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Fact of the Day - STREET ART


Somewhere in Portugal.


Did you know.... that street art is unofficial and independent visual art created in public locations for public visibility. Street art is associated with the terms "independent art", "post-graffiti", "neo-graffiti", and guerrilla art. (Wikipedia)


Art or vandalism? Street Art’s controversial history has often centered on this touchstone debate. Long associated with gangs and crime, graffiti tipped into the realm of art during the 1970s and 1980s as artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Fab Five Freddy and Blek le Rat revolutionized guerrilla tagging of the urban environment with their distinctive visions. Below are some facts about the origins of Street Art and its lasting importance today.



Donuts Strawberry by Banksy


Rooted in Romance

Street Art in the contemporary sense is traced to 1960s Philadelphia when enamored teenager Daryl "Cornbread" McCray began tagging “Cornbread loves Cynthia” on buildings and walls throughout the city in an attempt to woo the object of his affection. As his fame as a vandal grew to disproportionate heights, McCray engaged in a number of increasingly public stunts, going so far as to tag the Jackson 5’s plane while they were on tour in the city. In a few short years, Cornbread single handedly reframed graffiti as a mode of individual expression rather than a marker of gang affiliation.  



Ben Eine at Work in London.


Runaway Trains and Dizzying Heights

During the early 1970s, graffiti art exploded across New York City with artists showcasing their daring by tagging both prominent intersections and inaccessible locations from water towers to bridges as well as the city’s many subway trains. Certain destinations became legendary. 5 Pointz, a cluster of factory buildings in Long Island City, Queens, became a well-known hotspot for graffiti murals until its demolition in 2013, while the lower Manhattan street corner of Houston Street and Bowery has been home to murals by giants of Street Art including Keith Haring, OsGêmeos, Swoon, JR and most recently Banksy, whose “Free Zehra Doğan” mural appeared at the location on 15 March.



Blue underwater painted water tower


In Rhythm

Hip-hop culture and Street Art worlds emerged together and often overlapped with many artists crossing back and forth between the two. Artist Phase 2 perfected graffiti’s emblematic bubble lettering style in early 1970s while simultaneously rising to prominence in the South Bronx hip-hop scene. Fab Five Freddy similarly released hit songs while a member of the Brooklyn based graffiti crew the Fabulous 5 and also curating groundbreaking exhibitions of Basquiat, Haring and Rammellzee



Rammellzee: A Roll of Dice


Art World Wingmen

Though graffiti artists were included in exhibitions in Lower Manhattan as early as the 1970s, these artists gained increased acceptance into the art world throughout the 1980s in part due to their friendships with contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol and Kenny Scharf. Keith Haring, famous for his ‘radiant baby’ tag, had his first solo exhibition at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1982, and while already famed in art circles Basquiat gained widespread public acclaim through a series of collaborations with his close friend Warhol



Warhol and Basquiat


Style Wars

Emerging in a world before the Internet and Instagram, Street Art grew its audience the old fashioned way — through a series of rambunctious and gritty documentary films. The most significant among these was the 1983 Style Wars, directed by Tony Silver and produced with Henry Chalfant. Originally aired on PBS, the film absorbed the captivating spirit of young street artists attempting to express themselves in a city that considered them criminals and became the benchmark for the numerous Street Art documentaries that followed, including Banksy’s 2010 Exit Through the Gift Shop.



Keith Haring Tagging a New York City Subway Wall.


Activist Art

Since World War II, when an American soldier’s tag “Kilroy was here” inadvertently became an anti-war emblem, Street Artists have often employed their unique public platform for progressive social campaigns. Keith Haring, who lost his life to AIDs at the age of 31 in 1990, promoted anti-drug messaging with his 1986 Harlem mural Crack Is Wack and was a leading voice in AIDS and safe-sex awareness. More recently in Shepard Fairey’s 2008 poster 'Hope' became the de-facto face of the Obama presidential campaign. 



Pioneering Woman Street Artist Swoon's Mural Dedicated to Those Affected by Hurricane

Sandy, Intersection of Bowery and Houston, New York, 2013


Next Generation 

Over the decades, the reach of Street Art seems only to have grown with entire neighborhoods — Bushwick in Brooklyn, Shoreditch in London, Belleville in Paris — camouflaged by it. British-born Banksy, who was influenced by French street artist Blek le Rat, is now a household name, known as much for his distinctive imagery as for his closely guarded identity. As public attitudes, and even the laws, toward Street Art have become more accepting younger generations of street artists including Barry McGee, Brazilian twins OsGêmeos and Swoon have garnered institutional acclaim with museum exhibitions devoted to their work. 


Source:  Wikipedia - Street Art  |  Things You Need to Know: Street Art


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Fact of the Day - FORTUNE COOKIE



Did you know.... that a fortune cookie is a crisp and sugary cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and sesame seed oil with a piece of paper inside, a "fortune", on which is an aphorism, or a vague prophecy. (Wikipedia)


Almost every Chinese restaurant ends a meal with a few fortune cookies, those crunchy, folded treats with a special message inside. But you may be surprised to know that the fortune cookie is not Chinese at all. In fact, modern-day fortune cookies first appeared in California in the early 1900s. There is some discrepancy, however, on who actually invented the cookie.


Inventor Controversy
Most sources credit either Makoto Hagiwara or David Jung with the invention of the fortune cookie. Of the two, Hagiwara seems to have the stronger claim. A Japanese immigrant who had served as official caretaker of the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco since 1895, Hagiwara began serving the cookies at the Tea Garden sometime between 1907 and 1914. (His grandson, George Hagiwara, believes the correct date is between 1907 and 1909). The cookies were based on Japanese senbeitoasted rice wafers. According to some sources, the cookies contained thank-you notes instead of fortunes and may have been Hagiwara’s way of thanking the public for getting him rehired after he was fired by a racist Mayor.

Meanwhile, Canton (Guangzhou), China, native David Jung had immigrated to Los Angeles and in 1916 he founded the Hong Kong Noodle Company. He claimed to have invented the fortune cookie around 1918, handing out baked cookies filled with inspiring passages of scripture to unemployed men. However, there is no surviving documentation showing how he came up with the idea.




Court Ruling
In 1983, the San Francisco Court of Historical Review held a mock trial to settle the issue for once and for all. (The Court has no legal authority; other weighty culinary issues they have settled include whether or not chicken soup deserves its reputation as "Jewish Penicillin.") During the trial, someone provided the judge with a fortune cookie containing the message "S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. not very smart cookie." In fairness to Daniel M. Hanlon, the real-life federal judge who presided over the case, his decision rested on weightier pieces of evidence, including a set of grills. Still, it came as no surprise when the Court sided with Hagiwara and ruled that San Francisco is the birthplace of the fortune cookie.

Not surprisingly, Angelenos ignored the ruling: many sources continue to credit Jung with inventing fortune cookies. But for now, Los Angeles (County) will have to be satisfied with being the official birthplace of the Cobb Salad and the Shirley Temple mocktail.




Alternate Theory
Or maybe not. Yet another possibility is that the fortune cookie was invented by a Japanese American living in Los Angeles. That is the claim of the proprietors of Fugetsu-Do, a family-owned and operated bakery in the Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles. According to the Kito family, the idea for the fortune cookie originated with their grandfather, Seiichi Kito, who founded Fugetsu-do in 1903. While the confectionary quickly became famous for its mochisweet round rice cakes accompanied by everything from sweet red bean paste to peanut butter—at some point Kito began making fortune cookies and selling them to Chinese restaurants. Visitors to the shop can still see the original fortune cookie molds on display in the front store window “collecting dust and memories.”


Origin of the Fortune
According to sources, Kito's inspiration was omikuji fortunes written on slips of paper found in Japanese Buddhist temples. Today, you’ll find omikuji-senbei (“fortune crackers”) sold in bakeries in Japan.



Example of an Omikuji.


But where does the inspiration for modern-day fortune cookie messages come from? Despite the fact that fortune cookies have proved about as popular in China as a plate of cooked spinach is to the average five-year-old, their origins may be Chinese after all. Every fall (the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, to be exact) the Chinese celebrate the mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Children hear the legend of how, in the 14th century, the Chinese threw off their Mongol oppressors by hiding messages in Mooncakes (which the Mongols did not like to eat). On the night of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, the rebels attacked and overthrew the government, leading to the establishment of the Ming dynasty.





Origin of the Cookie
Today's Mooncakes don’t contain messages, but some believe that during the American railway boom of the 1850s, Chinese railway workers came up with their own substitute for the mooncakes they were unable to buy: homemade biscuits with good luck messages inside.


Like the mooncake legend, no proof for this story exists. And, thanks to the exhaustive efforts of Japanese researcher Yasuko Nakamachi, we now know that at about the same time the Chinese railway workers were laying down tracks, tsujiura senbei (rice cakes containing paper fortunes) were being made at the Hyotanyama Inari shrine outside Kyoto in Japan. According to Jennifer 8. Lee's book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Nakamachi uncovered an illustration in an 1878 book showing a man grilling tsujiura senbei outside the shrine.



Man grilling tsujiura senbei.


So, where do fortune cookies come from? At this point, the weight of historical evidence seems to agree with a man interviewed for the movie, “The Killing of a Chinese Cookie”, who states, “The Japanese invented the fortune cookie, the Chinese advertised it, and the Americans tasted it.” Still, as author Lee says, it’s “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a cookie.”



Source: Wikipedia - Fortune Cookie  |  History of the Fortune Cookie

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - FINAL FANTASY



Did you know.... that Final Fantasy is a Japanese anthology science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games. The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 15 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels. Final Fantasy is one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time, having grossed $10.9 billion in lifetime revenue, as of 2019. (Wikipedia)


What You Might Not Know About ‘Final Fantasy’


The creator of Final Fantasy also popularized the Japanese dating sim.

While not particularly well known on this side of the Pacific, dating sims in which the player attempts to romance various virtual ladies are a staple in Japan. These games are, at best, kind of sad and at worst just outright porn, so it may come as some surprise that the whole misbegotten genre was more-or-less spawned by Final Fantasy mastermind Hironobu Sakaguchi.


Before he made Final Fantasy Sakaguchi created all kinds of different games for Square, including Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School, a game in which you, as a high school kid, try to woo popular-at-the-time Japanese idol Miho Nakayama. The game wasn’t the first Japanese dating sim, but it was the first to feature a real-life celebrity and the first to be a mainstream hit.



Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School


Also interestingly, the game was co-produced with Nintendo itself, with Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto working on the game.


Final Fantasy is also linked to the creation of first-person shooters.

The lead programmer of Final Fantasy was Nasir Gebelli, an Iranian-American whiz programmer who created groundbreaking first-person shooters such as Horizon V and Zenith for the Apple II in the early 80s. John Romero, designer of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom has cited Gebelli as a major inspiration and influence.




The game originally had a more badass name.

Originally Final Fantasy was going to be called Fighting Fantasy. Frankly I’m kind of shocked Square-Enix has never done a Final Fantasy fighter called Fighting Fantasy.


Final Fantasy really could have been the final game in the series.

We’ve all seen the snarky comments — hell, we might have made a few of them ourselves.


“Final Fantasy? Lol! There’s been, like, 50 of them! When’s the ‘final’ part happening?”


Well, Final Fantasy’s name could have been much more literal. Back in 1987 Square was coming off a series of flops and was on its last legs financially. After Dragon Quest hit big in Japan in 1986, Sakaguchi convinced his bosses to let him make an RPG, but few in the company had high hopes that the game would be a success. Most assumed Final Fantasy would be Square’s final glorious gasp before going out of business. Sakaguchi also assumed it would be his final shot at being a video game writer and designer and that he’d be forced to drag his ass back to university. It was this air of finality and gloom that led Fighting Fantasy to be renamed Final Fantasy. Thankfully the original release of Final Fantasy would sell over 400,000 copies in Japan, save Square and give birth to a very ironically named series.



Final Fantasy was almost Fighting Fantasy


Final Fantasy was made with a team of just 7 people.

By comparison, a decade later planning sessions for Final Fantasy VII began in 1994 after the release of Final Fantasy VI. At the time, Final Fantasy VII was planned to be another 2D project for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.


Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has noted the game's central theme of "life" dating back to when his mother passed away while he was working on Final Fantasy III (uncertain whether the interview is referring to Final Fantasy III or Final Fantasy VI), after which he always wanted to explore the theme of "life" in a "mathematical and logical way to overcome the mental shock."


Sakaguchi intended the story to take place in modern New York City in the year 1999. Several of the staff were working in parallel on Chrono Trigger, and development for Final Fantasy VII was interrupted when the other project became significant enough to require the help of director Yoshinori Kitase and other designers. Some of the ideas originally considered for Final Fantasy VII ended up in Chrono Trigger and other ideas, such as the New York setting and the sorceress character Edea, were kept unused until the later projects Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy VIII respectively.


Square opened graphic research facilities in Japan and the United States, including one located in Los Angeles, for which in 1995 they advertised job vacancies for roles in high-end graphics development and animation production.


Development of Final Fantasy VII resumed in late 1995, and required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage 3D software. This was the largest game development team at the time, and included Japanese CG artists working alongside Hollywood CG visual effects artists, such as Ron Sabatino, former British ILM artist Paul Ashdown who worked on Star Wars and Jurassic Park, and artists from Digital Domain who worked on Terminator 2: Judgement Day and True LiesFinal Fantasy VII was the most expensive video game of its time, with a production budget of around US$45 million, equivalent to $67 million in 2015.


Aside from the story, Final Fantasy VI had many details undecided when development began with many things filled out along the way. In contrast, with Final Fantasy VII the developers knew from the outset it was going to be "a real 3D game," so from the earliest planning stage detailed designs were drawn up. The script was also locked in, and the image for the graphics was fleshed out. So when the actual work began "storyboards" for the game were already in place.


Around a decade after that, nearly 300 people worked on Final Fantasy XII.




The Final Fantasy series’ most iconic melody was written in five minutes.

Every version of Final Fantasy has featured some take on the song “Prelude”, a beautiful little melody that inspires instant nostalgia in anyone who’s ever touched a Final Fantasy game. Well, turns out the song was just farted out in five minutes by Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu when Sakaguchi barged into the studio one day demanding one more song. Given the results, maybe Sakaguchi should have been totally unreasonable more often.




Cid is not in the game.

As all Final Fantasy fans know, every game in the series has featured an appearance by a gruff, airship owning character named Cid. Obviously this includes the original Final Fantasy, right? Nope! The original NES version of Final Fantasy is completely Cid-less, although later versions of the game for the Playstation and GBA retconned Cid into the game’s world.




Oh, and there’s no Chocobos in the game either.


The game’s battle system was inspired by American football.

