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Monday, November 22, 2010

Top 10 Fascinating Firsts in Motoring

Cars have become an essential object for most people these days – and there are probably few (if any) people still alive who remember the days before automobiles were on the roads. This list takes a look at some of the interesting “firsts” in motoring.
First Petrol Car
In 1883, 27 year old Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville built the very first petrol driven automobile. The motivation for doing so was to find a good alternative to horse transport for his father’s cotton mill. He was helped by his father’s mechanic, Charles Malandin. They modified an 8HP stationary gas engine for use with petrol as a fuel and fitted it to a four wheeled hunting-brake. [Image: a small scale model of the car built by Delamare-Deboutteville and Malandin]
First Mass-produced Car
The first instance of mass-produced petrol driven motorcars occurred in the USA. The car in question was the curved-dash Olds. It was the first car to be produced in quantities greater than 10 per week, making its appearance in public in April 1901. By the end of the year the total number of cars made was 433, and this number rose to 5,508 per year in just three years. The car retailed at $650 – significantly less than other cars at the time. [Image: 1901 curved-dash Olds]
First Car Radio
The first car radio was fitted to the passenger door of a Ford Model-T by 18 year old George Frost, president of the Lane High School Radio Club in Chicago in May 1922. In November that year, the first radio was installed in a Daimler limousine by the Marconi-phone company and displayed at the Olympia Motor Show in London, England. [Image: 1922 Ford Model-T]
First Car Theft
No 2 3.75Hp Peugeot
The first car theft in history occurred in Paris, France, in June 1896, when Baron de Zuylen’s Peugeot was stolen by his Mechanic from the manufacturers where it was undergoing repairs. Fortunately for Baron de Zuylen, both the thief and the car were found later at the nearby town of Asnieres. [Image: 1896 Peugeot]
First Registration Plates
Place Du Havre, Paris
The first vehicle registration plates were introduced in France by the Department of the Seine under the Paris Police Ordinance of 14 August 1893, which stated: “Each motor vehicle shall bear on a metal plate and in legible writing the name and address of its owner, also the distinctive number used in the application for authorization. This plate shall be placed at the left-hand side of the vehicle – it shall never be hidden.” In a general decree of 30 September, 1901, this rule was extended to include the rest of France. [Image: Camille Pissarro's The Place du Havre, Paris, 1893]

First Motoring Fatality
The first death by motoring happened on August 17, 1896, at the Crystal Palace, London, when Bridget Driscoll of Croydon was run over and her skull fractured by the wheel of the offending car. The driver (Arthur Edsell) was employed to give joy rides in a Rogers-Benz on the terrace of the Crystal Palace. Driscoll was crossing the road when she saw the automobile hurtling toward her at the speed of 4 mph. She took fright and stood still in the path of the oncoming car. The death was ruled accidental. [Image: 1896 Benz]
First Traffic Lights
The first traffic lights were installed on a 22ft cast iron pillar at the corner of Bridge Street and New Palace Yard off Parliament Square in London and began operating on 10 December 1868. The installation was made at the direction of the Metropolitan Police in order to make it easier for politicians to enter the Houses of Parliament. The lights consisted of a revolving lantern and a red and green signal. The lantern was turned by hand. The sign was (not surprisingly) not popular with the general public, and one man is quoted as complaining that it was “another of them fakements to wex poor cabbies”. It remained the only traffic light in London until its removal in 1872. Traffic lights were not re-introduced to London for another 50 years. [Image: site of the world's first traffic light]
First Traffic Signs
The first traffic signs were erected in Britain in December 1879. They were installed by the Bicycle Union and consisted of a wooden post with an enameled iron plate bearing the warning: “To cyclists – this hill is dangerous”. In 1901 the first signs directed specifically at motorcar drivers were introduced in Gloucester. The first internationally standardized signs (a red triangle surrounding a plate with an agreed symbol) were agreed upon in 1909 in France. [Image: first motoring traffic sign design, still in use today]
First Parking Meter
The first parking meter was devised by Carlton Magee, the editor of a leading Oklahoma City Newspaper. Magee was the chairman of a committee set up in 1933 to inquire into methods of imposing stricter parking controls in town. Magee created the Dual Parking Meter Company (so called because of the fact that the meters served two purposes: parking control and revenue generation). The first meters came in to service on July 16, 1935. [Image: Magee's parking meter - the first in the world]
First Bulk-Storage Petrol Filling Station
The first bulk-storage petrol filling station was operated by the Automobile Gasoline Co., founded by Harry Grenner and Clem Lessing at St Louis, Mo. in 1905. The petrol was dispensed through a garden hose connected to a gravity-feed tank. The first station with a forecourt and projecting canopy (the form mostly in use today) was opened by Standard Oil of California in Seattle, Washington, in 1907. [Image: the first gas station - best quality copy available on the internet]
Contributor: Maman


