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Fact of the Day - VAMPIRES 


Did you know... Contemporary vampire stories are fascinating because of their roots in real-world beliefs and the sheer amount of movies, television shows, novels, and other media featuring the creatures of the night. Vampire fiction has a long history, going back to old superstitions, as well as legends surrounding historical figures like Vlad the Impaler (who influenced the creation of Count Dracula) and Elizabeth Bathory, also known as the Blood Countess. According to the Vampire Encyclopedia, fear of the dead and a reverence for blood can be found in cultures all over the world—even the Greeks spoke of Empusa, the daughter of the goddess Hecate, who feasted on the blood of young men she seduced and killed. Initially the vampire was seen as a terrifying monster but contemporary vampire characters are different. They’re not strictly monstrous, and they’re sexy, seductive, and desirable. Some are cursed with a soul or they refrain from consuming human blood. They’re a protector of the weak and innocent. They’re emotionally tormented in a way that makes them more relatable, and in a way, desirable. This might explain the tremendous popularity behind vampires, but how did this come to pass? How did ancient fears and misunderstandings turn into a widely popular market of vampire fiction? In order to find the answer, we must first explore the historical roots and beliefs around vampires and their growing influence within popular culture. (BY MACK VELTMAN | NOVEMBER 21, 2020)


A Brief History of Vampires in Pop Culture

by Interesting Facts


When you think of vampires, what thoughts come to mind? Do you think of Dracula or Count von Count from Sesame Street? Or perhaps you think of more recent books, television series, and movies such as Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Blade? Once known as terrifying beings that would suck the lifeblood from people, these creatures somehow made the shift to become romantic and appealing. So what’s up with our collective fascination with vampires, and why do vampires keep appearing in pop culture?


1. Origins of the Vampire



Long before Brad Pitt made vampires look sexy, tales of the creatures had been around for centuries, but they were feared. Vampires have popped up in mythology as far back as the ancient Egyptians. But most historians agree that the vampire as we know it today got its start in Europe sometime during the 17th and 18th centuries. According to scholars, Bram Stoker's Dracula novel was inspired by the real Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes, who lived during the 15th century around Transylvania. While Romania sometimes looks fondly on his legacy, he was known to be very cruel to those he conquered, earning himself the nickname “Vlad the Impaler.” Some stories go so far as to say that he even dined with his dying victims, dipping his bread in their blood. Tales of vampire-like creatures also come from Asia; in Chinese mythology they’re known as jiangshi (pronounced chong-shee, and meaning “stiff corpse”).



2. Vampires in Literature


One of the best-known works about vampires — and the one that is credited with propelling vampires into the realm of popular culture — is the 1897 book Dracula. Stoker’s version of vampirism — a blood-sucking ghoul who preys on the innocent in order to prolong its own immortal life — was burned into the collective psyche. Notably, it also kept with the then-common belief that vampires were dangerous and unholy, although there’s a case to be made that the Victorian-era novel is full of innuendo and is, in fact, a heavily sexual piece. But through this novel, we get several characters who continually pop up in future works by other authors and television and movie directors. You might be familiar with names like Van Helsing, the vampire slayer who is the central character portrayed by Hugh Jackman in a 2004 action movie, or Mina Murray, a love interest who features prominently in Dracula romance novel spin-offs.



3. Vampires Get a Makeover


It wasn’t until 1931 that the vampire transitioned from being a vicious-looking monster into a handsome rogue who just so happened to also suck people’s blood. You can thank the film Dracula that was released that year, and actor Bela Lugosi for playing the titular role in a suave manner. Through the decades, vampires stayed attractive yet fearsome, until Sesame Street’s fourth season in 1972. Best known as the Count von Count who likes to count, the friendly character manages to straddle popular vampire tropes such as wearing a cape, living in a decrepit castle, and laughing dramatically with a Transylvanian accent, while also delighting small children and teaching them how to count their numbers. He’s probably the only family-friendly vampire most people can name, though Disney’s Vampirina also proves that Transylvania’s most famous cultural export can be for kids. But vampires didn’t take a decidedly sexy turn until the 1970s when Anne Rice began writing her Vampire Chronicles novel series that centered around the handsome French vampire Lestat. The most famous book in the series was Interview With the Vampire, which in 1993 was turned into a movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. It’s safe to say that after this movie was released, the interest in vampires in pop culture experienced a rebirth, and there were plenty of people who were open to the idea of literally being bitten by love.


4. In the Art House


Arguably the most influential vampire movie ever made is 1922's Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau's silent fantasia, which belongs to the German Expressionist movement. Max Schreck stars as Count Orlock in the loose (and unofficial) adaptation of Stoker's novel, with a number of names and other details being changed for legal reasons. Its legacy is massive, so much so that none other than Werner Herzog remade it as Nosferatu the Vampyre in 1979. The filmmaker's frequent collaborator Klaus Kinski starred in that version, which is even stranger than its source material and just as worthwhile — not least because of Isabelle Adjani's performance. Both films are part of a proud tradition of avantgarde vampire movies that continues today. French auteur Claire Denis threw her proverbial hat in the ring with 2001’s Trouble Every Day, in which American newlyweds find themselves among many tantalizing necks in Paris; Jim Jarmusch did likewise with Only Lovers Left Alive, a romantic drama starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a bloodsucking couple whose centuries-long affair has made them as prone to waxing philosophical as they are to sucking blood. Similarly artful films are made all over the world, from Let the Right One In (Sweden) and The Transfiguration (America) to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Iran) and Thirst (South Korea), all of them demonstrating how many different approaches there are to depicting these creatures of the night.


5. Vampires Go Mainstream


Although Interview With the Vampire was a racy novel and movie, a more family-friendly version of vampire relations also hit the big screen a year earlier with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The 1992 movie centered on a cheerleader who discovers that she’s a vampire hunter and was successful enough to be adapted into a beloved television series five years later. The “Buffyverse” is home to one of the most dedicated fan-bases around, not least because of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s inspired performance in the title role — she even received a Golden Globe nomination. Buffy proved both that bloodsuckers can draw ratings and that a strong female lead could be accepted by a diverse audience. It also paved the way for the likes of True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, both of which spawned devoted followings of their own and suggest that, like the creatures themselves, this genre refuses to die.



Source: The History of Vampires in Popular Culture  |  Facts About Vampire Pop Culture

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Did you know... “Happy Birthday to You” was originally composed in 1893 as “Good Morning to All” by Patty Smith Hill, a kindergarten teacher and principal in Louisville, Kentucky, and her oldest sister, Mildred Jane Hill, a pianist and composer. Its lyrics went like this:

Good morning to you,

Good morning to you,

Good morning, dear children,

Good morning to all. (Meera Jagannathan | Updated: Jul. 16, 2019)


The Real Story Behind the “Happy Birthday” Song

by Interesting Facts


Its power is in its simplicity. With only six notes, six words, and four lines — three of them the same — “Happy Birthday” is one of the most universal songs on the planet. Yet for something so straightforward, the celebratory tune has a surprisingly complicated history. The song has been passed down for generations, with many people learning the tune just by listening to family and friends sing it at parties. But the way that it spreads so organically is what made the tune’s copyright a subject of debate that was only legally settled in 2015.


1. A Pair of Innovative Sisters Wrote the Song


Born in Kentucky in 1868, Patty Smith Hill was known for breaking the mold when it came to early childhood education. Instead of structured learning, she championed a more natural method of kindergarten focused on children’s instincts and creativity.

Meanwhile, her sister Mildred J. Hill, born in 1859, was just as forward-thinking in the world of musicology. While she was also a composer and performer, the elder Hill focused her musical studies on Black spirituals, often writing about the subject using the pen name “Johnan Tonsor.” Together, the Hill sisters wrote the song “Good Morning to All.” Three of the four lines were just that, while the third line was “Good morning, dear children.” “She was the musician and I was, if it is not using too pretentious a word, the poetess," Patty said of their process in 1934, adding that Mildred, who also taught, would perfect the melody by trying it out on her young students. They included it in a songbook, Song Stories for Kindergarten, which they published in 1893.


2. The Song Began to Morph


Over time, the lyrics changed and the tune began to be used as a celebratory birthday song — the version that we know today. How exactly that happened is unknown, but by 1924, it appeared in another songbook edited by Robert Coleman with the Hill sisters’ original lyrics as the first verse and “Happy birthday to you” as the second. The tune soon grew in popularity and started to appear more in print. But the Hills never copyrighted the “Happy birthday” version of the lyrics. Patty later said, “I was never a money-grubber.” When it appeared in Irving Berlin’s 1933 Broadway musical As Thousands Cheer, however, Mildred and Patty’s youngest sister, Jessica, stepped in and filed a court case saying her family was owed royalties. The lawsuit was settled and the Hills were eligible for payment whenever the song was used. Then, in 1935, the Hills registered their work through the Clayton F. Summy Company with the now-famous birthday lyrics.


3. More Questions Emerge


That was far from the end of the saga, though. The company they registered with was sold off — twice — and in 1988, the song eventually fell into the library of Warner Music Group’s publishing arm Warner-Chappell, which was estimated to receive about $2 million a year from the song's usage, well into the 2010s. But it wasn't long before questions were raised as to whether the song still qualified for copyright. Some believed the rights expired in 1949 since it was written in the 1890s, while others doubted that the Hills even wrote the birthday lyrics. Others believed it wouldn’t go into the public domain until 2030. Even so, to avoid having copyright fees slapped on them, TV shows and films would often come up with alternative ways to capture the song. Restaurants even started to make up their own birthday tunes so there wasn’t any possibility of having to pay up. After all, when it was used, the fee could vary, costing as much as $10,000. And even with the questions over the song's authorship, Warner-Chappell still owned the rights. “The truth is it kind of doesn’t matter,” WNYC’s On the Media reported. “Copyright law isn't an ironclad dictate, like the border of a country. It’s a lot more like land claims in the Wild West. You own what you can defend. Warner Music Group is a behemoth. No one’s ever seriously challenged it over ‘Happy Birthday.’”


4. A Final Ruling


In 2013, a filmmaker named Jennifer Nelson filed another lawsuit after paying $1,500 to use the song in her documentary. Two years later, her lawyers found a piece of evidence that changed everything: A version of the song in an old songbook from 1922 published without a copyright notice. The long saga ended in 2016, as Warner Music Group agreed to pay back $14 million in settlement claims to those who had been charged to use the song since 1949. The song also had to be acknowledged as part of the public domain. More than a century after the Hill sisters wrote the song that would inspire a cultural phenomenon, it finally became fair use.



Source: Happy Birthday Song Facts  |  Happy Birthday Song Origins

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Fact of the Day - HALLOWEEN MOVIES


Did you know... When it comes to horror franchises, nothing touches Halloween. For over 40 years, audiences have watched Michael Myers and Laurie Strode match wits with John Carpenter’s spine-tingling score playing in the background. But what does it take to keep a franchise going for nearly half a century? Somehow, the impossibly bad Halloween: Resurrection isn’t the scariest thing in this franchise’s history. As we’ll see, Halloween has encountered its fair share of real-life scares and controversies over the years… (Eva Blanchefleur | October 16, 2020)


Facts That Make “Halloween” as Fascinating as It Is Frightening

by Interesting Facts


Forty-four years and 13 movies later, it would appear that Halloween has finally been laid to rest. The October 2022 release of Halloween Ends heralds the end of an era as series star Jamie Lee Curtis (who plays Laurie Strode) bids adieu to the franchise that made her perhaps the greatest scream queen in silver-screen history. And while not every movie in the franchise has been quite as memorable as director John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween, there’s no denying the enduring influence of the slasher series. As you plan your next marathon and fondly reminisce about the decades-long battle between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, delve into these five facts that make Halloween as fascinating as it is frightening.


1. “Halloween” Was Almost the Sequel to Another Movie


The box office success of Carpenter’s 1978 classic (which he co-wrote, directed, and composed the score to) helped put slasher movies — a subgenre of horror films usually involving a psychopathic killer — on the map. Made for just $300,000, it became one of the most profitable independent films ever made when it earned $70 million at the box office and spawned the franchise we know and love today. But Halloween wasn’t the first slasher. Among its predecessors is Black Christmas — for which Halloween was almost a sequel. Bob Clark’s 1974 chiller set in a sorority house on Christmas Eve is regularly cited as one of the best horror films of all time, and while Clark himself didn’t plan to make a follow-up to Black Christmas, there were nonetheless talks:


I never intended to do a sequel. I did a film about three years later … started a film with John Carpenter. It was his first film for Warner Bros. He asked me if I was ever going to do a sequel and I said no. I was through with horror; I didn't come into the business to do just horror. He said, ‘Well what would you do if you did do a sequel?’ I said it would be the next year and [Black Christmas' killer] would have actually been caught, escape from a mental institution, go back to the house, and they would start all over again. And I would call it Halloween.”

Despite the similarities, Clark doesn’t believe that Carpenter borrowed too heavily from his concept: “He liked Black Christmas and may have been influenced by it, but in no way did John Carpenter copy the idea.” In fact, producers Irwin Yablans and Moustapha Akkad, who were impressed by Carpenter’s 1976 thriller Assault on Precinct 13, approached him to direct a horror movie about a killer targeting babysitters. Carpenter agreed as long as he was granted full creative control, and he and his romantic and creative partner at the time, Debra Hill, began working on the script for Halloween.


2. The "Halloween" Franchise Has Five Separate Continuities


Many of the 13 movies in the franchise ignore some, most, or all of their counterparts to create their own timelines and chart their own path forward. (This handy flowchart should provide some clarity.) Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) are all part of the same timeline. On the other hand, 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection ignore everything made after Halloween II. Then, there are the three newest movies directed and co-written by David Gordon GreenHalloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021), and now Halloween Ends — which function as direct sequels to the original classic. However, one key distinction is that while Halloween II (1981) revealed that Laurie Strode was actually Michael Myers’ little sister, the familial connection was abandoned in the later films. Green (nor original director Carpenter) apparently wasn’t too fond of that particular plot development. Incidentally, director Rob Zombies’ 2007 reimagining and its 2009 sequel (likewise called Halloween and Halloween II) also paired Michael and Laurie as siblings, but those two films exist in their own cinematic universe.