Hiroyuki Ito, the designer of Final Fantasy’s battle system, had never played a tabletop or video game RPG in his life before working on Final Fantasy. Instead his inspiration was American football, with it’s back and forth action, two teams taking turns on offense and heavy emphasis on pre-planning. You can definitely see the football influence in Final Fantasy’s iconic side-view battles (up until Final Fantasy, most RPGs used a first-person or over-the-shoulder view for battle).


A large portion of the game’s spells are completely useless.

When you were playing through Final Fantasy as a kid, did you ever get the sense that the game didn’t quite work like it was supposed to? Well, you were exactly right! Final Fantasy may have been a groundbreaking title, but it was also a completely busted shmozz of a game. For instance, a large portion of the game’s spells either do nothing, or worse, may do the complete opposite of what they’re supposed to do. Tmbr and Sabr are supposed to buff your party, but actually do absolutely nothing. Lock misses 100% of the time. Lok2 is supposed to decrease your enemy’s ability to evade, but it actually increases it. And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.




The Intelligence stat is completely meaningless.

In Final Fantasy games the “Intelligence” stat is supposed to indicate the strength of your magic power. In the original Final Fantasy it has no effect on anything. In other words, despite what the game tells you, the White, Red and Black Mages all have the exact same magical ability. A Red Mage can cure just as well as a White Mage, but don’t tell Red or White mage fans that.




The game contains an accidental grinding paradise.

Named the Peninsula of Power by fans, this small, unremarkable chunk of land located northeast of the town of Pravoka, is accessible by ship. Due to a programming error, enemies you should only encounter once you get the airship can be fought here, allowing you to artificially pump up your party’s levels early in the game. Nearly every classic 2D Final Fantasy game had its own example of a Peninsula of Power.


The game contains a secret puzzle game.

Once you’ve got your hands on the ship, press the A and B buttons together a whopping 55 times, and you’ll unlock a little slide puzzle. You can solve the minigame as many times as you want, with 100 gil being your prize for each completion of the puzzle.


The game contains morbid Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest references.

As for the tomb at Elfheim (or Elf Land in the NES version), the tomb reads "Here lies Erdrick" in the American NES version of Final Fantasy I, a reference to the Dragon Quest game. It reads "May Link rest in peace," in the American Final Fantasy Origins version (in reference to the hero of the Legend of Zelda series.) It reads "May Erdrick rest in peace," in the PAL Final Fantasy Origins version (interestingly, the text referencing Link was only slightly changed in Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, even though that version was made for a Nintendo system. In Dawn of Souls, it reads "Here lies Link").



Elf Land or Elfheim


The game contains a creepy invisible woman.

In the original NES version of Final Fantasy there’s a strange invisible NPC in Cornelia that you can talk to, but can’t see. For years gamers assumed that the ghost NPC was a man, until somebody figured out how to make the glitched out character reappear using a Game Genie and discovered the ghostly voice actually belonged to a woman.


Europe didn’t get their hands on Final Fantasy until 2003.

Unbelievably Europe didn’t get to play the game that launched one of the biggest franchises of all time until the 2003 remake Final Fantasy Origins was released there. In fact, Europe didn’t get a true Final Fantasy game until Final Fantasy VII in 1997.




On a side notTo Final Fantasy gamers out there.  If I have some facts wrong, don't hesitate to correct me.  The info I post comes from the Internet and I know they're not always accurate. :)


Source: Wikipedia - Final Fantasy  |  Facts You May Not Know About Final Fantasy  |  Final Fantasy Fandom


Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - THE JETSONS



Did you know..... that The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. It originally aired in prime time from September 23, 1962 to March 17, 1963 on ABC, then later aired in reruns via syndication. New episodes were produced from 1985 to 1987 as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera block. It was Hanna-Barbera's Space Age counterpart to The Flintstones.


While The Flintstones lived in a world which was a comical version of the Stone Age, with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons live in a comical version of a century in the future, with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions. The original series comprised 24 episodes and aired on Sunday nights on ABC beginning on September 23, 1962, with prime time reruns continuing through September 22, 1963.[7] It debuted as the first program broadcast in color on ABC. (Only a handful of ABC stations were capable of broadcasting in color in the early 1960s.) In contrast, The Flintstones, while always produced in color, was broadcast in black-and-white for its first two seasons. The show was scheduled opposite Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color and Dennis the Menace and didn't receive much attention; it was cancelled after one season and moved to Saturday mornings, where it was very successful.


Following its primetime run, the show aired on Saturday mornings for decades, starting on ABC for the 1963–64 season and then on CBS and NBC. New episodes were produced for syndication from 1985 to 1987. No further specials or episodes of the show were produced after 1989, as the majority of the core cast (George O'Hanlon, Mel Blanc and Daws Butler) had died in 1988 and 1989. The 1990 film Jetsons: The Movie served as the series finale to the television show. Twenty-seven years later, a new direct-to-video animated movie, The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!, was released in 2017. (Wikipedia)




A nuclear family named the Jetsons—George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Astro the dog, and Rosie the robot maid—lived in Orbit City in the year 2062 (according to press materials, though not stated on the show). Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (Hanna-Barbera), the show explored life in the Space Age, which was more embedded in the 1960s than the far-off future.


Ahead of its time, the show featured flying cars, moving walkways, smart homes, smart watches, talking robots, video conferencing—things that actually were invented in the 21st century. Twenty-four episodes aired on ABC in primetime from September 1962 to March 1963, but the show got canceled. However, it aired in syndication on Saturday mornings for two decades and was revived for an additional 51 episodes from 1985 to 1987.


The Jetsons’ final episode came in the form of a 1990 animated movie—with pop star Tiffany voicing Judy Jetson—which only grossed $20.3 million at the box office. The show’s lasting legacy stems from when people reference the future, they speak of it being “like The Jetsons,” in terms of architecture, technology, and livability. Here are 10 out-of-this-world facts about the iconic animated program.


Here are 10 Out-Of-This-World Facts About The Jetsons






Hoyt Curtin composed the catchy theme song, which first appeared on TeeVee Tunes’ compilation album Television’s Greatest Hits, Vol. I. In 1986, the song was re-recorded and released to radio stations. It was so popular it peaked at number nine on the Billboard charts, and an animated video featuring the Jetsons played on MTV. “Every time I hear that damn thing I’m amazed,” Curtin told the Los Angeles Times. Curtin composed music for practically all of Hanna-Barbera's cartoons.


Karyn Ulman, who was vice president of music at Taft Entertainment, which owned Hanna-Barbera, had a hunch the song would succeed. “Over the years jazz artists have played it live,” she said. “We’ve had requests from pop and New Wave bands to use The Jetsons. We’ve had so many requests from radio stations and individuals across the nation, we knew it was going to be a hit.”


Everybody knows George O’Hanlon and Penny Singleton as the voices of the married Jetsons, but in 1962 actors Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll (who later voiced Ursula in The Little Mermaid) were initially hired to voice the show’s leads. “We were cast as the Jetsons and then they pulled us,” Carroll said in an interview. “I don't know if we weren’t any good or what. Nobody ever told us. As far as I was concerned, that was inappropriate. I don’t care if it’s the biggest agency in the world or the biggest producer. When it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and if I have to spend the money to litigate, I will.”


Carroll kept her word, and she and Amsterdam sued Hanna-Barbera Productions for breach of contract. They sued for $12,000 apiece, saying their contracts stated they’d be paid $500 per episode for 24 of them, not just one. “I knew full well we wouldn’t win, but I wanted my voice to be heard that this was wrong. Even my agents lied. So, you know. There you are. You’re not going to win when you fight the big fellas, but at least you can put up a little yowling.”


She was most upset at the fact the producers weren’t transparent with her. “If somebody had had the guts to say, ‘Listen, you two stink and we’re going to let you go.’ If anybody had the guts to say that I would have said, ‘Fine.’ And no lawsuit.”

According to a June 1962 news article, though, the reason the two were let go was because of “too many sponsor conflicts, what with Morey being a regular on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Pat likewise on The Danny Thomas Show."



In 1962, less than three percent of American homes had a color TV set, but The Jetsons was broadcast in color—ABC’s first show to air that way. Smithsonian magazine theorized the color situation caused issues, and a 1962 New York Times article wrote that people who had access to ABC affiliates in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were the only markets guaranteed to see the show broadcast in color, even if they had a color TV. For those watching on a black-and-white TV, they missed out on the vibrant world Hanna-Barbera had created. “The Jetsons future is bright; it’s shiny; and it’s in color,” wrote Smithsonian. But most people watching on Sunday nights obviously didn’t see it like that. The immersive world of The Jetsons looks far more flat and unengaging in black and white.




Googie Architecture

Googie architecture rose to prominence in Southern California in the late 1940s and spread nationwide, but many Googie structures no longer remain. Smithsonian magazine surmised that because Hanna-Barbera Studios was located in Hollywood, the artists who worked on the show took inspiration from around town. Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Theme Building was fashioned in Googie style, as were Norms Restaurants, Johnie’s Coffee Shop, a McDonald’s in Downey, California, and even the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.




The year 2062 will be here before we know it, and hopefully by then so will flying cars. The Jetsons operate a flying saucer-like car, but actual flying cars look much different. Terrafugia has made prototypes for cars that “Transformer” themselves into street-legal airplanes. In December 2015, the FAA approved the company’s request to test a small-scale model of a TF-X at altitudes below 400 feet and speeds below 100 miles per hour. Aero Mobil also manufactures cars that change into planes, and Moller’s Skycar 200 will be an “autonomous aircraft utilizing advanced onboard environment scanning and precise positioning system.” Of course, no prices are listed for any of these vehicles.


As for space travel, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin is working on Virgin Galactic suborbital space travel, which costs about $250,000 per person. So far, 580 people have put down deposits to travel into deep space. In a race to put rich people into space, Tesla founder Elon Musk founded SpaceX, to launch rockets into orbit and to someday help people live on other planets … maybe by 2062?




The New York subway system's moving sidewalk of the future by Goodyear (1950s)


The characters on The Jetsons traverse moving walkways. Known as moveable pavement, inventor Alfred Speer patented it in 1871, though it wasn’t until 1958 that the first moving walkway appeared at an airport. Dallas’ Love Field was the first airport to install a moving walkway, which are now the norm in most airports.





In 2007, Forbes figured out what 25 fictional companies would be worth in today’s market. Spacely Space Sprockets, where George Jetson worked, ranked number 25 on their list. Factoring in inflation and algorithms, Forbes stated the sprocket manufacturing company would be worth about $1.3 billion. “[CEO] Cosmo Spacely’s coddled employees said to only work three-hour-a-day, three-day-a-week jobs, but workers must suffer his notoriously volatile temper and endure incessant termination threats,” reads the article.




On the show, tanning beds exist, in three different settings: Miami, Honolulu, and Riviera. But in the ’60s, tanning beds hadn’t arrived in the U.S. yet. In 1978, Friedrich Wolff realized how nice tanned skin looked, so he founded the indoor tanning industry and became “the father of indoor tanning.” He brought his European equipment of lamps and a reflector system to the U.S., and now Americans have the luxury of looking orange.





During one of Kanye West’s sporadic Twitter rants, back in 2012, he tweeted: “I was just discussing becoming the creative director for the Jetson movie and someone on the call yelled out … you should do a Jetsons tour!”


Jetsons movie producer Donald De Line clarified West’s statement in a 2012 interview with Vulture. “The last two years I had various forms of communication from the studio that he had this real love and interest in The Jetsons as an artist,” De Line said. “My response was always through representatives, ‘Well, that’s great. We’ll let him know when we have a screenplay.’ I was thinking he was interested in it on a musical level, but apparently he’s deeply interested in art and architecture and wanted to be involved.”


He ended up having a 10-minute conference call with Warner Bros., De Line, and the film’s other producer, Denise Di Novi. “He’s not the creative director on the movie, but I loved his passion for The Jetsons,” Di Novi said. “He’s just a friend of the court.” She said that the call ended in a "If you come up with any ideas, let us know,' kind of way."



Source: Wikipedia - The Jetsons  |  Out-Of-This-World Facts about The Jetsons


Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - BEACHCOMBING


Beachcombing in Suva, Fiji


Did you know... that beachcombing is an activity that consists of an individual "combing" the beach and the intertidal zone, looking for things of value, interest or utility. A beachcomber is a person who participates in the activity of beachcombing. Despite these general definitions, beachcombing and beachcomber are words with multiple, but related, meanings that have evolved over time. (Wikipedia)


the activity of looking or searching for stuff on the beach


Origin and usage
Beachcombing is a combination of the word ‘beach’, from the Proto-Germanic word ‘bakiz’ meaning ‘loose pebbles of the seashore’, and ‘comb’, from the Old English word ‘cemban’ meaning ‘examine closely’. In English, the combined word beachcombing first appeared around 1840.


Beachcombing is a great way to get to know your local beach. Check out our guide to see what you could find.  Looking at what the sea has washed ashore is a fun and educational activity for adults and children alike.  There are lots of interesting things to look out for no matter where your local beach is. Shells, shark egg cases, bones, seaweed, corals and other sea life can all be found along South Australia’s beaches, along with interesting rocks, pieces of smooth sea glass and driftwood.


But remember – while you can look and take photos of animals and plants, it is illegal to remove any animals or plants from the foreshore and seashore rocky reefs in SA (from high tide down to 2 metres). It’s fine to take home a few of the empty shells that you find washed up on the beach – but just make sure they are really empty.


Here are 10 things to look for when beachcombing.


1. Port Jackson shark egg cases

These brown, spiral-shaped egg cases are quite distinctive. Female Port Jackson sharks wedge them into gaps between rocks, where they harden and can stay for up to a year before the baby shark hatches. Sometimes they are dislodged by storms and end up on the beach. 


2. Moon snail eggs

Commonly known as ‘sausage blubbers’ or ‘jelly blubbers’, these clear, C-shaped jellies are actually masses of moon snail eggs. The adult moon snail is a small brown and fawn snail that hunts in intertidal areas for little bivalve creatures. 


3. Abalone shells

Abalone have one flattish shell with a row of holes along one side to help them breathe. Rough on the outside, they’re pearly and beautiful inside, and when they’re alive they clamp onto rocks using a muscular foot. 


4. Razorfish

Razorfish are a bivalve, meaning they have two shells instead of one. They can live for 15 years and grow up to half a metre long. They live in groups in sandy or muddy sediments, and true to their name, the edges of their shells can be very sharp if you step on them. 


5. Anemone cones

Anemone cones are cone shells measuring up to about five centimetres long that are found all around the SA coast. They are predatory molluscs that use a miniature poison dart to paralyse and catch worms on the seafloor. The live snail could give a person a painful sting, but the empty shell is not dangerous. 


