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Denzel Washington on His ‘Mischievous’ Childhood, Unique Road to Acting

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Inevitably one of Hollywood’s A list actors, Denzel Washington could have easily enjoyed the privilege and counted days when he would gain another Oscar. However, like many actors who had got so attached to their work, Washington was also addicted to the challenge of making movies rather than making profit and recognition out of them. Reflecting a dedicated spirit, it was understandable that he was indeed very serious from the very beginning. The son of Denzel Washington Sr. and Lynne Washington was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, Bronx, NYC. His father who was a Pentecostal minister had influenced him in the art of performing, while his mother who was a beautician in a beauty parlor had often took him to her work place and exposed him to the colorful conversation that eventually taught him the art of storytelling.

Denzel Washington’s Childhood

Stern looking and definite in his every act, Washington did not like his appearance mainly because of the gap in between his two front teeth. What he didn’t know then was the fact that many people would praise and even adore his handsomeness. As a teenager he built an invisible wall that kept him from being lenient. And when in the age of 14 he and his older sister, Lorice were sent to a boarding school, he was devastated in knowing that the reason he went there because his parents didn’t want him to witness the failing marriage. Upon the divorce, Washington would live with his mother and like so many children in the world, their first intended career was to become a doctor but somehow, he finally entered Fordham University to major in journalism. While he was there, Wasington discovered a new world in which he could escape from his tense personality. By acting he could express himself well and thus when there was an opportunity to play a small role in TV movie “Wilma” (1975), he immediately grasped it and luckily, he met Pauletta Pearson on the set whom he would marry 8 years later on June 25 and had 4 children with. Graduated in 1977 and winning a scholarship to attend American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, he didn’t waste the chance. Engaging in some classic plays like Shakespeare’s, he studied under the renowned Bill Ball but in the need of job he returned to NYC where there was a bigger chance of employment.

Road to Acting

In his hometown, he began his acting career in many off-Broadway productions which mainly were produced by Joseph Papp. Among his favorite roles were those in Shakespeare’s plays as he stated later on, “I did Othello, and Richard III, and those are the two roles I’d like to revisit.” While his film debut started with the comedy “Carbon Copy” (1981) which was claimed a not funny way of bringing up the issue of racism. But he moved on to a better role this time in the series “St. Elsewhere” (1982) where he would become Dr. Philip Chandler for six years. Meanwhile, role supporting in the biopic “Cry Freedom” (1987) he devoted all his time and energy to portray Steve Biko and finally deserved the Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination in the 1988 Academy Awards. By then, it was obvious that he was one actor who would lead top movies to their success. Since the prestigious nomination, it was as if he had been guaranteed big roles in most of his movies. Starting with a lead role in the crime drama “The Mighty Quinn” (1989), he quickly strolled to the highly acclaimed “Glory” (1989) for which he got his first Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1990. It was one roller coaster ride where he was then on the top.

Blockbuster Movies

Maintaining his intensity in movies, he didn’t exclude his next ‘lighter’ films titled “Heart Condition” and “Mississippi Masala” (1991) which both were comedy. And not forgetting his love for Shakespeare’s works, he joined the expert, Kenneth Branagh to appear in “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993) along other prominent stars such as Kate Beckinsale, Emma Thompson and Keanu Reeves. The movie was indeed a good notification for Washington’s continuing achievement, but it was in Spike Lee‘s “Malcolm X” (1992) that he was superbly brilliant. Portraying the famous Muslim martyr, Malcolm Little, he gained a nomination in the 1993 Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role category. Next he spent months mesmerizing in the life and jobs of Washington Post reporters to prepare his role as an investigative journalist, Gray Grantham in “The Pelican Brief” (1993). Showing such commitment, he was most loved by directors because he was effortlessly easy to be shaped into many different characters. As homophobic lawyer Joe Miller in “Philadelphia” (1993), he was successful in serving the antagonist ego by interviewing many lawyers before the production started. Then teamed with Gene Hackman in “Crimson Tide” (1995), he started to feel comfortable playing Navy suited roles that he also did in “Virtuosity” (1995) and “Courage Under Fire” (1996).

