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At Andrew Jackson's funeral, his pet parrot got kicked out for cursing too much.  

That's one of my favorites.  More of an anecdote than a fact, but I think it counts for these purposes.

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The entire collection of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets has been spelled out in DNA by scientists in Cambridge to demonstrate the vast potential of genetic storage. Huge quantities of information could be written into specks of DNA and archived for tens of thousands of years, the researchers claim.

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  • 11 of the 12 men who have walked on the moon had been Boy Scouts in their youth.
  • There is estimated to be $475 trillion worth of gold dissolved in the world's oceans.
  • For $70,000 per night, you can rent the entire principality of Liechtenstein.
  • The recipient of the first silicone breast implant was a dog named Esmeralda.
  • 35 % of worldwide sock production takes place in one Chinese city (Datang, Zhuji)
  • An Australian man (Otto Nothling) broke the national javelin record within the first three times he threw one, and then never threw one ever again.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien typed all 1,200 pages of The Lord of the Rings with two fingers.
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  • The last English woman tried for witchcraft was convinced in 1944.
  • All the ants in the world weigh about the same as all humans in the world.
  • Bananas have more trade regulations than AK-47s.
  • Mozart kept a fart diary.
  • Queen Elizabeth I of England invented the gingerbread man.
  • There are fewer people in the world than there are LEGO figures.
  • Guinness isn't black, it;s very dark red.
  • It would save 600,000 lives each year if everyone washed their hands properly.
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  • In 2009, a search of Loch Ness for the monster resulted in finding 100,000 golf balls.
  • 95 % of the spiders in your house have never been outside.
  • 13 Americans have died as a result of a laxative overdose.
  • Male chess players will adopt riskier strategies when playing against beautiful women.
  • McDonald's is the world's largest distributor of toys.
  • A man in China once sent virtual assassins to kill his son's World of Warcraft character.
  • There are 60  people in Venezuela whose first name is Hitler.
  • Yoda's first name was Minch.
  • Sheep can see behind themselves without moving their heads.
  • Leo Fender couldn't play the guitar.
  • Without bats, there would be no tequila.  
  • Falling in love, on average, costs you two close friends.
  • Work is 3 times more dangerous than war.
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  • Until 1913, children in America could legally be sent by parcel post.
  • In the 19th century, sausages were marketed as "Bags of Mystery".
  • Tennessee Williams choked to death on a bottle cap.
  • Henry Winkler ("The Fonz") never learned to ride a motorcycle.
  • The first manager of a McDonald's franchise was named Ed MacLuckie.
  • 2/3 of the world's population has never seen snow.
  • The world's biggest frog is bigger than the world's smallest antelope.
  • In 1672, an angry mob of Dutchmen killed and ate their prime minister.

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  • In a 2005 survey, 20 % of people admitted to taking Derbisol, a drug that doesn't exist.
  • In 2007, 210,000 Americans were injured by lawnmowers.
  • Vaccinations don't work on octopuses.
  • The world's oldest living tree is older than Stonehenge.
  • India's Mars probe cost less money than the movie Gravity
  • In 2013, a PayPal error briefly made a man in Pennsylvania the richest person in the world.
  • 80 % of US Presidential elections have been won by the taller candidate.
  • Toothpaste is addictive for bears but toxic to dogs.

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9 hours ago, kelticwizard said:

Nero was 35 miles away when fire broke out in Rome and the violin would not be developed for many centuries.

It's still possible, though unlikely, that he played a stringed instrument of some sort:

 

https://www.history.com/news/did-nero-really-fiddle-while-rome-burned#:~:text=According to a well-known,in a time of crisis.

Quote

For one thing, the fiddle didn’t exist in ancient Rome. Music historians believe the viol class of instruments (to which the fiddle belongs) was not developed until the 11th century. If Nero played anything, it would probably have been the cithara, a heavy wooden instrument with four to seven strings—but there is still no solid evidence that he played one during the Great Fire. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that Nero was rumored to have sung about the destruction of Troy while watching the city burn; however, he stated clearly that this was unconfirmed by eyewitness accounts.

