Archive for the ‘Top 10 in the World’ Category

Canada is the northern-most country in North America and is surrounded by three oceans (Pacific to the west, Arctic to the north and Atlantic to the east). With ten provinces and three territories, Canada is the world’s second largest country by total area (Russia is by far the largest). Canada’s border with the United States to their northwest (Alaska) and to the south is the world’s longest border. Here’s my list of the top 10 landmarks in the beautiful country of Canada:

10. Confederation Bridge

Confederation Bridge

With its official opening on May 31, 1997, the Confederation Bridge is located in the Abegweit Passage of the Northumberland Strait and links together the provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The two-lane highway toll bridge is eight miles long and it is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. The majority of the bridge is 40 meters above water, with a 60 meter high navigation span for traveling ships. The speed limit on the bridge is 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and takes approximately ten minutes to cross. Prior to the construction of the Confederation Bridge, people wanting to visit Prince Edward Island had to travel by ferries.

9. West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

Located in Edmonton, Alberta, the West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping mall in North America and the fifth largest in the entire world. It was previously the world’s largest mall from 1981 until 2004. With an area of over six million square feet, the mall contains over 800 stores and services, along with over 23,000 employees. There is also parking for more than 20,000 vehicles. With over 28 million visitors each year, the mall offers many theme parks and attractions, such as Galaxyland, World Waterpark, Marine Life, Ice Palace, Putt n’ Glow and Deep Sea Derby, just to name a few. They also have numerous nightlife and dining options, such as the Cactus Club, Edmonton Event Centre, Empire Ballroom, Jubilations Dinner Theatre, Palace Casino and other lounges. We also can’t forget about their three theatres, along with endless other attractions, like the Caesar’s Bingo, Centre of Gravity, Skateboard Park and the Fun House & Haunted House.

8. Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

The Hopewell Rocks are rock formations caused by tidal erosions located on the upper shores of the Bay of Fundy. Specifically, they are located at Hopewell Cape, which is near Moncton, New Brunswick. The base formations of the rocks are covered with water twice daily, but can also be seen from ground level at low tide. With tides sometimes as high as 52 feet, the Hopewell Rocks are home to one of the highest average tides in the world. Also in the area is Fundy National Park, which has approximately 110 kilometers of hiking trails, 40 kilometers of mountain biking trails, along with numerous camping areas.

7. Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Saint Joseph’s Oratory is a Roman Catholic basilica located on the west slope of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec. Construction began in 1904 by Saint Andre Bessette, but later had to be enlarged due to the number of visitors. The Oratory’s dome is the third-largest in the world, next to the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, which is located in the Ivory Coast, and Saint Peter’s Basilica, which is located in Rome. Saint Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada. Brother Andre has reportedly healed many visitors who came to the Oratory. Thousands of crutches are on display in the basilica by visitors who were healed. The Oratory also contains Brother Andre’s heart, which he requested to remain in there as protection of the basilica. With a seating capacity of 1,000, Saint Joseph’s Oratory receives over two million visitors and pilgrims each year. The Oratory was featured in the 1989 film “Jesus de Montreal” and is also used as the picture representing the city of Montreal in the game “Monopoly: Here and New: The World Edition”.

6. Chateau Lake Louise

Chateau Lake Louise

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Louise, near Banff, Alberta, Chateau Lake Louise was originally built in 1890. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chateau Lake Louise is “kin” to the Banff Springs Hotel and the Chateau Frontenac. With a lake located in front of the hotel and a mountain glacier behind it, the view is absolutely breathtaking. The area around the hotel is part of Banff National Park, which is also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Since 1982, the hotel is opened year-round and offers endless activities for nature lovers, including hiking, canoeing, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice sculpture contests, snowshoe excursions and sleigh rides, just to name a few. This top Canadian tourist destination has been visited by Christopher Reeve and Marilyn Monroe.

5. Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill

Located in Ottawa, Ontario, Parliament Hill receives approximately three million visitors every year. The Hill was originally used by First Nations people, followed by adventurers and traders who would congregate there during their travel. The site was also used as a location for a military base, called Barrack Hill. With an area of 88,480 square meters, Parliament Hill rests between the Ottawa River (north), the Rideau Canal (east) Wellington Street (south) and Kent Street near the Supreme Court (west). Parliament Hill has some incredible architecture, including the Centre Block and the Peace Tower.

4. The Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies

Known as a major mountain range in western North America, The Rocky Mountains extend more than 3,000 miles between the state of New Mexico in the United States and the province of British Columbia in Canada. The Canadian Rocky Mountains range from British Columbia to Alberta. Unlike the American Rockies, the Canadian Rockies are made up of shale and limestone. The Canadian Rockies are also known for their high peaks, such as Mount Columbia, which is 3,747 meters high and Mount Robson, which has an elevation of 3,954 meters. Four national parks that are located in the Canadian Rockies are part of the World Heritage Site. These parks are Banff, Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper. There is another park, called Waterton, which is not part of the World Heritage Site.

3. CN Tower

CN Tower

Located in Toronto, Ontario, the CN Tower is a communications and observation tower, which is used by radio and television stations. Built in 1976, it is an astonishing 1,815 feet tall. For 34 years, it held the record for the world’s tallest tower and tallest free-standing structure until Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Canton Tower in Guangzhou were built. It is still, however, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. With the tower being so incredibly tall, it attracts lightning and gets hit up to fifty times a year. The CN Tower attracts more than two million visitors each year. Many tourists take the elevator up to the SkyPod, which is the world’s largest observation deck, for a breathtaking view.

2. Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac

The Chateau Frontenac is a grand hotel located in Quebec City overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The hotel was named after Louis de Baude, Count of Frontenac. He was the governor of the colony of New France from 1672 to 1682 and again from 1689 until 1698. The Chateau Frontenac first opened in 1893, five years after its sister-hotel, the Banff Springs Hotel, opened in Banff National Park, Alberta. Alfred Hitchcock’s drama film “I Confess” was filmed at the hotel in 1953. Princess Grace, Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt also visited the hotel. With over 600 rooms and suites, the Chateau Frontenac holds the Guinness World Record as “the most photographed hotel in the world”.

1. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls are situated on the Niagara River which lies on the border of the province of Ontario and the state of New York. The Horseshoe Falls are located on the Canadian side of the border. The Niagara Falls are the most powerful waterfall in North America with an average of 4 million cubic feet of water falling over the crest line every minute. The Horseshoe Falls dispense 90% of the water from the Niagara River and are also a valuable source of hydroelectric power. The Niagara Falls are a huge tourist attraction with approximately 30 million visitors each year. In the evenings, there are floodlights which light up both sides of the falls until midnight. Many tourists also take a boat cruise, named Maid of the Mist, which carries passengers below the falls.

Written by: Jocelyne LeBlanc


While political and military leaders come and go, religious figures seem to endure throughout the ages, which is why millions of people still venerate them hundreds or even thousands of years after they’ve died. What some people might find it enlightening to know, however, is that not everyone who was responsible for starting a religion set out to do so. In fact, most did not, and often the establishment of an organized faith structure based off their teachings came long after they had left the world stage, so they can hardly be held entirely responsible for what their followers ended up doing with their teachings. In any case, I thought it might be interesting to get some idea just who these people were and how a religion came about as a result of their teachings, if only so we might understand where these things come from.
The biggest problem I faced in putting together this list was in knowing how to rank these figures. Do I list them chronologically or by number of adherents? Do I include subgroups or keep it more general? And what of those faiths that appear to have no specific founder but possess tens of millions of followers? In the end I decided to rank each figure according to their impact on history and the role they continue to play today. Such a list is inevitably going to be somewhat subjective in nature, of course, and potentially capable of eliciting strong emotions from those who feel I’ve slighted or, worse, ignored, their particular hero. Therefore, I apologize up front if anyone finds my mini biographies too secular, too incomplete, or just too irreverent for their tastes, but I have done my best.

10. Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)

Mary Baker Eddy

Though the founder of Christian Science doesn’t have all that many followers any more (only around 30,000 or so as of late) her impact on American religious beliefs in the nineteenth century cannot be underestimated. Her controversial perspectives on everything from the illusory nature of the material world to her de facto rejection of a personal God and the concept of hell definitely put her somewhat outside of what is usually referred to as “orthodoxy”, though many of her ideas survive and can still be found in some New Age churches and other metaphysical and mystical traditions today. To be fair, much of Baker’s theology did not originate with her, but appears to be a rehash of the beliefs inherent to the ancient Gnostics, a mystical branch of Christianity that was all the rage during the first few centuries A.D. before being driven underground by the larger and more powerful church in Rome. She also reflects much of the theological bent of the famous fourteenth century theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart (1260-1327), who is today rapidly growing in popularity among many spiritually-inclined people. Today her followers are better known for refusing medical treatment in the belief that disease and illness—being part of the “illusory material world”—can be treated purely with prayer, resulting in a number of lawsuits over the years as Christian Science parents ran afoul of the authorities for refusing treatment to their children. All-in-all, however, she should be remembered for her willingness to challenge the traditional beliefs of her era and as something of an early feminist for her views on woman’s suffrage.

9. Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844)

Joseph Smith, Jr.

Easily one of the most controversial figures from the first half of the nineteenth century, it is difficult to imagine how one man, persuaded that he was a prophet of God, could start a religion—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (officially the LDS but commonly referred to as the Mormon church)—practically single-handedly, that would one day grow to over fourteen million worldwide followers. Not bad for a man with limited education, a fairly short ministry, and a penchant for violence. A controversial figure in his own right, his polygamy (no longer practiced by most modern Mormons) and insistence that he was a prophet sent to restore the church from the apostacy it had, according to God, fallen into, often put him at odds with his non-Mormon neighbors—an enmity which frequently resulted in violence and ultimately ended in his own unwanted martyrdom at the hands of his less enlightened fellow citizens during a shootout in an Illinois prison in 1844. Of course, his lieutenant, Brigham Young, is better known as the man who, in the aftermath of Smith’s death, led the few hundred Mormons that remained on an arduous trek to present day Utah and largely establishing the church we know today, but it was Smith who laid the foundation by writing (or, more accurately, “translating”) the Book of Mormon from golden plates given to him by the angel Moroni. He also penned several other “inspired” texts that were to serve as the basis of Mormonism, making him  the driving force behind the fledgling denomination. Clearly, without his literary bent, the LDS church would have had little basis upon which to build after his death, making him in many ways as important to western Protestantism as Luther (see number 7 below) was to Roman Catholicism. As such, he is venerated by Mormons around the world and is today considered its chief prophet whose status is only likely to expand as the church continues to grow at an exponential rate.

