Tuesday, March 31, 2015

North American Wine Destinations

10. Oak Grove, Virginia

Wine is a tradition going back all the way to the 1770′s and Jefferson’s Monticello in this northern region of Virginia. A land that was once full of colonial Americans began making wine, and passed their knowledge down several generations. The vineyards in Oak Grove, Virginia have grown to be a great wine destination in the southeastern region of the United States.

9. North Fork, Long Island, NY

This quiet island, close to the hustle and bustle of New York City offers over 18 different vineyards and distilleries. Most of the vineyards offer tastings and tours, as they are proud to display their hard work and fabulous wines. Four times a year North Fork wine council offers a camp for adults to enjoy and indulge in wines and wine making. One interesting fact is that in just over 25 years this area has grown from just one small vineyard to the world-class wine destination it is today.

8. Traverse City, Michigan

The grapes for these sinful wines come from the shores of Lake Michigan. Most of the Traverse City vineyards sit on the Old Mission Peninsula, which is protected from the harsh winters by Lake Michigan. The vineyards offer a variety of wines that include Rieslings, Pinot Noirs, Merlots and many other varieties of fruit wines.

7. Finger Lakes, New York

Another wine producing region in the state of New York. The Finger Lakes offer not only offers extraordinary wines, but also amazing panoramic views. This small area has over 100 wineries that offer tours and tastings year round. A trip up north to Finger Lakes is a trip well spent.

6. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Pinot Noir or Merlots are a stones throw away in Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. The area that was once made famous for pristine lakes and acres of fruit orchards are now making a name for itself in the world of wine. Fruit wines that offer more sweetness then their full-bodied counterparts, that brought fame to the area, are becoming a hit with locals and tourist alike.

5. Roseburg, Oregon

The Umpqua Valley offers a much warmer climate then most of Oregon, making it ideal for the production of grape varieties. This unique microclimate produces Syrah, Merlot, Dolcetto, Malbec, Tempranillo, Albarino, Grenache, and other varietals. Enjoy the breathtaking natural landscapes of Oregon while visiting its 20+ wineries.

4. Yakima Valley, Washington

Good life and great wines are what this area is all about. Yakima Valley is the oldest wine making area in Washington State. Over 50 vintners call this valley home and with so many wine makers in the area there is a large variety of wines to choose from. The Yakima Valley wine region primarily produces red wines.

3. Willamette Valley, Oregon

Oregon winemaking is not as well known as the Californian counterparts. It is known for amazing Pinot Noirs. Willamette Valley is a little farther north then the Umpqua Valley, Oregon. This area has over 200 wineries that range in size from large wineries to small family owned and operated vineyards. These distinctly different wineries offer different wines that are sought after worldwide.

2. Sonoma, California

Sonoma is the 2nd most popular wine region in the United States, just behind the neighboring Napa Valley. The mountains that protect Sonoma from excessive rainfall help to create the prefect environment for vineyards. The wine culture is dominant in Sonoma, with the best wine bars, restaurants, boutique hotels, wineries, and tours in the country. With an overwhelming amount of wineries open for tastings, you’ll need over a month to really experience them all.

1. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is the American capital for wine. Dating back to the early nineteenth century, Napa has produced world-class wines that compete with the most elite wineries worldwide. Choose from over 450+ wineries that produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and much more. From the famous restaurant French Laundry, to a limitless amount of spas, wine tours, and outdoor activities, Napa is perfect for a couples retreats, family weekend getaway, or just a break from urban life.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Most Dangerous Roads in the World

10. Grand Trunk Road (India)

Constructed by the Pashtun emperor Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century, India’s Grand Trunk Road (also known as GT) spans more than 1,500 miles from Bangladesh in the east to Pakistan in the west, serving as one of the main thoroughfares across the Indian subcontinent. Over the years, it has functioned both as a major trade route and as a convenient right-of-way for invading armies.

GT is considered dangerous not because of risky heights or disheartening road conditions, but because of the traffic congestion. Trucks, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and animals have turned parts of this heavily-used road into a major headache.

9. San Isidro de General – Cartago (Costa Rica)

The Pan-American Highway has plenty of dangerous stretches, but the old road that passes through the Costa Rican mountains to link San Isidro de General and Cartago is especially hazardous.

The high point in the pass is known as Cerro de la Muerte, or Mountain of Death – not technically because of the road, but because people traveling through the pass before the road existed often didn’t survive the cold journey. However, the name happens to be an apt descriptor for the road itself, which tests drivers with excessive potholes, steep, narrow curves, and plenty of fog. The road’s height (13,000 feet) can also cause altitude sickness, further impairing drivers.

