19 Odd but True Facts

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21 Facts Nobody Needs to Know, but Want to Know

1 The Gospel of Eve Promoted Free Sex

Odd But True Facts

I think it would be interesting to start our odd but true facts with a little known gospel. How well do you know the New Testament?
There is a Gospel of Eve that is an almost entirely lost text from the New Testament apocrypha, which may be the same as the lost Gospel of Perfection. It is not part of the canonical Bible, and probably for a very good reason.
This Gospel of Eve was used by some to justify free love. To be more precise, they used the Gospel of Eve to justify coitus interuptus and swallowing semen as a religious act, similar to the Etoro tribe in Papua New Guinea.
Some Gnostics had the belief that, as flesh is evil, you should simply acknowledge it by engaging in sexual activities. Needless to say, this interpretation was not taken well by the religious leaders of the time. But if it were widely adopted it would have made Sunday mornings a lot more interesting.

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2 George Washington’s Statue in London is on Virginia Soil Read Why

george washington statue

In 1908 or 1909, no one is certain for sure, the US state of Virginia commissioned a new cast of a statue of former United States President George Washington. In 1910 the General Assembly of the State of Virginia granted permission for the Gorham manufacturing company to make copies of the cast and allow for the copies of the statue to be distributed to certain localities. One of the places one of these statues was to go to was the National Gallery in London, England. In 1921, when the statue was sent to London, the state of Virginia sent a ton of soil from the state of Virginia for the statue to be sat on. The reason they did this was to honour George Washington’s vow that he would never set foot on English soil.

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3 Time Magazine Stands for the International Magazine of Events

time magazine name

Most people are well aware of the hugely popular and influential magazine TIME. It has covered most of the world changing events and help shaped our perception of the world and leaders around us.

TIME magazine was the first weekly news magazine published in the United States of America, being first published in 1923 by to former Yale university students. It’s signature red border was introduced in 1927, and it has been absent only twice during its entire history. First following the assassination of JFK, and following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

I wonder though, how many people would know why TIME was chosen as the title for the magazine? This might come as a surprise to some. The title for TIME magazine is actually an acronym for The International Magazine of Events, which is a fairly accurate description.

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4 Most of the Island the Statue of Liberty Stands on is New Jersey

statueThe Statue Of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States to celebrate the centenary of independence. It was designed by the same engineer that designed the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, and it was constructed in France in 1884. The French sent it over to the United States and had it assembled in October 1886 on Ellis Island.

While the Statue Of Liberty is usually regarded as a New York monument the island it stands on is actually mostly in the state of New Jersey. The Supreme Court, in 1998 ruled that only the natural parts of Ellis Island were part of New York, and all artificial created parts of the island belonged to New Jersey. As most of the island has been artificially created the majority of the island actually lies within the state of New Jersey. Not that it matters much as the island is federal property.

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5 Alaska Was Sold for 2 Cents Per Acre

alaska

When the United States purchased Alaska in 1867 they only paid 2 cents per acre. The Russians were keen to sell, but not to Great Britain with whom they had recently had a war and feared losing the territory without compensation if another war broke out. While support in the US for the purchase was not overly endorsed it proceeded on the 18th October 1867. It took another 92 years for Alaska to be admitted into the union as a state.

 

In today’s money  the purchase translates to approximately 32 cents per acre (it could be anywhere from 28 cents to$37.60, but using purchasing power calculators by calculating the cost of CPI the most accurate cost is 32 cents). Considering the cost of current land values and the natural resources available in the state the price was a true bargain buy.

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6 Cretin Comes from the French Word for Christian

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If you were to be called a cretin today you would be, without a doubt, offended. That is because to be called a cretin means that you are stupid or mentally handicapped. But cretin has not always been a derogatory term.

Of all of the words still in use to describe a person who is suffering from a mental handicap, cretin is the oldest. It comes from the dialectal French word for Christian. Now, before anyone gets offended by this it is worth pointing out why and how it got this usage. Unlike it’s usage today, the word was not designed to be a term of abuse.