Top 10 Sports You Won’t See At The Olympics

Our previous list dealt with the ancient olympics – this one deals with events you won’t see at any olympics. It is well known that there are some events now included in the summer olympics that seem to be odd sports, but none are as odd as these.
Pigeon Racing
Pigeon racing is a sport involving the release of specially trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a carefully measured distance. The time it takes the animal to cover the specified distance is measured and the animals’ rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest rate of speed.
Barefoot Water Skiing
Picture 1-37
Barefoot water skiing originated in Cypress Gardens, Florida. Dick Pope Jr., on March 6, 1947, was the first recorded person to ever barefoot, though some believe the first person to do it was A. G. Hancock. By 1950, the first barefoot competition was held in Cypress Gardens. Throughout the 1950s, many other start techniques were invented including the two-ski jump out, the beach start and the deep water start. By 1961, a whole new aspect of the sport, backwards bare-footing, was added by Randy Rabe by stepping off a trick ski backwards
Underwater Hockey
Underwater Hockey1
Underwater hockey (now officially called Aquachallenge) is a non-contact sport in which two teams compete to maneuver a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into goals. Players wear a diving mask, fins and a snorkel for play. Safety gear includes a water polo style cap, a mouthguard, and a glove for the playing hand (to protect against pool-bottom abrasion and, in some designs, knuckle protection against puck impact). Because current rules permit a player to switch the stick between hands mid-play, players may choose to wear a protective glove on both hands.
Freestyle Skydiving
Freestyle skydiving is a competitive skydiving discipline where one member of a two-person team performs acrobatic maneuvers in free fall while the other one films the performance from a close distance using a helmet mounted camera.
Freestyle was first performed by Deanna Kent and others for her husband Norman Kent’s 1989 film “From Wings Came Flight”. It became a competitive skydiving discipline in the early 1990′s and became an official FAI sport in 1996.
Skysurfing is a type of skydiving in which the skydiver wears a board attached to his or her feet and performs surfing-style aerobatics during free-fall.
The boards used are generally smaller than actual surfboards, and look more like snowboards or large skateboards. The attachment to the feet is normally made removable, so that if the skydiver loses control or has difficulty opening their parachute, the board can be jettisoned.
Skysurfing is a distinct skill requiring considerable practice. The simplest skysurfing technique is to stand upright on the board during free fall, and tilt the nose of the board down to generate forward movement. However even this basic technique is a balancing act which experienced skydivers find tricky to learn.

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Speedcubing (also known as speedsolving, speed cubing or speed-cubing) is the activity of solving a Rubik’s Cube or related puzzle as quickly as possible. Here, solving is defined as performing a series of moves that transforms an incomplete cube into a state where each of the cube’s six faces is one single, solid color.
Regular cubes are sold commercially in variations of 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4, and 5x5x5. Variations of the puzzle have been designed with as many as 11 layers, but the largest denomination cube that has been physically produced is a 7x7x7. The current world record for a single solve of the 3x3x3 stands at 7.08 seconds, set by Erik Akkersdijk at the Czech Open on July 12-13, 2008.
Competitive Eating
Competitive eating is an event wherein participants consume large quantities of food in a short time period, typically 15 minutes or less, and the eater of the most food receives a prize. The type of food varies, although contests are primarily focused on fast foods or desserts. Items are almost always a single type of food, such as hot dogs, pie, or mayonnaise, among many others. Competitive eating is most popular in the USA and Japan. Competitive eaters are sometimes known as “gurgitators.”
Lawn Mower Racing
Lawn mower racing is a form of motorsport in which competitors race modified lawn mowers, usually of the ride-on or self-propelled variety. Original mower engines are retained, but blades are removed for safety. The sport attracts all ages, and is usually entered into in a spirit of fun rather than extreme competitiveness, though many do take it quite seriously.
Belt Sander Racing
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Belt sanders were one of the first power tools used in the growing field of power tool drag racing wherein a pair of stock or modified belt sanders are placed in parallel wooden channels and fitted with long extension cords. Each heat begins when a common switch or individual switches triggered by the racers energizes them, causing the sanders to race towards the end of the track spitting wood dust along the way. Stock sanders race down a 50′ long track, while modified sanders race on a 75′ long track.
Dwarf Tossing
Picture 2-18
Dwarf tossing is a bar attraction in which dwarfs wearing special padded clothing or Velcro costumes are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-coated walls. Participants compete to throw the dwarf the farthest. The term “dwarf throwing” is sometimes used. This “sport” has been banned in numerous places.
This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia articles.
Contributor: Geraint


