Browsing Tag: animated


    How To Train Your Dragon 2: How It Should Have Ended

    September 15, 2019

    I can teach you all the things I’ve learned these past 20 years like… Wow! Or if you press his elbow like this… it activates his wolverine claws! Oh What!? Or if you press here… it will turn him into his “Alpha” mode. *roar* Whoa!! And do this, and he has the ability to speak! Hello, everyone, my name’s Toothless. Whoa! Mom! How do you know all of this? I’ve been a really bad mother. How To Train Your Dragon 2: How It Should Have Ended I’ve waited a long time for this! You can not take our dragons! They are controlled by the alpha! Then it’s a good thing I brought a challenger. *screaming* Daaaad! What?! You killed him! Uh huh. Awgh.. I wanted to change his mind about dragons… and stop a war peacefully! He was gonna kill my wife! … And I was carrying my axe… plus I’m a viking so… you know. *sigh* yeah OK. I guess that’s true Thanks, Dad. Well, now that’s done… Let’s all go home. One Big Happy Family! *alpha roars* Uh Oh. *spits fire* *squak* Oh! Never-mind. Hey. I’ve been thinking a lot lately… uh… How come all the adults in our village have really strong accents… But the younger people don’t? That is so weird! Hmmph! Tell me about it!

    Why the UK Runs Trains to Nowhere
    Articles, Blog

    Why the UK Runs Trains to Nowhere

    September 6, 2019

    This video was made possible by Squarespace. Build your website for 10% off at This train should not exist, and, if were
    up to the train company, it wouldn’t, but it’s not. You see, in the UK, trains work off a franchising
    system where the UK government awards contracts to different private companies to
    operate rail services. For example Virgin Trains East
    Coast operate the east coast route, ScotRail operates most trains in Scotland, TransPennine
    express operates many trains to and from Manchester, and there are about two dozen other
    operators, but this particular train that shouldn’t exist is operated by Chiltern
    Railways. They
    mostly operate trains to smaller towns between London and Birmingham and all of their trains
    to London terminate at Marylebone station…
    except for one—this one. This particular train
    operates from the nearby London Paddington station—the terminus for Great Western and
    Heathrow Express services. But Chiltern railways has to operate services
    to London Paddington because this document says so—their franchise
    agreement. This document is basically the
    contract between the railway company and the UK government so to modify this document they
    have to ask the government and, as we all know, sometimes governments aren’t very
    efficient. So here’s your super simple guide to closing
    a railway route in Britain. Step one: perform
    a “transport appraisal.” This is basically an analysis of the effects
    that the line closure will have on passengers, the environment, and the economy. The strait-forward three stage fourteen step
    process of creating a transport appraisal is explained in this handy 35 page document
    featuring this super user-friendly flowchart. Once you’ve completed that, just give it
    to the UK Department of Transport who will analyze your
    analysis. Step two: publish your proposal of
    closure including the findings of your transport appraisal six months before the proposed closure
    in one local newspaper circulating near the proposed closure and in two national newspapers
    for two weeks continuously. Step three: open a twelve-week consultation
    period including public hearings where anyone who disagrees with the
    closure can protest. Once you’ve completed those
    three easy steps, then you’ll hand everything over to the Office of Rail and Road who will
    decide whether or not you can close the line. As you might have been able to tell from my
    not-at-all-sarcastic explanation, it’s not easy
    to close a franchised rail route, but nowhere in the agreement does it say how often Chiltern
    Railways has to operate their route to Paddington—it just says they need to. So they operate it…
    once per day. Now compared to the US where cities as big
    as Houston, Texas only see three trains a week and have stations that look
    like this, a daily service from Paddington probably
    seems normal, but the station this service goes to, High Wycombe, sees 95 trains a day
    from the normal London station—Marylebone. One train per day is nothing for a UK train
    route, especially from London. Chiltern Railways, like many other train companies,
    have decided it’s just easier and cheaper to operate an infrequent
    service to fulfill their franchise agreement instead
    of going through the rather expensive formal closure process. But some rail companies have pushed the boundaries
    of what is considered “service” to an extreme. Northern’s franchise agreement requires
    them to operate a train between Stockport and Stalybridge which they fulfill by running
    one train, one-way, once per week. Between
    Stockport and Stalybridge there are two stations which are therefore serviced by one train
    per week. Closing stations is just as difficult as closing
    lines so they won’t do it. Denton station
    therefore recorded only 144 passengers in the past year while Reddish South saw just
    94. Thirty
    miles to the north, London Midland is required to operate services to Barlaston Railway Station,
    but companies are allowed to temporarily operate rail replacement buses during maintenance. This company, however, has interpreted “temporary”
    as 13 years as they’ve operated rail replacement busses to this station since 2004
    to fulfill their obligation. The Chiltern Railways service from London
    Paddington to High Wycombe is definitively unprofitable. On many days there are zero passengers. On the day this footage was filmed, there
    was only one. This bureaucratic closure process is meant
    to protect the public by preventing companies from closing unprofitable smaller
    stations, but in reality most of what is does is make
    these ghost trains. If you’ve just realized “ghost train”
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    Real Reason These 5 America’s Richest Families Went Broke
    Articles, Blog

