1. The Dead Sea covers 600 km2 of surface area on the borders on Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank.   It is actually a lake but is so named due to its extreme saltiness which makes it uninhabitable for most life forms.  At 34.2% salinity it is one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, 9.6 times as salty as the ocean.  The Dead Sea’s shoreline is the lowest land elevation on Earth, at 429 metres (1,407 ft) below sea level.  Since biblical times, the Dead Sea has been a tourism hotspot.  It was a place of refuge for King David and was used by Herod the Great as one of the world’s first health resorts.  The sea’s salt and minerals have been used for a wide variety of practical functions, such as cosmetics, herbal sachets, potash for fertilizers, and asphalt for Egyptian mummification.  The water in the Dead Sea has a density of1.24 kg/litre, which makes it very buoyant.  This novelty effect is popular among tourists, who like to swim in the Dead Sea because they float very easily.

 

2. Despite its prominence in pop culture and presence in many different countries, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA has surprisingly few locations around the world.  While there are 373 stores in 47 countries, there are only 42 stores in the US, which means that many states are completely IKEA-free.  Interestingly, there are 12 locations in Canada which means we have more IKEAs per capita than our neighbours to the south.  We also got our first store before they did (1975 vs. 1985).  While the company was founded in Sweden and is now headquartered in the Netherlands, the country with the most stores is Germany, with 50.  The successful chain was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, who was only 17 at the time.  The company’s name is an acronym, consisting of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, south Sweden).  IKEA has become such a notable and recognizable part of pop culture that there are now plans to turn its first store — located in Älmhult, Sweden— into a museum.

 

 Daniel's Biography:

 My name is Daniel Myers.  I’m 21 years old and live in Pickering, Ontario.  I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD and am a self-advocate.  Earlier this year I graduated with Honours from Tourism and Travel at Centennial College.  My major interests include geography, maps, politics, world issues, history, travel, and theatre arts.  I am currently enrolled in the Transition To Life program run by Integrated Autism Consulting.

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