Monthly Archives: September 2010
8 Things You Might Not Have Known About South Africa
I’m off to South Africa today so I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve picked up in my research:
- The world’s first heart transplant was performed in Cape Town at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard. In addition to having performed the first heart transplant, he also performed the first heart/lung transplant. The donor of the first heart transplant was a white girl who also had her kidneys donated to a black recipient, which was extremely controversial at the time.
- South Africa is by far the largest producer to strategic minerals. It produces 90% of the platinum, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium, and 41% of the gold.
- The two biggest man made holes in the world were excavated in South Africa. The Big Hole in Kimberly and the Jagersfontein Mine are both gigantic, open pit diamond mines. Both mines were designed to extract diamonds from underground Kimberlite Pipes which come from the mantle of the Earth.
- South Africa is home to the world’s largest bird (ostrich), largest mammal (bull elephant), smallest mammal (dwarf shrew), largest reptile (leatherback sea turtle: 1500 pounds), largest earthworm (African Giant Earthworm), fastest animal (cheetah), tallest animal (giraffe), and the largest fish (whale shark).
- The second highest waterfall in the world is in South Africa: Tugela Falls. It checks in at 948m, 31m less than Angel Falls in Venezuela.
- The best example of a living fossil was found in South Africa in 1938: the Coelacanth. The fish was thought to be extinct since the Devonian period and is considered the linked between fish and tetropods.
- In 1879, the largest defeat of an army with gunpowder to an army without guns occurred in South Africa. 1,400 British troops were defeated by 30,000 Zulu warriors armed primarily with spears and shields. Over 1,000 British were killed (71%) vs 3,000 Zulus (10%).
- South Africa has 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
What other interesting things about South Africa do you know? Has anyone else traveled there or planning a trip soon?
My Most Frequently Asked Question
One dozen representatives of our species have escaped the clutches of the Earth’s gravity and walked upon another celestial body. For a brief period of time, these twelve men experienced something no other humans have experienced before or since.
After their short time on the lunar surface they all returned to Earth to something they had to suffer every single day for the rest of their god damn life: people asking them what it was like to walk on the moon.
A guy like Neil Armstrong exchanged 45 minutes of moon walking for a life time of every single person he’d meet for the rest of his life all asking him about those 45 minutes.
I am nothing close to being an astronaut, but like an astronaut I am well traveled and I have also found that I am being asked the same question almost every single day.
Win a $100 credit at SCOTTEVEST!
Normally when I run a contest on my site, I am approached by some company who is interested in giving something away. If I think the product will be of interest to my readers, I’ll go with it. For the first time, I am running a contest that was my idea. I approached Scott Jordan of SCOTTEVEST about running a contest on my site. I’ve hearing about SCOTTEVEST for a long time now online. Many of my favorite podcasters wear SCOTTEVEST products, they are a very entrepreneurial company with a very visible founder, and Scott is personally very active on social media. I found everything about the company appealing and, to be really honest, it was a company I wanted to be associated with in some way.
What is so special about a SCOTTEVEST? In a nutshell….pockets. Lots and lots of pockets. But it isn’t just having a lot of pockets, it is the fact that it doesn’t look like you have a lot of pockets! The gear is designed for the serious traveler or someone who carries around a lot of gadgets (both of which I qualify under). SCOTTEVEST is currently running a promotion with travel writer Rolff Potts where he is taking a 40 day trip around with the world with no luggage; only his SCOTTEVEST. (more…)