And finally, 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the one film in the franchise that has nothing to do with any of the other movies — the Michael Myers character isn’t even in it. The film was instead intended as a way to turn Halloween into an anthology series centered around the eponymous holiday, an idea that was scrapped after disappointing box-office returns. Even so, Season of the Witch — which replaces Michael’s mask with those of the Silver Shamrock company, whose products may or may not be inspiring their wearers to commit murder —has developed a cult following among fans who are especially fond of its creepy (and oddly catchy) countdown song.


3. Three Different Actors Played Michael Myers


In 1978’s Halloween, the main man behind the mask (credited as The Shape) was Nick Castle, a film-school friend of Carpenter’s who later co-wrote Escape From New York (1981) with him. Tommy Lee Wallace, the film’s production designer, also stepped in for some masked scenes. Neither of them are the unmasked Michael we see at the end, however. That would be Tony Moran, who received $250 for a day’s work and used that princely sum on “gas to go surfing.” Moran received an offer to reprise his role in Halloween II but turned it down. “I was an actor. I didn't want to be behind a mask again, you know?” he explained. “They called my agent up and I said no, and they asked if they could use my footage from [Halloween] and put it in [Halloween] II and give me the credit on Halloween II and pay me, and I said, ‘That's excellent with me.’”


4. There’s a Reason Myers’ Mask Looks So Familiar


Carpenter and Hill’s screenplay describes Myers’ mask as having “the pale, neutral features of a man,” an intentionally vague description that was open to interpretation. Finding said visage was the purview of the film’s production designer, Wallace, who explained in an episode of Netflix’s The Movies That Made Us that he visited a magic shop in Hollywood to find it: “Up on the shelves were these full face masks of Richard Nixon, and down at the end was Mr. Spock. And right next to it was this blank face Captain Kirk,” which was made for the Star Trek character played by William Shatner. After altering the mask by painting it white, enlarging the eyeholes, and removing both the sideburns and eyebrows, Wallace had created one of cinema’s most recognizable (and terrifying) faces. Shatner didn’t know about the connection for some time, and his reaction was understandable: “I thought, ‘Is that a joke? Are they kidding?’”


5. The Franchise Is Probably Not Actually Over


Like their villains, slasher series never truly die — just ask A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. Nevertheless, the current trilogy has been marketed as a conclusion to Halloween, with Curtis saying goodbye to the franchise in an Instagram post earlier this year. Asked about Halloween’s future in a New Yorker interview in August 2022, however, Carpenter said that “if a movie makes enough money, you can be assured that it will” get a sequel. As for whether the new film should be the last, he responded, “I will have to see how much money it makes!” Blumhouse Productions, the producers behind the most recent films (as well as smash successes like Paranormal Activity, Get Out, and other horror franchises), only acquired the rights for a trilogy, however, meaning that any future installments will likely take place outside the current timeline — which will make keeping track of the Halloween franchise’s plot developments even more confusing than it already is.



Source: Heart-Pounding Facts About The Halloween Film Franchise  |  Facts About the "Halloween" Franchise

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Fact of the Day - MISCHIEF NIGHT


Did you know... Mischief Night, Cabbage Night, the pre-Halloween candy fast---depending on where you grew up, you not only called the night before Halloween something different, but it had a meaning that was entirely foreign to the rest of the country. Before Halloween became prevalent in the 20th century, towns were beseeched with teens causing mischief of all kinds. They egged houses, tipped over outhouses, and got all sorts of rowdy. Things got so out of hand that people began plying the children with candy in order to chill everyone out. While most areas across the country have no particular name for the day before October 31, there are a few places that hold Halloween Eve as a special holiday all its own.  (Jacob Shelton | October 21, 2019)


A Brief History of Mischief Night

by Interesting Facts


Halloween may be the most well-known holiday in October, but the day before — October 30 — has a not-so-friendly history of its own. While most cities in the U.S. no longer acknowledge it, the aptly-named Mischief Night used to be a much-anticipated evening of mayhem and stunts perpetrated by children and teenagers, who used the night as a one-time pass to prank neighbors, teachers, and the unsuspecting. Here’s how the weird and mischievous holiday got started.


1. Mischief Night Was Once a Spring Holiday


Mischief Night now has an ominous connotation, and in most regions it’s seen as an extension of Halloween. After all, the idea of perpetrating scares and committing pranks fits well with the long, dark nights of fall. But interestingly, Mischief Night wasn’t always an autumn holiday. Commonly celebrated in England, Ireland, and Scotland in centuries past, Mischief Night was once part of the festivities welcoming spring. Originally, May Day Eve (aka April 30) was a night when children bid the winter months goodbye with hijinks and devilment. Over the years, Mischief Night slowly slid down the calendar to fall, often celebrated around Guy Fawkes Day on November 5, which just so happens to fall around the same time as the Celtic Samhain (the inspiration behind Halloween). For some time, Mischief Nights appeared twice a year, in spring and fall, before eventually becoming a solely autumnal celebration — and with good reason: The longer nights gave more time for shenanigans compared to the shrinking evening hours that come with the vernal equinox. Around the early 1900s, the holiday was an acknowledged part of fall celebrations.


2. It Was a Socially Acceptable Way to Blow Off Steam


By some accounts, Mischief Night as we know it today emerged around 1790 in Oxford, England, where students became known for annual tricks like pulling out fence posts, tipping over horse-drawn carts, and greasing door knobs with lard. However, some historians believe (thanks to recorded accounts of the time) that Mischief Night likely had been going on for some years already by the end of the 18th century, considering the antics were received mildly and already considered an annoying tradition at that date. Irish and Scottish immigrants fleeing famine in the 1840s brought much of their Halloween celebration to America, including the Mischief Night tradition. While related, the two harvesttime events were separate, with the prank-filled night often calledDevil’s Night.” As the festivities spread, more young Americans began to participate in what they considered mild horseplay: tipping over outhouses, stealing gates, and disassembling wagons to be reconstructed inside of school classrooms. Some communities may have viewed the night as an acceptable way for children and teenagers to temporarily let loose from the rigid rules of society, even going so far as to overlook more dangerous pranks, like arson. Mischief Night’s popularity in some U.S. cities is attributed to the same idea — when the holiday rose to prominence in the 1930s and ’40s, Americans were facing the stresses of the Great Depression and World War II. Some historians believe it makes sense that one night of cold weather capers could help reduce tension, however briefly, during trying times.


3. Mischief Night Mayhem Goes By Different Names


The antics on October 30 even developed their own regional names. Vermont and New Hampshire’s version of the holiday was “Cabbage Night,” likely named for the use of rotten cabbages as projectiles. With the cruciferous vegetables cultivated in abundance in the Northeast’s cooler climate, cabbages that had grown old and rotten were on hand to fling at houses and humans, a prank recorded as early as 1861. In some cases, mischief was a two-night process that targeted stingy neighbors. In cities such as Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, and Des Moines, Iowa, the night before Halloween was dubbed “Beggars’ Night,” as costumed children roamed from doorstep to doorstep demanding food and treats. Demanding children issued a warning: Any home that didn’t hand out candy or other goods would be pranked on Halloween with simple retributions like stink-bombed porches or missing yard furniture. But in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where Mischief Night is still often celebrated by toilet-papering homes and launching eggs at unsuspecting targets, the original name remains.


4. Many Mischief Night Celebrations Have Been Snuffed Out


Some of the earliest American Halloween-time gags were relatively benign; in the 1880s, pranksters were known to paint church pews with molasses or tie together doorknobs, trapping people in their homes. In most cases, rural farm communities overlooked the mayhem as nothing more than a rite of passage. But as more families moved from close-knit communities to larger cities, pranks became targeted less at neighbors and often included unsuspecting passersby, sometimes causing injury or substantial property damage. By the 1970s, some cities began pushing back against the increasingly destructive pranks and vandalism that occurred in the days leading up to Halloween and specifically on October 30. The reputation for Mischief Night only worsened in the 1980s, when cities such as Detroit and Camden, New Jersey, began to fear the date as one that annually brought danger. Residents in these cities were on high alert from the holiday’s intense rowdiness, which often included arson; in 1994, the week of Devil’s Night and Halloween included 354 fires in Detroit. In the years since, both cities — and other regions that still see the tradition each fall — have instituted curfews and neighborhood watch groups that patrol their communities to snuff out dangerous behavior, successfully reducing the holiday’s madness, and instead championing the sweeter side of Halloween.



Source: Devil's Night, Mischief Night, Or Cabbage Night Facts  |  Mischief Night Facts

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Did you know... These are some famous and powerful quotes that changed world history. Some of them were so powerful that World Wars took birth as they were uttered. Others quelled storms that threatened to wipe out humanity. Still, others inspired a change of mindset, and kickstart social reform. These words have transformed the lives of millions, and have etched new paths for the future generation. (Simran Khurana | Updated on July 16, 2018)


Quotes That Changed History

by Interesting Facts


Words are powerful, capable even of changing the course of history. They can win wars or prevent them. They can impart comforting knowledge in the face of adversity and inspire others to great feats and great discoveries. They can set people free, or at least set them on a path to freedom. Here, we’ve highlighted eight famous quotes that have changed history, from the rousing words of Elizabeth I to an impassioned plea for equality and justice by Nelson Mandela.


1. Queen Elizabeth I

I know I have the body but of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm. — Queen Elizabeth I (source)


In 1588, while awaiting an expected invasion by the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth I addressed her troops gathered at Tilbury, England. Elizabeth, dressed in a white velvet dress and wearing a breastplate, rode among her troops upon a gray horse, cutting an almost mythical figure. While her rousing speech didn’t directly affect the outcome of the failed Armada, the English had a newfound faith in their queen, which would help make the small nation a world power.


2. Galileo Galilei


I hold the sun to be situated motionless in the center of the revolution of the celestial orbs while the Earth rotates on its axis and revolves about the sun. — Galileo Galilei (source)


Heliocentrism — the idea that the Earth and planets revolve around the sun at the center of the universe — had been around since the ancient Greeks. But it was Galileo who first provided proof using a telescope. In 1615, he was investigated by the Roman Inquisition of the Catholic Church for his supposedly heretical beliefs, and spent part of his life under house arrest. Today, he is considered the father of observational astronomy, modern physics, and the scientific method.


3. Abraham Lincoln

That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. — Abraham Lincoln (source)

On November 19, 1863 — a little over four months after Union armies defeated the Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War — President Lincoln delivered a short speech in honor of those who died in defense of freedom. The speech was only about 272 words long (the precise wording is disputed), but the Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history and a turning point in the Civil War.


4. Emmeline Pankhurst


I come to ask you to help to win this fight. If we win it, this hardest of all fights, then, to be sure, in the future it is going to be made easier for women all over the world to win their fight when their time comes. — Emmeline Pankhurst (source)

When British activist Emmeline Pankhurst traveled to Hartford, Connecticut, for an event in November 1913, she delivered a speech that united suffragists and suffragettes from both nations, bolstering and expanding the fight for women’s voting rights. Her “Freedom or Death” speech is considered one of the most important of her career.


5. Winston Churchill

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. — Winston Churchill (source)

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered this speech in the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, following the Battle of Dunkirk. With the Allies heroically evacuated from Dunkirk, an invasion of Britain by Nazi Germany was a distinct possibility. It was time for Churchill to rally the nation, and that he certainly did.  


6. John F. Kennedy


We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. — John F. Kennedy (source)

President John F. Kennedy’s speech at Rice University in 1962 made NASA’s fledgling Apollo program a national priority. In doing so, he paved the way for one of humankind’s greatest achievements: stepping onto the lunar surface in 1969. The speech had far-reaching consequences, not only for the space race but for space exploration for decades to come.


7. Martin Luther King Jr.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. — Martin Luther King Jr. (source)

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered what would become a defining moment of the civil rights movement — and one of the most iconic speeches in U.S. history. King addressed the crowd of some 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, calling for an end to racism in the United States, and civil and economic rights for all citizens.


8. Nelson Mandela


I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. — Nelson Mandela (source)

Nelson Mandela gave his “I Am Prepared to Die” speech from the dock as a defendant at the Rivonia Trial of 1964, in which he and other leading opponents of apartheid went on trial on charges of sabotage, a crime that carried the death penalty. The three-hour speech is considered one of the great speeches of the 20th century, and a rallying cry for racial justice and democratic ideals. Mandela, however, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 27 years of the sentence, and four years after his release in 1990, he was elected the first Black president of South Africa.



Source: Quotes That Changed the History of the World | Facts About Quotes that Changed History

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - GHOSTS


Did you know... From late night horror stories to calling off spirits and communicating with the dead, we all have been fascinated with the life beyond dead. If you are somebody who loves watching ghost movies and gets all excited with the sudden silence and screams and wish to discover the dark sides, these facts about ghosts would give you nightmares. Here are some interesting facts about ghosts that will send chills down your spine. (OhFact!)


Spooky Facts About Ghosts That’ll Give You Chills

by Becca Marsh | October 18, 2022


Did you know that there are over 60 known haunted houses, castles, mansions, and buildings across the UK? Ghosts are supernatural phenomena that some people believe in and others don’t. For years, ghosts have haunted the hallways of mansions, castles, and homes. Sometimes they are said to be the deceased stuck in limbo and have unfinished business on earth. The spirit lingers and torments the living until they are accepted into heaven or hell. Other theories tell tales of ghosts haunting a particular person or place. Here are five spooky facts about ghosts that will send shivers down your spine.


1.  A ghost may haunt you for multiple reasons


Famed ghost hunter and author Richard Southall said there are four reasons a ghost may be around. The first of his list is that the ghost may not realize that it is actually dead. The second is that the ghost has unfinished business. It is said that when a person dies, they can not cross into the underworld until all the business is finished on earth. This leads to reason three: the ghost may be lingering so it can say goodbye to a loved one. The final theoretical reason is to offer guidance to a loved one. Ghosts are generally believed only to haunt locations, objects, or people they were associated with. For example, a famed story is of the Winchester Mystery House. The story is that ghosts tormented the wife of the creator of the Winchester gun in her home. But these were all ghosts of those who had been killed with that particular brand of gun.


