Geography & Travel

Countries

It’s hard to send an entire country into an identity crisis, but one single Tweet managed to do just that—and all under 150 characters. When Sweden’s official Twitter account claimed that Swedish meatballs may in fact

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actually be Turkish, Swedes around the world were set into outrage. How could such a beloved touchstone of Swedish cultural history all be a sham? To get to the bottom of it all, we enlisted the help of an expert. Come along as we try to unlock the great meatball mystery.

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Category:  Food | Geography & Travel
Keywords: Food | Sweden

In this video, learn all about the traditions and legends that make Lunar New Year one of the most exciting times of the year.

Keywords: China | Traditions
Australia: An entire continent so infested with deadly creepy crawlies and creatures of all kinds, it seems like it’s actively trying to kill you. But is the natural world really any more dangerous down under than anywhere else?

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Hosted by: Stefan Chine

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Keywords: Adventure | Australia | Death

Real life Swede, PewDiePie, schallenges us to guess some about Swedish stereotypes.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Scandinavia | Stereotypes
In 1974, farmers digging a well near their small village stumbled upon one of the most important finds in archaeological history – vast underground chambers surrounding a Chinese emperor’s tomb that contained

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more than 8,000 life-size clay soldiers ready for battle. Megan Campisi and Pen-Pen Chen shares the fascinating history of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Lesson by Megan Campisi and Pen-Pen Chen, animation by Zedem Media.

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Keywords: China | Death | History
Guarded behind lock and key in the back of a small pastry factory in Belém, Portugal, sits a 180-year-old secret. Currently, only six people know the recipe for “Pastéis de Belém,” among the oldest—and perhaps even the

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original—egg custard tarts. Your delicious mission (should you choose to accept it) is to meet the guardians behind this highly classified tart and someday taste one or two along the way.

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Category:  Food | Geography & Travel
Keywords: Cakes | Secrets | Cooking
At Switzerland’s Kulmhotel Gornergrat, guests sleep among the mountains and under the stars. The establishment is home to an observatory that has drawn astronomers from around the world. The lack of light pollution and

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dry air create the optimal conditions for stargazing. At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, it is the highest hotel in Switzerland, nestled among a mountain range that includes the Matterhorn.

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Hotels | Universe

The Chinese New Year is the world’s single biggest human migration of people: over 200 million travel to celebrate with family – many of them on the country’s advanced bullet train network.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: China | Immigration | Transport | Travel

The crazy story of the arbitrary temperature scale used in a tiny minority of countries.

Vox
Fahrenheit, explained to the rest of the world.
Since I’ve moved to the US in 2010, there’s one thing that I still don’t fully understand: the imperial system.

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Virtually every country on earth uses Celsius but America has yet to follow. Although it might not seem like a big deal, not using the metric system puts America at a great disadvantage. For example, American kids have to learn 2 sets of measurements making science education even more difficult. On top of that, American companies have to produce extra products to export to metric countries. So why does the United States still have such an antiquated system of measurement?

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Vox

What vending machines can teach you about this country.

Cities

Vox
There’s a method to the madness of classifying roads.
A street is a road but a road isn’t always a street. A road can also be an avenue or a boulevard—it’s the

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general term for anything that connects two points. From there, the names of roads can be shaped by their environment and/or the form of the road. A drive is a long winding road that can be shaped by mountains or a lake. Place is a narrow road with no throughway. And just as there is no rule book to building a city, these roads and other don’t always correspond with their described classifications.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Cities | Driving
Vox

Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.

Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Cars | Cities

Design legend Michael Bierut tells the story of the accidental success of one of the most famous maps in the world — the London Tube Map.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: City transport | Maps

Is New York’s pizza better than LA’s New-York-style pizza is bad?
It’s The Try Guys Coast-to-coast Pizza Party Challenge Part 1 of 1!