In addition to these perils, you can also expect to deal with the imprudent habits of local bus and truck drivers, who tend to drive very aggressively and irresponsibly despite the unsafe conditions. Fortunately, a new paved road between Quepos and Dominical has recently been completed, which will give travelers an alternative to the Mountain of Death route.

8. Sichuan – Tibet Highway (China)

China’s high-altitude Sichuan – Tibet Highway covers about 1,500 miles between Chengdu in the east and Lhasa (Tibet) in the west, offering the choice between the northern or southern route. Both options boast beautiful scenery, enormous mountain peaks, various cultural and historical attractions, and many famous rivers. Que’er Mountain pass, the highest point on the route, rises to over 20,000 feet.

Like many other roads that cut through mountains, the Sichuan – Tibet Highway is prone to landslides, falling rocks, and extreme weather conditions that can close roads for a month at a time. Add avalanches and altitude sickness to the lineup, and you could find yourself in rather unsafe driving conditions.

7. Skippers Road (New Zealand)

In 1862, a couple of shepherds discovered gold in the Shotover River near Queenstown, New Zealand, prompting an immediate gold rush. This in turn necessitated the creation of an access route, and the result was Skippers Road, a narrow, winding, and exhilaratingly treacherous pathway that twists and turns for about 16 ½ miles through Skippers Canyon.

Carved and blasted right out of the solid rock by Chinese laborers, Skippers Road took 22 years to complete, and it doesn’t look much different today than when it was first created. In most places it’s too narrow for vehicles to pass each other, there are no guardrails, and the drop-offs leave absolutely no room for error.

Beautiful, yes, but also risky. Unless you’re a thrill seeker, leave the driving to the tour guides, and keep in mind that car rental companies probably won’t allow you to explore Skippers Road with their vehicles.

6. Halsema Highway (Philippines)

Located on the island of Luzon, the Halsema Highway runs through the Central Cordillera Valley in the Philippines from Baguio to Bontoc and farther on toward Tabuk and Tuguegarao. Landslides and rock falls are common, often stranding motorists for long periods of time. Many portions of the road are still unpaved, although work is supposedly in progress to bring about some improvements, and there are plenty of drop-offs that are steep enough to kill you.

Foggy conditions paired with the lack of much-needed guardrails in certain areas only complicate the Halsema Highway’s already dangerous conditions. Local accounts also indicate that buses traversing this route are less than considerate when it comes to road rules, so watch your step.

5. Patiopoulo – Perdikaki Road (Greece)

In the mountainous Agrafa region of Greece, the route connecting Patiopoulo and Perdikaki is an unnerving example of roads that require constant attentiveness and care from their travelers. Potholes and loose, slippery gravel weaken a driver’s control while distractions from heavy traffic, pedestrians, and livestock create additional hazards. Many sections are very steep and narrow, demanding the utmost of caution.

But there’s more madness involved here – the road apparently includes sharp drop-offs on not just one, but on both sides. And there aren’t any barriers. Strictly for your driving pleasure, of course.

4. Luxor – al – Hurghada Road (Egypt)

The road connecting Luxor (the site of the ancient city of Thebes) with the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Hurghada is paved, marked, and appears to be relatively safe. However, bandits, terrorist attempts to undermine the tourism industry, and frightened drivers have all combined to turn this route into a major nightmare.

The violent attacks along this road are dangerous enough by themselves, but what sometimes makes it even worse is the fact that most people who drive at night don’t use headlights for fear of announcing their approach. Yes, it could be a great way to avoid unseen enemies, but it also invites other disasters in the form of head-on collisions.

Invisibility might save you from one threat, but there’s a good chance it will deliver you into the hands of another. Consider buying some of those night vision goggles if you plan to drive this road after dark.

3. Fairy Meadows Road (Pakistan)

Situated at the base of Pakistan’s 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat, Fairy Meadows is a picturesque destination for backpackers, photographers, and mountain climbers who want to get closer to the enormous peak and enjoy the scenery. Getting to Fairy Meadows, however, is not such an attractive experience. Part of the trip involves surviving a 6-mile, hour-long drive on an unstable gravel road hacked out of the barren hills.

From Raikot Bridge to the village of Tato, this ‘road’ offers the motorist all the insane features of your typical mountainside dirt trail. It’s narrow, unpaved, steep, and of course there aren’t any guardrails to prevent your Jeep from rolling down into the gorge. You can’t even drive it all the way to Fairy Meadows; the last section has to be covered by bicycle or on foot.

