Dolphins have names for each other

Jumping dolphins
? Ladies leave your seal at home cuz it’s 11:30 and this pool is jumpin’ jumpin’ ?

What’s in a name? That what a dolphin calls another dolphin would smell as fishy…probably. (That may be the only Shakespeare reference you’ll ever get on Newdie Mag so savor it). Scientists from University of St Andrews in Scotland found that dolphins have names for each other and respond to their own names. They use a unique whistle to communicate with each other by name. (I wonder if dolphins have their own version of a Karen?)

Dolphins only sleep with half their brain. The left eye is open while the right half of the brain is sleeping and vice-versa. This type of sleep is know as unihemispheric sleep. Sleeping this way allows dolphins to look out for predators and continue breathing.

There are about 40 species of dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins are what people usually associate with dolphins but each species can look quite different. The difference can easily be seen in size and shape with the killer whale, or orca, which is part of the dolphin family.


The Chicago Hilton was once barracks for WWII cadets

Chicago Hilton
Chicago Hilton Lobby

When the Beaux-Arts style hotel, known as The Stevens Hotel, opened in May of 1927 it was the largest hotel in the world. It boasted 3,000 guest rooms and cost $30 million to build (nearly half a billion dollars in today’s money).

The hotel billed itself as a “City within a city”. Inside the Stevens Hotel was a bowling alley, barber shop, ice cream shop, a rooftop miniature golf course, a movie theater, and drug store. The first registered guest at the hotel was Vice President Charles G. Dawes.

During the Great Depression the Stevens Hotel went bankrupt like most hotels at the time and the government took receivership of it. The US army purchased the hotel for $6 million in 1942 and used it as barracks and classrooms for the Army Air Force during World War II. Between 1942 and 1944 over 10,000 cadets were passed through the hotel using the Grand Ballroom as their mess hall. The army sold the hotel for $4.91 million in January 1944.

Conrad Hilton purchased the hotel in 1945 and it was renamed after him in 1954.  Mr. Hilton kept the tradition of the hotel hosting the biggest movie stars, politicians, presidents, royalty, and dignitaries alive, which continues to this day.

The aging hotel was considered for demolition in the 1970s but in 1984 the hotel closed for a year for a renovation that turned the hotels 3,000 guest rooms into 1,544 larger and more luxurious guest rooms. On October 1st 1985 the hotel reopened as the Chicago Hilton and Towers. The renovated hotel helped revitalize Chicagos South Loop neighborhood at the time. In 1998 it became know as the Chicago Hilton.

The hotel is near the only river in the world that permanently flows backwards. If you would like more information about staying at this historic landmark visit here

* this isn’t a paid endorsement for Chicago Hilton. We just think the history is cool. ?


African penguins used to be known as jackass penguins

African penguins at Boulders Beach
Waddle you up to?

Penguins aren’t only in Antarctica, there are several species of warm weather penguins. Near Simon’s Town, South Africa there is a place where you can get up close and personal with African penguins surrounded by granite boulders that are 540 million years old called Boulders Beach. African penguins are only found on the coast along South Africa and Namibia and Boulders Beach is the best place to see their. From just four penguins at Boulders Beach in 1982 they have multiplied to over three thousand. The penguins are under the protection of the Cape Nature Conservation.

African penguins used to be known as jackass penguins because of their distinctive donkey-like bray. On average they weigh about eight pounds each and are about two feet tall. The penguins nest in burrows they dig out of their own excrement, called guano, or in areas under boulders or bushes.

Sadly, African penguins are nearly extinct due to habitat loss, overfishing in areas they rely on food, and pollution. You can learn how to help at SANCCOB.


The construction of Machu Picchu used no mortar but is still earthquake proof

Machu Picchu in Peru
I hiked the Inca trail because I’m such a Machu man

The name Machu Picchu means “Old Mountain” or “Old Peak” in the Quechua language. The Quechea history goes back further than the Inca and you’ll find many ruins in Peru named in this language.

