Tuesday, December 30, 2008


2% or 98%

This is strange...can you

Are you the 2% or 98% of the population?

Follow the instructions! NO PEEKING AHEAD!

* Do the following exercise, guaranteed to raise an eyebrow.

* There's no trick or surprise.

* Just follow these instructions, and answer the questions one at a time and as quickly as you can!
* Again, as quickly as you can but don't advance until you've done each of them ... really.
* Now, scroll down (but not too fast, you might miss something.)

Think of a number from 1 to 10

Multiply that number by 9

If the number is a 2-digit number, add the digits together

Now subtract 5

Determine which letter in the alphabet corresponds to the number you ended up with

(example: 1=a, 2=b, 3=c,etc.)

Think of a country that starts with that letter.

Remember the last letter of the name of that country.

Think of the name of an animal that starts with that letter.

Remember the last letter in the name of that animal.

Think of the name of a fruit that starts with that letter.

Are you thinking of a Kangaroo in Denmark eating an Orange ?

I told you this was FREAKY!! If not, you're among the 2% of the population whose minds are different enough to think of something else. 98% of people will answer with kangaroos in Denmark when given this exercise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

21st Century.... We are becoming lesser by the day

21st Century....

We are becoming lesser by the day

Our communication - Wireless

Our dress - Topless

Our telephone - Cordless

Our cooking - Fireless

Our youth - Jobless

Our food - Fatless

Our labour - Effortless

Our conduct - Worthless

Our relation - Loveless

Our attitude - Careless

Our feelings - Heartless

Our politics - Shameless

Our education - Valueless

Our follies - Countless

Our arguments - Baseless

Our Job - Thankless

Our Salary - Very Very less

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I know that you have seen this gentleman. Its Albert Einstein.

But just get up and go 15 feet away from the monitor
















The picture has become Marilyn Manroe

Amazin !

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Impact of Crisis in IT Employee’s Family

Sekar (Calling his family from Amsterdam): Good Evening Mom and Dad. Where is my wife Sheela?

Dad: Just now I called her. She is on the way to home after taking our grandson Rahul from his school.

Sekar: Let us wait for her few minutes and we will start this discussion.
(By the time Sheela entered in to the house.. Sekar continue the meeting)

I hope you know the Agenda of the meeting which I had mentioned in the meeting request. Even though let me read out the agenda once again
1. Status update/Discussion on Last Week Action Items
2. Family Strategy
2. Rahul’s Education
3. Medical Insurance for Mom and Dad

I hope every one have the printout of last week MOM (Minutes of Meeting).
Dear Mom can you please update the status of tasks which you are taking care of?

Mom: Sekar, I am taking care of kitchen module which involves making products like Sambar, Rasam, Curd Rice, Vegetable Biriyani.I am not comfortable in handling the tools for making Non Vegetarian products. You suggest some training in Hlite. However after making these products, I am giving to your Dad for Acceptance testing. Once he satisfied with the quality of taste, we pass it to Dining Hall. One more thing, I would like to share with you. As you have suggested during my appraisal discussion, now I have stopped crying while watching mega serials in TV

Sekar: Sounds Good.

Sekar: Now coming to Dad. Dad can you please update us?

Dad: Yes. My dear son. I have completed my tasks by paying the current bill and phone bill with in time.

Sekar: That’s good

Dad: But I couldn’t pay the premium amount of 9200.00 of the LIC plan which you had taken for tax reduction purpose.

Sekar: It doesn’t look nice dad. I have sent you the amount already and given clear instructions.
Can you explain to me what went wrong?

Dad: On Tuesday night suddenly one of our team mate (your mom) fell down on the floor when she was running to catch Rahul. Then we took her to hospital and spent that amount for her medical expenses.

Mom: Sekar, I would like to add on what your Dad said, that was true. I got heavy injury in my legs and I was in hospital for two days. So now we don’t have money to pay for the premium.

Sekar: Sheela..! Would you aware of this? As a home lead, I expect you to track these issues and send it to me on daily basis. What are you doing (With stress on ‘doing’) after coming from college?

Sheela: Will do it Sekar. You know that the college, I am working is very far from our home. Every day I come back home at 6 pm and sit with Rahul for assisting him for doing his home work.