6. Cuttlefish bones

Anyone who has had a pet budgie is probably familiar with cuttlefish bones, as they are traditionally given to caged birds to sharpen their beaks. Cuttlefish come from the same order as octopus and squid. They are soft-bodied creatures with eight arms and two long tentacles to catch food, and the white ‘bone’ is actually an internal shell that helps them float. 


7. Paper nautilus

The paper nautilus looks like a shell, but it is actually the egg case of an argonaut octopus. Argonauts live in the open ocean and the female makes this delicate, white case to protect her eggs. Once she has laid her eggs in it, the female also takes shelter inside the case, which has an air pocket that keeps it buoyant. 


8. Sponges

Sponges may look like plants, but they are actually simple animals with a skeleton made from a fibrous material called spongin. They come in many shapes and sizes, and extract food by pumping sea water through their pores. 


9. Sea urchins

Sea urchins are spiky little creatures with sharp teeth for eating algae, and tiny feet to move around. They are usually found on reefs or seagrass, but if they are washed ashore, their spines are usually broken off along the way. The rounded shell that is left behind is known as a ‘test’. 


10. Surf crabs

Also known as sand crabs, surf crabs are a greyish colour and grow to about 10 cm across, with two red dots on their shells that look like eyes. As they grow, they discard their old shells and grow new ones, so empty shells often wash up on the beach. 


Beachcombing can be an exciting hobby, but before taking treasures home it is a good idea to check local regulations. Some places have restrictions on what kind of items and how much visitors can remove when beachcombing, whilst other beach communities discourage beachcombing altogether because it can disturb the beach ecosystem or animal habitats.


Source: Wikipedia - Beachcombing  |  Good Living - Beachcombing



Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - DREAMCATCHER


Did you know... that in some Native American and First Nations cultures, a dreamcatcher or dream catcher (Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for "spider") is a handmade willow hoop, on which is woven a net or web. The dreamcatcher may also include sacred items such as certain feathers or beads. Traditionally they are often hung over a cradle as protection. It originates in Ojibwe culture as the "spider web charm" (Ojibwe: asubakacin "net-like", White Earth Band; bwaajige ngwaagan "dream snare", Curve Lake Band), a hoop with woven string or sinew meant to replicate a spider's web, used as a protective charm for infants. Dreamcatchers were adopted in the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and gained popularity as a widely marketed "Native crafts items" in the 1980s. (Wikipedia)


Dreamcatchers became widely popular during the 1980s and have become a very common crafts item, jewelry piece, and image on home decor items. They are made from a wooden hoop, usually willow, onto which a net or web is woven with natural fibers. They typically have feathers and beads hanging from the hoop as well.  

While modern dreamcatchers come in various forms, authentic ones are generally only a few inches in size and are handmade from all natural materials with a leather-wrapped frame.  



The meaning of dreamcatchers and the beliefs surrounding their construction originate from Native American cultures. The dreamcatcher is a protective talisman that is used to protect people from nightmares and bad dreams. The charm was usually used for young children and hung above their cradles or beds.


Native American cultures believe that both good and bad dreams fill the air at night. The dreamcatcher acts like a spider's web by trapping the bad dreams or visions while allowing the good ones to filter through. The bad dreams caught in the web get destroyed when the sunlight of morning hits the dreamcatcher, while the good dreams filter down through the feathers and gently reach the sleeping person below.  

Dreamcatchers can also be considered as apotropaic charms that provide protection from any kind of evil influence, not just from bad dreams and nightmares. Some cultures, like the Lakota, believe that dreamcatchers work slightly differently as their legend states that the good dreams or ideas would become trapped in the web while the bad ones would pass right through the hole in the center and would be gone forever. 


Each section of the dreamcatcher's form holds specific meaning.  


The circular frame symbolizes Mother Earth and everything that sustains life. Its circular shape also represents the continuous flow of life as there is no beginning or end. In addition to representing the circle of life, it also symbolizes how the sun and moon move across the sky every day in a continuous loop.  

The web or net of the dreamcatcher is intricately woven inside the frame to mimic the look of a spider's web. The circle in the center of the web is its heart and is where the good dreams and visions are filtered through.  



There are some different meanings behind the beads on dreamcatchers. Some cultures believe the beads represent the spider, while others say the beads are the physical form of the good dreams that failed to pass through the web and become sacred charms.  

The number of points on the woven web of the dreamcatcher is also significant and holds different meanings. A dreamcatcher with 13 points represents the 13 phases of the moon, 8 points symbolizes the spider woman in the Native American legends, 7 points refers to the seven prophecies, 6 points represents an eagle, and 5 points symbolize a star. 



Some authentic dreamcatchers have a cross in the center of the web which symbolizes the Four Sacred Directions. These are known as medicine wheel dreamcatchers that provide protection from misfortune and bring good medicine into one's life by drawing from the universe.  

According to the Lakota Tribe

The Lakota tribe have a different legend about the origin of dreamcatchers, but it is believed that the charms were passed on from the Ojibwe tribe in various ways. In the Lakota Legend, a spiritual leader had a vision of Iktomi, a great trickster and a teacher spirit, who took the form of a spider.   

Iktomi took the spiritual leader's willow hoop and began to weave a web over it as he spoke. He spoke about the circle of life and told the leader that there are both good and bad forces at play in a life cycle. If you should listen to the good ones, you will be steered in the right direction, but the bad forces would cause harm.   



Lakota Beaded Four Colors Double Dreamcatcher
Once he had finished spinning his web, Iktomi showed the spiritual leader that it was a perfect circle with a hole in the middle. He stated that the good ideas would get caught in the web while the bad would go right through the hole. The spiritual leader brought this knowledge back to his people who began to use dreamcatchers to filter their dreams and capture all the good ones and let the bad ones go.  
People all around the world regard dreamcatchers as beautiful and interesting objects. New Age groups produce different types of dreamcatchers, made from various materials in different styles, which are very popular in the market today. Dreamcatcher imagery and jewelry is quite common and has become somewhat of a fashionable trend as they are beautiful to look at.    



Leather Dreamcatcher
However, these dreamcatchers are a far cry from the traditional dreamcatchers as they are often quite big, colourful, and are made with plastics and other artificial materials, whereas traditional dreamcatchers are usually quite small and made with wood, leather, string and real feathers. Many Native American cultures believe that they have become too commercialized, misused and their meaning has been lost.


Source: Wikipedia - Dreamcatcher  |  Meaning of Dreamcatchers



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Fact of the Day - CHASTITY BELT


Venetian chastity belt on display in the Doge's palace.

(Claimed to be 16th–17th century.)


Did you know... that a chastity belt is a locking item of clothing designed to prevent sexual intercourse or masturbation. Such belts were historically designed by men for women, ostensibly for the purpose of chastity, to protect women from rape or to dissuade women and their potential sexual partners from sexual temptation. Modern versions of the chastity belt are predominantly, but not exclusively, used in the BDSM community, and chastity belts are now designed for male wearers in addition to female wearers.  (Wikipedia)


The idea of the chastity belt was popularized during the Crusades when men would leave their wives for years to fight in wars.




The chastity belt has appeared in everything from medieval texts to movies like Robin Hood: Men In Tights. But, what’s myth and what’s fact when it comes to these infamous and widely misunderstood devices?


What Was The Chastity Belt?

Sarah Laskow | July 12, 2017



A 16th-century German woodcut depicting the uselessness of chastity belts. (They can have 

more than one key.)


You can picture it; you’ve seen it in many movies and heard references to it across countless cultural forms. There’s even a Seattle band called Chastity Belt. In his 1969 book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), David R. Reuben describes it as an “armored bikini” with a “screen in front to allow urination and an inch of iron between the vagina and temptation.”


The whole business was fastened with a large padlock,” he writes. With this device, medieval men going off to medieval wars could be assured that their medieval wives would not have sex with anyone else while they were far, far away, for years at a time. Yes, it sounds simultaneously ridiculous, barbarous, and extremely unhygienic, but … medieval men, you know? It was a different time.



Iron Chastity Belt, possibly 16th century


This, at least, is the story that’s been told for hundreds of years. It’s simple, shocking, and, on some level, fun, in that it portrays past people as exceedingly backwards and us, by extension, as enlightened and just better. It’s also, mostly likely, very wrong.


As a medievalist, one day I thought: I cannot stand this anymore,” says Albrecht Classen, a professor in the University of Arizona German Studies department. So he set out to reveal the true history of chastity belts. “It’s a concise enough research topic that I could cover everything that was ever written about it,” he says, “and in one swoop destroy this myth.”


Here is the truth:

Chastity belts, made of metal and used to ensure female fidelity, never really existed.



A chastity belt from the Torture Museum in Amsterdam. ALBRECHT CLASSEN


When one considers the evidence for medieval chastity belts, as Classen did in his book The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process, it becomes apparent pretty quickly that there’s not much of it. First of all, there aren’t actually all that many pictures or accounts of the use of chastity belts, and even fewer physical specimens. And the few book-length works on the topic rely heavily on each other, and all cite the same few examples.


You have a bunch of literary representation, but very few historical references to a man trying to put a chastity belt on his wife,” says Classen. And any literary reference to a chastity belt is likely either allegorical or satirical.


References to chastity belts in European texts go back centuries, well into the first millennium A.D. But until the 1100s, those references are all couched in theology, as metaphors for the idea of fidelity and purity. For example: One Latin source admonishes the “honest virgin” to “hold the helmet of salvation on your front, the word of truth in the mouth … true love of God and your neighbor in the chest, the girdle of chastity in the body … .” Possibly virgins who took this advice went around wearing metal helmets and keeping some physical manifestation of the word “truth” in their cheeks, like a wad of tobacco, in additional to strapping on metal underwear. Or, possibly, none of this was meant to be taken literally.


The earliest extant drawing of a chastity belt showed up in 1405, in a work on military engineering called Bellifortis, among detailed designs for catapults, armor, torture devices, and other instruments of war. Here’s how the belt was depicted:



The 1405 Bellifortis illustration. KONRAD KYESER/WIKIMEDIA


But not everything in the book was serious. Included in the codex are what Classen calls “highly fanciful objects” for making people invisible. The author, Konrad Kyeser, also makes a couple of fart jokes. Though the chastity belt is depicted in a fair bit of detail, no one has ever found a physical example dating back to this period. Most likely, this image, too, is a joke.


Starting around the 16th century, the chastity belt started showing up more regularly in illustrations, engravings, and woodcuts. Typically, a scene looked something like this. A husband, often an older husband, was leaving on a journey. His wife was pictured, often partially naked, wearing metal underwear. But somewhere in the picture, her lover was already waiting for the husband to leave—with a copy of the belt’s key in hand.



A chastity belt satire from 1590. Note the two people in the shadows holding a key to the belt, and the

donkey ears on the husband’s hat. HEINRICH WIRRICH/WIKIMEDIA


What accounts for the persistence of this story? “Male fear,” according to Classen. “There’s always a lover in the background who already has the duplicate key", he says. In other words, even in the 1500s, no one took the idea of locked-up metal underwear very seriously as an effective anti-sex device. When chastity belts were depicted, it was in the Renaissance equivalent of Robin Hood: Men in Tights—and the audiences for those pieces of art probably thought the idea of a metal chastity belt just as giggle-worthy as late 20th-century teenagers did.




There are physical examples of chastity belts that have been displayed in museums. But most scholars now think that these metal objects were made much, much more recently than the Middle Ages, and are fantasy objects referencing a past that never really existed. Or, as the British Museum puts it: “It is probable that the great majority of examples now existing were made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as curiosities for the prurient, or as jokes for the tasteless.” (These were the Victorians, after all—obsessed with sex and often very wrong about it.)


One of the examples in Classen’s book, for instance, has a little heart punched out of the metal front, and a hole that’s apparently meant to allow defecation is in the shape of a flower. It’s too cute to be real.



A 19th century Iron Chastity Belt


Why has the myth of the chastity belt endured? It’s hard to disprove an idea once it’s firmly lodged in people’s minds. As a result, the same scant information has repeatedly convinced generations that medieval men locked up their wives’ nether regions. Even the practical difficulties of such a device—as one historian wrote, “How could such a mechanism have been designed to permit the normal activities of urination, evacuation, menstruation, and hygiene, yet prevent both anal and vaginal penetration?”—did not dissuade people from believing in chastity belts.


People delight in delving into sex. They can say they only have a historical interest, but in reality they have a prurient interest,” says Classen. “It’s a fantasy.”


For men, the chastity belt is a fantasy about female sexual appetites—women are so horny that only locking them up can keep them in check. For women, it’s a fantasy about male cruelty and control. But for many people, it’s simply a fantasy about sex. Even if chastity belts used to enforce medieval fidelity were not real, modern chastity belts, sold as fetish objects, definitely, definitely are.


Source: Wikipedia - Chastity Belt  |  Chastity Belts is a Lie


Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - COLUMBUS DAY


Did you know... that Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.  (Wikipedia)


Columbus Day marks the day when Christopher Columbus, or Cristobal Colon, arrived in the Americas on October 12th 1492, in the Bahamas. The day of Columbus’s arrival has been viewed with controversy since the very beginning, because some people assert that the day is synonymous with bigotry and the cruelty with which Columbus treated the natives when he arrived in the Americas.



A depiction of Columbus's first landing, claiming possession of the New World for

the Crown of Castile in caravels; the Niña and the Pinta, on Watling Island, an island

of The Bahamas that the natives called Guanahani and that he named San Salvador,

on 12 October 1492.


The day when Columbus landed is celebrated in different ways, varying from place to place due to the different interpretations that people give to the day of the discovery. Many Italian-Americans observe this day as a day of their heritage, although the date selected varies because of the use of the Julian Calendar was common back then. Some countries commemorate the day on October 12 based on the old calendar, but others celebrate it on the 21 due to the calendar reformations.


Columbus Day Around the World

United States of America:


New York City, October 13, 3014


Columbus Day is celebrated in different ways across the Country. States like California or Hawaii don’t commemorate the arrival of Columbus but instead they pay homage to the original aboriginal cultures, by doing a powwow feast. In the case of Hawaii they celebrate the Discovery Day because Christopher Columbus didn’t have a direct history with the islands.




Día De La Raza


It’s celebrated but is more of a day of observance and is not called Columbus Day but Día De La Raza (trans. Day of the Ethnic). On this day schools and business are open and so are federal organizations. In schools students are taught about the discovery and the exploitation of the richness of the Americas. The knowledge is imparted appropriately according to the age of the students.




The Day of the Indigenous Resistance


Commemorates the day with an opposition day named Día de la Resistencia Indigena (trans. The Day of the Indigenous Resistance). This day commemorates the opposition that the aborigines gave to the Conquistadors. This was created when a group of Indians claimed the day of Columbus was a celebration of the genocide of their people. The day was first celebrated when a 100-year-old statue of Columbus was torn apart in 2004 to proclaim social equality.





