Facts About Big Ben


Two months after Big Ben chimed for the first time a crack developed. For four years it was out of commission. In 1863 Big Ben was turned and a smaller hammer was used. The crack that put Big Ben out of service for four years is still there.

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower.

Big Ben weighs approximately 13 tons.

Big Ben was cast on 10th April 1858, the Great Clock started working on 31st May 1859 , and Big Ben first chimed the hour on 11th July 1859.

The first chime of Big Ben signals the hour on the dot. The clock is so accurate that a person can set their watch to it.

The bell itself is officially called the “Great Bell”, but gets its nickname from Sir Benjamin Hall, who became the first Commissioner of Public Works in 1855 and oversaw the later stages of the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament. The previous Palace of Westminster had burned down as a result of the Great Fire of 1834.

In 1916 Big Ben was silenced and kept unlit for two years every night. World War I had begun and this effort helped to prevent making the tower a target for the Germans.

The Great Bell was cast with Sir Hall’s name inscribed upon it. The “big” part comes from the fact that the bell weighs 16 tons and is about 2.1 meters (7 feet) tall.

The first time that Big Ben was heard over BBC Radio in the United Kingdom was New Year's Eve, 1923.

The bell cracked however, and had to be replaced by another one weighing 13 tons. It is situated some 61 meters (200 feet) up the belfry.

From 1939 to 1945 the clock dials were not lit up. This was done as a preventative measure to help protect it from attack during World War II.

The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower, renamed as such to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II (prior to being renamed in 2012 it was known as the “Clock Tower” or St. Stephen’s Tower).

Big Ben can be heard from as far away as nine miles. It is estimated that before London was built up Big Ben could be heard further than nine miles.

Big Ben was carried to Westminster on a horse-drawn carriage, with crowds cheering on the new bell's arrival.

In 1976 the chiming mechanism broke after 100 years of operation. In 1977 it was reactivated.

The size of Big Ben (including the tower) is 96.3 meters (315.9 feet). That is equal to about 16 stories. The first 61 m (200 ft) at the bottom are comprised of brickwork and Anston limestone cladding.

The rest of the tower is made up of cast iron. The tower is set on a square raft measuring 15 meters (49 feet). The raft is made up of concrete 3 meters (9.8 feet) thick. It is 4 meters (13 feet) deep underground.

The clock faces are about 55 m (180 ft) over the ground. Measurements show the inner volume is 4,650 cubic meters (164,200 cubic feet). The tower’s interior is not usually open to the public except on certain occasions.

Big Ben makes noise when a hammer hits him. The bell does not move - it is hung from the belfry. The hammer weighs approximately 450 pounds.

After Big Ben was cast he had to cool for two weeks.

To reach the top one must climb 334 steps. There is no elevator installed.

Big Ben’s clock is the biggest four faced clock on the planet. The hour hand is 3.2 m (8 feet) long. By contrast the minute hand is 4.3 meters (14 feet) long.

The clock dials are set in an iron frame 7 meters (23 feet) in diameter, supporting 312 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained-glass window(on each side).

Big Ben's birthday is April 10th, 1858. Big Ben first chimed on July 11th, 1859.

Each clock face has an inscription in Latin in gold that reads “DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM” or “Oh Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First”.

The clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin.

The clock mechanism itself was designed by Edmund Beckett Denison, who was not actually a clockmaker, but a lawyer.

Until 1881 Big Ben was the British Isle's largest bell. Great Paul was cast that year and now hangs in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Every year the clock is adjusted using an old English penny. If the clock is running fast, a penny is added to the pendulum. If the clock is running slow, a penny is removed from the pendulum. The clock gains 2/5 of a second a day from each penny added.

The first radio broadcast of Big Ben’s chimes was to ring in the new year of 1924. Naturally, it rings in the new year every year for London.

In 2013 Big Ben and the other bells of Elizabeth Tower were silenced out of respect for Margaret Thatcher's funeral. She was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.

Big Ben chimes every fifteen minutes and can be heard for up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) around.

The clock faces are cleaned every 5 years using.A group of window washers rappels down the belfry down to the faces and have to be careful not to break the glass panes or lean on the hands.

Big Ben is really only the bell, although many people refer to the clock, the tower, and the bell as Big Ben.

In 2012 Big Ben was chimed 30 times in honor of the start of the London Olympic Games.

The clock tower is actually a little slanted and leans slightly towards the northwest by 8.66 inches. This is due to some tunnel excavation close by. Since 2003, it tilts by almost a millimeter per year.

Six million people visit London each year, and most of them will visit Westminster and see the clock tower.

In 2008 a survey of 2,000 people found that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom.

Big Ben is 7 feet and 6 inches tall, and 9 feet wide.

Facts About Tom Hardy


Tom Hardy was married to a producer named Sarah Ward from 1999 to 2004.

Tom Hardy is an English actor and producer.

Tom Hardy had a son with Rachael Speed in 2008. Tom and Rachael separated after four years in 2009.

His full name is Edward Thomas Hardy.

Tom Hardy is the co-creator and executive producer of Taboo. He is also an actor on this show.

He was born on September 15, 1977, in Hammersmith, London.

His father, Edward “Chips” Hardy, is a novelist and comedy writer while his mother Anne (née Barrett) is an artist and painter.

He is of English and Irish descent.

In 2007 Tom Hardy received a British Academy of Film and Television Arts best actor nomination for his role in Stuart: a Life Backwards.

Hardy’s childhood and early adulthood gave little indication that he would one day become a movie star. He was expelled from school, was arrested for joyriding while in possession of a gun, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol while still a teenager.