Sekar: Ok. Coming to second Agenda point .Due to this financial crisis we need to change the strategy of running our family. I am looking for your cooperation in the following cost cutting activities. I want to see the cost benefit of 40 % in this month budget after implementing this
  1. Asking servant maid to leave her job
  2. Stop ordering Pizzas for dinner
  3. Avoid Tooth paste and use Neem sticks/Banyan Tree Sticks
  4. Switch on TV only for watching Sunday Movie and Friday Oliyum Ozhiyum(Well known program for film songs in Podigai TV)
  5. Wise to listen news from our near by portion when they watch news in TV
  6. Every Saturday visit our relative’s homes and spend the whole day including break fast, lunch and Dinner
  7. Don’t invite anybody to our home. Sunday our relatives might come to our house. Just lock the door outside and do your work inside silently.
  8. Everybody assemble in adjacent street Perumal temple on Sunday for breakfast. They provide ‘Pongal’ as ‘prasadam’ which is good in taste
  9. Sheela stop going for gym and Yoga class. Use Attural (Made up of Stone for making Dosa /idly dough), Ammikal (Replacement of Mixie) instead of grinder and Mixie. Mom please give KT to Sheela about this.
  10. Don’t buy excess of things and store it in Fridge. Use big Mud pots for cool water.
  11. Everybody go to bed early around 6:30 pm. Ask Rahul to do his homework when he comes back from school immediately during the hours sunlight is available. If not ask him to read under street light. He will become like Lincoln (Former US President) one day.
  12. Use as much of cycle for transportation to near by places(It will help you to reduce fat and Cholesterol content)
  13. I know you are eager to watch latest release ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’. Don’t plan for that. Wail till next year Diwali to watch the same movie in Kalaignar TV
If you have any clarifications contact Sheela@kitchen

Coming to second Agenda point. Sheela, can you please update me about Rahul’s Education. In which standard he is studying? Whether he got any double promotion? He was writing annual exam for third standard when I was leaving for Amsterdam.

Sheela: Sekar, I am bit worrying about his education. I have tracked his efforts, schedule in our OHM+ tool. I found 20 % in Effort variance and 35 % in schedule deviation. His learning curve goes down in the control chart which you can see in the report, I have sent you yesterday.

Sekar: Thanks for your measurements. I will review the report and we will discuss it on next week’s call. I have a client meeting now. So we will discuss the third agenda item next week. Mom and Dad.. can you please drop out from the call. I wanted to talk to Sheela about few personal things and Dad, don’t forget to circulate the MOM to every one.

Sheela: Hello Sekar..

Sheela: Hello…Hello…

Sheela: Hello…

Sunday, December 14, 2008

HR Manager Wrote Love Letter to his Girlfriend !!!

Ever wondered how a HR Manager could write a love letter to his girlfriend?

Dearest Ms. Anjali

Sub: Offer of love!

I am very happy to inform you that I have fallen in Love with you since the 20th of October (Thursday). With reference to the meeting held between us on the 19th of Oct. at 1500hrs, I would like to present myself as a prospective lover. Our love affair would be on probation for a period of three months and depending on compatibility, would be made permanent.

Of course, upon completion of probation, there will be continuous on the job training and performance appraisal schemes leading up to promotion from lover to spouse. The expenses incurred for coffee and entertainment would initially be shared equally between us. Later, based on your performance, I might take! up a larger share of the expenses. However I am broadminded enough to be taken care of, on your expense account.

I request you to kindly respond within 30 days of receiving this letter, failing which, this offer would be cancelled without further notice and I shall be considering someone else. I would be happy, if you could forward this letter to your sister, if you do not wish to take up this offer.

Wish you all the best!

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

HR Manager

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some new Jokes

Lady : Is this my train?
Station Master : No, it belongs to the Railway Company.
Lady : Don't try to be funny. I mean to ask if I can take this train
to New Delhi.
Station Master : No Madam, I'm afraid it's too heavy.


A drunkard was brought to court.
Just before the trial there was a commotion in the gallery.
The judge pounded the gravel on his table and shouted, 'Order,
The drunkard immediately responded, 'Thank you, your honor, I'll have
a scotch and soda.'


Man Quits Smoking Because Of Will Power.
He Quits Drinking Because Of Will Power.
But He Quits Womanizing Because He Has The Will But No Power.


Customer : Waiter, do you serve crabs?
Waiter : Please sit down sir, we serve everyone.


Customer : Waiter, is this a lamb chop or pork chop?
Waiter : Can't you tell the difference by taste?
Customer : No, I can't.
Waiter : Then does it really matter ?


Little Susie came running into the house after school one
'Daddy! Daddy! I got a 100 in school today!'
'That's great, Sweetheart,' said her daddy.
'Come in to the living room and tell me about it.'
'Well,' began the confession, 'I got 50 in spelling, 30 in math's and
20 in science.'


Customer : Waiter, there's a dead beetle in my soup.
Waiter : Yes sir, they are not very good swimmers.


Customer : Waiter, there's a fly in my soup.
Waiter : That's all right sir, he won't drink much.


Waiter : I've stewed liver, boiled tongue and frog's leg.
Customer : Don't tell me your problems. Give the menu card.


Customer : Waiter, there's a fly swimming in my soup.
Waiter : So what do you expect me to do, call a lifeguard?


Customer : Waiter, what's the meaning of this fly in my tea up?
Waiter : I wouldn't know sir, I'm a waiter, not a fortune teller.


1st thief : Oh ! The police is here. Quick! Jump out of the window!
2nd thief : But this is the 13th floor.
1st thief : Hurry! this is no time for superstitions.


Man : How old is your father?
Boy : As old as me.
Man : How can that be?
Boy : He became a father only when I was born.


Customer : Waiter, this soup tastes funny.
Waiter : Funny? But then why aren't you laughing?


Teacher : Peter, why are you late for school again?
Peter: Well, Miss, I dreamed that I was playing football and the game
went into extra time.


