Pad Thai, the national dish of Thailand, is actually not a traditional dish, but was invented, standardized and promoted by the Thai government, and imposed upon the people, as part of a broad cultural effort to establish a sense of national identity.
2. Many Jews fought back against the Nazis. Eta Wrobel escaped transport to a concentration camp and helped organize a resistance group. Refusing to just cook and clean, she carried a weapon on patrols and set mines to destroy German vehicles. Once, she dug a bullet out of her own leg with a knife.
3. In Singapore, some elevators are equipped with Urine Detection Devices that detect the scent of urine, setting off an alarm and closing the doors until the police arrive to arrest the offender.
4. Before he died in 1998, Chinese President Yang Shangkun told his army doctor that the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4 had been the most serious mistake committed by the Communist Party in its history.
5. Tea used to be consumed only as medicine in England, but when people saw the Portuguese queen drinking tea regularly, it became popular there too.
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6American Prairie Reserve
The American Prairie Reserve is a project initiative that is privately purchasing large swaths of land out in the Great Plains of America and converting it into what will hopefully be the largest nature reserve in the continental U.S.
7. In 2003, the Chi-Chi's restaurant chain was hit with the largest hepatitis A outbreak in U.S. history, with at least 4 deaths and 660 other victims a month after filing for bankruptcy.
8. Jakarta is sinking 25cm (10 inches) per year, in part due to excessive use of groundwater and lack of piped water. It is expected that the city will be completely submerged in the next 30 years.
9. A pregnant American black bear can give birth without ever emerging from hibernation. She doesn’t even need to rouse herself to care for her young. Instead, she can nurse her cubs for months by drawing from her reserves of stored fat.
10. Sir George Everest, after whom Mount Everest was named, objected to the honor, as he had nothing to do with the mountain's discovery and he had the impression his name was not easily written or pronounced in Hindi.
The Supersonic airliner Concorde could burn up to 2 tonnes of fuel just to taxi to the runway, however, once at Mach 2 it was the most fuel efficient engine ever built.
12. There is a third world trade center tower (China World Trade Center Tower III) in China that looks exactly like the ones in New York.
13. Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia adopted 40 Armenian Orphans from a monastery in Jerusalem in 1924 and trained them to play musical instruments. They became members of Ethiopia's first Official orchestra.
14. The "razor" in Ockham's razor refers to distinguishing between two hypotheses either by "shaving away" unnecessary assumptions or cutting apart two similar conclusions. This means a solution with the fewest assumptions, not the simplest answer, is usually correct.
15. Parents in Zimbabwe who cannot afford school fees can offer livestock such as goats or sheep as payment for tuition fees.
"Purple Rain" was remade in the Sahara featuring the nomadic Tuareg people. Since their language has no word for "purple," the title became "Rain The Color of Blue With A Little Red In It."
17. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains around 80 million kg of floating plastic debris of various size and shape, principally made of Polyethylene and Polypropylene, accumulated in an area 3 times the size of continental France.
18. There is a forensic database containing tens of thousands of shoe impressions. It is used to match footprints at crime scenes to specific makes of the shoe. The name of the database is Solemate.
19. A hockey player named Ivan Tkachenko who died in a tragic plane crash in Russia was anonymously giving money to sick kids, and the last half-million ruble payment was transferred to a young cancer patient minutes before the plane take-off.
20. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is being eaten alive by millions of venomous sea stars known as crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS). The scientist has developed a new robot to hunt and kill these sea stars. This murderous, autonomous underwater vehicle has been named RangerBot. It can kill a starfish with a single shot of bile.
When glasses for nearsightedness began to appear in the 15th Century because they were unusual and rare, they were seen as having magical powers, and people who wore glasses were thought to be in league with the devil.
22. The interstate system was meant to run between cities, not through them. President Eisenhower got the highways built, but he said putting them inside cities "was entirely against his original concept and wishes."
23. Studies have shown that people who cry more are seen as warmer individuals who are more approachable. At the same time though, these individuals are perceived by others as being less competent or “stupid.”
24. One of the few references that Leonardo Da Vinci made to sexuality in his notebooks states: “The act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions.”
25. The Stanley cup can only have 5 large rings with winning team names/members. When the cup is fully engraved, the oldest ring is removed and sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a new one is installed.