What Organisms Generate the Most Oxygen? Hint: It's not the Trees.

Published on May 31, 2024

Credit: NASA

From the deep, dark depths of the ocean to the most populated continent and regions with extreme temperatures , our planet offers a range of unique features. And despite our extensive knowledge about it, many discoveries still await us.

Embark with us on this exploratory journey, as we unveil these 10 fun facts about Earth that will captivate you. After all, it is not just a planet; it's our beloved home !


Dark mysteries

Credit: Lu Gu

Despite being a familiar landscape for many, the ocean actually remains a major mystery for humanity.

The ocean, which encompasses about 71% of the Earth's surface , is massive and incredibly deep, so only 5 to 20% of it has been explored.

According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, more than 90% of species on Earth are in ocean waters. Can you imagine the incredible creatures that inhabit its deepest confines? Some would say it's maybe better to just not know.


Extreme temperatures

Credit: Ilse Orsel

Although the Earth is teeming with numerous species that vary in size and color, there exist corners where life just can't flourish . If you're a summer person, this fact will make you shudder.

Cold can be really annoying, right? Imagine being at -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit! Believe it or not, that is the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth , according to the World Meteorological Organization.

You probably already guessed where this icy milestone was achieved. That's right, in the frozen Antarctica, back in 1983.


The hot core

Credit: Tetiana Grypachevska

Let's shift our focus from the freezing regions to discover the hottest part of Earth : its inner core.

Deep within our planet lies the Earth's inner core, a massive sphere of iron with a radius of about 760 miles and temperatures soaring to a staggering 9,300°F . To put this into perspective, this is similar to the temperature of the solar surface!

Surprisingly, despite the extreme heat, the Earth's inner core remains solid , a fact that can be attributed to the immense pressure exerted upon it.


Longer days


There are moments when we wish for more hours in a day to complete our tasks and savor every moment, right? Well, here's some news for you to know: Earth's days are indeed getting longer , with projections indicating they might eventually stretch to 25 hours in the next centuries. However, this is happening very, very slowly.

The lengthening of our days is a consequence of the gradual slowing down of Earth's rotation , a phenomenon attributed to the moon's progressive drift away from our planet. This means that, over a billion years ago, Earth's days were shorter than today!


A huge piece of land

Credit: NASA

Just as we all go through personal makeovers at different points of our lives, houses, cities, and even the Earth itself experience transformations. However, while it may only take you a few minutes to get a haircut, the Earth's changes occur over much longer periods.

According to the theory of continental drift proposed last century, about 200 million years ago, there were no different continents like today, but a single large landmass: the big Pangea.

The movement of the tectonic plates caused Pangea to gradually fracture and disperse into separate portions of land, which would be the origin of today's continents.


60% of people live here

Credit: Rob Curran

When discussing continents, it's impossible to overlook Asia, the largest and most populous continent on Earth.

Encompassing some 48 countries (including the two most populous nations on the planet, India and China ), Asia hosts 60% of the world's population . That's right, more than half of Earth's inhabitants call this continent home.

So, if you're not a fan of bustling crowds, the Asian continent wouldn't be your ideal vacation spot.


Only 3%

Credit: Michael C

About 97% of the Earth's water is in the oceans. But that water is saline, which unfortunately means we can't drink it. This leaves us with a mere 3% of freshwater on our planet .

But that is not all; out of that 3%, a significant 2% is locked in glaciers and ice caps, leaving only 1% available for our use.

Don't panic; it's still a substantial amount of water. However, it's crucial that we remain conscientious about conserving and preserving this valuable resource .


8-minute trip

Credit: Sara Kurfeß

Light travels at an impressive 186,000 mi/sec. Now, that's what we call fast. However, due to the vast distance between the Sun and Earth—some 93 million miles— sunlight takes about 8 minutes to reach our planet.

That means that if the Sun were to suddenly extinguish , aside from the catastrophic consequences that would follow, it would take us about 8 minutes to realize the dire event had occurred.


Not a single drop

Credit: Bailey Hall

We have already talked about water; now it is time to talk about the lack of it. Covering an area of 41,000 square miles in northern Chile , the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on the planet.

In the Atacama, rainfall is so scant that certain regions have never experienced a single drop in recorded history!

Yes, this place looks like the set of a science fiction movie. But what's truly amazing is that despite its extreme aridity, there are some life forms that inhabit it.