Oscar nominees

1998 saw his transition to thicker roles. In “Fallen” he gloriously brought the movie to its most suspenseful point while in “He Got Game” he totally changed both his look and character to match a raucous wife-beating husband. But in the case of “The Siege”, it was much later after the September 11, 2001 tragedy that his role as the country defender against terrorist attack seemed to be more ironic. The next year, intended to score another hit movie by joining the cast of “Bone Collector”, it was disappointing that the movie turned out rather more commercial than praiseful. It was, however, compensated by his next performance in “The Hurricane” (1999). Set to portray the real-life legendary boxer, Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, he couldn’t risk being mocked by Carter’s fans. So he trained boxing for months and met the demands from director Norman Jewison to lose weight until 40 pounds. The effort was worth as for the third time he was listed in the Oscar nominees of Best Actor in a Supporting Role category in 2000. At that point, his name came at no surprise to appear along the A list actors.

Heroic Roles

Turning to more heroic roles, he enrolled in several movies where he was completely sympathetic. Name “Remember the Titans” (2000) as a coach struggling to erase the gap between two different skin colored football team or in “John Q” (2002) as a father fighting for his son’s heart transplant when the insurance failed to be claimed. Heart breaking but still, they were probably not the right roles for him, to the extent that it was more suitable for him to play a mysterious cop in “Training Day” (2001). The crime thriller film might give him a typical role but it certainly brought him a greater present, another Oscar winning for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Reacting to the second winning he said, “People say ‘congratulations, you finally got the Oscar’, and I have to correct them: ‘actually, it’s my second one. I won for Glory in 1989.’ Some people say ‘Yeah, but that was for a supporting actor role’ but for me, it’s the same thing.” Sparing his other artistic side to leap out, he directed “Antwone Fisher” (2002) but still continued to act in several other movies such as “Out of Time” (2003), “Man on Fire” (2004) and “The Manchurian Candidate” (2004).

Some Top Performances

In his 2006 agenda, there were “Inside Man“, a story about bank robbery negotiation and also “Deja Vu” where he would play alongside Val Kilmer. Then trying to direct again, he claimed the right to the biopic of Melvin B. Tolson to be portrayed in “The Great Debaters” (2008), in the meantime securing another leading role in the long-gestating project “American Gangster” (2007) as well as in “Journal for Jordan” (2009), which he is also set to produce for Columbia Pictures to distribute. As if not busy enough, the thesp moved forward to land one more slot in “The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3” (2009), a remake of the 1974 action thriller of the same name that would reunite him with director Tony Scott.

He’s dressed down in a dark T-shirt and jacket, but his smile and laugh illuminate the room. He’s one of the biggest “movie stars” the world has known, yet he stops, jokes and takes a picture with each and every fan before and after a 30-minute sit-down interview at ABC News.

He’s Denzel Hayes Washington.

The actor, one of the rare few recognized by his first name alone, is quicker than ever. He is all laughs as he makes the rounds, promoting his new blockbuster film, “The Magnificent Seven,” and gets ready for his appearance on ABC News’ “Popcorn With Peter Travers.”

Truly ‘Magnificent’

The 61-year-old Washington says that even though Westerns like “Magnificent Seven” are a bit of a vestige from Hollywood’s past, this movie is unique. It seems audiences agree. “Seven” cleared $35 million during its opening weekend, earning it top place at the box office. (This interview was conducted prior to this weekend’s premiere.)

Washington’s latest film teams his character Chisolm with Chris Pratt’s Josh Faraday in a modern-day remake of a classic shoot-’em-up film that has some complicated characters getting the chance to earn a bit of redemption by helping out a not-so-needy “damsel in distress” played by Haley Bennett. Denzel describes Pratt as most collaborators have described working with Washington.

“Chris, and I mean this, he has a quality,” he says. “And the only one else I’ve worked with that has it is Tom Hanks. You just like him, he’s a good man. He’s a decent, funny, wholesome … I don’t even think he realizes he’s famous.”

The reboot of the 1960 film, which starred Steve McQueen and was actually an adaptation of an even earlier film, offers diversity, adding in actors like Byung-hun Lee and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo to complement Washington and Pratt.

