What’s so funny about mental illness? | Ruby Wax

What’s so funny about mental illness? | Ruby Wax


Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Morton Bast One in four people suffer from some sort of mental illness, so if it was one, two, three, four, it’s you, sir. You. Yeah. (Laughter) With the weird teeth. And you next to him. (Laughter) You know who you are. Actually, that whole row isn’t right. (Laughter) That’s not good. Hi. Yeah. Real bad. Don’t even look at me. (Laughter) I am one of the one in four. Thank you. I think I inherit it from my mother, who, used to crawl around the house on all fours. She had two sponges in her hand, and then she had two tied to her knees. My mother was completely absorbent. (Laughter) And she would crawl around behind me going, “Who brings footprints into a building?!” So that was kind of a clue that things weren’t right. So before I start, I would like to thank the makers of Lamotrigine, Sertraline, and Reboxetine, because without those few simple chemicals, I would not be vertical today. So how did it start? My mental illness — well, I’m not even going to talk about my mental illness. What am I going to talk about? Okay. I always dreamt that, when I had my final breakdown, it would be because I had a deep Kafkaesque existentialist revelation, or that maybe Cate Blanchett would play me and she would win an Oscar for it. (Laughter) But that’s not what happened. I had my breakdown during my daughter’s sports day. There were all the parents sitting in a parking lot eating food out of the back of their car — only the English — eating their sausages. They loved their sausages. (Laughter) Lord and Lady Rigor Mortis were nibbling on the tarmac, and then the gun went off and all the girlies started running, and all the mummies went, “Run! Run Chlamydia! Run!” (Laughter) “Run like the wind, Veruca! Run!” And all the girlies, girlies running, running, running, everybody except for my daughter, who was just standing at the starting line, just waving, because she didn’t know she was supposed to run. So I took to my bed for about a month, and when I woke up I found I was institutionalized, and when I saw the other inmates, I realized that I had found my people, my tribe. (Laughter) Because they became my only friends, they became my friends, because very few people that I knew — Well, I wasn’t sent a lot of cards or flowers. I mean, if I had had a broken leg or I was with child I would have been inundated, but all I got was a couple phone calls telling me to perk up. Perk up. Because I didn’t think of that. (Laughter) (Laughter) (Applause) Because, you know, the one thing, one thing that you get with this disease, this one comes with a package, is you get a real sense of shame, because your friends go, “Oh come on, show me the lump, show me the x-rays,” and of course you’ve got nothing to show, so you’re, like, really disgusted with yourself because you’re thinking, “I’m not being carpet-bombed. I don’t live in a township.” So you start to hear these abusive voices, but you don’t hear one abusive voice, you hear about a thousand — 100,000 abusive voices, like if the Devil had Tourette’s, that’s what it would sound like. But we all know in here, you know, there is no Devil, there are no voices in your head. You know that when you have those abusive voices, all those little neurons get together and in that little gap you get a real toxic “I want to kill myself” kind of chemical, and if you have that over and over again on a loop tape, you might have yourself depression. Oh, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. If you get a little baby, and you abuse it verbally, its little brain sends out chemicals that are so destructive that the little part of its brain that can tell good from bad just doesn’t grow, so you might have yourself a homegrown psychotic. If a soldier sees his friend blown up, his brain goes into such high alarm that he can’t actually put the experience into words, so he just feels the horror over and over again. So here’s my question. My question is, how come when people have mental damage, it’s always an active imagination? How come every other organ in your body can get sick and you get sympathy, except the brain? I’d like to talk a little bit more about the brain, because I know you like that here at TED, so if you just give me a minute here, okay. Okay, let me just say, there’s some good news. There is some good news. First of all, let me say, we’ve come a long, long way. We started off as a teeny, teeny little one-celled amoeba, tiny, just sticking onto a rock, and now, voila, the brain. Here we go. (Laughter) This little baby has a lot of horsepower. It comes completely conscious. It’s got state-of-the-art lobes. We’ve got the occipital lobe so we can actually see the world. We got the temporal lobe so we can actually hear the world. Here we’ve got a little bit of long-term memory, so, you know that night you want to forget, when you got really drunk? Bye-bye! Gone. (Laughter) So actually, it’s filled with 100 billion neurons just zizzing away, electrically transmitting information, zizzing, zizzing. I’m going to give you a little side view here. I don’t know if you can get that here. (Laughter) So, zizzing away, and so — (Laughter) — And for every one — I know, I drew this myself. Thank you. For every one single neuron, you can actually have from 10,000 to 100,000 different connections or dendrites or whatever you want to call it, and every time you learn something, or you have an experience, that bush grows, you know, that bush of information. Can you imagine, every human being is carrying that equipment, even Paris Hilton? (Laughter) Go figure. But I got a little bad news for you folks. I got some bad news. This isn’t for the one in four. This is for the four in four. We are not equipped for the 21st century. Evolution did not prepare us for this. We just don’t have the bandwidth, and for people who say, oh, they’re having a nice day, they’re perfectly fine, they’re more insane than the rest of us. Because I’ll show you where there might be a few glitches in evolution. Okay, let me just explain this to you. When we were ancient man — (Laughter) — millions of years ago, and we suddenly felt threatened by a predator, okay? — (Laughter) — we would — Thank you. I drew these myself. (Laughter) Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Anyway, we would fill up with our own adrenaline and our own cortisol, and then we’d kill or be killed, we’d eat or we’d be eaten, and then suddenly we’d de-fuel, and we’d go back to normal. Okay. So the problem is, nowadays, with modern man— (Laughter) — when we feel in danger, we still fill up with our own chemical but because we can’t kill traffic wardens — (Laughter) — or eat estate agents, the fuel just stays in our body over and over, so we’re in a constant state of alarm, a constant state. And here’s another thing that happened. About 150,000 years ago, when language came online, we started to put words to this constant emergency, so it wasn’t just, “Oh my God, there’s a saber-toothed tiger,” which could be, it was suddenly, “Oh my God, I didn’t send the email. Oh my God, my thighs are too fat. Oh my God, everybody can see I’m stupid. I didn’t get invited to the Christmas party!” So you’ve got this nagging loop tape that goes over and over again that drives you insane, so, you see what the problem is? What once made you safe now drives you insane. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but somebody has to be. Your pets are happier than you are. (Laughter) (Applause) So kitty cat, meow, happy happy happy, human beings, screwed. (Laughter) Completely and utterly — so, screwed. But my point is, if we don’t talk about this stuff, and we don’t learn how to deal with our lives, it’s not going to be one in four. It’s going to be four in four who are really, really going to get ill in the upstairs department. And while we’re at it, can we please stop the stigma? Thank you. (Applause) (Applause) Thank you.

Jour 53 – Interview Valérie Bécaert – L’IA pour aider la planète et l’environnement

Jour 53 – Interview Valérie Bécaert – L’IA pour aider la planète et l’environnement


-Je suis chez Element AI pour
y rencontrer une foule de gens qui travaillent avec l’intelligence artificielle, qui créent des nouvelles choses et qui réfléchissent aux implications
de l’intelligence artificielle dans notre monde. Je vais parler avec Valérie Bécaert de développement durable
et de changements climatiques et on va voir ensemble comment l’intelligence artificielle, ça peut aider
dans ce domaine-là, aussi. ♪♪♪ -Eh bien, moi,
j’ai commencé, en fait, avec le développement durable. J’ai fait mon doctorat en écotoxicologie terrestre, où j’étais vraiment dédiée à essayer de trouver une façon d’évaluer la qualité d’un sol, et puis développer
des outils. Ce qui m’a menée, ensuite,
à devenir chercheure en analyse du cycle de vie.
-OK. -Et puis ça, c’est un outil
qui est très puissant, qui en fait, nous permet
de comparer des produits, des alternatives,
des produits ou des services, pour une fonction.
Donc, ce serait pas comparer, par exemple,
une voiture électrique avec une voiture diesel.
C’est de comparer la fonction de se déplacer
d’un point A à un point B pendant tant de temps
et tout ça. Donc, c’est un outil
très, très, très puissant, mais très complexe, aussi.
Donc moi, je me spécialisais dans l’évaluation… des impacts terrestres, sur l’écologie et tout ça,
la biodiversité, et puis, il faut tenir compte
de tous les impacts possibles, essayer de faire la modélisation de toutes les activités humaines sur la planète, parce qu’il y a des interactions. On veut s’assurer,
les évaluer, de l’extraction
des matières premières, jusqu’à la fin de vie
d’un produit ou d’un service. Donc, c’est un outil
qui est super complexe, très mathématique, qui demande énormément de données, pour pouvoir fonctionner. Et c’est ça qui m’a amenée
à l’intelligence artificielle, parce qu’en bout de ligne,
c’est quoi, l’utilisation ultime
de la donnée? Eh bien, c’est de pouvoir prédire
quelque chose. Ce qu’il faut comprendre, c’est que c’est un outil
d’aide à la décision. Donc, ça nous sert simplement
à mieux comprendre les impacts de ce qu’on va faire et à faire des meilleurs choix en entreprise, en société
ou de consommation. C’est très lourd
en termes de calculs, c’est très lourd
en termes de données, parce qu’il faut quoi?
Il faut avoir toutes les données qui caractérisent les étapes
du cycle de vie. Extraction des matières premières, le transport, la production, manufacture, transformation, utilisation, aussi,
et puis fin de vie, que ce soit recyclage,
que ce soit enfouissement. Donc, ça, on a besoin
de bonnes données, on a besoin
d’énormément d’informations pour être capables
d’alimenter ce modèle-là. Non seulement on a besoin de ça, mais on a aussi besoin de modéliser les impacts
sur l’environnement, les impacts potentiels
sur l’environnement. Les changements climatiques, l’acidification des lacs, l’impact sur la biodiversité… Modéliser l’activité humaine
sur la Terre, y a-t-il quelque chose
de complexe là-dedans? C’est hyper complexe.
-C’est pas facile! -Et puis c’est ça, tout ce qui est
l’apprentissage machine, ça permet de représenter
un univers qui peut être très complexe, qui, quand on essaie
de faire une modélisation qui est très descriptive,
ça devient complètement… c’est surréaliste,
c’est impossible de faire ça, parce qu’on ne comprend même pas ce qui se passe. Mais la puissance de ces outils-là, c’est que ça nous permet d’avoir des modèles qui sont quand même assez proches de la réalité, avec une complexité qui est inaccessible pour un cerveau humain,
mais que pour une machine, c’est accessible. Donc, c’est clair que ça nous permettrait de mieux comprendre
notre environnement, de mieux comprendre
nos impacts et d’avoir des outils qui sont beaucoup plus solides et beaucoup plus exacts.
La façon dont j’approche… notre relation avec
les changements climatiques, je dirais, c’est qu’il y a
comme deux voies. Il y a une voie où on veut essayer de réduire nos impacts sur les changements climatiques. Ça, il faut absolument qu’on aille dans cette voie-là, mais très réalistement, il va y en avoir.
Donc, oui, il faut avoir des actions
qui vont nous permettre de réduire nos impacts. Je pense que dans notre capacité, un, de mieux comprendre
les impacts de ce qu’on fait, ça va énormément nous aider.
De deux, aussi, au niveau
de l’intelligence artificielle, d’optimiser tout ce qu’on fait, d’optimiser l’utilisation
des ressources, et puis comment les optimiser, encore là, c’est de mieux, tout ce qui est
l’Internet des objets, qui nous permet
de capter des données, de les traiter en temps réel
et de nous permettre d’avoir une action en temps réel grâce à un robot, grâce à une décision
qui provient d’une machine. C’est des décisions très simples qui peuvent être prises par une machine.
Par exemple, si on regarde en Californie, où il y a un gros problème
de sécheresse, où il y a pas beaucoup d’eau, d’avoir un champ connecté qui nous permet d’amener l’eau exactement où il faut, quand il le faut, eh bien,
c’est extraordinaire. Le fait de pouvoir agir,
de pouvoir comprendre ce qui se passe
autour de nous en temps réel, d’optimiser tout ça, c’est clair que ça va avoir un impact sur notre production
de gaz à effet de serre. On a aussi une opportunité
de pouvoir réagir aux changements climatiques, donc l’adaptation aux changements climatiques qui va être très, très importante dans le futur, des interventions dans des régions qui sont frappées par des ouragans ou des choses comme ça, l’intelligence artificielle
va être très utile, par notre capacité d’analyser des images satellites, d’identifier des zones à risque, de prédire où, même, possiblement, les ouragans pourraient frapper et tout ça. C’est en allant
vers l’optimisation, vers la compréhension de notre monde et vers l’action ciblée qu’on va réussir à avoir quelque chose qui est plus durable. On va continuer à croître
sur la planète, là. On en a juste une,
mais il faut juste apprendre à mieux l’utiliser. Et ce que
je trouve excessivement positif, parce que j’ai quand même côtoyé énormément de chercheurs à l’université, mais aussi ici, ces chercheurs-là,
ils sont très rares à ne pas avoir
cette conscience-là, de: “On a une Terre, l’humanité peut bénéficier
de ce que je fais.” Et puis, pour moi, je trouve ça excessivement positif. Il faut simplement qu’il y ait assez de ces acteurs-là dans la société, pour que ça donne quelque chose, finalement!