Machu Picchu, with a height of nearly 8,000 feet above sea level nestled in the Andes Mountains, was used by the Inca as an astronomical observatory. The Inca placed a huge emphasis on astronomy; it helped them know when to plant their crops and when to harvest. The Intihuatana stone found at Machu Picchu acted as an astrological clock and was used in ceremonies.

No mortar was used in the construction of Machu Picchu, instead, a special technique called ashlar was used. Ashlar involved cutting stones so precisely that they lay on top of each other with no space between them. You can’t even slide a piece of paper between them. The Inca knew how to build! Machu Picchu is in between two fault lines so the Inca built it to be earthquake proof. They accomplished this through ashlar, using trapezoidal-shaped doors and windows, inward inclining walls, and bracing blocks.


The Great Barrier Reef is home to ten percent of the worlds species of fish

Great barrier reef
Where the heck is Nemo???

The Great Barrier Reef isn’t just one reef, it’s actually a string of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,600 miles. The reef system is millions of years old with new coral growing on top of dead coral. Parts of the dead  coral are up to 20 million years old.

Coral reefs are built by and made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps. The polyps are related to anemones and jellyfish. A polyp has a sac-like body and an opening, or mouth, encircled by stinging tentacles called nematocysts or cnidae. The polyp uses calcium and carbonate ions from seawater to build itself a hard, cup-shaped skeleton made of calcium carbonate (limestone). This limestone skeleton protects the soft, delicate body of the polyp. Polyps have clear bodies with white skeletons. The bright colors come from zooxanthellae (tiny algae) that live inside their tissue. One square inch of a polyp has several million zooxanthellae living inside of it producing the pigment that gives it its bright color.

An incredible ten percent of the world’s species of fish call the reef home with over 1,500 species living amongst the coral. It is also home to 30 species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise; 6 species of turtles, and 17 species of sea snakes. Some of the fish species trace their ancestry back as far as 500 million years.

Between climate change, rising sea temperatures, and pollution the reef is unfortunately seeing a lot of bleaching and death of the reef. Bleaching is a term that refers to when negative changes in conditions cause the polyps to expel the algae in which they depend on to survive. Since the algae is what gives it its bright color the coral then looks like it’s been bleached (hence the name). If conditions don’t get better after a coral is bleached it will die as it has lost its primary source of food. On average about 15 percent of The Great Barrier Reef is bleached.

You can help save the reef by visiting The Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Happy National Dog Day

National dog day is August 26th
The ultimate dog day in the dog days of summer

Woof! Bark! *sniff* Happy National Dog Day!

National Dog Day was started in 2004 by animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige. The date was chosen to be August 26th because it was the date her father got their first family dog.

Mans best friend earns that title for a reason. They are awesome from their cold wet nose to their waggly tail. Speaking of their nose, it can smell forty times better than a human nose. Dogs are used to sniff out drugs, people, money and even medical issues. Dogs have been trained to let people know when their blood sugar changes and are even being trained sniff out Covid-19. A dogs nose print is unique like a human fingerprint.

Not only do dogs have an excellent sense of smell, they also have great hearing. They can hear higher frequencies than humans can and also hear things from further away. Dogs have 18 muscles in their ear responsible for moving them around which make their ears an important part of their communication with other dogs and humans.

People love their dogs and they are truly a part of many peoples families. 40% of owners in the United States allow their dogs to sleep in their bed. 70% of dog owners in the US sign their dogs name to their Christmas cards. There are a lot of pet dogs in the US, 75 million, more than any other country.

The tower isn’t actually named Big Ben

A tower with an identity crisis

For hundreds of years the tower we call Big Ben was known only as the Clock Tower or St. Stephen’s Tower. In 2012 the tower was officially renamed to Elizabeth Tower for the Queens jubilee. The tower has never been officially named Big Ben. So where does the popular name Big Ben come from refers? Big Ben actually refers to the largest bell in the tower which was casted in 1858 and Sir Benjamin Halls name was inscribed on the bell. He was Londons first commissioner of public works and was in charge of building the Houses of Parliament which Big Ben towers over. Big Ben (the bell) is more than 7 feet tall, measures 9 feet in diameter, and weighs nearly 14 tons. There is a clock on each side of the tower and each one is 23 feet in diameter. The hour hands are 9.2 feet long and minute hands are 14 feet long.