“It’s actually in some way reflective of the real West,” Washington says. “It wasn’t even called the West, it was called the frontier so, as far west as civilization had gone. You had all kinds of people that were trying to make it. If you had ability and strength and determination, black, white, yellow … you could carve out a niche.”

Making this film was like something out of “a boy’s dream,” Washington says, though it may not have been his dream.

“You get on the horse and you ride. You got the guns and spin them, all of that,” he says, but he adds, “My father was a minister so [we watched] … ‘King of Kings,’ ‘Ten Commandments,’ that was about it.”

His family did watch “Bonanza,” but watching the Western series on TV each Sunday night was a bit of a double-edged sword for an energetic kid in Mount Vernon, New York.

“I knew we would have to go to bed at the end of ‘Bonanza,’ … I liked it but I didn’t want it [to end],” he says.

Throwing Rocks

Washington flashes a smile when Travers asks if he was a good kid.

“I was mischievous,” he says, laughing, but getting personal. “My three closest friends did quite a bit of time [in jail] … decades.”

His mother, Lennis Washington, may have been the single greatest influence in Washington’s life.

While some of his friends were going down a tragic path, Lennis Washington “had enough sense to get me out of that situation before it was going to be my turn,” he says.

“I was what they call ‘throwing rocks at the penitentiary,’ but I never hit it,” he adds. “I never got caught … But I also knew right from wrong, so I never wanted to go too far.”

“I’d dip my toe in the water,” he says.

In 9th grade, Lennis put Denzel in a private school. His friends were not so fortunate.

“One did 28 years [behind bars], one did 20 and the other did 12,” the Oscar winner says. “One is dead … the other two are out.”

In fact, when asked what advice he’d give his 15-year-old self, he laughs loudly and exclaims, “Listen to your mother!”

His Real ‘Training Day

Washington’s father was a minister, so going to church for him felt “like a job” and was something he never considered as a career path.

“You had to go at night, you had to go in the afternoon,” he says. “I rejected it in my early teens’ years, working stuff out.”

But he admits that there were a few other professions he did try his hand at before finally catching the acting bug in college at Fordham University.

“I was actually pre-med. I thought, ‘You go to college, be a doctor.’ Then, I went into political science, pre-law … I found out I wasn’t doctor material, I found out I wasn’t lawyer material, then I started studying journalism.”

He didn’t realize it, but he was slowly being drawn to the arts.

“Then to acting by my junior year of college,” he tells Travers.

Washington, who has played all these professions in movies opposite actors including Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, loves his work. He loves his life.

“You get to experience different lives,” he says. “When I did the movie ‘Flight,’ I got to get in the flight simulator. I didn’t have to learn how to land, because we were gonna crash anyway.”

Iconic Humility

Though he thoroughly enjoys the movie-making process, Washington says he doesn’t watch or analyze his films and has a specific reason why.

“Once you make a movie, it belongs to the people,” he says. “So, I don’t look back. I might see a scene if it’s on TV or something.”

It’s this kind of humility and thought process that Washington has tried to instill in his children, John David (“Ballers”) and Olivia Washington (“Mr. Robot”), who have both found success early on acting in hit TV shows.

“My oldest son, shameless plug by dad, who stars with The Rock on ‘Ballers,’” he says, before launching into a story about fame and questions that John David, now 32, had when he was a kid.

PHOTO: Denzel Washington standing behind microphones in a scene from the film Malcom X, 1992.

Largo Washington was quick to let his son know the difference between having a few hit movies and real power plus how to handle yourself in the business.

“I remember when [my son] was a kid he was like, ‘You know, dad, there’s so much pressure. You’re so famous.’ I was picking him up from school,” he says. “I said, ‘You know your friend, Joey, Joey’s dad runs the studio,” Washington told his son. “If his dad doesn’t give me a job, you don’t go to school here … I said, ‘BTW, be nice to Joey,’” he says, laughing.

The Future and ‘Fences’

This Christmas, moviegoers will have the chance to see Washington starring in his latest project, “Fences,” opposite Viola Davis. The movie, which Washington also directed, is based on the August Wilson play and has been in the works for seven years, he says.