The reasoning behind the use of the word was because the person was considered to be still human, or Christian, and still deserved to be treated as such. Further to this was the belief that those who suffered from mental retardation were Christ like, and unable to sin. So in many respects they were more Christian than many Christians.

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7 The Us Civil War Began and Ended at One Mans Place

Wilmer_McLean_ca_1860When the US civil war broke out in 1861 at the first major engagement between the two foes at the First Battle of Bull Run it took place on the farm of Wilmer McLean (pictured). His house was used as the headquarters of the confederate army and was targeted by the union cannons. In fact a cannonball actually fell through the kitchen fireplace.

In 1863 McLean moved his family 200km (120 miles) south to Appomattox County, Virginia, due to the Union army’s presence making his commercial activities difficult and to protect his family from battle.

When the war ended on  April 9, 1865 the surrender of the Confederate army to the Union army took place in the parlor of his home in Appomattox. McLean is quoted as saying “The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor”.

Following the surrender his house was ransacked by members of the Army of the Potomac who were looking for souvenirs.

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8 Al Pacino Turned Down the Role of Han Solo in Star Wars

Veteran actor Al Pacino has revealed that he was offered the role of Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy. In 1977, when the original Star Wars movie was released, Al Pacino was one of the worlds most bankable actors, having made a name for himself in the critically acclaimed God Father series. At the time of pre production, George Lucas had not yet offered the role to Harrison Ford and it was Al Pacino’s for the taking. Also offered the role of Han Solo were Perry King, Jack Nicholson, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. So if Al Pacino had the role of Han Solo offered to him, and it was his if he wanted it, why didn’t he take it?

It is quite simple really. Like Alec Guinness who actually hated working on Star Wars because he thought the dialect was terrible, Al Pacino couldn’t understand the script at all, so decided to turn it down.

Veteran actor Al Pacino has revealed that he was offered the role of Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy. In 1977, when the original Star Wars movie was released, Al Pacino was one of the worlds most bankable actors, having made a name for himself in the critically acclaimed God Father series. At the time of pre production, George Lucas had not yet offered the role to Harrison Ford and it was Al Pacino’s for the taking. Also offered the role of Han Solo were Perry King, Jack Nicholson, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. So if Al Pacino had the role of Han Solo offered to him, and it was his if he wanted it, why didn’t he take it?

It is quite simple really. Like Alec Guinness who actually hated working on Star Wars because he thought the dialect was terrible, Al Pacino couldn’t understand the script at all, so decided to turn it down.

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9 Lucille Ball Produced Star Trek

I-Love-Lucy-Show

Lucille Ball was an American trailblazer. She ventured into avenues that no other woman had dared to at that time, and succeeded with great fame. Her success has allowed other great female entertainers to make illustrious careers. But she was not only a great comedian and actress, she was also a brilliant business woman. The star of I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball owned the production company that not only produced I Love Lucy, but also Star Trek and The Untouchables.

Desilu Productions was established by Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz in 1950 and they ran it as a partnership for ten years until their divorce in 1960. Following their divorce, Ball bought out her ex husbands share of the company and ran it solely until 1967 when she sold it to Gulf+Western. They renamed it to Paramount Television.

The company produced 26 shows while it was owned by Lucille Ball. Other notable hits include Mission Impossible, Hogans Heroes, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Jack Benny Program.

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10 Drinking Straws Have Been Around for over 5000 Years

straw

The humble drinking straw is something we have all used at some time. Whether we used them for drinking or other sorts of uses such as models and craft we all know what their main purpose is for. Do you know though that drinking straws have been in use since at least 3000 BC? Historians don’t know for sure when the first straws were used, but they have discovered some that were used by the Sumerians who used them to drink beer. The theory is that they used the straws to avoid drinking the solid by product from fermentation that sank to the bottom. The first known drinking straw was made out of a gold tube inlaid with the precious blue stone lapis lazuli. Compare that to what we get to drink with today. Now we get plastic straws of even paper straws. Even the reusable straws don’t come anywhere close to the quality or style of a gem encrusted gold straw. Now that’s drinking in style.