    Real Reason These 5 America’s Richest Families Went Broke

    September 1, 2019

    This episode is brought to you by Dashlane;
    Try Dashlane Premium free for 30 days at and never forget another password and keep
    all your online accounts secure! In the 1800s when the USA was growing into
    the powerhouse it is today, a lot of families were getting rich. This was called the gilded age. Some made a fortune from things like the gold
    rush, while others just had great ideas. Thanks to a guy called Levi Strauss we got
    blue jeans, something he invented during the Gold Rush for people who needed sturdier work
    pants. He amassed great wealth thanks to his nifty
    invention. Prior to this some of the wealthiest people
    were plantation owners, merchants, statesmen, and then came the bankers, real estate moguls,
    and those working in the oil and railroad industries. In the 20th century others made fortunes,
    too, or should we say fickle fortunes. Some families managed to retain their wealth,
    while others lost it all, or most of it. Those are the people we’ll talk about today. The Pulitzers
    We’ll start with a name we think many of you will be familiar with. The reason you might have heard the name is
    because there is an award called the Pulitzer Prize. This is given to people who have created something
    great, either in literature, journalism, music, and more. But do you know why we have this prize at
    all? Well, that’s because a kind man called Joseph
    Pulitzer gave Columbia University a bunch of money to start a journalism school in 1892. This was the world’s first journalism school. Joseph had amassed quite a fortune in the
    newspaper business and wanted a country full of great reporters. He got depressed, sick, and died, but in 1917
    his name lived on when the first Pulitzer prize as we know it today was awarded. But that’s not why we are here today. What we want to know is what happened to all
    his cash? The answer is his grandson Peter Pulitzer
    invested a lot of that fortune in an 800-acre citrus farm, but that didn’t go well because
    the trees got sick from something called citrus canker. This is a bacterial disease that destroys
    the trees. We are told this would have ruined him, but
    the husband of his ex-wife bailed him out. That saved the citrus operation, so while
    Joseph didn’t exactly lose it all, he would have without a little help from friends. The Strohs
    This family we doubt you’ve heard of, unless you’re a big beer fan. The story goes that a young Bernhard Stroh
    had learned how to make beer in his native Germany, but during the German revolution
    he went to the USA with 150 bucks in his pocket and a recipe to make a decent beer. At age 28 in 1850 he started a brewery in
    Detroit and his son, Bernhard Stroh Jr., took over after him. Prohibition obviously wasn’t good for these
    beer makers, and they branched out into non-alcoholic beer and ice cream. When that ended the beer company just went
    from strength to strength and its said by 1978 the Stroh’s were pumping out 6.4 million
    US beer barrels to thirsty Americans. According to Forbes magazine in the 1980s
    the Stroh’s were rolling in dough with a fortune of $700 million. Then came the decline. Apparently the new generation got into serious
    debt after some shaky acquisitions. Then came some other mighty brewing companies
    such as Miller and Coors and the Strohs got left behind. In 1999 after brewing beer for 149 years the
    company was done and was taken over by other brewers. That 700 million fortune was gone. The then company president, John Stroh III
    said in a statement, “Emotionally, it was an extremely difficult one to make, knowing
    that it would impact our loyal employees, and recognizing that it would mean the end
    of our family’s centuries old brewing tradition that had become, in essence, an important
    part of our identity.” The Hartfords
    So far we haven’t had anyone who lost their fortune from living what you might call a
    playboy lifestyle, but with the Hartfords we do. Before we get to the big spending kid of the
    family, we’ll tell you how these people got their money. A man called George Huntington Hartford had
    taken over a business called The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. When he was head of that he branched out into
    grocery stores and supermarkets under the name A and P. This became massive, a name
    as big as McDonald’s is today. In fact, you might hear it being called the
    Walmart before there was a Walmart. In the 60s it was the biggest retailer of
    any kind in the USA and in the 70s was at least the biggest chain of grocery stores. Everyone went to A and P. At its peak it had
    15,709 stores in the USA and as you can imagine it made the Hartford family very, very rich. They were ranked as one of the wealthiest
    families in the USA for a while. So, what could go possibly go wrong? Well, it was basically competition from more
    modern stores starting in the 50s. They tried to keep up, but kept failing. Over the decades it closed 100s of its stores,
    got hurt badly by the Great Recession in the 2000s and finally filed for bankruptcy in
    2015. And like that, it was gone. But there was still cash around, because we
    are talking about extreme wealth here. Now we can talk about the playboy. His name was Huntington Hartford and according
    to various reports he squandered his massive inheritance. He hung out with the stars, bought fast cars,
    big houses, lots of art works, and we are told he lost it all. That was the end of the Hartford fortune. The Kluges
    This story begins with something called Metromedia, which was a media behemoth. It was taken over by German-American entrepreneur
    John Kluge in the 1950s and he expanded it and made a lot of money. In the 80s he sold it to 20th Century Fox
    film studio and at one point Forbes had him as the richest man in America. The billionaire later turned to philanthropy
    and did things like invest $60 million to build the John W. Kluge Center. In fact, he donated millions all over the
    place. So again, what could possibly go wrong. Well, it seems Mr. Kluge was never settled
    in his relationships and he got married four times. Now we don’t exactly know where all his
    cash went, but we do know that one person who got quite a lot of it lost it all. Her name Patricia Kluge, one of those wives. After her divorce she got her hands on a 200-acre
    estate and $1 million per year in the divorce settlement. She bought a vineyard and tried to expand
    it, which got in her lots of debt. There was then a real estate crash that ruined
    her and she declared bankruptcy. As for her vineyard, it was bought by the
    man who is now President of the United States, Donald Trump. The Vanderbilts
    We will finish with one of the most well-known of wealthy families in the USA. Their story starts with a man called Cornelius
    Vanderbilt, the son of American-Dutch parents. As a young boy he worked on his father’s
    ferry in New York Harbor. He was only 11. At age 16 he wanted to do his own ferry business
    and he borrowed a bit of cash to start his own operation taking people between Staten
    Island and Manhattan. You just couldn’t hold this boy back and
    he was well known for his entrepreneurship. At 19 he married his first cousin and got
    busy at home as well as at work. What we mean by that is he had 13 kids. He eventually branched out into regional steamboat
    lines and ocean-going steamships and after that built a railroad empire and all kinds
    of other business. At the time of his death in 1877 he had amassed
    $100 million. According to an inflation calculator today
    that would be two billion, three hundred eighty-two million, three hundred nineteen thousand,
    six hundred thirty-five dollars. Quite a bit of cash. And you know what, he left 95 percent of that
    to one son called Billy because he believed this son was capable of running his empire. Billy did just that and more, doubling the
    family’s wealth in his lifetime. But it seems this family just ran out of steam
    when it came to making cash, and over the years the fortune dried up. Some of the Vanderbilts over the years would
    do well, but none remained ultra-wealthy and that’s why some people talk about the “Fall
    of the House of Vanderbilt.” Is it really that good anyway to be born rich? In a book about the family the author wrote
    that one of the grandsons of the great Cornelius once said, “Inherited wealth is a real handicap
    to happiness.” There’s plenty of different ways to lose
    your money, and we’re betting that if we made this video again in ten years, at least
    one family would have lost their fortune to something that’s becoming more and more
    common every day – hacking. But you, being the intelligent Infographics
    Show viewer that you are, will rest easy because you’ll have Dashlane, the one and only tool
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    10% off a premium subscription today! Do you agree with that statement? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
    Why Winning The Lottery Is The Worst Thing That Can Happen To You. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
    forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

    Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures – Geoff’s Failed Sex Dream II
    Articles, Blog

    Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures – Geoff’s Failed Sex Dream II

    August 30, 2019

    [intro music playing] GEOFF: Do you guys remember when I had that sex dream with Jenny McCarthy? Yeah, I had another one the other night. Do you guys know the comedian Jenny Slate? I was having a dream the other night and we were in L.A. for a party, for some work thing. And, she was there. And, she was just, like, really fucking cool and funny, and we were joking and hitting it off, and stuff. And then, Griffon and Millie were there, too. And, they were like, “We gotta go back to Austin.” because Griffon had to a chainsaw carving or something, And, so, I was like, “Oh, well, I’ll just hang out here with Jenny Slate.” And, uh… we were just hanging out, shooting the shit. And, you know, having a lovely time. And, then, at some point, she was like– gave me a hug. And, it was, like, a sexually charged hug. And, my dick was, like, “Hello!” And, uh… then she, like, nuzzled my neck a little bit, and I was like, “Oh, boy!”
    [Geoff mumbles] And, then, she’s like, “Do you wanna go back to my hotel room with me?” -MICHAEL: Ho-ho-ho!
    -JEREMY: Woah. GEOFF: I was like, “Woah. Do you, uh–” And, she’s like, “Yeah, for sex, idiot.” And, I’m like, “Oh. Well, I am married.” And, she’s like, “I don’t see your wife.” -JEREMY: Ooh, wow. Slut.
    -MICHAEL: Damn.
    -GEOFF: And, I’m like, “Uh, yeah, she’s–” GEOFF: So, I was, like, “W– uh… h-hold on a second, I gotta make a phone call. And, she goes, “You’re going to call your wife and ask if you can have sex with me, aren’t you? And, I was like, “Yeah.” And, she goes, “Well, make it fast.” And, I was like, [softly] “OK.” So, I walked out the room and I called Griffon. And, I was like, “Hey, you’re not going to believe it, but, that Jenny Slate chick, she hit on me.” And, Griffon’s like, “What?” And, I was like, “Yeah, she– she wants to have sex with me.” And, Griffon’s like, “Excuse me?” And, I’m like, “Listen, this is a dream, so it shouldn’t matter.” [the others laugh] And, she goes, “I don’t care if it’s a dream, I will wake up in the real world and I will remember this– [Jack laughs] “if you have sex with her in this dream.” And, I was like, [stuttering] “Are you–” She was like, “I will know.” -GEOFF: And, I was like, “OK.”
    -MICHAEL: Damn, dude MICHAEL: at that point you gotta know, are you in you dream or are you in Griffon’s? She’ll fucking kill you. GEOFF: So, that was the end of the dream. She was like, “I will know.” And, I was like, “OK… OK.” And, then I woke up. I’m getting real sick of not getting laid im my dreams, though. -GAVIN: I like how faithful you are, even in dream form.
    -GEOFF: Yeah, Griffon said I was stupid. She was like, “Stop putting this on me! “I don’t care if you sleep with women in your dreams.” And, I’m like, “obviously you do.” [outro music playing]