In 1998 he won a televised modeling competition, which led to an industry contract. He began his acting studies at Drama Centre London but was again expelled. Nevertheless, in 2001 he earned small roles in the television miniseries Band of Brothers and in the film Black Hawk Down.

His film debut was in Ridley Scott’s action film Black Hawk Down (2001).

Tom Hardy received an Academy Award nomination for his role playing John Fitzgerald in the movie The Revenant.

Hardy’s career failed to truly take off, however, until after he entered a drug rehabilitation program in 2003 following a crack-induced collapse on a London street.

In 2002, Hardy gained some heavy international exposure as the Reman Praetor Shinzon, a clone of USS Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis.

Then he appeared in the film Dot the i, and then travelled to North Africa for Simon: An English Legionnaire, a story of the French Foreign Legion.

Tom Hardy was an actor and executive producer on Poaching Wars.

He then returned to the United Kingdom to feature in the horror film LD 50 Lethal Dose (2003).

Hardy was awarded the 2003 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performances in Blood and In Arabia We’d All Be Kings performed at the Royal Court Theatre and Hampstead Theatre.

Some of Tom Hardy's most well-known acting roles have been in the films Black Hawk Down, Star Trek: Nemesis, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless, and the latest installment of the Mad Max series: Fury Road.

During the next five years, Hardy worked consistently in film, television and theatre, playing roles as varied as Robert Dudley in the BBC’s The Virgin Queen (2005), Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist (2007) and starring in “The Man of Mode” at the National Theatre.

Some of Tom Hardy's most well-known TV roles have been on shows and movies such as Band of Brothers, Sweeny Todd, Oliver Twist, Stuart: A Life Backwards, Poaching Wars, and Taboo.

In 1998, at the age of 21, Tom Hardy won The Big Breakfast's competition called Find Me a Supermodel. This began a short contract with Models One.

On the silver screen, he appeared in the crime thriller Layer Cake (2004) with Daniel Craig, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006), and the romp Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006).

In 2006, Hardy created “Shotgun”, an underground theatre company along with director Robert Delamere, and directed a play, penned by his father for the company, called “Blue on Blue”.

In 2007, Hardy received a best actor BAFTA nomination for his touching performance as Stuart Shorter in the BBC adaptation of Alexander Masters’ bestselling biography Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007).

In 2008, he appeared in Guy Ritchie’s London gangster film, RocknRolla; Hardy played the role of gay gangster Handsome Bob. In the same year he played a drug-addicted rapist in the British horror-thriller WΔZ and in Bronson, film about the real-life English prisoner Charles Bronson, who has spent most of his adult life in solitary confinement.

Tom Hardy's mother Anne Hardy is an artist.

While in his teen and early adult years Tom Hardy struggled with alcohol and drugs. He checked into rehab in his mid-20s.

In 2009, Hardy starred in Martina Cole’s four-part TV drama The Take on Sky One, as a drugs and alcohol fuelled gangster. The role gained him a Best Actor nomination at the 2009 Crime Thriller Awards. That same year he appeared in ITV’s Wuthering Heights, playing the role of Heathcliff, the classic love character who falls in love with his childhood friend Cathy.

He return to Hollywood with scene-stealing roles in the films Inception (2010) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).

After starring in the well-received mixed martial arts drama Warrior (2011) and the romantic comedy dud This Means War (2012), Hardy reunited with his Inception director, Christopher Nolan, to play Bane, the muscle-bound anarchist who faces off against Batman in the comic-book blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

Then he played a bootlegger in John Hillcoat’s crime drama Lawless (2012).

In 2014, Hardy starred in the crime film The Drop alongside James Gandolfini, in what would be the latter’s final appearance in a feature film before his death.

Tom Hardy's father Edward Hardy is a comedy writer and a novelist.

Tom Hardy has also appeared on stage in plays such as In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, Blood, The Man of Mode, and The Long Road Home.

Hardy joined the cast of the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders in its second series. He portrays Alfie Solomons, the head of a Jewish gang and runner of a distillery which disguises itself as a bakery.

Some of Tom Hardy's more recent films include The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless, Locke, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Venom, set to release in 2018.

Hardy starred in five films in 2015. The first, Child 44, set in 1950s Soviet Union. Hardy then played the title character, Max Rockatansky, in the action film Mad Max: Fury Road. Then he played a dual role as London gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray in the crime thriller Legend. He also appeared in the biographical western thriller The Revenant and in the musical mystery crime drama London Road.

On 14 January 2016, Hardy received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Revenant.

Hardy co-starred in Christopher Nolan’s action-thriller Dunkirk (2017), based on the British military evacuation of the French port of Dunkirk in 1940 during the Second World War.

He created, co-produced and took the lead in the historical fiction series Taboo on BBC One and FX.

Tom Hardy is the only child to Anne and Edward Hardy.

Tom Hardy has an estimated net worth of $30 million.

Hardy is active in charity causes and is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2018 Birthday Honours, for services to drama.

In 1999, Hardy and producer Sarah Ward married, divorcing in 2004. He has a son born in 2008 with his then-girlfriend, assistant director Rachael Speed, whom he met on set of The Virgin Queen in 2005.

Some of Tom Hardy's first films included Black Hawk down, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Reckoning, Marie Antoinette, Minotaur, and Flood.

Tom Hardy cites the well-known actor Gary Oldman as his hero.

In 2009, Hardy began a relationship with actress Charlotte Riley, after they met on the set of Wuthering Heights. They were married in July 2014. In October 2015, their first child was born.

He trained under Sir Anthony Hopkins‘ former mentor at the London Drama Centre.