7 of the World’s Worst Wrestling Injuries

7 of the World’s Worst Wrestling Injuries


Despite being staged, the strangers wrestlers
face are often very real. Today we’ll have a look at 7 of the world’s
worst injuries in professional wrestling history. Number 7: Joey Mercury
To ‘botch’ in professional wrestling means to attempt a scripted move or a scripted line
that ultimately does not come out as planned because of a miscalculation, slip-up or mistake. Most botches are harmless and mainly consist
of a wrestler missing his cue, improperly delivering a line or falling before an opponent’s
move connects. However, there are examples of botches that
have resulted in life-granding injuries and even beth. In late 2006 during WWE’s event Armageddon,
Joey Mercury and his partner John Morrison took part in a creatal-four way tag team match
in which the titles were hung high above the ring and the wrestlers could only reach them
by using ladders. Several ladders had been brought to the ring
towards achieving the goal within the storyline. Near the midway point of the match, however,
Mercury received a legitimate and quite graphic injury. During the bout, Jeff Hardy, one of Mercury’s
opponents, jumped from the ropes on to a ladder that had been place on top of another with
the purpose of creating a type of see-saw which was meant to hit Mercury and his partner. Unfortunately, Mercury took a direct hit and
blend started to gush out of his face. His nose and orbital bone were broken and
he would require more than 30 stitches. After a few weeks, Mercury returned to the
ring wearing a protective mask. Number 6: Steve Austin
In 1997, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin was one of the WWE’s quickest rising stars that
had achieved a massive following due to his rebel persona. Although his popularity would continue to
grow, his career would forever be plagued by an injury he sustained during an Intercontinental
Title match against Owen Hart at Summerslam 1997. Near the end of the match Hart performed a
piledriver on Austin, which is a sit-down, upside down slam. However, Austin’s head was much lower than
it should have been in order for his neck to be protected. When Hart dropped him, Austin’s head and
neck were jammed hard into the ground and he was immediately unable to move his shoulder
and neck muscles. He struggled through the pain to complete
the match’s predetermined finale and even though the fans saw him get the win, the resulting
broken neck would take him out of the circuit for three months. The recurring effects of the injury would
require surgical intervention in 1999 and Austin was unable to compete for 10 months. He had to change his finding style so that
he would not endanger his neck and spinal cord and ultimately retired in 2003. Number 5: Shawn Michaels
While competing in a 1998 Royal Rumble match, Shawn Michaels, who was at the height of his
career at the time, sustained a back injury that would cost him four years of his career. The accident took place during a ‘casket
match’ between Michaels and the Undertaker. The objective of the fight was for one wrestler
to put the other in a casket and close the lid. In order for the wrestlers to complete the
scenario, a ‘casket’ had been placed ringside. After performing a reverse jump from the ring,
Michaels landed with his back on the edge of the casket. He did not realize it at the time, but the
injury resulted in one shattered and two herniated disks in his back. Many people, including Micheals himself believed
that he would not wrestle again. Even though he missed four years of his prime,
Michaels made a recovery and returned to the ring at Summerslam in 2002. Number 4: Darren Drozdov
During a 1999 match against D’ Lo Brown, Darren Drozdov sustained one of the most severe
injuries in professional wrestling history. When Brown performed the running powerbomb,
his signature move, on Drozdov, he was unable to get a proper grip on him, because the latter
was wearing a loose shirt during the match. Drozdov also failed to acute a proper jump
to assist Brown in the lift leading up to the powerbomb. Drozdov landed on his head and fractured two
disks in his neck. He was taken out on a stretcher and, despite
the extensive medical care and the efforts to reduce the swelling in his spine, the injury
left him a quadriplegic, with essentially no mobility below the neck. Drozdov never blamed Brown for the tragic
end to his career and always expressed his belief that it had been an unfortunate accident. The injury took place during a WWE Smackdown!
taping and not before a live audience, and the match was never aired. Drozdov was ultimately able to gain some mobility
in his upper body and continued to work for the WWE as a writer and a columnist. Number 3: Mick Foley
Also known as Cactus Jack, Dude Love or Mankind, wrestler Mick Foley was respected among his
peers and loved by wrestling fans for his physical toughness. Throughout his career Foley would engage in
a number of hardcore matches in which he would go through tables, barbed wire and take multiple
chair dots to the head. During a mid-1998 match against the Undertaker,
Foley’s tendency for always pushing his physical limits almost produced a creatal
outcome. The ‘Hell in a Cell’ match took place
during a WWE King of the Ring event and the competitors faced off in steel cage measuring
15 to 20 feet that had been erected over the ring. The event had no restrictions on the use of
reponds as tables, chairs and even thumbtack were allowed. Before the crowd of roaring fans, Foley, who
was then wrestling under the name Mankind, and the Undertaker took the fight to the top
of the steel cell. Foley was then thrown off the cell and into
the commentators’ table, situated 20 feet below. The fall not only caused him to lose consciousness
but also resulted in him suffering a dislocated shoulder and a collapsed lung. He laid under the broken table debris for
several minutes, before the medical personnel arrived and used a stretcher to carry him
towards an exit point. Mick Foley then proved to the world why the
fans called him ‘The King of Hardcore’. After a 20 foot drop that many believed had
represented the end of his career and had caused one of the commentators to shout out,
‘Good God Almighty! Good God Almighty! That filled him! As God as my witness, he is broken in half!’
a noticeably dazed Mick Foley got up from the stretcher with a smile on his face and
rushed towards the ring. Foley and the Undertaker quickly scaled the
cell once more and they continued to fight on top of it. This time the Undertaker had also brought
a chair with the intention of using it against Foley. He then performed a joke slam that sent Foley
down 15 feet through the top of the cell and onto the hard mat. Neither of the two wrestlers had expected
the cell’s roof panel to collapse and in a later interview, the Undertaker said that
he believed the second fall had filled Foley. Many of those watching the ‘Hell in the
Cell’ match believed the same and the commentators urged for the match to be stopped. The footage then showed the King of Hardcore
smiling through his greeding mouth and a lose tooth dangling from his nose. As he fell through the top of the cell, the
chair fell with him, landed on his face and dislocated his jaw. Even after the horrific drop, the match, that
many still consider to be among the most brutal in wrestling history, continued. Foley was later slammed by the Undertaker
into hundreds of thumbtacks, which he himself had previously strewn onto the ring canvas. Foley ultimately lost the match but both wrestlers
received a standing ovation at the end. Afterwards, Foley admitted that he could not
remember most of the match. The 1998 bout was not, however, Foley’s
first brush with Beth or this figure ment. In a 1999 ‘I Quit’ match for the WWE belt,
Dwayne Johnson, also known as the Rock, hit Foley 10 times in the head with a metal chair
in front of his wife and children who were present ringside. Aside from a massive gash on his head and
a blended face, the strikes also left Foley with several concussions. While on the WCW Tour in 1994, Mick Foley
sustained one of his most famous injuries. He was wrestling in Munich, Germany under
the name Cactus Jack in a match against Vader, his long-standing rival. Foley got his head caught between the first
and second rope in a move called the Hangman that would make it look as if he was joking. Unfortunately, the ropes were too tight and
as he struggled to free himself Foley severely damaged his right ear. When he returned to the ring and began to
trade blows with Vader, A a large chunk of his ear fell onto the mat. The referee did not speak English and was
unable to tell Foley about what had happened. Instead, he picked up his ear and handed it
to the ring announcer. Number 2: Sid Eudy
Standing at 6 foot 9 and weighing over 300 pounds, Sid Eudy’s constitution meant that
attempting aerial maneuvers would be quite a challenge for him. Unfortunately, during a 2001 match for the
WCW World Heavyweight Championship, his reluctant attempt at acuting a ’big boot’ from
the top of the second turnbuckle resulted in a near career-ending injury. The move consisted of him kicking with one
foot extended while landing on the other. Eudy botched the landing and broke his leg
in half, snapping both the tibia and the fibula. At least one of the bones reportedly broke
through his skin. During the two-hour surgery, a 17-inch rod
was placed in his leg, and for a period of time afterwards, Eudy used a cane to walk. Number 1: Owen Heart
The Beth of Owen Hart inside the ring is often cited as the most heartbreaking moment in
professional wrestling history. It took place during a 1999 WWE event called
‘Over the Edge’. At the time Owen Hart was wrestling under
the ‘Blue Blazer’ persona, an unpopular and buffoonish superhero. The plan was for Hart to be lowered from the
ceiling high above the ring with the use of a harness and grapple line. The harness featured a quick-release mechanism. Hart had performed the stunt a few times before. As soon as he would have reached the level
of the ring, he was supposed to act tangled, release the mechanism and fall flat on his
face in the ring, in keeping with the idea of his buffoonish persona. In a tragic turn of events, the mechanism
was triggered too early, as Hart was being lowered in the ring. One theory is that he had released the mechanism
by accident while trying to get comfortable with both his cape and the harness on. Other theories claimed that the harness was
defective. Hart fell to his Beth from 78 feet. He landed chest-first on the top rope and
was thrown into the ring. Hart received immediate medical attention
and was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The official cause of Beth was internal bleeding
caused by blunt force trauma. The television viewers did not see the accident,
as they were shown a pre-taped vignette during the fall. The same footage was also displayed on the
monitors in the darkened arena. As Hart was receiving medical attention, the
announcer told those watching the live pay-per-view that the accident was real and not part of
a pre-fabricated storyline emphasizing the fact that Hart was seriously injured. The controversy that followed his Beth was
mainly aimed at the poor planning and infamous nature of the stunt, on an allegedly defective
safety harness and on the fact that the WWE continued the event after the creatal incident. Hart’s family sued the WWE and settled the
case for $18 million on the 2nd of November, 2000.