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11 In Sweden You Can Masturbate in Public

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While masturbation is a natural human habit, and something that most people do, very few people would ever think of doing it in public, let alone actually doing it in public. But this is exactly what happened in Sweden in 2013.

A 65 year old Swedish man was recently charged with  masturbating in public while at a beach. But to nearly every ones surprise he was acquitted. The reason he was let off is because he committed no offence.

The law in Sweden specifically states that for public masturbation to be considered a crime it must be directed at another person or persons. His act was not directed at another person, so no crime was committed. The public prosecutor agreed with the judgement too.

For this to be a criminal offence it’s required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court’s judgement is reasonable

~Olof Vrethammar who is the public prosecutor.

Essentially this makes future prosecutions of public masturbation difficult to prove.

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12 Britney Spears Often Travels with Fake Names

britney spears fake names

When Britney Spears travels on concert tours, or other engagements, she often uses fake names. You can understand the reasoning behind using fake names. If Britney Spears was to use her real name she would almost certainly lose all privacy, and the media circus would be extremely disruptive to many people, not just Spears. The problem is that Britney Spears, while being extremely creative with the fake names she chooses, makes it blatantly obvious that she is using a fake name. What are the fake names that she uses? It will leave you scratching your head.

Britney Spears fake names

Among Britney Spears favorite names to use when travelling are Ms. Alotta Warmheart, Mrs. Diana Prince, Queen of the Fairy Dance, and Mrs. Abra Cadabra. Why does she use those specific names? She uses Warmheart because she has a warm heart. Diana Prince is in honor of Diana, Princess of Wales. Fairy Dance, well because she was a dancing fairy. Finally Cadabra for no real apparent reason.

The names surely are original, but clearly fake.

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13 Killing Season is a British Medical Term But Why

killing season

Have you ever heard of the term “killing season”? My guess is that you have. But probably never in the way it is used by the British medical fraternity. The British medical term for killing season refers to the period, usually in August, when newly qualified doctors enter the National Health Service (NHS). The killing season is associated with an increase in preventable medical errors. The US term for killing season is known as July effect.

The term was first used in the British television medical drama series Cardiac Arrest. In one episode that was broadcast in 1994, Dr. Claire Maitland was consoling a junior who had just made a fatal error. The dialogue used was “You come out of medical school knowing bugger all. No wonder August is the killing season. We all kill a few patients while we’re learning.”

Among NHS staff the day that junior doctors start working is known as “Black Wednesday”, due to the fact that on average, patient mortality rates are six percent higher than on the presiding Wednesday.

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14 Oral Sex is Illegal in Malaysia, Penalty is 20 Years in Prison

oral sex malaysia

Lets hope that the bats performing oral sex don’t do it in Malaysia, as it is illegal. It’s true too, all forms or oral or anal sex are illegal in Malaysia. While oral sex particularly, and anal sex to a lesser extent, is lawful in most countries, Malaysia has a strict code preventing any such acts.

Although this particular law is seldom enforced, it is still part of the criminal code, and can be enforced at any time. Under Malaysia’s Section 377A of the Penal Code it is expressly forbidden for a penis to enter the anus or mouth of another person. Oral and anal sex is considered a “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Much more disturbing is the punishment if caught and prosecuted for the “crime.” If a person is found guilty of performing anal or oral sex on another they are subject to an amazing 20 years in prison.

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15 The Motto for the United Kingdom is in French

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The motto for the United Kingdom is in French. The motto is “Dieu et mon droit”which translates into “God and my right“. The motto was first used by King Richard I as a battle cry while on crusade. It was later adopted by Edward III as the official motto.

You might think it odd that the English motto is in French and not English, but Norman French was the language of the ruling classes in England following the conquest of William the Conqueror and later the Plantagenets. It was only the peasants who spoke a primitive version of English.