    How Airlines Price Flights
    Articles, Blog

    How Airlines Price Flights

    August 27, 2019

    This video was made possible by Blue Apron. Get three free meals from Blue Apron by being
    one of the first 100 people to sign up at the link below. Airline ticket pricing probably seems like
    a crapshoot. The numbers change seemingly arbitrarily every
    week, day, or hour, but there’s some real science behind these prices. People spend their whole lives figuring out
    what to charge you to fly. Let’s take a look at one flight on one route
    by one airline to understand. American Flight 33 leaves New York’s JFK
    airport every day at 7 AM bound for Los Angeles arriving at 10:51 AM pacific time. This transcontinental route is one of the
    most competitive in the world with over 3.5 million yearly passengers and five major airlines
    connecting the country’s two largest cities. There’s nowhere where pricing strategies
    are more important for airlines than here. Looking at three months of fares for this
    flight, there are eight distinct prices for economy ranging from $129 to $472. These all get you on the exact same flight
    in the exact same seat but each and every price has a purpose and place. The lowest price, $129, is the most competitive
    price. This fare only shows up three times in our
    three month span—each time on Tuesdays. Now, Tuesdays are very often the cheapest
    days of the week to fly. Business travelers tend to make up much of
    the demand during the week and they most often want to fly out on Monday and return on Thursday
    or Friday so Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays tend to be the most expensive travel days
    while Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often the cheapest. The average ticket price for this flight shows
    this—Tuesdays average $182 and Wednesdays $173. Even if the demand is lower American Airlines
    runs the flight anyways and they have to fill seats to break even so they sell the flight
    at rock-bottom prices. The next price, $144, actually demonstrates
    a very interesting phenomenon. Whenever American prices their flight at $144,
    they are not alone. Take March 6th for example. American, Delta, Virgin America, JetBlue,
    and United all have flights from New York to LA at around 7 in the morning selling for
    $144. They’re doing what is called price matching. Because this is one of the most competitive
    routes in the world and because the number one determinant for travelers on which airline
    they take is price, all five airlines flying this route match each others prices. This way, travelers make their decision based
    off the reputation of each airline rather than the price. The price stays at $144 because it’s in
    each airlines best interest to keep it there. In a normal market, if Delta, for example,
    dropped their price to $119 they would get more travelers since they were the cheapest,
    but in this price matched market all the other airlines would drop their prices as soon as
    Delta drops theirs so all of them would get the same amount of travelers as before while
    earning less money, but there are some cases where it can make business sense for airlines
    to drop prices to below even being profitable. Around the year 2000, WestJet and the now
    defunct CanJet airlines started flying from central Canada to Newfoundland. These routes were historically operated exclusively
    by Air Canada and they were expensive. A one-way flight from Montreal in 1999 cost
    over $600, but when the budget airlines WestJet and CanJet started flying the route, prices
    dropped dramatically and Air Canada was threatened, so they dropped their prices even lower. The $600 Air Canada fares then cost $89. Now, it wouldn’t make sense for anyone to
    fly a budget airline over Air Canada at the same price so WestJet and CanJet were almost
    driven out of business on these routes, until Canada’s Competition Bureau stepped in. They concluded that Air Canada was engaging
    in the uncompetitive action of predatory pricing since they were pricing flights below what
    it cost to operate them, so they were forced to stop. Airlines in the US, with some newly strong
    budget competitors, are engaging in similar actions nowadays. United airlines, for example, is matching
    Frontier’s $40 fares on many days from Denver to Chicago, among other routes, in order to
    maintain their market stronghold in Denver and Chicago even though their cost to operate
    the route is drastically higher than Frontier so they are almost certainly loosing money
    on those fares. But back to the New York to LA route. $159 is the lowest regular fare for this flight. The $129 and $144 price points were both basic
    economy fares—the most restrictive type with no seat selection, no carry on bags,
    and no changes or refunds. Every flight has a bunch of different booking
    classes each with a fare code. For example, the basic economy fare code for
    the $129 and $144 price is B, but the $159 price books into fare code N. These different
    booking classes are sometimes known are fare buckets. Essentially the airline decides it’s going
    to sell a certain number of tickets at the $159 price with fare code N, let’s say 10,
    then when those ten tickets are sold the airline then sells economy at fare code G for $204
    then when those are sold it sells economy at fare code V for $269 then fare code L for
    $318 and so on and so forth. There are also some cases where a ticket will
    default to a more expensive fare bucket because of reasons other than the lower fare selling
    out. Many fares, including each mentioned so far,
    have advance purchase requirements meaning that, even if a flight is not full at all,
    the price will increase closer to departure. All the fares below $204 have an advance purchase
    requirement of two weeks meaning that you can only purchase them more than two weeks
    before departure while the $269 fare, for example, has an advance purchase requirement
    of only one week. Although, the cheapest fare without an advance
    purchase requirement at all, that is, the cheapest fare that you could buy day-of for
    this flight is fare class K at $472 which happens to be the most expensive economy class
    fare. And now for some caveats. Not every fare for this flight is going to
    be priced at one of these eight prices. Airlines have mechanisms to adjust fares from
    these buckets. In the short-term, they can adjust things
    like the fuel surcharge to raise the price if other factors, like oil prices, increase. In the long term they can adjust the actual
    prices of the different fare buckets. Airline often increase the base fares for
    busy seasons like summer. American Airlines does exactly that on this
    New York to LA route where their fare class M, for example, increases from $357 to $410
    in August. But so far we’ve looked at this at a micro
    level—how prices differ on one flight—but we also have to consider the macro level. Why if you leave on Tuesday February 6th and
    fly 2,469 miles to the west to LA do you pay $129 while if you fly 3,442 miles to the east
    to London—only a thousand miles further than LA—you pay $2,772. Well, the second figure is a bit deceptive
    because that’s the price of a one-way ticket. If you switch the LA flight to a round-trip
    ticket returning a week later it will cost $257—exactly double—while if you turn
    the London flight into a round-trip returning a week later the price will drop to $602—almost
    five times less. This is understandably confusing—a one-way
    ticket that costs more than a roundtrip—but the reason this is goes back to the fare codes. Embedded within each fare code are a bunch
    of little restrictions that dictate when you can use that fare. On the New York to LA trip those restrictions
    are just things like blackout dates for the fare and advance purchase requirements, but
    the New York to London ticket has loads more restrictions and the ones that make one-ways
    more expensive than round-trips are the minimum stay requirements. These requirements dictate how soon your return
    flight can be in order to get a particular fare. The idea is to price discriminate—business
    travelers should pay more because they can pay more. Meanwhile, airlines try to give the lowest
    prices to leisure travelers since they’re the ones paying for their own tickets and
    therefore they’re the ones that are the most price sensitive. Business travelers often want to be home for
    the weekend, so many of these minimum stay requirements, like with fares Q, N, and S,
    just require a Sunday at your destination. Others, trying to accomplish the same thing,
    require seven days, a full week, which would also require a traveller to stay the weekend
    at their destination. Now as the prices go up the requirements go
    down so once you get to paying around $2000 you can stay for as few as three days, but
    the cheapest roundtrip base airfare with no stay requirement at all is $5,544 in fare
    class Y—exactly double the one way price. So that explains this—the one way ticket
    is so expensive because, since the airline doesn’t know how long the traveller will
    stay at their destination the one-way fare has to be booked into the least restrictive
    fare class without the minimum stay requirement. You’ll see this idea of price discrimination
    all over ticketing structures. It’s a genius pricing concept that allows
    different people to buy products at the prices they can afford and therefore its allows businesses
    to sell the same product to more people. Tickets increase in price closer to departure
    because leisure travelers buy tickets far-out and business travelers buy their tickets close
    to departure and flexible tickets are more expensive because that’s what business travelers
    need, but there’s another pricing difference going on that’s less fair—between routes. It’s all about competition. Different routes of the same distance cost
    different amounts generally not because they cost different amounts to operate, but because
    of how much the competitors are charging. This is part of why flights into small airports
    are so expensive—because they lack competition. You can fly the 240 miles from Detroit to
    Pellston, Michigan on a CRJ 200 for $242 or you can fly the 170 miles from Detroit to
    South Bend, Indiana on a CRJ 200 for $76. The only difference is that South Bend Airport
    has flights from United, Delta, and Allegiant while Pellston only has flights from Delta. The same phenomenon happens over the Atlantic. There’s more competition on the six hour
    flight from New York to LA than on the six hour flight from New York to Dublin so you
    can fly to LA for $250 round trip while Dublin costs $500 round trip. Of course, travelers from New York to LA can
    drive, take the bus, take the train, or take a flight connecting halfway there while travelers
    to Dublin only have one choice—to fly. In all, the truth is that prices reflect what
    people will pay and so people will pay what flights are priced. If you’re a busy person like me, you know
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    The Time China Had a 12 Day Long Traffic Jam
    Articles, Blog