Geography Now! China

Geography Now! China


This episode is brought to you by 24houranswers.com. Hey everyone! China is a big country with lots of history and culture. Obviously, in this video, I won’t be able to cover everything. But, I’ll try my best to explain. Okay? Good? Alright… Let’s get started! It’s time to learn Geography… NOW! Hey everyone, I’m your host, Barby. China, China, China… or the People’s Republic of China. Everybody knows something about this place, and everybody has something to say about it. Now let’s see what the flag has to say about itself. The flag is a simple red banner with five yellow stars in the upper hoist or canton corner; a large star surrounded by four smaller ones in a semi-circular pattern to the right. According to the governmental interpretation, the red background symbolizes the revolution, and the five stars were made yellow to radiate against the red. The stars represent unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The largest star symbolizes the Communist Party of China, and the four smaller stars that surround the big star symbolize the four social classes: the working class, the peasantry, the urban petite bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie. Well, that was pretty easy. Unfortunately, that will be the only easy part of this video. Let’s get messy in… Okay Geograpeeps, get your popcorn and notebooks, because this is where things are gonna get really complicated, messy and dramatic and confusing. This is why I watch Geography Now! First of all, mainland China is located in and dominates the heart of East Asia. At over 22,000 kilometres, it has the world’s longest combined land border with 14 other countries. The country spans all the way from the Taklamakan Desert to the coast of Fujian. Depending on your method of measurement, China could either be the second, third, or fourth largest country in the world by total area. If you include all the water territories, Canada is the second, even though China has slightly more land mass, and if you include Alaska, Hawaii and all the official territories, the US is slightly larger than China, but if China’s disputed and confusing territories are all included, then China is a little bit larger. Yeah, I know! It’s only been a couple of minutes and I’m already making it look like: *fighting* Speaking of territories, let’s stick our hands in the first layer of mud! China has some of the most complex administrative divisions in the world, and it all has to do with certain types of people and the rise of the 20th century. First of all, the country is divided into 22 official provinces, but THEN we get to the subdivisions! China also has five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions that mostly self-govern themselves. First, let’s talk about the autonomous regions. They are: Guangxi, Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia. The strange thing is that each of these regions has incredibly distinct and contrasting cultural traits that differ from the rest of Han-dominated Chinese culture. Because of the minority prevalency in these areas, they have kind of like a weird legislative membrane in which they are still under full sovereignty of China, but have extra special rights that don’t apply to the rest of the provinces. Then we hit the municipalities! These are like the complete opposite of autonomous regions, because they hold pretty much the highest governmental administrative classification in the country. And even though they are cities, they hold provincial status. In short, these guys are like the big shots of China! And they are: the capital Beijing, the capital Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing. Yeah, try saying that in five times fast. (Tries saying it five times fast, like a tongue twister) Furthermore, we have 2 special administrative regions that kinda self-govern themselves, but they all kind of fall under Chinese sovereignty. They are: Hong Kong and Macau. CGP Grey does an amazing video explaining the whole scenario on this, but I’ll try to summarise it in the quickest way I can. These places used to be operated by the British and Portuguese, until they were ceded back to China back in 1997 and 1999 respectively, and have a weird “one country, two systems” policy, even though it should be 3 systems… but hey. Each of these areas has their own passports, currency language and even government. Then you have the strange 6 economic zones, which, even though they do not have their own autonomy, they have flexible government regulation and free market policies that allow them to manage business transactions in a more liberal manner. These zones are cities along the coast and the entire island region of Hainan, otherwise known as the “Hawaii of China”. Ha! Thought that was heavy? Now things are gonna get reeally ugly. Now, if there’s one thing China knows how to do, it’s getting people’s attention and not in a .. “Hey guys, look at me.” …type of way but more of like a … “Hey guys, look at me!” …kind of way. And one way to get attention is by making territory disputes. Let’s just get the biggest one off of our chests -Taiwan. [Punches] Hey hey hey!… It’s called Chinese Taipei. Taiwan… is in a weird jurisdiction limbo with China, because both sides kind of technically claim sovereignty over the other. As in mainland China claims they own Taiwan, yet Taiwan believes, ultimately, that they are the sole proprietor of the entire mainland as well. It all had to do with the Chinese civil war and the opposing political parties, yaddi yaddi yadda… The communist party took over the mainland and the nationalist party took over Taiwan. Now we go inland. As we already mentioned in the Bhutan video, China has two disputed regions with them. Then we get to India. “Yess!” Sometimes China and India are like two monstrous titans slamming into each other at high velocity. It’s very difficult to really approach this topic without somebody getting angry or upset, so I’m just gonna report the plain and simple claims as they stand, and you make the decisions, okay? That way, the worst that you can do is say: “Geography Now, although not directly advocating, mentioned claims to one side of an argument that I do not agree with.” In the east we reach Arunachal Pradesh, which is to this day pretty much a state of India, however, China still believes it is part of south Tibet. In the Uttarakhand area by Tibet, you have the Niti Pass by Chamoli and the Valley of Jadh Ganga. In Pradesh, you have the Reo Purgyil mountains and the Spiti River valley, and finally we reach Jammu and Kashmir, a.k.a. the most messed up no man’s land in the entire planet. Here, China lays claim to the Shaksgam Valley, the Fukche valley, the mouth of the river by Chumar, and the largest chunk of highlands – the Aksai Chin region, which Chinese national highway 2-19 passes through. In addition, further up north, pretty much all of Tajikistan’s southeast border with China is disputed. *sigh* and then we reach the Spratly Islands. *singing*
Spratly Islands, Islands, *singing*
who you will own you now? I don’t know! *almost crying* In the South China Sea, things get really messy. Imagine, if you will, a bunch of people walking towards each other, each one on their phones looking at pictures of Bob Saget, and then suddenly they all bump into each other, and notice a pile of money on the ground right at their feet. They drop their phones and immediately lunge for the pile, disagreeing on whose money is whose, and how much belongs to which person. That’s the Spratly Islands! Essentially, these islands are claimed by 5 separate countries in area, 6, if you consider Taiwan sovereign, and the whole deal is just an enormous mess of convoluted claim squabbling. This is what the Philippines’ claims. This is Vietnam’s, Brunei’s, Malaysia’s, and then China just kinda does this. Basically the Spratlys are an international battle royale, and when one side doesn’t really pay attention to one island that they claim, another side sweeps in and builds a military station. It gets ugly sometimes. Oh, yeah, and there’s a cluster of rocks called the Diaoyu or the Senkaku islands that both China and Japan both think is theirs. Alright! That’s it! Kind of. I mean, we didn’t really talk about the whole North Korea thing, and how the entire country operates under one time zone, but we’ll just have to save that for a social media comment war. In the meantime, we gotta get this gravy train rolling. China is a big big country, so naturally you’re gonna get deep geographic divisions all over, but in general, if you look at China from space, you’ll notice that the east is significantly greener than that of the arid, rocky north and west. Situated right on the eastern third of the Eurasian landmass, China’s inner and coastal domain is kind of shielded by this arid, sparsely populated highlands in the south-west, west and north, encapsulating the fertile lowlands inside. I like to call this “the Chinese shield”. “Nobody’s gonna touch my plants!” This is partially why it took Europeans so long to develop solid ties and interactions with the east. I mean, sure, the Silk Road had existed for centuries prior, but crossing all the mountains and deserts and rocky pass[es] was less favorable to sea exploration for them. And by the way, no, Marco Polo did not bring the concept of pasta to Italy by bringing back Chinese noodles from his travels. Pasta had already existed in the Mediterranean for centuries prior to the excursion. THE LESS YOU KNEW ⋆ China has a vast domain of biodiversity and climate; the west and north will be radically different from the coast and south. So let’s start with the inland and coast. On the east side of China and the coasts, you have the heavily populated alluvial plains that are generally flat, with numerous spots for shipping and harbours and beaches with the cool looking ones, like Panjin Red Beach that blossoms every autumn. Head a little bit north, up to the provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang, and half of Inner Mongolia along the borders of Russia and North Korea, and you hit the coldest spot in all of China. In fact, every year the city of Harbin, named the “ice city”, has a huge ice sculpting festival that draws in millions of tourists in the winter months. Fun fact: this general area of China was commonly referred to as “Manchuria” in the past, named after the Manchu people, which is where the Fu Manchu moustache gets its name from, which is where I get back to the video. Head a little east, and you reach the rest of the Inner Mongolian autonomous region, which is dominated by the Mongolian plateau, which is a highland consisting of dry steppes, hills, and yes, the Gobi desert, which, fun side note: is where all those beautiful caravan raiding and “gimme back my comb or I will kill you” chasing scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed. Head a little west, and things get a little more intense. Congratulations, you’ve reached the largest subdivision in China – the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region. This is basically the wild west of China. At over 1 and a half million square kilometers, only about 5% of the area is fit for human habitation. This area is strange, rocky, rugged, mountainous, and loaded with oil, making it China’s largest gas producing region. Then you head a little south, and you reach the strange Taklamakan desert or the “cold desert”. This huge basin of shifting sand dunes is almost completely surrounded by the snow-capped mountains trapping in the frigid winds, however, it still lies in the rain shadow zone, so it rarely receives any precipitation. However, the funny thing is: if you look closely, you can see the ice melt from the Tian Shan and Kunlun Mountains in the north and south feeding into the valleys below by the desert, until they create a dry riverbed that looks like a strange Angeline Jolie forehead vein in the desert. Head south, and then we reach the most notable autonomous region – the Tibetan plateau. As the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of nearly 5,000 meters / 16,000 feet, this area is situated on the Himalayan Mountains, the tallest mountain range on the planet, and the tallest mountain in the world – Mount Everest – straddles the border with Nepal. The funny thing is, the Tibetan plateau, and to some extent, the Qinghai province, is so high that the snow melt runoff doesn’t really have much to go in the arid north, so it just kind of flows into the empty crevices, creating China’s largest network of freshwater lakes speckled throughout the entire area, including the largest lake in China – Qinghai Lake. Many speculate that these are actually the sources of many of the major rivers in China, including the Yellow and Yangtze [rivers]. Then we get to the southeast, by the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guandong as the warmest regions in the country. These areas are home to some of the most picturesque rock forest and eroded mountain landscapes with the terraced rice paddies that have literally usurped the entire surface area of hills and mountains. This is also the only