Category:  Food | Geography & Travel
Keywords: Food | Friends | New York
At 58 letters, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch is the longest town name in all of Europe. It wasn’t always the town’s name, though—in the 1860s, the name was developed as a way to entice

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tourists to make the town a stop on their travels. It’s an amalgamation of the Welsh words and names for local landmarks, and it’s probably the best PR stunt of the 1860s—or today. So yeah, welcome to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch! You don’t need to be able to say it to enjoy your stay.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Cities | Names
Paris—without people? No, this isn’t an apocalypse. This is Paris … in China. The city of Tianducheng was created as a replica of the French capital during China’s economic boom in the early 2000s. Originally built for 10,000

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inhabitants, only 2,000 now live there full-time. But you know what they say: “imitation is the highest form of flattery.”

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: China | Cities
Explore what makes trees a vital part of cities, and how urban spaces throughout history have embraced the importance of trees. —

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By 2050, it’s estimated that over 65% of the world will be living in cities. We may think of nature as being unconnected to our urban spaces, but trees have always been an essential part of successful cities. Humanity has been uncovering these arboreal benefits since the creation of our first cities thousands of years ago. So what makes trees so important to a city’s survival? Stefan Al explains.

Lesson by Stefan Al, directed by Mette Ilene Holmriis.

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Keywords: Cities | Trees

Places

In Alaska’s Denali National Park, you’ll find six million acres of sprawling forests, majestic mountains, active glaciers and flowing rivers. In the midst of this vast natural beauty, around two million acres of federally protected

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wilderness exists. Here motorized transport is prohibited. So how does one get around in the winter? Enter the Denali dogs. Denali is the country’s only national park with a working sled dog kennel. Let’s go meet the hard-working huskies!

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Keywords: Dogs | travel
High elevations can be a problem for humans. Since the air is thinner, you get less oxygen with every breath, leading to all kinds of negative side effects. But there are millions of people around the world who spend their whole

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lives at high elevations with seemingly little to no trouble.

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Breathing | Evolution | Mountains
Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this is

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home: a labor of love 24 years in the making.

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Keywords: Housing | Nature
Some of us feel most at home not in obviously beautiful or homely places, but in desolate, melancholy ones, places that are vast, barren, bleak or isolated. These places speak to our souls and deserve to be celebrated as

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our true homes.

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Keywords: Alone | Society
By the early 1900’s, nearly every region of the globe had been visited and mapped, with only two key locations left: the North and South Poles. After two Americans staked claim to reaching the North Pole, a Norwegian explorer

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and a British naval officer each set out for the last unmapped region in what newspapers called a “Race to the Pole.” Elizabeth Leane sets the scene for their journeys south.

Lesson by Elizabeth Leane, directed by WOW-HOW Studio.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Adventure | Cold | Competition | Danger
Lake Maracaibo is the stormiest place on the planet. Thunderstorms rage above this massive body of water for up to 200 days of the year, with each ear-splitting event lasting for several hours. But why? Graeme Anderson

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lists the factors that create Lake Maracaibo’s seemingly ever-lasting storms.

Lesson by Graeme Anderson, animation by D. Lee Peffer II.

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Keywords: Superlatives | Weather
Dig into the 800 year history and architecture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and find out what gives the tower its infamous tilt.

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In 1990, the Italian government enlisted top engineers to stabilize Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower. There’d been many attempts during its 800 year history, but computer models revealed the urgency of their situation. The tower would topple if it reached an angle of 5.44 degrees— and it was currently leaning at 5.5. What gives the tower its infamous tilt? Alex Gendler explores the monument’s history.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, directed by Aim Creative Studios.

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Italy | Landmarks

Transport

While waiting to board his plane, a man discovers that he’s not as much of a VIP as he thinks he is.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Planes | Travel
Stunts, pyrotechnics, and superstars in sunglasses: that’s what comes to mind when you think of the world behind the scenes of a big-budget action movie, right? Well here’s one more for you: automotive modification.

