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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 22, 2019 9:32 am 
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Rainforests

As you might have guessed from the name, rainforests are forests that get a lot of rain. Tropical rainforests are located in the tropics, near the equator. Most rainforests get at least 75 inches of rain with many getting well over 100 inches in areas.

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Rainforests are also very humid and warm. Because they are close to the equator, the temperature stays between 70 and 90 degrees F for most of the year.

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Rainforests shown in yellow

The tropical rainforest has the most biodiversity of all the land biomes. Despite only covering around 6% of the Earth's surface, scientists estimate that around half of the planet's animal and plant species live in the world's rainforests.

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The rainforest can be divided up into three layers: the canopy, the understory, and the forest floor. Different animals and plants live in each different layer.

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The canopy – This is the top layer of trees. These trees are usually at least 100 feet tall. Their branches and leaves form an umbrella over the rest of the layers. Most of the plants and animals live on this layer. This includes monkeys, birds, insects, and reptiles of all sorts. Some animals can live their entire lives without leaving the canopy to touch the ground. This layer is the loudest layer with the animals making lots of noise.

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Canopy

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The understory – Beneath the canopy is the understory. This layer is made up of some shorter trees and shrubs, but mostly the trunks and branches of the canopy trees. This layer is home to some of the larger predators like snakes and leopards. It is also home to owls, bats, insects, frogs, iguanas, and various other animals.

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Understory

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The forest floor – Because of the thickness of the canopy, very little sunlight makes it to the forest floor. This layer is home to lots of insects and spiders. There are also some animals that live on this layer including deer, pigs, and snakes. This layer is the quietest layer as animals sneak around in the dark making little noise.

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Forest floor

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Sometimes scientists refer to a fourth layer called the emergent layer. This is made up of tall trees that grow above the canopy. The rainforests are important to the world for many reasons. One reason is that they act as the Earth's lungs by producing around 40% of the world's oxygen. Since all of us need oxygen to live, that reason ranks pretty high.

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Emergent layer

The rainforests also provide a number of important drugs to help sick people and cure diseases. It is believed by many that there are even cures for cancer waiting for us to discover in the rainforest. The rainforest is also home to many species of animals and is a beautiful and irreplaceable part of nature.

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Unfortunately, human development is killing off much of the world's rainforest. Around 40% of the world's rainforests have already been lost. Environmentalists are doing what they can to help countries preserve this vital biome.

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Deforestation

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Fires

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Human encroachment

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 23, 2019 9:32 am 
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Spark Ranger

They say lightning never strikes twice, but anyone who knows what a lightning rod does can tell you is ridiculously untrue. Even so, the odds of a person being struck by lightning twice are astronomical, and the same person being struck seven times is beyond belief.

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But that’s exactly what happened to Roy Cleveland Sullivan, a United States park ranger, who was struck by lightning in 1942, and then six times between 1969 and 1977.

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Roy Cleveland Sullivan

The strangest fact is that he simply survived all seven. In every instance he was burned or otherwise injured, but he always survived. However, over the course of seven strikes, he was burned on his right leg, his head (burning off his hair and eyebrows), his left shoulder, his hair (again), his left arm and leg and his hair (again), his ankle, and finally his head, chest, and stomach.

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Sullivan also claimed to have been struck as a child (probably around 1920), but this is unverified, so neither Guinness nor Wikipedia count it as an eighth strike. He claims he was not injured in the strike, in which lightning hit a scythe he was carrying while helping his father cut wheat. The other seven strikes were all documented by the superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, where Sullivan worked, although two of the strikes happened when he was off the job—he was struck for the third time in his own front yard, and for the seventh while fishing.

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Lightning really put in some extra effort to strike Sullivan. While his first strike happened in a lookout tower with no lightning rod—an obvious hazard—Sullivan was driving the second time he was hit.

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Image courtesy: C M Butzer

Normally, a metal vehicle acts as a Faraday cage, and protects the driver from lighting by diverting the electricity around the occupant. But the bolt of lightning hit a tree, and was somehow deflected into the truck’s open window, knocking Sullivan unconscious. His truck continued, out of control, and managed to stop just before going over a cliff.

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Sullivan was a survivor in more ways than one. The last time he was struck by lightning, the park ranger was fishing in a pond. A bolt of lightning hit the top of his head, and burned him down to his stomach. As he was recovering from the shock, a bear appeared and tried to steal the trout he had hooked. The 65-year-old Sullivan, despite being severely burned, managed to strike the bear with a tree branch. He claimed this was the 22nd time in his life he had hit a bear, which seems excessive even taking into account his long career in the National Park service.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 24, 2019 9:06 am 
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The Korean War

The Korean War was fought between South Korea and communist North Korea. It was the first major conflict of the Cold War as the Soviet Union supported North Korea and the United States supported South Korea. On June 25, 1950, a massive artillery barrage from the North signals the beginning of the Korean War. Roughly 100,000 North Korean troops pour across the 38th parallel, and, although South Korean forces (UN, US and British troops) are driven back, they retire in an organized fashion. Nonetheless, they are driven to the point of defeat as far south as the port of Pusan.

