Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Ultimate Book of Top 10 Lists

There is a lot of fun, weird and interesting facts in this book. Some of it gives me the willies, some of it is fascinating, and some just funny. But as long as I'm learning something, then it is doing what I really want. So here are some interesting facts for you.

The Top Third Common Misconception:

'Hitler was an Atheist
"We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. W have, therefore, undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."

--Adolf Hitler, Berlin, 1933

Christianity--a religion of peace and tolerance that preaches moral values and love for one's enemies. Well, clearly from a historical perspective, this has certainly not always been the case although it's not so much the religion's fault as the people who attempt to follow it. With over a billion worldwide adherents, is it really probable that everyone who considers themself a Christian is pious, holy and a moral human being?

One of the most damning criticisms of Hitler and of atheism in general is that Hitler, as an atheist, had no morals and thus could kill freely without care or feeling. Well, Hitler was certainly not an atheist, he was born a Roman Catholic, although how religious he actually was is debatable. It is clear though that Hitler was an evil man and that his religion was irrelevant to his malevolent personality.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote fondly of his experiences in church festivals, and as leader of the Nazi party, he made many references to the glory of Christianity in his speeches, including making references to Jesus' death at the hands of the Jews in an attempt to rile up anti-Semitic sentiment in his mostly religious audiences. He adopted many aspects of Catholic hierarchy, liturgy and symbolism, though he was very critical of Catholicism in private. In fact, Hitler favored Protestantism, due to its being open to interpretation. He also ridiculed occultism and neo-Paganism that were relatively popular in Germany at the time.

Strangely enough, Hitler greatly admired the Muslim faith and tradition saying, "the Mohemmaden religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?" '

I knew Hitler was not an atheist, but I didn't guess he'd been born a Roman Catholic. But malevolent people like Hitler are just as much adherents of some religion as anyone. Look at terrorists in any country. A lot of them are political but there are plenty of them in different religious groups and motivated by religious fanaticism as anything else.

The Top 4th Lesser Government of Known Forms of Government:

Plutocracy--Ruled by Wealthy
Economic inequality at its finest, the plutocracy gives power to the most wealthy. A few of the places known for their Plutocracies are ancient Greece, Carthage, Italian merchant of Florence and Venice, and Genoa. In recent times, there is no true plutocracy, although many countries are criticized for showing similar signs. Corporations raise and donate significant amounts of revenue for politicians and political parties, and use their financial power to influence favorable legislation, similar to a corporatocracy. The plutocracy is classically an oligarchy, so a handful of the wealthiest people control everything. If there is no proper form of control, the plutocracy collapses into a kleptocracy.

Pretty interesting, right?

'Top 10 Amazing and Unusual Weather Phenomena:

10 Colored Moons Due to different atmospheric issues, the moon will occaisionally appear tinged with a color, such as blue, orange, or red. Excess smoke, dust and eclipses can make the moon appear to change color.

9 St. Elmo's Fire This weather phenomena is luminous plasma that appears on fire on objects, such as the masts of ships or lightning rods, in an area that is electrically charged during a thunderstorm. This occurrence was named after St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors.

8 Sun Pillars Sun pillars occur when the setting sun reflects off high, icy clouds at different layers. It creates a pillar of light that reaches high into the sky. It is also possible to see moon pillars.

7 Non-Aqueous Rain Rare and yet real, cases exist of rain of animals instead of water. This has occurred occasionally throughout history, from the Biblical times through recent history. Meteorologists are still unsure of the cause.

6 Virga Virga is when ice crystals in clouds fall but evaporate before hitting the ground They appear as trails from clouds reaching for the surface, sometimes giving the cloud a jellyfish-like substance.

5 Ratabatic Winds These are winds that carry dense air from a higher elevation to a lower elevation due to gravity. They are known locally as the Santa Ana (southern California), the Mistral (Mediterranean), the Bora (the Adriatic Sea), Oroshi (Japan), Pitaraq (Greenland), and the Williwaw (Tierra del Fuego). The Williwaw and winds traveling over the Antarctic are particularly hazardous, blowing over a hundred knots per hour.

4 Fire Rainbow A fire rainbow is an extremely rare phenomenon that occurs only when the sun is high allowing its light to pass through high-altitude cirrus clouds with a high content of ice crystals.

3 Green Ray As known as the green flash. This occurs very briefly before total sunset and after sunrise. It appears as a green flash above the sun that lasts very briefly, generally only a few moments. It is caused by the refraction of light in the atmosphere.

2 Ball Lightning This is a very rare phenomenon that involves ball-shaped lightning that moves much slower than normal lightning. It has been reported to be as large as eight feet in diameter and can cause great damage. There are reports of ball lightning destroying whole buildings.

1 Sprites, Jets and Elves All refer to phenomena that occur in the upper atmosphere in the regions around thunderstorms. They appear as cones, glows and discharges. They were only discovered last century, because of their appearance and their very brief lifespan (they last less than a second).'

I've only every seen the Moon change colours. Blue is rare, but orange and red is common - and not just during an eclipse, where it can range from white to blood red, but when it is first rising, the distortion from the atmosphere at the horizon turns it dark orange until it rises to a certain height. I love it. I'd like to see the rest. As it is, I do see a lot of sun and moon dogs and of course, the halo that gives away coming rain.

Number One Misconception:

'The North Pole is North and the South Pole is South Actually, in terms of physics, the North Pole (while geographically in the north) is actually a south magnetic pole, and the South Pole (geographically in the south) is a north magnetic pole. When your compass is pointing north, it is actually a south pole of Earth's magnetic field. About 780,000 years ago, this would have not been the case, as the magnetic poles of the Earth were reversed (this is called a geomagnetic reversal). Oh, and just to complicate things further, the poles drift around randomly--they are not fixed spots. This is most likely due to movements in the molten nickel-iron alloy in the Earth's core.'

I have seen a couple of documentaries on this. We are overdue for the Earth to go through another geomagnetic reversal. I hope I am alive to see this - apparently smart phones and your little Tom-Tom device that tells you where to go will cease to function correctly. Heh, heh, heh!

This is just a random sampling. I recommend getting this book for yourself. It is a huge tome with tonnes of interesting information like the above.

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