2. There are different types of ghosts, some good and some bad.


You may have thought you have one type of ghost to look out for, but there are multiple. It’s not just a typical floating white bed sheet ghost trying to haunt you. There are poltergeists which are noisier ghosts that tend to torment the living. They often move things around your home and will spook you through subtle movements. Funnel ghosts and orbs are other types of ghosts. These are associated more so with light and will appear like a ball of light or mist. They can also be the type of ghost that will look over a loved one.


3. You can make a ghost haunt your enemy


This is possibly one of the most chilling things to think of. According to the Romans, you can effectively order a ghost to get revenge for you. The Romans believed in a few simple steps to get this done. It began with writing down a curse by scratching into stone or, in those days, a tablet. The curse needed to mention the enemy’s name and describe what type of torment was to be made. Then this was to be placed in a grave or burial site for the deceased to act upon. Not all Romans believed in this, but it was often practiced with the hopes of the dead returning as ghosts to torment.


4. The witching hour is when ghosts are most potent


In folklore, the witching hour is associated with paranormal events and when ghosts are likely to appear. Although it is possible to see a ghost at any time of day, it is said that ghosts will be at their most powerful during the witching hour. Many argue when the witching hour is, but generally, it is believed to be between 3 and 4 am.  It is thought that this association stemmed from the Catholic Church. This is because, during the 1500s, the Catholic Church banned activities during this hour. The ban was due to the fear of witchcraft at the time, as it was assumed this was performed at night. The witching hour was born and is now known as the most unearthly hour. This is when poltergeists will move things and terrorize a household or when you are most likely to see one. So next time you find yourself awake during this hour, be careful of what you might see.


5. England is one of the world’s most haunted countries


Britain has a complex history, full of battles, torture, death, and witchcraft, so it is no surprise that it is one of the most haunted countries in the world. There are over 60 known haunted houses, castles, mansions, and buildings across the UK. Many of these locations once witnessed many horrors in the form of a battle, beheading, or worse. Hampton Court Palace is one of the most haunted locations in the UK. Here you can see the ghost of a grey lady, a man in a mask, and the famous screaming queen. Ghosts come in many shapes and forms and have different purposes. Some are out to haunt you and torment you, others are just there to show you love and guide you. Whether it is a friendly or not-so-friendly ghost, you may encounter one at any moment. So next time you hear a floorboard creek or notice one of your objects has moved, it may just be a ghost…



Source: Interesting Facts About Ghosts | Ghost Facts

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - PUMPKINS


Did you know... Before carving pumpkins for Halloween, people used to carve turnips.
Turnips aren’t usually considered fancy fare — over the years they’ve served as livestock fodder and occasionally been used to pelt unpopular figures in public. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, they weren’t just begrudgingly served for dinner, but also used as small lanterns. The durable root crop is often harvested as the weather cools, and in Ireland, that was just in time for Samhain, the Celtic celebration of summer’s end. Ancient Celts believed that the separation between the living world and spirit realm was at its weakest during autumn, making it possible for ghosts and demons to cause mischief. To protect themselves and their homes, superstitious folk across the British Isles would carve frightening faces into produce — sometimes potatoes or beets, but most commonly turnips — as a way to ward off harm. With a lit candle placed inside, the illuminated faces acted as old-world lanterns that banished the unwanted and guided the way along dark paths. Turnip carving slowly faded in popularity, especially after the advent of electricity. Still, the tradition made its way to the U.S., albeit with a twist, thanks to an influx of Irish immigrants fleeing famine around the 1840s: Harvest-time celebrants found that pumpkins, abundant and native to North America, were much easier to carve than turnips. The modified tradition caught on during the later part of the 20th century, and gave root to the bewitching American custom of carving jack-o'-lanterns around Halloween.


The name “jack-o'-lantern” comes from an Irish legend.
Considering that the tradition of carving pumpkins came to America from Ireland, it’s no surprise that the name for carved-produce lanterns comes from Irish lore too. According to an Irish folktale, a thief known by the name of Stingy Jack outsmarted and trapped the devil, only agreeing to release him if the thief’s soul would be guaranteed safe from a fiery afterlife. When Stingy Jack’s final day arrived, his bad behavior kept him out of heaven — and his deal barred him from the underworld. Instead, his apparition was left to wander the Earth, carrying only a burning coal to light his travels, and with a new moniker: “Jack of the Lantern,” which eventually became the “jack-o'-lantern” we use today. As with many tall tales, the story of Stingy Jack was also used to explain the unexplainable; in this case, ignis fatuus, aka false fire or marsh gas. We now know that methane created by decaying plants in swamps and marshes can spontaneously ignite, but in centuries past, sudden bursts of ignis fatuus throughout the British Isles would have been considered supernatural events — and used to warn of the perils of bad behavior.


Things You May Not Know About Pumpkins
by HISTORY.COM EDITORS | October 15, 2020


In the United States, pumpkins go hand in hand with the fall holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Harvested in October, this nutritious and versatile orange fruit features flowers, seeds and flesh that are edible and rich in vitamins. Pumpkin is used to make soups, desserts and breads, and many Americans include pumpkin pie in their Thanksgiving meals. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a popular Halloween tradition that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Back then, however, jack-o’-lanterns were made out of turnips or potatoes; it wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered the pumpkin that a new Halloween ritual was born. Now pumpkins are commonly placed on stoops in the falls months, and get carved ahead of Halloween night. Here are six things you may not know about them. READ MORE: How Jack O'Lanterns Originated in Irish Myth


1. Fruit or Vegetable?


Pumpkins are a fruit, a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents—all but Antarctica.


2. The First Pumpkins


Pumpkins have a long history of feeding people, from their origins in North America to being grown around the world, and grow in a lot of different colors and sizes. They are fat free; cholesterol free; sodium free; good source of vitamine C and A. Indigenous North Americans have grown pumpkins for thousands of years—even before the cultivation of beans and corn.


3. What's in a Name?


The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word Pepõn, which means large melon. It was then nasalized by the French into "pompo”, which the English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion,” and so on until American settlers arrived at the word we use today.


4. There was a Census?


According to the 2017 U.S. Agriculture Census, Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins in the United States. It harvests twice as many pumpkin acres as any of the other top-producing states.


5. How Much Can a PumpKin Weigh?


The heaviest pumpkin was grown in Belgium in 2016 and weighed a whopping 2,624 pounds. The heaviest pumpkin in the U.S. was grown in New Hampshire in 2018 and weighed 2,528 pounds. The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was in Ohio in 2010. It weighed 3,699 pounds and was over 20 feet in diameter.


6. Seeds Seeds Seeds!


Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.



Source: Facts About Pumpkins | Brief History on Pumpkins

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Last Halloween fact for the year.


Fact of the Day - HALLOWEEN CANDY


Did you know... Americans buy approximately 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween every year. If you’re not sure what exactly that looks like, consider this: The Titanic weighed about 100 million pounds. Now, picture six Titanic ships made of candy. That’s a lot of candy! And it does make one wonder: Where did this sweet tradition get its start?


The Invention of “Candy Day”
As you may have guessed, we have the candy industry to thank — at least in part. Back in 1916, Christmas and Easter were the major holidays to peddle sweets, but execs were looking for a way to boost fall candy sales. So, they started pitching the idea of Candy Day, celebrated the second Saturday in October. They sold it as a holiday of goodwill and friendship, although it was really a manufactured holiday invented with one goal in mind: making money. Candy Day was renamed “Sweetest Day” to link the idea of candy and friendship and held that title until the 1950s. (Claire Swinarski | Updated May 1, 2019)


Why We Hand Out Candy, and Other Halloween Questions Answered

by Interesting Facts


Americans have been celebrating Halloween for just as long as Thanksgiving, and longer than Independence Day. But while the costume-friendly, sugar-filled holiday feels timeless, the version celebrated today — in the U.S. and around the globe — differs drastically from its Celtic origins. Once a night for honoring the dead, Halloween slowly transformed into a night of revelry and mischief with a supernatural twist. The biggest change? The focus on candy and treats, which American trick-or-treaters have made inseparable from the holiday. Americans are expected to spend $10.6 billion on costumes, candy, and other Halloween items in 2022, up from the record-high $10.14 billion spent in 2021. Whether your Halloween plans include a spooky movie marathon or hosting your own monster mash, you can prep for Halloween trivia with these commonly asked questions.


1. Where Did Halloween Come From?


It’s not exactly clear what ancient Celts did during Samhain, the pagan holiday we now link with Halloween, but historians have some idea thanks to a surviving bronze calendar. The first written mentions of Samhain appeared in Europe around the first century, marking winter’s swift approach and the start of the Celtic new year. Celebrated on October 31, Samhain was a time when the wall between the spirit plane and the living world was thought to be at its weakest, allowing spirits to cross the boundary with ease. In an effort to curb vandalism and mishaps from angsty ghosts, the Celts hosted welcoming bonfires and left food offerings; eventually, the practice transitioned to dressing as ghouls themselves and traveling door to door in search of refreshments and merriment. Modern Halloween has held tight to many Celtic traditions, like fortune-telling and bobbing for apples, but Roman Christian attempts to squash pagan ceremonies starting around 600 CE started the slow transition from religious festival to the spooky secular event. Colonists in early America brought some Halloween traditions with them (telling ghost stories, pulling pranks, and sharing harvest meals) but strict social and religious rules in Puritan communities scaled back the death-centric influence of early celebrations. Halloween would gain back some of its edge around the mid-1800s when a large influx of Irish immigrants began sharing their holiday traditions passed down from Celtic ancestors, such as carving pumpkins and donning costumes. The Halloween we’re familiar with today slowly spread across the U.S., and by the 1920s, trick-or-treaters across the country were looking forward to their one night of socially acceptable mischief and candy collecting.


2. How Did Halloween Get Its Name?


Samhain, Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve — a cluster of names surrounding October 31 can make it seem like the fall celebrations are all the same despite having different roots. Samhain, which is still celebrated by pagans worldwide, remains its own holiday that spun off the Halloween traditions we celebrate today. All Hallow’s Eve, however, was created in an attempt to replace Samhain as Christianity spread through Europe. Pope Gregory I crafted a calendar of holy days that coincided with non-Christian holidays around the early 600s CE, co-opting the celebrations in an effort to convert new followers. All Saint’s Day was set for November 1 with the intention of honoring Christian martyrs and saints around the same time Samhain was memorializing deceased loved ones. The holiday, which also went by the name All Hallow’s Day, picked up in popularity; the night prior (October 31) was referred to as All Hallow’s Eve. The name morphed into Hallowe’en, with the apostrophe eventually being dropped altogether.


3. Why Are Orange And Black Halloween Colors?


Halloween decorations primarily come in orange and black, and while there’s no definitive answer to when this color palette took root, both hues are fitting for the crisp, autumnal holiday. Orange is thought to signify fall, reflecting the colors of changing leaves and the season’s most abundant crops — think pumpkins, wheat, and carrots, which dominate gardens and farms this time of year. If you’ve ever felt called to decorate with seasonal squash, know the vibrant orange hue is practically contagious; despite being inedible, brightly colored gourds have sent Americans into autumnal decorating frenzies since the 1930s. The use of black has a more clear connection to Halloween, thanks once again to the Celts. Because Samhain was a religious festival honoring the deceased, it wasn’t unusual for mourners and celebrants to don dark clothing or veils during festivities. Black also represented the shift to longer nights and shorter days associated with the autumnal equinox. With the blazing days of summer long gone and bountiful harvests with it, black became a visual symbol of death, darkness, and rest.


4. Why Do We Hand Out Candy?


Surprisingly, candy wasn’t always the main focus of Halloween. The Celts were known to carry treats in their pockets or bags during Samhain as a form of protection against unfriendly spirits; danger could be staved off with the bribe of a snack should a traveler encounter a particularly ill-behaved ghoul. While the rise of Christianity throughout Europe snuffed out many pagan practices associated with Samhain, the idea of exchanging food and treats remained. Following the creation of All Saint’s Day, British and Irish bakers would give away small, spiced “soul cakes” to revelers who meandered from house to house. Door knockers would promise prayers for the homeowner’s deceased family members in exchange for the raisin-topped treats. In America, the early days of trick-or-treating in the ninth century didn’t exactly yield pillowcases full of candy either; costumed children roaming from door to door begged for money or food instead of sweets while older kids and teens went about the business of performing pranks. It’s likely that public sentiment about vandalism is what helped candy gain more importance than Halloween hijinks. Trickery was a common part of Halloween festivities through the late 1800s, with rowdy revelers performing relatively benign pranks such as soaping windows and tipping outhouses. But by the turn of the 20th century, holiday mischief was seen less as a right of passage for youngsters and more as vandalism and cruelty. As families moved from small communities to large cities, pranks escalated to include more costly property damage and were no longer tailored to specific victims, but unsuspecting passersby. Cities began hosting parties, parades, and other events to curb Halloween destruction and create a more positive holiday atmosphere. Despite those efforts, it was World War II that drastically changed the holiday’s course; pranks were characterized as a wasteful use of limited resources and a disturbance to factory workers who didn’t have time or energy for tricks. After several years of dampened festivities, communities retooled Halloween, promoting the idea of costumed trick-or-treating as an enjoyable, safe activity. With a booming generation of post-war kids who could easily demand treats from their new subdivision neighbors, the concept took off, cementing itself today as the main way to celebrate the spookiest day of the year.



Source: Why We Give Out Candy on Halloween: A Short History  |  Why Do We Eat Candy on Halloween?  |  Halloween Questions Answered

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Fact of the Day - CIVIL WAR


Did you know... During the Civil War, a sack of flour was repeatedly auctioned off to raise money for wounded soldiers.
In January 1865, four months before the Civil War’s end, Harper’s Weekly published the story of a peculiar flour sack credited with raising thousands of dollars for injured soldiers. The tale — entirely true — began in Austin, Nevada, the previous year. On the eve of city elections, two wagering men, area merchant Reuel Colt Gridley and Dr. Henry Herrick, placed a bet on the vote’s outcome. The loser would pay up with a 50-pound sack of flour, but not before a dose of public humiliation: Whoever lost had to ceremoniously march down the town’s main strip with the bag, all to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” (a patriotic melody that would later inspireThe Battle Hymn of the Republic”).  Within a day, the losing bettor, Gridley, was being cheered on by his fellow townsfolk — who turned out in numbers to watch the spectacle — as he followed a brass band down the city’s center, flour sack over his shoulder. At the end of his march, he handed the sack to the bet’s winner, Herrick, but not without first recommending it be donated to the Sanitary Commission, a relief agency that provided care for sick and injured Union soldiers. Herrick agreed, and soon after the hefty sack of flour was auctioned for $350. But in an act of gallantry, the winner asked that the sack be sold again, raising another $250. Surrounding towns joined in, and before long Gridley and the “Sanitary Sack of Flour” had gone as far as San Francisco and raised $63,000. Newspapers spread the story, leading the flour sack across the country, raising upwards of $275,000 (more than $4 million today) and ending up as far as New York City. Gridley, who had started the journey as a Confederate sympathizer, returned to Nevada an ardent supporter of the Union; the famed Sanitary Sack returned with him and remains on display in Reno at the state Historical Society Museum.


