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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 12, 2018 8:33 am 
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What Countries Make Up the World Region Called Oceania and How Many Of Those Are Islands?

There are 13 independent countries in Oceania: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

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Several other islands are territories of other countries, including the U.S. state of Hawaii on the northern tip of the Polynesian region.

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Australia is sometimes considered part of Oceania, but not always. All these nations consist of large groups of beautiful Pacific islands.

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Some geographers estimate that, in all, there may be 20,000 to 30,000 islands.

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Some are no more than rocks jutting out in the ocean, while others are home to thousands of people.

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Small islands

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Large islands

If you were to add up all the land area of the islands in Oceania, the amount would come to less than the state of Alaska.

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Alaska

In fact, the land area of Papua New Guinea and the two large islands of New Zealand account for 80 percent of all the land area in Oceania.

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Papua New Guinea

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New Zealand


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 13, 2018 8:34 am 
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What Is Ball Lightning, And Where Does The Electrical Phenomenon Come From?

Ball lightning is a poorly understood and comparatively rare phenomenon.

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So if you ever see one, try to take a picture. Perhaps 1 percent of the population will see ball lightning in a lifetime.

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Though there have been thousands of reports of ball lightning, it is still very hard to study, because scientists do not really know how to reproduce it in the laboratory, except for Nikola Tesla’s sloppy experiment.

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Tesla’s ball lightning experiment

As for why it is not usually destructive, it seems to be some sort of derivative of a lightning flash without the intensity of the flash itself, a phenomenon that splits off from the main channel, not the 50,000 degrees and huge current of lightning. So, in effect, ball lightning is NOT lightning … it is a phenomenon “caused” by lightning.

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Ball lightning is also commonly reported to travel through enclosed spaces, rather than in the open field. It is possible that the building contains part of the charge or flash, but that is speculative.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 14, 2018 8:26 am 
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How Many Countries Were Involved In World War I And When Did The United States Join The War?

World War I lasted from 1914 to 1918. It began as a war between two European countries, Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

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The underlying causes of the conflict were rooted in European political and economic policies after 1871.

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Eventually, the war involved thirty-two countries.

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Green: Allies Orange: Central Powers Gray: Neutral

Twenty-eight of these countries were known as the Allies, and included Great Britain, France, Russia, and Italy. The other side, known as the Central Powers, included Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey), and Bulgaria.

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The United States joined the war in 1917 on the side of the Allies.

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Post Posted: Jul 15, 2018 8:08 am 
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Where Does The Word “Sofa” Come From And What Does It Mean In Arabic?

The most curious feature of the word sofa is its ubiquity, for it is to be found in all the Romance languages, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and has even been adopted into German, with the same spelling and meaning.

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Sofa

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It is thus far from clear as to the immediate source of the word into English; it could as well have been from any of these sources.

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What is clear is its origin, which is the Arabic suffah, “a raised and richly carpeted bench or platform upon which to recline.”

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Post Posted: Jul 16, 2018 7:55 am 
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What Happens When Weather Fronts Meet?

A cold front advancing on a warmer air mass will force the warm air mass upward (cold air sinks and hot air rises).

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The warm air rushes quickly upward causing rapid cooling and condensation of water vapor. In summer, thunderstorms will often accompany fast-rising warm air; in winter, a snowstorm can form.

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Once the cold front has pushed its way under the warm air, the surface temperature in that region will drop sharply.

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In contrast, a warm front catching up to a cold front will ride up and over the tail end of the cold air.

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This causes condensation in the warm front since it is reaching higher and colder altitudes.

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The movement is relatively gradual, however, so widespread rain or snow results rather than abrupt storms.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 17, 2018 8:36 am 
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Nibiru Cataclysm

On 10 March 2016, the web site News4KTLA published an article reporting that NASA had issued a frightening advisory concerning the possibility that the trajectory of a “rogue planet” known as “Nibiru” or “Planet X” would intersect Earth’s orbit, with potentially disastrous consequences:

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News4KTLA: Is this the end of the world as we know it? Doomsayers have prophesied for decades about a giant, rogue planet in our solar system — dubbed Planet X or Nibiru — that has the capacity of colliding or passing near Earth, with catastrophic consequences. And of course, NASA has known about the mystery planet for years, but declined to warn us … until now. Finally, after the announcement of “Planet Nine” in January, conspiracy theorists have proved to the skeptics that they have been right this entire time, and NASA finally has to admit its wrongs. The planet, according to Caltech researchers, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and takes about 15,000 years to make a full orbit around the sun – And it’s heading towards Earth, with a collision date of August 21, 2016. Although Caltech researchers have admitted that we are headed for doomsday, NASA continues to tiptoe around the subject.