 

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  • The Pentagon has an emergency plan to deal with a zombie apocalypse (link below)
  • Woody Harrelson's father was a hitman.
  • Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.
  • It takes around 12 honey bees their entire lives to make a teaspoon of honey.
  • Male kangaroos flex their biceps to impress females.
  • When impoverished and young, Picasso kept warm by burning his own paintings.
  • You are twice as likely to be killed by a vending machine as a shark.  @JiF @The Crusher
  • Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin cut a hip-hop song with Snoop Dogg (video below).

 

https://www.businessinsider.com/pentagon-zombie-apocalypse-training-plan-2016-3

 

 

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There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe. 

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1 hour ago, The Crimson King said:

Good question, so I had to look it up: 

Caterpillers are insects, which means they have three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen) and two antennae on their heads

Worms on the other hand are indeed animals

Yeesh, the things one learns from a football forum

 

Interesting.  I thought anything it Kingdom Animalia would be considered an animal.  

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The first occupational disease ever recorded in medical literature was "chimney sweep's scrotum".  

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The US Military is the largest buyer of explosives. 

Number two?  Disney World.

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For 6 weeks in 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident shared their submarine with a reindeer named Pollyanna.

 

https://www.wearethemighty.com/history/pollyanna-ww2-reindeer-submarine?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2

The reindeer that served on a submarine for 6 weeks

 

Pollyanna the reindeer was one of the most unlikely submariners in history.

February 25, 2019 18:27:55 EST
 
 
img.jpg?width=980
 

A pinnacle of wartime technology, the HMS Trident was supposed to patrol the Atlantic, doing submarine things. Maybe sink a ship or two, enforce the blockade, and smuggle a reindeer from Russia to England. If that last part sounds more like the plot of a Nickelodeon cartoon than a World War II mission, then you clearly don't understand diplomacy.

Our stage is World War II, 1941. America is the Arsenal of Democracy but is not yet formally part of the war. Russia and England are the bookends to a powerful and super-evil Nazi Germany, and Germany is busily invading the latter while trying to contain the former.

Britain and Russia were not natural allies. Britain had interceded in the Russian Civil War in 1918 on the losing side, and many veterans of that war were still kicking in 1941. Some were resentful. Some, certainly, would've cheered if Germany had invaded the British Isles in 1940 and conquered it.

But Hitler made strange bedfellows. And so a Russian bear cuddled up to the British crown, and much canoodling was had by all. But young romances rely on careful gestures, and one side cannot spurn the gift of another. Which brings us to the strange events of the HMS Trident in 1941.

The Trident was sent to fight and kill Nazis in the Arctic, and its patrol took it into contact with a Russian crew. There, the crews exchanged tactics and had to play nice. A slip up on top of the world could cock up the whole alliance to the south. So, the men engaged with one another, were polite, and then the Trident crew prepared to head out for a fight with more German ships.

The Russian admiral hosted the British leaders, and British Commander Geoffrey Sladen mentioned that his wife was having trouble pushing her pram through the snow in England. The admiral had a great idea: The Brits should take one of the reindeer with them, and the reindeer could haul the pram around in England.

Again: This was the international diplomacy equivalent of a new high school romance. If the cute girl passes you a photo of her, even if it also shows her disapproving grandpa and some unsightly dental headgear, you give the photo a kiss, smile at the girl, and then tuck the photo into the door of your locker.

For those who are curious, the reindeer equivalent is: You accept the reindeer, name it Pollyanna, and carefully get it into your submarine by opening the torpedo tube and helping it slip in. You bring a barrel of moss aboard as well, so the young reindeer will have something to eat.