10 Amazing Latin American Vacations

For those of you enjoying summer vacations, and for those us making plans for our vacation when winter ends, here is a great list of places to visit in Latin America. If you can’t visit Europe, it doesn’t mean you have to stay local for your holidays! For the purposes of this list, I have generally left out more frequently-visited spots such as Cancun, Acapulco, Costa Rica and Miami (considered by many to be part of Latin America) in the hope that people will want to venture beyond the tourist route and explore the real soul of this immense, diverse and beautiful part of the world. Feel free to share your own favorite Latin American travel experiences.
Peten Region, Guatemala
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Take one of the direct international flights into Flores to explore this wondrous region. From the cobblestone streets of colonial Flores to the imposing Mayan ruins of Tikal, Peten offers an affordable and safe alternative for visitors to Guatemala. On a steamy summer day, you can dip into the cool waters of Lake Peten Itza or tour the caves of Ak’tun Kan. And make sure you take away some of the great local habanero chile salsa, unless you’re just too afraid of it.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat is located in Bolivia, and it offers one of the most unique landscapes on the planet. The Salar de Uyuni covers over 12,000 sq km, and the salt is over 10 meters thick in the center, creating in effect a salt tundra. In summer, the salt planes are a completely flat and bone-dry expanse, but in the wet season, it is covered with a thin sheet of water that is still drivable. Rent a land rover for a camping trip, or stay in a hotel that’s completely made of salt! Definitely for the more seasoned trekker, but a truly unforgettable experience. You’ll probably never walk on the moon, but in Uyuni, you’ll come pretty close.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
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If you’re like me and passionately detest the hordes of tourists one associates with Costa Rica or other destinations, Panama might be a great alternative for you. Bocas del Toro is a small archipelago on the country’s western coast. Remote and difficult to access even today, the region’s indigenous and West African cultures have flourished over the centuries, and one usually hears more English or Creole than Spanish here. Check out nearby Red Frog beach for a quiet getaway, or take in some great snorkling in the reefs. Stay too long, and you’re likely to stay for good.
Jalisco state, Mexico
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If there is such thing as a perfect climate, you’ll likely find it in Jalisco. Most come to Jalisco for the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, and it is undoubtedly a beautiful place. But if that’s not your thing, stay in the historic center of Guadalajara for some great food, music and museums – Old Mexico at its finest. Or tour the Jose Cuervo distillery for some free samples. You can also find less-crowded beaches like Barra de Navidad, La Manzanilla or San Patricio. Jalisco has much to offer, and you could easily spend weeks wandering around without even leaving the state. [Image Source]
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio De Janeiro6
Founded in the 16th Century as a fortification against French pirates stalking the Portuguese trade routes, Rio has become one of those places whose very name conjures images of steamy tropical nights, sensual Latin rhythms and beautiful, scantily-clad women. And that’s pretty accurate. Take in the Carnival atmosphere of the “cidade maravilhosa” along Impanema or Copacabana beach, or a panoramic flight around Sugarloaf Mountain in a helicopter (well worth it). Sadly, Rio does have a reputation for crime, and you should take certain precautions while visiting, but don’t let it keep you away.