NASA:“Although our scientists at NASA have emphasized for years that Nibiru doesn’t exist, we are ready to reveal the fact that it does exist,” said NASA spokesperson Heather Cartwright. “The truth is we have been tracking the object for at least a decade and it is definitely headed towards planet Earth. However, we are expecting a close flyby – not the doomsday collision that Caltech researchers are predicting. There is no need to cause mass panic.

Caltech:” In a response to NASA’s statement, Caltech researcher Randall Smith had this to say: “For NASA to minimize the threat to our earth by calling it a ‘close flyby’ is insulting to our research. We have concrete evidence that proves Nibiru is headed straight for earth with a collision that will destroy life as we know it. NASA is just trying to avoid mass panic and chaos within our world. But we all deserve to know that our days are numbered.”

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Flyby scenario

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Collision scenario

This report was untrue, just another clickbait fabrication originating with News4KTLA, a fake news site that has appropriated the call letters of a legitimate Los Angeles television station and news outlet (KTLA).

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News4KTLA fake news

Humans are once again talking about our collective doom thanks to fast-burning “news” trends fanned by Google and the fringe predictions of self-published author David Meade. Last autumn, Meade’s disputed numerology predicted that Earth would encounter a (hypothetical) rogue planet called Nibiru on September 23, 2017.

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Numerologist David Meade

September 23 came and went without incident, so Meade shifted his prediction to October 2017—and then again adjusted his timetable to November 2017. Then, Meade claimed that he had finally ironed out the wrinkles in his vision of the end times. Nibiru was now supposed to appear in the sky on April 23, 2018 and pass by Earth in October, triggering volcanoes of apocalyptic proportions. If you’re reading this; then that didn’t happen, either.

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Meade’s predictions, which don’t enjoy support among mainstream Christians, were the latest spin on the Nibiru conspiracy theory, which has roots dating back to the 1970s. Originally, this planet was supposed to collide with Earth in 2003. However, an uncooperative cosmos forced conspiracy theorists to reschedule for 2012. Six years later, the rogue planet still poses no threat, because it doesn't exist.

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Nibiru (artist’s conception)

If all goes according to wild conjecture, planet Earth and the planet Nibiru are set to collide, twin cosmic shooters in a game of apocalyptic marbles. Nibiru is playing for keeps, bringing sinkholes, fire storms and the general annihilation of life as we know it. As with many conspiracy theories, though, this one has a fatal factual flaw. The closest thing Nibiru has had to an existence was a cameo in a 2013 Star Trek film. There is not, in reality, a planet called Nibiru boldly zooming through our solar frontier.

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Star Trek: Into Darkness

The fictitious shadow planet, according to Nibiru believers, is flung from the outskirts of the solar system dangerously close to Earth every 3,600 years. And, like its mysterious elliptical orbit, the heavenly body has a way of circling back in vogue.

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NASA:“Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax,” NASA said in a 2012 statement. “If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth … astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye.”

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So, once again, there you have it. For years those in a position to debunk made-up news simply ignored it, hoping it would go away. Instead, it seems to have festered and grown like a very resilient infection. Since these crazy stories show no signs of going away, it's time to double-down on fact checking them too. And the facts are pretty clear: Nibiru is fiction.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 18, 2018 8:30 am 
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What Was The ‘four score and seven years” Mentioned In Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address And What Year Was He Referring To?

A “score” is equal to 20. Lincoln wrote the speech himself in Washington, and made some revisions once he arrived at Gettysburg.

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Abraham Lincoln gave his speech on November 19, 1863.

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I’ll let you do the math to find the famous year because if I just gave you the answer you wouldn’t learn anything. Here’s the address as given:

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In Depth (includes audio track)

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 19, 2018 8:25 am 
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Want To See Area 51? Tikaboo Peak Is The Closest You Can Legally Get

It's basically impossible to enter Area 51. It's only slightly less impossible to see it. The top-secret military base is smack in the middle of the Nevada desert, in a dried-out lake bed surrounded by mountains. The closest peaks are heavily guarded so no one can spy on the activity below. There's just one mountaintop where you can catch a glimpse of the goings-on at the base: Tikaboo Peak, the closest you can legally get to Area 51.