An absent-minded man went to see a psychiatrist.
'My trouble is,' he said, 'that I keep forgetting things.'
'How long has this been going on?' asked the psychiatrist.
' How long has what been going on?' said the man.


Girl : Do you love me?
Boy : Yes Dear.
Girl : Would you die for me?
Boy : No, mine is undying love.


Wife : Do you want dinner?
Husband : Sure, what are my choices?
Wife : Yes and no.


Customer : If I post this letter tonight, will it get to Delhi in two
days time?
Post Master : Yes sir, it definitely will.
Customer : I bet you, it won't.
Post Master : Why not?
Customer : It's addressed to Mumbai.


A man is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing
an earring. This man knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative
fellow, and is curious about his sudden change in "fashion sense."

The man walks up to him and says, "I didn't know you were into

"Don't make such a big deal, it's only an earring, "he replies

His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods
him to say, "So, how long have you been wearing one?"

"Ever since my wife found it in my car."

Monday, December 8, 2008

New HR Rules


It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing $350 Prada sneakers & carrying a $600 Gucci bag we assume you are doing well financially and therefore you do not need a raise.


We will no longer accept a doctor statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.


Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee here, you need all your organs. You should not consider removing anything. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a breach of employment.


Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays and Sundays.


All employees will take their vacation at the same time every year. The vacation days are as follows: January 1, July 4, and December 25.


This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for deceased friends, relatives, or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early, provided your work is done.


This will be accepted as an excuse. However, we require at least two weeks notice as it is your duty to train your own replacement.


Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. In the future, we will follow the practice of going once each day, in alphabetical order. For instance, all employees whose names begin with 'A' will go from 8 to 8:20, employees whose names begin with 'B' will go from 8:20 to 8:40 and so on. If you're unable to go at your allotted time, it will be necessary to wait until the next day when your turn comes again. In extreme emergencies employees may swap their time with a coworker. Both employees' supervisors must approve this exchange in writing. In addition, there is now a strict 3-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, and the stall door will open.


Skinny people get an hour for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 30 minutes for lunch to get a balance meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast and take a diet pill.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Brain Teasers

Teaser #1:
Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the tallest mountain in the world?
Teaser #2:
When you need it you throw it away, when you don't need it you take it in.
Teaser #3:
Cathy has six pairs of black gloves and six pairs of brown gloves in her drawer. In complete darkness, how many gloves must she take from the drawer in order to be sure to get a pair that match? Think carefully!!
Teaser #4:
If you can buy eight eggs for 26 cents, how many can you buy for a cent and a quarter?
Teaser #5:
What kind of tables have no legs?
Teaser #6:
What is the first thing you do every morning?
Teaser #7:
A brick weighs a pound and half a brick. How many pounds do two bricks weigh?
Teaser #8:
How long is a rope that is 2 yards shorter than another rope that is three times the length of the first rope?
Teaser #9:
What is greater than god, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it you will eventually die?
Teaser #10:
As long as I eat, I live. When I drink, I die
Answer #1:
Mount Everest has always been the tallest mountain, even before being discovered!

Answer #2:
A ship's anchor

Answer #3:
13. She could possibly take out 6 black left hand gloves and then 6 brown left hand gloves, the next one would have to be either the right hand or left hand match.

Answer #4:
Eight Eggs

Answer #5:
Timetable & Multiplication Table

Answer #6:
Wake Up

Answer #7:
2 bricks weigh 2 lbs and a whole brick, therefore 2 bricks weigh 4 lbs.

Answer #8:
If the length of the rope + 2 yards = 3 times the length of the rope, then the rope is 1 yard long.

Answer #9:
The word "Nothing".

Answer #10:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Funny Facts !

Here are some interesting, but true facts, that you may or may not have known.


The Statue of Liberty's index finger is eight feet long


Rain has never been recorded in some parts of the Atacama Desert in Chile


A 75 year old person will have slept about 23 years.


A Boeing 747's wing span is longer than the Wright brother's first flight.(the Wright brother's invented the airplane)


There are as many chickens on earth as there are humans.


One type of hummingbird weighs less than a penny


The word "set " has the most number of definitions in the English language;192


Slugs have four noses


Sharks can live up to 100 years


Mosquitos are more attracted to the color blue than any other color.


Kangaroos can't walk backwards


About 75 acres of pizza are eaten in in the U.S. Everyday


The largest recorded snowflake was 15in wide and 8in thick. It fell in Montana in 1887


The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that the sound it makes is actually a tiny sonic boom.


Former president Bill Clinton only sent 2 emails in his entire 8 year presidency


Koalas and humans are the only animals that have finger prints


There are 200,000,000 insects for every one human


It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery had in it to begin with.


The world's largest Montessori school is in India, with 26,312 students in 2002


Octopus have three hearts


If you ate too many carrots, you'd turn orange


The average person spends two weeks waiting for a traffic light to change.


1 in 2,000,000,000 people will live to be 116 or old


The body has 2-3 million sweat glands


Sperm whales have the biggest brains; 20 lbs


Tiger shark embroyos fight each other in their mother's womb. The survivor is born.


