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4 Places That Will Never See a Club Med

By Martin Lewis

What exactly is the worst climate in the world? Whether a given climate is good or bad is subjective; to a native of northern Alaska, for instance, 75°F can seem miserably hot. But, in general, what makes for the worst climate depends on what you dread the most: fire or ice. Here are 4 places we're not planning on setting up shop.

1. Jacobabad, Pakistan

Anyone averse to fire should avoid spending a summer in Death Valley, California, where the average July temperature is 101°F, or Marble Bar, Australia, which once recorded 161 days in a row when the mercury topped 100°F. Even hotter—or at least more sticky—times can be had in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

Here the average June high temperature is 114°F, with relative humidity averaging nearly 60% in the morning hours.

Dust storms are also frequent at this time of the year. Add to that the prevalence of Islamic extremism and clan feuds in the area, and Jacobabad might not be the ideal place for resort development.

2. Djibouti, Africa

djibouti.jpg At least Jacobabad, like Death Valley and Marble Bar, has relatively pleasant winters. For year-round heat and general unpleasantness, the best selection is probably Djibouti, in northeastern Africa, where it's always hot, always humid, and hardly ever rains. Djibouti's winters are marginally bearable, with average high temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit and relative humidity at midday hovering at 70%, but the rest of the year is something else. By July expect a temperature range from 87°F at night to 106°F in the afternoon, with early morning relative humidity around 60%. The people of Djibouti are especially inclined to seek shelter during the summer months when the khamsin wind blows in from the desert, compounding the heat with ample quantities of dust and grit.

3. Sakha, Siberia

yakutia_photo1.jpgIce haters should avoid the polar areas, but that's easy enough, since no humans live there. Roughly 1 million people, on the other hand, live in Sakha (or Yakutia) in east-central Siberia. In its capital city of Yakutsk, the average January temperature is -45.4°F. Further north, Verkhoyansk enjoys an average January high temperature of -54°F. Cultural practices exacerbate the discomfort: in the winter, the local people traditionally live with their horses and cattle, subsisting on milk tar—an intriguing blend of fish, berries, bones, and the inner bark of pine trees conveniently dissolved in sour milk. Not surprisingly, Russia's Czarist and Communist authorities used to enjoy exiling troublesome intellectuals to this region. But partially as a result, the people of Sakha are now noted for their intellectual and political sophistication.

4. Kerguelen

kerguelen.jpg

Despite its winter frigidity, Sakha's brief summers are sweet. For incessant unpleasantness, look to maritime locations between 50° and 60° latitude, where raw temperatures; brisk winds; and rain, sleet, and snow predominate year-round. Alaska's Aleutian Islands certainly fit the bill, but the best example is probably Kerguelen, a sizable French-owned archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean. Kerguelen experiences precipitation on more than 300 days a year, and its average temperatures range from 35.6°F in July to 45.5°F in January.

Kerguelen has no flying insects—not too surprising considering its average wind speed of 35 kph, which would quickly send the hapless butterfly far out to sea.

Thus even the ubiquitous Kerguelen cabbage, a former godsend for scurvy-racked whalers, has adapted to being pollinated by wind rather than insects.

Ed Note: This list was pulled from Condensed Knowledge, available here.

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8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
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Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
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The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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