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What is Proper Handshake Etiquette Around the World?

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First impressions mean everything, and most of the time, they start with a handshake. Here’s what you need to know to make the locals happy on your next business trip.

1. Brazil

Expect a firm handshake that lasts longer than you’re used to. Mix in strong eye contact, and greet women with a kiss on each cheek. Repeat when you leave.

2. China

Age matters here, so greet the oldest people first. Grip lightly and bow slightly. Avoid direct eye contact and hold onto the person’s hand a moment or two after the handshake has finished.

3. Philippines

Most other Asiatic countries follow China’s lead. The Philippines is an exception. Look them right in the eye and don’t bow. A weak grip, though, is a must.

4. Australia

If you’re a woman and you’re shaking a man’s hand, offer your hand first. Typically, women don't shake hands with other women. Shake firm and fast. And no matter what your political ambitions are, never ever use both hands.

5. France

It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting them for the first or 101st time. Shake their hand quickly and lightly. If you’re close, a kiss on both cheeks is a-okay.

6. Russia

Unless it’s a business situation, don’t shake the hand of the opposite sex. Traditional circles consider it impolite, since a man should kiss a woman’s hand. If you’re going to shake, though, bulk up and make it a bonecrusher.

7. Turkey

Keep your deathgrip packed in your suitcase! Firm shakes are rude. Don’t be surprised if the person holds the handshake so long that they start holding your hand. It’s a gesture of friendship.

8. South Korea

The most senior person should start the handshake, and the grip should be soft. Don’t bury your free hand in your pocket, but feel free to clench their right arm with your left hand.

9. Morocco

As long as they’re the same gender, it’s okay to shake their hand. But go gentle. Only shake a woman’s hand if she offers it.

10. United Arab Emirates

Start by shaking the hand of the oldest, or most senior, person there. Greet them by their title, whatever it may be, and expect the handshake to linger. Let them determine when it’s time to let go.

11. Kenya

When greeting elders or high-status people, grasp the right wrist with the left hand. Say “Jambo” (How are you?). Afterward, ask them about business or their family. It’s rude not to.

12. Mexico

Expect a long lasting handshake. If you’re a man, a hug may be in order, too. Women may kiss each other on the cheeks.

13. Norway

It doesn’t matter who is there, how many people there are, or how old they may be—shake hands with everyone. Call each person by his or her first and last name. Never say, “How are you?” To Norwegians, it’s meaningless conversational fluff.

14. Thailand

Don’t shake hands! The person will offer what’s called a “wai,” placing their palms together at chest level and bowing. Return the gesture. If you’re a man, greet then with “Sawadee-krap.” If you’re a woman, say “Sawadee-kah” (both mean “Hello). Shake hands only if a wai is not offered.

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What Are the Best Places to See a Sunset?
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What makes sunsets so eye-catching? Air molecules! When the sun shines during the day, air molecules reflect waves of blue and violet light. Our eyes can’t process violet well, so the sky looks blue. Later when the sun sets, those sunbeams travel through more air molecules, which scatter those waves of blue and violet. They scatter so much that we can no longer see them, unveiling the other side of the color spectrum—yellows, oranges, and reds. The closer the sun gets to the horizon, the farther those sunbeams must travel, and the more colorful the sky becomes.

Now that the science is out of the way, here are some of the best places to watch the sun’s late-day lightshow.

Santorini, Greece

In the village of Oia, sugar-white homes capped with blue domes are carved into a cliff-side. Narrow cobblestone paths zigzag up to the town’s pinnacle, an old castle with a postcard view of the greatest sunset in Greece. From there, you can watch oranges and purples splash off the Aegean Sea, bathing Oia’s buildings in dazzling color.

Grand Canyon, USA

When the sun goes down, the Grand Canyon turns up the Technicolor. Light reflects off layers of geological strata, revealing every hue of red and orange imaginable. Views are amazing from both the canyon’s South and North Rim, although you’ll bump into fewer tourists on the north side. Still, if you’re stuck on the south side, Yavapai Point and Hopi Point are musts.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The isle boasts the grandest mountains in all the UK. Stunning green landslips in the northernmost peninsula near the ocean make for a bewitching nighttime view.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Not only is the 12th-century complex of temples a cultural treasure, it’s also the centerpiece of Cambodia’s national flag. Watch the sunset from Phnom Bakheng Hill and the temples will sparkle.

Masai Mara National Reserve

Masai Mara is the sort of amazing place where lions bask under lone acacia trees. Zebras and wildebeest migrate across the plains. Silhouettes of giraffes tower in the sunset. Although no one is allowed inside the park at night, you’ll still be able to snap a few photos as the sun says goodnight.

Lofoten, Norway

The Norwegian archipelago may seem like a terrible spot to catch a sunset. From May to July, the sun doesn’t go down. In the winter, it never comes up. But the months in between are what make Lofoten dazzling. That’s when the sun dips below the horizon, but doesn’t sink far enough to darken the sky. The result? A hypnotizing, eight-hour lightshow.

The Maldives

Coconut trees. Aqua blue water. White sandy beaches. Bungalows. If that sounds like your kind of paradise, you’ll love the Maldives. The island chain in the Indian Ocean is home to spellbinding sunsets. The colors will make you feel like you’re honeymooning inside a Monet painting.

All images via Thinkstock.

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How Do Skyscrapers Keep Getting Taller?
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Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest skyscraper in the world, rising 2,717 feet. That’s twice as high as the Empire State Building. How can buildings stretch so high without toppling over?

Until the late 1800s, most urban buildings didn’t peak over 10 stories. Getting much taller was physically impossible with the available construction materials. The higher you build with brick and mortar, the thicker the lower walls have to be. The base of a 70-story brick building would have been so thick that there wouldn’t be any room for a lobby.

That all changed as modern steel became more common. Today, all skyscrapers have a skeleton—a steel frame of vertical steel columns and horizontal I-beams. This skeleton (called the superstructure) transfers all of the building’s weight to the vertical columns, which spread the weighty force of gravity down to the building’s foundation.

The foundation, or substructure, usually stretches down all the way to bedrock. Builders may dig a pit hundreds of feet down to solid rock, where a platform of concrete is laid. Holes called footings are drilled deep into the bedrock, and steel beams are secured inside those holes to anchor the building above.

Most skyscrapers may look square and boxy, but they’re actually circular tubes with cantilevered corners. Ever since the 1960s, skyscrapers over 40 stories have been built with a tubular frame—an engineering technique that saves money and frees up floor space because it requires fewer columns inside. (Chicago’s Willis Tower—formerly the Sears Tower—is actually a bundle of nine tubes.) In the middle of tower, a central concrete core contains elevator shafts, stairwells, and the building’s mechanical guts.

That concrete core is especially important on gusty days, allowing most tall buildings to safely sway like a tree in the breeze. Some buildings battle the wind with tuned mass dampers, oil hydraulic systems that hold a 300 to 400-ton concrete weight near the top floor. A computer system monitors the wind and moves the weight, shifting the building’s load from side to side.

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