8. Moses (circa 1391-1271 BCE)


While the history of Judaism is filled with famous prophets and leaders-from Kings David and Solomon to the prophets Elijah and Ezekiel—no one man had more impact than did Moses, without whose guidance and leadership the modern Jewish religion would not exist. Something of a political heavyweight as a young man (having grown up in the Pharoah’s house and even being considered a shoo-in to ascend the throne one day) Moses apparently forsook all that and, being a Hebrew himself, decided to champion his own people in a quest to possess their own nation. This took him on something of a forty year odyssey, during which time he led—by some estimates—as many as a half-million men, woman, and children (though those numbers may be mistranslated or overblown), in a brutal trek to not only survive the harsh life of the desert, but restore the Jews to the land of Canaan. Supposedly responsible for penning the Torah (the most venerated of all Jewish writings and the basis for the first five books of the Old Testament), while Moses died—at the ripe old age of 120, no less—before  he could set foot in the promised land, it was he who gave the Jews the moral and ethical underpinnings that would constitute the next thousand years of Jewish thought. By way of example of just how important he was—and to some extent remains today—to western religion and philosophy is that his ten commandments (there were actually many more than ten but who’s counting) remain the bedrock of western religious belief to this day.

7. Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Martin Luther

While Christianity is wrought with dozens of individuals who played a major role in shaping its doctrines and making it the faith structure it is today, few men had a greater impact upon the church in general than this fiery German theologian from Eisleben. Initially a dedicated Catholic priest, Luther eventually grew disenchanted with the abuses he saw going on within the Roman papacy and finally called the Church out on it by nailing his 95 thesis (points of doctrinal disputes) on the door of the Wittenberg church on October 31st, 1517. In doing so he started a debate that eventually evolved into the reformation movement that split the church in two and initiated four centuries of religious strife and, at times, armed conflict, that continues to reverberate throughout Christianity to this day. His biggest contribution to modern Christianity came in his insistence that salvation came from faith in Christ rather than through obedience to the Pope, which changed everything and made salvation more obtainable, thereby initiating a period of unparalleled church growth. Though the movement he unwittingly started (Luther had not intended to create a schism in the church but to merely reform Catholicism) was itself to fracture into smaller groups—thus the preponderance of denominations we see today—it is difficult to argue that without Luther the church and the history of western civilization would look very different than it does today.

6. Zoroaster (Unknown. Anywhere between the 18th and 6th centuries BCE)


): Zoroaster, also called Zarathustra, was an ancient Persian prophet who founded the first historically acknowledged world religion known, not surprisingly, as Zoroastrianism. According to the Zend Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster was born in northern Persia, probably in the seventh century BC, although some scholars put the date for his birth much earlier. He is said to have received a vision in which he became aware that a great cosmic war was being fought between Ahura Mazda, the God of Light, and Ahriman, the principle of evil. According to the prophet, man had been given the power to choose between good and evil, and it was this dualism that became the driving force behind monotheism in the Middle East while Zoroaster’s teaching became the guiding light of Persian civilization. Additionally, elements of Zoroastrian philosophy entered the West through Judaism and Platonism and has even been identified as one of the key early events in the development of philosophy. (Among the great Greek philosophers, Heraclitus is often referred to as having been inspired by Zoroaster’s ideas.) The religion began to die out after Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but it survives to this day in India where it serves as the basis for the Parsi faith.

5. Confucius (551-479 BCE)


Confucius (the Latinized version of his Chinese name, Kong Zi) was not a religious leader per se, but more of a philosopher whose teachings on personal and governmental morality, justice, and sincerity deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thought and life. His ideas eventually developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism, which was introduced to Europe by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci in the sixteenth century, and has since become popularized in the West. Since none of the man’s writings survive—his teachings being recounted by his students many years after his death—scholars continue to debate whether there was a real flesh-and-blood person named Confucius or if Confucianism isn’t just a term for a collection of ancient teachings from multiple sources all brought together under a single philosophical construct. In either case, he was the first to express the well-known principle, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”—an early version of the Golden Rule—so whoever (or whatever) he was, he was onto something big.

4. Krishna (circa 3228-3102 BCE)


Like the Buddha, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between historical fact and metaphor when it comes to some of the most ancient religious figures. This is especially true of Krishna, who appears to be part man and part supernatural entity capable of all sorts of remarkable things (as would be expected from the most powerful incarnation of Vishnu, the Godhead of the Hindu Trinity of deities). What is generally accepted is that there appears to have been a real person behind the mythology—a nephew of the hated king Kamsa of Mathura (in northern India)—who lived, by most accounts, a somewhat care-free life (he was especially adept with the flute), though one marked by all sorts of extraordinary events.  For example, as a child he allegedly killed numerous demons and did things like purify the poisoned holy waters of the Yamuna River. Though he didn’t actually found the modern religion of Hinduism—it’s basic tenets already being in place prior to his arrival—among all of the Vishnu avatars, he is the most popular and the one closest to the heart of the people, which is why he remains so venerated five thousand years later.

3. Gautama Buddha (circa 563-483 BCE)

Gautama Buddha

We tend to use the term “Buddha” as a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment or wisdom, but there was a real flesh-and-blood person behind the mythology. Siddhartha Gautama (“Buddha” being a later acquired title) was a prince who spent the first 29 years of his life in opulent luxury before giving it all up and embarking on a quest for understanding. Becoming a hard-core ascetic who survived on a handful of nuts a day, after several years of living in complete destitution, he realized that too was futile as a means of coming into “awareness.” One day, while sitting beneath a bodhi tree considering his dilemma, he suddenly realized the key to enlightenment was the elimination of all desire, which is what made it possible for him to achieve enlightenment or, more precisely, a state of Nirvana. Quickly attracting a legion of disciples, his teachings laid the foundation for one of the world’s great eastern faith structures, Buddhism, which as of this writing claims nearly 400 million adherents worldwide.