The name of the celebration is called Día de Descubrimiento entre dos Mundos (trans. Day of Discovery Between two Worlds). It has been celebrated since 1923 and it’s celebrated the second Monday of October.




Spain (October 12) a traditional military parade takes place, The National Holiday

Day which includes units of the different armies (Air, Navy, Earth) and security forces,

as the Civil Guard.

In Spain this holiday is celebrated as the Hispanic Celebration or Fiesta de la Hispanidad, and it’s a celebration of the diversity of the Hispanic community around the world.




Mexicans celebrate and honor the cultural syncretism of their country by exposing the best created by their multiple heritages and indigenous culture. Many Mexicans observe October 12 as Columbus Day, or Day of the Race (Día de la Raza) in remembrance of when Christopher Columbus came to the Americas.


Columbus Day, also called Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in the United States, holiday (originally October 12; since 1971 the second Monday in October) to commemorate the landing of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492, in the New World. Although his explorations were financed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy, and over the years Italian Americans took up the cause of honouring his achievement. The 300th anniversary of his landing was celebrated in New York City in 1792 by the Society of St. Tammany, or Columbian Order, and the 400th anniversary, in 1892, by presidential proclamation nationwide. During the latter half of the 19th century, the day began to be celebrated in cities with large numbers of Italian Americans, and in 1937 it became a national holiday by presidential proclamation. The day came to be marked by parades, often including floats depicting the ships of Columbus, and by public ceremonies and festivities. By the quincentennial in 1992, the holiday was an occasion for discussing the European conquest of American Indians, and some people objected to celebrating the event and proposed alternatives, among them Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Columbus Day is celebrated on Monday, October 12, 2020.


The landing of Columbus also came to be commemorated in Spain and Italy. In many of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas, the landing is observed as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race” or “Day of the People”). Rather than celebrating Columbus’s arrival in the New World, many observers of Día de la Raza celebrate the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the culture that developed over the centuries as their heritage melded with that of the Spanish explorers who followed Columbus. In some countries religious ceremonies are an important part of the observances.



Source: Wikipedia - Columbus Day  |  Around the World - Columbus Day  |  Britannica - Columbus Day

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Fact of the Day - WINNIE THE POOH


WInnie-The-Pooh, drawing 1926


Did you know... that everyone's favorite honey-loving bear in a red crop top has been around since 1926, when A. A. Milne released his first collection of short stories. But the inspiration behind what's now one of the most popular storybook characters of all time is a complicated topic. To pay tribute to both English author A.A. Milne and his lovable bear, Winnie The Pooh, here is a collection of incredible facts that even the most dedicated visitor to the Hundred Acre Wood might not know.



Harry Colebourn and WInnie.


During World War I, a Canadian soldier named Harry Colebourn made a pet of a black bear cub he bought from a hunter for $20. Named Winnipeg—or "Winnie" for short—the bear became his troop's mascot and later a resident of the London Zoological Gardens. There, she was an adored attraction, especially to a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, son of author A.A. Milne. In fact, the boy loved Winnie so much that he named his own teddy after her.




Christopher Robin Milne

In the 1920s, A.A. Milne began writing collections of stories and poems that became the books When We Were Very Young (which introduced a bear named Edward and a swan named Pooh), The House at Pooh Corner, Now We Are Six, and Winnie-The-Pooh. It was these stories, where Christopher Robin’s adored toy animals Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo made their literary debuts. Most of the original toys can be seen on display at the New York Public Library—except for Roo, who went missing in an apple orchard in the 1930s. The likes of Owl and Rabbit were included to loop in some of the fauna that frolicked outside the Milne family home.




English artist, E. H. Shepard


Shepard and Milne shared a mutual colleague in English humorist E.V. Lucas, who believed the former would be perfect for the tricky task of bringing Milne’s fantasy world to life in delicate drawings. But Milne was reluctant to hire a political cartoonist, so Shepard took the initiative. As recounted by Milne's old neighbor, Laurence Irving, Shepard wandered Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for Milne's mythical woods, and created a portfolio of sketches. Then he turned up unannounced at Milne's home, where he handed over his portfolio to Milne and won his approval.




A. A. Milne

In World War I, he served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment before being conscripted to Military Intelligence as a propagandist. His experiences inspired Peace With Honour (1934), which denounced the war. He was an assistant editor at the magazine Punch, which is how he came to get involved with Shepard and Lucas. And between 1903 and 1925, Milne published 18 plays and three novels, all before publishing a word on Winnie the Pooh.




Titled Winnie Ille Pu, the 1960 release translated by Dr. Alexander Lenard stayed on the coveted list for 20 weeks, and ultimately demanded 21 printings, selling 125,000 copies. This accomplishment spoke in part to the book itself, which the Times called ''the greatest book a dead language has ever known.'' But it's also evidence of Pooh's popularity. The adventures of this honey-loving bear have been translated into more than 50 languages, including Afrikaans, Czech, Finnish, and Yiddish.





Being forever the tender little boy in Hundred Acre Wood didn't suit Christopher Robin Milne. Like his father before him, he became a writer, but wrote memoirs of his own life, like The Enchanted Places, Beyond the World of Pooh, and The Hollow On The Hill. In these, he asserted, "It seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame." Ouch.




For nearly 30 years before Walt Disney began animating the bear, the American producer Stephen Slesinger acquired Pooh's merchandising rights for the U.S. and Canada. The red t-shirt that is now a Pooh signature was drawn in 1932 for an RCA Victor picture record. By the '40s, plush dolls donning the red top were being produced. When his widow, Shirley Slesinger Lasswell, licensed Pooh merchandising to Disney in 1961, the animators decided to keep the look.




A Winnie the Pooh poster, circa 1965. Tom Simpson 


In 1961, Walt Disney also purchased the motion picture rights from A.A. Milne's widow, Daphne, and so began a brand that continues to thrive for his company. A series of Winnie the Pooh shorts were released in theaters starting in the late 1960s. In 1977, a trio of these made up Pooh's first theatrical release The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The 1980s brought two television shows, Welcome to Pooh Corner and The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. Then the 2000s offered The Tigger Movie, Piglet's Big Movie, Pooh's Heffalump Movie and the CGI series My Friends Tigger & Pooh. There have also been a slew of straight-to-DVD releases. All this leads to merchandising profits that are said to rival Mickey Mouse's.




Scholars and philosophers have been pulling from Pooh for inspiration. American author Benjamin Hoff wrote both The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet to explain principles of the Chinese philosophical school of Taoism. Scholar John Tyerman Williams responded with the long but self-explanatorily titled Pooh and the Philosophies: In Which It Is Shown That All of Western Philosophy Is Merely a Preamble to Winnie-The-Pooh and Pooh and the Psychologists. And English professor and author Frederick Crews penned The Pooh Perplex and Postmodern Pooh, which satirized academic trends in case studies.




Made in the style of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, this theatrical release utilized traditional hand drawn animation and was staged within the pages of a book. It also contained seven original songs written by Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the writing team that would go on to pen Frozen's Oscar-winning song, "Let It Go." The movie also featured a reprisal of the classic "Winnie The Pooh" theme sung by charming chanteuse Zooey Deschanel.


Source: MentalFloss - Winnie-The-Pooh Facts




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Fact of the Day - LANGUAGE


A mural in Teotihuacan, Mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a

speech scroll from his mouth, symbolizing speech.


Did you know... that a language is a structured system of communication. Language, in a broader sense, is the method of communication that involves the use of – particularly human – languages. The scientific study of language is called linguistics. (Wikipedia)


Language has the power to influence and impact anyone who understands it. With so many languages spoken and written, understanding the depth of language may help preserve those dialects that are lesser-known. 


Language as a means of communication is something many of us take part in without thinking. Conversing with family, friends, or as part of a business presentation, we speak an average of 15,000 words every day. Despite this, the spoken language isn’t just something that a scholar or intellect developed overnight. Language, the way we talk, and the words we use are all part of a natural evolutionary process. Even now, language continues to evolve, with the “smiling face” emoji currently featured in the Oxford dictionary.


For many of us, being woken up by the “dawn chorus” is nothing new. Virtually all species use some form of sound to communicate with one another. What makes humans individually unique is our ability to develop those sounds into a series of words that follow a structure, thus providing meaning. The beauty of language is its natural development over time as we associate certain words with an object or action, along with how those words are spoken or heard. Our understanding is then passed on from person to person and generation to generation, resulting in the organic development of language.


As rich and complex as it can be, language—written or spoken—is about expressing ourselves, providing the opportunity to make people laugh, cry, think, or react. Listed below are interesting facts about language, some of which may surprise you.


Many of us will only know a few, but over 7,000 languages exist throughout the world. Over half are variations on an original language. Referred to as dialects, this variation is dependant on factors like the area of a country or cultural influences. Surprisingly, nearly half of all languages don’t possess a written form, existing solely as spoken word.





While English has over 171,000 words in its dictionary and is spoken in numerous countries, Chinese is the most commonly used language, followed by Spanish. However, to be considered fluent in Chinese, you would need to learn roughly 3,000 different symbols and their meanings.


Despite the popularity of the Harry Potter series, the Bible is the most translated book in the world. Fully translated into 554 languages, there are an additional 2,900 languages that have partially translated the text. The second most translated book (no, still not Harry Potter) is Pinocchio, although it falls someway short of the Bible with only 250 different language translations.


With so many languages being spoken, which one is the official language of the United States? The correct answer is none. During the process of creating laws by the Continental Congress, no official language was chosen, a result of the large number of unique settlers at the time. Since then, diversity remains throughout the United States, which now has the second highest population of Spanish speakers.


If you guessed this one correctly, then you are a true language aficionado. Papua New Guinea has over 800 languages, or 841 to be precise. Of those 841 languages, nearly all are indigenously spoken, with very little immigrant influence. Despite so many languages in one country, the three officially considered are English, Hiri Motu, and Tok Pisin.


Rejoice in the fact that all those years spent learning Klingon were not wasted. In fact, there are over 200 languages that were made up for books, film, or TV. Some other popular fictional languages include Elvish from the Tolkien series of books, and Dothraki from the incredibly popular Game of Thrones series.




If there is no one to speak a language or record written variations, then it is true—a language can die out. More precisely, it is often dialects that die out, with 241 known to have become extinct already. Of the 7,000 we speak as a planet, 2,400 are in current danger of being lost forever. National Geographic claims one language is lost every two weeks.


Not just English either, “E” is one of the most common letters in Norwegian, Finnish, French, and Italian. E accounts for just over 11% of the letters in the Oxford English Dictionary, with the least frequent letter being “Q”. “A” is the second-most-common letter for the majority of European languages.


Regardless of the vast number of total languages, spoken language is dominated by Asian and European languages, mainly driven by the sheer density of population in these areas and widespread colonisation in recent history. With such an overwhelming majority, it is easy to see how smaller or less commonly used languages start to become extinct.


This last fact may be something of a red herring. The precise origins of languages and their first use is a hotly debated topic. There is no confirmed time frame, although linguists consider spoken language to have originated around 100,000 BC. At this time, homo sapiens began to develop larger brain structures and vocal chords similar to our own. Speculation assumes that using sounds to communicate would have occurred during this period, coinciding with physical development.




Letter count…
English speakers know their alphabet has 26 letters, but may not realize this is not standard. Rotokas, a language spoken in Papua New Guinea, has only 11 letters making it the shortest alphabet on Earth. The crown for most letters goes to Khmer, spoken in Cambodia, with 74 letters.


What came first?
The question of which is the oldest language can’t really be answered because spoken languages and cultures with solely oral traditions are not taken into account. The oldest languages with written records are Hebrew, Sanskrit, Sumerian, and Basque.


Accented sign language
Just as there is no such thing as being “accentless” in a spoken tongue, there are also accents in sign language. This is because sign language is not a direct translation or representation of spoken language, but its own language with grammar, idioms, slang, and expressions. Born Deaf signers can easily tell whether another signer is Deaf, hearing, or new to sign language. Over in the US, New Yorkers are known for being fast-signing, whereas those from Ohio are calmer. Accents can even be communicated with differing signing styles, such as draw-out signs to communicate a southern drawl.




The world is full of diverse and unique languages that can thrill the senses and stretch the boundaries of your imagination. 


The words we use shape how we experience the world around us. For example, while most native English speakers may look at a wintery landscape and label it simply “snow,” Scots are said to have over 420 words for snow. This includes everything from subtle differences in the snowfall to mentions of the supernatural!


Whistle Speech

The language of La Gomera spoken off the coast of Spain consists entirely of whistles. (…but what if you can’t whistle?) 




What sets this language apart from all others is that Silbo Gomero is whistled. Although little remains of the pre-Spanish La Gomera language native to the Canary Islands before the arrival of Spanish settlers, the whistled language was adapted to Castilian Spanish. Its use developed out of practicality: the deep gullies and mountain passages of the island mean travel is difficult, but the higher pitched sound whistling can be easily heard.



Source: Wikipedia - Language  |  Language Facts From Around the World  |  Fun Facts about Languages  |  Fascinating Language Facts You Didn’t Know

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Artistic Rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some

archaeological evidence.


Did you know..... that the Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Mouseion, which was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. (Wikipedia)


The ancient Library of Alexandria was a large and significant library of the ancient world. It was founded in Alexandria, Egypt. The Library flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship. It was built in the third century BC.


In ancient Latin, the library was known as the "ALEXANDRINA BYBLIOTHECE". The Greek term bibliothek (βιβλιοθήκη), used by many historians of the era, refers to the collection of books, not to any building. This complicates the history and chronology. The library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II.


Inscription about Tiberius Claudius Balbilus of Rome (died c.AD 79),

which confirms that the Library of Alexandria must have existed in

some form in the first century (on 5th line: "ALEXANDRINA BYBLIOTHECE").


Its destruction
Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC, Julius Caesar might have accidentally burned the library when he set fire to his own ships to frustrate Achillas' attempt to limit his ability to communicate by sea. According to Plutarch's account, this fire spread to the docks and then to the library. However, this version of events is not confirmed in contemporary accounts of Caesar's visit. In fact, it has been reasonably established that segments of its collection were partially destroyed on several occasions before and after the first century BC. A modern view attributes the destruction to Coptic Christian Archbishop Theophilus of Alexandria in 391, who called for the destruction of the Serapeum -- the Daughter library and a temple to the god Serapis.



5th century scroll which illustrates the destruction of the Serapeum by Theophilus.


The Library as a research institution


The Ancient Library of Alexandria.


According to the earliest source of information, the library was initially organized by Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle, under the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (ca.367 BC—ca.283 BC).