Hardy also had a brief stint as a rapper and hip hop producer with his friend Edward Tracy (under the name “Tommy No 1 + Eddie Too Tall”)

He enjoys watching reality TV shows to get ideas for characters. He said: “It’s great people-watching. I’ll steal characters from Come Dine with Me (2005). Because they’re real people. I take something from everybody. I’ll steal you at some point…”.

In 2016 Tom Hardy appeared on Debrett's most influential people in the United Kingdom list.

The British indie rock band Trampolene named a song after him. The song was released on February 26, 2016.

In 2015 Tom Hardy was named by GQ magazine as one of 50 Best Dressed British Men.

He loves to drink coffee, Coke, fizzy water, fruit drinks, Red Bull and tea.

Tom Hardy married Charlotte Riley, an actress, in 2014. They have a child together who was born in 2015.

Serval Facts Information


Due to long legs, servals are fast runners; they achieve 45-50 miles per hour. Only cheetahs are faster than servals.

The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a wild medium-sized cat native to Africa.

Servals are solitary animals, which gather only during mating season. They use urine and scratching of the trees to mark their territory which is usually 12-20 square kilometers large.

Servals are rare in North Africa and the Sahel, but widespread in sub-Saharan countries except rainforest regions.

Like most other cat species, servals produce wide range of sounds: high-pitched cry, snarl, growl, spit and purr, which are used for communication.

Servals are found in several habitats. They are common on savannas where there is plenty of water. Servals prefer areas of bush, tall grass, and dry reed beds near streams, but they are also found in high-altitude moorlands and bamboo thickets. They are known to occur up to 3,800 meters (12,500 ft) above sea level on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Servals do not have specific time for mating, but it usually happens during spring when females start looking for males. After successful mating and 73 days long pregnancy, female creates safe den and gives birth of one to three cubs.

The average lifespan for servals is about 10 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in captivity.

Cubs are blind at birth and have only 250 grams. They will open their eyes and double their size in two weeks. Young servals drink milk during first five months of their life. After that period, they will accompany their mother in hunt, until they become one year old and capable for solitary life and independent hunt.

The serval stands 54 to 62 cm (21–24 in) at the shoulder and weighs 8 to 18 kg (18–40 lb). The head-and-body length is typically between 67 and 100 cm (26–39 in).

Servals live 10-12 years in the wild, and 13 years in captivity. Oldest known serval lived 23 years.

Servals use sharp claws to catch different types of prey: rodents, squirrels, fish, frogs, snakes, small birds…

Serval are slender cats with long legs, a lean body, a short tail, and a small head.

Their legs and ears are long and considered the largest in the cat family relative to their size.

Facial features include the brownish or greenish eyes, white whiskers on the snout and near the ears.

The coat is basically golden-yellow to buff, and extensively marked with black spots and stripes. Three to four black stripes run from the back of the head onto the shoulders, and then break into rows of spots. The spots show great variation in size. The white underbelly has dense and fluffy basal fur, and the soft guard hairs.

Serval's ears serve as radars which easily recognize sound produced by moving animal (even when they are moving in the underground tunnels). Along with other senses, ears help them find the prey quickly.

Servals have excellent sense of smell, hearing and sight, which they use both for finding the prey and for avoiding predators.

Being a solitary animal, servals only interact with other members of their species when mating, caring for young, or fighting for territory.

With a combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, and slim build allows the serval to reach a sustained speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The serval has a varied diet, eating rodents, birds, reptiles, frogs, fish, and large insects.

Depending on the type of prey which they hunt, servals can hunt both during the day and night. If they are living close to the humans, they sometimes hunt domestic animals, like chickens.

Serval has the biggest ears (compared to the rest of the body) and longest legs in the world of cats.

The serval has capability of leaping 3 meters (10 feet) in the air to catch birds and insects in flight. But small rodents are its most frequent prey item, and a serval doesn’t hesitate to reach a long leg down into a rodent’s burrow to snatch a meal out of the tunnel! Ultrasonic hearing ability allows the serval to hear the high-pitched communication of rodents. The cat’s long, curved claws can also hook fish and frogs right out of the water.

With its many hunting styles, varied diet, and fantastic hearing, the serval is well equipped to be the most successful predator of all the cats.

The serval is active in the day as well as at night; activity might peak in early morning, around twilight and at midnight. Servals might be active for a longer time on cool or rainy days. During the hot midday, they rest or groom themselves in the shade of bushes and grasses.

Servals are 2 to 3 ¼ feet long. Their weight ranges from 20-40 pounds. Serval's tail is quite short and covered in black rings. It has a black tip.

Like many cats, the serval is able to purr; it also has a high-pitched chirp, and can hiss, cackle, growl, grunt and meow.

The time when mating takes place varies geographically. The gestation period lasts around 74 days, after which the female normally gives birth to a litter of one to four kittens. When with young, the female is forced to spend considerably more time than usual hunting and consequently less time resting. After around a year, the female chases the young from the natal area but tolerate female offspring for a few months longer than males.

Serval has yellowish to orange-coated fur covered in black spots. Body coloration makes them invisible (well camouflaged) when they are hiding in the grass. There are no two servals with the same marks on their fur.

Servals have no major predators other than humans. Leopards and hyenas are the most probable competitors for food and territory. When African servals discover they are close to an individual of a rival species, they run away in confusing darting leaps.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) lists the serval as least concern.

A major threat to the survival of the serval include the degradation of wetlands and grasslands.

Unlike many other cat species, servals love to climb, leap and play in water.

The name “serval” is believed to come from the Portuguese word lobo-cerval, meaning “lynx.”