Most cats are left pawed


250 people have fallen off the Leaning Tower of Pisa


A Blue whale's tongue weighs more than an elephant


You use 14 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. Keep Smiling!


Bamboo can grow up to 3 ft in 24 hours


An eyeball weighs about 1 ounce


Bone is five times stronger than steel.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mr. Santa applying to a medical school

Have you heard of Mr. Santa applying to a medical school to become a doctor?

Needless to say he never made it. You know why?

These are the answers he wrote in his entrance exam.

Antibody - against everyone

Artery - The study of the paintings.

Bacteria - back door to a cafeteria.

Caesarean section - a district in Rome.

Cardiology - advance study of poker playing.

Cat scan - searching for lost kitty.

Chronic - neck of a crow.

Coma - punctuation mark.

Cortisone - area around local court.

Cyst - short for sister.

Diagnosis - person with slanted nose.

Dilate - the late British Princess Diana.

Dislocation - in this place.

Duodenum - couple in blue jeans.

Enema - not a friend.

Fake labour - pretending to work.

Genes - blue denim.

Hernia - she is close by.

Impotent - distinguished/ well known.

Labour pain - hurt at work.

Lactose - people without toes.

Lymph - walk unsteadily.

Microbes - small dressing gown.

Obesity - city of Obe.

. Pacemaker - winner of Nobel peace prize.

Proteins - in favour of teens.

Pulse - grain.

Pus - small cat.

Red blood count - Dracula.

Secretion - hiding anything.

Tablet - small table.

Ultrasound - radical noise.

Urine - opposite of you're out.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Amazing Earth Facts

1. What is the hottest place on Earth?
Count one wrong if you guessed Death Valley in California. True enough on many days. But El Azizia in Libya recorded a temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) on Sept. 13, 1922 -- the hottest ever measured. In Death Valley, it got up to 134 Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913.

2. And the coldest place around here?
Far and away, the coldest temperature ever measured on Earth was -129 Fahrenheit (-89 Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.

3. What makes thunder?
If you thought, "Lightning!" then hats off to you. But I had a more illuminating answer in mind. The air around a lightning bolt is superheated to about five times the temperature of the Sun. This sudden heating causes the air to expand faster than the speed of sound, which compresses the air and forms a shock wave; we hear it as thunder.

4. Can rocks float?
In a volcanic eruption, the violent separation of gas from lava produces a "frothy" rock called pumice, loaded with gas bubbles. Some of it can float, geologists say. I've never seen this happen, and I'm thankful for that.

5. Can rocks grow?
Yes, but observing the process is less interesting than watching paint dry. Rocks called iron-manganese crusts grow on mountains under the sea. The crusts precipitate material slowly from seawater, growing about 1 millimeter every million years. Your fingernails grow about the same amount every two weeks.

6. How much space dust falls to Earth each year?
Estimates vary, but the USGS says at least 1,000 million grams, or roughly 1,000 tons of material enters the atmosphere every year and makes its way to Earths surface. One group of scientists claims microbes rain down from space, too, and that extraterrestrial organisms are responsible for flu epidemics . There's been no proof of this, and I'm not holding my breath.

7. How far does regular dust blow in the wind?
A 1999 study showed that African dust finds its way to Florida and can help push parts of the state over the prescribed air quality limit for particulate matter set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The dust is kicked up by high winds in North Africa and carried as high as 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), where it's caught up in the trade winds and carried across the sea. Dust from China makes its way to North America, too.

8. Where is the worlds highest waterfall?
The water of Angel Falls in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters).

9. What two great American cities are destined to merge?
The San Andreas fault, which runs north-south, is slipping at a rate of about 2 inches (5 centimeters) per year, causing Los Angeles to move towards San Francisco. Scientists forecast LA will be a suburb of the City by the Bay in about 15 million years.

10. Is Earth a sphere?
Because the planet rotates and is more flexible than you might imagine, it bulges at the midsection, creating a sort of pumpkin shape. The bulge was lessening for centuries but now, suddenly, it is growing, a recent study showed. Accelerated melting of Earth's glaciers is taking the blame for the gain in equatorial girth.

11. What would a 100-pound person weigh on Mars?
The gravity on Mars is 38 percent of that found on Earth at sea level. So a 100-pound person on Earth would weigh 38 pounds on Mars. Based on NASA's present plans, it'll be decades before this assumption can be observationally proved, however.

12. How long is a Martian year?
It's a year long, if you're from Mars. To an earthling, it's nearly twice as long. The red planet takes 687 Earth-days to go around the Sun -- compared to 365 days for Earth. Taking into account Mars' different rotational time (see #13 below) calendars on Mars would be about 670 days long with some leap days needed to keep things square. If you find one, please mail it to me. I'm curious how they worked out the months, given they have two moons. [The initial publication of this fact mistakenly said a Mars calendar would have 687 days.]