Torres del Paine, Chile
800Px-Torres Del Paine At Sunrise
At the southern tip of the New World lies Torres del Paine National Park, in Patagonian Chile. Visiting here might leave you with the impression that you have reached the end of the earth, and that you’d be crazy to go one step further for fear of falling into some infinite abyss. In other words, it be way down there. The park is home to lakes, vast glaciers and mountains massive and sheer. It’s certainly a must-do for the outdoorsman, but it offers something else, not easily explained in a travel brochure. Somewhere between the deafening silence in the air, the mighty rocks crowned with mist and snow, and the eternal and inexorable march of the glacial ice, you will feel as though you have borne witness to the dawn of creation itself, and it’s extraordinary.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Tango, Madonna and escaped Nazis. That’s the extent of most people’s knowledge of this sprawling Argentine metropolis. Nevermind the quintessentially European feel of the place, it’s affordability, its world-class restaurants, its nightlife, its wine, its art. Nevermind the flourishing rock/hip-hop music scene, the internationally-renowned fashion industry or the cultural diversity born from being the capital of a nation of immigrants. Nevermind that you can fly there directly from the U.S., Europe and Australia for a reasonable price. Madonna? Who’s that?
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Sealions
The Galapagos archipelago was claimed by the newly-independent Republic of Ecuador in 1832. Three years later, some egghead named Darwin visited the islands and came up with some universally popular scientific theories. Come to the Galapagos and it’s easy to see why he chose this spot. Giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, albatrosses and countless other species rarely seen anywhere else can all be witness in this relatively small 19-island chain. Arrange your trip early, as restrictions to the delicate biosphere are understandably tight. And make sure you spend a few days there to help the local economy.
Jau National Park, Brazil
Argentina - Iguazu Falls - Tight From Above-1
Amazonia. Vast beyond comprehension, remote, and tragically delicate. Spanning Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana, the Amazon is one of the last frontiers, and it’s disappearing at a staggering rate. There are many points of entry to the region, and one of the best is located near Manaus in Brazil’s Amazonas state. Follow a straight-line road 200 km to Jau National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tropical, constantly wet (it IS a rain forest) and home to myriad species of dolphins, fish, birds, crocodiles, turtles, monkeys, jaguars, tapirs and insects, the park can be explored by boat for the adventurous or by foot for the suicidal. Fall asleep in a hammock to the calls of the wild, and be grateful to have glimpsed the splendor of this ecological treasure before it’s gone forever.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The Empire of the Inca once ruled supreme across the inhospitable mountains of Peru. Remarkably, they constructed entire stone cities without the need for cement, and built sprawling networks of roads along the spine of the Andes which are still passable today. The most famous is the Camino del Inca, or the Inca Trail. Hire a guide to take you on the four-day journey from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, once a great mountain stronghold of the Inca. If the altitude gets to you, chew on some coca leaves (yes, it’s legal – no, it’s not cocaine) while you take in some of the most breathtaking vistas the Western Hemisphere has to offer. Passing through the Sun Gate as the morning fog slowly fades over the spectral city, long before the tour buses arrive from Cuzco, you might feel as though Machu Picchu has been waiting hundreds of years just for you.
Contributor: Gringo Joe


Top 12 Pro Athletes Turned Actors

Many have tried but only a handful of professional athletes are able to make the crossover into a successful acting career. We may not see them walk onto a stage and receive an Emmy or an Oscar but some have become very successful in their second careers and have also turned into some fairly respectable actors.
The criteria I used for this list is they had to have played a sport professionally. For the “order” criteria (which was not easy) I took into consideration their body of work in both their sports career and their acting career. I also considered their acting ability and their overall success as an actor. I am not including any professional bodybuilders or professional wrestlers in this list because stage presence and theatrics are already exhibited in these two sports.
Bob Uecker
Pro Sports Career: Played Baseball with Milwaukee Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies & Atlanta Braves from 1962-1967
It just seems fitting that Bob Ueker should come in at number 12 but at least he made the cut. After his lackluster baseball career Uecker made the most of it by making fun of himself and describing his experiences on the talk show circuit and then started appearing in several TV shows & movies. His line “Just a bit outside” from the move Major League is still a classic. He later was one of the main characters in the TV series Mr. Belvedere which aired from 1985 to 1990.
Rick Fox
b. 1969
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Pro Sports Career: Played Basketball with Boston Celtics & Las Angeles Lakers from 1991 to 2004.
It is may be a little too early to tell if Fox will have a really successful acting career but he has shown some real promise appearing in shows like HBOs Oz and in a couple of episodes of Ugly Betty.
Jason Lee
b. 1970
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Pro Sports Career: Professional skateboarder from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Professional skateboarding is not exactly the sport you might think of when you hear about pro athletes becoming actors. However when you think of the skill level and the athletic ability involved along with the competitiveness I think it deserves to be here with the other sports.
Jason Lee is the youngest on the list and also probably the one with the brightest future as an actor. Lee is just perfect as the character Earl Hickey in the TV series My Name is Earl which started airing in 2005. Lee also recently appeared in the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks and was also the voice of Underdog which was released in 2007.
Alex Karras
b. 1935
Alex Karras Mongo
Pro Sports Career: Played football for the Detroit Lions from 1958-1962 & 1964-1970
Who can forget Karras’s great performance as Mongo in Blazing Saddles?
He later proved to be a successful actor as he appeared in more movies and many television shows including Webster in which he was one of the main characters along with his wife Susan Clark.
Ed Marinaro
b. 1950
Pro Sports Career: Played football with Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets & Seattle Seahawks from 1972-1977 Marinaro was also the runner-up for the 1971 Heisman Trophy Award.
Ed Marinaro has appeared in several movies and television shows but is best known for the character Officer Joe Coffey on Hill Street Blues which aired from 1981 to 1987.
Chuck Connors
b. 1921 – d. 1992
Pro Sports Career: Played baseball for the Chicago Cubs & Brooklyn Dodgers from 1949 to 1951. Connors also played basketball for the Boson Celtics from 1946-1948.
When watching old reruns of The Rifleman many people are not aware that Chuck Connors had another life as a professional athlete before his acting career. Although his athletic career was not exactly stellar Connor’s is one of only 12 people who played both pro baseball & pro basketball. Connor’s was also in dozens of movies besides his popular television show which ran for 6 years.