2. Mohammed of Mecca (571-632 CE)

Mohammed of Mecca

It’s hard to underestimate the impact this middle-aged merchant turned mystic turned religious leader turned military commander has had on history and the role he continues to play in the lives of nearly a billion people around the planet. Considered by one sixth of the world’s population to have been the last and greatest of all the prophets, he is best remembered as the man who penned the Koran, one of the best known and most widely read sacred writings in the world. (Of course, he didn’t actually write it himself. According to legend, the writings were given to him by the angel Gabriel through a series of visions over a twenty year period, which eventually were recorded and codified into the book we know today.) In any case, in recording these mystical writings, he instituted one of the most stridently monotheistic religions in the world and set the stage for the rapid spread of Islam throughout the then known world.

1. Jesus of Nazareth (circa 7 BCE-36 CE)

Jesus of Nazareth

With more than a billion followers world-wide, Christianity remains the largest single religion on Earth, making this an easy pick. Even if it wasn’t the largest religion, however, it is beyond serious debate the impact this itinerant rabbi from Galilee has had on the planet. What is especially remarkable about this is that his public ministry lasted little more than two years, he never had more than a few thousand followers during his lifetime, he left no personal writings, and was even executed for sedition by the Roman authorities, all of which should have made him little more than a footnote in history. Instead, today he is venerated not only as a great prophet and moral teacher, but is believed by many to have been the literal, physical manifestation of God on Earth—a status he demonstrated by allegedly resurrecting from the dead three days after his death. It is also believed he later ascended to heaven, which is why hundreds of millions of Christians today anxiously await his promised return and the advent of a thousand-years of peace. (And you wondered why the Left Behind series of novels did so well.)
Honorable mentions: Lao-Tzu (great Chinese philosopher and writer of the Tao Te Ching), Isaiah (8th century BCE, important Old Testament prophet), Paul of Tarsus (circa 5-67 CE, driving force behind first century Christianity and author of much of the New Testament), Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses), Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891, founder of the theosophy movement), L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986, founder of Scientology), and Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892, inspiration behind the Bahai Faith).

Written by Jeff Danelek, he is a Denver, Colorado author who writes on many subjects having to do with history, politics, the paranormal, spirituality and religion. To see more of his stuff, visit his website at Sources:  

(Shockingly, the subject of gorgeous ladies is a popular one.  With that in mind, we now present TopTenz’ third list of the most beautiful international women in the world who will never date you ever).

From Sandra Bullock to Beyoncé Knowles, there is no shortage of beautiful celebrity women who grace our lives.  They do their thing in a wide range of professions: actresses, models or in some cases, just being famous (the Kardashians come to mind).  But when many of us start compiling our list of top beautiful women, it tends to have an American flavor.  While America certainly has its share of gorgeous ladies, the country by no means has a monopoly on beauty.  Indeed, hot ladies with international pedigrees shine just as bright as their American counterparts.  Just take a look at our top 10 international beauties, and I’m sure you will agree.

10.  Aya Ueto (Japan)


Unless you are familiar with Japanese offerings in television, films or music, then you probably never experienced the stunning vestige of Aya Ueto.  And oh, what an experience!  If you don’t know her, then the misfortune is truly yours.  This 26-year-old beauty is a national darling in Japan.  Born in Tokyo, Aya’s personage can be found everywhere across this island nation – billboards, magazines, television, films and the like.

And with good reason too!  Aya’s famously sterling smile is guaranteed to move a product, as well as make a guy’s heart skip a beat or two.  A seemingly magical combination of cuteness and heavenly innocence manifests in Aya’s sparkle.  Aya’s beauty, in one sense, is “girl next door” in that it is not blatant in-your-face sexuality.  Rather, she radiates a subdued, but nevertheless illuminating, presence.  In fact, the thought of a beautiful fairy tale princess comes to mind with Aya.

To her credit, she is just not another pretty face.  An equally talented actress and singer, she has recently added fashion design to her resume.  For certain, it is only a matter of time before this Japanese beauty transitions from national stardom to international sensation.  We can’t wait.

Where You May Have Seen Her: Aya holds the record for being the actress with the most television commercials in Japan.  She was a member of a quartet called “Z-1”.  Aya also has a solo career and has released multiple albums.  She has appeared in the TV series 3-nen B-gumi Kinpachi sensei 6, and starred in the movie Azumi.

9.  Eva Riccobono (Italy)


This lady could almost make the list on her name alone.  “Riccobono” sounds hot and sexy as it rolls off the tongue.  But believe me, Ms. Riccobono certainly is more than just a pretty name.  A model by trade, the 27-year-old beauty hails from Palermo, Italy.  Italian women are known to be sultry, and this is certainly the case with Riccobono.  She literally burns her way off the pages she appears on, as well as setting the runways on fire when she is doing her thing in person.  Her fair complexion and long, lithe body (not to mention the piercing eyes), are among the reasons she has graced the covers of such prestigious magazines as Vogue and Elle.  And for those who care to know these things, the lady doesn’t have any problems with nudity.

Really, Riccobono is one of the most photogenic women one is likely to see.   She literally doesn’t take a bad picture.  Without doubt, this lady is a head turner, a “stop and see” beauty who will continue to dominate the fashion/modeling industry for years to come.

Where You May Have Seen Her: Cover of Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Italian Playboy.  Advertisements for Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and L’Oreal.  Runway for Calvin Klein, Gucci, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren.  2009 Lavazza Calendar photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

8.  Shania Twain (Canada)


No, Canada is not a part of the United States, so anyone hailing from the Great White North qualifies for this list.  And Shania definitely deserves to be here.  At 46, the Windsor, Ontario native is the oldest entry on this list, but you can’t hold her age against her.  Shania’s beauty seems to be age-defying.  What is appealing about Shania is that she has a look that is “girl next door” in nature.  This is to say that she has a natural beauty that just seems to radiate.  Her claim to fame is as a singer, but this 5’4” beauty brings a lot more to the table then just great vocals.  With a body to die for, flowing dark hair, and probably the most beautiful facial features of anyone you are likely to meet, Shania is the total package.  No wonder she has been consistently featured on Sexiest and Hottest women lists for years.

