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9/14/2005 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Here are some interesting geography items that are probably true, but I won’t vouch for them. We ran a quiz in our August 31 column and a letter to the editor in this week’s newspaper points out an error in one of the answers.
More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.
The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen supply.
The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than 100 miles at sea, off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean.
The volume of water in the Amazon River is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.
Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.
Ninety percent of the world’s ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents 70 percent of all the fresh water in the world.
As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches.
Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.
Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.
Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village."
Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.
Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Mich. carries the designation M-1, named so because it was the first paved road anywhere.
Damascus, Syria was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.
Istanbul, Turkey is the only city in the world located on two continents, Europe and Asia.
Los Angeles’s full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.
The term "The Big Apple" was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression "apple" for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time.
There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy; and more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28. Percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38.
There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio. Every one is man-made.
Lake Erie borders Ohio, but is not in it.
The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn Island in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles.
Chances that a road is unpaved in the U.S.A.: 1%. In Canada: 75%.
The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy in
133 B.C.
There is a city called Rome on every continent.
Siberia contains more than 25% of the world’s forests.
The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has a population of 80, 20 fewer people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as the Vatican is.
In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years.
Spain literally means "the land of rabbits."
St. Paul, Minn. was originally called Pig’s Eye after a man named Pierre "Pig’s Eye" Parrant who set up the first business there.
The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas. It is as deep as 20 Empire State Buildings but only three inches wide.
The Eisenhower Interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.
The water of Angel Falls (the world’s highest) in Venezuela drops
3,212 feet. They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.
Two old guys are pushing their carts around Wal-Mart when they collide.
The first old guy says to the second guy, "Sorry about that. I’m looking for my wife, and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going."
The second old guy says, "That’s OK. It’s a coincidence. I’m looking for my wife, too. I can’t find her and I’m getting a little desperate."
The first old guy says, "Well, maybe we can help each other. What does your wife look like?
The second old guy says, "Well, she is 27 years old, tall with red hair, blue eyes, long legs, big busted and is wearing short shorts.
What does your wife look like?"
The first old guy says, "Doesn’t matter — let’s look for yours."

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