And so the British set sail for another six weeks of wartime patrol. Pollyanna often slept in the captain's cabin next to his bunk. And, according to the BBC, she would trot to the control room and wait for the hatch to open when fresh air was allowed in. The moss eventually ran out, and the crew fed Pollyanna scraps from their meals.

 

When the sub returned to England, it took a bit of work to get Pollyanna back out. The moss and the table scraps had taken their toll, and the young reindeer was too large to make it back out of the torpedo tube. Instead, she was winched out through the top.

Polly went to the zoo and was reportedly happy, though she did have a few quirks from her submarine service. George Malcolmson, a Royal Navy Submarine Museum Archivist, said, "It was rumoured that she never forgot her submarine career, for whenever she heard bells or a sound like a submarine tannoy, she would lower her head as though preparing for diving stations."

Pollyanna died at the zoo five years later, the same week that the HMS Trident was sent to the breakers yard to be reduced for scrap.

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In one hour on a Saturday morning in 1910, 10,000 farmers from Iowa built 380 miles of road.  That covered the entire width of the state.

I assume they didn't use a contractor....

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https://www.popsci.com/science/article/2009-11/bread-loving-bird-shuts-down-lhc/

Baguette Dropped From Bird's Beak Shuts Down The Large Hadron Collider (Really)

November 5, 2009

VA7C33T2GA5VZYXVGBHWLB7PAY.jpg

 

The Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, just cannot catch a break. First, a coolant leak destroyed some of the magnets that guide the energy beam. Then LHC officials postponed the restart of the machine to add additional safety features. Now, a bird dropping a piece of bread on a section of the accelerator has, according to the Register, shut down the whole operation.

The bird dropped some bread on a section of outdoor machinery, eventually leading to significant over heating in parts of the accelerator. The LHC was not operational at the time of the incident, but the spike produced so much heat that had the beam been on, automatic failsafes would have shut down the machine.

This incident won't delay the reactivation of the facility later this month, but exposes yet another vulnerability of the what might be the most complex machine ever built. With freak accident after freak accident piling up over at CERN, the idea of time traveling particles returning from the future to prevent their own discovery is beginning to seem less and less far fetched.

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13 minutes ago, AFJF said:

Shot in a duel in which he killed the other man, former US President Andrew Jackson lived 40 years of his life with a bullet in his chest that could not be removed.

There are so many fascinating Andrew Jackson fun facts/anecdotes.  Like the one I posted earlier in the thread:

  

On 6/17/2020 at 12:57 PM, Jetsfan80 said:

At Andrew Jackson's funeral, his pet parrot got kicked out for cursing too much.  

That's one of my favorites.  More of an anecdote than a fact, but I think it counts for these purposes.

 

And this:

On the last day of his presidency, Jackson admitted that he had but two regrets, that he "had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or to hang John C. Calhoun."

John C. Calhoun was his Vice President, lol.

 

And this, a description of the assassination attempt on Jackson's life (the first attempt on a sitting President in US history):

Quote

Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter, approached Jackson as he left a congressional funeral held in the House chamber of the Capitol building and shot at him, but his gun misfired. A furious 67-year-old Jackson confronted his attacker, clubbing Lawrence several times with his walking cane. During the scuffle, Lawrence managed to pull out a second loaded pistol and pulled the trigger, but it also misfired. Jackson’s aides then wrestled Lawrence away from the president, leaving Jackson unharmed but angry and, as it turned out, paranoid.

 

That's right.  Jackson beat the assassin so badly that his aides had step in to pull Jackson off of his attacker.  

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Scotland wanted to replicate the Parthenon bigger and cheaper in 1826. It was never completed and is now nicknamed “Scotland’s Disgrace”.

 

Tourists_posing_at_the_National_Monument

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The longest war in history ended in 1986.

 

No shots were fired, and there were zero casualties.

 

 Some historians consider England’s Scilly conflict to be the longest war in known history, dragging on for a staggering 335 years. Yet one side was not a country in its own right, there were no casualties for the entire duration, and not a single shot was fired. Neither side even remembered they were still at war until someone checked the paperwork.  