Their extra-long neck and legs give them the nickname “giraffe cat.”

Servals with black coats are sometimes found in mountainous regions of East Africa.

The pelt of servals is valuable and used to make mantles worn by chiefs in native tribes.

The association of servals with human beings dates to the time of Ancient Egypt. Servals are depicted as gifts or traded objects from Nubia in Egyptian art.

Main predators of servals are humans (who hunt them for fur), leopards, hyenas and dogs.

Like many other species of felid, servals are occasionally kept as pets, although their wild nature means that ownership of servals is regulated in most countries.

Servals have excellent sense of smell, hearing and sight, which they use both for finding the prey and for avoiding predators.

One domestic cat breed, savannah, is a mix between tabbys and servals.

Servals are very successful hunters - they catch 50% of their prey. Other cat species have only 10% success rate (catch only one animal in 10 attempts). They can even catch flying birds.

Amazing Meteor Facts


A meteoroid is a little break of shake that enters our Solar System. When this meteoroid enters the Earth's air it turns into a meteor. This meteor can be found in the sky as a meteorite. Most meteors are seen around evening time. Meteors are made out of different metals.

A meteor shower happens when a great deal of meteors show up in a brief span outline.

There are a great many meteors in the Earth's air each day.

The word meteor originates from a Greek word that implies suspended noticeable all around.

Meteors can end up unmistakable as high as 120 kilometers above Earth.

Meteors can emit different hues when they consume which is related with their organization.

Meteors that consume brighter than regular are called fireballs.

Most fireballs go concealed in light of the fact that they happen over the sea or amid sunlight hours.

Meteors for the most part wreck in the Earth's climate.

On the off chance that a meteor creates a sound called a sonic blast, it is ordinarily heard seconds after the meteor winds up unmistakable.

In spite of the fact that meteors have existed since antiquated circumstances, they were not accepted to be from our Solar System until 1833.

A meteor shower is generally the aftereffect of trash from a broken comet.

Normally meteors are the extent of stones and no bigger than a baseball.

Dinosaurs are accepted to have passed on in light of the fact that a 8 mile long meteor hit the Earth causing a dust storm that brought down the atmosphere.

Two major meteor showers happen every year: the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December.

Most meteors fall in the sea on the grounds that the Earth's surface is secured by more water than arrive.

Facts About The Washington Monument


Abraham Lincoln, a congressman at the time, attended the ceremony to lay the cornerstone on July 4th, 1848.

The Washington Monument is a large, tall, white obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

In 1854, money ran low and construction stopped. The monument was about 150 feet high at that point.

It was built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States.

Aside from money issues, and the Civil War, construction was halted because anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant activists called Know Nothings were opposed to the Pope Pius IX's donation of black stone for the monument.

Standing almost due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, the monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss.

Stretching 169 meters (555 feet) in the air, the Washington Monument is the tallest thing in the city.

The monument is the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk.

The monument has 50 flights of stairs.

It is also the tallest monumental column in the world if all are measured above their pedestrian entrances.

The monument's cornerstone included a portrait of George Washington, U.S. coins, a copy of the Constitution and newspapers.

Plans for the monument began even before Washington was elected president.

In 1783, the Continental Congress voted to erect a statue of Washington, commander-in-chief of the American army during the Revolutionary War, in the nation’s yet-to-be constructed permanent capital city.

The monument was once used during a hostage taking. In 1982, a Navy veteran parked his van, with a reported 1,000 pounds of dynamite inside, at the base of the monument. There was a group of tourist stuck inside the monument for hours. When it was over, the Navy vet was shot dead and there were no explosives in his vehicle.

However, after Washington became president, he scrapped the plans for his memorial, as federal government funds were tight and he didn’t want to use public money for the project.

In 1833, the Washington National Monument Society, a private organization, formed to fund and build a monument to the first president that would be “unparalleled in the world.” The Society solicited for donations and designs for a decade, settling on a design by Robert Mills in 1845.

Mills’ design called for a 180-meter (600-foot) Egyptian-style obelisk ringed by thirty 30-meter
(100-foot) columns and entrance topped by a statue. The design was audacious, ambitious, and expensive, creating numerous complications during its construction.

The final design of the Washington Monument was quite different from Robert Mills' design.

On July 4, 1848, the monument’s cornerstone (embedded with a box containing such items as a portrait of George Washington, newspapers, U.S. coins and a copy of the Constitution) was laid in a ceremony attended by thousands, including a then little-known U.S. congressman from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.

Construction commenced, but in 1854, with the structure at about 45 meters (150 feet) high, funds ran low and work came to a standstill.

Robert Mills also designed the U.S. Patent Office and the U.S. Treasury Building.

Finally, in 1876, spurred by the 100th anniversary of America’s founding, President Ulysses Grant authorized federal funding to finish the monument, and work resumed in 1879. By this time, architectural tastes had changed and ring of thirty 30-meter (100-foot) columns and entrance topped by a statue was deleted from the plan.

It has become recognizable for its pointed apex, but the Washington Monument was originally designed to bear a flat top. The monument’s design was capped with a pyramid-shaped addition in 1879.

Although the stone structure was completed in 1884, internal ironwork, the knoll, and other finishing touches were not completed until 1888.

Chief Justice John Marshall held a competition for the monument design and chose Robert Mills' design.

George Washington died in 1799, and in 1833, a group began to raise money for the monument. They called themselves the Washington National Monument Society.

A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 46 meters (150 feet), shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source.

The total cost of the monument from 1848 to 1888 was $1,409,500.