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Matt McEntegart wasn’t a great artist and didn’t know much about computers, but he knew he was good at tricking out average sedans and morphing them into mobile masterpieces. A regular dude with an auto body shop in Tampa, Florida, he never imagined that one of his designs would be used in Warner Brothers and DC Comics’ upcoming film, “Suicide Squad.”

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Category:  Art | Geography & Travel
Keywords: Cars | Design
While New York City’s subway riders are glued to their smartphones, a small group of singers is bringing light to the underground with opera. Opera Collective is a group of around 30 New York City opera singers who

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perform in a rather unusual venue: subway platforms. Every week, these talented sopranos, altos and tenors take their voices underground to awe thousands of subway riders.

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Category:  Art | Geography & Travel
If you live in the United States, you may live in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. Or maybe you live in Mountain Standard Time or one of the other standardized time zones. But these time zones have not always been

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around. In fact, it’s a fairly recent development. William Heuisler explains the history of time and how trains changed everything.

Lesson by William Heuisler, animation by Flaming Medusa Studios Inc.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Time | Trains | United States
Bruce Campbell lives in an airplane. Yes, an actual jet. The Portland-based aeronautics enthusiast makes his home in a converted Boeing 727 that was once used as a Greek aircraft until the mid-1960s and now resides in a

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forest near Portland.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Housing | Planes
Tom Scott and Matt Parker investigate some of the London Underground’s greatest lies.
Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: City transport | Lies
It might seem like a glamorous job and it has its perks, but being a member of SIA’s cabin crew also means spending a lot of time away from family, battling jet lag and waking up at odd hours for early morning flights.

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However there is a silver lining to being able to travel the world, as Ms Charmaine Ang, a flight stewardess and self-confessed foodie, will attest to.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Career | Jobs | Planes
Although one third of the population suffers from motion sickness, scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes it. Like the common cold, it’s a seemingly simple problem that’s still without a cure. And if you think it’s bad on a long

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family car ride, imagine being a motion sick astronaut! Rose Eveleth explains what’s happening in our bodies when we get the car sick blues.

Lesson by Rose Eveleth, animation by Tom Gran.

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Moving | Transport

The way we can make traffic disappear.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Cars | Transport
What is turbulence and why does it happen? Explore the phenomenon that has perplexed physicists for over a century.

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You’re on an airplane when you feel a sudden jolt. Outside your window nothing seems to be happening, yet the plane continues to rattle you and your fellow passengers as it passes through turbulent air in the atmosphere. What exactly is turbulence, and why does it happen? Tomás Chor dives into one of the prevailing mysteries of physics: the complex phenomenon of turbulence.

Lesson by Tomás Chor, directed by Biljana Labovic.

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Mysteries | Planes | Transport | Travel
Vox

Can we all agree that the left lane is for passing, please?

Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Cars | Driving | Speed

World

A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. It’s our birthday! In celebration of a year of mental_floss on YouTube, John looks at some fascinating birthday traditions from around the world.

Keywords: Birthdays | Traditions
The Earth is 4.6 billion years old — but how can humans relate to a number so colossal, and where do we fit on the geologic timeline? Comparing the Earth’s lifetime to one calendar year, events like the extinction of

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dinosaurs and Columbus setting sail took place relatively recently. Joshua M. Sneideman reminds us of our time and place in the universe. Lesson by Joshua M. Sneideman, animation by Powerhouse Animation Studios Inc.

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Science
Keywords: Age | Earth | Universe

Kids try Christmas food! Watch to see their reaction!

Category:  Food | Geography & Travel
Keywords: Children | Christmas | Food | Reacting

Yakko Warner from the TV show Animaniacs singing a song to help you learn the Nations of the World.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Cartoons | Countries
“My science fiction has different ancestors — African ones,” says writer Nnedi Okorafor. In between excerpts from her “Binti” series and her novel “Lagoon,” Okorafor discusses the inspiration and roots of her work — and how

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she opens strange doors through her Afrofuturist writing.