13. How long is the average Martian day?
A Martian can sleep (or work) and extra half-hour every day compared to you. Mars days are 24 hours and 37 minutes long, compared to 23 hours, 56 minutes on Earth. A day on any planet in our solar system is determined by how long it takes the world to spin once on its axis, making the Sun appear to rise in the morning and sending it down in the evening.

14. What is the largest volcano?
The Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii holds the title here on Earth. It rises more than 50,000 feet (9.5 miles or 15.2 kilometers) above its base, which sits under the surface of the sea. But that's all volcanic chump change. Olympus Mons on Mars rises 16 miles (26 kilometers) into the Martian sky. Its base would almost cover the entire state of Arizona.

Planet building
15. What was the deadliest known earthquake?
The world's deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1557 in central China. It struck a region where most people lived in caves carved from soft rock. The dwellings collapsed, killing an estimated 830,000 people. In 1976 another deadly temblor struck Tangshan, China. More than 250,000 people were killed.

16. What was the strongest earthquake in recent times?
A 1960 Chilean earthquake, which occurred off the coast, had a magnitude of 9.6 and broke a fault more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) long. An earthquake like that under a major city would challenge the best construction techniques.

17. Which earthquake was more catastrophic: Kobe, Japan or Northridge, California?
The 1994 Northridge earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7 was responsible for approximately 60 deaths, 9,000 injuries, and more than $40 billion in damage. The Kobe earthquake of 1995 was magnitude 6.8 and killed 5,530 people. There were some 37,000 injuries and more than $100 billion in economic loss.

18. How far is it to the center of the Earth?
The distance from the surface of Earth to the center is about 3,963 miles (6,378 kilometers). Much of Earth is fluid. The mostly solid skin of the planet is only 41 miles (66 kilometers) thick -- thinner than the skin of an apple, relatively speaking.

19. What is the highest mountain?
Climbers who brave Mt. Everest in the Nepal-Tibet section of the Himalayas reach 29,035 feet (nearly 9 kilometers) above sea level. Its height was revised upward by 7 feet based on measurements made in 1999 using the satellite-based Global Positioning System.

20. Has the Moon always been so close?
It used to be much closer! A billion years ago, the Moon was in a tighter orbit, taking just 20 days to go around us and make a month. A day on Earth back then was only 18 hours long. The Moon is still moving away -- about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) a year. Meanwhile, Earth's rotation is slowing down, lengthening our days. In the distant future, a day will be 960 hours long! [ Find out why]

21. Where is the lowest dry point on Earth?
The shore of the Dead Sea in the Middle East is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) below sea level. Not even a close second is Bad Water in Death Valley, California, at a mere 282 feet below sea level.

22. Good thing California isn't sinking further, right?
Actually parts of it are, which is so interesting that I snuck this non-question onto the list. In a problem repeated elsewhere in the country, the pumping of natural underground water reservoirs in California is causing the ground to sink up to 4 inches (11 centimeters) per year in places. Water and sewage systems may soon be threatened.

23. What is the longest river?
The Nile River in Africa is 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometers) long.

24. What is the most earthquake-prone state in the United States?
Alaska experiences a magnitude 7 earthquake almost every year, and a magnitude 8 or greater earthquake on average every 14 years. Florida and North Dakota get the fewest earthquakes in the states, even fewer than New York .

25. What's the driest place on Earth?
A place called Arica, in Chile, gets just 0.03 inches (0.76 millimeters) of rain per year. At that rate, it would take a century to fill a coffee cup.

26. What causes a landslide?
Intense rainfall over a short period of time can trigger shallow, fast-moving mud and debris flows. Slow, steady rainfall over a long period of time may trigger deeper, slow-moving landslides. Different materials behave differently, too. Every year as much as $2 billion in landslide damage occurs in the United States. In a record-breaking storm in the San Francisco area in January 1982, some 18,000 debris flows were triggered during a single night! Property damage was over $66 million, and 25 people died.

27. How fast can mud flow?
Debris flows are like mud avalanches that can move at speeds in excess of 100 mph (160 kph).

28. Do things inside Earth flow?
You bet. In fact, scientists found in 1999 that molten material in and around Earth's core moves in vortices, swirling pockets whose dynamics are similar to tornadoes and hurricanes. And as you'll learn later in this list, the planet's core moves in other strange ways, too.

29. What is the wettest place on Earth?
Lloro, Colombia averages 523.6 inches of rainfall a year, or more than 40 feet (13 meters). That's about 10 times more than fairly wet major cities in Europe or the United States.

30. Does Earth go through phases, like the Moon?
From Mars, Earth would be seen to go through distinct phases (just as we see Venus change phases). Earth is inside the orbit of Mars, and as the two planets travel around the Sun, sunlight would strike our home planet from different angles during the year. Earth phases can be seen in recent photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor and the European Mars Express

31. What is the largest canyon?
The Grand Canyon is billed as the world's largest canyon system. Its main branch is 277 miles (446 kilometers) long. But let's compare. Valles Marineris on Mars extends for about 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers). If added it to a U.S. map, it would stretch from New York City to Los Angeles. In places this vast scar on the Martian surface is 5 miles (8 kilometers) deep.