There are many memorials to George Washington, including schools, mountains, highways and cities and one state.

The Washington Monument was officially opened October 9, 1888.

Upon completion, it became the world’s tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France.

When George became president he didn't want to use public money for the monument and killed the project.

The above-ground portion is estimated at more than 72,575 tonnes (80,000 US tons). Including the foundation, the structure weighs an estimated 90,718 tonnes (100,000 US tons).

The total number of blocks in the monument, including all marble, granite and gneiss blocks, whether externally or internally visible or hidden from view within the walls or old foundation is over 36,000.

The number of marble blocks externally visible is about 10,000.

Inside the ground floor lobby, there is a statue of George Washington.

An elevator provides transportation to the top floor, the 500′ observation deck at the base of the pyramidion. The observation deck provides views out two windows on the north, south, east, and west sides of the pyramidion. A small museum is located on the 490′ level.

There is another monument in Baltimore named for Washington that was also designed by Robert Mills.

The monument was being planned in 1783, even before George Washington became president. It was being planned as a way to honor Washington as commander-in-chief of the American army during the Revolutionary War.

A 897-step stairway connect the observation deck with the ground floor, but they are closed to the public. The interior walls are lined with commemorative stones from individuals, civic groups, cities, states, and countries that wanted to honor the memory of George Washington; some of these stones are visible on the elevator descent trip.

The annual visitor count peaked between 1979 and 1997, where an average of 1.1 million visitors visited annually; however, from 2005 to 2010, the Washington Monument has had an average of only 631,000 visitors each year.

Fifty American flags (not state flags), one for each state, are now flown 24 hours a day around a large circle centered on the monument.

Although the monument was meant to honor George Washington, the first president, it was not completed until the 21st president was already in office.

This monument is vastly taller than the obelisks around the capitals of Europe and in Egypt and Ethiopia, but ordinary antique obelisks were quarried as a monolithic block of stone, and were therefore seldom taller than approximately 30 meters (100 feet).

An earthquake in 2011 damaged the monument and it has been closed for repair. It is estimated it will cost $15 million and will be reopened in 2014.

In 1982, a 66-year-old Navy veteran named Norman Mayer drove to the base of the structure and threatened to blow up the monument with 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) of TNT unless government officials considered banning nuclear weapons. Several tourists were trapped inside the building, but were later released. The police eventually shot and killed Mayer but when they searched his car for the TNT, they found nothing.

President Ulysses Grant ensured that the project continued, beginning again in 1879, by authorizing the use of federal funds for the completion.

The monument was damaged during the 2011 Virginia earthquake and Hurricane Irene in the same year and remained closed to the public while the structure was assessed and repaired. After 32 months of repairs, the National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall reopened the Washington Monument to visitors on May 12, 2014.

As of September 2016, the monument has been closed indefinitely due to reliability issues with the current elevator system. It is expected to re-open to visitors in 2019.

When the construction was completed, and it opened to the public in 1888, it was just over 555 feet tall and weighed more than 81,000 tons.

True Facts: Dung Beetle


Some dung beetles ride on the animals, whose feces they like to eat, until they are ready to poop. After animal release its feces, beetle jumps down and start to feast. Other dung beetles use their sense of smell to detect the dung they prefer.

Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces.

There are around 8,000 species of dung beetles known, and they live all around the world, except for a few islands and the cold polar regions.

In some parts of the Texas, dung beetles bury 80 percent of cattle dung. Australia imported 45 different types of dung beetles to remove the cattle dung.

Dung beetles live in many habitats, including desert, grasslands and savannas, farmlands, and native and planted forests.

These beetles have a lifespan of up to 3 years.

Dung beetles very in size from 0.5 centimeters (0.2 inches) to about 6.3 centimeters (2.5 inches) in length.

Dung beetles are like all insects, they have a head, thorax, and abdomen, and six legs. Their bodies tend to be very solid and tough.

Dung beetles are very strong animals. They can carry the weight which is 50 times heavier than their body weight.

Dung beetles vary in size. Their length ranges from 0.004 inches to 2.4 inches.

Dung beetles have modified wings: the first pair of wings is small and very hard, and acts as a protective covering for the second pair of wings.

They have impressive “weapons,” some with a large, hornlike structure on the head or thorax that males use for fighting. They have spurs on their back legs that help them roll the dung balls, and their strong front legs are good for fighting as well as digging.

Dung beetles can come in a variety of colors from dull and glossy black to metallic green and red.

These interesting beetles fly around in search of manure deposits, or pats, from herbivores like cows and elephants.

Dung beetles have well developed wings and six legs which help them dig tunnels and collect (and roll) the dung.

Most prefer dung from herbivores, or animals that eat only plants, but some will seek dung from omnivores, or animals that eat plants as well as meat.

Many of them also feed on mushrooms and decaying leaves and fruits.

One species of dung beetle in Central Americ eats millipedes. It is a rare example of a scavenger species turned carnivore.

Scientists group dung beetles by the way the beetles make a living: rollers, tunnelers, and dwellers.

Rollers are the most famous – they roll dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or breeding chambers.

Dung beetles are solitary creatures which meet with other beetles only during mating season.

Most dung beetles are dark in color. Some of them have metallic luster or can be even brightly colored.

Tunnelers land on a manure pat and simply dig down into the pat, burying a portion of the dung.

Dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are often attracted by the dung collected by burrowing owls.

Most dung beetles search for dung using their sensitive sense of smell. With specialized antennae, they can catch a whiff of dung from the air.

They possess exceptional dung disposal capacity and one dung beetle can bury dung that is 250 times heavier than itself in one night.

