15 Things You Might Not Know About Idaho

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1. Idaho's known for its potatoes, but its official nickname is the Gem State. Some 72 different precious and semi-precious gemstones have been found there.

2. One of them is the star garnet. It's only found in abundance in two places in the world: Idaho and India.

3. Idaho also supplies the majority of the nation's trout.

4. Wondering how the state got its name? So are its residents, as a number of sources claim the name’s provenance. Lobbyist George Willing alleged Idaho meant "gem of the mountains" or "the sun comes from the mountains" in the Shoshone language. Others said the name came from the Apache word "ídaahę́," meaning enemy, or a Nez Perce phrase that translates to "land of many waters." Willing eventually copped that he totally made up the word "Idaho."

5. In 1861, Idaho wasn’t even called Idaho. Originally, Congress dubbed the land the Colorado Territory. Idaho finally became a territory all its own in 1863 and became the 43rd state in 1890.

6. The state horse, the Appaloosa, was brought over by the Spaniards in the 1700s and embraced by the Nez Perce tribe. Settlers called the spotted equines "Palouse horses" after the Palouse River, and the name stuck.

7. At 7,993 feet deep, Hells Canyon in western Idaho is the deepest river gorge in North America. In comparison, the Grand Canyon is only 6,000 feet deep.

8. Thirteen U.S. states are split into two time zones, and Idaho's one of them. The majority of the state's area and population fall under Mountain Time. The area above the Salmon River is part of the Pacific Time Zone.

9. Idaho's state seal is the only one in the U.S. designed by a woman. Emma Edwards Green entered a statewide competition for the honor in 1891 by using only her initials.

10. Also impressive: Idaho's State Capitol Building is the only one in the U.S. heated by geothermal energy. The heat comes from hot springs located 3,000 feet underground.

11. Idaho's most famous crop (the potato) isn't native to the area. The first potato in America was actually planted in New Hampshire, in 1719. A missionary named Henry Harmon Spalding brought the potato to Lapwai, Idaho, in 1836 to teach the Nez Perce tribe how to grow their own food. They were the first to cultivate and sell spuds in the area.

12. If you're curious whether someone's from Idaho, try asking him or her to pronounce "Boise." Natives and longtime residents tend to pronounce it "boy-see,” while outsiders usually say "boy-zee."

13. Firefighters call this axe-like tool a Pulaski, after the Idahoan forest ranger who popularized it. Edward Pulaski was a hero of the Great Idaho Fire of 1910, which spanned three million acres, killed 87 people, and remains the largest wildfire in U.S. history. He led 45 firefighters to an abandoned prospect mine and fought off the flames at its mouth until he passed out, saving all but five men. A year after the disaster, Pulaski combined an axe and an adze to create the perfect tool for building firebreaks.

14. If you're dog tired and traveling through Cottonwood, Idaho, you can spend the night at Dog Bark Park Inn, a bed and breakfast shaped like a giant beagle.

15. Or, here's an even bigger adventure: Sail from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho (or vice-versa) via the Snake and Columbia Rivers. You'll finish (or start) in Lewiston, the farthest inland port on the west coast.

The World's 10 Most Expensive Cities

An apartment complex in Hong Kong
An apartment complex in Hong Kong
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If you think San Francisco is pricey, you should see some of the other metropolises that appear in a new ranking of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. As The Real Deal reports, Singapore, Paris, and Hong Kong have been jointly named as the three cities with the highest cost of living in a new analysis by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

It was the first time in the history of the Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living report that three cities have tied for first place. Billing itself as a global business intelligence group, the EIU takes the prices of more than 400 items into consideration for its annual list, including food, clothing, household supplies, private school fees, and recreation.

Singapore's appearance on the list is no surprise, considering that it has been crowned the world’s most expensive city for the past five years in a row, and Paris has consistently made the top 10 since 2003. Hong Kong, meanwhile, rose three places in the newest ranking, while Osaka, Japan rose six places.

New York City and Los Angeles also made the top 10 list this year, tying with other cities for fourth and fifth place, respectively. This is partly due to exchange rates.

“A stronger U.S. dollar last year has meant that cities in the U.S. generally became more expensive globally, especially relative to last year’s ranking,” the report notes. “New York has moved up six places in the ranking this year, while Los Angeles has moved up four spots.”

Check out the 10 most expensive cities below, and visit the EIU’s website to download a full copy of the report.

  1. Singapore; Hong Kong; and Paris, france (tied)

  1. Zurich, Switzerland

  1. Geneva, Switzerland; and Osaka, Japan (tied)

  1. Seoul, South Korea; Copenhagen, Denmark; and New York City (tied)

  1. Tel Aviv, Israel and Los Angeles (tied)

5 Fast Facts About the Spring Equinox

iStock.com/AHPhotoswpg
iStock.com/AHPhotoswpg

The northern hemisphere has officially survived a long winter of Arctic temperatures, bomb cyclones, and ice tsunamis. Spring starts today, March 20, which means warmer weather and longer days are around the corner. To celebrate the spring equinox, hear are some facts about the event.

1. The spring equinox arrives at 5:58 p.m.

The first day of spring is today, but the spring equinox will only be here for a brief time. At 5:58 p.m. Eastern Time, the Sun will be perfectly in line with the equator, which results in both the northern and southern hemispheres receiving equal amounts of sunlight throughout the day. After the vernal equinox has passed, days will start to become shorter for the Southern Hemisphere and longer up north.

2. The Equinox isn't the only time you can balance an egg.

You may have heard the myth that you can balance on egg on its end during the vernal equinox, and you may have even tried the experiment in school. The idea is that the extra gravitational pull from the Sun when it's over the equator helps the egg stand up straight. While it is possible to balance an egg, the trick has nothing to do with the equinox: You can make an egg stand on its end by setting it on a rough surface any day of the year.

3. Not every place gets equal night and day.

The equal night and day split between the northern and southern hemispheres isn't distributed evenly across all parts of the world. Though every region gets approximately 12 hours of sunlight the day of the vernal equinox, some places get a little more (the day is 12 hours and 15 minute in Fairbanks, Alaska), and some get less (it's 12 hours and 6 minutes in Miami).

4. The name means Equal Night.

The word equinox literally translates to equal ("equi") and night ("nox") in Latin. The term vernal means "new and fresh," and comes from the Latin word vernus for "of spring."

5. The 2019 spring equinox coincides with a supermoon.

On March 20, the day the Sun lines up with equator, the Moon will reach the closest point to Earth in its orbit. The Moon will also be full, making it the third supermoon of 2019. A full moon last coincided with the first day of spring on March 20, 1981, and it the two events won't occur within 24 hours of each other again until 2030.

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