9. April 2010 12:22
China and Nepal have resolved a long-running dispute over the height of Mount Everest.
They have now agreed that the world's highest mountain - which straddles the border between the two countries - should be officially recognised as being 8,848m tall.
The Chinese previously argued it should be measured by its rock height, while Nepal said it should be measured by its snow height - four metres higher. During talks in Nepal's capital Kathmandu, China accepted that claim. Nepal also recognises China's claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844m.
The mountain’s exact height has been disputed ever since the first measurement was made in 1856. The widely accepted height of 8,848m was first recorded by an Indian survey in 1955, which measured the mountain's snow cap, rather than the rock beneath it.
But geologists say that both the estimates could be wrong as they say the mountain is becoming higher as India is gradually pushed More...
22. March 2010 12:36
A long-dormant volcano has erupted in Iceland. The volcano, near Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in the south of the country has been dormant for 200 years, and its eruption has ripped a 1km-long fissure in a field of ice.
With lava soaring hundred metres high, Icelandic airspace has been closed, flights diverted and roads closed. A state of emergency is in force in southern Iceland and about 500 people were moved from the area. More...
16. October 2009 16:27
Find out how Halloween and its traditions first started, how the jack o’ lantern came about, and how the festival is celebrated in other parts of the world…
How did Halloween start?
Halloween has its roots in an ancient Celtic celebration associated with All Saints' Day, which falls on 1 November, so the night before became known as “All Hallows’ Eve”, eventually contracting to Hallowe’en. (Hallow is old English for ‘holy person’ or ‘saint’.)
How did we start celebrating it like we do today?
Irish migrants carried versions of the tradition to North America during Ireland's Great Famine of the 1840s. More...
16. July 2009 13:47
The World Heritage Committee recently held its 33rd session and has inscribed two new natural sites and 11 cultural sites on Unesco’s World Heritage List. Since Unesco also withdrew one site from the List, Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany), the list now numbers a total of 890 properties. During this session Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Kyrgyzstan had their first World Heritage sites inscribed on Unesco's List of properties recognized as having outstanding universal value. More...
8. July 2009 16:31
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
These are the words spoken by John F Kennedy on the 25th of May, 1961, on announcing his aspiration to send astronauts to the Moon before the end of the decade. Incredibly, only eight years later, Apollo 11 achieved this goal by becoming the first manned spacecraft to land on the Moon. Since 20 July 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of this extraordinary achievement, we at Stanfords decided to muster up some interesting facts about the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon...
Did you know that... More...
3. May 2009 16:36
There are some unusual, attractive and just plain funny names of countries, islands, towns and even glaciers all round the world. Here are our favourites…
After visiting Miserable Island in Tasmania, you may want to head for Happy, a town in the US state of Texas, with a population of 647. A film of the same name was released in 1999.
Have a romantic tryst at Love Lake in Canada.
Find paradise on Chocolate Island in the Philippines.
See if Pretty Hill in New Zealand lives up to its name. More...
4. February 2009 14:59
In 1650 and 1654 the great biblical scholar James Ussher published two Latin treatises on the chronology of the Old and New Testaments. By analysing and linking the various genealogies recorded in the Bible, Ussher arrived back with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he felt confident in fixing the date of the creation of the world as occurring in 4004 BC, on 23 October of that year, probably at four o’clock in the afternoon.
This chronology was printed in many Bibles down to the late 19th century, and consequently Ussher’s name became notorious as a pillar of fundamentalism, and an enemy of science. This was quite unfair on Ussher, who was simply following and refining the knowledge and beliefs of his time. His chronology was a testimony to the unity of knowledge which then prevailed: it connected the biblical tradition with real history, and no one in the 17th century would have found anything odd in that. As the natural sciences slowly developed in the years after Ussher’s work was written, his chronology offered a base-line, to be weighed, tested, and ultimately rejected. More...
28. January 2009 16:18
The 12 February 2009 marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and we found out some lesser-known facts on the famous naturalist...
Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on 12 February 1809 and went on to become one of the most important figures in our history, by forming the basis of the evolutionary theory and changing forever the face of science.
His two most famous works, On the Origin of Species and The Voyage of the Beagle, revolutionised the thinking of Victorian, orthodox England, and indeed, the rest of the world.
Darwin exploded the established creationist beliefs, demonstrating through years of experiments and discoveries the evolution and natural selection of living beings.
However, who was the man behind the marvel? I went to a special Darwin exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London to find out more... More...
24. November 2008 16:14
At Stanfords, we’re lucky enough to work together with people from all over the world. From burning shepherds, and carps in the bath to an ugly old woman who leaves presents, here a few of us share how we celebrate Christmas when we’re back home…
Christmas starts in Italy with Advent – we put up an Advent More...
22. December 2007 16:04
Andorra is the place to live long – it has the highest life expectancy in the world, at the grand 83.5 years.
The five most populous countries in the world are:
Women in Niger, Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau have the world’s highest fertility rates – with an average of over seven children each. More...