The library comprised a peripatos (walk), gardens, a room for shared dining, a reading room, lecture halls and meeting rooms. However, the exact layout is not known. This model's influence may still be seen today in the layout of university campuses. The library itself is known to have had an acquisitions department (possibly built near the stacks, or for utility closer to the harbour), and a cataloguing department. The hall contained shelves for the collections of scrolls (as the books were at this time on papyrus scrolls), known as bibliothekai (βιβλιοθῆκαι). It was rumored that carved into the wall above the shelves, a famous inscription read: The place of the cure of the soul.




It was the first known library to gather a serious collection of books from beyond its country's borders. The Library was charged with collecting all the world's knowledge. It did so through an aggressive and well-funded royal mandate involving trips to the book fairs of Rhodes and Athens and a policy of pulling the books off every ship that came into port. They kept the original texts and made copies to send back to their owners. Alexandria, because of its man-made bidirectional port between the mainland and the Pharos island, welcomed trade from the East and West, and soon found itself the international hub for trade, as well as the leading producer of papyrus and, soon enough, books.



A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead written on papyrus


The library was also home to a host of international scholars. The library filled its stacks with new works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural history and other subjects. It was at the Library of Alexandria that the scientific method was first conceived and put into practice, and its empirical standards applied in serious textual criticism. As the same text often existed in several different versions, comparative textual criticism was crucial for ensuring their accuracy. Once ascertained, copies would then be made for scholars, royalty and wealthy bibliophiles the world over, this commerce bringing income to the library. The editors at the Library of Alexandria are especially well known for their work on Homeric texts. The more famous editors generally also held the title of head librarian. These included, among others,


Already famous in the ancient world, the library's collection became even more storied in later years. Papyrus scrolls comprised the collection, and although parchment codices were used predominantly as a more advanced writing material after 300 BC.



Parchment with quill and ink.


A single piece of writing might occupy several scrolls. King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309–246 BC) is said to have set 500,000 scrolls as an objective for the library. Mark Antony supposedly gave Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls (taken from the great Library of Pergamum) for the library as a wedding gift. Carl Sagan, in his series Cosmos, states that the library contained nearly one million scrolls, though other experts have estimated a smaller number. No index of the library survives, and it is not possible to know with certainty how large and how diverse the collection may have been.


A perhaps exaggerated story concerns how the library's collection grew so large. By decree of Ptolemy III of Egypt, all visitors to the city were required to surrender all books and scrolls. Official scribes then swiftly copied these writings, some copies proving so precise that the originals were put into the library, and the copies delivered to the unsuspecting owners. This process also helped to create a reservoir of books in the relatively new city.


According to Galen, Ptolemy III requested permission from the Athenians to borrow the original scripts of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, for which the Athenians demanded the enormous amount of fifteen talents as guarantee. Ptolemy happily paid the fee but kept the original scripts for the library.



Library of Alexandria today.


The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2002 near the site of the old library.


Source: Wikipedia - Library of Alexandria  |  Library of Alexandria Facts



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Did you know... that while musical genres like rap, rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, R&B and EDM have huge audiences and are known all over the world, there are many more interesting types of music that are worth discovering? Some are a fusion of categories, while others are their own bizarre niche. Either way, it's worth opening your ears and expanding your playlists with these strange musical genres.




If you have read Aleister Crowley’s The Book of the Law and you're intrigued by occultism, you will love witch house music.


Perhaps you have heard Crystal Castles before but did not have a name for the band’s unique style of dark, occult-themed electronica. Witch house (sometimes known as drag or haunted house) is influenced by the ‘chopped and screwed’ subgenre of hip-hop with some added industrial and noise elements; picture a mix of Three 6 Mafia and The Cure.


The name itself derives from an inside joke between electronic musician Travis Egedy (aka Pictureplane) and his friends; while describing the type of music he makes during an interview, Egedy half-seriously used the term ‘witch house’ in an effort to characterize his horror and witchcraft-inspired lyrics and dark, noisy atmosphere. Intentional or not, the name stuck and a new genre was born.


Other bands included in this genre are Salem, Purity Ring and Glass Teeth.





If you like crazy graphics and think you can handle hearing millions of separate notes in a short period of time, this genre is for you.


The experimental genre–which came on the music scene in 2009 by way of Japan–refers to extremely complex musical compositions that can’t be played by humans on a regular instrument; musicians make this music using MIDI files (which store musical notes and timing). In fact, the genre’s name is self-descriptive of that MIDI process, the “black” part referring to the crazy black graphics that emerge on sheet music when a composition features so many notes simultaneously. Sometimes compositions are constructed with these visual patterns in mind; MIDI notes are played really fast and in a particular order to create an amazing audiovisual experience.


Should you wish to play these seemingly impossible masterpieces and turn into a “blacker” (the term reserved for creators of black MIDI music) all you need is the proper sequencer, a lot of creativity and a lot of time on your hands.




If you haven’t heard electro swing before, you should incorporate this unusual genre into your playlist rotation.


Electro swing originated in the 90s after a number of artists took samples of vintage jazz and swing records and began mixing them with hip-hop and EDM. Artists like Doop, Lucas Secon and Jurassic 5 started to play their sets in small venues but soon enough, this genre was a fixture in music festivals around the world.


There's no more appealing scenario than walking into a club to hear your favorite jazz tunes blasting from the speakers but with the added coolness of hip hop and energy of EDM. If electro swing is your thing, then you have some amazing nights ahead of you.



If you like video games and heavy music then you will love this awesome fusion between 8-bit sounds, audio samples of old video games and smashing drum riffs and solos.


The term Nintendocore was first used in the metalcore scene when Horse The Band incorporated 8-bit elements into their music. Their album “Secret of the Rhythm of the Universe” was the first album distributed from this genre, although the first rock bands that experimented and played with 8-bit sounds were Minibosses and The Advantage (and both of those bands are truly mind blowing).


There are a lot of punk, hardcore, post hardcore and metal bands that experiment with the 8-bit world and are tagged as nintendocore, so there is plenty to listen to if you get into this category.


You have probably heard bands like Gorillaz or Bjork, but have you ever picked up on the enormous trip hop influence? If not, you need to educate yourself with some Massive Attack and Portishead records.


It all started with the sound systems in the 80s - huge collections of jazz, ska, reggae, swing and tons more of unbelievable music. The influence of this movement and its music runs wide, from late 70s skinheads and mods to 90s Europe hip hop culture, among many others.


Simply put, trip hop is a perfect mix between European hip hop and samples from the greatest Jamaican influences of all time. In fact, this blend is often executed so perfectly that each individual component is barely detectable within a song; instead the singular pieces work seamlessly together to form a sweet layer of “trippy” sounds for the listener to enjoy. This genre has inspired a lot of bands like Cibo Matto, Grimes, Team Sleep and Garbage.



If you like horror movies and creepy stuff then this one's for you!


This genre is basically rockabilly infused with punk and rock elements. The Cramps are often considered the pioneers in this genre, but they rejected the idea of being too closely associated with the psychobilly scene and distanced themselves accordingly.


The Meteors were the first band to be considered ‘pure’ psychobilly but other psychobilly bands soon emerged in Europe – groups like Reverend Horton Heat and Nekromantix.


After the genre’s initial boost in popularity following The Meteors' release, there was a lull in new music. Later on, though, there was a new wave of psychobilly bands led by Tiger Army in the 90s.



This musical style–also known as shoegazing–was born in the United Kingdom in the late 80s but gained more widespread recognition in the 90’s.


The genre was named in reference to a particular behavior many artists within this genre used to inexplicably display, a habit whereby musicians would avoid eye contact with their audience. Instead, they would gaze at their shoe. Shoegaze.  The sound of the music is really loud with droning riffs, waves of distortion and cascades of feedback.


Bands of this genre typically prefer to keep their music underground and consequently have trouble maintaining popularity, so this genre will likely remain both underrated and largely unknown.  Representative artists of this genre are My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Pale Saints, The Verve and Telescopes.



Born in the mid 80s in England while the bands Amebix and Antisect were at the height of their success, this genre (also known as simply 'crust'), is a mix of hardcore punk and extreme metal. The lyrics tend to speak to social and political ills, usually with a dark and pessimist touch.  The sound is very filthy, raw and brutal, somewhat comparable to the D-beat style of hardcore punk; it's similar to The Varukers but harder in tone. Bands like Nausea, Doom, Excrement of War and Extreme Noise Terror comprise the foundation of this genre.  Amebix' album “Arise” is considered the first truly crust punk album, but the band Hellbastard was the first to actually invoke the term with their demo “Ripper Crust” in 1986.


Other bands within this genre worth following are Chicago's Los Crudos and Argentina’s Migra Violenta.




Nerdcore is, quite literally, a genre of hip-hop that emphasizes themes that are of the stereotypically nerdy variety. Many nerdcore artists share their music for free on the internet and the genre in general tends to abide by a DIY ethic. Songs in this category are laden with nerdy references, containing lyrics about Star Wars and other science fiction series, as well as role-play games, fantasy, science, computers, and politics.


Indeed, the sound of nerdcore varies from artist to artist, as the genre is more defined by the lyrics than the music itself, but sampling that hasn't been legally licensed is something that most of the artists have in common.


MC Frontalot is one of the more prominent nerdcore artists, with songs like “Good Old Clyde", intended as a humorous ode to Clyde Stubblefield for providing the world with the very widely-sampled “Funky Drummer” drum break (while ironically sampling that same song).


Some other artists representative of nerdcore are Bad Credit, Mega Ran, MC Lars, Dual Core, Sammus and Monzy. But like the genre itself, nerdcore artists do not hold to one specific definition and thus come from all corners of the music world.



If you enjoy hardcore punk, drum, bass and industrial metal, then you already like breakcore music; you just haven't been formally introduced yet.  This style might best be described as a manipulation of jungle, ragga jungle and hip hop beats played back at high speeds with distorted 808 and 909 drums and abrupt, violent changes in rhythm.


Dev/Null, Venetian Snares, Nick Blast and Quatros are some of the better known breakcore artists.


Source: WIkipedia  |  Beat - Strange Music Genres

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Fact of the Day - MARY ANN SHADD CARY


Did you know.... that Mary Ann Shadd Cary was an American-Canadian anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher, and lawyer? She was the first black woman publisher in North America and the first woman publisher in Canada. Shadd Cary edited The Provincial Freeman, established in 1853. Published weekly in southern Ontario, it advocated equality, integration and self-education for black people in Canada and the United States. (Wikipedia)


Mary Ann Camberton Shadd Cary, educator, publisher, abolitionist (born 9 October 1823 in Wilmington, Delaware; died 5 June 1893 in Washington, DC).


Mary Ann Shadd Cary House


The first Black female newspaper publisher in Canada, Shadd founded and edited The Provincial Freeman. She also established a racially integrated school for Black refugees in Windsor, Canada West. In 1994, Shadd was designated a Person of National Historic Significance in Canada.



The Provincial Freeman.


Early Years
Born to free parents in Delaware, a slave state, Mary Ann Shadd was the eldest of 13 children. She was educated by Quakers and later taught throughout the northeastern United States, including New York City. Following in the footsteps of her activist parents, whose home was a safe house (or “station”) on the Underground Railroad, Shadd pursued community activism upon settling in Canada.


Move to Canada West
On 10 September 1851, at St. Lawrence Hall, Shadd attended the first North American Convention of Coloured Freemen held outside of the United States. The event was presided over by Henry Bibb, Josiah Henson, J.T. Fisher, as well as other prominent figures, and was attended by hundreds of Black community leaders from all over Canada, the northern United States, and England. Many Convention delegates encouraged enslaved Americans and refugees from enslavement to enter Canada. The year before, the United States had passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slave owners to recapture escaped enslaved persons in states where enslavement had been abolished.


At the Convention, Henry and Mary Bibb, activists and publishers of the newspaper Voice of the Fugitive, met and convinced Shadd to take a teaching position near their home in Sandwich (now Windsor), Canada West. After settling there in 1851, Shadd set up a racially integrated school that was open to all who could afford to attend (education was not publicly provided at that time). The school was opened with financial support from the American Missionary Association.


Shadd wrote educational booklets that outlined the advantages of Canada for settlers moving north, including A Plea for Emigration; or Notes of Canada West (1852). About this time, Shadd, who opposed segregated schools for Black children, engaged in a heated debate with Henry and Mary Bibb, who favoured segregation. The dispute informed many editorials written by the Bibbs and Shadd in Voice of the Fugitive. As a result of the public dispute, Shadd lost funding from the American Missionary Association for her school.



The Provincial Freeman
An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 freedom-seekers — born free or enslaved — reached Canada through the Underground Railroad. In 1850, over 35,000 Black persons lived in Canada West. To promote emigration to Canada, Shadd publicized the successes of Black persons living in freedom in Canada through The Provincial Freeman, a weekly newspaper first printed on 24 March 1853. This made Shadd the first Black woman in North America to publish a newspaper, and one of the first female journalists in Canada. “Self-Reliance Is the True Road to Independence” was the paper’s motto.



Clipping from The Provincial Freeman Newspaper, ca. 1850's
The Provincial Freeman | 


Co-edited by Samuel Ringgold Ward, a well-known public speaker and escaped enslaved person living in Toronto, the paper was published from Windsor (1853–1854), Toronto (1854–1855) and Chatham (1855–1857). While Ward was listed as editor on the paper’s masthead, Shadd did not list her own name, or take any credit for articles written by her, thus concealing the paper’s female editorship. By 1860, the paper had succumbed to financial pressure and folded.



Clipping from The Provincial Freeman Newspaper, ca. 1850's
The Provincial Freeman | OurOntario.ca


Later Years; Return to the United States
After spending the first few years of the American Civil War as a schoolteacher in Chatham, Shadd returned to the United States and began work as a recruitment agent for the Union Army. Later, she moved to Washington, DC, where she worked as a teacher. Years after, Shadd pursued law studies at Howard University and in 1883 became one of the first Black women to complete a law degree.


Source: Wikipedia - Mary Ann Shadd  |  The Canadian Encyclopedia - Mary Ann Shadd

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Fact of the Day - CARNAVAL


Did you know... that Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide. Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus. Elaborate costumes and masks allow people to set aside their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. Participants often indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods that will be forgone during upcoming Lent. Traditionally, butter, milk, and other animal products were not consumed "excessively", rather, their stock was fully consumed as to reduce waste. Pancakes, donuts, and other desserts were prepared and eaten for a final time. During Lent, animal products are eaten less, and individuals have the ability to make a Lenten sacrifice, thus giving up a certain object or activity of desire.  (Wikipedia)


Carnival is a public festival which takes place in many cities and towns in many countries around the world. It is in February or March each year. Carnival can sometimes last for several weeks. In some places there is only one day of celebration. There are often street parades, bands, costumes and many people wear masks. Carnival is linked to religious traditions in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and it is also linked to local customs.