Washington and Davis starred in the play on Broadway, and when he knew there would be a film, he wanted to keep that 2010 cast together for the project.

“Obviously Viola … Stephen Henderson, Mykelti Williamson … [it] gave us a good rhythm,” Washington says of having the core group back together.

“Fences’ is a story of love and betrayal and family, Washington says, noting that it is set in 1950s Pittsburgh.

His character Troy is “an old, over-the-hill … baseball player, who’s frustrated about it,” he says.

PHOTO: Denzel Washington attends The Magnificent Seven premiere at Museum of Modern Art, Sept. 19, 2016, in New York.

“Viola Davis, like in the play, she slays in this,” he brags.

But Washington wants to get something straight. He isn’t signed to direct all 10 plays by August Wilson as has been reported.

After “Fences,” he has a nine-picture deal with HBO to “produce” the other scripts.

“I’d like to do one a year,” he says. Of this first movie, he says, “I think I didn’t screw it up.”

“The Magnificent Seven” is out in theaters now and “Fences” hits the big screens across the country on Dec. 25.

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NASA reveals new findings about ‘Oumuamua,

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There have been some zany theories about the cigar-shaped asteroid, known as ‘Oumuamua, that scientists first detected zipping through our solar system in October 2017.

As the first interstellar object we’ve detected floating through our neck of the cosmic woods, ‘Oumuamua captivated scientists and stargazers alike. Its detection was a watershed moment because, although scientists suspect interstellar visitors pass through our system with some regularity, this was the first time they had actually seen one.

The unusual shape and strange speed of the interstellar asteroid had astronomers puzzled. It seemed to zip past the sun in a way scientists did not expect, grabbing an unexpected speed boost on its journey across the solar system. That led to one particular paper suggesting it might even be an alien probe, sent from the far reaches of space.

Immediately after its detection, ground-based and space-based telescopes focused themselves on ‘Oumuamua, hoping to understand exactly what it was.

One of those telescopes was Spitzer, an infra-red telescope NASA launched in 2003. In a study published on Wednesday in The Astronomical Journal, astronomers explained that they pointed Spitzer at ‘Oumuamua for two months after its initial detection but they couldn’t detect it.

“The fact that ‘Oumuamua was too small for Spitzer to detect is actually a very valuable result,” said David Trilling, lead author on the paper.

Though it seems like a “non-detection” might not be able to tell us anything about ‘Oumuamua, it’s actually quite an important finding because it places constraints on just how strange an object the interstellar visitor can be.

The Spitzer telescope has a different pair of eyes to a traditional telescope, as it were, because it sees in infrared energy and thus detects a heat signature, rather than looking for reflected light. Though it is believed that ‘Oumuamua has an elongated body, Spitzer cannot infer the shape of the object from its reading, but can make an estimate about the object’s “spherical diameter”. The study suggests it may be as small as 100 meters (320 feet), or as large as 440 meters (1,440 feet).

Importantly, placing size constraints on ‘Oumuamua is central to one of the outstanding mysteries of the interstellar visitor — the unusual speed boost it received as it sped past the sun. In June, a study suggested that if the asteroid was small enough, outgassing — the release of gas trapped in the asteroid as it heats up — may be responsible for the increased speed. Spitzer’s observations certainly make that theory much more likely and effectively puts the “alien probe” theory to bed. 

As the object continues its journey through space, away from the Earth, it gets further and further away from our telescopes so we’re unlikely to get a handle on just exactly what ‘Oumuamua is.

Like ships in the night, the Earth and ‘Oumuamua are destined to carry on sailing across the cosmic ocean, never to meet again. 

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Top 10 Most Beautiful Highways In The World

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Traveling for a period of time is quite a bore but definitely not when passing through these most exquisite highways in the world. From the stunning view of the ocean to the breathtaking green forests and waterfalls. Start your unforgettable journey now and discover the magnificent sceneries along these highways. Check out these 10 most beautiful highways in the world.

1. The Milford Road in New Zealand.

Most Beautiful Highways

This beautiful 144-mile stretch of road connects Te Anau to Milford Sound, a familiar place if you have watched the “Lord of the Rings.” Alongside the road is the mirror lakes where the Earl mountain is reflected on a calm day. People stop to take photos of the stunning sceneries from rainforests to the majestic waterfalls. It also leads to the Fiordland National Park and Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.

