Via Tim Ferris:
Gary Arndt is the man behind Everything Everywhere, one of the most popular travel blogs in the world, and one of Time Magazine’s “Top 25 Best Blogs of 2010.” Since March 2007, Gary has been traveling around the globe, having visited more than 70 countries and territories, and gaining worldly wisdom in the process.
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/10/30/20-things-ive-learned-from-traveling-around-the-world-for-three-years/ item 17:
I estimated that there were at least 35 native languages I would have had to have learned if I wanted to speak with locals in their own tongue. That does not include all the languages found in Papua New Guinea or Vanuatu or regional dialects. It is not possible for humans to learn that many languages. English has become the de facto second language for the world. We are almost to a point where there are only two languages you need to know: whatever your parents speak… and English. English has become so popular it has achieved an escape velocity outside of the control of the US and UK. Countries like Nigeria and India use it as a unifying language in their polyglot nations. Other countries in the Pacific do all their schooling in English because the market just isn’t there to translate textbooks into Samoan or Tongan.
I’m maintaining a complete list of all TED talks on my wiki, with summaries for the best TED talks I discover.
As of now, TED had 787 talks. If a talk takes on the average 20 minutes to watch, assuming you don’t go look up or fact check anything that you learn, it would take you over 260 hours non-stop, or, if you had a job to watch TED talks 8 hours a day, with no breaks, it would take you over a month, even if you watched TED talks 8 hours a day on weekends as well.
“The heart-warming image of a family decorating a Christmas tree is a festive classic: stockings hanging above the fireplace as mom and dad arrange the tinsel; faces lighting up as twinkling lights are draped across branches; holiday tunes playing on the radio as cheerful children throw snowballs outside… yeah right.
The point is this cozy cliché is a load of movie malarkey.”
...says the product description for a Christmas Tree Poster” -
“Put simply, Christmas trees are a freakin’ nightmare. It’s a miracle if the lights work, there are needles and smashed balls all over the floor and you can never quite reach the fairy (insert your own joke here). And that’s after you’ve nearly broken your back carrying the thing home. Fortunately you won’t have to suffer any of the above this year thanks to the ingenious Christmas Tree Poster. Depicting a fully decorated tree in all its festive glory, this huge, high quality print is ideal for anyone who can’t be bothered to erect a real tree. Simply unroll it and tack it to the wall. Easy!”
Now let’s go one step further: how can we really avoid Christmas Day, like, at all? As in, December 25th did not exist!
Well, it turns out that an imaginary geopolitical boundary can eat Christmas, just like Grinch. If you take a non-stop plane trip from the US west coast to Australia, leaving on December 24th, you’ll arrive in Sydney on December 26th.
(there will be about 8 hours of Christmas from midnight until you cross the International Date Line, but that’s about it)