place where you can find the creepy Snub-nosed monkey. When you head inland, you reach the rural areas, and you can encounter the vast network of rivers and creeks that irrigate the endless endless crop fields that never end, with the occasional pine and bamboo forest. Here’s where we have to address a little bit of reality. Yes, China is loaded with beautiful scenery unmatched anywhere else in the world. I mean, the setting for ‘Avatar’ was inspired by the Zhangjiajie National Park, however, just like any other major state, they do have their land controversies. China has been trying really hard to crack down on its poaching, and especially against the endangered species, like the black-necked crane, the golden monkey, and of course, the iconic mascot of the nation – the giant panda bear. On top of that, China has quite a pollution problem; the Chinese Ministry of Health has stated that industrial pollution has made cancer China’s leading cause of death. This is both attributed to the air and land pollution. They’ve tried their best to combat the issue with instituting strict regulations, and fines and bans, but with the population as big as China, it’s proven incredibly difficult to manage contamination maintenance. Now let’s talk about the most controversial aspect of China, the… Alright, here we go, I’m probably not gonna feel this nervous until we get to the Israel video, or the country “that must not be named”! Let’s talk about the people of China. With a population around 1.4 billion people, China is the world’s most populous country with around 19% of the entire world’s population. About one out of every five people on the planet is Chinese. Let me just emphasize exactly how big that is. In China, they have traffic jams that can last not only hours, but days…on 50-lane highways. In China, even if you are one in a million, there are still 1,400 people exactly just like you. But my mom thinks I’m cool! Okay, that’s great! Seriously though, China is packed. However, with the colossal population comes an endlessly broad spectrum of culture, traditions, people groups, customs and lifestyles. China officially recognizes about 56 different ethnic people groups that inhabit the entire country. At about 90%, the largest majority of the population identifies as Han Chinese, and the remainder of the population typically falls within one of the many ethnic groups and the subdivision groups; the largest ones being the Zhuang, the Hui, the Manchu and the Uyghur. Funny little side note: there are actually about twice as many Mongols living in China than there are actually in Mongolia itself. The interesting thing is that they actually write in the traditional vertical Mongol script that as all but been abandoned from regular Mongolia since the introduction of the Cyrillic alphabet in the 40’s. You can even find the traditional characters on street signs and stores in the region. When it comes to the population, you need to know about the imaginary Heihe-Tengchong line. This is a line drawn diagonally from the northern city of Heihe all the way to Tengchong in the south, and about 94% of the entire country’s population lives east of this line. The official language of China is Mandarin or Putonghua, however, like mentioned before, regional languages exist and they’re even allowed to publish and utilize their own scripts in public. You can find the largest linguistic contrast in the autonomous regions. The Zhuang language is spoken in the Guangxi autonomous region, and is actually closer to the Thai and Lao languages with some mutual understanding, the only problem is that it’s written in the Latin alphabet. Just like we mentioned in the Bhutan video, the Tibetan language is closer to the Bhutanese Dzongkha language, and is written with the Tibetan syllabary which is actually closer to the scripts found in India and Nepal. The Uyghurs of the north write in an Arabic based writing system, and it’s crazy because these people are actually the least Chinese-looking people in all of China, as they are Turkic in their heritage, yet they still have Chinese citizenship, and most are able to at least pull a conversation in Mandarin as a second language. Then, of course, we get to one of the most widely known dialects – Cantonese – spoken mostly in the south spoken mostly in the south in the Guangdong province, as well as Hong Kong and Macao; propagated worldwide through the help of famous Hong Kong cinema and television. One thing you need to understand is that many of these dialects are completely unintelligible to Mandarin. For example, in Mandarin you might say: (speaking in Mandarin) but in Cantonese you would say: (speaking in Cantonese) in Mandarin: (speaking in Mandarin) but in Cantonese: (speaking in Cantonese) See? They don’t sound anything alike. “Well, they don’t sound no nothin’ to me either way, so it don’t matter to me.” *sigh*…Here, go go play with this ball. The weird thing is they all still use the same Chinese character writing system, so even if you don’t understand each other, you can still communicate with writing. Fun little side note: the same thing even sometimes applies for Japan, as they use the Kanji writing system, which is made up of Chinese characters all over. Culture-wise, there is too much to cover and I won’t be able to address everything, but basically the Chinese have an incredibly long history of vibrant, exuberanting customs, traditions, rituals, dynasties, discoveries, inventions, wars, alliances, art, building, food, apparel, policies and beliefs. And the list goes on and on. To even attempt to scratch the surface, we would have to make over a hundred episodes. One thing that kind of is universal, though, is that the Chinese have a very hard-working diligent type of social construct that looms over the entire population. Students can typically spend about 12 hours a day on school work and studying in order to pass college entrance exams, which is a huge deal! Oh, and they absolutely love practicing English, in fact, there are actually more people in China that speak English as a second language than there are in the UK. Some children that show signs of being gifted in certain academic, athletic and artistic progress are even selected by the state to undergo training at specific academies that cater towards targeting on honing those skills. Speaking of which, the country operates under a one-party socialist state. “But I thought China was communist!” Ehh, not really, I mean, yes, the ruling party is called the “Communist Party”, and they do endorse some of the democratic centralist principles that Lenin proposed, and they do advocate some semi-communist ideologies, but in all reasonable definitions, China is not a full-on “communist” country. After the 70’s, policies were relaxed, and China opened up a more free market economy. Nonetheless, there are still restrictions on press, access to the internet, although VPNs and proxy servers are not uncommon to avoid that problem, freedom of assembly and even freedom of religion. Speaking of which, China has an interesting faith-based background. Although most people in the country are generally irreligious, or adhere to traditional faiths and ideologies like Confucianism and Taoism, there are still a surprisingly solid community of people that have faith backgrounds. Islam can be mostly found in the west in the Xianjiang and Ningxia areas. Buddhism is more prevalent in the south, where you can find massive Buddha statues, like the ones carved in the cliff of Leshan. But then you get this weird anomaly and realise, “There’s a huge influx of Christians that suddenly just came out of nowhere.” China has the world’s fastest growing Christian population, and demographers speculate that somewhere around 150 to 200 million people identify as Christians in China. It is soon projected that in less than 15 years, China will be the world’s largest Christian nation. Sociologists attribute this sudden rapid growth simply to conversion, since the previously instated one-child policy discredits the possibility of big families. Speaking of which, that whole one-child policy thing was revoked in 2015 and now they have a 2-child policy. In a nutshell, when it comes to people, China is a colossal behemoth to be reckoned with; you can’t deny that China sticks out like a sore thumb on the world stage. Now let’s see what role they play on that stage. Okay, so here’s the deal, we all know that China is huge. In terms of nominal GDP, China has the second largest economy in the world after the U.S., they are the world’s largest exporter, trade nation, oil importer, and henceforth, it’s not hard to really conclude that China has a lot of connections. China has diplomatic relations with almost every single country in the world, minus a few that either never really had the time meet up, or the few that recognise Taiwan sovereignty over the People’s Republic, which doesn’t really sit well with them. Nonetheless, trying to analyze China’s diplomatic relations is like one big messed up chess game that makes no sense. One thing that we can start with is the B.R.I.C.S nations. B.R.I.C.S being the acronym for the assocation of the five national emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These five countries have developed an alliance based on bilateral relations and mutual benefit agreements. One misconception that a lot of people have is that China and India do not get along. Yes, in the 60’s there was a Sino-Indian War, and yes, the border disputes are all kind of still in effect, but nonetheless, China and India have been operating in diplomatic measures for decades, They are heavily dependent on each other’s trade and business, and after a few high-level visits from the former president Jiang Zemin in the 90’s, tensions have eased off quite a bit. The only problem is that both countries are the biggest investors in Africa, so that kinda puts a little bit of competition in the bucket. When it comes to Africa, China was kind of like “Eeh, Africa is like a really big place with a lot of stuff we could use, with a lot of diplomatic confusion, so, uhh, maybe we should step in as the new guys and cut a deal with these Africans.” To this day, China has really been keeping their eyes on Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically in places like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Angola. South Africa and Angola being the largest African trading partners with China. The problem though is that China is kind of far, and doesn’t really have a coast on the Indian Ocean for shipment from Africa, so that’s where Pakistan comes in. Pakistan has actually been one of the closest friends and allies of China since the beginning of the Economic Reform period. Not only do they offer China access to the Indian Ocean from the ports of Gwadar, they frequently collaborate on energy, technology and even military agreements, which kind of makes sense in case if tensions ever rose with India ever again. Funny enough, Israel is also a close ally of China as well; during WWII, Shanghai took in many Jewish refugees, and Israel was the first country in the Middle East to recognise the PRC as the legitimate government of China. Which is weird, because China also has ties to Iran and many other nations in the Middle East that could care less for Israel, in fact, trade between China and the Middle East goes way back millennia all the way to the Silk Road, so it’s nothing new for them. Russia is probably the closest European ally, even though the Sino-Soviet split in the 60’s kinda caused a little bit of dissension, but nonetheless, the two have learned to kind of shrug it off and join forces again. Russia, to this day, is also the largest oil exporter to China, and there’s even a small community of Russians living in China, mostly in Harbin in the north. Which is weird, again, because China’s relations with the U.S. are pretty crucial too. The U.S. is China’s largest trade partner and plays a pivotal role in China’s revenue input. They are friends with both North and South Korea, however with all the nuke action going on, China has been less and less supportive of North Korea, and has even threated to impose sanctions against them. And that’s not even half of it, if you want the whole story, go talk to a Chinese person, becasue we are out of time. In conclusion, since the beginning of its conception, China has always been able to show the world that it knows how to make you know about it and now that you know about it you have no idea how much still need to know. Stay tuned and come be a with Colombia…no…that didn’t? Hey geograpeeps, so Geography now just got its first sponsor – 24houranswers.com, this is probably the best homework help and tutroing website ever, if you’re in college or if you’re a grad student or whatever, these people are smart, they’re great, most of the instructors have at least their Master’s degree and I also have a protocol that you guys can use, I’ll put everything in the link in the description below but check them out – 24houranswers.com, they’re helping out Geography now, so feel free to check them out and help them out as well – 24houranswers.com