2. The Scenic Highway 12 in Utah.

Most Beautiful Highways

State Route 12, also known as Scenic Highway 12, spirals 124 miles through the whole Southwestern Utah. You can approach this highway through US 89 or the Highway 12. Its altitude ranges from 5,000- 9,000 feet above the ground. It took roughly 4 decades to construct and connect the places between Capitol Reef National Parks and Bryce Canyon. Tourist destinations like Grand Staircase-Escalante National Museum, Dixie National Forest, Anasazi State Park Museum and the Kodachrome Basin State Park can be passed along as you travel this highway.

3. The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in United Arab Emirates.

Most Beautiful Highways

The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road is a 7-mile long road that is snaking towards the second topmost peak in UAE. Below this mountain is a panoramic glimpse of the Al Ain town. This mountain of limestones where roads are carved leads to the peak wherein restaurants and hotels are available for tourists to stay and dine.

4. The Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Most Beautiful Highways

One of the world’s best route where it has the breathtaking view of the ocean and the massive limestone rock known as twelve apostles. This road in the southeastern coast of Australia passes from Torquay until Warranbool. Along the way are restaurants, museums, Shipwreck Coast, the Great Otway National Park, beaches as well as surf spots and whale trail lookout.

5. The Overseas Highway in Florida.

Most Beautiful Highways

Built in late 1930’s, this highway is sometimes called as the “Highway that Goes to Sea.” In 1935, it was partially destroyed by a hurricane but eventually, it was restored. This 113 miles highway works as the US route 1 and stretches from mainland Florida to the key west. Traveling this route during sunset was highly suggested. As you traverse from one island to the other, you will experience the gorgeous glittering view of the ocean.

6. The Stelvio Pass in Italy.

Most Beautiful Highways

This highest paved mountain pass near the border of Switzerland is one of the frequently visited and one of the dangerous routes all over the world. It was constructed during 1820’s and known as the topmost drivable pass in Eastern Alps, curving at 9,000 feet above the sea level. The Stelvio Pass is also popular for its 60 hairpin bends where motorcycle rallies and bicycle races are held.

7. The Atlantic Roadway in Norway.

Most Beautiful Highways

Also known as the world’s most beautiful drive, this breathtaking roadway takes you at the ocean’s edge. A five-mile journey in the Norwegian National Road 64 which leaps from one island to the other. It connects the town of Molde and Kristiansund in Midwestern part of Norway. This road was open in 1989 and provides rest areas for tourist to view the stunning route.

8. The Cabot Trail in Canada.

Most Beautiful Highways

The Cabot trail is about 185 miles drive and curves around northern edge of Cape Breton within Nova Scotia. Its dense green forests on the roadside transforms during fall into a stunning scenery because its leaves turn into red, yellow and orange. Plenty of restaurants, galleries, museums can be reached along the way and also trails for hiking and snowmobiling.

9. The Col de Turini in France.

If you’re the kind who dislikes narrow and a height that reaches 5,200 feet, better skip this road. This dizzying ways curves through Alpes-Maritimes in Frane and ends in Sospel which is formed by retaining walls. A location where the known Monte Carlo Rally car race is held and appears also in the road race Tour de France.

10. The Ruta 40 in Argentina.

Most Beautiful Highways

Extending from Puna towards Cabo Virgins is a road in Western Argentina known as Ruta 40. The longest roadway in Argentina with a mile long of 3,045. Ruta 40 is almost 16,000 above the ground which crosses 236 bridges, 13 great lakes, 28 major rivers, 20 reservations & national parks. Through the whole of the journey, dirt roads and extremely isolated areas may be traversed by the drivers.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Antarctica

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As the fifth-largest continent, you would think that the secrets of Antarctica would be widely known. However, this is not the case. Few know anything worth knowing of the cold continent, but this list is here to change that.

Far more than just a frozen land of penguins, the frigid continent features more than you might imagine, and there’s even more than that hidden beneath its ice sheets. Antarctica has plenty of delicious content, all told here.