President Hoover’s presidential library has a flour sack collection.
Before he sat in the Oval Office, Herbert Hoover was a wealthy entrepreneur and philanthropist living in London at the outbreak of World War I. Using his political connections and social standing, Hoover founded the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) in 1914, a volunteer organization that raised food and funds for more than 9 million starving Belgian and French citizens trapped in a blockade between German and British troops. Through negotiations with both militaries, the CRB was able to distribute more than 5.7 million tons of food across 2,500 towns, meanwhile keeping a watchful eye on the sacks of flour involved. By distributing the empty cotton bags to sewing workshops, convents, and artists, the sacks were kept from the Germans, who used cotton in the manufacture of ammunition. Many of the bags were turned into clothing and pillows, but others were embroidered or painted with the purpose of being sold for relief funds that supported prisoners of war. In a show of gratitude, hundreds of the decorated flour sacks were sent to Hoover with hand-stitched sentiments from Belgian and French citizens — and today, 366 remain at his presidential library in West Branch, Iowa. (Interesting Facts)


Facts That Might Give You a New Perspective on the Civil War

by Blake Stilwell | May 11, 2021


The American Civil War was a bloody, brutal time in the history of the United States. It not only pitted “brother against brother,” as the saying goes, it was a fight over the soul of the country for (at least) the next 150 years. But while most people know the broad brushstrokes of the war’s causes and conflicts, there are some little known facts that for some might cast America’s bloodiest war in a whole new light.


1. The first soldier killed in the war died entirely by accident.


The opening salvos of the Civil War were fired during the siege of Fort Sumter in South Carolina. When P.G.T Beauregard accepted the surrender of the fort, there were zero fatalities on either side. When the Union troops lowered the American flag, they gave it a 100-gun salute. An accidental discharge from a cannon firing that salute killed Pvt. Daniel Hough of the 1st U.S. Artillery.


2. The Civil War began and ended at the same guy’s house.

While the opening shots of the war were in Charleston Harbor, the first major battle was fought nearly three months later at the First Battle of Bull Run, also known as “First Manassas.” General Beauregard used the house of Virginian Wilmer McLean as his headquarters during the fight. McLean moved his family away from the area shortly after to a two-story house at a place called Appomattox Court HouseIt was at McLean’s house that Gens. Grant and Lee met to discuss the South’s surrender on April 9th, 1865.


3. Battles have multiple names because the of the backgrounds of their soldiers.


The bulk of the Union troops were city dwellers and townspeople. When they talked about a battle, the notable things they saw were the natural features of the battlefield. Confederates were by and large from rural areas. When they remember a battle, their inclination is to talk about the manufactured, populated, or otherwise man-made features of the area. For example, both times the two forces met near Manassas Rail Station, the Southerners dubbed the fights First and Second Battle of Manassas, while the Union troops named it after Bull Run, the nearby stream. At least 230 such Civil War combat actions are known to have multiple names.


4. Black soldiers refused their pay in protest for 18 months.

When black soldiers began enlisting in 1863, they were paid $10 while white troops were paid $13 (officers, naturally, earned more). The black troops were also charged a monthly fee for their uniforms. They refused to be paid unequal wages by not accepting their pay at all – but still fought with valor the whole time. In 1864, Congress ordered they be paid equal wages, with full pay, retroactive to the start of their enlistment. In a seemingly odd historical contrast, black soldiers fighting for the South were paid equal wages from the start of the war. 


5. A disproportionate number of black men and immigrants fought the Civil War.


It may surprise someone new to the history of the American Civil War that black men fought for the Confederacy, but it’s true. An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 fought as soldiers while another 100,000 supported the armies of the South as laborers and teamsters (though their motivation is in dispute). By the end of the war, 10 percent of the Union Army and Navy was made up of black men. Meanwhile, roughly 25 percent of recruits for the Union army were immigrants. By 1860, 13 percent of Americans were born overseas and 43 percent of the armed forces were either immigrants or the sons of immigrants. Foreigners lined up at U.S. diplomatic legations abroad to join the Union cause — so many that the U.S. minister to Berlin had to put a sign up to tell people his office was not a recruiter, for example.


Want to know more about the Civil War, click the link below ⬇️



Source: Facts About the Civil War  |  History Facts of the Civil War

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Fact of the Day - ASTEROIDS


Did you know... Some asteroids have moons.
There are more than a million known asteroids in our humble solar system, most of which are fairly small and irregularly shaped. There are some outliers, however. Some asteroids are nearly spherical, and some are so big they have their own moons — around 150 of them are in this category, in fact. There are even binary and trinary asteroids that orbit one another like celestial twins and triplets, which surely makes hurtling through the vacuum of space less lonely than it would be otherwise. (In February 2022, astronomers even discovered a quaternary asteroid — 130 Elektra, which has three moons.) Like their moonless counterparts, the majority of these asteroids can be found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and are believed to be remnants from the creation of the solar system. The first asteroid moon discovered was Dactyl, a mile-wide natural satellite orbiting the asteroid Ida and initially spotted in 1994. Other asteroids with moons include 45 Eugenia, 3122 Florence (which has two moons), and 87 Sylvia, which is roughly the same size as West Virginia and was the first trinary asteroid discovered. It’s also among the largest known asteroids in our solar system. As for the largest asteroid to ever hit Earth, it wasn’t the one that killed the dinosaurs (RIP). That distinction may belong to the asteroid that caused the Vredefort crater in South Africa, which once may have been around twice as large as it is now. A recent study concluded that the asteroid that made the crater may have been between 12.4 and 15.5 miles across when it made impact some 2 billion years ago. Hopefully, we won’t see one like it again any time soon.


The first asteroid ever discovered is now considered a dwarf planet.
If you find Pluto’s unjust trajectory from planet to dwarf planet hard to follow, wait until you hear about Ceres. Discovered on New Year’s Day 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi at Sicily’s Palermo Astronomical Observatory, it was originally considered a planet before being reclassified as an asteroid in the 1850s — the first time we mere mortals realized that asteroids were a distinct class. Other early asteroids include Pallas (1802), Juno (1804), and Vesta (1807), all of which are smaller than Ceres — which is why the latter was reclassified again, this time as a dwarf planet, in 2006. In addition to Pluto and Ceres, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) recognizes three dwarf planets: Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. (Interesting Facts)


Facts About Asteroids You May Not Know

by Allison Futterman  |  Published: Monday, June 6, 2022



Swirling among the planets in our solar system are pieces of rocky matter called asteroids. Too small to be considered planets, asteroids are a ‘hangover’ from the early formation of the solar system, making them around 4.6 billion years old. There are three types of asteroids — the materials that make up their composition determine them.

  • C-type, or those that contain high amounts of carbon, are the most common — making up about 75 percent of asteroids. These gray asteroids are typically made of clay, minerals and silicate rocks.
  • M-types contain high amounts of metals like iron and nickel, which most likely contributes to their red color.
  • S-types can range from red to green in color and are mostly made up of silicate materials as well as iron and nickel.

As these rocks travel around the sun, they can collide with planets, create falling stars and form large belts. Here are four amazing facts about asteroids that you may not have known.


1. They can create a big impact

Asteroids collide with planets. Not all are extinction level events, but some asteroids have impacted Earth in massive ways. About 66 million years ago, an asteroid the size of a mountain hit the coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula — creating the Chicxulub crater. The impact and its damage changed life on Earth and is believed to have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. The collision triggered tsunamis and fires, along with enormous amounts of dust and soot. The sulfur from vaporized rock acidified the oceans and blocked part of the sun, reducing the amount of light to reach Earth. This inhibited plant growth, leading to a larger problem in the food chain. There have been other asteroid impact events, the biggest ones ranging in time from 35 million to more than two billion years ago.


2. They form the asteroid belt

Most known asteroids are within the asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. According to NASA, the currently known asteroid count exceeds 1.1 million. They vary in size, ranging from as small as dust particles, to boulders to thousands of feet in diameter. Yet the total collective mass of all the asteroids is still less than the mass of Earth’s Moon. Despite the fact that there are millions (if not more) asteroids in the belt, they are spaced far apart — approximately 600,000 miles. Because of that, spacecraft can fly through the belt without colliding with any asteroids. In 1973, A space probe called Pioneer 10, was the first to traverse the asteroid belt.


3. They can become planets

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt and is responsible for one-third of the belt’s entire mass. The Italian priest and astronomer, Giuseppe Piazzi, discovered Ceres in 1801, and experts reclassified it from an asteroid to a dwarf planet in 2006. A dwarf planet is a celestial body that has enough mass to approximate a round shape and orbit the sun. However, they are smaller than actual planets and lack sufficient gravitational force to accumulate material within their orbits. Ceres is an icy dwarf planet with daytime temperatures sitting at about negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, it’s even colder, at an astonishing negative 225 degrees. There’s no atmosphere and one day is nine hours long. Scientists believe that Ceres may have supported life at one time.


4. They can have moons

Some asteroids are large enough to have moons. In 1993, the Galileo spacecraft discovered the first asteroid moon. Ida, an S-type asteroid, has a moon named Dactyl. Since then, several other moons have been discovered orbiting asteroids. They include one named Petit-Prince which is eight-miles-wide and orbits the asteroid, Eugenia. The asteroid Pulcova also has a similar-sized moon. Scientists believe that asteroid moons are created through a collision of two asteroids. If conditions are right, a piece may be chipped off and sent into orbit. According to NASA, more than 150 asteroids have moons, and some even have two.



Source: Facts About Asteroids  |  Asteroids, What You Might Not Know

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Did you know... There’s a genus of spiders named after Orson Welles.
Orson Welles is among the most influential filmmakers of all time, but his impact isn’t confined to the world of cinema and radio. The multihyphenate behind Citizen Kane has even made a splash among biologists — there’s a genus of giant spiders named after him. In total, there are 13 species in the Orsonwelles genus, all of which are found in the Hawaiian islands: six on Kauai, three on Oahu, two on Molokai, and one each on Maui and Hawaii itself (the Big Island). Gustavo Hormiga, the arachnologist who discovered them, explained their name thus: “[Welles] was gigantic in a way in terms of moviemaking. These guys are very unique. They’re also very gigantic. So I just said, OK, I'm going to name them Orson Welles.” Several of the creepy-crawlies are named after movies Welles directed and roles he performed: Orsonwelles macbeth, Orsonwelles bellum (named for War of the Worlds, with bellum meaning “war”), Orsonwelles othello, Orsonwelles falstaffius, and Orsonwelles ambersonorum. (The last of these is named for The Magnificent Ambersons, which some say is Welles’ greatest film — sorry, Citizen Kane!) If you consider yourself an arachnophobe, try not to fret too much over the description of these eight-legged creatures as “giant”: They’re only about the size of a thumbtack.


Welles’ final film was completed decades after his death.
When he died in 1985, Welles had nearly as many uncompleted projects as he did finished films and television programs. The most notable of these was The Other Side of the Wind, about a maverick filmmaker who returns to Hollywood to complete his passion project (life imitates art!), which Welles worked on intermittently between 1970 and 1976 but had to abandon due to insufficient funding as well as legal and other complications. Any chance of the “Holy Grail for zealous film buffs” ever being finished seemed to die along with Welles — except it didn’t. Peter Bogdanovich, who starred in the film and was a hugely influential filmmaker in his own right, helped oversee its completion beginning in 2014, after Royal Road Entertainment acquired the project and more than $400,000 was crowdfunded. Netflix eventually stepped in to distribute the film once it was completed, and after decades of uncertainty, The Other Side of the Wind premiered at the 2018 Venice Film Festival to enthusiastic reviews.


Species Named After Famous People

By Bethan Jinkinson | July 2012


Beyonce and the eponymous horse fly: Both have "unique dense golden hairs"


Within the space of a few days, a bloodsucking crustacean parasite has been named after reggae legend Bob Marley, and a genus of tropical fish has been given the name of British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. What is going on here? An estimated 17,000 to 24,000 animal species are identified every year, says Dr Ellinor Michel of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, at London's Natural History Museum - a few mammals, hundreds of amphibians and many thousands of insects and other invertebrates. The scientists who identify the new species get to choose a name. Often they pick one that alludes to distinguishing features of the animal, or the place it is found. Some choose the name of someone they respect, as with the Dawkinsia fish, and the parasite named after Marley. "Scientists generally do not name species after themselves," says Michel. "That is seen as the height of arrogance, undermining any honour in having a scientific name remembering them into posterity."


1. Richard Dawkins fish.


Having a genus (larger group) named after you is an even greater accolade than having a single species named after you. Dawkins described it as "a great honour". He told the BBC he was in not in the slightest bit offended that the fish, discovered by Sri Lankan scientist Rohan Pethiyagoda, weren't higher up the food chain. "There's no such thing as an evolutionary scale, fish are wonderful creatures, so I am delighted that my name is being attached to four of these species, and very beautiful they are too."


2. Bob Marley parasite.

Last week a small crustacean parasite which feeds on fish in the Caribbean was named Gnathia marleyi, after reggae legend Bob Marley. "I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music," said Paul Sikkel, a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University, quoted by the AFP news agency.


3. Beyonce horse fly.

The Scaptia beyonceae, a rare species of horse fly found in Queensland, Australia, was named after the American singer Beyonce, in January. Scientist Bryan Lessard said it was "the unique dense golden hairs on the fly's abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer".


4. John Cleese lemur.


John Cleese has a passion for lemurs.