Carnaval in Rome, 1650


Background | Lent


Men in the Carnival of the

Dominican Republic carry whips

as a sign of punishment for sin.


Many Christian churches have a 40-day "season" of fasting called Lent, in which Christians prepare for Easter which is one of the two most important feasts in the Christian year (the other being Christmas). Easter is in late March or April. Lent always begins on a Wednesday, which is called Ash Wednesday in February or March. On that day, many people go to church and have some ash smeared on their forehead as a sign of sorrow for their sins. Then for 40 days, they try to work hard on improving themselves and thinking about the teachings of Jesus. It is usual for people to "give up" something for Lent. They might stop smoking or stop watching TV so they can spend more time reading the Bible or talking with the family. Many people give up all their favourite foods and have no cake, wine, beer, chocolate, ice cream or other luxury foods.

The name "carnivale" comes from Italian and means "putting aside the flesh". This means that during Lent people were not to think about their "flesh" (their bodies) but do things that were good for their souls. The word "flesh"" also means "meat" so many people would eat no meat during Lent.


Mardi Gras

The Gilles parade through

Binche in Belgium.

Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday". This was the day just before Lent. The first day of Lent was called Mercredi Meagre meaning "Mean Wednesday". ("Mean" used to mean "poor" and "thin" rather than "nasty".)


During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was normal for people to have a big feast on the Tuesday before the Lenten fast started. In many towns this developed into a big public party, with entertainment in the town square. There is a famous painting by Pieter Bruegel dating from the 1550s and showing the "Battle of Carnival and Lent".


About Pieter Bruegel's famous painting

Pieter Bruegel the Elder,

The Battle of Carnival and Lent.

In this picture by Pieter Bruegel, a man representing Carnival is pushed on a barrel by people in costumes and masks. He is about to do battle with Lent. His weapon is a skewer covered with pieces of roast meat. He balances a blackbird pie on his head. Lent, who is very skinny, fights him with two little fish on a breadboard. The person at the front wears a mask and plays a very noisy instrument called a rummelpott.


Modern celebrations of Carnival
Two elegantly dressed figures

at the Carnival of Venice

Nowadays many cities and towns around the world celebrate Carnival for a week or more. The final day of the celebration is Mardi Gras, when there is often a parade. In some cities the Mardi Gras parade is held on the weekend before Lent begins, rather than on the Tuesday, so as not to disturb the business and traffic of the town.


In some towns such as the Belgian town of Binche the preparations for the Carnival are complex and start many weeks before Carnival takes place, with most of the town's people taking part in some way. The Carnival of Binche is listed with UNESCO as an event of great historic importance because it has been held there in almost the same way for more than 500 years.


Carnival is celebrated differently around the world, but there are some things that are similar:

  • There is often dressing-up in fancy costumes, which often include masks.
  • There is usually a street parade of people and musicians. There may also be floats which are decorated vehicles.
  • There is often loud noises, bright colours and scary faces. These are to frighten evil spirits away while people are fasting. A traditional reason that the performers wear masks is so that the evil spirits do not know who they are.

In the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, which is one of the biggest and most famous in the world, a major feature is the glamorous costumes as both men and women wear bright colours and wonderful headdresses to dance down the street to the sound of many bands. In Rio there are many very large and expensive decorated floats.



A high school band in the

Carnival parade in New Orleans


In New Orleans the bands are one of the most important parts of the Carnival celebrations. In Düsseldorf in Germany, one of the features of the Carnival parades are the enormous models of politicians and other well-known people. In Sydney, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras which started out as a parade for Sydney's homosexual community, now includes exhibitions, live theatre and competitions, and stretches over two weeks.


In Venice the Carnival was celebrated from December 26 until Lent began. During that time, people were allowed to disguise themselves by wearing masks in the street. In the 1930s this was forbidden by the Italian Government, but in 1980 a mask-makers shop was set up in Venice again. Soon the old tradition was brought back, and now many people dress in costume and wear masks for two weeks before Lent begins.


In Brussels in Belgium, the main Carnival procession is held in the Grande Place, the town square in front of the Gothic Town Hall with its huge tower. Every part of the procession is ruled by a tradition, but some of the traditions are so old that no-one remembers what they mean anymore. At the beginning of the procession is a large group of people dressed in beautiful costumes of silk and velvet, who act out an historic scene of the coming of the King of Spain and his royal court to Brussels 500 years ago. When they have taken their seats, there comes an amazing procession which includes stilt walkers, fire eaters, Goldilocks with a dancing bear, a mad camel, a wizard, lots of men in huge feathered headdresses, and the Archangel Michael  whose job is to frighten the Devil. These characters are traditional to Brussels. In every city, the characters that take part are different.


Different uses of the word "carnival"
A carnival float from The Netherlands


Although the word "carnival" still has its old meaning, it is often used to mean public entertainments of different kinds. Some towns have carnivals that have nothing to do with Lent and are at different times of year. Nowadays there are all sorts of different carnivals. Some of these carnivals, like the Notting Hill Carnival in London and the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival in Australia are very famous.


The word "carnival" is now used for festivals, parades and competitions of all sorts. There are school sports carnivals, folk carnivals, multi-cultural carnivals, horse-racing carnivals, wine and food carnivals and boating carnivals.


Source: Wikipedia - Carnaval  |  Kids Encyclopedia - Carnaval Facts


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Fact of the Day - BALANCE OF POWER


1866 cartoon by Daumier,

L’Équilibre Européen, representing

the balance of power as soldiers

of different nations teeter the earth

on bayonets.


Did you know... that the balance of power theory in international relations suggests that states may secure their survival by preventing any one state from gaining enough military power to dominate all others. (Wikipedia)


Balance of Power
A. E. Campbell and Richard Dean Burns



The balance of power appears at first sight a simple concept. It has been defined as "a phrase in international law for such a 'just equilibrium' between the members of the family of nations as should prevent any one of them from becoming sufficiently strong to enforce its will upon the rest." Yet the phrase has always been of more use in political polemic than in political analysis. Like other phrases with a strong emotional appeal it is vague, and it would lose its appeal if it were more precise. Its obscurities are several, but the most important is that it blends the descriptive and the normative. The condition is one, the term "balance" implies, toward which international life is forever tending. That is the descriptive element. But the condition is also one that may be upset, and right-thinking statesmen should constantly be on the alert to preserve or restore it. That is the normative element. These two elements reinforce one another. Because such a balance will be established in any event, it is sensible and moral to work toward it. Because people work toward it, it will be more readily established. Difficulties arise if either element is weakened. At what point is it right to abandon an old balance and accept a new one? Can a balance exist if people are unconscious of the need to maintain it?


Behind all the interpretations of the balance of power lies the appeal to realism in the conduct of international affairs. Realism remains the best, perhaps the only persuasive, argument for restraint; and it is common ground that the doctrine of the balance of power is a device to promote restraint, whether it is argued that lack of restraint is wrong, or dangerous, or ultimately bound to fail. In that sense the balance of power in international affairs is clearly related to the idea of checks and balances within a government, which is equally a device to impose restraint on men who might otherwise, seduced by power, abandon it.




The international balance received its classical exposition during the eighteenth century, about the time at which, largely during the struggle for independence of the American colonies, the idea of checks and balances within a government was elaborated. Although linked, the doctrines had important differences. The international balance existed, if at all, among similar entities, the recognized powers, which placed in the scale weights of the same kind—military power, actual or potential. It was the lack of any precedent and effective authority among nations that made the balance of power necessary. The threat of war maintained the balance, and sometimes war was needed to restore it. By contrast the domestic balance refined by the Founders was not among powers of the same sort, but among powers of different sorts. All these were derived from the people, who might limit, redistribute, or withdraw what they had given. And few believed that domestic society rested on the perpetual threat of strife.


It is not an accident that the doctrine of the balance of power—alike in international and in domestic politics—received its classic and most rigorous statements at a time when foreign policy was largely a matter for rulers who could use the war potential of their states for their own aggrandizement. It was because a ruler had to be able to wage effective war that he had to be allowed the armed force that contributed to his domestic control. British reliance on a navy rather than on a standing army was, and was known to be, important to the growth of British liberties—and later to American liberty. In a sense, therefore, the international balance of power was needed to check the pretensions of rulers who lacked any effective domestic check.


Many of the early American leaders, however, held the belief that in their new world a more just—a more perfect—society than that of Europe could be formed. Historians may differ about the degree to which that implied a regard for democracy. The tyrant people was hardly less to be feared than the tyrant king. But that sensible, rational men—men of property and standing—could cooperate for the common good, few doubted. To balance the servants of the public against each other was both a political safeguard and a political convenience, rendering excess less likely and vigilance less demanding. It was not a political necessity of the same order as the international balance of power. Americans quickly came to believe, and continued to believe through most of their history, that sound domestic institutions must bring sound foreign policies with them.


The balance of power, however, although it may act to restrain the actions of those who believe in the doctrine, is in the first instance a device to restrain others. Should not Americans, very conscious that other states were not founded on their own good principles, have been ready to consider contributing to the maintenance of an international balance when appropriate, more rather than less because their own domestic principles were sound? There is little evidence that they did consider doing so, and that fact may throw light on the limitations of the doctrine.


The revolutionary war itself provides an example of the balance of power in operation. A desire not to be involved in the European balance, not to be a weight in the British scale, had played an important part in the American demand for independence. It was the readiness of the allies in the coalition against Britain to abandon each other, and the readiness of Britain to calculate relative gains and losses, that made the outcome possible. Behind the behavior of all the parties in the American war lay a tacit agreement that American independence was acceptable—the Americans wanted to be removed from the British scale, the French and Spaniards wanted the colonies removed from the British scale, and on their side the British were finally convinced that that removal would not have disadvantages only. Such calculations may imply a large element of uncertainty as to how the independent United States would behave—Why should their independence weaken Britain more than their continued existence as disaffected colonies?—but in the event few of the negotiators had any doubt as to the only possible conclusion of the war.



Revolutionary War


For a short time after independence, Americans remembered that the European balance of power had played some part in their victory. George Washington's famous injunction against "excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another" would hardly have been necessary had there been no Americans who wanted to align themselves either with Britain or with France. It would not have been uttered had American interests clearly required an alignment with either side. Yet in the political debates at the end of the eighteenth century there was already a large ideological element. Washington was not merely arguing that a due regard for the balance of power requires powers to hold themselves aloof until it is clear that the balance is about to tip, and then to place in the scale only such weight as is needed to adjust it. He was urging his countrymen not to take sides in European quarrels whose outcome could not affect the United States.


Click below ⬇️ to continue reading about the Balance of Power, scroll down to THE NINETEENTH CENTURY


Source: Encyclopedia - Balance of Power  |  Wikipedia - Balance of Power

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Did you know... that when the very popular TV series Bonanza left the airwaves after 14 years, Michael “Little Joe” Landon went looking for a new project. NBC executives approached him with the idea of producing a made-for-TV film based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s popular Little House on the Prairie series of books.


The movie was a huge ratings hit, and since it had a sort-of cliffhanger ending, the network was deluged with inquiries from viewers asking “What happened to the Ingalls family next?” Thus, a series was born. And while the show itself was very family-friendly and wholesome, the antics behind the scenes of the long-running series weren't always so PG-rated.




Michael Landon

Michael Landon had gone prematurely grey during his Bonanza days, while he was still in his twenties, and used Clairol Medium Ash Brown to color his crowning glory. He continued using the same product once he started on Little House on the Prairie, dyeing his hair himself. But the scorching, unrelenting sun in Simi Valley, California (where the series shot) would turn his hair an odd shade of lavender after a few days, which caused production delays (lights would have to be adjusted so as to not reflect on his head). Eventually Landon gave in and allowed a professional on the set to color his hair.


Actually Michael Landon asked her to change back to her real name, which is Karen Grassle (pronounced “Grass-lee”). When she auditioned for the role of Caroline Ingalls, she did so as Gabriel Tree, her stage name at the time.


All the exterior Little House on the Prairie scenes were filmed at the 10,000-acre Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, California, where a “cool” day meant temperatures in the low 90s. On most days, the mercury hit triple digits—and the young actresses were clad from head to toe in heavy cotton stockings, petticoats, pinafores, and bonnets. Both Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson, and an assistant director passed out from the heat on the very first day of filming.




Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert


Any dinner scene that showed some sort of generic meat and gravy on the family’s plates—regardless of whether Ma announced that it was rabbit, chicken, or squirrel—actually consisted of canned Dinty Moore brand beef stew. Those instances when Laura was seen pulling a drumstick out of her tin lunch pail at school? Well, those came not from the Ingalls’ chicken coop, but from Kentucky Fried Chicken.


For the first few weeks of filming, Arngrim’s own hair was transformed into a series of sausage curls via a torturous old-fashioned curling iron that had to be heated in an oven. Finally it was decided that a custom-made wig would be more humane, not to mention both time- and cost-effective. The wig had to be held in place with an enormous metal comb plus dozens of long, straight, metal hairpins, all of which frequently dug into Arngrim’s scalp and caused it to bleed.



Sean Penn, Alison Arngrim, Jonathan Gilbert


The season 1 episode 11 “The Voice of Tinker Jones” was directed by Leo Penn, who cast his wife, Eileen Ryan, in the episode—and also brought in his 13-year-old son Sean to play an uncredited schoolboy.


According to People, Michael Landon would pretend to pick lice out of Melissa Gilbert’s hair after an emotional scene. Frogs were also a big hit. “We used to go with Melissa [Gilbert] to catch frogs in the creek,” Rachel Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, who played Carrie Ingalls, told Closer Weekly. “We would bring them back to Michael, and then he would put them in his mouth and walk up to people, open his mouth and the frog would jump out! People would freak out.”


Michael Landon was just 5-feet-9-inches tall and didn’t want any other actor to tower over him, so he wore four-inch lifts in his boots. If that boost wasn’t quite enough in a particular scene, he would make sure that Charles was positioned on a staircase, a ladder, or even a slight mound of dirt.


Both Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim reported in their autobiographies that Melissa Sue Anderson (known as “Missy” on the set), who played Mary Ingalls, remained somewhat cold and aloof during her time on Little House on the Prairie. There were rumors among the guardians on the set that Missy’s mother was overprotective and controlling and that was the reason the young actress tended to keep to herself.




Rachel and Sidney Bush (credited onscreen as “Lindsay Sidney Greenbush” and known as “Sugar Lump” and “Foxy Robin” to everyone on the set) were just 3 years old when they were cast to play the youngest Ingalls daughter. That’s Sidney falling down while running during the opening credits; the director rotated the girls every few hours in accordance with California labor laws for such young children. In this case, just prior to filming the hillside running scene, he had called for a “Fresh twin, please!” and Mrs. Bush hastily awoke the napping Sidney and quickly put her little shoes back on … unfortunately, on the wrong feet. Michael Landon thought it was adorable when she tripped and hit the ground and left it in the sequence.