 

All of which begs the question: if war is declared but neither nation remembers, does it still count?  The Isles of Scilly are five inhabited islands and a multitude of other uninhabited rocks off the coast of Cornwall at the southwestern tip of England. With a population of roughly 2,000, the islands rely on fishing and tourism as the main sources of income. It is doubtful that anyone would consider them an international threat. Yet, somehow, they were at war with the Netherlands from 1651 until a mere 30 years ago.  To understand the origins of the 335-Years' War, we need to go back in English history to the time of the Second Civil War (1642-1648), fought between Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians and the Royalists, better known as the Roundheads and the Cavaliers. Cornwall was one of the last Royalist strongholds, but in 1648, it too fell into Cromwell’s hands. Britain being an island nation, it had one asset in its Navy, which had declared its support for the Royalists. And so, as the Parliamentarians swept across the country, the Navy was pushed further back until its only possible safe harbor was the Isles of Scilly. At the time, the Isles were owned by Sir John Grenville, a close friend of Prince Charles (later King Charles II), and therefore a staunch Royalist.

 

Meanwhile, across the English Channel, the Dutch were winning their independence from Spain in the Eighty Years War. The English had been allies with the Dutch since the war’s beginning, thanks to the protestant Queen Elizabeth 1. As the Netherlands gained independence they naturally wanted to maintain good relations with England, but with Civil War underway, they had to decide whom to support. Since it looked as though the Parliamentarians would overthrow the Royalists, the Dutch chose to ally with them. This included the support of the Dutch Navy. The Royalist Navy, down in the Scilly Isles, put up quite a strong resistance, seizing a number of Dutch ships and a great deal of cargo.

 

In the spring of 1651, Admiral Maarten Tromp of the Dutch Navy landed to demand reparations. Seeing that none were forthcoming, he reputedly declared war on the Isles of Scilly.

 

Within a matter of weeks, a final push by the Parliamentarians led to the surrender of the remaining Royalist ships. The Dutch knew that they no longer faced any sort of threat and set sail for home. It seems they forgot one minor detail: the Scilly Isles weren’t technically a nation in their own right and so no one remembered to make the peace.

 

Years turned into decades, turned into centuries, and the war with the Dutch fell into local folklore. Generations passed on the tale that the islands remained at war with the Netherlands. No officials seemed to know if it was true or not.

 

Finally in 1985, a member of the island council and a keen local historian, Roy Duncan, decided to investigate the story for himself. He wrote to the Dutch Embassy, asking them to look into the matter. A response came back: after much searching, it seemed that no record existed of a peace treaty ever being signed. On April 17, 1986, the Dutch Ambassador visited the Isles of Scilly to sign said peace treaty, thereby putting an end to what is now fondly referred to as the 335-Years' War.

 

Whether the declaration of war was legally binding remains in doubt to this day. Some historians argue that Tromp had no authority to declare war, and was simply blustering in the hopes of receiving compensation for damaged and lost goods. Furthermore, even if his declaration had merit, it surely would have been resolved in the 1654 treaty between England and the newly-formed Netherlands.

 

 The ceremony marking the signing of the peace treaty in 1986 was more of a publicity move than it was an important event in international relations. Even Duncan admitted that the issue of the war had been “a joke for many years”. The signed declaration of peace remains on display in the Council Chambers in Hugh Town on St. Mary’s Island, and a quirky incident of British history has allowed the Isles of Scilly to lay claim to a place in the record books.

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Nobody was surprised by the Spanish Inquisition.

They gave a 30 day notice to the accused.  

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In 1929, Princeton researchers successfully turned a live cat into a functioning telephone.

 

https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2017/04/the-cat-telephone/#:~:text=They were the same thing,perceived by the auditory nerve.