32. What is the deepest canyon in the United States?
Over the eons, the Snake River dug Hell's Canyon along the Oregon-Idaho border. It is more than 8,000 feet (2.4 kilometers) deep. In contrast, the Grand Canyon is less than 6,000 feet deep -- a bit more than a mile.

33. Is Earth the largest rocky planet in the solar system?
Just barely! Earth's diameter at the equator is 7,926 miles (12,756 kilometers). Venus is 7,521 miles (12,104 kilometers) wide. Mercury and Mars, the other two inner rocky planets, are much smaller. Pluto is rocky, too, but it's comparatively tiny (and some say it is not a planet at all).

34. How many of Earth's volcanoes are known to have erupted in historic time?
About 540 volcanoes on land are known. No one knows how many undersea volcanoes have erupted through history.

35. Is air mostly oxygen?
Earth's atmosphere is actually about 80 percent nitrogen. Most of the rest is oxygen, with tiny amounts of other stuff thrown in.
Venus is almost as big as Earth. Despite sweltering heat at the surface, its clouds might support life, some scientists say.

36. What is the highest waterfall in the United States?
Yosemite Falls in California is 2,425 feet (739 meters).

37. What percentage of the world's water is in the oceans?
About 97 percent. Oceans make up about two-thirds of Earth's surface, which means that when the next asteroid hits the planet, odds are good it will splash down.

38. Which two landmasses contain the vast majority of the Earth's fresh water supply?
Nearly 70 percent of the Earth's fresh-water supply is locked up in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland. The remaining fresh-water supply exists in the atmosphere, streams, lakes, or groundwater and accounts for a mere 1 percent of the Earth's total.

39. Which of the Earth's oceans is the largest?
The Pacific Ocean covers 64 million square miles (165 million square kilometers). It is more than two times the size of the Atlantic. It has an average depth of 2.4 miles (3.9 kilometers).

40. Why is Earth mostly crater-free compared to the pockmarked Moon?
Earth is more active, in terms of both geology and weather. Much of our planet's geologic history was long ago folded back inside. Some of that is regurgitated by volcanoes, but the results are pretty hard to study. Even more recent events evident on the surface -- craters that can by millions of years old -- get overgrown by vegetation, weathered by wind and rain, and modified by earthquakes and landslides. The Moon, meanwhile, is geologically quiet and has almost no weather; its craters tell a billions-year-long tale of catastrophic collisions. Interestingly, some of the oldest Earth rocks might be awaiting discovery on the Moon, having been blasted there billions of years ago by the very asteroid impacts that rattle both worlds.

41. How much surface area does Earth contain?
There are 196,950,711 square miles (510,100,000 square kilometers).

42. What is the largest lake in the world?
By size and volume it is the Caspian Sea, located between southeast Europe and west Asia.

43. Where do most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur on Earth?
The majority occur along boundaries of the dozen or so major plates that more or less float on the surface of Earth. One of the most active plate boundaries where earthquakes and eruptions are frequent, for example, is around the massive Pacific Plate commonly referred to as the Pacific Ring of Fire. It fuels shaking and baking from Japan to Alaska to South America.

44. How hot are the planet's innards?
The temperature of Earth increases about 36 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) for every kilometer (about 0.62 miles) you go down. Near the center, its thought to be at least 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,870 Celsius).

45. What three countries have the greatest number of historically active volcanoes?
The top three countries are Indonesia, Japan, and the United States in descending order of activity.

46. How many people worldwide are at risk from volcanoes?
As of the year 2000, USGS scientists estimated that volcanoes posed a tangible risk to at least 500 million people. This is comparable to the entire population of the world at the beginning of the seventeenth century!

47. Which of the following sources stores the greatest volume of fresh water worldwide: lakes, streams or ground water?
Groundwater comprises a 30 times greater volume than all freshwater lakes, and more than 3,000 times what's in the world's streams and rivers at any given time. Groundwater is housed in natural underground aquifers, in which the water typically runs around and through the stone and other material.

48. Which earthquake was larger, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake or the 1964 Anchorage, Alaska, temblor?
The Anchorage earthquake had a magnitude of 9.2, whereas the San Francisco earthquake was a magnitude 7.8. This difference in magnitude equates to 125 times more energy being released in the 1964 quake and accounts for why the Anchorage earthquake was felt over an area of almost 500,000 square miles (1,295,000 square kilometers).

49. Which earthquake was more destructive in terms of loss of life and relative damage costs, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake or the 1964 Anchorage earthquake?
The 1906 San Francisco earthquake tops this category. It was responsible for 700 deaths versus 114 from the Anchorage earthquake. Property damage in San Francisco was also greater in relative terms due to the destructive fires that destroyed mostly wooden structures of the time.

50. Is Earth's core solid?
The inner portion of the core is thought to be solid. But the outer portion of the core appears molten. We've never been there though, so scientists aren't sure of the exact composition. A radical Hollywood-like idea was recently put forth to blow a crack in the planet and send a probe down there to learn more. An interesting bit of recent evidence shows Mars' core may be similarly squishy. Scientists figured this out by studying tides on Mars ( tides on Mars? ).