Merlin Olsen
b. 1940
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Pro Sports Career: Played football for the Los Angeles Rams from 1962-1976 and was known as one of the “The Fearsome Foursome”.
Merlin Olson is best known for his series Father Murphy which lasted from 1981 to 1983. He also appeared in many episodes of Little House on the Prairie as the character Jonathan Garvey from 1974 to 1983.
Vinnie Jones
b. 1965
Pro Sports Career: Was a footballer (Soccer player) from 1984-1999 Football Clubs: Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Chelsea, Queens Park.
Not following English football I was not aware that Jones was a former professional athlete when I saw his solid performance in the movie Swordfish. Later I learned about his impressive soccer career. He seems to have great screen presence and continues to be a very busy actor and is now starring in most of his movies.
Carl Weathers
b. 1948
Pro Sports Career: Played football for the Oakland Raiders & the British Columbia Lions from 1970-1974.
Carl Weathers was perfect in the roll as Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies. He also has proven his acting ability in several TV series including Street Justice which aired from 1991 to 1993.
Fred Dryer
b. 1946
Pro Sports Career: Played football for the New York Giants & Los Angeles Rams from 1969-1981.
Fred Dryer is best known for his starring roll in the TV series Hunter as Det. Sgt. Rick Hunter which lasted for a very respectable 7 years from 1984-1991. Dryer also directed several of the Hunter episodes. He later produced and starred in another TV series called Land’s End.
Fred Williamson
b. 1938
Pro Sports Career: Played Football for Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders & Kansas City Chiefs from 1960-1967
Williamson kept busy in movies and TV for over three decades. Although many have criticized him for starring in several movies that are considered black exploitation (blaxploitation) films no one can argue that Williamson has made his mark on the film industry. Williamson also produces, writes & directs. Recently Williamson displayed good comedy instincts playing Captain Dobey in the movie Starsky & Hutch.
Jim Brown
b. 1936
Pro Sports Career: Played football for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965.
Sure it would be nice to see Jim Brown take on more versatile roles but when you consider he was one of the greatest football players ever along with his very successful movie career it is hard to deny him first place on this list. Everyone remembers his performance in The Dirty Dozen which launched his movie career. Since then he has starred in over 30 movies and also produces and directs.
Contributor: Blogball