Even more telling is that Shania has a wonderful personality.  A lot of celebrities come across as pretentious and arrogant.  Not Shania.  With a humble background that included having to raise her three younger siblings when their parents died, Shania blossomed into the woman she is through hard work and perseverance that is reflected in how she interacts with the world.  Whether on stage, in person, or gracing the pages of a magazine cover, Shania Twain is sure to garner attention.

Where You May Have Seen Her: Listed in “People Weekly”s “Most Intriguing People” list. (December 25, 1995/January 1, 1996 issue).  She was named #39 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.  She was named #33 in FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005″ special supplement.  She was named #30 in FHM magazine’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006″ supplement.  VH1 ranked her at #15 on VH1′s 100 Sexiest Artists.

7.  Doutzen Kroes (Netherlands)


Ms. Kroes is an angel – literally!  Selected as one of Victoria’s Secret’s Angels in 2008, Ms. Kroes entered into a whole new level of fame and recognition.  The lady deserves angel wings because her beauty is truly divine in nature.  The statuesque model (she’s 5’10”) is not just hot but sexxxy hot!  The lingerie shots of this 26-year-old model from Oostermeer, Holland are all pinup material.  With a tone body and angelic facial features, Ms. Kroes has taken the fashion industry by storm.

Her friends call her Doutzy, but most guys who see or meet her for the first time can’t get much out of their mouths besides “wow”.  Stunning is the word that best describes this international hottie.  And she’s adventurous as well.  It’s been reported that she has a reservation to take a trip into space on the Dutch’s first commercial space flight in 2014.  This lady is every guy’s fantasy girl come to life: she’s drop dead gorgeous AND she’s into cool activities like space travel.

Where You May Have Seen Her: She was ranked #9 in the Top Sexiest Models list by  She was ranked #21 in the 2009 on Ask Men list of the top 99 “Most Desirable” women.  She was ranked #20 Sexiest Women by the Spanish version of DT magazine in 2011. In 2010 she was ranked #50 in the FHM UK list of “100 Sexiest Women in the World”.

6.  Rihanna (Barbados)


This Caribbean Queen hails from the tropical paradise of St. Michael, Barbados.  Only 23 years of age, Rihanna has been a sensation since hitting the scene as a top charting R&B singer.  Rihanna is simply a Presence.  There is simply no other way to explain it.  Not particularly tall at 5’8”, she nevertheless projects a taller physical stature that is more akin to a model.  With a caramel complexion, long legs, and great…physical attributes – Rihanna has made a name for herself as one of the sexiest vocalists in the music industry.  Her videos, for a legion of appreciative male fans, leave them wanting more.  Her exotic beauty has allowed the pop star to crossover into fashion and modeling.  She has been featured on the cover of Italian Vogue (no small feat), as well as being the youngest black woman to hit the cover of American Vogue. Quite naturally, Rihanna continues to be ranked in the top 10 of most sexiest/beautiful women list that are put out.  And with good reason.  We would be amiss if we failed to follow suit (and blind as well).

Where You May Have Seen Her:  Appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue for there “Extreme Couture” edition. [September 2009].  Became the youngest black female to grace the cover of American-Vogue [March 2011].  In 2010 she was ranked #43 in the FHM UK list of “100 Sexiest Women in the World”.   She was named the “Sexiest Woman” for 2011 by Esquire magazine [October 12, 2011].

5.  Aishwarya Rai (India)


More than likely, a few of you who are reading this list are probably scratching your head and saying “who?” with this entry.  Well, if you don’t know this incredibly accomplished lady from Mangalore, India is, you might want to look her up.  At 38 years old, Ms. Rai is the third oldest person on our list.  Once again, we find that in the case of this South Asian beauty, age is only a number.

The former 1994 Miss World has done it all.  Primarily a Bollywood actress, she has also dabbled in modeling and has appeared in over 50 music videos.  And with good reason.  Not only is she talented, but her beauty is something truly to behold.  With ethnic features that are common to her part of the world (dark complexion, long flowing black hair), a smile to die for, and very beautiful facial features; it’s no surprise that Ms. Rai has accumulated the accolades she has (she was won over 100 awards since she was 20).

Interestingly, even movie critic Roger Ebert has weighed in on this international beauty, once commenting that Ms. Rai is the most beautiful actress in the world!  That’s pretty high praised indeed.  It goes without saying, especially once you see her, why she is consistently ranked on many of the top lists that rank beautiful women around the world.  While her claim to fame is that of an accomplished actress, she is nevertheless a beauty of the world.

Where You May Have Seen Her:  Pepsi Ads, Coca Cola South Asia Ads.   In April 2003, L’Oreal signed her as its new international brand ambassador (spokesperson).  She was the first Bollywood star to appear in Rolling Stone magazine (Issue 932, October 2, 2003).  She also appeared in Bride & Prejudice (2004).

4.  Salma Hayek (Mexico)


Ms. Hayek is the epitome of hotness.  Yep, she’s 45 and only about 5’2”tall, yet this beauty from Veracruz, Mexico is perhaps immune to the rigors of age that affect everyone else.  Ms. Hayek got her break in the film Desperado with Antonio Banderas and has not looked back.  Describing Ms. Hayek is difficult because words simply don’t convey or properly articulate the incredible beauty of this lady.  Her short stature accentuates her sizable natural attributes. Further, with model-level facial features that are usually framed by flowing black locks, Salma is every man’s fantasy.