    The Time China Had a 12 Day Long Traffic Jam

    August 25, 2019

    This video was made possible by Brilliant. Learn intuitively with Brilliant for 20% off
    by being one of the first 200 to sign up at If something’s crammed, communist, and a
    country it’s probably China. China used to look like this but now it looks
    like this. The country’s grown enormously in the past
    few decades both in population and wealth. Now, of course global warming isn’t real
    and the earth is flat, but in a world where global warming was real and the earth was
    some other shape, the best thing you could do to combat turning Minneapolis into Miami
    would be to be poor. The poorest half of the world’s population
    only contributes 10% of all carbon emissions. This does make sense as the richest .01% of
    the world eat their imported truffled wagyu filets on their private jets traveling to
    Ibiza for the day while the poorest .01% eat their meals by, well, not but the bigger factor
    is what happens as people get into the upper 10 or 20 or 30% of world wealth. China, for example, was poor but now it’s
    somewhat rich which means that its population now eats things like hamburgers which, no
    joke, are slowly killing the environment as cows fart huge amounts of methane which is
    a greenhouse gas. More importantly, though, more and more people
    in China own cars. There are now 217 million cars on Chinese
    roads which, considering there were only 59 million ten years ago, is a lot. That means that in ten years, China has essentially
    had to triple the capacity of its roads which is basically impossible. Hence, traffic. Now, this is one of China’s busiest roads—National
    Highway 110. This highway connects inner Mongolia, the
    part of Mongolia that’s in China, to Beijing, the capital. G110 didn’t, however, used to be so busy. What happens when your country transforms
    from being mostly composed of poor rural farmers to relatively rich urban populations is that
    suddenly you need energy to power everything. See, here’s a graph that says a thing! China didn’t really go for that hippy wind
    or solar energy, they went for coal. 70% of their overall energy need is fulfilled
    by this rock. Of course this isn’t sustainable long term
    as coal isn’t a renewable resource like wind or Batman reboots but for now, it’s
    a cheap and easy source of energy. That’s helped by the fact that China has
    about 13% of the world’s coal in its ground while Mongolia, China’s neighbor, has about
    10%. A good amount of China’s coal is in inner
    Mongolia, the region, and they also import plenty of coal from Mongolia, the country. What China doesn’t have, though, is coal
    transportation infrastructure… or YouTube, a free press, a market economy, freedom of
    movement, freedom of speech, a freely floated currency, or time zones, but the transportation
    infrastructure is the important thing it’s missing in this case. There are, for example, only seven roads that
    cross the border from Mongolia, the country, to China, the country. What’s worse, there are barely any railways
    and trains are the primary means of transportation worldwide for coal as it’s really not very
    dense and trucks can’t carry that much. This lack of railways means that there are
    huge amounts of trucks driving from inner Mongolia to Beijing carrying coal each and
    every day. There are a few routes these trucks can take
    into Beijing but the most popular one is G110. That’s because much of the coal coming from
    inner Mongolia comes from illegal, unlicensed mines and, while the other routes from inner
    Mongolia have inspection stations to combat illegal mining, G110 does not. All these factors compounded to create the
    beginnings of a traffic jam on August 14th, 2010. It was the busy summer season and the highway
    just couldn’t handle the amount of trucks but the real problem started five days later
    as maintenance work began on the highway to fix damage from overuse. That shut down half the lanes at points and
    this traffic jam, which had already been going on continuously for five days to a lesser
    extent, just became a parking lot. At its worst, the congestion lasted for 60
    continuous miles and drivers were only able to move as little as 0.6 miles per day. It took some close to a week to make their
    way through this stretch of highway—a journey that would normally take an hour. This whole mini-economy sprung up as villagers
    from near the highway walked or biked up and down selling food and drinks. Water, which normally sells for 1 yuan, went
    for 15. Drivers took naps under their trucks, played
    cards, took walks, there really was no reason to be behind the wheel as nothing was moving. Throughout this all, authorities desperately
    tried to reduce the traffic by sending trucks on different routes and telling people not
    to drive. As the jam entered its second week nothing
    seemed to be working although, with time, as it gained national and international media
    attention, people eventually stopped taking the highway and then, finally, after twelve
    whole days of bumper to bumper traffic, the congestion dissipated and National Highway
    110 was back to normal. China has since built railways, expanded highways,
    and cracked down on illegal mining which has prevented any more apocalyptic jams but this
    August 2010 one on G110 is now believed to have been the worst traffic jam in world history. If you want to learn how to make apocalyptic
    jam unfortunately Brilliant does not have a course on that but they actually do have
    a course on how to make regular jams, traffic jams. Their physics of the everyday course includes
    a whole section teaching how traffic jams form and work. Brilliant, as you know by now, is the best
    place to be taught complex concepts as they teach the intuitive principles so you understand
    rather than just learn. If you want to become the sort of person who
    can explain the physics of traffic jams, Brilliant is the place for you as they have courses
    on that and plenty of other interesting topics such as artificial neural networks, number
    theory, and solar energy. Best of all, you can try Brilliant classes
    for free by signing up at and then, if you decide to upgrade to their
    premium account, the first 200 to do so at that link will get 20% off.