Actor and comedian John Cleese had a woolly lemur named after him in 2005. The Madagascan Avahi cleesei, which is endangered, was named by Urs Thalmann as a tribute to Cleese's promotion of nature conservation in films such as Fierce Creatures. Cleese told the New Scientist he was really touched because he was "absurdly fond of the little creatures".


5. George Bush beetle.

Former US president George Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld all had beetles named after them in 2005. Quentin Wheeler, one of the scientists who discovered them, said the decision to name three species after politicians had nothing to do with physical features. "One has to be creative with names," he told the BBC. "We are two of the only politically conservative scientists around, and we decided to stick our necks out." He said Mr. Bush called him to thank him for the gesture.


6. Kate Winslet beetle.

Another beetle, the Agra katewinsletae was named after actress Kate Winslet because of her role in the film Titanic. Terry Erwin, the entomologist who discovered the beetle, explained that he was alluding to the threat posed to the beetle by deforestation. "Her character did not go down with the ship, but we will not be able to say the same for this elegant canopy species, if all the rainforest is converted to pastures."


7. Adolf Hitler beetle.


Anophthalmus hitleri is a species of blind cave beetle found only in five humid caves in Slovenia. It was named, not surprisingly, by a German collector in 1933 - an admirer of the man who had recently become chancellor of Germany.


8. David Attenborough plesiosaur.

The acclaimed British naturalist has had several species named after him, including the Attenborosaurus conybeari, a long-extinct plesiosaur named by US paleontologist Robert Bakker. Bakker is quoted as saying that he paid this tribute because it was Attenborough's childhood fascination with Liassic plesiosaurs that "sparked a brilliant career in scientific journalism".


9. Hugh Hefner rabbit.

Scientists named the marsh rabbit Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, found in the south-eastern United States, after the founder of the Playboy empire, which has a cartoon bunny as its logo, and employs waitresses dressed in bunny costumes. Hefner has donated money to protect the endangered rabbits.


10. Prince Charles frog.


Earlier this year a tree frog was named after His Royal Highness, in recognition of his charity work to protect their rainforest habitat. Hyloscirtus princecharlesi, or the Prince Charles stream tree frog, was first discovered in Ecuador in 2008.



Source: Animals and Celebrity Facts  |  Facts About Species Named After People

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Fact of the Day - STATE FOOD


Did you know... Almost every state has a declared state food of some sort. Some seem straightforward, like California's state fruit of avocado, while others seem a little odd. From state declared snack foods, beverages, and record breaking shrimp consumption, we compiled the craziest state food facts you may not even believe. 


Surprising Official State Foods

by Interesting Facts


Most states have a variety of official symbols, from trees to birds to flowers, and while many also have iconic regional dishes, not every state has declared an official food. The culinary designations that do exist can be pretty specific — for instance, there are several states with official muffins. And while sometimes they’re a little more general, as in the case of the official state snack, state foods are often no less surprising. Read on to learn about some of the foods you didn’t know were official snacks, as well as some other surprising state grub.


1. New York: Yogurt


New York is the most recent state to appoint an official state snack, and despite the abundance of iconic foods people associate with New York — from pizza to bagels to chopped cheese sandwiches and beyond — they went with yogurt. The decision wasn’t entirely out of nowhere: the state has, in the past, been designated the yogurt capital of the country, with most of the nation’s supply being manufactured upstate. There were some naysayers, however, and the 2014 hearing at the State Senate in Albany has been described as “animated” and “heated,” with some senators worrying about lactose intolerance, and whether or not a breakfast food counted as a snack. The yogurt proposal was brought forth by a fourth-grade class in western New York and, according to Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer, who sponsored the bill, truly demonstrated democracy in action.


2. Texas: Chips and Salsa

One of the best parts of Tex-Mex dining is the basket of tortilla chips and bowl of salsa that appear on your table the moment you sit down. In 2003, the ubiquitous pair was appointed the state’s official snack, not only because of its wide-reaching popularity throughout the state, but because of the historical, cultural, agricultural, and economic significance of the dish’s ingredients. The 78th Legislature of the State of Texas highlights not only that “tortilla chips and salsa enjoy popularity ratings in the stratosphere,” but that the corn, peppers, onions, and tomatoes used to make the dish have fed the state’s ancestors for centuries, and even served as important components in Texas folk medicine. Corn, onion, tomato, and jalapeno crops, meanwhile, were major drivers of the state’s economy at the time. “They constitute a much savored part of our shared cultural identity,” the resolution stated, showing just how deep the reverence for the beloved appetizer really is.


3. Illinois: Popcorn


Illinois might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of popcorn. In fact, while the state does boast more than 300 popcorn farms across almost 50,000 acres, it’s only the third biggest U.S. producer behind Nebraska and Indiana. But in 2003, after a group of second and third graders from Joliet Elementary School proposed that popcorn be given official state snack status, Senator Larry Walsh sponsored the bill and successfully earned the all-time classic snack its due. There was some unusually tough competition for the title: Beer Nuts, Lemonhead candy, Doritos, and Cheetos were all mentioned (if not outright fought for), but in the end, the humble kernel came out on top.  


4. South Carolina: Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts have been a southern staple since the 1800s, and in 2006, South Carolina declared them the official state snack. The reasoning was simple, with the General Assembly calling them “a delicious and popular snack food” and a “truly Southern delicacy.” They’re pretty much exactly what they sound like, but if you’re picturing a sopping wet version of a traditional roasted peanut, fear not — the peanuts are boiled from a raw, green state, and end up with a texture similar to edamame. Boiled peanuts are believed to have been brought to America by African slaves before the Civil War, and are considered an important part of South Carolina’s culture and history.


5. Utah: Jell-O


Although it wasn’t invented in and isn’t made in Utah, Jell-O has been the official snack of the Beehive State since 2001. Utahns are known to consume more Jell-O per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., even rallying to take back the title when Iowa surpassed their consumption in 1999. The state’s reasons for honoring the jiggly gelatin dessert are endearingly wholesome, including it being “representative of good family fun, which Utah is known for throughout the world.” During the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, an enamel pin shaped like a bowl of green Jell-O became an official souvenir, and is now a coveted collector’s item.


6. Nebraska: Kool-Aid

In 1998, Nebraska reclaimed a part of its heritage by naming Kool-Aid the official state soft drink. The sweet, fruit-flavored beverage was invented in Hastings in 1927 by Edwin E. Perkins. It was originally invented as a syrupy liquid called Fruit-Smack, but, inspired by Jell-O, Perkins found a way to turn it into a powder, making it into the Kool-Aid drink crystals most widely known today. Although production was moved out of state shortly thereafter, Nebraska still proudly calls Kool-Aid theirs. The now-iconic Kool-Aid Man mascot once had his footprints immortalized in cement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but they were rightfully returned to their Hastings home, and now, every August, attendees of the annual Kool-Aid Days Festival can visit the piece of history as well as the original Kool-Aid Factory and even a Kool-Aid Museum.


To read about other state foods, click the link below ⬇️



Source: Surprising State Food Facts  |  Facts About State Foods

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Fact of the Day - YOSHI (NINTENDO)


Did you know... The Nintendo character Yoshi’s full name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas.
Not unlike Madonna, Prince, and, well, Mario, Yoshi usually goes by one name. But the friendly green dinosaur does have a full name, and it’s a mouthful (if not the kind Yoshi himself enjoys) — T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. This key information was finally revealed to the general public in 2014, nearly 25 years after Mario’s trusty sidekick made his debut in Super Mario World. What wasn’t revealed is what the “T” stands for. Yoshi is also the name of the character’s species, which is a bit more confusing than clarifying, and plays into an ongoing debate over whether or not Yoshi is in fact a dinosaur. Nintendo itself has said that “Yoshi is not a dinosaur, but simply a Yoshi,” and yet the “saur” at the end of his name suggests otherwise. This is hardly Nintendo’s only odd naming convention. If you’ve ever wondered whether the name “Super Mario Bros.” implies that Mario and Luigi’s last name is Mario, the answer is apparently yes — meaning their full names are, in fact, Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. The world’s most famous plumber even has a scientific name: Homo nintendonus.  


There’s a Yoshi game so rare it’s worth thousands of dollars.
Yoshi has starred in his own series of games since 1991’s aptly named Yoshi. The second in that series, 1992’s Yoshi’s Cookie, isn’t exactly regarded as one of Nintendo’s most memorable games, but that hasn’t prevented it from becoming a collector’s item in its own right. A rare, alternate version of the puzzle-like game called Yosshī no Kukkī: Kuruppon Ōbun de Kukkī was limited to 500 copies and only released in Japan, with scarcity driving up the prices over the years. In 2010, one of those copies was listed in a Tokyo game store for ¥157,500 — the equivalent of $1,924 U.S. at the time. In addition to its rarity, this version of the game also has features not found in the original that have helped enhance its value. (Interesting Facts)


Facts About Nintendo's Yoshi

By Javier Reyes | Apr 12, 2019


People love their pop culture dinosaurs, whether they're fearsome prehistoric predators like in Jurassic Park or a family of screwball sitcom puppets—and one famous green fellow is king of the consoles. Created by Japanese designer Shigefumi Hino, Yoshi made his debut on the 1990 SNES title Super Mario World and quickly became everyone's favorite fruit-eating sidekick. In honor of the recent launch of Yoshi's Crafted World, the eighth main installment in the Yoshi franchise, here are a few interesting facts about the character's gaming history.


1. Yoshi's real name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas.
Like many people (or cartoon characters), Yoshi goes by a diminutive of his real name: T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. According to an old Nintendo guide shared by author Blake Harris, the character originally had a far more convoluted name more befitting of a dinosaur. However, that long scientific-sounding name doesn't roll off the tongue quite like Yoshi does, so it's easy to see why Nintendo chose to omit it from their general marketing.


2. Yoshi was supposed to debut on the NES.


The legend of Yoshi may have begun with Super Mario World—and that iconic box art—but it turns out the character was planned to debut much earlier, and on different hardware. According to legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (i.e. the "Steven Spielberg of video games"), the team had initially wanted Yoshi to appear in the original Super Mario Bros. back in 1985, five years before Super Mario World. Due to technical limitations, however, designing Mario's trusty steed was simply not possible on the 8-bit era of NES hardware, but the 16-bit capabilities of the SNES allowed programmers to execute more of the dino's mechanics on the screen.


3. The character is believed to have been influenced by Devil World.


Yoshi has always been out of this world, but his predecessor might have been of the underworld. Devil World was a Pac-Man-esque NES title from 1984 (and the only Miyamoto design from that era to never make its way to North American audiences, due to its use of religious symbols) that revolved around a green dragon fighting the devil in literal hell. The similarities between Tamagon, Devil World's protagonist, and Yoshi are fairly noticeable, from his green skin, orange spikes, general roundness, and how each new life shows him hatching from an egg.


4. Yoshi has several color variations.
Technically speaking, Yoshi is actually a whole species of creatures that exist in the Mario universe. While the Yoshi we all know and love is green, other members of the species have appeared as red, yellow, blue, pink, light blue, purple, brown, black, white, orange, and magenta. There aren't any specific powers or abilities the various Yoshis have, but some of the versions, like the white and black, didn't appear until many entries later in the Mario franchise.


5. The art direction for Yoshi's Island turned out much differently than Nintendo anticipated.


One of the most acclaimed titles on the SNES, Yoshi's Island (1995) is one of the more aesthetically distinct platformers Nintendo has ever produced, and it's what made Yoshi stand out as a defined character in the franchise. The art style feels like it came straight out of a children's coloring book, but that wasn't what Nintendo had asked for. Following the success of the company's Donkey Kong Country series, Nintendo pushed Miyamoto to create something that followed in that game's footsteps, with its 3D-rendered characters and animations. Miyamoto refused. According to The Gamer, "As a form of protest, but also to prove a point, he decided to make his new game's graphics as childish as possible, as if they were drawn with crayons. What started as a passive-aggressive dig at his bosses ended up becoming Yoshi's signature style."


6. The movie version of Yoshi was not quite so cuddly (but he was voiced by cartoon favorite).
The less said about the bomb that was 1993's Super Mario Bros. movie the better (even actor Bob Hoskins, who played Mario, regrets its existence). But even though the movie presented Yoshi as a tiny animatronic velociraptor of sorts (which the human-sized Mario would never be able to ride), they at least found a friendly, familiar voice to produce all those dino squeaks and squeals. Frank Welker, the Emmy-winning voice actor who is best known as only person to ever voice Scooby-Doo's Fred Jones (as well as countless others, including Abu in Aladdin, Curious George, and Scooby himself since 2002), did the vocals for Yoshi and a Goomba (one of the most common foes in the Mario franchise).


7. A rare Japanese-only version of Yoshi's Cookie is worth thousands.


Although Yoshi's other early solo outings weren't as well-received as Yoshi's Island, they apparently still hold quite a lot of value. In one case, a special limited edition copy of Yoshi's Cookie can be found priced at over $1000. Why this version in particular? It was used as part of a promotional campaign for a cooking oven called the Kuruppon. Only 500 copies were made, and this version of the game is vastly different than the original, like it's inclusion of a feature that allows you to learn how to bake the cookies from the game in real life. If you're craving some of Yoshi's cookies but don't have that kind of dough laying around for the original tutorial, there are various recipes on YouTube and online to try.



Source: Facts About Yoshi | Yoshi Nintendo Facts

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Fact of the Day - WATERFALLS


Did you know... The site of an emergency plane landing.
Dropping 3,212 feet from the top of the Auyán-Tepuí plateau (or “Devil’s Mountain” in English), Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world. Located in Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, Angel Falls is named after the adventurous American pilot Jimmy Angel who emergency landed his airplane there in 1937. The plane remained there for 33 years, and although the original is now in an aviation museum, Angel Falls’ visitors can still find a replica plane placed on top of the plateau today. Check out these 14 ocean mysteries that scientists still can’t explain! (Emma Kapotes | Updated: Mar. 16, 2022)


Things You Didn’t Know About Waterfalls

by Xylem  | December 2020


Waterfalls are often judged by which are the tallest or have the largest volume of water, but there’s so much more about them to know. They can make cliffs, produce a dozen different kinds of ice, and have tiny fish crawling up them using suction cups.