What is not generally known about this international beauty is the extent of her heritage.  Her mother is Mexican and her father is of Lebanese decent, a combination that apparently is a secret tonic for natural beauty.  Ms. Hayek, perhaps as an extension of her mixed heritage, is fluent in Spanish, English, Arabic and Portuguese.  What is sexier than a hot lady who can speak to you in not just one foreign language, but multiple ones (and has a sexy accent)?  Ms. Hayek is one of those ladies that when you see her, you want to be with her.

Where You May Have Seen Her:  Lonely Hearts (2006), Frida (2002), Wild Wild West (1999), Fools Rush In (1997), and Desperado (1995).  She was chosen by People (USA) Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in 1996 and 2003.  InStyle named her the most stylish celebrity of 2003 and ranked her as the best dressed female celebrity.  Ranked #31 in Stuff Magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women in the World” (2002).

3.  Liya Kebede (Ethiopia)


Mesmerizing.  There is no other way to articulate the capturing beauty of Liya Kebede.  When you see her, be prepared to become fully engaged because turning away is not an option.  It’s no wonder that this African beauty queen took the modeling industry by storm (and why she is one of the highest paid models in the world).

Hailing from Abbis Ababa, Ethiopia, the 33-year-old model and aspiring actress is still turning heads with a natural and defining beauty.  Grace and style is what sets Liya apart from the competition and one of the reasons why she is the face of L’Oreal.  Liya is one of those rare beauties that truly puts the “super” in “supermodel”.  Liya, however, does not rest her laurels or her stunning good looks.  She has parlayed her fame into awareness for a number of causes especially for maternal health issues and serves as an ambassador for the World Health Organization.  Beautiful, intelligent and passionate, Liya is the total package.

Where You May Have Seen Her:  Cover of Vogue, Essence and Harper Bazaar.  She was featured on the campaigns for Estee Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon, Dolce and Gabbana, and Louis Viutton.  Liya has performed in the following movies: Desert FlowerThe Good Shepherd and The Lord of War.

2. Garcelle Beauvais (Haiti)


It’s not surprising that the Caribbean features two ladies on this list – one expects these kinds of things from exotic locations.  Ms. Beauvais is one of the most beautiful and noticeable women who grace the small screen (or any screen).  The 45-year-old beauty from St. Marc, Haiti is a former model-turned-actress.  There is a saying that women of color age gracefully, and this definitely seems to be true in the case of Ms. Beauvais.  One can make a very good argument that she is more beautiful now in her 40′s than she was in her 20′s.

At 5’9”, Ms. Beauvais has model height.  What she brings to the game, however, are great physical attributes, a creamy complexion, and big beautiful eyes that adorn an angelic face.  She has marketed her beauty with a business acumen that is rarely seen, which accounts for her longevity in the entertainment industry.  She has appeared in a number of television shows, modeled, was a member of the Groundlings, and done music videos.  At every stop, she turns heads with a level of beauty that is seldom matched, much less surpassed.

Where You May Have Seen Her:  As of June 2011, Garcelle is a character on the TNT law drama Franklin & Bash. She also posed for Playboy ’s August 2007 issue. She co-starred in The Jamie Foxx Show.  Appeared in Luther Vandross’ music video, “Take You Out”.  Starred in R. Kelly’s video for “Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)” in 1996.  She modeled print ads for Avon, Mary Kay and Clairol.  Beauvais also modeled in catalogs for Lerner New York Clothing Line, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. She has appeared in Essence and Ebony and also walked the catwalk for Calvin Klein and Isaac Mizrahi.  Beauvais is the cover model for Jet Magazine’s June 6, 2011 issue.

1.  Mila Kunis (Ukraine)


Mila is hot.  There is no discussion about this at all.  In fact, she seems to be getting hotter!  The 28-year-old beauty from Chernivtsi, Ukraine, made her breakthrough by playing a character on the hit television series That 70′s Show.  At 5’4”, Mila is a small package – but one that radiates heat on a level that is unmatched.  She makes petite the new desired body type of every man on the planet.  She has a “girl next door” look that only applies if you happen to live in a neighborhood full of models.  With a husky voice that is sure to generate goose bumps and hopeful desires, Mila has a sexiness that is not quite definable.  She’s cute, yet somehow more so.  She has a fit, toned body that somehow seems more desirable than one would generally think.

Where You May Have Seen Her Friends with Benefits (2011), Black Swan (2010), Date Night (2010), The Book of Eli (2010), Extract (2009). ranked her as #2 for the 2011 Top 100 most desirable women.  Maxim Magazine ranked her #5 on their 2011 Hot 100 Women list.  She won the title “Holy Grail of Hot” at the 2011 Guys Choice Award.  Dior recently announced her as the new face of the company as of January 2012.

Written By Lee Standberry

The development of spoken languages is probably the most significant development in communications in the history of the world.  Since mankind first developed language, languages have developed into a multitude of varieties, a diversity which endures to this day.  Here is a list of the top ten languages, grouped by the number of native speakers.

10.  German (over 90 million speakers)


German is a member of the West Germanic language family, alongside English.  German is primarily spoken, as its name suggests, in Germany, where it is the official language.  However, it is also the official language of Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, and is one of three official languages of Belgium (alongside Dutch and French) and one of four official languages of Switzerland (alongside French, Italian, and Romansch) and is the official language of Italian province of Bolzano-Bozen.  In addition, it is recognized as a minority language in several countires, including Poland, Denmark, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Common German phrases include Guten tag (Good day), Sprechen sie Deutsch? (Do you speak German?), and auf wiedersehen (Goodbye).