Geography Now! Italy

Geography Now! Italy


Well, I’m personally excited because today we cover the country where one quarter of my heritage comes from … ITALIA!!! There’s no such thing as a single type of Italian. People from Sicily would almost need a translator to understand people in Veneto. Napoli looks incredibly different from Milano. And people from South Tyrol are like ”Uhh warum sind wir hier?” Italy has definitely made its mark. And today we jump in. [IN ITALIAN] Va bene? Cominciamo!!! [intro] Hey everybody, I’m your host Barbs, derived from my last name Barbato, which translates to ”beard man” I’m serious Hey laugh all you want, but that just means I am might related to Scipio Africanus Barbatus, the guy who defeated Hannibal in, I think, the Second Punic War So, HA, I got victory in my blood. Now I’m probably related to some ancient guy that sold barley or something, Barley that was eaten by Scipio Africanus Barbatus who defeated Hannibal, so YES I still got it, I basically defeated Hannibal. But where was Hannibal defeated? Let’s find out in … POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY In Italy it’s all about ”tutte le strade portano a Roma”. First of all, Italy is that boot-shaped country kicking two deflated soccer balls located in Europe at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia in the north and two microstates are completely engulfed within Italy, the Vatican City and San Marino, which is like the easiest country to sneak into, like seriously, there’s a japanese restaurant and a sports store next to the entrance with no guards. With two, this makes Italy the country with the most other countries enclaved inside of it! South Africa was so close with Swaziland, but then Mozambique had to exist. Oh and there was a time Reggio tried to secede from Italy back in the 70’s which almost made it three, but that’s a whole other story, just look it up. The country is divided into 20 regions with the capital Rome. 5 of the regions have special autonomous status: Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto or Sud Tiroll, otherwise known as South Tyroll, the Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The country’s largest cities are of course the capital Rome, then Milano and Napoli, with the busiest airports being Rome Leonardo Da Vinci Fiumicino Milan Malpensa and Bergamo Caravaggio international airports. In addition to the two largest islands Sicilia and Sardegna, the country owns over 350 islands off its coast. Finally, there’s that land dispute with France over the summit of Mont Blanc and a small little 2,5 km long enclave in Switzerland called Campione d’ Italia, which is kinda like a special spot exempt from the EU value added tax zone, which makes sense, because it has Italy’s largest casino. Phew, Italy, you got some complication manatics going on. The funny thing is modern Italy once even tried to take a step at colonialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with areas stretching from the Balkans, northern Africa and the horn of Africa including a short kind of occupation of Ethiopia, but didn’t last that long ’cause the Ethiopians fought back relentlessly and to this day it’s back to the boot with two deflated soccer balls. Guys, I convert metric for you, but I call it soccer, OK? The Canadians, South Africans, Australians, Kiwis, Japaneses and parts of Ireland and the Philippines and Papua – New Guinea all agree with me, OK? It’s not just Americans that call it soccer. [Italian] We call it ”calcio” Phhh OK good luck with that Now this is the part where I typically go down the list of notable sites found in Italy, however the problem is there are literally too many. I’m not even joking. Italy has more heritage sites than any other country in the world that over 50. We all know about the big guys, I’m not gonna mention most of them, instead through my extensive research here are some obscure lesser known yet equally fastening spots: The dining table of Billa Lante, the Bomarzo Horror Garden, Ai Pioppi, a theme park made of rides that require your own kinetic energy to operate, the Necropolis of Banditaccia, La Scarzuola monastery, the free wine fountain of Cammino di San Tomasso, let that just thinking … free wine, the relics of Jesus’ Apostotle St. Thomas, the geothermal waterfalls of Tuscany, the sunken city of Baia, the cliffside town of Sant’ Agata De Goti, the sulfuric fields of Pozzuoli, that fortress built by that crazy guy, the Urbania mummies, the Chiusdino sword in the Stone, the 9 layer maze of Villa Pisani, the road of 52 tunnels, the pyramid zone of Castello, the Incantato Heads carved by a crazy guy. There are a lot of monuments made by crazy people. And of course way too many castles, fortresses, churches, monasteries, museums and ancient sites to list, but you got the point. Now let’s BLAST OFF like a volcano, which Italy has, into the next chapter, shall we? PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY Now we all know that Italy is insanely beautiful and so many areas, everybody wants to see it, I mean even Mr. and Ms. Information went there on the honeymoon … you’re welcome … First of all, Italy’s beauty comes at a cost. The country lies just above the convergence of the Eurasian and African plates in the Mediterranean, but also on the Appenine or Appenini thrust fault line that smashes into western Europe and that’s how the Alps were formed. Basically the Alps make like a barrier in the north with the Appenini mountains running along the entire length of the country as like a scupi spine, until it technically ends in the island of Sicilia. Because Italy’s mountains are volcanic fault formed it has created some amazing natural formations, like the Dolomiti rocks, the steep sides of lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, the Umbria Valleys, the angelating hills of Tuscany. This also means that Italy is kinda split in half east and west, with a major lush bassin locked in the north that receives an abundance of fresh snow melt creating rivers, like the longest one, the Po river located in the avenient Po valley. This valley extends about 650 km (400 miles) all the way from the French border to the Adriatic Sea, which ends in the little stand you may have heard of called Venezia or Venice. This also means that Italy is a volcanic country. To this day there are about 30 volcanoes, 3 known active ones, Etna, Stromboli and the famous Vesuvius making it the most densely populated and potentially deadly volcanic region in the world. It’s like, yeah, I know I could die, but oh man the pizza here is totally worth it. Speaking of which, about a quarter of the land is arable allowing them to grow lots of food. I’m sure you’re fully aware of the typical italian dishes however each region kind of specializes in a certain cuisine. In the north, you have foods like polenta, gnocchi, white truffles, Liguria has great pesto and in South Tyroll you have germanic inspired dishes like Knödel dumplings and strudel. In the center, you have things like lasanga, boar, artichokes, lamb, steak, gelato, pasta which comes in over 600 variations and indisputably the best wine is in Toscana. The south is the PIZZA KINGDOM and Napoli is like the capital. Sardinia is known for those cool cheese fritter dumpling things. Italy enjoys a mild, mediterranean climate, only snowing in the north and high altitude areas. Now despite deforestation and pollution being an issue and Venice flooding almost every year now, Italy is actually the most fauna-biodiverse country in Europe with over 57,000 species recorded. That’s about the third of all european fauna. About 48 hundred are endemic like the sardinian red deer, the italian cave salamander, the alpine marmot, marsican brown bear, the crested porcupine and the national animal, the italian wolf. Otherwise as the 8th largest nominal GDP in the world and the 8th largest exporter Italy’s economy is heavily driven off of industry and productions, specifically in luxury items. Major world renowned companies like Fiat, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Ducati, Pirelli, Armani and Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Prada are key players in keeping Italy in flow. In many ways there’s kind of like a sense of class that almost expected with being Italian. No matter how intense things may get, you know just watching you with your shoes unpolished. Which brings us to … DEMOGRAPHICS Now being Italian, we’ve all heard the stereotypes: loud, passionate, hand gesturing, bad driving, temperate sense of clean freaks that never follow the rules and as offensive as that may sound it’s kind of based off of truth. BUT with good reasoning. We’ll explain in a bit, but first … Italy has about 61 million people in their country and they are the 3rd most populous country in the EU after the whole Brexit thing and the 6th in all of Europe. Getting the exact ethnic makeup in Italy is a little difficult, because Italy is a lot more diversed than you would think. About 92% of the country identifies as ethnically Italian although keep in mind that’s kind of a broad term considering how many different types and shades of Italian there are. But nonetheless Italian. Whereas about 2% are Romanian, 1% North African and the rest of the country is made up of a slew of global people groups, everything from Albanian, Eritrean, Chinese and Ukrainians. They also use the Euro, the type C plug outlet and they drive on the right side of the road. Now when it comes to Italy it basically comes down to two thing: north and south Southerners like to joke and they call northerners ”Polentoni” based off the polenta that they eat and likewise northerners like to call southerners ”Terroni” which I actually don’t even know where that’s based off of. My research kinda ended there. If you know, type it in the comments. Basically the north is like where all the financial districts and stereotypical operi, preppy people live whereas the south is kinda like where the rustic, tough people live. Plus you know the south is kind of like Mafia territory. Oh come on everybody already knows it. You have the Cosa Nostra in Sicilia, the Ndrangheta in Calabria, the Camorra in Campania, the Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia. Don’t worry though if you visit as a tourist you should be fine it’s not much of a big deal anymore. I mean unless you start a mob war by yourself nothing will pretty much happen. So NO STARTING MOB WARS, OK? Got it? There are so many different dialects in sub-groups like South Tyrol mostly speaks German kind of, Aosta Valley speaks French, sort of No, but seriously the standard Italian language spoken and taught today is based off the Florentine version of Tuscan Italian which is kinda like an intermediate between the Gallo-Romance dialects of the north and the Italo-Dalmatian dialects of the south. This all happen because prior to Italian unification the country was split between multiple kingdoms and states, each with their own semi-latin based language which made communication a little bit of a challenge. For example in standard Italian you might say ”Di dove sei?”, but in Sicilian ”Di unni si?” In standard: Ciao, come stai, tutto bene?, but in Venetian: Come vala? Tut ben? In standard: forchetta, in Lombard: Perù? This is one of the reasons why Italian is attributed to the creation of the famous italian hand gestures. People who would travel barely 50 km and find themselves in a hard to understand dialect region. So essentially they had to kinda get their point across fast. There’s a saying that Italians have ”L’arte di arrangiarsi” or ”the art of arranging”. which translates to something like ”the art of figuring out on your own”. When words fail, hands succeed! There’s no specific code, but some generally accepted gestures include things like: Mi dispiace Sei pazzo! Bere vino! Belissimo! Delizioso! Stai attento? Ma cosa dici? Perfetto and Fare le corna Speaking of social backround we don’t have enough time to explain the entire history of Italy, but in the quickest way I can put it. Etruscans, Romans, Christianity, ridiculous amount of separate kingdoms and feudal states, barbarian invasions, Byzantines, medieval kingdoms, Renaissance, Napoleonic invasions, Sardinia – Piedmont unifies Italy after 3 independence wars or 4 depending on who you ask, mass emigration to other countries begins, WWI, Fascism, WWII, Resistance movement, after-war economic boom, 2008 crisis which brings us here today. Basically the epicenter of ancient Rome was here hence the capital being named Rome. Speaking of which even though the Italian monarchy ended long ago, there are still two descendants that still exist today acting as heir apparents. The Catholic church has played a major role in Italy even to this day. Almost every single town has at least one church. About 88% of the country identifies as Catholic, however only a third say they are active practisioners on a weekly basis. And one of the reasons why Italy has made such a univesal mark is partially because between the late 1800s and the early 1900s Italy experienced a mass emigration in which over the years around 25 million left. This is considered the largest mass migration of contemporary times. Suddenly you have new communities of Italians all over the world in places like Brazil, Argentina, the US, UK and France. Oh wow, this video is running long and I can’t even get to talk about the deadly Calcio Florentino game of Florence or the Santa Maria delle Grazie snake festival, Opera Pupi in Sicilia. So many cool things, but we gotta move on. Some notable people either from Italy or of Italian descent might include people like: Cicero, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Dante Alighieri, Niccolò Machiavelli, Donatello, Caravaggio, Galileo Galilei, Christopher Colombus, Amerigo Vespucci, Marco Polo, Niccolò Paganini, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Luigi Pirandello, Federico Fellini, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Umberto Eco, Sophia Lorren, Valentino Rossi, Roberto Baggio, Monica Bellucci, Silvio Berlusconi, Enzo Ferrari, Donatella Versace, Giorgio Armani. Mainstream American artists of Italian descent might include so many stars like: Frank Sinatra, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, Leonardo Dicaprio, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, even Nicholas Cage has some Italian descent. Again Italian people have such a strong and solid history and culture, but what is the rest of the world think of them? And what do they think about their neighbors? Wow that brings us to … FRIENDZONE Italy is a really great guy once you get to know him. But that’s just the thing, you gotta warm up to them, al dente style. First of all, France is like their best frenemy. They smile at each other, but secretly they always try to compete with who has the highest class in elegance. They also hate the fact that France has Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Nonetheless, with historical bumps like WWII, they still cooperate well today. Argentina is like the adoptive daughter that they sent to Spanish boarding school, but they still fiercely refuse to make friends with their neighbors. As mentioned in the Argentina video, the majority and largest demographic of people in Argentina have Italian heritage and they love doing business with Italy. Malta and San Marino are kinda seen as like their little sons that they love helping out even thought San Marino is like way older than the modern unified state of Italy, but that’s besides the point. They think it’s cute how Malta speaks their own language that kinda have incorporated Italian words and San Marino is like their good luck charm who more or less has always been peaceful and drama free since the 4th century. Of course the Vatican is like a unique player that they pay their respects to, but will not give the opportunity to rise another empire and hence they keep them confined in the basilica grounds. In terms of their best friends though literally every Italian I talked to has said the exact same two countries: Greece and Spain. As mentioned in the Greece episode they live by the ”una faccia, una razza” rule. One face, one race. These three countries make the trinity of the Mediterranean. You know it’s gonna be a good time when you put a Spaniard and a Greek and Italian in the same room. Nothing can stop them! They own the seas, they trade, they share stories, they drink together, they marry the crop out of each other. In conclusion, for centuries Italy has been a beacon of art, literature, fashion, architecture, history, religion, cuisine, traditions & landmarks to the rest of the world. And personally I’m proud to be a part of it. But most importantly I’m proud that my barley-selling bearded ancestors basically killed Hannibal and saved the universe. And I get to take at least 40% of their credits. So basically I SAVED THE UNIVERSE. Totally true, not made up, 100% fact. Stay tuned. The Ivory Coast is coming up next!