Quote

To do so, they first sedated the cat and opened its skull to better access the auditory nerve. A telephone wire was attached to the nerve and the other end of the wire was connected to a telephone receiver. Bray would speak in the cat’s ears, while Wever would listen through the receiver 50 feet away in a soundproof room. The common notion during this time was that the frequency of the response of a sensory nerve is correlated to the intensity of the stimulus. In the case of the auditory nerve, as a sound becomes louder, the frequency or pitch of the sound received by the ear should be higher. When Bray made a sound with a certain frequency, Wever heard the sound from the receiver at the same frequency. As Bray increased the pitch of the sound, the frequency of the sound Wever heard also increased. This experiment proved that the frequency of the response in the auditory nerve is correlated to the frequency of the sound.

 

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Inês de Castro was proclaimed Queen of Portugal in 1357 despite having been dead for 2 years.

 

http://www.theroyalarticles.com/articles/71/1/Ines-de-Castro-The-Queen-Who-Was-Crowned-After-Death/Page1.html

Inês de Castro: The Queen Who Was Crowned After Death

 Fated Affair
 
"Agora é tarde; Inês é morta" (“It’s too late; Inês is dead”) is a Portuguese saying used in everyday life. By continuing to use it more than 550 years after Inês' death, people still evoke one of the most tragic heroines of all time, whose story is rooted not only in Portuguese history and language but also in universal myth and fable.

Inês Pérez de Castro (ca. 1320-1355) was the daughter of the powerful Pedro Fernandes de Castro, an illegitimate grandson of King Sancho IV of Castile. She arrived in Portugal in 1340 as a lady-in-waiting to her cousin, Infanta Constança of Castile, who was to marry the heir to the Portuguese throne, Dom Pedro (son of King Dom Afonso IV). But immediately the crown prince set his eyes on Inês' “heron neck," he was in love with the noble lady. Even though he married the Castilian Infanta in 1340, he began to neglect his lawful wife and focussed his attention on Inês. The die was cast, and an irresistible love story was about to be written. Pedro was madly in love, and legend even says that he used to send his love letters through a pipe that carried water from the estate of Quinta do Pombal* to the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, where the beautiful lady was settled.

In a cunning manoeuvre aimed at putting an end to her husband’s love affair, Constança invited Inês to be the godmother of her newly born son, Infante Dom Luís (who was born on 27 February 1340 and lived for just a few weeks), as in the eyes of the Catholic Church, this would make Inês a member of the family and would render her affair with Dom Pedro incestuous. However, the Princess' scheme did not have the desired effect; despite her efforts, as well as the King's later attempts to separate the lovers (by banishing Inês from Court and sending her back to Castile in 1344), the feelings of the couple for each other did not subside, and Pedro continued to visit Inês when she was away from the kingdom. Dona Constança, on the other hand, did not have long to live. She died on 13 November 1345, shortly after giving birth to her third child, Infante Dom Fernando (born on 31 October).

Once he was no longer married, Dom Pedro went after Inês, brought her back to Portugal and settled her in Coimbra, where they would live together openly. The lovers were closer than ever, and they went on to have four children: Afonso (who died in infancy), Beatriz (born around 1347), João (born in 1349), and Dinis (born in 1354). Meanwhile, the Prince became increasingly close to Inês' brothers (Álvaro and Fernando de Castro), who tried to convince him to claim the throne of Castile, thus endangering the already fragile relations between Portugal and that neighbouring kingdom. Soon the Prince (also a grandson of King Sancho IV of Castile) was persuaded by their arguments and declared himself a pretender to the thrones of León and Castile, taking advantage of the weak position of his cousin, Pedro of Castile, due to the intrigues created by the bastards of Alfonso XI.
It became evident to the Portuguese King and aristocracy that the Castro clan would end up dragging the future monarch and his kingdom into the dynastic fights of their neighbours. Moreover, Dom Afonso IV and his courtiers secretly feared that at some time in the future Inês' sons would impugn the legitimacy of Infante Dom Fernando (the surviving son of Pedro and Constança), causing a civil war. Even worse, they were concerned that the Castros might make an attempt on the life of this frail little heir.