Low-profile heroes

Credit: Marek Okon

While we show our love and appreciation for forests, the true masters of oxygen production are beneath the waves. That's right, most of the Earth's oxygen is produced in the oceans.

This large production essential for life is the responsibility of the oceanic plankton . These countless tiny organisms perform photosynthesis , just like plants and trees. They release oxygen into the ocean, and that oxygen then makes its way into the atmosphere, keeping us all breathing.


10 Intriguing Backstories Behind Your Favorite Board Games

Published on May 31, 2024

Credit: Christopher Paul High

Board games have been entertaining families and friends for centuries - perhaps even millennia - but behind every game lies a fascinating story.

From the strategic depths of chess to the whimsical world of Candy Land, join us to learn how each of these 10 timeless games was made.



Credit: Joshua Hoehne

Surprisingly, Monopoly was originally known as "The Landlord's Game," and was invented by American anti-monopolist Elizabeth Magie in 1903 to easily illustrate the negative aspects of land concentration and private monopolies. It aimed to promote the ideas of Georgism, an economic philosophy advocating for the taxation of land to counteract social injustice.



Credit: Carlos Esteves

Dating back to the 7th century, chess originated in India as "chatrang," and soon became popular in the region. In fact, the word "checkmate" originated from the Persian shāh māt , meaning "the king is dead." As the game spread throughout the world, it evolved into the strategic masterpiece we know today.



Credit: Alexander Lyashkov

Also known as Cluedo, this murder mystery game was created by Anthony E. Pratt during World War II. Pratt, a solicitor's clerk, designed the game as a form of entertainment during air raid blackouts. Its original setting was a country house, but the successive versions of the game have introduced new locations, characters, and weapons.



Credit: Freysteinn G. Jonsson

Alfred Butts, an unemployed architect during the Great Depression, developed Scrabble in 1938. Originally named "Lexiko" and later "Criss-Cross Words," Butts combined the concept of anagrams and crossword puzzles to create a game that tested vocabulary and strategy. Soon, Scrabble became so popular that many TV networks began to make their own game shows based on the game’s rules, and today there is even a Scrabble World Championship.



Credit: omid roshan

Risk, conceived by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, emerged from the early 1950s. The gameplay simulates global domination through strategic conquests of different regions of the six continents. Originally titled "The Conquest of the World", the game reflected the geopolitical tensions of the Cold War era, and its mixture of simple rules and complex decision-making made it immensely popular among both adults and children at the time.


Candy Land

Credit: Alexander Grey

Candy Land is sometimes dismissed as an overly simple game, but that’s exactly the point. Eleanor Abbott, a polio patient in the 1940s, invented Candy Land as a distraction for children recovering from the harsh illness. The vibrant board and simple gameplay provided a colorful journey through a world of sweets, offering joy and imagination during difficult times. She partnered with American board game mogul Milton Bradley to manufacture it, and it soon became the most popular game among children in the whole country.


Settlers of Catan

Credit: Aksel Fristrup

Designed by Klaus Teuber in 1995, Settlers of Catan revolutionized the world of board gaming. Teuber, a dental technician from Germany, created the game to provide an engaging activity for his family , inspired by the history of Viking settlers in Iceland and Norway. Its innovative mechanics and strategic depth propelled it to international acclaim, and it became a staple for board game enthusiasts worldwide.


Trivial Pursuit

Credit: JIP, CC BY-SA 4.0

Scott Abbott and Chris Haney, two Canadian journalists, conceived Trivial Pursuit in 1979 after becoming frustrated while failing to find all the pieces for their Scrabble game. Aiming to recreate the experience of a pub quiz , the duo combined trivia from various categories into a competitive board game where players raced each other to the finish line.



Credit: U.S. Navy, Public Domain

Thought to have been inspired by the French wargame "L'Attaque," Battleship began as a simple pencil and paper game , eventually being manufactured with plastic boards and pegs by Milton Bradley in 1967. Countless adaptations of the game have been made, introducing slightly different rules, but retaining the core concept of tactical warfare on the open seas.



Credit: Jono Winn from San Diego, USA, CC BY 2.0

While Twister is not exactly a traditional board game and more of a physical skill one, where players have to place their hands and feet in specific colored spots on a plastic mat, it deserves a spot among the classics. The popular game was created by board game designers Charles Foley and Neil Rabens in 1966, who wanted to make a game that tested players’ physical agility and balance. They eventually presented the idea to the Milton Bradley Company, who enthusiastically embraced the concept, propelling it into worldwide popularity.

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