30 More Pioneering ‘Firsts’ That Shaped Our World – Part 2

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1First SciFi Novel

First SciFi Novel

The first ever science fiction novel, ‘A True Story’ was written in the 2nd century AD. The novel includes travel to the outer space, flying to the Moon, alien life forms, interplanetary warfare and continents across the ocean.


2. When the territory of Wyoming applied to join the US, congress told them they’d have to stop letting women vote. Their response was, “we will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women”. In 1890 they joined as the first and only state to allow women to vote.


3. Discovery Channel survival expert Ed Stafford wanted to be the first person to walk the length of the Amazon River from source to sea. He thought it might take a year, but the actual endeavor took him 860 days to accomplish.


4. In 1887 a group of men added Susanna M. Salter to the mayoral ballot of Argonia, Kansas, as a prank to discourage women from running for office. She then won by a 2/3 majority and became America's first female mayor.


5. In 2013, Metallica became the first band to perform on all seven continents by performing live and un-amplified (to protect the environment) in Antarctica.


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6Ham the Chimp

Ham the Chimp

Ham the chimp who was the first hominid in space was trained by NASA to operate a capsule in space. His trainer described the moment he was recovered from his capsule following the project as, “I have never seen such terror on a chimp’s face.”


7. The first U.S. gold rush started in North Carolina in 1803 when a 12-year-old boy found a 17-pound gold nugget on his father’s farm. This gold rush supplied all the gold for the nation’s mints until 1829.


8. The first known recording of a human voice was made in 1860, but was only intended to show a sound wave visually, not to be played back. In 2008, it was optically scanned and converted to a sound file, revealing it to be a man singing “Au clair de la lune.”


9. The first black-white interracial kiss on American television was on an episode of Star Trek. However, the producers were worried about the show being banned in the South because of it, and tried to shoot alternate versions of the shot. The actors intentionally flubbed those shots.


10. Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” was the first rap song to win an Oscar for Best Original Song, but Eminem did not even watch the awards because he did not think he stood a chance at winning. Instead, he fell asleep watching cartoons with his daughter.


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11Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

When Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female recipient of a medical degree in the U.S., applied to Hobart College, the dean decided to hold a vote in the class she was applying to. If just one of the 150 male students objected, she would be rejected. All the 150 young men voted to accept her.


12. The USA had a lesbian First Lady in 1885-1886. She was Rose Cleveland, Grover Cleveland’s youngest sister and acting US First Lady before Grover married in 1886. She was a lesbian and had a relationship with a wealthy widow named Evangeline Marrs Simpson, with explicitly erotic correspondence.


13. The earliest form of smallpox immunization was used in China in the 1500s. Doctors would take ground up scabs from people with mild cases of the disease, and blow the material into their nostrils. This lead to a mild version of the disease which had a mortality rate of ~2%.(20-30% if untreated).


14. Rollercoasters were invented to distract Americans from sin. In the 1880s, hosiery businessman LaMarcus Thompson didn’t like that Americans were going to places like saloons and brothels and created the first rollercoaster on Coney Island to persuade them to go there instead.


15. After Beethoven first performed his Ninth Symphony, he couldn’t hear the rapturous applause it received due to his deafness. One of his singers had to approach him and turn him around so that he could see the standing ovation he was receiving.


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16First Worldwide Manhunt

First Worldwide Manhunt

In the late 17th century, a pirate named Henry Avery became the richest pirate in the world after raiding a treasure laden ship belonging to the Grand Ruler of India. He stole £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to £89.6 million today. The world’s first worldwide manhunt was called on him.


17. A Romanian traveler named Dumitru Dan was credited with being the first man to walk around the world, including walking on the deck of the ships he traveled on.


18. Aloha Wanderwell was the first woman to drive around the world. Along the way, she befriended Chinese bandits, captured the first footage of the Bororo tribe, and disguised herself as a man to pray in Mecca.


19. The thief who committed America’s first bank robbery (stealing $162,821) was caught because he deposited the money back into the same bank.


20. The first anti-hacking law was passed after President Ronald Reagan saw the movie War Games and asked his staff if this could happen. A week later the response was “Mr. President, the problem is much worse than you think.”


21First Terraforming Project

First Terraforming Project

Charles Darwin and Joseph Hooker started the world's first terraforming project on Ascension Island in 1850. The project has turned an arid volcanic wasteland into a self-sustaining and self-reproducing ecosystem made completely of foreign plants from all over the world.


22. Noor Inayat Khan was an Indian woman who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her service during World War 2. She was the first female wireless operator to be parachuted into France to assist the French resistance. Later betrayed by a member of the resistance, she would be executed in Dachau.


23. Harvard’s first black faculty member was a dentist. Dr. George Franklin Grant joined the Department of mechanical dentistry in 1871. Also an inventor, he patented the wooden golf tee. Previously, golfers carried around buckets of sand, placing their balls on little piles as they went.


24. Hermann Buhl was the first man to climb Nanga Parbat (9th tallest mountain in the world) pushed through the final 4300 feet alone by taking a high dose of amphetamines and drinking tea brewed from coca leaves. He then stood on a ledge overnight before heading down.


25. A man named Timothy Ray Brown was cured of HIV in 2007 with a bone marrow transplant from someone with genes resistant to HIV. He became the first person to ever be cured of HIV.

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