9.  Japanese (132 million speakers)


The Japanese language is a member of the Japonic language family (which also includes the Ryukyuan language spoken on the island of Okinawa).  Most Japanese native speakers live in Japan and its territories, but native Japanese speakers also live in Korea, the United States and Europe.  Japanese is the official language of Japan, and it also enjoys official status in Palau.

Common phrases in Japanese include konichiwa (hello), arigato (Thank you), and sayonara (goodbye).

8.  Russian (144 million speakers)


The Russian language is a member of the East Slavic family of languages, a family which also includes the Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Rusyn languages.  Most of Russian’s 144 million speakers live in Russia, where it is the official language.  Other countries with large Russian-speaking populations include Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.  Russian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Common Russian phrases include ????????????. (ZDRAHST-vooy-tyeh; hello), ??. (dah: yes), and ???????. (spuh-SEE-buh; thank you).

7.  Portuguese (178 million speakers)


The Portuguese language is a member of the Italo-Western branch of the Romance language family.  Like the other Romance languages, it is a descendant of Latin (“Romance” referring to Rome).  It is the official language of both Portugal and Brazil, where most native speakers live.  In addition, it is the official language of Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe, and is a mandatory subject of study in schools in Uruguay and Argentina.  It is currently the fourth most learned language in the world, with 30 million learners.

Common Portuguese phrases include Bom dia (Good day), Como está(how are you?), and Nã(No).

6.  Bengali (181 million speakers)


Bengali is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family, alongside languages such as Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.  Most of its speakers live in the country of Bangladesh, where it is the official language.  Speakers also live in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam.  Speakers also live in Europe, the United States, and even Saudi Arabia.  Bengali has a richliterary tradition and is a focal point of Bengali nationalism.  Bengali is written in the Bengali script, which is related to the Sanskrit and Hindi scripts.

Common Bengali phrases include Nômoshkar (Hello), Apnar nam ki? (What is your name?), and Ektu (please).

5.  Arabic (221 million speakers)


Arabic is a member of the Semitic language family, which includes Hebrew Neo-Aramaic languages such as Syriac and Neo-Chaldean.  Arabic is most often identified with the Middle East and North Africa, and is the official language of 26 countries.  It sits alongside Hebrew as the official language of Israel, and has large populations of speakers in both Europe and North America.  Additional, its classical variant is the language of the Qu’ran.  Arabic is written in the Arabic script.

Common Arabic phrases include as-salaamu ‘alaikum (Peace be with you, a formal greeting), Na’am (yes), and ismaHli (excuse me).

4.  Hindi-Urdu (242 million speakers total)

Hindi Urdu

Hindi-Urdu is a member of the Indo-Aryan family, alongside Bengali.  It is a pluricentric language and has two official forms, Standard Hindi and Standard Urdu, although the two forms are nearly indistinguishable from each other.  Hindi is the official language of India, whilst Urdu is the official language of Pakistan.  Urdu and Hindi are also spoken in parts of Europe and North America with heavy Indian and Pakistani immigrant populations.  It is written in both the Hindi alphabet and the Arabic alphabet (for Urdu due to Islamic influence).

3.  English (328 Million speakers)


English is a member of the West Germanic language family.  It originally sprouted from the Anglo-Saxon language (Old English) and borrowed heavily from Latin and French due to the Norman conquest of England.  Though it developed in the British isles, the largest population of English speakers lives in the United States, with about 309 million speakers.  English is the official language of 53 countries, including Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Jamaica, and New Zealand, and is the de facto language of the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.  It also has large speaking populations in several African and Oceanian countries, and is a “subsidiary official language” in India.

English is also an official language of several organizations, including the UN, NATO, and the European Union.

2.  Spanish (329 million speakers)


Spanish is a member of the West Iberian branch of the Romance languages, closely related to Portuguese.  Spanish is one of the most widely distributed languages in the world; it is the official language of over 20 countries, and is the official language of nearly every state in Latin America, excepting Brazil, Belize, etc.  Additionally, large populations of native speakers have immigrated to the United States, and Spanish is now one of the most common languages in the American southwest.  It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Common Spanish phrases include hola (hello), Que pase un buen día (Have a good day), and ¿Cómo te llamas? (What is your name?).

1.  Mandarin (over 845 million speakers)


Mandarin is often called Chinese by non-speakers, but it is in fact only one of many Chinese languages, which include Cantonese and Xiang, in the Sino-Tibetan language family.  Mandarin is the largest of the Chinese languages, and is the official language of the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.  It is also one of four official languages of Singapore (the others being English, Malay and Tamil).  In addition, large scale immigration from both mainland China and Taiwan have brought large populations of Mandarin speakers to the United States and Europe.  Mandarin has two writing systems; Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

Common Mandarin phrases include N? h?o! (Hello!), W? míngzi jiào… (My name is…), and Hu?nyíng! (You’re welcome!)

by Justin Jurek

While we’ve all heard of diseases, seen someone with a disease, and had a disease personally, it’s unlikely that we’ve encountered a rare disease. In the non-medical world, people use and interchange disease to mean infection, sickness, illness, or something similar. In the medical world, a disease is an abnormal condition that impairs bodily functions and is often associated with certain signs and symptoms.

Also called an orphan disease, rare diseases are those that are extremely uncommon and often have such low prevalence that a common doctor would not run into more than one case of that disease over a course of years, if ever. Here is a list of 10 diseases that rarely affect people.

Warning: Some of these images are disturbing, younger readers or those not wishing to see these images may want to look at some of the smartest animals.