Another French phrase also appears on the full achievement of the British Royal Arms. The motto of the Order of the Garter, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” translated to “Spurned be the one who evil thinks” appears behind the shield. Although the French spelling of honi is now honni, the spelling on the full achievement has not been updated.

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16 There’s A Natural Sea Organ At Zadar, Croatia

The beautiful and harmonic sea organ – Zadar, Croatia

The coastal city of Zadar in Croatia has an organ that plays random, but harmonic music from the waves of the sea. The organ was designed by architect Nikola Bašić as part of a plan to redesign the city coast. The organ plays a continuous, never ending harmonic song. The sound emerges from holes along the top step of the wall. The plan to redesign the coast and add a sea organ was in response to the need for the coast to be overhauled following ill conceived and chaotic reconstruction work after the coast was extensively damaged during the second world war. The sea organ was opened to the public on 15 April 2005 and was awarded the prize ex-aequo of the fourth edition of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.

You can watch the above video to see the sea organ in Zagar, Croatia in action.

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17 Space Invaders Made 2 Billion Dollars in Quarters Alone

space invaders2

One of the most popular early console and arcade games was Space Invaders. There was an urban legend that said that the game was so popular that it caused a shortage in 100 yen coins in Japan. As we have already pointed out, this claim was false. But the game was still extremely popular and generated a huge amount of revenue in the US byway of quarters alone. Within only five years, Space Invaders had accumulated in excess of eight billion quarters.

By mid 1981, just three years after the game was released, it had generated more than four billion quarters, or $1 billion from the arcade machines. By the end of 1982, Space Invaders had generated over eight billion quarters from arcade machines, totalling over $2 billion in revenue. As of 2011 that revenue would have been worth around $4.6 billion. The game was so popular and profitable it was compared to the block buster Star Wars. When it was released on Atari it became the first killer app, quadrupling the consoles sales.

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18 Lake Natron in Tanzania Turns Animals to Stone

It seems like something from Greek mythology. The ability to turn a living thing into stone. This is what happened when someone laid their eyes on Medusa, they turned to stone. Lake Natron in Tanzania possesses no magical properties to accomplish this feat, relying only on nature.

The lake is named after natron which is a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. This compound came from volcanic ash originating in the Great Rift valley. Lake Natron itself can reach temperatures as high as 60 °C, and its alkalinity between an astonshing PH 9 to PH 10.5.

Unless you are an alkaline tilapia, which is a fish that has adapted to extreme conditions, you would not want to go near this lake. Every animal that gets submersed in the water of Lake Natron will die and calcify, in other words they will turn to stone. The high concentration of salts in Lake Natron cause the animals to be mummified. The lake shore is littered with dead calcified animals that look more like macabre statues. Occasionally, when salt islands form in the middle of Lake Natron, some flamingos will take a risk and nest on the islands. Evidence suggests that not every attempt is successful.

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19 Pacman Has a Secret Hiding Spot

We will finish our list of odd but true facts with a really cool trick for a classic arcade game. One of the most popular arcade games ever developed was the simply designed Pacman. Pacman was a game that was released in 1980 by Namco. The game involved a munching mouth that had to navigate a maze and eat all of the dots. Pacman had some obstacles to overcome while trying to eat the dots, those being 4 ghosts. If the ghosts caught you you lost a life.

But I bet that you didn’t know there was a secret place for Pacman to hide from the ghosts. Whether this trick is cheating or not is debatable. It is not a hack or a code, but a trick. To avoid losing a life when the ghosts are out and looking for you all you need to do is head to the secret place. But you need to get there without being seen by a ghost, basically be in its line of sight. If you can continually get to this secret place you will continue to rack up fantastic scores.

A word of note however. This trick will only work on the original arcades and MAME, so there is no point trying this on an old NES game or a new smart phone. Sorry to disappoint a little. Watch the video above for a demonstration of this neat little Pacman trick.

 

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