potential amount of money creation at around 9x the original deposit. An obscure clause in the TARP Act changed the reserve requirement to 0%, immediately making the potential money supply infinite.
- The reason for the credit spread blowups of October/November 2008 was because in the same TARP Act the Fed was allowed to pay interest on deposits without publicly stating the interest rate. Before the TARP Act, there was around $20 billion deposited by commercial banks at the Fed. After the TARP Act, deposits immediately jumped 50x to $1 TRILLION. This resulted in a disappearance of demand for risky assets, which led to blowouts in credit spreads.
- As a result of various acts of Congress in 2008, the Federal Reserve now has the authority to buy all sorts of assets (commercial paper, corporate bonds, mortgage loans, etc.). A cynical person would say this essentially allows the Fed to seize all valuable assets in this country directly by exchanging fancy bits of green paper for them without having to go through the intermediate step of coercing the US Government into spending more money and taking on more debt.
- Much of the Fed’s activity is not made public because of the use of off-balance sheet vehicles.
- There is debate over the constitutionality of the Fed’s various awesome powers.
What does this all mean? This economic crisis will not become a depression. By employing the new tools of monetary policy that the Fed has created for itself (interest on reserves and direct asset purchases), the money supply can be jerked around as if on a string. Initially, this means we will soon experience another period of easy credit and unsustainable economic growth.
However, the end result of current policies is that the Fed will be powerless to stop the next economic crisis. Assuming no outside shocks (another big war, nuclear attack, etc.), the dollar will over time lose its status as the reserve currency, and we will experience a currency crisis followed by rampant inflation at some point down the road.
Special thanks to www.seekingalpha.com
Filed under Economics, Historical Events & Figures
Tagged as 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, acts of Congress, America, asset, assets, authority, bank, banking, billion, blowouts, bond, bonds, borrow, commercial banks, commercial paper, Congress, constitutionality, corporate bonds, country, credit, credit spread, credit spreads, currency, currency crisis, debate, debt, demand, deposit, deposits, direct asset purchases, dollar, dollar bill, economic, economic crisis, economic growth, economy, Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, excess, Fed, Federal Reserve Bank, foreign banks, future, government, green, inflation, interest, interest on reserves, issuance of currency, loan, loans, monetary, monetary policy, monetary system, money, money supply, monopoly, mortgage, mortgage loans, mortgages, nuclear attack, off-balance, off-balance sheet, off-balance sheet vehicle, paper, policy, power, powerless, powers, principal, print, printed, private institution, property rights, purchase, purchased, rampant inflation, regional banks, reserve, reserve currency, reserves, risky assets, Rockerfeller, Rockerfellers, Rothschild, Rothschilds, sieze, spend, spending, TARP Act, tax, taxation, taxation power, the Fed, Treasury, Treasury debt, trillion, U.S., U.S. Federal Reserve, U.S. Federal Reserve System, United States, United States Federal Reserve, unsustainable economic growth, US Government, USA, valuable, valuable assets, value, War