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To scale Tikaboo Peak, here's what you'll need:

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A car with four-wheel drive
A shovel
As much water as you can carry
Binoculars
Sunscreen
An intense desire to see Area 51
An understanding that you probably won't see aliens


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The car and shovel are for the first phase of your journey: a 25-mile drive on a rough dirt road that sometimes needs manual shovel repairs. This takes you most of the way up the mountain. For the last leg, though, you have to hike. Here, the water and sunscreen come into play. The hike is a little over a mile, but ultra steep with no water stations along the way — and it's so hot in this region, a local town is called Caliente. When you reach the peak, grab those binoculars and take a peek at Area 51, which is as close as it will ever be at 26 miles away.

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Downtown Caliente, Nevada

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What can you see with these?

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Not much

For Area 51 enthusiasts, it can be exciting and meaningful to see the base in real life, but the visual on its own isn't particularly striking. It's the visual plus the rumors that swirl around it that can make Tikaboo Peak worth the trip.

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There's really one big rumor: that the base has ties to aliens. It all started in 1989 when a man named Bob Lazar told the press he had worked at Area 51 helping to design flight technology modeled after extraterrestrial spaceships. He alleged he made real flying saucers that flew with anti-gravity technology. The government strenuously denied this, obviously. But in the wake of his claims, people in the area started spotting a lot of UFOs in the night sky.

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Lazar's account has since been called into question. He lied about some of his credentials, and may not have worked in the intelligence world at all. Government officials lied, too, though. Initially, they claimed Area 51 didn't exist. As the years passed, however, they released increasingly complete information about the base. We still don't know what's going on there right now — it's top secret — but we know what went on in the early days.

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Area 51 opened in 1955 as a development site for new combat aircraft, like stealth bombers and spy planes. One early Area 51 invention was the high-altitude spy plane, which explains many of the area's UFO sightings. People simply weren't used to seeing light so high in the sky; some sightings were called in by commercial pilots who didn't understand what could possibly be flying above them. At the time, not wanting to unveil their new technology, officials attributed these sightings to nature or "high-altitude weather research."

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Some people still distrust the government account of Area 51's activities. Is it the truth at last, or just more cover-up? Whatever the answer, it's definitely entertaining to imagine Area 51 is a secret alien research lab where they keep the extraterrestrial remains of the Roswell crash — especially if you just took a grueling desert hike to look at the base through binoculars.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 20, 2018 8:27 am 
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*** Topic Revisit ***

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Note: A “revisit” means that either new facts or better images
- or both - have been found on a topic I previously posted on.

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Who Discovered Black Holes And Where Do They Come From?

A black hole is a collapsed star that is so dense, and whose gravitational pull is so great, that not even light can escape it. Such stars would look like black holes in a black universe.

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Many consider black holes to be the ultimate wonder of the universe, the strangest of all stellar objects.
Black holes might be the birthplace of new universes, even new dimensions. Black holes might mark the beginning and end of time. Some consider them to be possible time travel machines as well as a way to travel faster than the speed of light. Many believe that black holes could be the ultimate future energy source, providing power stations throughout the galaxy.

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White Hole or Big Bang???

Certainly, black holes were first a theoretical, and then a practical, great mystery of astronomy in the twentieth century. Their discovery led science a giant step closer to understanding the universe around us and provided a solid confirmation of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

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A black hole is not really a hole at all. It is a collapsed star that crushed in on itself. As the star condenses, its gravity increases. If the collapsed star’s gravity becomes so strong that not even light (particles traveling at light speed) can escape the gravitational pull, then it will appear like a black hole (in the pitch black background of space).

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Two men get the credit for the discovery of these bizarre and unseeable phenomena. The first was German astronomer wonder-boy, Karl Schwarzschild. As a child, Schwarzschild was fascinated by celestial mechanics (the motion of the stars), and he published his first two papers on the theory of how double stars move when he was only 16 (in 1889). In 1900, Schwarzschild presented a lecture to the German astronomical society in which he theorized that space did not act like a regular three-dimensional box. It warped in strange ways, pulled and pushed by gravity. Schwarzschild called it “the curvature of space.”

