The desk in the Oval Office is called the Resolute Desk, named after the ship it was built out of in 1880. The HMS Resolute was found empty and adrift in pack-ice, then salvaged by the US and gifted back to the UK, which helped narrowly avoid a war. Franklin D. Roosevelt requested the addition of a door with the presidential seal to conceal his leg braces he had due to polio.
2. When Harry Wilson was 18 months old, his proud Grandfather bet £50 that he would one day represent Wales in football and was quoted 2500/1 at his local bookmaker. 16 years later he became the youngest ever Wales debutant, netting his grandfather £125,000.
3. During the civil war John T. Wilder, the commander of the Union “lightning brigade” personally took out a loan to buy his soldiers advanced new repeating rifles because the government would not supply them. Using the firepower advantage afforded by the new rifles, his brigade proved extremely effective in combat.
4. Roman senator Lucius Licinius Crassus held a funeral for his pet eel. When another senator ridiculed him for this, he replied: “did you not bury three wives and not shed a tear?”
5. If the Axis ever captured Gibraltar during World War 2, the British planned to seal 6 men in a secret cave overlooking the harbor to secretly monitor and radio back enemy movements. The cave had enough provisions for the men to stay for up to 7 years.
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English's formal word for "you" was "you", while "thou" was used to express intimacy and familiarity.
7. In 2015, a woman named Ingeborg Rapoport, 74 years after being denied her Ph.D. by the Nazis for being Jewish, successfully defended her dissertation and received her doctorate from the University of Hamburg at the age of 102, making her the oldest person ever to receive one.
8. The US Navy used to forbid "obscene" tattoos, which led to a boom in tattoos of nude women among men who didn't want to serve. If they joined the Navy later, they had to have a tattoo artist "dress" the woman.
9. The German Army conducted a "Jewish Census" of their soldiers during World War 1, designed to prove that Jews were shirking military service. It ended up proving the opposite, so the results were never published.
10. A 'witch' named Zura Karuhimbi ended up saving over 100 people during the Rwandan genocide because the attackers believed she possessed magical powers.
11McMurdo Dry Valleys
The driest place on earth is McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica where it hasn't rained for 2 million years. Only anaerobic bacteria are able to survive in these extreme conditions. Scientists also consider the area terrestrially closest to Mars on earth.
12. In the 1920's, the Ford Motor Company produced so much factory wood waste that they manufactured it into charcoal and sold it under the name Ford Charcoal. The company was later renamed to Kingsford Charcoal.
13. In 2015, renewable energy provided almost 100% of electricity production in Iceland, with about 73% coming from hydropower and 27% from geothermal power.
14. When China ordered a Boeing 767 from the U.S. in 2002 to serve as its presidential jet of Jiang Zemin, its intelligence service discovered nearly 30 bugging devices onboard the plane, "including one in the headboard of the presidential bed." The C.I.A. and the White House refused to comment.
15. A golfer can possess only one Masters green jacket. If a golfer wins multiple Masters they just award the winner the same jacket. The winner also can't hold onto their jacket and must return it to the clubhouse.
16Venus of Hohle Fels
The oldest undisputed known depiction of a human being, the Venus of Hohle Fels, is about 40,000 years old and made from mammoth ivory. It is on display in a museum in a small German town.
17. Paraffin wax was a common waterproofing material used for circus tents but this changed in 1944 after the Ringling Bros. Fire in Hartford, Connecticut. The paraffin wax ended up accelerating the deadly fire and 1800lbs of hot wax “rained down from the roof”-killing 167 people; injuring 700, mostly women and children.
18. When the results began coming in from the 30 March 2005 Powerball drawing, lottery officials suspected fraud was underway because 110 players claimed second prizes of $100,000 or $500,000. All 110 players and the jackpot winner got their numbers from fortune cookies.
19. To gaslight someone means to make one think they are going crazy. This term comes from the movie Gaslight (1944), where a husband tried to make his wife (Ingrid Bergman) think that very thing by dimming the gas lights in the house and making her think she was imagining it.
20. Charles Darwin wrote the pros and cons of marriage (including the positivity of “female chit-chat) before marrying his cousin.
Rachel Carson is the author of Silent Spring (1962), a book which accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation on the harmful effects of pesticides. The book is credited with inspiring the environmental movement and leading to the formation of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.
22. Wilford Brimley, the “I’ve got ‘diabetuss.’” guy from the Liberty Medical TV commercials was once employed by millionaire recluse Howard Hughes as a bodyguard.
23. The Chowchilla kidnappers who locked 26 children and their bus driver in a buried moving van never got to make their ransom demands, since the phone lines to the police were occupied by worried parents and the media calling in. The victims then dug themselves out and escaped.
24. On 18 August 1913, in Monte Carlo Casino, 26 roulette spins in a row landed on black. The odds of such an occurrence are 1 in 66.6 million. Many gamblers lost millions of francs as they continually (and incorrectly) reasoned that red was due to come up next.
25. One unofficial method of defending merchant vessels against Somali pirates is to blast Britney Spears’ music and it has been reported to be effective.