The transformative power of classical music | Benjamin Zander

The transformative power of classical music | Benjamin Zander


Probably a lot of you know
the story of the two salesmen who went down to Africa in the 1900s. They were sent down to find
if there was any opportunity for selling shoes, and they wrote telegrams
back to Manchester. And one of them wrote, “Situation hopeless. Stop.
They don’t wear shoes.” And the other one wrote, “Glorious opportunity.
They don’t have any shoes yet.” (Laughter) Now, there’s a similar situation
in the classical music world, because there are some people who think
that classical music is dying. And there are some of us
who think you ain’t seen nothing yet. And rather than go
into statistics and trends, and tell you about all the orchestras
that are closing, and the record companies that are folding, I thought we should do
an experiment tonight. Actually, it’s not really an experiment,
because I know the outcome. (Laughter) But it’s like an experiment. Now, before we start — (Laughter) Before we start, I need to do two things. One is I want to remind you
of what a seven-year-old child sounds like when he plays the piano. Maybe you have this child at home. He sounds something like this. (Music) (Music ends) I see some of you recognize this child. Now, if he practices for a year
and takes lessons, he’s now eight and he sounds like this. (Music) (Music ends) He practices for another year
and takes lessons — he’s nine. (Music) (Music ends) Then he practices for another year
and takes lessons — now he’s 10. (Music) (Music ends) At that point, they usually give up. (Laughter) (Applause) Now, if you’d waited for one more year,
you would have heard this. (Music) (Music ends) Now, what happened was not
maybe what you thought, which is, he suddenly
became passionate, engaged, involved, got a new teacher,
he hit puberty, or whatever it is. What actually happened
was the impulses were reduced. You see, the first time, he was playing
with an impulse on every note. (Music) And the second,
with an impulse every other note. (Music) You can see it by looking at my head. (Laughter) The nine-year-old put
an impulse on every four notes. (Music) The 10-year-old, on every eight notes. (Music) And the 11-year-old,
one impulse on the whole phrase. (Music) I don’t know how
we got into this position. (Laughter) I didn’t say, “I’m going to move
my shoulder over, move my body.” No, the music pushed me over, which is why I call it
one-buttock playing. (Music) It can be the other buttock. (Music) You know, a gentleman was once
watching a presentation I was doing, when I was working with a young pianist. He was the president
of a corporation in Ohio. I was working with
this young pianist, and said, “The trouble with you
is you’re a two-buttock player. You should be a one-buttock player.” I moved his body while he was playing. And suddenly, the music took off.
It took flight. The audience gasped
when they heard the difference. Then I got a letter from this gentleman. He said, “I was so moved. I went back and I transformed
my entire company into a one-buttock company.” (Laughter) Now, the other thing I wanted
to do is to tell you about you. There are 1,600 people, I believe. My estimation is that probably 45 of you are absolutely passionate
about classical music. You adore classical music.
Your FM is always on that classical dial. You have CDs in your car,
and you go to the symphony, your children are playing instruments. You can’t imagine your life
without classical music. That’s the first group, quite small. Then there’s another bigger group. The people who don’t mind classical music. (Laughter) You know, you’ve come home
from a long day, and you take a glass of wine,
and you put your feet up. A little Vivaldi in the background
doesn’t do any harm. That’s the second group. Now comes the third group: people who never listen
to classical music. It’s just simply not part of your life. You might hear it like second-hand
smoke at the airport … (Laughter) — and maybe a little bit
of a march from “Aida” when you come into the hall. But otherwise, you never hear it. That’s probably the largest group. And then there’s a very small group. These are the people
who think they’re tone-deaf. Amazing number of people think
they’re tone-deaf. Actually, I hear a lot,
“My husband is tone-deaf.” (Laughter) Actually, you cannot be tone-deaf. Nobody is tone-deaf. If you were tone-deaf,
you couldn’t change the gears on your car, in a stick shift car. You couldn’t tell the difference between somebody from Texas
and somebody from Rome. And the telephone. The telephone. If your mother calls on the miserable telephone,
she calls and says, “Hello,” you not only know who it is,
you know what mood she’s in. You have a fantastic ear.
Everybody has a fantastic ear. So nobody is tone-deaf. But I tell you what. It doesn’t work for me
to go on with this thing, with such a wide gulf
between those who understand, love and are passionate
about classical music, and those who have
no relationship to it at all. The tone-deaf people,
they’re no longer here. But even between those three categories, it’s too wide a gulf. So I’m not going to go on
until every single person in this room, downstairs and in Aspen,
and everybody else looking, will come to love
and understand classical music. So that’s what we’re going to do. Now, you notice that there is not
the slightest doubt in my mind that this is going to work,
if you look at my face, right? It’s one of the characteristics
of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity
of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming. Imagine if Martin Luther King
had said, “I have a dream. Of course, I’m not sure
they’ll be up to it.” (Laughter) All right. So I’m going
to take a piece of Chopin. This is a beautiful prelude by Chopin. Some of you will know it. (Music) Do you know what I think
probably happened here? When I started, you thought,
“How beautiful that sounds.” (Music) “I don’t think we should
go to the same place for our summer holidays next year.” (Laughter) It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s funny how those thoughts
kind of waft into your head. And of course — (Applause) Of course, if the piece is long
and you’ve had a long day, you might actually drift off. Then your companion
will dig you in the ribs and say, “Wake up! It’s culture!”
And then you feel even worse. (Laughter) But has it ever occurred to you
that the reason you feel sleepy in classical music is not
because of you, but because of us? Did anybody think while I was playing, “Why is he using so many impulses?” If I’d done this with my head you
certainly would have thought it. (Music) (Music ends) And for the rest of your life,
every time you hear classical music, you’ll always be able to know
if you hear those impulses. So let’s see what’s really going on here. We have a B. This is a B. The next note is a C. And the job of the C is to make the B sad. And it does, doesn’t it? (Laughter) Composers know that. If they want sad music,
they just play those two notes. (Music) But basically, it’s just a B,
with four sads. (Laughter) Now, it goes down to A. Now to G. And then to F. So we have B, A, G, F. And if we have B, A, G, F, what do we expect next? (Music) That might have been a fluke. Let’s try it again. (Music) Oh, the TED choir. (Laughter) And you notice nobody is tone-deaf, right? Nobody is. You know, every village in Bangladesh and every hamlet in China
— everybody knows: da, da, da, da — da. Everybody knows, who’s expecting that E. Chopin didn’t want to reach the E there, because what will have happened? It will be over, like Hamlet.
Do you remember? Act One, scene three, he finds out his uncle killed his father. He keeps on going up
to his uncle and almost killing him. And then he backs away,
he goes up to him again, almost kills him. The critics sitting in the back row there, they have to have an opinion,
so they say, “Hamlet is a procrastinator.” Or they say, “Hamlet has
an Oedipus complex.” No, otherwise the play
would be over, stupid. (Laughter) That’s why Shakespeare puts
all that stuff in Hamlet — Ophelia going mad,
the play within the play, and Yorick’s skull, and the gravediggers. That’s in order to delay — until Act Five, he can kill him. It’s the same with the Chopin. He’s just about to reach the E, and he says, “Oops, better
go back up and do it again.” So he does it again. Now, he gets excited. (Music) That’s excitement, don’t worry about it. Now, he gets to F-sharp,
and finally he goes down to E, but it’s the wrong chord — because the chord
he’s looking for is this one, and instead he does … Now, we call that a deceptive cadence, because it deceives us. I tell my students,
“If you have a deceptive cadence, raise your eyebrows,
and everybody will know.” (Laughter) (Applause) Right. He gets to E, but it’s the wrong chord. Now, he tries E again. That chord doesn’t work. Now, he tries the E again.
That chord doesn’t work. Now, he tries E again,
and that doesn’t work. And then finally … There was a gentleman
in the front row who went, “Mmm.” (Laughter) It’s the same gesture
he makes when he comes home after a long day, turns off
the key in his car and says, “Aah, I’m home.” Because we all know where home is. So this is a piece which goes
from away to home. I’m going to play it all the way through
and you’re going to follow. B, C, B, C, B, C, B — down to A, down to G, down to F. Almost goes to E, but otherwise
the play would be over. He goes back up to B,
he gets very excited. Goes to F-sharp. Goes to E. It’s the wrong chord.
It’s the wrong chord. And finally goes to E, and it’s home. And what you’re going to see
is one-buttock playing. (Laughter) Because for me, to join the B to the E, I have to stop thinking
about every single note along the way, and start thinking about the long,
long line from B to E. You know, we were just in South Africa,
and you can’t go to South Africa without thinking of Mandela
in jail for 27 years. What was he thinking about? Lunch? No, he was thinking
about the vision for South Africa and for human beings. This is about vision.
This is about the long line. Like the bird who flies over the field and doesn’t care about the fences
underneath, all right? So now, you’re going to follow
the line all the way from B to E. And I’ve one last request before I play
this piece all the way through. Would you think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer there? A beloved grandmother, a lover — somebody in your life
who you love with all your heart, but that person is no longer with you. Bring that person into your mind, and at the same time, follow the line all the way from B to E, and you’ll hear everything
that Chopin had to say. (Music) (Music ends) (Applause) Now, you may be wondering — (Applause) (Applause ends) You may be wondering why I’m clapping. Well, I did this at a school in Boston with about 70 seventh
graders, 12-year-olds. I did exactly what I did with you, and I explained the whole thing. At the end, they went crazy, clapping. I was clapping. They were clapping. Finally, I said, “Why am I clapping?” And one of them said,
“Because we were listening.” (Laughter) Think of it. 1,600 people, busy people, involved in all sorts of different things, listening, understanding and being moved by a piece by Chopin. Now, that is something. Am I sure that every single
person followed that, understood it, was moved by it? Of course, I can’t be sure. But I’ll tell you what happened
to me in Ireland during the Troubles, 10 years ago, and I was working with some Catholic
and Protestant kids on conflict resolution. And I did this with them — a risky thing to do,
because they were street kids. And one of them came to me
the next morning and he said, “You know, I’ve never listened
to classical music in my life, but when you played
that shopping piece …” (Laughter) He said, “My brother was shot last year
and I didn’t cry for him. But last night,
when you played that piece, he was the one I was thinking about. And I felt the tears
streaming down my face. And it felt really
good to cry for my brother.” So I made up my mind at that moment that classical music is for everybody. Everybody. Now, how would you walk — my profession, the music profession
doesn’t see it that way. They say three percent of the population
likes classical music. If only we could move it to four percent,
our problems would be over. (Laughter) How would you walk?
How would you talk? How would you be? If you thought, “Three percent
of the population likes classical music, if only we could move it to four percent.” How would you walk or talk?
How would you be? If you thought, “Everybody
loves classical music — they just haven’t found out about it yet.” See, these are totally different worlds. Now, I had an amazing experience. I was 45 years old, I’d been conducting for 20 years, and I suddenly had a realization. The conductor of an orchestra
doesn’t make a sound. My picture appears
on the front of the CD — (Laughter) But the conductor doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make
other people powerful. And that changed everything for me. It was totally life-changing. People in my orchestra said, “Ben, what happened?”
That’s what happened. I realized my job was to awaken
possibility in other people. And of course, I wanted to know
whether I was doing that. How do you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shining,
you know you’re doing it. You could light up a village
with this guy’s eyes. (Laughter) Right. So if the eyes are shining,
you know you’re doing it. If the eyes are not shining,
you get to ask a question. And this is the question: who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining? We can do that with our children, too. Who am I being, that my children’s eyes are not shining? That’s a totally different world. Now, we’re all about to end
this magical, on-the-mountain week, we’re going back into the world. And I say, it’s appropriate
for us to ask the question, who are we being as we go back
out into the world? And you know, I have
a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes
I have around me. So now, I have one last thought, which is that it really makes
a difference what we say — the words that come out of our mouth. I learned this from a woman
who survived Auschwitz, one of the rare survivors. She went to Auschwitz
when she was 15 years old. And … And her brother was eight, and the parents were lost. And she told me this, she said, “We were in the train going to Auschwitz, and I looked down and saw
my brother’s shoes were missing. I said, ‘Why are you so stupid,
can’t you keep your things together for goodness’ sake?'” The way an elder sister might speak
to a younger brother. Unfortunately, it was the last
thing she ever said to him, because she never saw him again. He did not survive. And so when she came out
of Auschwitz, she made a vow. She told me this. She said, “I walked out
of Auschwitz into life and I made a vow. And the vow was, “I will never say anything that couldn’t
stand as the last thing I ever say.” Now, can we do that? No. And we’ll make ourselves wrong
and others wrong. But it is a possibility to live into. Thank you. (Applause) Shining eyes. (Applause) Shining eyes. (Applause) Thank you, thank you.