    Why Iceland Imports Ice
    Articles, Blog

    Why Iceland Imports Ice

    August 22, 2019

    This video was made possible by Squarespace. Build your beautiful website with Squarespace
    for 10% off at Chances are that somewhere on the internet
    you’ve heard the “fact” that Iceland was named Iceland by its viking settlers to
    stop their enemies from coming to the island. Well, that fact is about as wrong as pineapple
    on pizza. The truth is that the first norse settler
    of the island was feeling a little bummed out upon arrival since his daughter and livestock
    died en route so he just stayed for the winter before returning to Norway and, since the
    particular area he stayed in happened to be icy he figured all of the island was icy and
    therefore called it Iceland. Of course that’d be as absurd as, you know,
    seeing that the sidewalk was flat and deciding the whole earth must be flat, or something. Iceland is cold and has plenty of snow and
    ice during the winter but as a whole, the country is fairly green. Still, for such a northern and wintery country
    the idea that it imports ice is pretty absurd. Nonetheless that is reality but Iceland’s
    ice importation has a surprisingly rational explanation. Now, taking ice from one place and selling
    it in another is nothing new. El Chapo was great at it but as it turns out,
    centuries ago people’s refrigerators didn’t have ice dispensers. For the majority of history people just dealt
    with having warm drinks like cave-people but when the 19th century rolled around that all
    changed. An entrepreneur named Frederic Tudor started
    taking ice from cold places like Maine and selling it in hot places like Cuba. Genius, right? Only problem, ice melts. Frederic understood this and insulated his
    cargo with sawdust and, with enough ice, at least some of it would make it through the
    1,600 mile journey from Maine to Cuba. At first Frederick received a frosty reception
    from the hot place people as they were doubtful that they needed ice so Frederic channeled
    his inner drug dealer and gave them their first bit of ice for free to get them addicted. Soon, business was booming. Now, places like New York and DC get too cold
    in the winter for people to want ice but in the summer, they too get swelteringly hot
    so Frederic wanted to make a way to be able to sell ice in the mid-Atlantic summers. Really the only solution was to take a whole
    lot of ice, put it in an insulated building, and hope some of it lasts until summer and,
    crazily enough, that worked. Most of North America started to rely on ice
    so it was time for Frederick to take the ice trade intercontinental. The rest of the world also had hot places
    like India so Frederic Tudor set up a regular shipment of ice to Calcutta, India which became
    hugely popular with the rich English colonialists who were used to cooler temperatures. Amazingly, he had the process refined so well
    at that point that the ice from New England was selling in India for, adjusted for inflation,
    only $1 per pound. Soon after, ice from New England was shipped
    and sold in London, in Rio de Janeiro, in Cape Town, in Hong Kong, the New England ice
    even reached as far as Sydney, Australia where it sold for only $2 per pound. So, was it a coincidence that the climate
    starting rapidly warming only a century after the world’s elite started using ice shipped
    from the other side of the world by steamship all so they could have a chilled beverage? I’m not saying the ice trade singlehandedly
    caused climate change, but it certainly didn’t help. Of course, with time artificial refrigeration
    became cheap and widespread but not before making Frederic Tudor a very rich man. Iceland today, despite what some may think,
    is not some backwards heathen society that shuns the use of refrigerators. Its importation of ice has to do with something
    else—economics. You see, Iceland is a very expensive place. Like many isolated, northern counties, Iceland
    relies on imports for many things like oil, wood, wheat, and other food. It just doesn’t have the ability to produce
    these items domestically due to its geography but shipping to Iceland is also relatively
    cheap since its economy is export-driven. While fish is Iceland’s biggest export this
    is mostly shipped by plane but the country also has an enormous aluminum industry thanks
    to its low electricity cost. Aluminum, along with most everything else
    Iceland makes, is exported by ship which means that there’s demand for shipping from Iceland. That means that ships are already coming to
    Iceland to bring items elsewhere so its relatively inexpensive to fill those ships with other
    goods to bring to Iceland. At the same time, the average Icelander makes
    about $57,000 per year, it’s one of the highest income countries in the world, so
    that means making things in Iceland, in most cases, is expensive. If you go and check your handy dandy Icelandic
    schedule of tariffs, though, you see that water, ice, and snow have no import duty if
    imported from the European Economic Area. Therefore, Iceland imports ice from other
    less expensive countries in the EEZ such as Scotland and the only additional cost is the
    cheap shipping. While there are plenty of other countries
    that don’t charge import duties on ice, there are few that have the mix of high domestic
    labor costs and cheap inbound shipping that make it worth it for Iceland to import ice. That’s why Iceland’s grocery stores are
    stocked with this imported ice from hundreds or thousands of miles away as it ends up being
    about 40% less than Icelandic ice. If you want to sell a different kind of ice
    you definitely need a Squarespace website. You can build a fully functional online store
    within minutes using their website builder so you can put all your attention into building
    your ice cream empire. In fact, if you run any sort of business whether
    that be a brick and mortar store, a podcast, a youtube channel, or anything else you want
    to make a great first impression for your potential customers and Squarespace helps
    you do that because their beautiful designer templates make it easy to build a website
    that looks great. Best of all, you can start building your website
    for free at and then, when you’re ready to launch, that same link
    will get you 10% off.