51. Does all of Earth spin at the same rate?
The solid inner core -- a mass of iron comparable to the size of the Moon -- spins faster than the outer portion of the iron core, which is liquid. A study in 1996 showed that over the previous century, the extra speed caused the inner core to gain a quarter-turn on the planet as a whole. So the inner core makes a complete revolution with respect to the rest of Earth in about 400 years. Immense pressure keeps it solid.

52. How many people have been killed by volcanoes during the last 500 years?
At least 300,000. Between 1980 and 1990, volcanic activity killed at least 26,000 people.

53. How much of the Earth's surface consists of volcanic rock?
Scientists estimate that more than three-quarters of Earth's surface is of volcanic origin-- that is, rocks either erupted by volcanoes or molten rock that cooled below ground and has subsequently been exposed at the surface. Most of Earth's volcanic rocks are found on the sea floor.

54. Can an earthquake cause a tsunami?
If the earthquake originates under the ocean, yes. Near the earthquake's epicenter, the sea floor rises and falls, pushing all the water above it up and down. This motion produces a wave that travels outward in all directions. A tsunami can be massive but remain relatively low in height in deep water. Upon nearing the shore, it is forced up and can reach the height of tall buildings. One in 1964 was triggered in Alaska and swamped the small northern California town of Crescent City, moving train cars several blocks and killing several people there. Asteroids can cause tsunami , too.

55. Are all tsunamis high waves when they strike a coastline?
Asteroid-generated tsunami
No, contrary to many artistic images of tsunamis, most do not result in giant breaking waves. Rather, most tsunamis come onshore more like very strong and fast tides. The water can rise higher than anyone along a given shore area has ever seen, however . [Model of an East Coast tsunami ]

56. How much of the Earth's land surface is desert?
About one-third.

57. What's the deepest place in the ocean?
The greatest known depth is 36,198 feet (6.9 miles or 11 kilometers) at the Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean well south of Japan near the Mariana Islands.

58. What is the fastest surface wind ever recorded?
The fastest "regular" wind that's widely agreed upon was 231 mph (372 kph), recorded at Mount Washington, New Hampshire, on April 12, 1934. But during a May 1999 tornado in Oklahoma, researchers clocked the wind at 318 mph (513 kph). For comparison, Neptune's winds can rage to 900 mph (1,448 kph).

59. How much fresh water is stored in the Earth?
More than two million cubic miles of fresh water is stored in the planet, nearly half of it within a half-mile of the surface. Mars, too, appears to have a lot of water near its surface, but what's been detected so far is locked up as ice; nobody has estimated how much might be there.

60. How old is Earth?
Our planet is more than 4.5 billion years old, just a shade younger than the Sun. Recent evidence actually shows that Earth was formed much earlier than previously believed, just 10 million years after the birth of the Sun, a stellar event typically put at 4.6 billion years ago.

61. What is the world's largest desert?
The Sahara Desert in northern Africa is more than 23 times the size of southern California's Mojave Desert. [Several readers have e-mailed to suggest that arid Antarctica technically tops this category; true, some researchers put it there, but most lists of deserts don't include it.]

62. Which planet has more moons, Earth or Mars?
Mars has two satellites, Phobos and Deimos. The Earth has only one natural satellite, but it's the Moon. The outer planets have lots of Moon, most of them found fairly recently and leading to the possibility that scientists might one day need to redefine what it means to be a moon.

63. What is the world's deepest lake?
Lake Baikal in the south central part of Siberia is 5,712 feet (1.7 kilometers) deep. It's about 20 million years old and contains 20 percent of Earth's fresh liquid water.

64. What is the origin of the word "volcano"?
It derives from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

65. How many minerals are known to exist?
There are roughly 4,000 known minerals, although only about 200 are of major importance. Approximately 50-100 new minerals are described each year.

66. What is the total water supply of the world?
The total water supply of the world is 326 million cubic miles (1 cubic mile of water equals more than 1 trillion gallons).

67. What is the world's largest island?
Greenland covers 840,000 square miles (2,176,000 square kilometers). Continents are typically defined as landmasses made of low-density rock that essentially floats on the molten material below. Greenland fits this description, but it's only about one-third the size of Australia. Some scientists call Greenland an island, others say it's a continent.

Moon making
68. Where are most of Earth's volcanoes?
The most prominent topographic feature on Earth is the immense volcanic mountain chain that encircles the planet beneath the sea -- the chain is more than 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers) long and rises an average of 18,000 feet ( 5.5 kilometers) above the seafloor. It is called the mid-ocean ridge and is where Earth's plates spread apart as new crust bubbles up -- volcanic activity. There are more volcanoes here than on land. The spreading, however, le*** to scrunching when these plates slam into the continents. The result: More volcanoes and earthquakes in places like California and Japan.

69. What volcano killed the most people?
The eruption of Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1815 is estimated to have killed 90,000 people. Most died from starvation after the eruption, though, because of widespread crop destruction, and from water contamination and disease.