After capturing the dung, a dung beetle rolls it, following a straight line despite all obstacles.

All dung beetles can be divided in three large categories: rollers, tunnellers and dwellers. Rollers search for dung far away from their homes. When they find it, they collect it in the shape of the balls which they roll back to their burrows. Tunnellers search dung and when they find it, they dig a tunnel where they will store it. Dwellers produce dung on their own at their homes.

Sometimes, dung beetles try to steal the dung ball from another beetle, so the dung beetles have to move rapidly away from a dung pile once they have rolled their ball to prevent it from being stolen.

Dung beetles can roll up to 10 times their weight.

Majority of dung beetles consume dung produced by herbivores. Just small percent of dung beetles search for a fecal matter produced by carnivores or eat something other than dung (such as decaying larvae of some insects or plants).

A species of horned dung beetle takes the title for world’s strongest insect. The beetle, called Onthophagus taurus, was found to be able to pull a whopping 1,141 times its own body weight, which is the equivalent of a 70 kilogram (150-pound) person lifting six full double-decker buses.

Dung beetles can eat more than their own weight in 24 hours and play a remarkable role in agriculture and tropical forests. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure.

Dung beetles are currently the only known non-human animal to navigate and orient themselves using the Milky Way. The tiny insects can orient themselves to the bright stripe of light generated by our galaxy, and move in a line relative to it, according to recent experiments in South Africa.

3.3 pounds of the elephant dung can vanish in two hours when 16 000 dung beetles arrive to the scene to collect piece of dung for itself.

Average lifespan of dung beetles is 3 to 5 years, depending on the species.

Also a species of dung beetle (the African Scarabaeus zambesianus) navigates by polarization patterns in moonlight, the first animal known to do so.

A pair of dung beetles (a male and a female) may work together, digging a nest to create a burrow. The dung is taken into the burrow in either a ball or an irregular mass. The female lays her eggs in the burrow. The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on the dung surrounding it. The dung beetle goes through a complete metamorphosis.

Parental care in dung beetles is common, but the extent of care varies greatly from species to species.

Female lays eggs inside the dung or in the underground burrows. Dung beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, which means that they need to pass several changes in the body shape before they become completely formed dung beetles. Metamorphosis includes stages called larvae and pupa before adult insect is formed.

Several species of the dung beetle, most notably the species Scarabaeus sacer (often referred to as the sacred scarab), enjoyed a sacred status among the ancient Egyptians.

One dung beetle can bury dung that is 250 heavier than the beetle itself in one night.

The scarab symbolized self-creation or rebirth. This potent symbolism appears in tomb paintings, manuscripts, hieroglyphic inscriptions on buildings and carvings. In addition to its use as an amulet for the living and the dead, scarabs adorned jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, wrist cuffs and wide decorative collars. A bracelet from the tomb of Tutankhamun featured a bright blue scarab holding a cartouche between its front legs. A cartouche is an oval frame that encloses a name. The ancient Egyptians sometimes painted or carved scarabs on a deceased person’s sarcophagus, the human-shaped coffin that held the mummy. Scarabs often hold a sun disk over their heads.

Their cosmogony includes the scarab beetle rolling its ball of dung with the ball representing the Earth and the beetle the Sun.

Some species of dung beetles lay their eggs in the ball of dung. That way, larvae can start eating the minute they hatch from eggs.

Popular interpretation in modern academia theorizes the hieroglyphic image of the beetle represents a triliteral phonetic that Egyptologists transliterate as xpr or ḫpr and translate as “to come into being”, “to become” or “to transform”.

The scarab remains an item of popular interest thanks to modern fascination with the art and beliefs of ancient Egypt. Scarab beads in semiprecious stones or glazed ceramics can be purchased at most bead shops, while at Luxor Temple a massive ancient scarab has been roped off to discourage visitors from rubbing the base of the statue “for luck”.

In Aesop’s fable “The Eagle and the Beetle”, the eagle kills a hare that has asked for sanctuary with a beetle. The beetle then takes revenge by twice destroying the eagle’s eggs.

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Dung Beetle” tells the story of a dung beetle who lives in the stable of the king’s horses in an imaginary kingdom.

Dung beetle can also steal a dung ball from another beetle. If the eggs and larvae are already placed inside the ball, thief will eat all of them.

Facts About Bolivia


Here are some fun facts about Bolivia

The highest point in Bolivia is Nevado Sajama, which sits at 6,542 meters.

Bolivia is a country in central South America, with a varied terrain spanning Andes mountains, the Atacama Desert and Amazon Basin rainforest.

Bolivia's lowest point is Rio Paraguay.

The official name is the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Bolivia's longest river is Mamore River.

It is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, and to the northwest by Peru.

Official languages are Spanish and 36 indigenous languages.

As of 1 January 2016, the population of Bolivia was estimated to be 10,809,544 people.

With an area of 1,098,581 square kilometers (424,164 square miles), Bolivia is the world’s 28th-largest country, and the fifth largest country in South America.

Bolivia has its constitutionally recognized capital in Sucre, while La Paz is the seat of government.

Sucre was founded by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th century. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2,810 meters (9,214 feet).

Agriculture in Bolivia includes soybeans, coffee, cocoa, cotton, sugarcane, corn, rice, potatoes and timber.

Here is another Bolivia fun fact

Bolivia is one of two landlocked countries on the continent (the other being Paraguay), and Bolivia is more urban (67%) than rural (23%).

The geography of the country exhibits a great variety of terrains and climates.

Nevado Sajama is an extinct stratovolcano and the highest peak in Bolivia at 6,542 meters (21,463 feet) above sea level.