1. Waterfalls can make the cliffs they fall from.



Which came first, the cliff or the waterfall? Watch this video to learn how some cliffs are formed by rivers eroding different layers of rock.


2. Niagara Falls could disappear into Lake Erie.


Erosion has caused Niagara Falls to move south about 7 miles (11 kilometers) over the past 12,000 years. It could disappear into Lake Erie in 23,000 years.


3. Waterfall ice climbers have names for more than a dozen kinds of ice.


If you’re climbing frozen waterfalls, it’s important to know what kinds of ice your working with, such as such as:

  • Laminated flow: successive freezing of thin layers of ice. 
  • Rotten pillar: melting, chandeliered or cauliflowered ice.
  • Cauliflowered: ice formed in strange and unstable formations, usually the result of water spray.


4. Some fish in Hawaii have evolved to literally climb waterfalls.



Using suction cups on its body, the “inching climber” fish moves up the rock walls of waterfalls in order to reach its freshwater spawning grounds.


5. One of the world’s tallest man-made waterfalls is on a skyscraper in China.


The Liebian Building in Guiyang, China, has an unusual feature – a waterfall pouring out of the side of the building and dropping 108 meters (350 feet) to the ground.



Source: Waterfall Fact Worth Knowing  Facts About Waterfalls

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Fact of the Day - THE FLINTSTONES


Did you know... Pre-dating The Simpsons by almost 30 years, The Flintstones was the first primetime animated show on TV and, until 1997 when The Simpsons stole the crown, The Flintstones aired the most episodes of any animated show in primetime, with 166 episodes between 1960 and 1966. The show was so successful, it established Hanna-Barbera as the largest producer of animated films. Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their neighbors, Barney and Betty Rubble, live in Bedrock during 10,000 B.C. Fred and Barney work at a quarry, and Betty and Wilma are homemakers who are constantly at odds with their husbands. In the third and fourth seasons, respectively, kids Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm joined the cast. Akin to other Hanna-Barbera-produced shows like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones reappeared in many other series and specials throughout the decades, including two live-action theatrical movies and several spinoff series, including 20 episodes of The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, featuring the kids as teenagers. Nearly a dozen TV specials aired, including The Flintstone Kids’ “Just Say No” Special, a couple of Flintstones holiday specials, and a made-for-TV Jetsons/Flintstones mash-up. Along with all of the shows, The Flintstones launched multi-million dollar merchandising with Fruity Pebbles cereal and Flintstones vitamins. Here are 15 brontosaurus-sized facts about one of the greatest animated families of all time. (By Garin Pirnia | September 30, 2017) 


Yabba Dabba Do! A Brief History of “The Flintstones”

by Interesting Facts


When The Flintstones premiered on ABC in 1960, New York Times critic Jack Gould derided the show as “an inked disaster” and Jackie Gleason considered suing, contending the primetime cartoon experiment was a Honeymooners copycat set in 10,000 BCE. Still, fans grew attached to Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty — at least until the introduction of The Great Gazoo, a green alien meant to lay the groundwork for Hanna-Barbera’s next unconventional family sitcom, The Jetsons. With iconic friendships, a theme song earworm, and countless ancient/modern mash-ups, here’s how the show chiseled its way into our collective conscience.


1. The Partnership Between William Hanna and Joseph Barbera


William Hanna and Joseph Barbera met when they were in their late 20s, as new hires in MGM’s fledgling animation department. Discovering that they shared similar comic sensibilities, they teamed up on 15 years of Tom and Jerry antics, earning two Oscar nominations for Best Short Subject, Cartoons. When MGM shuttered its animation department in 1957, the duo — intent on segueing into television — formed Hanna-Barbera Productions, and created the first animated half-hour series, The Huckleberry Hound Show. To save time and money, the pair pioneered “limited animation,” which basically presented a series of storyboard drawings, linked by small movements like bobbing heads and talking lips. The president of distributor Screen Gems asked Hanna and Barbera if they wanted to collaborate on a primetime television cartoon — even though standalone cartoons had only been successful thus far as morning or afternoon kids’ programming. They accepted the challenge.


2. Masterminding the Series


To engineer a hit with the viewership potential of Father Knows Best or Leave It to Beaver, Hanna-Barbera decided to focus their show on a suburban family — with some sort of unique twist. They brainstormed central characters who were Romans, Indigenous People, pilgrims, Appalachian people, and nomads. Then, animator Dan Gordon doodled two cavemen dressed in animal skins. His figures flanked a record player that had a live bird’s beak as its needle. Character designer Ed Benedict tried to add more features present in early humans, but at Barbera’s urging, he made the physiques more refined, even giving Wilma a stone necklace that resembled oversized pearls. The series was named after the primary caveman couple, then named The Flagstones.


3. Finding a Network


A 90-second pilot for The Flagstones was filmed in 1959. Toting the footage and storyboards, Barbera traveled to New York City for two months of dismal pitch meetings with networks and sponsors. Finally, on the last day of his trip, ABC greenlit the show for a 28-episode first season. However, the daily comic strip Hi and Lois already had a family called the Flagstons; The Gladstones served as a placeholder title until the parties arrived at The Flintstones. Decades later, in 1994, Cartoon Network aired The Flagstones pilot after it was recovered from a New York storage facility. Father Knows Best veteran Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma) was the only actor to lend her voice to both the pilot and the eventual series.


4. Casting the Ultimate Period Piece


Character actor Alan Reed won the role of Fred. A year after The Flintstones debuted, Reed played Sally Tomato — the mob boss who welcomes Holly Golightly for weekly prison visits — in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Once, when asked to say, “Yahoo!” in Fred’s voice, Reed ad-libbed a replacement that became the character’s signature. “Yabba dabba do!” was inspired by the 1950s jingle for men’s hair product, Brylcreem (“A little dab'll do ya"). Meanwhile, the original voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig and scores of other Looney Tunes characters, Mel Blanc, was hired to play Fred’s best friend and next-door neighbor, Barney Rubble. The animation legend picked up a second recurring part on the Stone Age series, supplying the barks for the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur, Dino. In 1961, Blanc survived a head-on car crash but spent two weeks in a coma and 70 days in the hospital. During this period, Barney was voiced by Daws Butler, the performer who voiced Fred in The Flagstones pilot, as well as Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear on The Huckleberry Hound Show. Upon Blanc’s release, he was temporarily confined to a body cast, and series recording sessions relocated to his home for about 40 episodes. Rounding out the core cast was Bea Benaderet, who had been Lucille Ball’s first choice to play Ethel on I Love Lucy. For four seasons, Benaderet took on The Flintstones’ second female lead, Betty Rubble, until she exited to star in Petticoat Junction. Geraldine “Gerry” Johnson portrayed Betty for the remaining seasons.    


5. A Lasting Cultural Impact


Over the course of six seasons and 166 episodes, The Flintstones carved out a formidable TV legacy. The show was the premiere 30-minute animated sitcom, as well as the first cartoon ever nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the Primetime Emmys — an honor The Simpsons has never even achieved. Despite its laugh track, The Flintstones embarked on nuanced storylines in its middle seasons about routes to parenthood. After Fred and Wilma became U.S. television’s first animated couple to sleep in the same bed, nine episodes were devoted to Wilma’s pregnancy with their daughter, Pebbles. During the following season, with Barney and Betty, the series acknowledged the plight of infertility, a rarely addressed topic on screen or in society at the time. The Rubbles eventually adopted a son, Bamm-Bamm. The Flintstones proved that there was a grown-up audience for animation, emboldening future TV creators to tackle mature themes such as parental abandonment (The Simpsons), politics (South Park), mortality (Archer), and mental illness (Bojack Horseman) — to great critical acclaim. Additionally, The Flintstones was an early satirist of TV tropes and celebrity culture that helped establish the practice of famous guest stars doing cameos as themselves. Ann-Margret, Ed Sullivan, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, and Cary Grant were among the prominent personalities that entered Bedrock. The show also gave rise to numerous TV spin-offs, two live-action films, and millions of brontosaurus cranes worth of merchandise sales, ranging from Fruity Pebbles cereal to Flintstones Vitamins. After a robust second life in syndication, The Flintstones recently found a new home on HBO Max.



Source: Solid Facts About The Flintstones | Facts and History of The Flintstones

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - PUZZLES


Did you know.... If you're a puzzle enthusiast, did it ever cross your mind that one day you will solve the history of jigsaw puzzle? Wouldn’t be awesome to connect the puzzle pieces of how it started before it becomes the favorite family board game of all time? Well, today is your lucky day! (PuzzleReady)


Captivating Facts About Puzzles

by Interesting Facts


What’s your favorite way to puzzle? Maybe you like assembling giant jigsaws with your family, filling out the daily crossword in pen, or playing brain-teaser apps on your phone. Between real-life escape rooms and video game dungeons, today’s puzzle options are nearly infinite. But how much do you really know about them? From the origins of Sudoku to the distracting power of Minesweeper, these seven facts about puzzles will make you think about your favorite pastimes in a whole new way.


1. An “Enigmatologist” Is Someone Who Studies Puzzles

You probably already know the word “enigma,” meaning something that’s mysterious, hard to understand, or, well, puzzling. Combine that with “ology,” indicating a field of study, and it makes sense that “enigmatologist” would mean one who studies puzzles. The word is a relative newcomer to the lexicon, and is typically attributed to New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz, who graduated from Indiana University with a self-designed Enigmatology degree in 1974. While the term hasn’t made it into all the major dictionaries, Merriam Webster does list “enigmatology” alongside the more generic definition of “the investigation or analysis of enigmas.” Crossword enthusiasts get their own word, “cruciverbalist,” coined in the early 1980s. Speaking of which…


2. The First Modern Crossword Puzzle Was Published in 1913


The first modern crossword puzzle was published in the New York World’s “Fun” section on December 21, 1913, although simpler ancestors appeared in kids’ puzzle books in 19th-century Britain. Unlike the format we’re used to in today’s papers, the puzzle’s clues weren’t organized into “across” and “down”; instead, two numbers indicated a start and end point within the diamond-shaped grid. Just a decade later, crossword puzzles were a standard offering in major U.S. papers, and serious cruciverbalists still observe December 21 as Crossword Puzzle Day. But while the New York Times puzzle is among the most iconic crosswords today, the Gray Lady was notoriously slow to adopt the practice. The paper finally relented soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor: “We ought to proceed with the puzzle, especially in view of the fact it is possible there will now be bleak blackout hours,” wrote the Sunday editor at the time in a memo to the publisher, “or if not that then certainly a need for relaxation of some kind or other.” Their first puzzle finally appeared on February 15, 1942 and, despite its stated goal of helping to calm nerves during wartime, includes several clues about the then-current events of World War II.


3. There Are 43 Quintillion Possible Rubik’s Cube Arrangements

Each Rubik’s Cube shows nine different colorful squares on each face; to solve it, you need to twist rows of smaller cubes both horizontally and vertically until each face of the cube is the same color. Some people are really, really good at solving it, regularly finishing expertly-scrambled cubes in less than five seconds. This is a pretty incredible feat, considering that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different configurations, but solving it is less complicated than it might appear. A team of scientists borrowed Google’s computers to find the quickest solution to each configuration, and it turns out each can be solved in 20 moves or less. Since people are not computers, this knowledge doesn’t exactly spell out each solution for a human being, but “speedcubers,” as they’re called, memorize hundreds of algorithms to help them attack each new configuration.


4. The First Jigsaw Puzzles Were Geography-Learning Tools


The first commercial jigsaw puzzles originated in 18th-century England, when cartographer John Spilsbury started pasting maps to thin wood and slicing out individual countries with a scroll saw. He called them “dissected maps,” and while they were originally teaching aids, their popularity spread throughout Britain in the mid-1700s. By the mid-1800s, these puzzles featured other popular images from things like zoology and fairy tales. Interlocking puzzles — the kind you’re likely used to today — started with Parker Brothers in the early 20th century. Homemade versions took off during the Great Depression as both a low-cost way to entertain yourself and, for anybody with a jigsaw, a way to make some extra cash by selling them or renting them out.


5. “Tetris” Is a Blend of “Tetra” and “Tennis”

Tetris” is so ubiquitous now that it’s entered everyday speech outside of the game. (Maybe you used it the last time you packed a moving truck!) But the game has only been around for 40 years or so, and the etymology of its name is a little surprising. One part is obvious: “Tetra” is a Greek numeral prefix, meaning “four.” Each Tetris piece is made up of four smaller squares. The “is” on the end isn’t just for style, but it’s not particularly relevant to the gameplay, either: Creator Alexey Pajitnov just really, really liked tennis, and included the suffix in the name.


6. Bill Gates Himself Was Addicted to Minesweeper


Those who were around to experience the early years of Windows probably know two games a little too well: Solitaire and the much more stressful Minesweeper. Solitaire was standard on Windows 3.0 as a friendly, familiar feature to help users feel less intimidated by the operating system, and as a handy exercise in using a computer mouse. Minesweeper, which used to be an add-on with the Microsoft Entertainment Pack, came standard in 3.1.

The reasoning? It was the staff favorite, and many in the Microsoft offices — especially founder Bill Gates — couldn’t keep their hands off it. In 1994, the Washington Post reported that Gates had become so distracted that he took it off his personal machine. This did not prevent him from playing it, however: He’d just hop over to then-Microsoft-president Mike Hallman’s office to play instead. (Supposedly, his solving record was five seconds.)


7. Sudoku Dates Back at Least to 1700s Switzerland

Contrary to popular belief, Sudoku did not originate in Japan, although it did come of age there. One of its earliest forms — although it’s possible that its origins go back even earlier, to 8th or 9th century China — was a variation on magic squares developed by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, who called it “Latin Squares.” It was a slightly simpler version of the game we know today: In modern Sudoku, solvers need to place a series of numbers so they only appear once in their corresponding row, column, and sub-grid, while Latin Squares used only rows and columns. A more complicated version popped up in French newspapers in the late 19th century, with both the smaller grids and a couple of diagonals thrown in. The modern Sudoku puzzle emerged in the 1970s as “Number Place,” published in Dell Puzzle Magazines and sometimes credited to a retired architect in Indiana. A Japanese puzzle enthusiast named Maki Kajifell in love” with the game, renamed it Sudoku, and started printing puzzles through his game publishing company Nikoli. (The name is short for sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru, which means "the numerals must remain single" — that is, the digits must occur only once.) The idea spread quickly in Japan; unlike a crossword, you don’t need an alphabet to solve it, which is ideal when your written language doesn’t have an equivalent to the ABCs. Sudoku started spreading back out to Hong Kong, Britain, and eventually the United States in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s.