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The leader and Prime Minister of North Korea was Kim Il-sung. North Korea's chief commander was Choi Yong-kun.

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Kim Il Sung

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Choi Yong-kun

The President of South Korea was Syngman Rhee. The South Korean Army was led by Chung IL-kwon. The United States Army and United Nations forces were lead by General Douglas MacArthur. The US President at the start of the war was Harry Truman. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president by the end of the war.

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Syngman Rhee

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General Chung IL-kwon

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General Douglas MacArthur

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Truman and Eisenhower

Supporting North Korea was the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Supporting South Korea was the United States, Great Britain, and the United Nations.

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Before World War II, the Korean Peninsula had been a part of Japan. After the war it needed to be divided up. The Northern half went under the control of the Soviet Union and the Southern half under the control of the United States. The two sides were divided at the 38th parallel. Spoils-of-war, if you will.

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Eventually two separate states formed with North Korea forming a communist government with Kim Il-sung as leader and South Korea forming a capitalist government under the rule of Syngman Rhee.

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A few months after the North Korean attack across the 38th parallel, General Douglas MacArthur led the UN forces on an attack at Inchon to the north. By then, American-led forces were fighting a losing battle at Pusan with their backs to the sea. MacArthur’s Battle of Inchon was a huge success and he was able to move in and route much of the North Korean army. He soon had retaken control of the city of Seoul as well as South Korea back up to the 38th parallel.

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MacArthur continued to be aggressive and pushed the North Koreans all the way to the northern border. However, he might have been a tad too aggressive, espousing the use of nuclear weapons.

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The Chinese were not happy with this and sent their army to enter the war. At this point President Truman - fearing a massive Soviet response to the use of nuclear weapons in their sphere of influence - quickly replaced MacArthur with the more pragmatic General Matthew Ridgway.

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General Matthew Ridgway

Ridgway fortified the border just north of the 38th Parallel. Here the two sides would battle for the rest of the war. North Korea would attack the south at various points and the UN army would retaliate trying to prevent more attacks.

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Negotiations continued for much of the war, but President Truman did not want to appear weak. When Eisenhower became president, he (Truman) was much more willing to offer concessions to end the war. On July 17, 1953 a treaty was signed that ended the war. Both countries would remain independent and the border would remain at the 38th parallel. However, between the two countries a 2-mile demilitarized zone was placed to act as a buffer in hopes to prevent future wars.

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Image courtesy of Getty Images

Since then, little has changed.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 25, 2019 9:00 am 
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:rose: Celebrity Deaths 2018 :rose:

Here is a partial list of the beloved celebrities/personalities we lost last year. These folks were celebrities for a series of reasons; either they were actors, singers, announcers, politicians, what-have-you. They entertained us or we admired and respected them in their chosen fields. I have also purposely omitted the cause-of-death because that is not what I want to celebrate. To my mind, they all have one thing in common: we will sorely miss them.

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Vic Damone

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David Ogden Stiers

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Barbara Bush

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Margot Kidder

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Anthony Bourdain

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Tab Hunter

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Aretha Franklin

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Jerry Van Dyke

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Dorothy Malone

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John Mahoney

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Nanette Fabray

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Billy Graham

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Stephen Hawking

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Harry Anderson

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Joseph Campanella

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Alan Bean

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Charles Krauthammer

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Robin Leach

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Neil Simon

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Burt Reynolds

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Sondra Locke

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Stan Lee

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Roy Clark

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George H. W. Bush

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Penny Marshall

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Nancy Wilson


Thank you for sharing your world with us, and may you rest in eternal peace.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 26, 2019 9:30 am 
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Who Captained The Mayflower To Plymouth, Massachusetts?

John Smith of Pocahontas fame was supposed to lead the way to Plymouth in America, but the Pilgrims couldn’t afford his fees.

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Captain John Smith

Instead, they bought a book from him that included a map of the new region.

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So they went without the hired help of John Smith. But this was a technicality.

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The ship’s master, Christopher Jones, had been sailing with the Mayflower for years (he was a part owner), knew the ins and outs of maneuvering her, and also had experience with this particular route.

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The Pilgrims, whether they realized it or not, were in good hands on the voyage.

