Why Do We Give Countries Different Names?

You booked a trip to Germany, so why does your passport stamp say Deutschland? Your name didn’t change from John to Johann, so why should the country’s name change? If you’ve ever wondered why countries go by different names in different languages, you can check out the Endonym map, that displays each country by their own name. Endonyms are a country’s name within its own borders (see: United States of America, Detschland, Estados Unidos Mexicanos), while exonyms are what it’s known by in other languages (a.k.a. Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika, Germany, Mexico). Many of them are similar-sounding cognates that are easier to say or spell in our native language (Brazil/Brasil or Italy/Italia), or some are descriptive and sometimes derogatory names for a place (see this literal Chinese translated map of Europe, like Italy/Meaning Big Profit).

Can you figure out some of the more difficult English exonyms with a hint?Elláda: You might recognize this name better from its ancient pronunciation: Hellas, named for a famously beautiful resident.

Hrvatska: Such a combination of consonants might be familiar from one of their famous islands: Hvar.

Miṣr: You’ll read this name now in Arabic, not hieroglyphics.

Suomi: The more commonly known name for this country was found on rune stones in nearby Sweden.

Zhōngguó: Our name derives from Persian and Sanskrit, and now also describes a certain kind of porcelain dishes.

*Answers: Greece, Croatia, Egypt, Finland, China

$20K Stolen In Brazen Miami Hotel Room Theft

Courtesy Local10.com

As a rule of thumb, it’s not a good idea to travel with anything you can’t afford to lose. The latest example of that comes from Miami Beach, where last month a bold thief got off with $20,000 in goods from a hotel room. Amazingly, he didn’t even have to force entry. A housekeeper let him wander right in after he flashed a hotel key card and told her it was his mother’s room.

The man ransacked the room and found $1,800 in cash and $10,000 in jewelry. He stowed the loot and some other items — including an iPad and credit cards — in a suitcase. Then he waltzed away with the bounty.

This is a good reminder that hotel rooms can easily be compromised. While this perp found a way to casually stroll in and out, thieves can easily pick door locks — even the ones with plastic key cards that used to seem so innovative. And hotel safes aren’t as secure as one might hope. When you’re in the lobby or out and about, be sure to keep your hotel room number to yourself so would-be thieves can’t target you. In fact, whenever possible, the best thing to do is to just leave your valuables at home. It’s just never a good idea to attract too much attention.

[via Local10.com]

Two Pilots Fired After Brazilian Pop Star Takes Captain’s Seat Mid-Flight

A Brazilian pop star who calls himself Latino has put TAM Airlines in the hot seat after he was allegedly invited to sit in the captain’s chair during a cross-country flight from Recife to Rio de Janeiro. Pictures of the singer in the cockpit of an Airbus A320-200 were circulated on Instagram and posted to the musician’s website the day after the incident, but were later removed.

According to an incident report on The Aviation Herald, autopilot was on and the first officer was in his seat when Latino climbed into the captain’s chair. After a few pictures were snapped, the captain took back his seat and the aircraft continued for a safe landing in Rio.

The news outlet reports the airline initially claimed the photos were taken while the plane was on the ground, but later admitted the aircraft was in-flight, evidenced by engine instruments and navigation displays in the background of the photos. Both pilots have been fired as a result of the occurrence, and Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Aviação Civi – the country’s equivalent to the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States – has opened an investigation.

Video Of The Day: Modern Day ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’

Before beginning his doctorate in biomedical sciences, “Alex the Adventure Biker” took a break to realize his lifelong dream: to ride a motorcycle through the Americas. Over the course of nearly a year and a half, he rode his bike through 22 countries as he made his way from El Paso, Texas, to Argentina and then back up through Brazil and all the way to Alaska – a journey of more than 82,000 miles.

“In short I drove solo half way around the world, through interstates, highways, dirt roads, no roads, mud, rivers, through hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, rain, hail, sun shine, snow, ice roads you name it and I made it back,” the adventurous biker wrote on his website. Ride along and check out the varied landscape as he saw it (and some disco dancing, too) in the video above, which was created from more than 600 hours of footage.