Source: Facts Every Puzzle Lovers Should Know  |  Facts About Puzzles


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Fact of the Day - MURDER SHE WROTE


Did you know... For 12 seasons and 264 episodes, the small coastal town of Cabot Cove, Maine, was the scene of a murder. And wherever there was a body, Jessica Fletcher wasn’t far behind. The fictional mystery author and amateur sleuth at the heart of the CBS drama Murder, She Wrote was given life by actress Angela Lansbury, who made a name for herself in the theater world and in movies like 1944’s Gaslight and 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate. Though the show was supposed to skew toward an older audience, the series is still very much alive and being discovered by new generations of audiences every year. Unravel the mystery with these facts about Murder, She Wrote. (Jason Serafino | Aug 22, 2017)


Fascinating Facts About “Murder, She Wrote”

by Interesting Facts


It’s difficult to believe that it’s been more than 25 years since Murder, She Wrote ended its 12-year run on May 19, 1996, and mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher (mostly) disappeared from our lives. A quarter of a century later, the fictional village of Cabot Cove, Maine, still holds a special place in many of our hearts. Let’s revisit it below with some fun facts about the show, but watch your back, and remember — everyone’s a suspect.


1. Angela Lansbury Wasn’t the First Choice for Jessica Fletcher


It’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone but Angela Lansbury playing Jessica Fletcher, but she wasn’t a shoo-in for the job. Doris Day turned it down; Jean Stapleton (aka Edith Bunker) also declined, partly because she didn’t feel ready to jump into another series so soon after wrapping up the 1970s sitcom All in the Family. “Every time I saw Angela during those years, she’d say, ‘Thank you, Jean,’” Stapleton once said.


2. Jessica’s Middle Name Was a Nod to Lansbury’s Real-Life BFF

Before landing Murder, She Wrote, Angela Lansbury was perhaps best known for her Broadway prowess. After costarring with Bea Arthur in the musical Mame in 1965, the two actresses became very close. Lansbury has said that Arthur was “a rare and unique performer and a dear, dear friend.” Jessica Fletcher’s middle name, Beatrice, pays homage to their real-life friendship.


3. Lansbury Never Won an Emmy for “Murder, She Wrote”


The extraordinarily talented Lansbury — who died October 11, 2022, at the age of 96 — was nominated for a total of 18 Emmys, including one for every season of Murder. She never won, though, making the elusive Emmy the only part of the EGOT (the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards) she doesn’t have. “It bothers the hell out of me,” she once said. (She was, however, honored in the Emmy Hall of Fame in 1996; her 2013 Oscar is also honorary.)


4. A Remake Starring Octavia Spencer Almost Happened

In 2013, Octavia Spencer was slated to take the lead role in a reboot that would have aired on NBC. Described as a “light and contemporary take,” it focused on a hospital administrator who publishes her first mystery novel and then starts solving crimes. Lansbury was skeptical, saying, “I think it’s a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote, because Murder, She Wrote will always be about Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person. … So I’m sorry that they have to use the title Murder, She Wrote, even though they have access to it and it’s their right.” The reboot was cancelled in 2014.


5. There Was a Very Special Crossover Episode


Any criminal would be a fool to try to pull something off with both Thomas Magnum and Jessica Fletcher on the case, but that’s exactly what happened in this third-season television event featuring Jessica in Hawaii. The first part (“Novel Connection”) aired during Magnum P.I.’s time slot, with the story concluding in an episode called "Magnum on Ice" during Murder’s Sunday-night airing.


6. Lansbury Identifies With Fletcher the Most Out of All Her Roles

The closest I came to playing myself … was really as Jessica Fletcher,” Lansbury told Parade magazine in 2018. “Obviously, if I had been able to do that earlier in my career, I would have had a different career really.” However, in 1985  — a year after the show began — she also told The New York Times: “Jessica has extreme sincerity, compassion, extraordinary intuition. I'm not like her. My imagination runs riot. I'm not a pragmatist. Jessica is.''


7. CBS Pulled the Plug on “Murder” Rather Unceremoniously


In 1995, the network switched Murder from its long-standing Sunday-night spot to run directly against NBC’s Friends in the Thursday-night “Must See TV” lineup. The move dropped Lansbury and co. from the top 20 in the Nielsen ratings to No. 67, and CBS bid them adieu. “Murder most foul,” the Washington Post declared the schedule change and cancellation.


8. The Final Episode Made a Point

Titled “Death by Demographics,” the finale was set at a San Francisco radio station changing from classical to rock against their will. “You realize we’re going to lose our entire audience,” the son of the station owner says. “Yes, and replace it with 12-to-18-year-olds, the ones who spend serious money on new products and new ideas, and the ones that advertisers pay big bucks to reach,” responds a producer. The implication was clear — Murder had been killed because it couldn’t reach the youth market when it went up against Friends. It wasn’t the only time during the season that the Murder writers thumbed their noses at CBS. There was also an episode called “Murder Among Friends,” in which the producer of a hit TV show called Buds is killed right before a big cast change.



Source: Mysterious Facts About Murder, She Wrote  |  “Murder, She Wrote” Facts

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Sis you know... Some people love the smell of freshly baked bread, while others prefer rain or scented candles. Smell is an often overlooked sense that gets especially neglected when planning a trip. Rarely is any sort of travel or vacation planned around the sense of smell. Instead, sights and physical experiences are considered the most important. Sure, it’s amazing to see some of the wonderful sights around the world (such as the Colosseum in Rome or the Northern Lights in Finland) but does that mean that our other senses should be completely ignored? (ALEXANDRA DIBACCO | OCTOBER 07, 2018)


World Cities With Distinct Smells

by Interesting Facts


Smell is our most powerful sense. Because smell is intimately entwined with memory in the human brain, the scent of something can trigger memories long thought forgotten. So while sightseeing may seem like an intuitive way to create lasting memories of places you visit around the world, don’t forget to employ your nose for some of that long-term memory work. Just as famous “sights” adorn a city — whether it be stunning architecture, ancient ruins, or jaw-dropping nature — so too do particular smells. In fact, some cities produce such an olfactory sensation that they’ve become known for it, for better or for worse. Here are seven cities around the world famous for their distinctive scents.


1. Grasse, France


Grasse, in southern France’s Provence region, is the perfume capital of the world, and its streets are as sweet-smelling as the fragrances exported from here. The smell comes from nearby fields filled with jasmine, lavender, and May rose — all used in the perfumes local manufacturers send worldwide. This current aroma is a welcome change from what the town was best known for during the Middle Ages: leather crafting (and the pungent tanned animal hides and lye used in the process). That began to change in the 1700s, when glove-makers introduced a process to make their leather products smell better. After taxes on leather crushed the industry in the town, many tanneries transitioned to perfume-making. In 2018, UNESCO recognized Grasse’s perfume cultivation on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.


2. Rotorua, New Zealand


On the other side of the smell spectrum is Rotorua, New Zealand, some 125 miles southwest of Auckland. Thanks to nearby geothermal vents, the city often smells like rotten eggs due to low levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the air. Although the chemical can be toxic to humans in high doses, studies examining long-term residents of Rotorua show that the area’s mild concentration poses no danger — in fact, it may even have health benefits. One study from 2017 found that locals had improved motor response times during a test screening for Parkinson’s disease. Rotorua’s high level of geothermal activity, and its abundant geysers, thermal mud pools, and natural springs, have also made it a popular tourist destination.


3. Tacoma, Washington


For decades, motorists driving Interstate 5 through Tacoma, just south of Seattle, were greeted by an unpleasant scent, much like Rotorua’s rotten egg odor. However, Tacoma’s scent was of a more unnatural variety: a combination of pollution from adjacent Commencement Bay — once considered one of the 10 worst toxic waste sites in the U.S. — and the noxious air pouring from smokestacks of nearby industries, such as paper mills and smelting factories. In a 1984 cover story for Rolling Stone, New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen revealed that he canceled a show at the Tacoma Dome because “something in the air” made him “sick to his stomach.” Whether it was the loss of the Boss or just an increase in environmental awareness, Tacoma has cleaned up its act, and the stench has lessened considerably — but its memorable nickname, the “Aroma of Tacoma,” will live on in history.


4. Gilroy, California


Located about 30 miles southeast of San Jose, California, Gilroy is known for one thing and one thing only: garlic. The crop was established in the area in the mid-20th century, and the unmistakable odor it produced quickly turned into the joke of the town. But Gilroy decided to go all in on garlic and held the first annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in 1979. By the time of the first festival, the garlic-growing industry had moved inland, but the factories that dehydrated and processed the bulbs were still in Gilroy, supplying the town with a consistent garlic aroma. The summer celebration now attracts upwards of 100,000 attendees, making it the world’s largest garlic festival. Gilroy is also home to other garlicky attractions, from the Garlic City Café to the Garlic Farm Inn and the Garlic Twirl amusement park ride at Gilroy Gardens.


5. Edinburgh, Scotland


The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh not only has a rich history but also a rich smell. Its pungent, malty odor stems from the city’s booze-making legacy, which became established in the late 18th century. Several distilleries still dot the greater Edinburgh area, the largest of which is the North British Distillery Company in the suburb of Gorgie. In 2009, the local government finally mandated that local distilleries install “odor control towers” to manage the stench produced by the alcohol-making process. Longtime residents of Gorgie decried the move, with one saying that “it's nice that the city has its own smell” and another that they “found it quite pleasant.” Maybe it’s just an acquired taste — or in this case, smell.


6. Chicago, Illinois


Thankfully, a particular section of Chicago, Illinois, bucks the sour-smelling trends of other cities on this list. Along a stretch of the Chicago River — where exactly depends on wind speed and direction — Chicagoans are treated to the sweet smell of chocolate thanks to the Blommer Chocolate Company, located in the Fulton River District northwest of the Loop. In 2014, a local resident even began mapping the chocolate smell by measuring its approximate range and cross-referencing with weather patterns from the National Weather Service. When the factory had to shut down its retail space during the COVID-19 pandemic, local residents worried that the chocolate aroma was next on the chopping block, but fortunately, a spokesperson for the company confirmed, “The smell will continue.”


7. Buffalo, New York


If you’re a fan of cereal, Buffalo, New York, is your town. For 80 years, General Mills has manufactured Cheerios (called Cheeri-Oats when the product was invented back in 1941) in the upstate New York city, and the toasted oat smell still permeates Buffalo’s streets to this day. The oats are baked along the Buffalo River, and the winds from Lake Erie blanket the town in a cereal aroma — from Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Chex, or whatever part of a balanced breakfast the nearby plant is making that day. The town doesn’t seem to mind, as the local tourism board has even held events celebrating the odor, and one local clothing brand sold T-shirts proclaiming, “My city smells like Cheerios” — a badge of pride woven in cotton.



Source: Places Around The World That Actually Smell Incredibly Good |  Facts About World Smells

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Fact of the Day - CHARLES DARWIN


Did you know... Charles Darwin is a pretty famous guy, and deservedly so. His 1859 opus, "On the Origin of Species," revolutionized biology by explaining how life evolves and diversifies, and it remains as relevant today as ever. His Feb. 12 birthday is now celebrated worldwide as Darwin Day, elevating the humble English naturalist to a kind of scientific sainthood. But as with any historical figure, many details of Darwin's life have been obscured over time. Sure, he helped us understand our lot and legacy in the natural world, but he also played a mean game of backgammon and took an interest in Buddhism. For more little-known facts about the father of evolution, check out this list of Darwinian tidbit. (Russell McLendon | Updated May 15, 2020)


Awe-Inspiring Facts About Charles Darwin
by Interesting Facts


The legendary naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, who was born in 1809 and died in 1882, is one of history’s best-known scientists. His groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species, which presented a theory of evolution by natural selection, is still the foundation of modern evolutionary study more than 160 years after its publication, and his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, including his trip to the Galapagos Islands, is still a widely recounted tale. His story is more complex than you might know, though. What hobby made Darwin the object of ridicule when he was a kid? Did he actually have his lightbulb moment while visiting the Galapagos? Which animal did he spend eight whole years studying while developing his most famous theory? From his experiments in taxidermy to his habit of eating the animals he studied, here are 10 facts you may not know about the famed researcher.


1. Charles Darwin Took After His Scientist Grandfather


Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin was a noted physician and botanist, and Erasmus loved the latter science so much that he was known for writing gushing poetry on the subject, in addition to translating many widely used textbooks. His book Zoonomia touched on ideas of evolution, and like his grandson, he came under fire from the English establishment, which preferred biblical chronology. His tone, however, differed significantly from his grandson’s. One of his more popular works, a poem called “The Loves of Plants,” used titillating language to pique readers’ interest in botany. This is one of the tamer excerpts:


With secret sighs the Virgin Lily droops,
And jealous Cowslips hang their tawny cups.
How the young Rose in beauty’s damask pride
Drinks the warm blushes of his bashful bride;
With honey'd lips enamour'd Woodbines meet,
Clasp with fond arms, and mix their kisses sweet


2. Charles Darwin’s High School Nickname Was “Gas”

A wealth of scientific knowledge was available at the time young Charles was in school in the early 19th century, but public schools in England had been slow to adapt it into their curriculum. Science was considered not just uncool, but uncouth at the time. The young Charles Darwin dabbled in chemistry anyway, which didn’t exactly put him in the good graces of his classmates at Shrewsbury School (in Shropshire, England), and they nicknamed him “Gas.” Even his headmaster admonished him for his hobby.


3. Darwin’s Father Sent Him to Med School (And He Hated It)


Darwin’s father, a physician who considered his son to be kind of a layabout, sent him to Edinburgh University to study medicine at age 16, in 1825. Darwin’s education there was formative; he learned all about the scientific disciplines he loved, like geology, botany, taxonomy, and even taxidermy. At the time, scientists banned from Anglican universities in England came to the Scottish school to discuss then-deviant ideas — such as the early rumblings of evolutionary theory. Darwin did not, however, learn much about medicine, since anatomy bored him and surgery disgusted him. The knowledge he gained from Edinburgh would serve him well when his dad transferred him to Christ’s College, which had a much more conservative curriculum. It was one of his professors at that institution — Reverend John Stevens Henslow — who encouraged him to sail to South America on the HMS Beagle on an expedition that would eventually take him to the Galapagos Islands.