Landon never passed up an opportunity to appear shirtless on camera, which is why Pa never broke an arm or leg in any of his farming mishaps, only a rib or two. He also reportedly preferred to go au naturel underneath his tight-fitting prairie trousers.




Jason Bateman


In 1981, future Emmy-winner Jason Bateman landed the role of James Cooper Ingalls; it was his first TV role. Like Landon, Bateman became a TV director—in 2019, Bateman won an Emmy for directing himself in Ozark. "The only thing that I remember really soaking in was that first big job on Little House on the Prairie,” Bateman told Variety. “That group of actors had been together since Bonanza, and the way in which everybody functioned was very familial. It was a warm place.” Bateman said that Landon influenced him both as a director and as a sort of father figure. “He was the George Clooney of that time. The crew loved him, the industry loved him, guys wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him,” Bateman said.


Mean ol’ Nellie Oleson got her lights punched out more than once by rival Laura Ingalls, but in real life Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert became the best of friends shortly after they first met in the makeup trailer. They had sleepovers at each other’s homes and became partners in crime when it came to playing pranks on their co-stars.



Melissa Gilbert became very close to Michael Landon’s family after she was hired for Little House on the Prairie—especially his son, Michael Jr., and daughter Leslie. Lynn Landon and Melissa’s mother, Barbara Crane, became best friends and the two families often vacationed together. One day Barbara broke the news to her daughter that, “Auntie Lynn and Mike are separating.” Gilbert had noticed that Landon had been extremely attentive to “that makeup girl” (as makeup artist Cindy Clerico, 20 years Landon’s junior, was referred to by some cast members) on the set, but she’d never dreamed that he’d leave his wife of 19 years for her.


Gilbert remained polite and professional while working with Landon on the set after he married Clerico, but she stopped socializing with him after hours. After Little House on the Prairie ended, she didn’t speak to Landon again until 1990, when she saw him at Leslie Landon’s wedding. Landon’s highly publicized breakup with Lynn also cost him some lucrative endorsement deals, including his longtime contract with Kodak.


Alison Arngrim often caught a nap in the prop truck during her breaks, and it was there—while she was hunkered down on the front seat—that she overheard Michael Landon say “Hit me” to propman Ron Chiniquy at the rear of the truck. She lifted her head to peek and saw Chiniquy pour the requested four fingers of Wild Turkey into Landon’s coffee cup, even though it was only 10 a.m. She later found out from Ron that the crew usually went through two cases of Coors beer per day while working. Particularly stressful days, when rewrites and retakes were necessary, were referred to as “three-case days.” After filming was wrapped for the day, a makeshift bar with hard liquor was set up on a sawhorse for the “real” unwinding to begin. Yet both Arngrim and Gilbert said that despite all the alcohol consumption going on, no one (neither cast nor crew) ever appeared to be the least bit tipsy, nor did their work suffer.




Rachel Lindsay / Sidney Greenbush, Victor French


Victor French, who had starred in Gunsmoke and Bonanza, played Isaiah Edwards on Little House and directed a few episodes. He left the show in 1977 to star as a small-town Georgia police chief in sitcom Carter Country, which was sort of a comedic version of In the Heat of the Night. In 1979, when ABC canceled Carter County after two seasons, Landon welcomed French back. And in 1984, French joined Landon in Highway to Heaven. In 1989, French died of cancer, two years before Landon’s own death from cancer.


Click the link below ⬇️ to read more facts about Little House on the Prairie.  There are 42 facts, begin at #17


Source: Facts about Little House on the Prairie


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Fact of the Day - LIGHTNING ROD


Diagram of a simple lightning protection



Did you know.... that a lightning rod or lightning conductor is a metal rod mounted on a structure and intended to protect the structure from a lightning strike? Dom Prokop Diviš, O.Praem. was a Czech canon regular, theologian and natural scientist. In an attempt to prevent thunderstorms from occurring, he inadvertently constructed one of the first grounded lightning rods.(Wikipedia


Lightning rod, metallic rod (usually copper) that protects a structure from lightning damage by intercepting flashes and guiding their currents into the ground. Because lightning tends to strike the highest object in the vicinity, rods are typically placed at the apex of a structure and along its ridges; they are connected to the ground by low-impedance cables. In the case of a building, the soil is used as the ground; on a ship, the water is used.



Lightning rod protection system for a residential building The flow of electricity

from a lightning strike is channeled harmlessly around the outside of the building

and into the ground.


A lightning rod and its associated grounding conductors provide protection because they divert the current from nonconducting parts of the structure, allowing it to follow the path of least resistance and pass harmlessly through the rod and its cables. It is the high resistance of the nonconducting materials that causes them to be heated by the passage of electric current, leading to fire and other damage. On structures less than 30 metres (about 100 feet) in height, a lightning rod provides a cone of protection whose ground radius approximately equals its height above the ground. On taller structures, the area of protection extends only about 30 metres from the base of the structure.



Lightning rod types(Left top) Vertical rods or masts up to

15 metres in height create lightning protection zones that

extend in a 45° cone from the rod's tip. (Left bottom)

Connecting two rods with a wire extends the zone of protection.

(Right) Towers taller than 30 metres provide protection for an

area 30 metres high and 60 metres wide. The protected zone

is in the shape of an inverted funnel with inward-curving sides.

Towers between 15 and 30 metres high create protected zones

of similar shape but with height and width equal to tower height.


History of the lightning rod: who invented it and how it works.




Controlling electrical energy changed the course of civilisation. Among many other discoveries, the lightning rod represents a fundamental milestone. Benjamin Franklin’s idea allowed attracting lightning bolts to points that were not dangerous. Humanity stopped being afraid of storms.


People are often confused and associate the lightning rod with Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. In reality, this medal must be hung around the neck of the politician and scientist, Benjamin Franklin, one of the first people to propose daylight savings time as a measure to save energy.


Franklin’s passion for researching electricity led him to pay attention to a phenomenon that had gone unnoticed by many others before him. One day, he was flying a kite when it was struck by lightning that burned it up, which led the ingenious researcher to wonder if it were possible to attract lightning bolts in some way.





He tied a metal key to his kites and continued flying them on stormy days until on 15 June 1752, he was able to capture another bolt. Electricity went down the string of the kite until reaching the key. That is how he demonstrated that it was possible to attract lightning bolts to metal structures, thus sparing other elements from being struck.


One year later, in 1753, they started to install the first lightning rods. Metal bars of between five and ten meters of length with a copper or platinum tip (materials with high electrical conductivity). Their progressive installation on roofs in the United States (and later in the rest of the world) has helped save countless lives and has prevented fires.


Once the lightning bolt is trapped, the metal bar continued in the form of the conduction line. This line was made with metal bars or copper wires. In any case, their function is to bring electricity to the ground. A dissipater, which is nothing more than an extension of this line, was placed underground. There, the electricity of the lightning bolt is diluted and absorbed without harming anyone.





The evolution of the original lightning bolt: Nikola Tesla

It has rained (and thundered) a lot since Franklin had his great idea. Yet almost 300 years later, there are many lightning rods around the world that continue being used exactly how he designed them. A metal bar with a copper tip, the conduction line also has copper and an underground dissipater.


However, this scheme underwent important revisions. In 1918, Nikola Tesla, discoverer of alternate current, notably perfected the invention. He realised that the tip of the lightning rod ionised the air and for that reason, attracted the lightning. However, at the same time, it converted the circulating air into a conductor, which could cause uncontrollable damages. That is how the lightning rod with a collection point and ample base was founded, which was much safer than the original.


Later, the combination of new materials and new technologies added more sophistication to the lightning rod, especially in two directions:


  • Deionising lightning rods with electrostatic charge: which are intended to eliminate electrical fields in the structures, thus preventing lightning from forming on them. Today, most experts consider that they have not proven its efficacy.
  • Lightning rods with a discharge device: they measure the electrostatic charges of clouds to predict when a lightning bolt will be produced. When they detect it, they launch an electromagnetic pulse upward that serves to capture the bolt from a distance. In this way, the possible damages from the bolt are reduced by falling toward the lightning rods.

Interesting facts and anecdotes about lightning bolts and lightning rods

  • Cranes are not lightning-proof: the principle of the lightning rod is based on combining the negative electrical charge of a storm with the positive electrical charge of the earth. The lightning bolt is attracted by metal conductors. This also applies to metal structures, like cranes, which become an enormous lightning collector.




  • The Eiffel Tower was designed as a giant lightning rod: in reality, it was designed as a laboratory for all types of scientific research, though especially to test theories about electricity and meteorology. This lightning rod over 325 meters tall receives an average of 5 lightning strikes per year. In 1902, for the first time, photographer M.G. Loppé immortalised the moment in which the storm became the emblem of Paris.



Source: Wikipedia Lightning Rod  |  Britannica - Lightning Rod |  Lightning Rod


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Fact of the Day - LEOPARDS


Did you know... that the leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western and Central Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia. (Wikipedia)




  • Most leopards are light coloured and have dark spots on their fur. These spots are called “rosettes” because their shape is similar to that of a rose. There are also black leopards, too, whose spots are hard to see because their fur is so dark.
  • Leopards can be found in various places around the world – they live in Sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China.
  • Leopards are fast felines and can run at up to 58km/h! They’re super springy, too, and can leap 6m forward through the air – that’s the length of three adults lying head to toe!
  • Leopards are very solitary and spend most of their time alone. They each have their own territory, and leave scratches on trees, urine scent marks and poop to warn other leopards to stay away! Males and females will cross territories, but only to mate.
  • These big cats have a varied diet and enjoy different kinds of grub. They eat bugs, fish, antelope, monkeys, rodents, deer…in fact, pretty much any prey that is available!
  • Leopards are skilled climbers, and like to rest in the branches of trees during the day. They are strong beasts, too, and can carry their heavy prey up into the trees so that pesky scavengers, such as hyenas, don’t steal their meal! 



  • Nocturnal animals, leopards are active at night when they venture out in search for food. They mostly spend their days resting, camouflaged in the trees or hiding in caves.
  • When it comes to hunting for food, these big cats know their stuff! When a leopard spots a potential meal, it approaches with legs bent and head low, so as not to be seen. It then stalks its prey carefully and quietly, until it’s five to ten metres within range. Then…. pounce! The leopard dashes forward and takes down its victim with a bite to the throat or neck. Small prey, such as small birds or mice, will receive a fatal blow from the feline’s paw. Ouch! 
  • Female leopards give birth any time of the year – when they do, they usually give birth to two or three cubs. Mothers stay with their cubs until they are about two years old, when they are old enough to hunt and take care of themselves.
  • Leopards communicate with each other through distinctive calls. For instance, when a male wants to make another leopard aware of his presence, he’ll make a hoarse, raspy cough. They also growl when angry and, like domestic cats, purr when happy and relaxed. Cute, eh?



  • Leopards grow from 92 to 190 centimeters (3 to 6.2 feet ) long. Their tail adds another 64 to 99 cm (25 to 39 inches) to their length. Males and females vary in weight. Females typically weigh 21 to 60 kilograms (46 to 132 pounds) and males usually weigh around 36 to 75 kg. (80 to 165 pounds),.
  • The leopard is the most elusive and secretive of the large felids. They are extremely difficult to trace and locate in the wild.
  • When female leopards are ready to mate they will mate with many of the dominate males near her territory. This takes away the risk of the cubs being killed by one of the rival dominate males because they will think that the cubs are theirs.
  • Leopards have a gestation period of approximately 3 months and typically give birth to a litter of 2 to 3 cubs.
  • Leopard cubs are born blind and are completely dependent on their mothers. Their eyes begin to open after about ten or more days and for the first few months their eyes are bright blue.
  • Leopard cubs will stay with their mothers for approximately two years, this is how they learn to hunt and survive on their own.



  • The name “leopard” comes from the Greek word leopardus, which is a combination of leon (lion) and pardus (panther).
  • Leopards don’t need much water. They survive from the moisture they get from eating their prey.
  • Leopards’ ears can hear five times more sounds that the human ear.
  • The leopard is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range.
  • Throughout history, leopards have been depicted in artwork, mythology and folklore in numerous countries. They are also now commonly used as an emblem in sports in much of Africa.
  • Some people believe that the bones and whiskers of leopards can heal sick people. Many leopards are killed each year for their fur and body parts and this is one reason why the leopard is an endangered animal. While they were previously found in the wild in a number of areas around the world, their habitat is largely restricted to sub-Saharan Africa with small numbers also found in India, Pakistan, Malaysia, China and Indochina.


Source: Wikipedia - Leopard  |  National Geographic Kids - Leopard Facts  |  Facts about Leopards



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Fact of the Day - OCTOBER CRISIS


Coming of age during the October Crisis 

Montreal Gazette


Did you know... that the October Crisis occurred in October 1970 in the province of Quebec in Canada, mainly in the Montreal metropolitan area. Members of the Front de libération du Québec kidnapped the provincial Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the only peacetime use of the War Measures Act. The kidnappers murdered Laporte and negotiations led to Cross's release. (Wikipedia)



Soldier and child, 18 October 1970, during the October Crisis.


The October Crisis refers to a chain of events that took place in Quebec in the fall of 1970. The crisis was the culmination of a long series of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a militant Quebec independence movement, between 1963 and 1970. On 5 October 1970, the FLQ kidnapped British trade commissioner James Cross in Montreal. Within the next two weeks, FLQ members also kidnapped and killed Quebec Minister of Immigration and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. Quebec premier Robert Bourassa and Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau called for federal help to deal with the crisis. In response, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau deployed the Armed Forces and invoked the War Measures Act — the only time it has been applied during peacetime in Canadian history.



The FLQ was founded in 1963, during a period of profound political, social and cultural change in Quebec. (See also Quiet Revolution; Francophone Nationalism in Quebec.) Members of the FLQ — or felquistes — were influenced by anti-colonial and communist movements in other parts of the world, particularly Algeria and Cuba. Felquistes shared a conviction that Quebec must liberate itself from anglophone domination and capitalism through armed struggle. Their objective was to destroy the influence of English colonialism by attacking its symbols. They hoped that Quebecers would follow their example and rise up to overthrow their colonial oppressors.


Between 1963 and 1970, felquistes were responsible for more than 200 bombings and dozens of robberies that left six people dead. Their targets included numerous mailboxes in Westmount, a wealthy, anglophone area of Montreal; several Canadian Armed Forces armouries and facilities; the head office of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in Montreal; a federal government bookstore; McGill University; the residence of Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau; the provincial Department of Labour; and the Eaton’s department store in downtown Montreal. In February 1969, an FLQ bombing at the Montreal Stock Exchange injured 27 people.