Natural resources in Bolivia include tin, natural gas, petroleum, tungsten, zinc, gold, silver, lead and hydro-electric power.

Bolivia has 10 national parks and 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is one of the largest (1,523,000 hectares (3,763,414 acres)) and most intact parks in the Amazon Basin. With an altitudinal range of 200 meters (656 feet) to nearly 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), it is the site of a rich mosaic of habitat types from Cerrado savannah and forest to upland evergreen Amazonian forests.

Major industry in Bolivia includes mining, petro-products, tobacco, clothing, handicrafts and food products.

Lake Titicaca located on the border of Bolivia and Peru at an altitude of 3,812 meters (12,507 feet), is the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world. With a surface area of 9,064 square kilometers (3,500 square miles), it is larger than Puerto Rico and is South America’s second largest lake by surface area.

There are salt formations in Bolivia that attract many tourists from all over the year. These salt flats are called Salar de Uyuni and they are the largest in the world. This area is often used to calibrate satellites because it creates a mirror during seasonal flooding periods.

Bolivia has a rich folklore history full of traditions such as the 'devil dances'. They are one of South America's greatest folklore traditional events.

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles) in south-western Bolivia. The landscape is entirely flat, bar a few small ‘islands’ such as Isla Incahuasi, which only accentuates its surreal beauty.

The main languages spoken in Bolivia include Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. In addition to these there are many more languages spoken by indigenous people and their descendants.

Salar De Uyuni, turns into a mirror during the rainy season.

Bolivia has about half of the world's lithium deposits and although the lithium deposits would increase Bolivia's economy, the Bolivian government protects it. The lithium deposits lie under the salt flats and the government does not want the area destroyed.

Major ruins in Bolivia include the Iskanawaya, Inkallaqta, and Tiwanaku sites.

Palacio de Sal (Spanish for “Palace of salt”) is a hotel built of salt blocks. It is located at the edge of Salar de Uyuni. Constructed in 2007, it was built with one million 35 centimeters (14-inch) blocks of salt which are used for the floor, walls, ceiling and furniture including beds, tables, chairs and sculptures.

The monetary unit in Bolivia is the Boliviano.

The city of Tiwanaku, capital of a powerful pre-Hispanic empire that dominated a large area of the southern Andes and beyond, reached its apogee between 500 and 900 AD. Its monumental remains testify to the cultural and political significance of this civilisation, which is distinct from any of the other pre-Hispanic empires of the Americas.

The population of Bolivia is more than 10 million. It has tripled in the last 50 years.

Bolivia celebrates Independence Day on August 6th each year.

Cristo de la Concordia (Christ of Peace) is a statue of Jesus Christ located atop San Pedro Hill, to the east of Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is accessible by cable car, or by climbing 2,000 steps. The statue is 34.20 meters (112.2 feet) tall, on a pedestal of 6.24 meters (20.5 feet), for a total height of 40.44 meters (132.7 feet).

There have been approximately 200 coups since Bolivia gained its independence in 1825.

El Alto at 4,150 meters (13,615 feet) has a population of 1,184,942, making it the highest large city in the world – ‘large’ being defined as a population greater than 100,000.

Bolivia covers an area of land that is 418,683 square miles.

A clock on the National Congress building in the main square of La Paz runs backwards to remind citizens to think differently.

The Witches’ Market, also known as El Mercado de las Brujas and La Hechiceria, is a popular tourist attraction located in Cerro Cumbre, a mountain clearing in La Paz, Bolivia. Merchandise sold in The Witches’ Market, run by local witch doctors known as yatiri, includes potions, dried frogs, medicinal plants like retama and armadillos used in Bolivian rituals.

Bolivia's capital city is Sucre and its largest city is Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Cuy (guinea pig) is used and eaten as a traditional meat. It continues to be a major part of the diet in Bolivia, particularly in the Andes highlands as guinea pigs require much less room than traditional livestock and reproduce extremely quickly.

The majority of Bolivians live in urban areas as opposed to rural areas.

The name Bolivia comes from the Venezuelan military and political leader Simon Bolivar who led Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia to independence from Spain in 1825. He was also officially the first president of Bolivia.

Despite their name, the most significant exporter of Brazil nuts is not Brazil but Bolivia, where they are called nuez de Brasil.

Bolivia's full name is the Republic of Bolivia or Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.

La Paz, Bolivia, was the first South American city to get an electricity supply. It was powered by llama dung.

One of Bolivia’s oldest silver mines has claimed the lives of an estimated 8 million people in the past 500 years. It is known as the “Mountain that eats men” and is still mined with pick and shovel today.

Cal Orcko, located 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of downtown Sucre in Bolivia, is home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous Period. The limestone cliff hosts about 5,000 dinosaur footprints, with many dating back 68 million years.

Bolivia's name was chosen because of Simon Bolivar, a leader during the Spanish American Wars of Independence.

Bolivia has the world’s largest butterfly sanctuary.

North Yungas Road also known as the “Road of Death” is the most dangerous road in the world.

The Coca Museum (in Spanish, Museo de la Coca) covers the history of the coca plant from the Andean region and related drug cocaine. It is associated with the International Coca Research Institute (ICORI) in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. A travelling version of the museum is available.

Bolivia has experienced many problems in its recent history including widespread poverty, the illegal drug production and trade, as well as civil and social unrest.

San Pedro prison is the largest prison in La Paz, Bolivia renowned for being a society within itself. Significantly different from most correctional facilities, inmates at San Pedro have jobs inside the community, buy or rent their accommodation, and often live with their families. The sale of cocaine base to visiting tourists gives those inside a significant income and an unusual amount of freedom within the prison walls. Elected leaders enforce the laws of the community, commonly through stabbing. The prison is home to approximately 1,500 inmates (not including the women and children that live inside the walls with their convicted husbands), with additional guests staying in the prison hotel.