10. Land Divisions

Given that Antarctica is around 1.5 the size of the United States, there is quite a lot of land to divide. This continent is divided into two regions: East and West Antarctica. The former is the larger of the two regions, taking up two-thirds of the continent. There are even actual mountains in Antarctica that do the dividing; the Transantarctic Mountains. These mountains are one of the longest mountain ranges in the world.

Back in the Mesozoic era, though, this divide didn’t exist. Scientists have discovered fossils and other evidence that leads to the conclusion that Antarctica used to be densely forested and full of animals! Heck, even dinosaur fossils have been discovered there. Wild, right? Now, this would have been anywhere from 252 million to 66 million years ago, but parts of Antarctica used to run lush with trees. No icy division in sight.

9. Desert-Classified

In order to get out of the desert category, Antarctica would have to receive more than 50 centimeters (20 in) of precipitation a year. However, Antarctica only receives 5 to 15 centimeters (2–6 in) a year. Ouch! What makes Antarctica so different from other deserts, though, is that the rain doesn’t soak into the ground—the snow just piles on top of itself. Antarctica is dry—really dry. The Dry Valleys of Antarctica (pictured above) are the driest place on Earth and haven’t seen rain or snow in two million years!

Antarctica is the windiest place on Earth, as well. Some of the winds reach up to 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph)![2] How’s that for a breeze? Stranger yet, the continent stores around 70 percent of the planet’s fresh water, despite being the driest of them all. Antarctica is clearly the most contradictory continent out of all of them, don’t you think?

8. Labeled Maps

Although few people live in Antarctica other than scientists, the cold continent has labeled maps nonetheless. While most maps are obtained by satellite, areas of Antarctica have been visited so that cartographers can map out the freezing continent in person. In fact, the maps are so detailed that you could even ask for directions with them. Looking for the South Pole? You’d find that in East Antarctica. On the other side of the Transantarctic Mountains is the Ross Ice Shelf, which happens to be the largest shelf in Antarctica. It’s about the size of France.

Some of the seas surrounding Antarctica are given names like Weddell Sea. Or the Bellingshausen Sea. Or the Ross Sea. There are even the Amundsen Sea, the Davis Sea, and the Scotia Sea. There’s also Pine Island Bay. However, we aren’t likely to go swimming in the freezing water anytime soon, so don’t get too excited.[3]

7. International Law


On December 1, 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 nations. The treaty banned military activities on the continent to avoid international discord. The treaty has since grown to 53 parties. Nonetheless, it all started when the continent was first sighted in 1820. Back then, sailing through the Southern Ocean was difficult for the wooden hulls of ships, so Antarctic travel certainly wasn’t all that popular. It wasn’t confirmed as a full continent rather than just a chain of islands until 20 years later. An American seal hunter by the name of John Davis claimed to have landed on Antarctica in 1821, but a number of historians doubt this.

Nowadays, if someone is dying to visit Antarctica, they can do so through expeditions like National Geographic or Lindblad. That’s about all you can do, though—the Antarctic Treaty forbids military training, mining activities, and nuclear waste and explosions on the continent. However, Chile has a village in Antarctica outfitted with a school, post office, hospital, and hotel and even has TV and cell phone service. Vacation, anyone? However, don’t expect to have huskies pulling you on a sled—they have been banned since 1994. No non-native animals are to be brought to the continent.

6. Secret Subglacial Mountains

They are called the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains. And they are under Antarctica. Specifically, they’re buried under 600 meters (2,000 ft) of ice, on average. The maximum depth of the ice has been pegged at a staggering 4,800 meters (15,570 ft). Their peaks rise to heights of around 2,700 meters (8,900 ft), and they range 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) across the underbelly of the continent. On the other hand, or other direction, the highest point aboveground in Antarctica is Mount Vinson, with an elevation of 4,892 meters (16,050 ft).

There are lakes underneath Antarctica, as well. Lake Vostok is one of the world’s largest subglacial lakes. It is buried beneath 3.2 kilometers (2 mi) of ice. Lake Vostok rivals Lake Ontario in size. Researchers have mapped the lake’s shape with remote sensing techniques. Scientists believe this lake is rather young, perhaps just thousands of years old.