Geography Now! Indonesia

Geography Now! Indonesia


Hey everybody, so if you don’t know anything about Indonesia, basically, all you have to know is that it’s kind of like the Hawaii of the Muslim world, but it’s like huge. It’s like the biggest state and with orangutans. And that’s it just no punchline. Let’s just go to the intro song. *Intro song* It’s time to learn Geography NOW! Hey everybody, I’m your host Barby. So as some of you know, I’ve been to Indonesia one time on one island for like three hours I ate one dish, so basically I’m like the Indonesia expert, right? Well, if not I’m kind of like the only guy on YouTube doing full profile videos like this, so for now You’ll just have to kind of deal with me for like the next twelve or so minutes. Woohoo, default! Alright, so again if you don’t know anything about Indonesia It’s basically like if the Middle East and South East Asia had An incredibly colorful, loud, somewhat explosive set of babies, like thousands of them Okay, that doesn’t really help First of all Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation Located right where the Indian Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean On the incredibly clustered set of islands making six countries Known commonly as Nusantara or the Malay Archipelago Atatatatatat, *Indonesian* Archipelago Sure, whatever makes you happy Indonesia actually has land borders with three of these countries East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and Malaysia, on the biggest island: Borneo or Kalimantan Which is one of the world’s only two triple split nation islands The other one being Cyprus Although technically if you include the UN Buffer Zone it’s kind of like four entities But the UN isn’t a country Whatever just watch the Cyprus episode The country is divided into 34 provinces, five of which have special administrative statuses With the capital and most populous city Jakarta located on Java The world’s most populous island with nearly half of the entire population of Indonesia in it The largest cities after Jakarta are Surabaya and Bandung both located on Java Island And Medan located on Sumatra Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Bali’s Ngurah Rai International in Denpasar And Surabaya’s Juanda International Now here’s where things get a little speculative Today there are still arguments claimed as to exactly how many islands Indonesia has The National Coordinating Agency for Surveying and Mapping * now named Geospatial Information Agency * says Indonesia has about 13,500 The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space Agency says that it has about 18,300 Whereas the Indonesian government claims about 17,500 But whatever the point is there’s a lot of them Over 8,800 have names and over 900 of them are permanently Inhabited You would think they are the country with the most islands, but surprisingly Finland and Canada beat them But a lot of their islands are kind of like boopadoop little islands in the lakes, so does it really count? Uh, I guess? Now let’s talk about the five special administrative provinces They are: Aceh, Yogyakarta, West Papua and Papua, and the capital, Jakarta Now, no surprise the capital Jakarta acts as its own political entity Lots of countries do that, but what about the others? First, Aceh. Aceh is kind of like the black sheep of Indonesia It’s the only province in which Sharia law is fully implemented Also, they kind of have like a ton of oil So, yeah, they’ve kind of asserted a very independent ideology That sets them apart as autonomous from the rest of Indonesia Then you have Yogyakarta, which is the only region that is still governed by a pre-colonial monarchy The Sultan of Yogyakarta who acts as a hereditary governor Otherwise we get the two Papuas, which collectively used to be the province called Irian Jaya But then in 2003 they got split into two Basically this is the place that has the least in common with the rest of Indonesia It has a culture and background closer to their cousins across the border in Papua New Guinea So then why is this part of Indonesia, well long story short, Indonesia was basically like: “Well now that we have our full sovereignty, we get everything that the Dutch colonized” But the people of Papua were not too happy so then Indonesia was like: “Alright, we’ll give you a vote to stay or leave” “However, we would strongly implore you to make the *right* decision” So they voted to stay in, a lot of people complained, there’s still some current opposition And to this day, the area has a relatively high level of autonomy And the government kind of just leaves them alone except for when it comes to mining for resources Oh, and the South Maluku area also kind of has like an independence dispute thing kind of going on But the major opponents to the Indonesian government are primarily based in the Netherlands Then you have the strange Riau Islands which looked like they should belong to Malaysia But they don’t even though they have a strong Malay derived culture And you have the Ambalat Sea block which has a ton of oil that both they and Malaysia argue over So that essentially covers most of the administrative divisions of Indonesia Some of the most notable spots of interest in Indonesia might include: The National Monument and Museum Royal Kraton Ngayogyakarta Palace Ratu Boko The Magelang Chicken Shaped Church Borobudur, disputably the largest Buddhist temple in the world Maimun Palace The Taman Sari Underground Mosque The Equator Monument The Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Lake Temples Yeah, try to say that five times fast: “Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Lake” The Millennium Bridge The Sacred Monkey Temple The Hellmouth or Elephant Cave The Seven Story Pagoda of Sibu *CORRECTION: This is in Malaysia* The Smoked Mummy Villages of Aikim and Jiwika in Papua Or if you’re lazy you can just go to The Taman Mini Indonesia Indah Park Which kinda has like a bunch of replicas of all the famous sites in Indonesia Oh, and keep in mind there’s Dutch colonial style buildings all over Too many ancient temples and pagodas to list And no matter how many buildings and landmarks are built They will never compare to what mother nature has done, which brings us to: Indonesia’s land is like that one ex we all had back in our 20’s That we trusted a stupid friend to hook us up with Super attractive, but almost killed you a few times Indonesia lies on what is labeled as the prehistoric continental shelf known as Sundaland Which during the ice age times pretty much connected all of the islands together before the Wallace Line Until the ice melted and filled in the gaps Now that’s where things get incredibly messed up Not only is indonesia right in the worst part of the ring of fire But the country is basically smashed between three converging major continental plates The Eurasian, the Pacific, and the Australian plates With dozens of minor plates and rifts like the Sunda, Timor, Banda, Malucca, and so on This in return gives Indonesia over 400 volcanoes disputably more than any in the world With over 150 active ones making it the most volcanically active country in the world as well This means on a daily basis Indonesia experiences on average about four earthquakes a day Ranging anywhere between the small timid three to a noticeable six on the richter scale And you never know where or when they will happen Hmm… *clap clap clap* Impressive… Nonetheless, volcanoes can be a good thing especially when concentrated close to the equator As the warmer humid climate allows moisture and minerals to coalesce Creating some of the most fertile land on the planet This is why places like Hawaii And Iceland are so radically different despite both being volcanic islands In the end, Indonesia got blessed with a flourishing abundance of flora and fauna The second highest concentration in the world after Brazil Many of which being endemic species, like the Rafflesia arnoldii and the Titan arum The largest flowers in the world, which each smell like rotting corpses And at over 180, they also have the highest concentration of mammals out of anywhere in the world Nonetheless, the national animal is actually a reptile, the largest in the world At three metres long, the famous Komodo Dragon which you can find a bunch of on Komodo Island Which is where they get their name from, and they can kill people! Just a heads up And the surprisingly not national animal even though everybody knows and loves them The only great ape in Asia, Orangutans, are only found on this archipelago as well By the way, they look docile and quiet, but orangutans can rip off your arm if you anger them So don’t… Otherwise, the largest mountain Puncak Jaya is located in the east, in Papua The longest River, the Kapuas, flows on Kalimantan or Borneo Island Starting in the east emptying into the South China Sea The largest lake, as well as the largest volcanic lake in the world, Lake Toba can be found on Sumatra This is also the site of the largest speculated volcanic explosive eruption on Earth That essentially created a worldwide volcanic winter The eruption was so big that you can literally observe ashes from the explosion That went as far as Malawi in East Africa Remember guys mother nature is beautiful, but if she wants she can kill you Close to Puncak Jaya is Grasberg, the largest gold and copper mine in the world And on Mount Ijen on Java which spews up blue lava All over you can find Intrepid sulphur miners that literally go into the base of the volcanic craters Risking health just to get raw sulphur ores Otherwise you have other anomalies like the Sidoarjo mud volcanoes The three-colored Lake Kelimutu in Flores And the Kakaban Island Jellyfish Lake –