One of the most spectacular actions of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ)

involved the explosion of a bomb at the Montréal Stock Exchange in 1969. The

photos show the damage caused by the explosion outdoors and inside the building.

La Presse, February 4th, 1969, p. 7.


By 1970, more than 20 FLQ members were in prison for these acts of violence. Four felquistes were sentenced to between 6–12 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of a night watchman at an Armed Forces recruitment centre in April 1963. Pierre Vallières, a former journalist who joined the FLQ in 1965, wrote his controversial autobiography, Nègres blancs d'Amérique (1968), while jailed in New York for FLQ activities. Pierre-Paul Geoffroy, who was responsible for 31 bombings including the explosion at the Montreal Stock Exchange, received 124 life sentences plus 25 years; it was, at the time, the longest prison sentence ever levied in the British Commonwealth.




Beginning of the Crisis
In the fall of 1969, the remaining FLQ movement split into two distinct Montreal-based cells. The South Shore gang, which became the Chénier cell, was led by Paul Rose; other members were his brother Jacques Rose, Bernard Lortie and Francis Simard. The Liberation cell was led by Jacques Lanctôt; other members were his sister Louise Lanctôt and her husband, Jacques Cossette-Trudel, as well as Marc Carbonneau, Nigel Barry Hamer and Yves Langlois.


Shortly after 8 a.m. on 5 October 1970, three armed members of the Liberation cell, one disguised as a deliveryman, kidnapped British trade Commissioner James Cross from his home in Montreal. In exchange for the release of Cross, the cell issued seven demands; they included the release of 23 FLQ “political prisoners,” the broadcast and publication of the FLQ manifesto, $500,000, and safe passage to Cuba or Algeria. The Quebec government was given 24 hours to comply; it rejected the ultimatum but indicated it was willing to negotiate.



British Trade Commissioner James Cross plays solitaire almost one month after

his kidnapping in this photo released by his FLQ kidnappers in early November 1970. 


In the days that followed, police arrested 30 people following a series of dawn raids. Several French newspapers published the FLQ manifesto — a diatribe against established authority that was also read on Radio-Canada. Parti Québécois leader René Lévesque published a newspaper article imploring the FLQ not to inflict violence on Cross or anyone else. The Liberation cell provided proof that Cross was still alive and extended its deadline for its demands to be met to 10 October at 6 p.m.


On 10 October, shortly before the 6 p.m. deadline, Quebec justice minister Jérome Choquette announced that if Cross were released, the Liberation cell would be granted safe passage out of Canada; but none of their other demands would be met. Shortly after the deadline passed, two masked members of the Chénier cell kidnapped Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte while he was playing with his nephew on his front lawn in Saint-Lambert. (They had found his address in the phone book.)



Pierre Laporte (1921-1970)


Crisis Intensifies
Following the kidnapping of Laporte, elected officials in Quebec flooded the police with requests for protection. On 11 October, the Chénier cell issued a communiqué; they threatened to kill Laporte unless all seven FLQ demands were met by 10 p.m. It also released two letters written by Laporte — one to his wife and one to Premier Robert Bourassa. Shortly before 10 p.m., Bourassa announced on the radio that he would not meet the FLQ’s demands but that he was open to further negotiations. The Chénier cell responded by postponing Laporte’s execution.


On 12 October, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau asked the Canadian Armed Forces to deploy soldiers in Ottawa to protect high-profile people and locations. The next day, CBC reporter Tim Ralphe questioned Trudeau at the front entrance of the Parliament Buildings. Ralphe expressed concern about the heavy military presence in the city. Trudeau replied, “Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in the society than to be worried about weak-kneed people.” Ralphe asked Trudeau exactly how far he was willing to go. Trudeau responded, “Well, just watch me.” Meanwhile, Robert Demers, a senior official in the Quebec Liberal Party, began negotiating with FLQ lawyer Robert Lemieux.




On 15 October, the Quebec government formally requested assistance from the Armed Forces to supplement the local police. Within an hour, 1,000 soldiers were deployed at key locations in Montreal. Bourassa and Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau requested further federal assistance. That afternoon, around 3,000 students attended a rally in support of the FLQ; they called on the governments to meet the terrorists’ demands. Later that evening, the Quebec government announced it would release five FLQ prisoners on parole and guarantee the two cells safe passage out of Canada in exchange for the return of the hostages.


Click the link below ⬇️ to continue reading more on the October Crisis that occurred 50 years ago.


Source: Canadian Encyclopedia - October Crisis  |  Wikipedia - October Crisis  |  The October Crisis: Calls for apology 50 years later

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Friday's Fact of the Day - D. B. COOPER


A 1972 FBI composite

drawing of Coope


Did you know... that Dan Cooper is the pseudonym of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the airspace between Portland and Seattle on the afternoon of November 24, 1971. The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news miscommunication, became known in popular lore as D. B. (Wikipedia)


On a cloudy afternoon in November 1971, a well-dressed middle-aged man boarded a domestic flight leaving Portland, Oregon. Soon after the plane took off, the man calmly alerted air hostesses to a bomb he had wired inside his briefcase and communicated his ransom demands to the police on the ground. The man, who had used the name “Dan Cooper” to board the plane, eventually ended up with $200,000 in cash from the police.After requesting the crew to take off again, he proceeded to jump out of the plane and into the night. He was never seen again.


Here are ten interesting facts about the man the media (incorrectly) dubbed “D.B. Cooper.”


He Was Never Identified Or Found


The most mysterious fact surrounding the hijacking in November 1971 is that the FBI never identified the man. It remains the only unsolved air piracy crime involving a commercial airliner. The man described by witnesses jumped out of the airplane after the second takeoff and was never seen again. Multiple theories exist as to his identity. Some theories suggest that infamous hijacker Richard Floyd McCoy Jr. was the culprit. In 1972, McCoy hijacked a commercial airliner and demanded a $500,000 ransom. He then proceeded to jump out of the plane, much like D.B. Cooper did. McCoy was caught and later killed after escaping prison. He was never definitively proven to be Cooper, and the FBI had doubts about him.  Other culprits include Kenneth Christensen, whose brother identified him as Cooper and who also bore a strong resemblance to the FBI drawing, and Jack Coffelt, who sustained leg injuries in the Portland area during the time and claimed he was Cooper. Although many suspects have existed, none have ever proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be Cooper, and in 2016, the FBI publicly announced that they were suspending the investigation.


His Description Sounded Like James Bond


Part of the sensation surrounding the D.B. Cooper hijacking is due to the fact he sounded so smooth. The official FBI bulletin that was released described him as a white male, mid-forties, with an olive Latin appearance and a well-spoken, intelligent demeanor. He was wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and black tie, carried a briefcase, and was at times wearing sunglasses. According to one of the key witnesses, stewardess Florence Schaffner, Cooper was calm and even ordered two bourbons during the flight. Cooper even paid his bill and wanted to let Schaffner keep the change! He also calmly explained his plan to the pilots—he needed them to follow his instructions so that he could safely jump out of the plane. To completely round out the “James Bond” appeal, Cooper ended the hijacking by jumping out of the back of the plane with his parachute and the $200,000 in ransom money strapped to him.


He May Have Posed As An Agent Working On A Movie


Agent Smith, The Matrix


The investigative files were released by the FBI to the general public in 2016, and they make for fascinating reading. One of the details that is relatively unknown is that a man matching Cooper’s general description had conducted some discussions with pilots about how to safely and accurately “drop an object” from a moving airplane to an accomplice below. The man’s description resembled that of Cooper’s; he was wearing a smart business suit, had a low, well-spoken voice and low sideburns, and stood around 183 centimeters (6′) tall. According to the FBI reports, two weeks prior to the November hijacking, the unidentified man sat between the two pilots and claimed he was working on a new movie script. He handed out brochures of his existing movies. He specifically wanted to know the best way to accurately drop an object to a waiting accomplice below. He was told by the pilots that flying at as low a speed and altitude as possible, with the cabin depressurized, was the best chance of accuracy. Upon FBI investigation, the pilots could not recall the name of the movie studio, the films, or the name of the new movie the man was working on. The man was never identified.


There’s A Good Chance He Died While Escaping


Imagine jumping out a moving airplane in the middle of the night, with over 9 kilograms (20 lb) of money strapped to you, into the cold November weather. This is what the hijacker did. Cooper reportedly jumped out of the back of the plane over the dense forest near Mount St. Helens, in Washington state. Cooper would have been landing in an unknown area and would have likely suffered ankle or leg injuries (or worse). According to the FBI investigation files, master parachute rigger Earl J. Cossey stated that Cooper would have been completely unable to control his rate of descent. Seattle case agent Larry Carr said about the jump, “Diving into the wilderness without a plan, without the right equipment, in such terrible conditions, he probably never even got his chute open.” Even though most assume he did not survive the landing, no parachute debris or remains of Cooper were ever discovered in the wide search zone. Lakes and rivers were swept to no avail. Another curious fact is that despite a total of five planes tailing the Boeing 727, none of the pilots could say they witnessed Cooper jumping from the plane.


He May Have Given An Interview With A Local Newspaper


It’s a little-known fact that in 1972, the Seattle Flag newspaper published an interview that they claimed was with the real man who hijacked the plane. Their proof, you ask? They claimed to have one of the $20 bills supplied to Cooper by the police—they even published an image of the purported bill. The newspaper also claimed they had gone to considerable effort to verify the source. The interview itself is fascinating. The man claims that he opened the rear door of plane, walked down to the tenth step, and then jumped out into the cold. He claimed he buried his parachute and was a “few miles” off from his intended landing spot. Interestingly, the man declined to answer a question about having an accomplice waiting on the ground. He also claimed the bomb was a fake—his suitcase contained Gillette shaving cans painted red, with wires rigged into them. He revealed that the riskiest part of the hijacking occurred when the plane was refueling on the ground, and authorities were deliberately stalling. At the end of the interview, the man said he was going to disappear for at least five years and would only return after the statute of limitations had expired. (Note that Cooper was later indicted in absentia in such a way that prosecution can go forward no matter when he’s caught.)


He’s Become A Plot Device In Modern Entertainment


The Cooper saga has been sensationalized, and he has become a very widely used character in both television and film. Cooper is more often portrayed as being alive than deceased. In the TV series Prison Break, a character within the prison proves he is the real hijacker by presenting one of the stolen bills. In the film Without a Paddle, the main characters go in search of Cooper and his money in Washington state, and they end up finding his remains alongside $100,000. (Cooper burned the other half to keep warm.) In 1981, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper was released—the first feature film depicting the hijacking and its aftermath.Interestingly, in this version of events, Cooper escapes after landing, using a Jeep he’d hidden in the woods. He is then later assisted by his estranged wife. Other shows that have fictionalized Cooper include Renegade, Numb3rs, Lethal Weapon, and Justified.


Some Of The Money Was Found Years Later


n February 1980, an eight-year old boy who was on vacation near Vancouver, Washington, uncovered some of the bills while raking through a sandy riverbank. They were still bundled as they had been when provided to Cooper in 1971. Although they had degraded over the years, FBI technicians confirmed they were, in fact, a portion of Cooper’s money. The location of the discovery was about 14 kilometers (9 mi) from the theoretical landing position of Cooper. Noticeably, one of the three 100-bill stacks only contained 90 bills, which only raises more questions. How did the bills get to the riverbank? Had they been there for years, or had they recently washed ashore? Were they deliberately buried by Cooper or an accomplice? None of the other bills have ever been reported in circulation and remain missing to this day. However, in what is a feel-good element to this story, the boy was allowed to keep roughly half of the money he found that day and sold it at an auction in 2008 for over $37,000!


He Inspired 15 Copycat Hijackers In 1972


After the apparent success of Cooper’s hijacking, many others were inspired to try it in the following year. The most infamous of these copycats was Richard Floyd McCoy Jr., but there were many others who aspired to pull off what Cooper did. One of the most interesting hijackings was committed by a man named Frederick Hahneman, who hijacked a plane taking off from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and demanded it to be grounded at Dulles so that his ransom could be met. His ransom included $303,000, cigarettes, food, parachutes, knives, fuel, and crash helmets. Once his demands were met, Hahneman allowed all the passengers and all but six of the flight crew to leave the plane. He then ordered the captain to take off again. Then he decided the $100 bills he had been given were too small of a denomination, so he ordered the plane to return to Dulles. Four hours later, they took off again with $500 and $1,000 bills. During the flight, the plane experienced mechanical problems, and they had to land at New Orleans. They proceeded to switch planes, Hahneman using his handgun and hostages to shimmy along the runway. They took off again and flew to Honduras, where Hahneman jumped out into the dead of night, over the jungle, clutching his ransom. After being on the run for weeks, Hahneman later handed himself in to the US embassy in Honduras. A more unfortunate attempt was committed by Martin McNally, who, in June 1972, hijacked a plane from St. Louis and dropped his $500,000 ransom upon exiting the airplane!


He Changed Aviation Security Forever


The cooper vane in place on the aircraft. The front of the aircraft is to the bottom

left; the vane rotates clockwise through 90 degrees to secure the ramp.


After the Cooper hijacking and the subsequent copycat hijackings, aviation authorities and the FBI realized that the relaxed security on American domestic flights was too easy for hijackers. The first step to preventing hijackings was to introduce full baggage security checks for the first time. This might seen unbelievable in 2019, but the issue had to actually be passed through the US courts in 1973! American passengers thought these searches were a violation of their rights, but eventually, it was deemed necessary to protect those on board. It also became mandatory for all cockpit doors to have a peephole so that the pilots could be aware of what was happening on the other side. Aviation authorities also created what is known as the Cooper vane—a device which prevents the aft stairs from being opened during flight. (The example shown above is unlocked.) This would essentially make disembarking from a plane mid-flight in the the manner Cooper did impossible, and before long, hijackings began to become less frequent. Never again would the hijacking that D.B. Cooper committed be able to be repeated, and the device is forever named after him.


There’s A Chance He Could Be Alive Today


According to a 2016 book entitled The Last Master Outlaw, the man who hijacked the plane was Robert Rackstraw. Rackstraw, a Vietnam veteran pilot, is the subject of the book, which highlights his history of extreme aviation escapes as well as his uncanny likeness to the FBI sketch of Cooper. In 1978, Rackstraw tried to fake his own death and was arrested. His skill set and experience alerted the FBI to him. They noticed the resemblance to the sketch, but they ultimately could not find enough physical evidence to make any direct connection to the crime.  Rackstraw himself reportedly admitted to being Cooper, but the FBI thought this was just a ploy. Rackstraw is still alive today. We may get a deathbed confession from him, but even that wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened in the mysterious case of D.B. Cooper.


Source: Wikipedia D. B. Cooper  |  Facts About the Mysterious D. B. Cooper Case

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