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Keywords: Africa | Future | Science fiction
When Peter Bellerby couldn’t find the perfect handmade globe for his father’s 80th birthday, he took matters into his own hands. He spent the next few years learning and perfecting the lost art of globemaking, which turned

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out to be a difficult, detailed process. Today, he runs Bellerby & Co Globemakers out of a small London studio with a team of 15 skilled craftsmen who create every masterpiece by hand.

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Category:  Art | Geography & Travel
Keywords: Maps | Travel
During the Victorian Age, women were unlikely to become great explorers, but a few intelligent, gritty and brave women made major contributions to the study of previously little-understood territory. Courtney Stephens

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examines three women — Marianne North, Mary Kingsley and Alexandra David-Néel —  who wouldn’t take no for an answer (and shows why we should be grateful that they didn’t).

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Adventure | Women
Annie Londonderry gained infamy for being the first woman to bicycle around the world—all in only 15 months. But the story is a little more complicated than that. During a time when very few women rode bicycles, legend has

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it that Annie accepted a wager to circumnavigate the world on two wheels. As the story goes, she traveled the globe, hunting tigers in India with royalty, sustaining a gunshot wound to the shoulder, and even being interned in a Japanese prison. But her incredible tales are more myth than truth …

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Category:  Geography & Travel | Sports
Keywords: Bicycles | Women

Let’s ask a Geologist what a continent is. The Antarctic, plate, the Australian plate, the Eurasian plate, the South American plate, the African plate.

Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Continents | Maps
Vox
Making accurate world maps is mathematically impossible.
Maps are flat representations of our spherical planet. Johnny Harris cut open a plastic globe to understand

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just what it takes to turn a sphere into something flat.

His struggle to make a flat map out of the plastic globe is indicative of a challenge mapmakers have faced for centuries: It is mathematically impossible to translate the surface of a sphere onto a plane without some form of distortion.

To solve this problem, mathematicians and cartographers have developed a huge library of representations of the globe, each distorting a certain attribute and preserving others.

For instance, the Mercator projection preserves the shape of countries while distorting the size, especially near the north and south pole.

For a more accurate view of land area look at the Gall-Peters projection, which preserves area while distorting shape.

In the end, there’s not “right” map projection. Each comes with trade-offs, and cartographers make projection decisions based on the particular tasks at hand. But if you are interested in seeing an accurate depiction of the planet, it’s best to stick with a globe.

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Category:  Geography & Travel
Keywords: Countries | Maps | Travel

Vocabulary:
cove
secluded
float
shore
anchor
lighthouse
greenhouse
handsaw
hammer
power tool
nail
board (noun)
ton
land sick
biomass
canoe
paddle
real estate
prosper
fulfilled

Expressions:
subsistence living
hon

Vocabulary:
word
word
word
word
word
word
word
word
word

Expressions:
expression
expression
expression
expression

Vocabulary:
prestigious
involuntary
swindler
fraudulence
unwarranted
concern
unfounded
impostor
syndrome
faculty
pervasive
prevalent
disproportionately
underrepresented
downplay
abnormality
self-esteem
spiral
accolade
threshold
susceptible
voice (verb)
peer
dismiss
excel
ease
mentor
competence
banish
frank

Expressions:
nagging doubt
shake a feeling
put something to rest
surefire way

Vocabulary:
filmmaker
principle
handcuff
clown
distill
underdog
aspect
familiar
unfamiliar
chopsticks
keyboard
organic
grounded
clarity
stuntman
steady
gag
perfectionist
rhythm
distinct
continuity
elbow
bunch
flail around
unlike
invincible
impressive
humanize
asset
payoff
relentlessness
finale

Expressions:
kick ass
going above and beyond
get smacked in the face
sell a joke

Vocabulary:
explosion
smoke (noun)
engine
unique
pilot
route
unemotional
terror
instant
reach out (to someone)
postpone
urgency
purpose
regret
humanity
ego
reflect
eliminate
frame (verb)
artistic
talent
bawl
miracle

Expressions:
bucket list
brace for impact
mend fences
make sense
connecting dots