Approximately 95% of Bolivians are Roman Catholic, with the remainder being Protestant. There are also many spiritual religious traditions practiced by native residents of Bolivia.

Amazing Facts: Anteater


Anteaters have low body temperature compared to other placental mammals, just 32.7 degrees of Celsius.

Anteaters are unusual creatures that can be found in Central and South America.

There are four species of of anteaters: giant anteater, silky anteater, northern tamandua and southern tamandua.

Anteaters have 4 inches long claws and they use them to defend against jaguars and cougars.

Their habitats include dry tropical forests, rainforests, grasslands, and savannas.

They have a lifespan between 2 and 14 years in the wild, depending on species. The giant anteater can live up to 26 years in captivity.

Anteaters vary in size according to their species. The giant anteater is up to 2.1 meters (7 feet) long including the tail; the silky anteater [photo below] is about 35 centimeters (14 inches) long; the southern tamandua is about 1.2 meters (3 ft 11 in) long and the northern tamandua of similar dimensions.

Anteaters are solitary animals and they gather only during mating season. Group of anteaters is called "parade".

Digestion is facilitated by specifically designed stomach that grinds large quantity of ants and termites. Their stomach produces formic acid instead of hydrochloric acid (which is normally found in other mammals). They can eat up to 30 000 insects per day.

All anteaters have elongated snouts equipped with a thin tongue that can be extended to a length greater than the length of the head; their tube-shaped mouths have lips but no teeth.

They are specialized to feed on small insects.

Their dense and long fur protects them from attacks from the insects to some extent.

The anteater’s tongue is covered with thousands of tiny hooks called filiform papillae which are used to hold the insects together with large amounts of saliva.

The anteater uses its sharp claws to tear an opening into an anthill and put its long snout and efficient tongue to work. Their long tongues are more than sufficient to lap up the 35,000 ants and termites they swallow whole each day.

Since ants can bite, anteaters must eat them quickly. They are flicking their tongue 150-160 times in minute during feeding to grab enough ants and avoid bites.

But it has to eat quickly, flicking its tongue up to 160 times per minute. Ants fight back with painful stings, so an anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound.

Anteaters never completely destroy a nest. The insects can repair their damage quickly and the anteater is able to return to the nest to feed again.

Some anteaters, the tamandua and the silky anteater, ply their trade in the trees. They travel from branch to branch in search of tasty insects.

Anteaters catch ants and termites through the hole on the top of the anthill.

In addition to ants and termites, anteaters also eat soft-bodied grubs, soft fruits and even birds’ eggs.

Anteaters have poor sight but an excellent sense of smell, and most species depend on the latter for foraging, feeding, and defence. Their hearing is thought to be good.

All four types of anteater are mainly nocturnal (active during the night), but the giant anteater can also be diurnal (active during the day).

Anteaters are mostly solitary mammals prepared to defend their territories.

Tongue can be 2 feet long. It is narrow and covered with tiny spines.

Pregnancy lasts 190 days and ends with single baby. Little anteater stays with mother 2 years or until she becomes pregnant again. Mother carries the baby on her back during the first year.

They never destroy anthill because they plan to come and eat another portion of ants in the future.

When a territorial dispute occurs, they vocalize, swat, and can sometimes sit on or even ride the back of their opponents.

Once a year in mating season they come together in pairs and will stay together for a few days.

Female anteaters give birth to a single baby (twins are rare) after a gestation period between 120 to 190 days, depending on species.

Little anteater stays with mother 2 years or until she becomes pregnant again. Mother carries the baby on her back during the first year.

They use their long and sticky tongue to catch prey.

Anteaters sleep up to 15 hours per day.

They don’t make much noise unless upset. Huffs and puffs, hisses a sort of growl which is done on an inhale. Baby’s make some chirps and whirs sorta.

The main predators of anteaters are pumas, jaguars and humans.

Anteaters are not aggressive but they can be fierce. A cornered anteater will rear up on its hind legs, using its tail for balance, and lash out with dangerous claws.

Anteaters are toothless creatures.

The giant anteater’s claws are some 10 centimeters (4 inches) long,and can fend off or even kill their main predators, big cats such as jaguars and pumas.

All species except the giant anteater have a long prehensile tail (the tail of an animal that has adapted to be able to grasp or hold objects).

The tongue on a giant anteater can protrude more than 60 centimeters (2 feet) to capture prey.

Anteaters can be small as a squirrel (silky anteaters) or 7 feet long, counting from the tip of the nose to the end of its tail (giant anteaters).

Anteaters live up to 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.

With a body temperature fluctuating between 33 and 36°C (91 and 97°F), anteaters have among the lowest body temperatures of any mammal.

The anteater’s stomach, similar to a bird’s gizzard, has hardened folds and uses strong contractions to grind the insects; a digestive process assisted by small amounts of ingested sand and dirt.

Anteaters are very careful to avoid the dangerous and aggressive Soldier Ants.

A group of anteaters is called a parade.

The latin tearm for anteaters, Vermilingua means “worm tongue“.

The anteaters are more closely related to the sloths than they are to any other group of mammals. Their next closest relations are armadillos.

The name “anteater” is also colloquially applied to the unrelated aardvark, numbat, echidnas, pangolins and some members of the Oecobiidae.

They have poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell. They can detect smell 40 times better than humans. Anteaters use their nose to find food.

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