Sunday, September 1, 2013

Random Facts from History 3

1.  James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States, had a Chinese character tattoo.  He was told it meant "eager." (Source)

2.  In 1939, the New York Times predicted that Television would fail because people wouldn't have time for it. (Source)

3.  There are more than 700 underground tunnels in Bavaria of unknown origin and purpose.  There are no historical records of them, but it is thought they probably date back to Medieval times. (Source)

4.  Braxton Bragg, a 19th century U.S. Army officer and Confederate General, was known to have denied his on request on one occasion and then argued with himself about it.  While simultaneously serving as company commander and company quartermaster, he sent a request (as company commander) to the company quartermaster (himself), and then  as quartermaster, he denied the request and gave an official reason for doing so in writing.  As company commander, he replied back claiming he was justly entitled to what he requested.  As quartermaster, he stubbornly continued to refuse the request.  Ultimately, Bragg requested the post commander intervene. The post commander responded by saying, "My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself." (Source)

5.  The oldest known living individual clonal tree in Norway is called Old Tjikko and is said to be 9550 years old. (Source)

6.  The Grand Mosque of Paris helped some Jews escape Nazi persecution in the 1940's by issuing them Muslim identity papers. (Source)

7.  In 18th century England, men who dressed and spoked outlandishly in an epicene manner were referred to as "Macaronis."  The term came from men who belonged to a non-formal club called the "Macaroni Club" and referred to anything they considered fashionable as "macaroni."  This is where the famous line from "Yankee Doodle" about sticking a feather in his hat and calling it macaroni came from. (Source)

8. During World War II, German military tanks would run over camel dung for good luck.  The Allies caught on to this and began placing land mines in camel dung.  When the Germans caught on to that tactic, they began to avoid fresh piles of camel dung.  In turn, the Allies began placing land mines in camel dung that looked like it had already been run over. (Source)

9. Julius Caesar was once captured by pirates who he threatened to punished when he was freed.  His ransom was paid and he later returned with a Roman fleet and captured all of his ex-captors and crucified them. (Source)

10. In 1959, mail was packed into a missile and launched from the submarine USS Barbero.  It reached it's intended target in Mayport, Florida in 22 minutes.  Despite the success, they apparently decided against making rocket mail delivery a regular service. (Source)

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