15 Things You Might Not Know About Virginia

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1. On Tangier Island, Virginia, many folks speak a dialect that closely resembles the language used in Restoration England, a period just slightly after Shakespeare's time. Television and the advancement of mass communication devices have caused the accent to deteriorate but, for generations, inhabitants sounded much like early English settlers. Huzzah!

2. Half the population of the United States lives within a 500-mile radius of the capital of Virginia.

3. If tallying by place of birth, Virginia has produced more U.S. presidents than any other sate (Ohio is close on its heels with seven). The eight presidents born in Virginia were: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson (that includes four of our first five!).

4. The country's first commercial crop of peanuts was grown in Virginia in the 1800s. Peanuts, which were considered difficult to grow, were primarily used for oil, livestock food, and as a cocoa substitute.

5. The state motto of Virginia is sic semper tyrannis, which translates to “Thus always to tyrants.” The Latin words are also reported to have been shouted by actor John Wilkes Booth from the Ford's Theatre stage after he shot President Abraham Lincoln; Booth was born in Maryland, not Virginia.

6. More Civil War battles were fought in Virginia than in any other state.

7. Oyster enthusiasts, take note: The only museum dedicated specifically to the oyster biz was located on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. In 2008, the Oyster Museum was renamed the Museum of Chincoteague Island and its focus broadened to include more of the area's history.

8. Mount Trashmore Park, a 165-acre state park in Virginia Beach, is a rehabilitated landfill. The park's main mountain, Mount Trashmore, is 60 feet tall, 800 feet long, and was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil.

9. The first American college student arrested for streaking executed the stunt on the campus of Washington College (now Washington and Lee) in Lexington, Virginia, in 1804. George William Crump, who had to sit out the rest of the term after pulling the stunt, went on to claim a seat in Congress.

10. The Wren Building at the College of William and Mary is the oldest college building in the country.

11. Virginia was the only one of the colonies to have been originally divided into “shires.” While Tolkien might have approved, the eight shires created in 1634 were renamed “counties” only a few years later.

12. Natural Bridge, Virginia, is home to Foamhenge, a full-size replica of Stonehenge made entirely out of Styrofoam.

13. You can find Stonewall Jackson’s amputated left arm buried in Lacy Family Cemetery in Ellwood, Virginia. It should be easy to find, since it is the cemetery's only marked “grave”—a small granite marker states simply, “Arm of Stonewall Jackson, May 3, 1863.”

14. Arlington, Virginia, is home to the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum. At the museum, you can learn about the history of illegal drugs in America.

15. The Pentagon, in addition to being the home of the U.S. Department of Defense, also lays claim to being the world’s largest low-rise office building. It has twice the floor space of the Empire State Building, and the U.S. Capitol building could fit into any one of the Pentagon’s five sections.

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

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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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