10. Morgellons


Today, Morgellons stands as a very poorly understood disease that some doctors seem to believe if a chronic infectious disease. Sadly, the disease is usually disfiguring as well as disabling. The disease is classified by biting, itching, or crawling sensations, filaments that grow from the skin, and skin lesions, as well as memory loss, joint paint, and fatigue.Morgellons is still not recognized by the entire medical community, but there have been about 2,000 people within the U.S. who believe they suffer from the disease. Some of the reports are children, who are said to be unable to do normal things such as going to school or playing sports. There is no known cure or effective treatment for Morgellons.

9. Paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP)


Though there are many forms of pemphigus, paraneoplastic pemphigus is the least common and most serious. PNP is a rare autoimmune bullous disease that causes blistering. Keratinocytes, which are what make up the epidemus, separate from each other, leaving gaps. Many times the gaps become filled with fluid peel off, leaving the skin raw and open to infection. These blisters usually appear in the mouth, throat, lips, and random places on the skin. The disease is also extremely fatal, as 90% of those diagnosed with the disease die due to sepsis, multi-organ failure, or cancer that caused the disease.

8. Microcephaly


Microcephaly is a very rare condition that is noticeable immediately at birth, and sometimes even before. It affects 1 in every 666,666 in the U.S. With microcephaly, the brain is unable to develop properly, or in some cases ceases to grow at all, while the baby is still in the womb. This causes the head to be smaller than a normal infant’s head at birth. Many believe that the disease is caused by exposure to harmful substances while in the womb, exposure to radiation, or genetic problems. The disease is usually paired with Down’s syndrome. Those who have microcephaly are usually mentally retarded and will have issues with hyperactivity, dwarfism, seizures, balance issues, speech and motor problems, as well as others.

7. Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL)


Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) is said to affect one in 35,000 people. It is an extremely rare genetic condition that is characterized by the growth of tumors in different parts of the body. Many of the tumors will grow within the central nervous system and are often benign, but are made of blood vessels. Medically known as hemangioblastomas, these tumors can start to grow in the retina, the brain, and the spinal cord. Different tumors are also known to grow on the pancreas, adrenal glands, and kidneys. If left untreated, the disease can cause strokes, heart attacks, and cardiovascular disease.

6. Kuru


As rare as it is, Kuru is one disease that is fatal. However, it is so rare that the disease is confined to an area in New Guinea, more specifically the Fore tribe that lives in the highlands. The disease came about as a result of cannibalism, which is a ritualistic practice in which the tissues of others, especially the brain, were cooked and consumed. Those affected with the disease usually become unable to eat or stand, and then about 6-12 months later die in a comatose state. It is said that about 1,100 people died from Kuru during the 1950s and 60s. Because of government intervention and a wide-spread effort to end cannibalism, Kuru has now mostly disappeared.

5. Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP)


Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare genetic disease that affects the connective tissue. The disease is said to only affect 1 in 2 million people. Around the world there have been 700 confirmed cases of the disease, 285 of those being in the U.S. FOP is classified when the body causes fibrous tissue, such as ligament, muscle, and tendons, to become ossified, or to change into bone when damaged. This means that a fall can cause bone to grow within the muscles and tendons throughout the body. FOP stands as the only disease known that causes one type of organ system to turn into an entirely different one. At birth, the classic symptom of the disease is a malformation of the big toe. There is no known treatment for FOP, as surgery to get rid of the bone, seems to cause the body to produce even more.

4. Fields’ disease


Fields’ disease is said to be the rarest disease in the world. It is named after two twins, Catherine and Kirstie Fields from Wales. The disease doesn’t have a medical name, but doctors have been able to call it a neuromuscular disease. The muscles within the body slowly deteriorate, which limits movements. The girls’ disease has been studied by doctors from all over. Because the disease is so rare and unknown, doctors aren’t sure what will happen next. The disease has since limited the lives of the girls, binding them to wheelchairs and making a simple task such as writing, hard.

3. Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria


Usually known as just Progeria, this condition is one that only affects one in about 8 million children born. Most born with the condition only live to be about 13, while others have been able to live into their early twenties. Progeria is a genetic condition that occurs due to a new mutation characterized by the dramatic, rapid appearance of aging beginning in childhood. In most cases, the disease is not inherited, though there has been a case of a similar condition where the parents carry the protein genetically and then pass it on to their children. There is no cure for Progeria, though doctors have tried growth hormone treatment as well as anticancer drugs. Usually doctors try to focus on reducing complications of the disease.

2. Polio


First known and recognized in 1840, polio is a disease that is spread from person to person, or through the means of contaminated food or water. Most cases of polio exhibit no symptoms, unless the disease is introduced through the blood stream. In most cases, polio causes paralysis and muscle weakness. Though a widely spread disease during the early 90’s, polio has since became eradicated in 36 countries. In 2002 Europe stated that it has no seen a case of polio since the poliovirus vaccine. Only four countries in the world as of 2006 still consider polio to be an endemic.

1. Smallpox


We’ve all heard about smallpox, probably more so about the vaccine itself, which today is rarely used unless there is a high-risk of the disease. It is said that smallpox may have been around in as early as 10,000BC. Smallpox is characterized by a high fever, fatigue, and a rash with flat red sores that can eventually cover the entire body. Many believe that smallpox was one of the deadliest diseases, killing around 300-500 million in the 20th century, in 400,000 each year throughout the 18th century. However, due to immunization worldwide, the last reported case of smallpox was in 1977. Because of this, the disease is said to be extremely rare. Today, the threat of smallpox still exists, but in the form of bioterrorism.