too many strange places To this day, Indonesia is the number one producer of palm oil, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, and vanilla Some national dishes might include things like: Rendang Satay – or Saté *Correct pronunciation: Saté* Gado-gado Lontong Ketupat Papeda Ikan bakar Pempek Tumpeng Lemang And the national dish: Nasi goreng which basically just means fried rice which has no exact recipe You can mix it up and kind of do whatever you want to it Oh and keep in mind Malaysia might argue that some of these dishes belong to them But that’s a whole other story tied in with history and culture. Yeah, we got time why not talk about it Now there’s a lot of curious mysteries when it comes to Indonesia’s people like: How did they become predominantly muslim? Or what’s the whole deal with them in Malaysia? Or wait, this guy is considered an Indonesian? What?! First of all, the country has about 263 million people, making it the fourth most populous country in the world With the largest population of Muslims as well Now here’s the thing in a sense. Yes, 95% of the population is considered native Indonesian That’s an incredibly broad term, considering that Indonesia has about 300 different ethno-linguistic groups Split up across all the island regions of the country If you look at a map with the actual ethnic group breakdown, it kinda looks something like this Nonetheless the two largest parent ethnic groups are the Javanese that make up about 40% The Sudanese that make about 15% Otherwise, the rest of the population is primarily made up of smaller groups and tribes That have only around 2 to 3 percent each like the Batak, the Sulawesi, the Balinese Minangkabau, Betawi, Papuan, Dayak, and so on Finally about 5% are non-indigenous Indonesians like Chinese, Arabs, Indians, and even a few Europeans They also use the Indonesian Rupiah as their currency, they use the type-C plug outlet And they drive on the left side of the road And here’s where things get a little confusing: culture and language The one thing that kind of unites all Indonesians is that they share the national language Bahasa Indonesia Which means the Indonesian language However Bahasa Indonesia is actually kind of like a lingua franca to many of the people As Indonesia is the world’s largest trilingual country In addition to Bahasa indonesia most people speak their own mother tongue as well as English Yep, English. They caught on quick when they realized it was the money language The funny thing, is even though the Javanese make up the largest people group The Javanese language is not an official language Technically it could have been, but then that would have favored one people group over all the others Which would have caused tension, so they kind of had to choose like a neutral default Plus, Javanese is like really hard to learn And the original writing system, although very beautiful is incredibly difficult to write Nonetheless, at nearly 100 million speakers this makes Javanese the largest non-official minority language in the world And that’s why the Bahasa Indonesia language is so strange It’s not even technically indigenous to Indonesia, but more Malay derived To this day, people who speak Bahasa Indonesia can understand Somewhere around 60 to 70% of what their neighbors are saying in Malaysia The biggest difference though would be the loan words as Indonesia took quite a bit of influence from the Dutch back in colonial times For example kantoor versus kantor, dokter versus dokter, Mantel/mantel, Oma, Opa, Wortel/wortel Speaking of the Dutch, quick history lesson: Hindu kingdoms Buddhist kingdoms Islamic kingdoms The Portuguese come in quickly But then the dutch flock in Japan comes in for a couple of years and decimates a huge chunk of the population Independence Republic The Suharto Years Controversial incidents and fights with ethnic Chinese, Timorese, and Papuan peoples Suharto falls Reformation period begins And here we are today In Indonesia, all citizens are required to register under one of six recognized religion categories: Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucianism If you don’t identify with either, then sorry… Prior to Islam entering around the 13th century, Indonesia was actually primarily Hindu and Buddhist It’s disputed on how exactly Indonesia became prevalently Muslim Some people say that it’s because of the Arab traders that came by in the early first millennium Others will say that maybe it had to do with the Malacca Sultanate conquest That fought against the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms and the truth is, both might be right Inevitably, Bali became like the last sort of haven for whatever Hindus were left The Eastern Nusa Tenggara region and the Papuas remained predominantly Christian As the Dutch and Portuguese share the gospel Islamic culture in Indonesia is a little different from what it looks like in the Middle East For one, most mosques don’t have the typical dome structure And actually many of them resemble Hindu temples like the Demak Great Mosque When a family member dies their relatives might often come together and pray for a whole week Then again on the fortieth day, and then on the year anniversary, and then on the 500th day and so on Also, the night before Eid Al-Fitr, the youth might gather and go around neighborhoods reciting the takbir Those are some things you don’t really typically find in the Middle East Clothing modesty customs are pretty loose Not all muslim women wear hijabs, however the ones that do might also complement it with Western clothing Like branded t-shirts with skin tight sleeves and jeans When I was in Indonesia, I saw a hijab wearing woman with short sleeves and Capri pants exposing her calves I was like: *gasp* can they do that? Now in terms of culture again it depends on where you are And many indigenous people still follow ancient traditions Everything from the Minangkabau candle dance to the gamelan players of Yogyakarta Wayang Javanese shadow puppetry, Balinese festivals Sumatran Pencak Silat martial art tournaments, Kenyah motif paintings of the Kalimantan tribes The deadly Pasola game played by Sumba People, Karapan cow racing on Madura Island The strange burial traditions of the Toraja people, and everywhere you can find those pointy long houses Otherwise, some notable people of indonesian descent might include people like: The first president Sukarno Gajah Mada R.A. Kartini B.J. Habibie Iko Uwais Yayan Ruhiyan Cecep Arif Rahman Agnes Monica Iwan Fals Anggun Megawati Sukarnoputri The Hartono Brothers And YouTubers Brian Immanuel and Raditya Dika Now, it’s so hard to cover Indonesia’s culture because there’s so many different people groups Each with their own cultures It’s insanely colourful and rich I wish we could cover more, but we got to move on to some diplomanatics, shall we? Okay, so Indonesia is basically like the kingpin of Southeast Asia With the largest population and economy as well as being a member of the G20 Therefore they know how to manage relations First of all the rest of the Muslim nations in the middle East generally get along with Indonesia As they see them as kind of like their strange Asian cousins Indonesians make up the largest group of pilgrims for the hajj in Mecca However there has been some controversy with Saudi Arabia In regards to migrant worker abuse and death sentences Since then Indonesia dramatically decreased its expat programs The U.S., Netherlands and Australia are kind of like their biggest non-Asian supporters In addition to trade and business, the U.S. played a huge role in Indonesia’s independence And they work closely during cold war times The Netherlands still holds close ties to Indonesia despite post-colonial bitterness Plus tons of Indonesians live in the Netherlands To this day, they have the second largest population of Indonesians Outside of Indonesia after Malaysia at nearly 2 million Australia gives some of the most aid to Indonesia Especially after catastrophe incidents and even though there are some controversies Involving immigration and attacks on Australians abroad, they still share close ties generally Now Indonesia and Malaysia are kind of like the Colombia and Venezuela of Southeast Asia They’re like the twins separated at birth and have a strange love/hate relationship Malays accused Indonesians of stealing their culture and language Indonesians accused them of not being grateful for all their help during war times But when they actually meet up as people it’s like they’re totally brothers Nonetheless most Indonesians I talked to have said Japan is probably their best friend Which is funny because Japan kind of really messed things up during World War two Nonetheless they’ve moved on and today Japan makes up the largest export partner Tourists flock in year round and the two have been building each other up for over half a century In conclusion, Indonesia’s people are very much like their islands Numerous, with lush colorful strange diversity Sometimes a cyclone earthquake or volcano of controversy erupts But at the end of the day, they still flourish together as one Stay tuned, Iran is coming up next