4. The Galapagos Islands Didn’t Immediately Lead Him to Natural Selection

At the time he set sail in 1831, Darwin was actually a creationist, holding the then-mainstream English belief that animals and their unique attributes were divinely designed rather than created through a natural process. He wouldn’t change his mind until after he came back from his trip — so despite the popular image of Darwin having a “lightbulb” moment while studying the wildlife on the Galapagos Islands, he didn’t think in detail about the archipelago’s unique ecosystem while he was there. He didn’t note the exact location on most of his bird specimens, and he didn’t collect tortoise specimens at all — only tortoise pets — even though the locals already believed that each island had a distinct race of them.

Darwin, also a geologist, did make one thrilling discovery during his time in the region, however. He noticed some fossilized trees high up in the Andes that he realized must have been underwater for quite some time, and wondered how they got there. The crew had already observed the eruption of a Chilean volcano, and later, they witnessed a major earthquake and a tidal wave up the coast. After confirming some measurements, he realized they were all connected, and proposed a theory of continental uplift: “We may confidently come to the conclusion that the forces which slowly and by little starts uplift continents,” wrote Darwin, “and those which at successive periods pour forth volcanic matter from open orifices, are identical.” His work helped pave the way for the theory of plate tectonics.


5. Darwin Rose to Prominence as a Geologist


Darwin is best known today for his work as a naturalist, but knowing his views would be controversial, he didn’t share his theory of evolution by natural selection until later in life. Even on the Beagle, geology was his drive, and he wrote to his sisters back home that he “literally could not sleep” thinking about the subject. While he didn’t keep the most thorough records of animal life in the Galapagos Islands, he painstakingly studied lava flows. At the end of the five-year voyage, he had amassed 1,383 pages of notes on geology, compared to 368 on animals and plants. So upon his return to England, he built his reputation as a well-regarded gentleman geologist. He presented his findings on the Chilean coastline to the Royal Geological Society in 1837 and published the first standalone version of his diary from the voyage, “Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle,” in 1839. He published a variety of small papers on geological formations from not just his voyage, but Scotland and Wales. In the 1840s, he published books on coral reef formations, volcanoes, and the geography of South America, but eventually retired as an active geology researcher and threw himself into studying animal life.


6. His Preservation Techniques Had Mixed Results

Darwin is one of the most influential scientists in history, but even he couldn’t knock it out of the park every time. He acquired a lot of specimens — which became a lot of clutter — during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Soon, building off his taxidermy knowledge from university, Darwin started experimenting with new preservation techniques using wax, alcoholic spirits, and thin sheets of lead, and he’d mail his creations home to his former professor Reverend Henslow for feedback. The results were mixed. In one letter to Darwin, Henslow describes moldy mice and crushed bird feathers, although he compliments some of the insects and lichens. Then there was the mystery fungus: “For goodness sake what is No. 223?” wrote Henslow. “It looks like the remains of an electric explosion, a mere mass of soot — something very curious I daresay.” One specimen in his collection, rediscovered in 2009, was an egg with a large crack in it — a result not of age, but of Darwin putting it in too small of a box.


7. Darwin Had a Notoriously Adventurous Palate — And Ate Many of His Subjects


Even before his time as a naturalist, Darwin made a point of eating animals that weren’t part of the standard culinary repertoire. While at Christ’s College, he belonged to a group called the Glutton Club, which ate hawk, bittern (a bird in the heron family), and finally a brown owl, before disbanding. His voyage around the world significantly expanded his options, and Darwin took full advantage, eating puma, iguanas, armadillos, giant tortoises, and his favorite, an unspecified 20-pound rodent. He spent months trying to track down a large, flightless bird called a lesser rhea (sometimes called a Darwin’s rhea), before realizing one day that he was actively dining on one. He called a halt to the meal and sent the leftovers back to England.


8. He Spent 8 Years Studying Barnacles

Aboard the Beagle, Darwin encountered one of his more fascinating subjects: a species of barnacle without a shell, which he nicknamed Mr. Arthrobalanus. During his time as a gentleman geologist, his mind kept coming back to that barnacle. He began abandoning creationism in the late 1830s, and revisiting his research, engaging with the present scientific discourse, and eventually meeting with dog and pigeon breeders to gather more research. He sketched out his vague ideas in 1842, and later instructed his wife to publish them if he died suddenly. For the next several years, he would only share his ideas with close confidantes for fear of reprisal. One of them suggested he actually study a species, any species, in depth before he started speculating about their origin — so Darwin finally returned to his barnacles to gain some clarity. Unfortunately, it turned into a way bigger project than he’d anticipated, since most previous research on barnacles was sloppy, badly cataloged, and riddled with mistakes. So he set about reclassifying everything, requesting barnacle specimens from around the world for study. It sounds tedious, but apparently Darwin loved the work and welcomed a chance to get hands-on again. His peers made fun of him mercilessly, but it turned out he had a lot to learn from the tiny marine creatures, and cataloged every little nuance and link between them. Eventually it paid off, earning him a Royal Society medal in 1853. Through this work, he gained hands-on experience he needed to strengthen the theory that would make him famous.


9. Writing and Publishing “The Origin of Species” Was Extremely Stressful


Even as Darwin started to experience his scientific awakening, he never lost sight of the consequences of stating his views publicly. To mainstream Anglican society, anything but creationism was heresy. Evolution as a general idea was already pretty well established, and some atheists who espoused it were being jailed for blasphemy. Darwin had a long way to fall if he was caught before he was fully ready. Meanwhile, starting in the late 1830s, Darwin began suffering from a host of health problems, including severe nausea. Some experts theorize that this was the result of an illness he contracted on his travels, while others contend it was anxiety-related. Regardless, he was stressed: In 1842, he moved his family outside of London, and even lowered the road outside their house so he would be harder to see. He started turning to spa treatments and quack cures for his illness, even resorting to tying plate batteries to his stomach. When it came time to actually publish the manuscript, Darwin’s anxiety was especially high. His nausea worsened, and he was taken to a spa in Yorkshire when his book was published in 1859. Two weeks beforehand, he’d sent copies to 11 prominent scientists asking for support, but included intensely self-deprecating passages such as “how savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!” He later described this time as like “living in Hell.”


10. His Son Became an Influential Astronomer

Charles Darwin’s son George Darwin spent his childhood helping his father in his lab. Famously, upon visiting a friend’s house without a study, he asked, “But where does your father do his barnacles?” This junior researcher went on to become the next in the family line of scientists as a celebrated astronomer and pioneering geophysicist, best known for his theory that the moon was once part of the Earth before it was pulled away by solar tides to create a satellite. This is generally considered unlikely now, but, as the first theory of sun-Earth-moon evolution based on mathematics applied to geophysics, it was groundbreaking at the time. In a way, it was a very early step toward what most astronomers believe today: that because of some sort of impact, parts of Earth and another unknown celestial body combined to become the moon.



Source: Surprising Facts About Charles Darwin | Charles Darwin Facts

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - POLYDACTYL CATS


Did you know... There are about 60 polydactyl cats living at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Florida.

In 1943, in a letter to his first wife, Hadley Mowrer, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “One cat just leads to another.” All these years later, the famed writer’s adage rings true, especially at his former estate in the Florida Keys, which is home to about 60 cats. These feline descendants of Hemingway’s original cat colony share a special trait: About half of them are polydactyl, meaning they have more toes than the average housecat. Most domesticated felines have 18 toes — five on each front paw and four on each back foot — but polydactyl cats can have as many as eight “toe beans” on each paw. (According to the museum, about half the cats there display “the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA.”)  Those enlarged feet are considered lucky among sailors, who believe they help boat cats better plant their paws in turbulent waters and catch stowaway rodents. That could partly be why Hemingway, known for his love of sailing, favored polydactyl cats; the first of his colony — named Snow White — was reportedly gifted to him by a sea captain.  Despite his reputation for machismo, Hemingway had a soft spot for cats. While he was alive, the Florida home where he penned several novels was something of a cat sanctuary, home to as many as 80 cats at once, which were frequently mentioned in his letters to family and friends. More than six decades after Hemingway’s death, his cat clan lives on. Each cat at the author’s residence is born there, given (per tradition) a celebrity name like Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, or Alfred Hitchcock, and granted free roam. They’re friendly with the thousands of visitors they meet each year, and may just take after Hemingway’s tough nature — fortunately, the cats safely rode out both Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Ian in 2022 with not a hair out of place.


Author Mark Twain was known for “renting” cats.
Hemingway wasn’t the only writer with an affinity for cats. Mark Twain also was known for preferring the company of felines — and while it was just a fraction of Hemingway’s herd, Twain’s colony included nearly 20 cats at one time. The author’s ingenious wit wasn’t just reserved for his writings; his cat companions received colorful names such as Sour Mash, Soapy Sal, and Blatherskite. Cats were such constant companions for Twain that he couldn’t bear to be without them, going so far as to “rent” cats when his travels took him far from his own. In one such case, Twain spent the summer of 1906 in New Hampshire, where he borrowed three kittens from a nearby farm, naming one Sackcloth and both kittens in an identical pair Ashes. But Twain’s summertime stays weren’t just a feline fling; his cat rental fee included lifetime care for his short-term companions. (Interesting Facts)


Amazing Facts About Polydactyl Cats
By CHRISTINA DONNELLY  |  Updated on 10/31/22


Polydactyl cats are born with more than the usual number of toes on their paws. While most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws, polydactyl cats can have six (or more) on each paw. Polydactyly is a genetic abnormality that results in extra digits and is more common in certain geographic regions of the world compared to others. It can affect any cat breed, male or female, big or small. Read on to learn more about the genetic factors that contribute to polydactyly and to check out some adorable photos of polydactyl cats.


1. Polydactyly Is Caused by a Genetic Mutation


Polydactyly is caused by a genetic mutation in a dominant gene and usually results in the formation of anywhere between four to seven toes on a kitty’s paws. The front paws are most often affected by polydactyly, but it can also occur on the hind paws; it’s extremely rare for a cat to have polydactyly on all four paws. For the most part, polydactyly is harmless to a cat’s health and wellness. It can make trimming your cat’s nails a bit more labor-intensive—and if you’ve ever trimmed your cat’s nails, you know how difficult it is—but otherwise, there are plenty of happy, healthy kitties with a few extra toes. It’s important to note that feline radial hypoplasia, a condition that is often confused with polydactyly, can be extremely detrimental to a cat’s health. Like polydactyly, feline radial hypoplasia causes the development of extra toes. The major difference is that the extra toes develop immediately next to the cat’s normal toes, resulting in extremely large, flat feet. If cats with feline radial hypoplasia are bred, it can cause severe paw deformities in subsequent generations.


2. Some Polydactyl Cats Have “Mittens”


Mitten paws” occur when a polydactyl cat’s extra toes form in the middle of the paw, giving it a thumb-like—or mitten-like—appearance. Although these extra digits resemble thumbs, they aren’t opposable.


3. Polydactyly Can Actually Benefit Some Cats


Polydactyl cats’ toes aren’t just cute—they provide some benefits to kitties, too. Because polydactyl cats have wider, larger paws, they’re better able to balance on various surfaces, climb, hunt, and capture their prey. If you have a polydactyl cat, be sure to buy it a scratching post or board and make sure that nail trims account for all their toes. Those extra toes can seriously do a number on your furniture.


4. Polydactyl Cats Are Considered Lucky


Like many kinds of cats (black cats and calico cats included) that were believed to bring good luck to sailors, polydactyl cats are no exception. Back in the day, polydactyl cats were a common sight on long journeys by ship. With the help of their large, wide paws, polydactyl cats made excellent mousers and could keep the ship’s supplies vermin-free. Plus, their paws helped them balance on rocky seas. Polydactyl cats are most commonly found in Western England, Wales, Canada, and the Eastern United States, and their prevalence in those regions is often credited to their days on trans-continental ships. It’s believed that polydactyl cats in England were transported across the Atlantic Ocean where they bred with non-polydactyl cats and proliferated the genetic trait.


5. Ernest Hemingway Loved Polydactyl Cats


Have you ever wondered why polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as Hemingway cats? Well, it’s because Ernest Hemingway loved them. After he was gifted a white, polydactyl cat named Snow Ball (some say the cat was called Snow White) by a ship’s captain, Ernest Hemingway developed a serious affection for these multi-toed kitties. After his death in 1961, his home in Key West, Florida was transformed into a museum and a home for his beloved cats. Currently, the kitty colony is home to about 50 descendants of his original pack of cats—and about half of them are polydactyl.


6. The Condition Was Very Common Among Maine Coon Cats


Because Maine coon cats originated in Maine’s harsh, snowy conditions, they’ve evolved to have large, insulated paws that serve as tiny, built-in snow boots. And, lucky for Maine coons, polydactyly was very common in the breed—at one time about 40 percent of Maine coons had extra digits.2 Why's it lucky? Polydactyly gave Maine coons larger, wider paws with more insulation to traverse the snowy conditions. Today, polydactyly has been bred out of many Maine coon cats, but the breed polydactyl Maine coon is still recognized by some cat fanciers.


7. One Cat Holds the World Record for Most Toes

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a polydactyl ginger tabby named Jake holds the world record for the most toes. Clocking in at a whopping 28 toes, Jake had seven toes on each paw—with each toe having its own claw, pad, and bone structure.



Paws' paws

UPDATE:  A cat from Minnesota has equaled a world record for the most number of toes on its paws. Aptly named, Paws, a polydactyl cat, the fury feline has 28 toes with three extra on each fore paw and an extra on each back paw. Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each fore paw, and five toes on each hind paw. Paws, who is three-years-old is tied with another cat for the Guinness World Record for the feline with the most toes. Owner Jeanne Martin, of Northfield, Minnesota says Paws' genetic trait comes in handy.



Source: Facts About Polydactyl Cats | Interesting Facts About Polydactyl Cats


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