Top 10 Most Spoken Languages In The World

Language is perhaps the most important function of the human body – it allows us to get sustenance as a child, it allows us to get virtually anything we want as an adult, and it allows us many hours of entertainment through literature, radio, music, and films. This list (in order of least to most spoken) summarizes the most important languages in use today.
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Number of speakers: 129 million
Often called the most romantic language in the world, French is spoken in tons of countries, including Belgium, Canada, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Haiti. Oh, and France too. We’re actually very lucky that French is so popular, because without it, we might have been stuck with Dutch Toast, Dutch Fries, and Dutch kissing (ew!).
To say “hello” in French, say “Bonjour” (bone-JOOR).
Photo Lg Indonesia
Number of speakers: 159 million
Malay-Indonesian is spoken – surprise – in Malaysia and Indonesia. Actually, we kinda fudged the numbers on this one because there are many dialects of Malay, the most popular of which is Indonesian. But they’re all pretty much based on the same root language, which makes it the ninth most-spoken in the world.
Indonesia is a fascinating place; a nation made up of over 13,000 islands it is the sixth most populated country in the world. Malaysia borders on two of the larger parts of Indonesia (including the island of Borneo), and is mostly known for its capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
To say “hello” in Indonesian, say “Selamat pagi” (se-LA-maht PA-gee).
Number of speakers: 191 million
Think of Portuguese as the little language that could. In the 12th Century, Portugal won its independence from Spain and expanded all over the world with the help of its famous explorers like Vasco da Gama and Prince Henry the Navigator. (Good thing Henry became a navigator . . . could you imagine if a guy named “Prince Henry the Navigator” became a florist?) Because Portugal got in so early on the exploring game, the language established itself all over the world, especially in Brazil (where it’s the national language), Macau, Angola, Venezuela, and Mozambique.
To say “hello” in Portuguese, say “Bom dia” (bohn DEE-ah).
Number of speakers: 211 million
In Bangladesh, a country of 120+ million people, just about everybody speaks Bengali. And because Bangladesh is virtually surrounded by India (where the population is growing so fast, just breathing the air can get you pregnant), the number of Bengali speakers in the world is much higher than most people would expect.
To say “hello” in Bengali, say “Ei Je” (EYE-jay).
Number of speakers: 246 million
Arabic, one of the world’s oldest languages, is spoken in the Middle East, with speakers found in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Furthermore, because Arabic is the language of the Koran, millions of Moslems in other countries speak Arabic as well. So many people have a working knowledge of Arabic, in fact, that in 1974 it was made the sixth official language of the United Nations.
To say “hello” in Arabic, say “Al salaam a’alaykum” (Ahl sah-LAHM ah ah-LAY-koom).

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Number of speakers: 277 million
Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and Yakov Smirnoff are among the millions of Russian speakers out there. Sure, we used to think of them as our Commie enemies. Now we think of them as our Commie friends. One of the six languages in the UN, Russian is spoken not only in the Mother Country, but also in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the U.S. (to name just a few places).
To say “hello” in Russian, say “Zdravstvuite” (ZDRAST-vet-yah).
Number of speakers: 392 million
Aside from all of those kids who take it in high school, Spanish is spoken in just about every South American and Central American country, not to mention Spain, Cuba, and the U.S. There is a particular interest in Spanish in the U.S., as many English words are borrowed from the language, including: tornado, bonanza, patio, quesadilla, enchilada, and taco grande supreme.
To say “hello” in Spanish, say “Hola” (OH-la).
Photo Lg India
Number of speakers: 497 million
Hindustani is the primary language of India’s crowded population, and it encompasses a huge number of dialects (of which the most commonly spoken is Hindi). While many predict that the population of India will soon surpass that of China, the prominence of English in India prevents Hindustani from surpassing the most popular language in the world. If you’re interested in learning a little Hindi, there’s a very easy way: rent an Indian movie. The film industry in India is the most prolific in the world, making thousands of action/romance/musicals every year.
To say “hello” in Hindustani, say “Namaste” (Nah-MAH-stay).
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Number of speakers: 508 million
While English doesn’t have the most speakers, it is the official language of more countries than any other language. Its speakers hail from all around the world, including New Zealand, the U.S., Australia, England, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Canada. We’d tell you more about English, but you probably feel pretty comfortable with the language already. Let’s just move on to the most popular language in the world.
To say “hello” in English, say “What’s up, freak?” (watz-UP-freek).
Photo Lg China
Number of speakers: 1 billion+
Surprise, surprise, the most widely spoken language on the planet is based in the most populated country on the planet. Beating second-place English by a 2 to 1 ratio, but don’t let that lull you into thinking that Mandarin is easy to learn. Speaking Mandarin can be really tough, because each word can be pronounced in four ways (or “tones”), and a beginner will invariably have trouble distinguishing one tone from another. But if over a billion people could do it, so could you. Try saying hello!
To say “hello” in Mandarin, say “Ni hao” (Nee HaOW). (“Hao” is pronounced as one syllable, but the tone requires that you let your voice drop midway, and then raise it again at the end.)
Contributor: flamiejamie