The Republic of Indian Stream: The Forgotten Country Between the U.S. and Canada

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iStock

Borders can get messier than you might expect—especially back in the days before GPS.

The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which settled hostilities between the brand-new United States and Great Britain, left the U.S.-Canada boundary line a little open to interpretation, at least in a certain corner of what is now New Hampshire. The treaty said the border would follow the "northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River," but there were several tributaries that potentially qualified for the description. The U.S. and Britain disagreed about which body of water counted, and as a result, a 280-square-mile patch of land between two tributaries was subject to taxation by both countries. The residents of the area eventually got fed up with paying double duty, and in 1832 they declared independence as the Republic of Indian Stream.

Although their initiative was only recognized by the United States and not Britain, they still managed to raise a militia, draft a constitution, elect their own government, and print their own stamps. But the country only lasted a few years, before a variety of international incidents led to its demise. Today, the area is known as Pittsburg, New Hampshire. For the full story, check out Half as Interesting's video below.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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The 25 Countries That Drink the Most Coffee in the World

In Scandinavia, there's always time for a cup of coffee.
In Scandinavia, there's always time for a cup of coffee.
Chevanon Photography, Pexels

If you blow through half a pound of coffee by yourself every week, you’re on par with the average Finnish citizen. According to WorldAtlas, Finland consumes an average of 26.45 pounds of coffee per capita per year—more than any other country in the world. And since that “per capita” includes children and other caffeine-free folks, the actual amount for each coffee drinker is probably quite a bit more.

Though Finland is the undisputed champion, its Scandinavian neighbors guzzle bitter bean juice at high rates, too. Runner-up Norway averages nearly 22 pounds per capita, and Sweden sits in sixth place with a respectable 18 pounds. In general, Europe appears to be more caffeinated than any other continent; of all 25 countries on the list, only five (Canada, Brazil, Cyprus, Lebanon, and the United States) are located elsewhere. The United States just barely made it—our per capita consumption is 9.26 pounds per year, putting us in the 25th spot.

Considering how often Europeans pick up a cup of joe, it’s no surprise coffee has become an integral part of their culture in various ways. In Finland, for example, many labor unions mandate coffee breaks at work, and Norwegians are known to indulge in karsk, a potent mixture of coffee, sugar, and moonshine. Much like UK residents have traditional tea service—complete with scones, biscuits, and/or other pastries—people in Sweden and the Netherlands make a routine of coffee time. In Sweden, it’s called fika; in the Netherlands, it’s koffietijd.

See which other countries made the list below, and find out more about their coffee customs here.

  1. Finland // 26.45 pounds
  1. Norway // 21.82 pounds
  1. Iceland // 19.84 pounds
  1. Denmark // 19.18 pounds
  1. Netherlands // 18.52 pounds
  1. Sweden // 18 pounds
  1. Switzerland // 17.42 pounds
  1. Belgium // 15 pounds
  1. Luxembourg // 14.33 pounds
  1. Canada // 14.33 pounds
  1. Bosnia and Herzegovina // 13.67 pounds
  1. Austria // 13.45 pounds
  1. Italy // 13 pounds
  1. Brazil // 12.79 pounds
  1. Slovenia // 12.79 pounds
  1. Germany // 12.13 pounds
  1. Greece // 11.9 pounds
  1. France // 11.9 pounds
  1. Croatia // 11.24 pounds
  1. Cyprus // 10.8 pounds
  1. Lebanon // 10.58 pounds
  1. Estonia // 9.92 pounds
  1. Spain // 9.92 pounds
  1. Portugal // 9.48 pounds
  1. United States // 9.26 pounds