    WWII Prisoner Escapes Through Toilet
    Articles, Blog

    WWII Prisoner Escapes Through Toilet

    August 20, 2019

    The date is March, 1943, and in a prisoner
    of war camp inside occupied Poland, Royal Canadian Air Force pilot William Ash approaches
    the camp’s toilet facilities. A single POW leans against the latrine’s doorway,
    casually keeping watch on the rest of the camp. The POW nods at Ash as he approaches and allows
    him to enter the small, squat latrine. Inside are two rows of toilets, built in the
    classic Roman style- nine boxed-in seats ring the sides of the room and consist of nothing
    more than concrete boxes with no dividers between them. The wooden seats lead down to a large concrete
    pit underneath where hundreds of prisoners relieve themselves into every day. A small hole leads to a huge sewage pit which
    is drained every week into the waiting truck of a local farmer who uses the camp’s waste
    to fertilize his fields. As Ash enters the building he spots two men
    seated at the far seats, who return his nod of greeting. One of them stands and lifts the seat he was
    just sitting on, revealing a hole in the concrete that is just barely large enough for a man
    to squeeze through. The stench of human waste wafts up from below,
    powerful enough to make the men’s eyes tear up as they fight the urge to vomit, yet powering
    through the horrid assault on their nostrils, the men climb down into the hole one by one. As they land a few inches of waste water splash
    urine and feces all over the men, but they ignore it as they turn their attention to
    the task at hand. The men remove a panel that’s been made to
    look like a false wall and reveal a small chamber beyond which has been carved from
    the frozen soil itself. Using candles made of boot strings and margarine
    held in a tin dish, the men join three others who are already waiting there and strip down
    to their underwear. One man sits at a bellows made of old leather
    kit bags, and as he works it he pushes air through a pipe made of old cans into the tunnel
    which the crew has been digging for weeks now. Two men now move down into that tunnel while
    the remainder stay behind to handle the soil that the diggers displace in their dig. The entire crew is split up into shifts, with
    some men taking turns digging while others man the bellows, dispose of the dirt, or stands
    watch above. Disposal of the dirt is accomplished by pushing
    the dirt through the sump directly under the toilets above and into the huge sewage pit
    beyond. Once a week Polish farmer Franciszek Lewandowski
    arrives at the camp and pumps the sewage out for use on his farm, yet Lewandowski has begun
    to notice more and more dirt in the waste water. Before he has a chance to complain to the
    Nazi guards though another prisoner, Josef Bryks, a young Czechoslovakian, informs Lewandowski
    of the escape plan. The Polish farmer is no fan of the Nazis,
    especially after their invasion and occupation of his home, and keeps the plan a secret,
    doing his part to aid the would-be escapees by dutifully carting away the soil. As the digging team finishes its work for
    the day, the third team enters the tunnel and begins the job of shoring up the tunnel
    walls and ceiling. The tunneling work, carried out with nothing
    more than cut-out aluminum cans, is dangerous work, and the tunnel is under constant threat
    of collapse. Each day that the tunnel extends further and
    deeper the men require just a little bit more courage to enter the dark tunnel, not knowing
    if that’s the day the tunnel will collapse and trap them with little to no hope of rescue. It is the job of the third team then to enter
    and shore up the sides and ceiling as best they can, using wooden boards taken from their
    barracks and even their bed frames themselves. The boards make for a rudimentary shoring,
    but help add a bit of safety to the entire endeavor. As they shore up the freshly dug length of
    tunnel, the men also extend the air pipe which brings in oxygen to the tunneling crew. They use powdered milk cans for the job, cutting
    them so that they fit end to end. The air they pump is from the latrine itself,
    and fetid with the stench of human waste- but it brings life-saving oxygen as the men
    dig deeper and further into the earth. To expedite the process of digging, the men
    have developed an ingenious system to move freshly dug earth to the latrine sump for
    disposal. Two lengths of rope extend down the tunnel,
    and at one end is an empty sack. The diggers fill the sack with dirt and then
    give the rope a sharp tug, which causes the man at the halfway point to begin hauling
    on the rope to bring the dirt out of the tunnel. Once it reaches the midway point, that man
    attaches it to the second rope who’s end he has with him, and then gives that rope a sharp
    tug. The men at the entrance then drag the sack
    from the halfway point all the way to the entrance of the tunnel, where the dirt is
    emptied into the latrine sump. The system is rudimentary, and nowhere near
    as sophisticated as the homemade railroad tracks and trolleys that the men at the Stalag
    Luft 3 prison complex would use to escape and serve as inspiration for the film, The
    Great Escape. Yet the process saves countless hours of labor
    as it takes a half hour to squeeze down the two foot by two foot tunnel each day. In early March of 1943, the team digging at
    the end of the tunnel begin to dig directly upwards. By their calculations they have dug several
    hundred feet past the perimeter fencing, a task which required them to not just dig out
    from their starting point, but down into the rocky soil to a depth of over a dozen feet
    in order to avoid the seismic sensors that the Germans have installed to detect digging. Once well out of the fence, the tunnel begins
    to angle upwards again and now the men are digging straight up. One of them takes a long stick and pushes
    it into the ceiling above, feeling resistance for two feet before the stick gives way to
    the topside- the tunnel is finished, and to avoid detection the last two feet of the tunnel
    will be dug up on the day of their escape. Now the men prepare for their breakout. While the dig teams were working for weeks
    on the tunnel, Brysk, the young Czech, has been helping secure fake papers for the escapees. To do this he managed to talk his way into
    being part of a detail that is taken every week under guard to a produce store in town. There the prisoner detail buys a few luxuries
    for the POWs such as chocolates, cigarettes, and the sort- they pay for this from the meager
    wages paid to them by the German government under its obligations to pay POWs for their
    labor via the Geneva Convention. At the store a young Polish girl, Stefania
    Maludzinska, works behind the counter, and it isn’t long before she’s swooning at Bryks’
    charms. She has been helping to smuggle letters to
    Bryks’ family members for months, but now the escapees need her help in far more dangerous
    work. Stefania has friends who work at town hall,
    and she has them steal official German forms that will serve as a template for the forged
    identity papers needed by the escapees. The identity papers will ID the escapees as
    Polish citizens after their escape, allowing them to bypass security checkpoints and hide
    their identities as POWs. Yet for the papers to look legitimate there
    is one more thing that is needed: a photograph of each of the escapees to adorn their fake
    papers. To get these photographs, Stefania takes the
    biggest risk of her life and helps secure a small camera and film from a Polish laborer
    who used to be a teacher before the German invasion. Now he is forced to do hard labor and work
    rebuilding the same roads the Germans themselves bombed in the invasion, and helping the prisoners
    escape will be his small measure of revenge against the Nazis. The camera and the film is smuggled into the
    camp via a seventeen year old boy who routinely brings in a shipment of the prisoner’s daily
    allowance of bread, all hidden safely amongst the loafs. After the prisoners take their photos the
    film is then smuggled out through the same young teenage boy, who develops the photos
    himself in a makeshift photo lab inside his parents’ tiny apartment. All of these brave Polish civilians assisting
    the escapees are taking huge risks, and discovery of their involvement would certainly lead
    to a quick execution. The date for the breakout is set to be March
    5th, as those amongst the prisoners with meteorological knowledge estimate that this will be the next
    moonless night. In order to have the best chance of escape,
    the men must move under the cover of deepest darkness, and with no moon in the sky they
    stand a good chance of being unseen by the perimeter sentries. The men decide that immediately after the
    five pm roll call, a group of them will head straight to the tunnel and wall themselves
    in, until after lock-up at nine pm when the rest of the group will sneak out of their
    bunks and make their way into the tunnel. A mathematician amongst them calculates that
    the tunnel will be able to support up to thirty three men for six hours before the oxygen
    runs out and the men asphyxiate- the figures and the math both are rough, but it’s the
    best the men have to go on. At five PM on March 5th, the guards line up
    the POWs and conduct their daily count. Satisfied that all men are accounted for,
    they are left alone for recreation time. Eight hundred men move to the recreation ground
    where a rugby match has been staged in order to help cover the escape attempt. The men plotting their escape conceal clean
    clothes under coats, their pockets stuffed with a concoction termed “the mixture”,
    a high energy food made by the prisoners. In each of their pockets are also their identification
    papers, a map of the region, and a homemade compass. Overhead gray clouds build up and cold gusts
    of wind force the German guards to seek what shelter they can inside their guard towers. The men head to the latrine in pairs, and
    once inside ditch their overcoats and make their way into the filth below. As the night goes on the men are relieved
    to discover that the calculations for oxygen supply were correct, and at last nine pm rolls
    around along with the final group to enter the escape tunnel. The men break through the last two feet of
    dirt at the end of the tunnel and crawl out into freedom, grateful to leave the smelly,
    stinking tunnel behind at last. The men break up into groups and head in different
    directions so as not to draw attention to themselves, posing as travelers. Unfortunately within the end of the week,
    all thirty six escapees would be recaptured by the Germans, with many sent off to new
    prison camps. Though the escape ultimately failed, it proved
    to be one of the most daring and smelliest escapes of World War II, inspiring many heroic
    attempts by other Allied soldiers throughout the rest of the conflict. Think you could’ve stomached digging through
    a giant sewer to get to safety? Let us know in the comments! And as always if you enjoyed this video don’t
    forget to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

