Happy birthday, America!
I love how you’re home to the friendliest and most generous people in the world. I like how you cheer on amateur athletes (even youth ones) almost as much as professional ones. I admire how you champion democracy, protect the high seas from pirates, and smoke less than any other developed country on Earth.
Granted, you have an obesity problem, export many of the world’s biggest vices, and are often ungrateful. But as the inventor of electric guitars, rock ‘n roll, and blue jeans, I can’t stay mad at you.
Here are 35 other amazing things you invented over the last quarter millennia: Continue reading…
The United States leads the world in weather catastrophes, reports the Associated Press. The result is a whole lot more tornados, hurricane, flash floods, droughts, wildfires, blizzards, and sever thunderstorms when compared to other continents.
We can blame our unlucky geography for this, specifically these five things:
- We are flanked by the two biggest oceans. This really messes with our air conditions.
- A third “ocean basin” lies beneath us. It’s called the Gulf of Mexico and it further upends our overhead atmosphere.
- The Rocky Mountain west. These mammoths trap air, hold it, which causes storms to build then explode as they move east.
- Jutting peninsulas like Florida. We’d have a lot fewer hurricanes if it weren’t for this landmass trap more air.
- Clashing storm fronts along the jet stream. When combined, this further brews nasty weather.
And there you have it. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Leader of the free world. And the nastiest place for inclement weather. God bless the USA.
Courtesy Robert Clark/TIME
“Once the dump trucks and bulldozers have cleared away the rubble and a thousand funeral Masses have been said, once the streets are swept clean of ash and glass and the stores and monuments and airports reopen, once we have begun to explain this to our children and to ourselves, what will we do? What else but build new cathedrals, and if they are bombed, build some more. Because the faith is in the act of building, not the building itself, and no amount of terror can keep us from scraping the sky.”—Nancy Gibbs (written three days after the bombing of the Twin Towers, but before the big holes were “built” in their place)
The United States of America is the mightiest nation the world has ever seen. (Murica!)
Its economy is bigger than the next four national economies combined. Its military spends more than the next 20 nations combined. Its human rights and democracy record are admired throughout the world. And in terms of pop culture, it’s arguably the “coolest” nation on the planet.
So how did the United States achieve all this?
History buff Balaji Viswanathan makes a pretty convincing argument on Quora. Here are his reasons: Continue reading…
Well I’m officially ready for the World Cup. Front side after the break. Continue reading…
Bert Williams is 90. You don’t him by name, but he’s the English keeper who allowed a single goal in the team’s monumental loss to America at the 1950 World Cup.
In an interview with the Associated Press this week, he said he was “virtually one of the spectators,” since England dominated possession, but couldn’t “get the ball past” the American defense. “As soon as England played a good ball through, the whole American team retreated to the 18-yard line,” the keeper remembers. “We thought the score should have been 8-1, 10-1 even.”
But it wasn’t. The U.S. won 1-0. Contrary to what ESPN reports, Williams said it was a freak goal that never should have been. “I had the ball covered and it was a deflection off one of their players who was standing in front of me,” he said. “I was going the right way. It just happened.”
What’s more, Williams said the Americans had “no intention of winning,” and even showed up to the game smoking cigars and wearing cowboy hats.
My response: We’ll take it. And have for the last 60 years.
You can blame England—the inventors of the game—not America for the word.
As the U.S. Embassy in London explains, “Soccer’s etymology is not American but British. It comes from an abbreviation for Association Football, the official name of the sport. For obvious reasons, English newspapers in the 1880s couldn’t use the first three letters of Association as an abbreviation, so they took the next syllable, S-O-C. With the British penchant for adding ‘-er’ at the end of words—punter, footballer, copper, and rugger—the word ‘soccer’ was born, over a hundred years ago, in England, the home of soccer. Americans adopted it and kept using it because we have our own indigenous sport called football.”
Still don’t like the word soccer? You can file an official complaint with South Africa, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and a handful of others in addition to the U.S. who all refer to the sport as “soccer.”
According to the Associated Press, “The French state and Internet service providers have struck a deal to block sites carrying child pornography or content linked to terrorism or racial hatred, Interior Minister Michel Alliot-Marie announced Tuesday.”
I’m all for outlawing illegal communications like child pornography and terrorism, but hate speech isn’t illegal. Wrong, yes, but not illegal. Unless I’m missing something, it looks like France may have infringed on free speech, though I have no idea if they have an equivalent first amendment.