A great road for adventurers, Fairy Meadows Road is definitely not for the faint of heart.

2. Nairobi – Nakuru – Eldoret Highway (Kenya)

As anyone who’s ever driven a car before knows, a road can qualify as dangerous without having muddy, hairpin turns thousands of feet in the air. People die on roads around the world because of other irresponsible drivers, and that’s why this road in Kenya made it onto the list. It looks like a decent place to drive, but speeding, unsafe passing attempts, and drunk driving have inflated the death toll to over 300 every year.

In other words, you might actually have a better chance of surviving on one of those precarious mountain roads.

1. Old Yungas Road (Bolivia)

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, the title for World’s Most Dangerous Road goes to Bolivia’s old Yungas Road, which twists and turns for about 40 miles between the capital city of La Paz and the town of Coroico in the Yungas jungle region. If other roads seem risky, the old Yungas Road is nothing less than a suicide mission.

Built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners of war, the Yungas Road was until recently the main route from La Paz to Bolivia’s northern Amazon rainforest region. Dropping nearly 12,000 feet in overall elevation, the road is extremely narrow, subject to frequent landslides and fog, and offers no protection from the sheer cliffs that drop straight down for a couple thousand feet. Before a modernized and safer route was completed in 2006, somewhere between 100-200 fatalities occurred every year, and the roadside is presently littered with crosses and memorials. For obvious reasons, locals have given it a simple yet somber nickname – Death Road.

By the way, there are quite a few companies in La Paz that offer extreme bike tours of the Yungas Road for adventure seekers.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nosy Iranja

Nosy Iranja is a small tropical island located off the Northwestern coast of Madagascar, 45km (28 miles) South of Nosy Be, a slightly larger and more popular island. Nosy Iranja consists of two islands that are connected by a bank of white sand only visible at low tide, but can still be traversed at high tide. Nosy Iranja is emerging as a popular tourist destination in Madagascar due to the idyllic white sand beaches and the excellent diving and snorkeling that can be had there. Visitors also come for the interesting wildlife, including green and hawksbill sea turtles, large coconut crabs, and many varieties of bird life.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Man-Juice Diet

Just when you thought you had heard about every possible way to lose weight - one technique has emerged that could be considered the most original yet! Kim Kelly, a pornographic actress, BBW model, and escort from Santa Monica, California, came up with an all protein formula- that some may find hard to swallow, but extremely effective. In 2002, the plump Kelly publicly attempted to lose weight by an all-semen diet. She lost 15 pounds on her "Man Juice Diet" by spending 30 days on a diet consisting of semen, banana smoothies and brocolli. Via fellatio, Kelly extracted about three to six teaspoons of semen per day. The average ejaculation is roughly 1 teaspoon and contains 15 calories. The semen portion of Kim Kelly's diet therefore only contributed 45 to 90 calories of her daily nutrition, a minor fraction of what is required by a normal adult. It is likely that the only aspect of her semen diet that differentiated it from a banana smoothie diet is the exercise she received while fellating her participants

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Eye facts

10. Everyone needs reading glasses as they get older

This is assuming that you already have perfect distance vision. If you are currently reading this article and are under 40 years of age with perfect distance vision, I can say with absolute certainty that you will need reading glasses at some point in the future. For about 99% of the population the age that you will first start needing reading glasses is between 43 and 50 years old. This is because the lens in your eye slowly loses its focusing ability with age. In order to focus things near to you, your lens has to change from a flat to a more spherical shape and it loses the ability to do this as you get older. As you get to around 45 years old you will start to hold things further away from you to keep them focus.

9. The lens in your eye is quicker than any camera lens

Just behind the pupil sits the eyes natural lens, whose function is to focus on the object you are looking at. Just take a minute to glance around the room and think about how many different distances you are focusing at. Every time you do this, the lens in your eye is instantly changing focus without you even being aware of it! Compare that with a camera lens which takes a few seconds to focus between one distance and another. Just be thankful that the lens in your eye is as quick as it is, otherwise things would be continually going in and out of focus.

8. Your eyes are fully developed by the age of 7 years old

By the age of 7 years old our eyes are fully developed and are physiologically the same as adult’s eyes. It is for this reason that it is vitally important to pick up a lazy eye before we reach this age. The earlier a lazy eye is diagnosed, the greater the chance it will respond to treatment, as the eyes are still developing and capable of an improvement in vision. Beyond 7 years old no amount of treatment will result in any improvement in vision.