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Mayflower makes landfall

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 26, 2019 11:34 am 
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I cannot image the courage of those people back then embarking on a journey like that!


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 26, 2019 11:43 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
I cannot image the courage of those people back then embarking on a journey like that!


Leaving an impossible condition behind while knowingly heading into the unknown. Agree.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 27, 2019 9:20 am 
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Three Governors In One Day

Though a staple of today’s headlines, dirty politics is far from a modern innovation. During Colorado’s 1904 gubernatorial election, both Democrat Alva Adams and Republican James H. Peabody deployed unsavory strategies to edge ahead. The Democratic party was running under the slogan
“Anybody but Peabody!”.

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Adams and Peabody

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The incumbent governor, James H. Peabody was losing popularity because of his hard line with some non-union mine workers. Notably for his brutality in crushing the miner's strike in Cripple Creek in 1903-4.

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In Denver, one district reported 717 ballots cast for Governor Adams, despite the fact that only 100 legal voters lived within that district. Adams used “repeaters,” or voters wearing disguises to vote twice, to inflate his numbers and win the election. Peabody contested the results, but himself had forced miners to vote Republican or lose their jobs. The resulting investigation determined that Adams would forfeit the office to Peabody, who in turn must resign within 24 hours. Following his resignation, Republican Lt. Gov. Jesse F. McDonald was sworn in.

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Adams, Peabody and McDonald

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 27, 2019 2:02 pm 
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The Adams family was from Pueblo, where they had quite a few businesses, including the Pueblo Bank and Trust and Holmes Hardware and one of the newspapers.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 27, 2019 2:21 pm 
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Do you think full, bushy mustaches were in vogue at that time?


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Post Posted: Feb 28, 2019 9:25 am 
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The Remote Islands Of Tokelau Receive 100 Percent Of Their Electricity From Solar Energy

Tokelau, also called Union Group or Tokelau Islands, is an island territory of New Zealand, consisting of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. Tokelau lies about 300 miles (480 km) north of Samoa and 2,400 miles (3,900 km) southwest of Hawaii. Tokelau does not have a central capital; each atoll has its own administrative center. The atolls are Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo.

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Tokelau Islands

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Atafu

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Nukunonu

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Fakaofo

Some of the most vulnerable places in the world to live in the face of climate change are islands. Rising sea levels, contaminated ground water, and increasing severity of storms are just some of the many threats to island communities. Many island residents also pay extremely high energy prices, due to limited domestic resources and the need to import fuel long distances. Switching to renewable energy can not only decrease fuel expenditures for many island populations, but can also show the world what can be done in the face of climate change.

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Changing weather patterns

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Over-population and limited resourses

People in Tokelau began talking about a solar-powered future more than a decade ago. At that time, they relied on diesel-driven power stations, one on each atoll, to provide electricity for 15 to 18 hours a day. They used 200 litres of diesel a day at a cost of around NZD $800,000 each year, and every drop of fuel had to be imported to the atolls.

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Fuel had to be shipped in …

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… in addition to basic human necessities

Today, the entire island group is now completely able to support itself with solar energy.

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Island residents use electrical carts to move around

Even inclement weather is accounted for.

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Three solar power stations provide 100% of current electrical demand from photovoltaics, with battery backup. The first power station was completed in August 2012. In total, 4,032 solar panels are used and 1,344 batteries weighing 250 kilograms (550 lb) each, making Tokelau the first nation in the world to be 100% powered by solar power. The systems are designed to withstand winds of 230 km/h (143 mph).

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Installimg solar panels

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Battery banks and inverters

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Homes on Atafu Atoll

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Post Posted: Mar 1, 2019 9:27 am 
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What Does Valhalla Mean?

The Norse heaven for slain warriors was called Valhalla, meaning, literally, “hall of the slain.”

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Hall of the Slain

In Old Norse mythology, brave warriors killed in battle were brought to Valhalla by Valkyries, special death maidens.

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During an average day in the afterlife, dead warriors fought battles, and their wounds from a hard day of fighting were miraculously healed before nightfall when they dined with Odin, the king of the gods.

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Here the warriors would wait until Ragnarok, the day of the last battle of the world. At this point, it was promised that all of the old gods would fall away and a new era of love and peace would rise from the ashes.

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Ragnarok

In contrast, regular Norse people—those dishonored by dying of old age or disease—were taken to a goddess named Hel. She resided in a place called “Underearth,” which was devoid of joy and happiness, torture or pain. Underearth was sort of a neutral, ho-hum afterlife.

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Hel – Queen of the Dead

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Underearth

It was this Scandinavian Hel, the goddess of the netherworld, that gave Christians the name for their infinitely more miserable afterlife locale, Hell.

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Hell

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