5. Residential Research Facilities

There are roughly about 70 to 80 permanent research facilities representing 30 countries in Antarctica. The biggest facility, McMurdo Station, the main American base, can hold up to 3,000 people during the summer. (Other sources peg the summer population at only around 1,200.) According to people who have spent time there, the ground is made of volcanic dirt, the weather is foggy, penguins are nowhere to be seen, the facility is ugly, and the inside isn’t much better. However, these facilities are greatly needed, as scientists use them to learn new things about the planet every day.

Despite the Antarctic Treaty, Argentina sent a pregnant woman to the continent as part of their effort to claim a portion of the land. (What would they do with it, anyway?) They did not get their claim, but in January 1978, Emilio Marcos Palma became the first person to ever be born in Antarctica. If there are residential research facilities in Antarctica, then surely there can be a residential community, too, right?

Since Emilio Palma’s birth, only ten people have been born on the continent, but who knows? If scientists ponder colonizing Mars, we could definitely colonize Antarctica. There are already at least seven Christian churches, 40 airports, and even an ATM there. Let’s do it.

Fun fact: You cannot work in Antarctica unless your wisdom teeth and appendix have been removed.

4. Mount Erebus

Antarctica does seem to have a little bit of everything, don’t you think? Well, get this: It even has an active volcano.[7] That would be Mount Erebus, which also holds one of Earth’s few long-running lava lakes! It’s also the southernmost active volcano in the world. Antarctica has at least 138 volcanoes, and there are probably more.

The continent also features a famous waterfall that runs red! If you saw a picture of it, you’d think it was blood running down the ice. (It’s not.) There are plenty of strange phenomena over in Antarctica.

3. Wildlife

Antarctica is the only continent without reptiles. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Of course, no one wants to get bitten by some creepy, frozen ice spider, but frozen geckos would be cute. There is, however, a “spider” that does exist in Antarctica, but it won’t bite you. They might be the size of dinner plates, but they are sea spiders, so as long as you don’t go in the water, you’re fine. (And as implied above, they’re not actually arachnids.)

Mainly, Antarctica is home to seals, whales, fish, penguins, and other birds. There are no indigenous human populations in Antarctica, but nonetheless, it’s occupied year-round by researchers.

In Lake Vostok, scientists have discovered microbes that suggest creatures in the lake are living in an ecosystem based on chemicals within rocks, rather than sunlight. The organisms that were found reportedly derive their minerals from underlying bedrock.

2. Melting


If anything is for sure, it’s that we don’t want Antarctica’s ice to melt. That would mean colossal problems for us. However, the glaciers have already started to melt, thanks to climate change. Ice melting has even caused a small shift in gravity within the region—who knows what else Antarctica could do?

Scientists say that if all of Antarctica’s ice melted, sea levels would rise as much as 60 meters (200 ft).[9] Already, the sea levels across the world are rising ominously, which worries scientists that we will soon have to say goodbye to portions of New York, Florida, and the Caribbean, among other places. That’s why it is so crucial that climate change is acknowledged and slowed. In the somewhat near future, Earth could become a water world.

According to NASA, Antarctica is warming at about five times the rate of the rest of the world. That is . . . dangerous.

1. Seasons, Time, And Conditions

If you’re thinking of moving to this chilly paradise, do note that temperatures are frequently below zero. They can dip to around –90 degrees Celsius (–130 °F). On the other hand, a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (59 °F) has been recorded, albeit during the summer on the Antarctic Peninsula. (It’s usually below freezing there, too.)

And Antarctica doesn’t have a set time time zone! Ditch your watch. Even better yet, the seasons are warped, too—the continent remains dark throughout the winter, and during the summer months, the Sun never sets, due to the Earth’s tilt. Wow. It’s jet lag’s favorite continent.

However, if you are a scientist looking to study adaptation, Antarctica is the place for you. In 2013, scientists discovered that emperor penguins’ feet stay warm by having blood vessels that are wrapped around each other and that the penguins also have the ability to adjust the amount of blood flowing to their feet to respond to a change in foot temperature. That is just one study—where will your study take you?

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