    The US’ Plan for a Hypothetical War with Britain
    Articles, Blog

    The US’ Plan for a Hypothetical War with Britain

    August 18, 2019

    This video was made possible by Skillshare. Learn what you want to learn for free for
    two months by being one of the first 500 to sign up at the link in the description. American Civil War—bad. Captain America: Civil War—good. War star-ting—bad. Star Wars—good. War of the Worlds—bad. World War—go… wait, no. No War—good, for most. One of the few downsides for a lack of war
    is that there’s not much for generals and the like to do so they need activities to
    fill their time. One such activity is planning for war. After all, the US for example, has only been
    at war for 224 years of its 243 year existence—a measly 92%. That’s a lot of downtime. During the 20’s, there wasn’t much war
    stuff going on—only this small four decade-long war in central America where the US was fighting
    to be sure the bananas kept flowing—and so in order to prepare for a possible Great
    War part deux the US started making plans for what their strategy would be for hypothetical
    wars with possible contenders like Japan, China, Mexico, and the UK. Now, despite their very public break-up in
    the late 1700’s, relations between the US and UK mostly improved up until World War
    One when relations improved greatly after the US did Europe a solid by rocking up in
    the forth quarter and helping finish the job. Nonetheless, Britain was still a big scary
    empire—by some measures still the most powerful nation in the world—so the US still prepared
    a plan in the 30’s for war with the red coats. It was called War Plan Red and the idea was
    as follows. Of course, after the US quite boisterously
    declared itself as not part of the UK in the 1700s, one of the not-quite-united States
    of America, that is, Canada, remained part of the British empire. By the 1900s, Canada was independent but still
    very much integrated in the commonwealth and it had some fancy features like a 5,500 mile,
    9,000 kilometer border with the home team in this hypothetical UK-US war. It was therefore believed that the UK would
    use Canada as a jumping-off point for an invasion of the mainland US so the idea was for the
    US military to yankee doodle doo its way up into Canada before the British could arrive. There were five main areas that the US would
    invade—Halifax and St. John, Montreal and Quebec city, the Great Lakes area, Winnipeg,
    and Vancouver. Step one was to launch an offensive towards
    Halifax by land and sea. Halifax was a crucial port for British-Canadian
    trade and therefore occupying it would greatly slow down the movement of British forces into
    Canada. From there, a land assault from New York and
    Vermont would be launched to occupy Montreal and Quebec City. These act as major ports on the St Lawrence
    River and controlling the St Lawrence would essentially split Canada in two preventing
    goods from the agricultural areas in the Maritimes from getting to the rest. The US would also seek to control the Great
    Lakes area around Toronto both because this area was and is one of Canada’s major population
    and industrial centers and because it’s dangerously close to the American midwest
    which, at the time, was a crucial industrial area of the US. They didn’t want the British to be able
    to set up bases here. Winnipeg was next on US’ wish list largely
    because it acted as the center of Canada’s trans-continental railroad so controlling
    Winnipeg would mean controlling and cutting off rail transportation. Lastly, Vancouver, while lower importance,
    was included in invasion plans to prevent Britain using it as a back-up port by going
    through the Panama Canal and in order to disrupt Canada’s pacific trade. It was believed that if the US controlled
    these five areas, they would effectively control Canada and this would be a significant enough
    blow that the UK would seek a peace deal—no conflict outside the western hemisphere was
    planned. Interestingly, this plan included a short
    little casual little line mentioning that the US had no intention of returning the captured
    territory. Canada would become part of the US. Who knows, maybe they have oil or something
    well that sure would be convenient, hahahahaha-please-give-us-oil. That being their worst nightmare, Canada developed
    their own war plan against the United States. They recognized that their own military alone
    did not have a great chance at defending their territory against the US long-term. The general idea was therefore to distract
    US forces by, as soon as credible intelligence about an impending US invasion was received,
    launching a surprise invasion on Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Fargo, Great Falls, Minneapolis,
    Albany, and Maine. Eventually, as American forces arrived to
    defend these cities the Canadians would retreat destroying infrastructure like bridges, roads,
    and railroads on their way back to slow an American invasion. Hopefully, according to the Canadian plan,
    by this time British troops would have arrived from the UK. Now, while they were far from the most credible
    threat to the US, some people really believed in the 30s that war with the British empire
    could happen. Today, any sort of conflict between the US
    and UK or Canada—two of the most culturally and economically linked countries to the US—seems
    ridiculous although, War Plan Red, the US’ plan, was only declassified in 1974. The US won’t acknowledge whether or not
    there’s a modern day equivalent. As far as we know, the American military could
    be prepping for war with the UK right now. Of course, what we can be pretty certain of
    is that if the US and UK go to war, the missiles’ll be flying! In the post-war apocalyptic nuclear wasteland
    you’ll want to re-build your social status through humblebrags like, “Oh well you know
    I’ve been soo busy with my candle business recently, it’s just doing so well, but I’ve
    finally gotten around to watching that Skillshare course I had downloaded on my iPad on how
    to make roast chicken and you know what, I think the recipe would work for cockroach.” You can do that because Skillshare’s iOS
    and Android apps let you download any of their more than 25,000 classes for viewing off-line. With Skillshare, you can learn pretty much
    whatever you want to learn whether that be knife skills, pilates, memory skills, animation,
    or more. To get started, visit the link in the description
    or Also, the first 500 visitors get 2 months
    of unlimited access to over 25,000 classes for free.