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Karl Schwarzschild

Five years later, Einstein published his energy equation and his theory of relativity, which also talked of the curvature of space. In 1916, while serving in the German army on the Russian front during World War I, Schwarzschild was the first to solve Einstein’s equations for general relativity.

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He found that, as a star collapsed into a single point of unimaginably dense matter, its gravitational pull would increase so that a particle would have to be traveling faster and faster to escape from that gravity (called the escape velocity). Schwarzschild’s calculations showed that as a massive star collapsed to a single point of infinitely dense matter, its escape velocity would exceed the speed of light. Nothing would escape such a collapsed star. It would be as if the star disappeared and no longer existed in our universe.

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With these calculations, Schwarzschild had discovered the concept of a black hole. The terms we now use to describe a black hole (event horizon, escape velocity, etc) were all created by Schwarzschild in 1916. Schwarzschild mathematically “discovered” black holes, but he didn’t believe they physically existed. He thought it was only a mathematical exercise.

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Fifty years later, astronomers began to seriously search for Schwarzschild’s invisible collapsed stars. Astronomers realized that, since a black hole couldn’t actually be seen, the only way to detect one was to track unexplained motion of the stars that they could see and show that that motion was the result of the gravitational pull of a nearby, unseeable black hole. (Astronomer John Wheeler coined the name “black hole” in 1970.)

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In 1971, calculations by Wheeler’s team confirmed that the X-ray binary star, Cygnus X-1, was a star circling a black hole. That was the first time a black hole had ever been physically detected.

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It wasn’t until 2004 that a black hole was identified in the Milky Way galaxy, by Professor Phil Charles of the University of Southampton and Mark Wagner of the University of Arizona, this one located 6,000 light years away from Earth in our galaxy’s halo. But it was Karl Schwarzschild in 1916 who discovered what black holes “looked like” and how to locate one.

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Discovered in January 2000, the closest black hole is only 1,600 light years from Earth and is known as V4641 Sgr. Such normal black holes are several times the mass of the sun. But supermassive black holes reside in the hearts of galaxies and can be as massive as several hundred million times the mass of the sun.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 21, 2018 8:20 am 
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What Does The Prescription Symbol “Rx” Mean And Where Did The Pharmacist Symbol Originate?

To the Romans, the pursuit of the healing arts and the distribution of medicine was the highest professional calling possible and therefore could only be ordained by Jupiter.

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The “R” in “Rx” is from the Latin word recipere, meaning “to have been prescribed” or “to take,” while the small “x” was the god king’s symbol of approval.

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To the Romans, the “Rx” meant that the great god Jupiter himself had a hand in the prescription.

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Post Posted: Jul 22, 2018 8:29 am 
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What Does The Term “Grey Market” Mean And What Is The Difference Between A Grey Market And A Black Market?

“Grey market” (aka Gray) goods are legally sold through channels other than those authorized by the manufacturer.

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Example: Grey market watches

Unlike black market products, which may be counterfeits, grey market goods are the real thing.

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Typical in black markets

Entrepreneurs simply buy a product in one country where the item is significantly cheaper than another, then import it to the target market and legally sell the merchandise at a higher price.

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This situation commonly occurs with cigarettes and electronics, though importing legally restricted items leaves the “grey” and enters the “black” market.

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Illegal black market ivory

By avoiding the normal distribution fees or licenses, consumers usually share in the profits of grey marketers through lower prices but are likely to discover that products acquired this way aren’t supported or warranted by the manufacturer.

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The existence of the grey market is an example of the economic practice called arbitrage.

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Grey market has a different meaning on securities markets where the term refers to the buying and selling of securities to be issued in the future and, therefore, not yet circulating.

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Post Posted: Jul 23, 2018 8:16 am 
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Where Do Black Bears Live and Are all Black Bears Black?

The black bear is the smallest and most common species of bear native to North America.

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Many black bears are, in fact, black.

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However, black bears come in many colors, and even the black ones often have a white chest patch or “blaze”.

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For the record, black bears can also be brown, bluish, cinnamon, beige, blond, and even pure white.

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So why are they called black bears? I suppose it’s because more of them are black (70%) than any other color, and before people realized that the other colors of bears were actually the same species, the name had already stuck.

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The American black bear has been an inspiration for many popular cultural depictions of bears such as Winnie the Pooh.

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Courtesy: Walt Disney Productions

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