70. Were Earth and the Moon separated at birth?
Not quite. But leading theory holds that our favorite satellite was carved partly from Earth shortly after the Earth formed. A Mars-sized object slammed into our fledgling planet. The impactor was destroyed. Stuff flew everywhere and a lot of it went into orbit around Earth. The Moon gathered itself together out of the largely vaporized remains of the collision, while Earth hung in there pretty much intact.

71. How many lightning strikes occur worldwide every second?
On average, about 100. Those are just the ones that hit the ground, though. During any given minute, there are more than a thousand thunderstorms around the Earth causing some 6,000 flashes of lightning. A lot of it goes from cloud-to-cloud.

72. Are rivers alive?
Not in the traditional sense, of course. But like all living creatures, rivers have a life span. They are born, grow in size, and they age. They can even die during the span of geological time.

73. Can asteroids create islands?
Speculation has existed for decades that ancient asteroid impacts might create hot spots of volcanic activity, which could give rise to mountains that poke up through seas that didn't used to be there. There's no firm answer to this question, but a recent computer model suggested Hawaii might have been formed in this manner .

74. Is the state of Louisiana growing or shrinking?
Louisiana loses about 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) of land each year to coastal erosion, hurricanes, other natural and human causes and a thing called subsidence, which means sinking. Much of New Orleans actually sits 11 feet ( 3.4 meters) below sea level. Parts of the French quarter have sunk 2 feet in the past six decades. The city is protected by dikes, but all experts agree that storm tides from a direct hit by a major hurricane would breach the system and swamp much of the city. In 2000, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Chip Groat, said: "With the projected rate of subsidence, wetland loss and sea-level rise, New Orleans will likely be on the verge of extinction by this time next century."

Breaking up
75. How much would seas rise if the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted?
The Antarctic Ice Sheet holds nearly 90 percent of the world's ice and 70 percent of its fresh water. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, sea level would rise by nearly 220 feet, or the height of a 20-story building. Scientists know there's a melting trend underway. The United Nations has said that in a worst-case scenario -- depending on how much global air temperatures increase -- seas could jump 3 feet (1 meter) by 2100.

76. Is ice a mineral?
Yes, ice is a mineral and is formally described as such in Dana's System of Mineralogy.

77. What is the softest of all minerals?
Talc is the softest of minerals. It is commonly used to make talcum powder.

78. What is the hardest of all minerals?
The one that becomes emotionally useless after a divorce but still retains monetary value.

79. How are colors produced in fireworks?
Mineral elements taken from Earth provide the colors. Strontium yields deep reds, copper produces blue, sodium yields yellow, and iron filings and charcoal pieces produce gold sparks. Bright flashes and loud bangs come from aluminum powder.

80. Does Earth have the worst weather in the solar system?
Right now, it's the worst that most humans I know ever experience. But there's lots of wilder weather elsewhere. Mars can whip up hurricane-like storms four times bigger than Texas. Dust storms on the red planet can obscure the entire globe! Jupiter has a hurricane twice the size our entire planet, and it's lasted for at least three centuries ( another storm on Jupiter is even bigger). Venus is a living hell, and Pluto is routinely more frigid than the coldest place on Earth (though may change one day, and Pluto may in fact become the last oasis for life).

81. Where are the highest tides?
In Burntcoat Head, Minas Basin, part of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, tides can range 38.4 feet (11.7 meters). The bay is funnel shaped -- its bottom slopes upward continuously from the ocean inlet. The result is an extreme "tidal bore," a wave-like phenomenon at the leading edge of the changing tide. Bores in Fundy can travel up feeder rivers at 8 mph (13 kph) and be more than 3 feet (1 meter) tall.

82. Where is the world's only equatorial glacier?
Mt. Cotopaxi in Ecuador supports the only glacier on the equator.

83. What is the largest lake in North America?
Lake Superior.

84. What's the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the United States?
A Category 4 hurricane hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 and killed more than 6,000 people (read about the history of it here). The next closest death toll was less than 1,900 from a 1928 Florida hurricane.

85. What is the longest mountain chain on Earth?
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which splits nearly the entire Atlantic Ocean north to south. Iceland is one place where this submarine mountain chain rises above the sea surface.

Gold rings in surprising places!
86. How much gold has been discovered worldwide to date?
More than 193,000 metric tons (425 million pounds). If you stuck it all together, it would make a cube-shaped, seven-story structure that might resemble one of Donald Trump's buildings. First you'd have to find all those rings that have gone down the drain.

87. What are the two major gold-producing countries?
South Africa produces 5,300 metric tons per year, and the United States produces more than 3,200 metric tons.

88. What North American plant can live for thousands of years?
The creosote bush, which grows in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts, has been shown by radiocarbon dating to have lived since the birth of Christ. Some of these plants may endure 10,000 years, scientists say. If only they could talk.

89. On average, how much water is used worldwide each day?
About 400 billion gallons.

90. Is Saturn the only ringed planet?
Saturn has the most obvious rings. But Jupiter and Neptune both have subtle ring systems, [as does Uranus, readers reminded me]. And even Earth may once have been a ringed planet, the result of some space rock's glancing blow.
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