7. You blink approximately 15,000 times each day

Blinking is a semi- involuntary function meaning we do it automatically, but can also choose to blink if we so require. Blinking is an extremely important function of your eyes as it helps remove any debris on the surface of your eye, by spreading fresh tears over them. These tears help to nourish your eyes with oxygen and also have important anti bacterial properties. You can think of the function of blinking as being similar to the action of the windscreen wipers on your car, cleaning and removing everything to keep you seeing clearly.

6. Everyone gets cataracts as they get older

People don’t realize that cataracts are just a normal consequence of getting older and everyone gets them at some point in their life. You can think of cataracts as being similar to getting grey hair, in that it is just a normal natural age change. The average age people first get cataracts is about aged 70 years old and by 80 years old you are guaranteed to have cataracts. In the same way that you could not find any aged 80 years old without grey hair, it would be equally impossible to find anyone over 80 years old without cataracts. Cataracts refer to a gradual clouding of the lens in your eye and typically take about ten years from onset to them needing treatment.

5. Diabetes is often first detected during an eye test

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes (the type you develop later in life) are often symptom free, meaning they often don’t even know that they have it. This type of diabetes is commonly picked up during an eye test as it can be seen as tiny hemorrhages from leaking blood vessels at the back of your eye. This certainly is good reason to get your eyes tested regularly.

4. You see with your brain and not your eyes

The function of your eyes is to collect all the required information about the object you are looking at. This information is then passed from your eye to the brain via the optic nerve. It is the brain (visual cortex) where all this information is analyzed to enable you to ‘see’ the object in its finished form. This is not to say that your eyes don’t play an important role as they certainly do.

3. Your eyes can adapt to blind spots in your vision

Certain eye conditions such as Glaucoma and certain general health conditions such as having a stroke, can lead to you developing blind spots in your vision. This would be extremely debilitating if it wasn’t for your brain and your eyes ability to adapt to make these blind spots disappear. It does this by suppressing the blind spot in your affected eye and letting your other good eye ‘fill in the gaps’. It is adaptation like this that makes your eyes so resilient.

2. 20:20 vision is not the best vision you can have

When people hear the phrase 20:20 vision they assume that this is the best vision possible. However this is not true as 20:20 vision refers to what the average adult should be able to see. If you imagine a typical eye test chart the 20:20 vision is probably only the line second from the bottom. The line below it is even smaller than 20:20 vision and would mean you have 20:16 vision. So don’t be so impressed next time someone tells you they have 20:20 vision!

1. Your eyes water when they are dry

I know this might sound crazy but this is one of strange facts about your eyes. Your tears are made up of 3 different components and they are water, mucus and fat. If these 3 components are not in exactly the right quantities, your eyes can become dry as a consequence. Your brain responds to this dryness by producing extra water and hence your eyes water.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tongue Twisters

1.She sells seashells by the seashore.

2.The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick.

3.Six slippery snails, slid slowly seaward.

4.Black bug bit a big black bear.
But where is the big black bear that the big black bug bit?

5.A skunk sat on a stump.
The stump thunk the skunk stunk.
The skunk thunk the stump stunk.

6.If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
How man pickled peppers would Peter Piper pick?

7.How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
And chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
If a woodchuck could chuck wood

8.A tutor who tooted a flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to their tutor,
“Is it harder t toot or
To tutor two tooters to toot?

9.I slit a sheet, a sheet I slit.
And on a slitted sheet I sit.
I slit a sheet, a sheet I slit.
The sheet I slit, that sheet was it.

10.Betty Boughter bought some butter
But she said the butter’s bitter
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter
But a bit of better butter will make it better than the bitter butter
So she bought a bit of better butter
And put it in her batter
And her batter was not bitter
So t’was Betty Boughter bought a bit if better butter and put it in her
batter and her batter was not bitter.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Commandment Rock

An 80 ton boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain in New Mexico bears a puzzling inscription. Carved into the stone’s flat side is what has been interpreted by some to be a version of the Ten Commandments in a form of ‘Paleo-Hebrew’.

Discovered by academia in 1933 by archaeology Professor Frank Hibben, it had been known to locals for decades, and the guide who led Hibben to it said he had known of it since the 1880s – a date which, if genuine, means the rock’s authenticity is likely, as the Paleo-Hebrew script was then unknown. This means it outdates Columbus’s discovery of America and suggests that people from Israel or Phoenicia (who used a similar language) discovered the continent centuries before it was thought possible. Skeptics draw upon punctuation and grammatical ‘errors’ as evidence of it being a fake, while others still doubt this debunking.