Want to visit the inside of the tower? Unless you’re a UK resident you cannot tour it. As of 2010 only residents can tour the tower and then you must be sponsored by a Member of Parliament of the House of Lords. People who do get to tour it have to climb 334 steps up a spiral staircase to reach the belfry.

The tower is over 160 years old and after that much wear and tear it isn’t exactly perfect. The tower has settled a bit and actually leans about a foot and a half northwestern. On New Years Eve in 1962 the tower actually chimed late due to all the snow and ice on the that weighed down the hands. Better to chime a bit late than never. The bells have not chimed since 2017 due to a complete renovation of the tower and to protect those construction workers ears. The work was supposed to be completed by now but the chimes won’t start again until early 2022 as construction was delayed due to the pandemic.




The Grand Canyon National Park is bigger than Rhode Island

Grand Canyon National Park is bigger than the state of Rhode Island
I’ll bet you a GRAND you don’t know all these facts

At 1,904 square miles Grand Canyon National Park is easily bigger Rhode Island at 1,212 square miles. The canyon is over a mile deep and 10 miles wide at some points. From the rim to the bottom of the canyon temperatures can vary by as much as 25 degrees. The river that flows through the canyon is the Colorado River. No one knows how old the Grand Canyon is. The river could have started carving out the canyon anywhere from 6 million to 70 million years ago.

The drive from the North Rim Visitors Center to the South Rim Visitors center is about 400 miles. The canyon itself is over 700 miles long. Only 12 people have hiked the full length of the canyon in one push. There are no towns for resupply, no base camps for logistics support, and no trails for much of the canyon which is why do few have traversed the entire thing.

There is a pink snake called the Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake and is only found in the Grand Canyon. It is one of six rattlesnakes found in the area. Other animals found in the canyon include gila monsters and big horn sheep. The most injuries to visitors from animals at the canyon don’t actually come from any of these animals, it comes from bites from the rock squirrel.

A lot of people think the Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world but it actually comes in third behind Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru and the Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal.

In the depths of the canyon there is a small village called Supai and it is the most remote community in the lower 48 states. The Havasupai Tribe has inhabited the area since 1300 AD. The village is only accessible only by foot, pack animal, or helicopter. The U.S. Postal Service delivers mail via mule.

If you want to plan a visit check out the National Park Service here




The High Roller can fit 1,120 at once

The High Roller at the Linq
Talk about reinventing the wheel

The High Roller at The Linq in Las Vegas is 550 feet high and has 28 cabins that hold 40 people each. That makes for a whopping 1,120 people that can fit on this obersevation wheel at once!

There are 112 cables and 7.2 million pounds of steel on the wheel. One rotation takes about half an hour. There are 2,000 LED lights that light up in multiple colors for “The Lights at The Linq” show.

The High Roller is currently the tallest observation wheel in the world until the Ain Dubai ferris wheel opens later this year at 840 feet. The Ain Dubai was supposed to open in 2020 but construction was delayed by the pandemic.

A high roller is someone that gambles large amounts of money. If you were high roller and won $10 million in Vegas, what would you buy first? Tell us in the comments below.

For more information visit The Linq Website.

Venice is made up of 118 small islands

A gondola in a Venice canal
In Venice you’re gon-dola have a good time!

Mi amor! Venice is “The City of Bridges” and for good reason…it has 400 of them! These bridges connect 118 small islands that make up the city. The number of canals is debatable. Some canals are too narrow to pass and some are dead ends. The number of canals is between 150 and 200 with most people saying around 177 or 178. There are no cars in the city center. Boats take the place of cars and even busses.

The small boats that traverse the canals are called gondolas and there are about 400 currently in use. There used to be as many as 10,000 gondolas in Venice. Motor boats have taken the place of most gondolas and the ones that are left are primarily for tourism purposes.