    Brazil’s Geography Problem
    Articles, Blog

    Brazil’s Geography Problem

    August 14, 2019

    This video was made possible by Skillshare. Learn from 21,000 classes for free for two
    months at There are plenty of lines you can draw on
    the globe but perhaps none is more consequential than the equator. Of the 15 wealthiest countries
    in the world as measured by GDP per capita, all are in the northern hemisphere. Only 800
    million of earth’s 7.6 billion residents live south of the equator. There is a clear
    divide between north and south but of those 800 million people a quarter of them, about
    207 million, live here in Brazil. The country is an exception to the global trend. Brazil
    is the fifth most populous country in the world and the most populous entirely within
    the southern hemisphere. Its economy has grown enormously and the country is quickly developing.
    Although, the very land it sits on stacks the odds against it. Its location gives it
    a disadvantage. Given this, the question is whether Brazil can develop into a world superpower
    by the likes of the US, Europe, Russia, India, and China or if the country is doomed to fail? Brazil, of course, looks like this but in
    reality almost 80% of the country’s population lives here—within 200 miles of the coast.
    You do see a concentration of population near the coast in any country as it provides a
    cheap and easy means of transportation by boats and a source of food through fishing
    but few countries have such a severe concentration of people by the oceans as Brazil. This small
    area, for example, is home to three of Brazil’s six largest cities. Normally this would help
    development as the area in between cities will urbanize but this map doesn’t tell
    the whole story—this one does. You see, this area of Brazil is rather mountainous.
    The major cities mostly exist in small pockets of low-altitude, flat land on the ocean. This
    is because major cities need easy water access to get goods in and out. The majority of Brazil’s
    coast is defined by steep, sheer cliffs. Petrópolis, for example, a suburb of Rio, is a mere 13
    miles from the ocean and yet it sits at almost 3,000 feet of altitude. The rare areas with
    low-altitude land on the water are where cities like Porte Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife
    are but this pattern has two consequences. First, these cities, while being on flat land
    themselves are surrounded by cliffs and mountainous regions which means their growth is limited.
    There are plenty of cities that exist in mountainous regions but the world’s largest and most
    influential cities like London and Delhi and Beijing all exist in areas with absolutely
    no geographical features limiting their growth. The fact that Brazil’s cities locate in
    rare low-altitude coastal land means that the country will likely never have a megalopolis
    by the likes of the Pearl River Delta or the US Northeast. It takes a surprising six hours
    to drive between Rio and Sao Paolo and since there’s no low-altitude coastal land in
    between them, there are really no major cities in between them too. Brazil’s cities are
    confined to the geographically convenient areas which are spread out from each other.
    This means the cities can’t collaborate easily with each other thereby limiting Brazil’s
    impact on the world stage. Like any large country, Brazil’s development
    potential is also linked to how it gets its food. This, in fact, might be Brazil’s greatest
    obstacle as it really doesn’t hav e much great farmland, at least yet. The country’s
    main agricultural region is its south which is blessed with great soil and great rivers
    that help transport crops away from their farms. Interestingly, the same elevation that
    leads to steep coastal cliffs causes rivers to run in a counterintuitive direction. The
    Tietê river, for example, starts near Sao Paolo a mere 10 miles away from the Atlantic
    ocean but then runs inland almost 500 miles where it flows into the Paraná River which
    eventually flows out into the ocean near Buenos Aires, Argentina. If a farmer wants to export
    their food abroad, it’s often cheaper to first ship it the thousands of miles by boat
    on these rivers than just hundreds of miles overland to Brazil’s coast due to their
    poor road infrastructure. This means that Argentina gets the business of packing up
    and shipping Brazil’s food to other countries. That’s just lost money for Brazil as a result
    of their geography. Brazil’s south, though, does not even have enough land to feed the
    country’s own 200 million residents. Given that, the question is where to put the rest
    of the farms. In Brazil’s north is the Amazon basin. The
    central feature of this region is, of course, the Amazon River which is navigable for boats.
    Normally this feature would lead to a significant population as navigable rivers serve as cheap
    and easy transport for crops and goods but the banks of the Amazon are a tough place
    to farm or live. Not only are they muddy and unstable which makes building difficult, but
    the Amazon also regularly floods which means that every year many of the communities on
    the banks of the Amazon can have their streets underwater for months. Building and living
    in the Amazonian cities is difficult, but what’s more difficult is building the roads
    in and out. The largest city in the Amazon, Manaus, is home to 2.6 million people, it’s
    as big as Baltimore, and yet there are only three roads connecting the city to the outside
    world. Many of the smaller towns around the Amazon have no roads going in and out as its
    just incredibly costly and difficult to build roads through the rainforest. In fact, rather
    unbelievably, there is not a single bridge spanning over the Amazon so there is no way
    to drive from the northernmost region of Brazil to the rest without taking a ferry. Overall,
    this whole area is just empty. Even if there was the infrastructure to transport crops
    to market, farming in the Amazon involves clearing huge amounts of land and even then,
    the soil is relatively infertile which leads to poor yields. Despite being Brazil’s largest
    state, Amazonas is home to just 1.8% of its population. It just costs too much to build
    the infrastructure needed to live there. To the south of the Amazon, though, is an
    area known as the Cerrado. This vast savanna used to be in the same category as the Amazon—it
    was empty. The problem was not only that there was no natural network of rivers to get crops
    out of the area but also that the soil was too acidic and lacking enough nutrients to
    easily grow large quantities of crops. Between both the Amazon and the Cerrado being off-limits
    for large-scale farming, that meant that Brazil really didn’t have much land at all for
    farming. 30 years ago, with only the south to farm, Brazil was actually a net importer
    of food—it bought more food from other countries than it sold. That was until researchers discovered
    that all you needed to do to fix the soil was add phosphorous and lime. The phosphorous
    served as a fertilizer in the place of natural nutrients and the lime worked to reduce the
    level of acidity. In the early 2000’s, the country spread more than 25 million tons of
    lime per year and so today the Cerrado accounts for 70% of Brazil’s farmland. In addition,
    Brazil has begun growing soybeans. This plant is normally grown in more temperate climates
    such as the US, northern China, or Japan, but through cross-breeding and genetic modification
    it can be modified to grow in warmer and acidic environments such as the Brazilian Cerrado.
    Thanks to the enormous amount of land Brazil has and these technological advancements the
    country has gone from producing 16% of the world’s soybean in 2005 to 31% today.
    A country’s level of development is often to linked to how good its natural transportation
    system is. That’s part of why the US developed so much so fast—it has a great system of
    navigable rivers right in its agricultural heartland that helps get goods from the fields
    to cities fast and inexpensively. The Brazilian Cerrado, though, does not have that. It doesn’t
    even have much of a preexisting network of roads since before this recent agricultural
    advancement barely anyone lived there. Therefore anyone who wants to farm in the Cerrado has
    to find land, level it, treat it with phosphate and lime, and build roads to get supplies
    in and crops out. Cerrado farms can be profitable but it takes an enormous amount of money to
    build the infrastructure needed to start a farm. It’s not like the US or France or
    China where all you need is some land. The consequence of this is that farms in Brazil
    tend to owned by corporations rather than individuals because only corporations have
    the money to build farms. That therefore increases the level of wealth disparity in Brazil. According
    to the World Bank’s Gini index, Brazil is the 11th most economically unequal country
    in the world. Lower wealth disparity and the emergence of a middle class are indicators
    of economic development so the country should want to fix this. Brazil’s government has
    recognized its infrastructure problem as a source of its wealth disparity and has therefore
    worked to build roads in the interior so that more individuals can run farms but the government
    only has so much money to spend and it’s a big country.
    Brazil does, though, understand the importance of its core. It understands that the coastal
    cities are constrained and that economic development will come from the center. It was partially
    for that reason that the country decided to move its capital from Rio de Janeiro to here—Brasília.
    The thinking was that putting the capital in the core would stimulate the economically
    underdeveloped region and, in many ways, it worked. The city simply did not exist before
    1960 yet today more than 4 million people live in its metropolitan area. Being located
    on relatively flat land unlike Rio, the city can just grow and grow and grow without hinderance.
    Brazil has potential, but its defining issue is that it’s an expensive place. It’s a
    vicious cycle. In order to make money, Brazil needs to invest in its infrastructure but
    without people making money it doesn’t have the tax money to build what it takes t o transition
    into the first world. The question of why tropical countries are less developed is an
    enormous one without a clear answer, but Brazil is one of the most likely candidates to break
    this trend. It certainly lags behind other developing countries like China, but as its
    agriculture industry develops it will become a bigger and bigger exporter which will bring
    more money in. With time, its average income will inch up. The country already does have
    major companies in other industries such as banking, manufacturing, and oil but with how
    big Brazil is, agriculture is the one that’s the world’s focus right now. Only France,
    Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States export more agricultural products per year
    which is good company to be in. Brazil may not have the explosive growth rate of some
    other less developed countries but by continuously taking what it earns and reinvesting it to
    open up more of the country to agricultural production it will continue its path to superpower
    status. One of the common questions I receive is how
    I started making these videos. The first step was learning the skills needed from writing
    to research to sound design and editing, but for each and every one of them there’s a
    course on Skillshare. Skillshare, you see, is an online learning community that has more
    than 21,000 classes on whatever you want to learn. The variety is astounding. You can
    learn skills to help you make videos, to show off at parties, or even to help you get a
    job. There are also some great courses taught by fellow YouTubers such as Mike Boyd and
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    months exclusively by going to Skillshare makes this show possible and its
    a great place to learn or improve your skills so please do check them out, once again, at Thanks for watching and I’ll see you again in three weeks for another
    Wendover Productions video.