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What Are the Most Important Historical Sites in the World?

You already know big name destinations like the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Great Barrier Reef, Machu Pichu, and the Taj Mahal. But these lesser-known treasures are also worth the trip.

Cueva de las Manos, Rio Pinturas

This cave in Santa Cruz, Argentina, may be the world’s oldest art gallery. Neolithic paintings and drawings of hunting scenes date back 13,000 years. The big draw, though, is the haunting stenciled silhouettes of human hands on the rock wall. The ancient Patagonians pressed their left hands against the rock and sprayed painted them by blowing into a bone pipe. Spray paint has been around longer than you think!

Petra, Jordan

Wedged in a canyon between the Dead Sea and Red Sea, a handful of 6th century BC buildings are carved into a rosy sandstone cliff. An artificial oasis, Petra was the capital of the Navataean Empire for 500 years until the Romans took over. It was recently named one of the seven new wonders of the world.

Prehistoric Alp Pile Dwellings

To the untrained eye, these look like sticks poking out of the mud. But they’re actually the remains of the oldest settlements in Europe. What’s left of 111 Bronze Age stilt houses can still be found across Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The stilts—called piles—have been waterlogged and preserved by creeping wetlands and lakeshores, giving an amazing look at early European society.

Old City of Salamanca

If you need to study up on your European architecture, ditch the books and head North of Madrid to Salamanca, Spain. The city is dotted with ancient-yet-still-functional architecture. Reaching back as far as 2000 years, you’ll find every style from the pages of your old art history textbook—including Moorish, Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque. The buildings are most stunning near Salamanca University. Founded in 1134, it’s the third oldest university in the world.

Flint Mines of Spiennes

6000 years ago, Neolithic people in Belgium started digging their way out of the Stone Age. They dug a labyrinth of flint mines—the largest and earliest mines on the Continent. The flint harvested was knapped into axes and adzes, which were used to build Europe’s earliest huts, establishing the first settled communities. This is where the Bronze Age began!

Calakmul

Calakmul was a Mayan superpower. It was the capital of the Snake Kingdom and was a major player in Mesoamerica for more than 12 centuries. Home to nearly 7000 ancient structures—including a remarkable pyramid—the architecture is the best preserved in Mexico. You’ll just have to hike far off the beaten path to get there.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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Design
A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

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