These fearsome prospects led the King and his advisers to look for ways to free the Prince from the damaging influence of the Castro clan, and the death of Inês started to be seen as a solution. Initially, Dom Afonso IV was reluctant to agree to such an extreme action against the mother of his grandchildren, but on 7 January 1355 (while Pedro was away from home), the King called his counsellors to a meeting in the Castle of Montemor-o-Velho, at the end of which he finally decided to send three of his courtiers - Pêro Coelho, Álvaro Gonçalves and Diogo Lopes Pacheco - to Coimbra, in order to kill Inês.

According to Cristóvão Rodrigues Acenheiro's Chronicles – which would inspire poets and novelists throughout history – as soon as they arrived, Inês appeared surrounded by her children and appealed to the Dom Afonso IV, who was thus struggling between the needs of the state and his feelings as a grandparent. Finally, he left the room, saying to the counsellors: "Do whatever you want". As soon as the King had turned his back, the sentence was carried out: Inês de Castro was executed.

Although the assassination took place in Santa Clara-a-Velha (where the couple had been living together since Constança’s death), the myth associates Inês' tragedy with the Quinta das Lágrimas [Estate of Tears], and people believe that her blood still stains the red stone-bed of the spring on this estate, where she is said to have cried out for the last time, while being pierced by the daggers of the executioners.
 

Queen after Death
 

When Dom Pedro heard that Inês had been killed, the terrible news drove him into a fury. Knowing that his father had ordered the killing, Dom Pedro staged a revolt against the King. For several months, with the support of the Castro brothers, his troops swept through the country and laid siege to the city of Porto. Finally, the Queen intervened to end the revolt and bring about a reconciliation between father and son, who formally promised to forgive the incident. But two years later, Dom Afonso IV died and Dom Pedro succeeded to the Portuguese throne. As soon as he was crowned in 1357, and in spite of his promises of forgiveness, King Dom Pedro I recovered two of Inês' assassins from Castile, where they had sought refuge (the third had escaped to France). He then had them tortured and executed in a barbaric but highly symbolic way: from one of the men who had killed the love of his life, the heart was ripped out of the body through his back, and from the other, the heart was pulled out through the chest. All this happened in front of the Royal Palace, where the King was able to watch the terrible scene while having dinner!
 
n spite of being based on medieval concepts of justice, such infamous cruelty would give the King the nickname of Pedro the Cruel. Nevertheless, according to the 1891 Hispanic-American Encyclopedia, his entire reign was evidence of his sweet and benevolent character. Of all three Pedros who were reigning in Hispania (Castile, Aragon and Portugal) at the time - all three known by the nickname the Cruel - the Portuguese king was the one who least deserved it. He protected the people and curbed the excesses of the nobility, and so nobles and clergymen nicknamed him the Cruel, while the folks remembered him rather as the Just.

Either way, Pedro's eagerness for justice was great and the painful memories were asking to be avenged. On 12 June 1360, the King announced in Cantanhede that, some years earlier, he had secretly married Inês, in the town of Bragança. The bishop of Guarda, Dom Gil, and one of his servants, Estêvão Lobato, were presented as witnesses of the wedding - although nobody seemed to remember the date when it had taken place. Nevertheless, Inês de Castro was declared Dom Pedro's legitimate wife and therefore the lawful Queen of Portugal. The King then ordered her body to be exhumed and taken from the Monastery of Santa Clara in Coimbra to the Monastery of Alcobaça (the tomb of kings), where she was buried in an extraordinary ceremony, on 2 April 1361.
 
Chronicler Fernão Lopes (ca. 1378-1459) described it thus: "D. Pedro ordered a tomb of white marble, finely surmounted by her crowned statue, as if she was a Queen; and then he caused the tomb to be placed in the Monastery of Alcobaça [...] and made the corpse come from the Monastery of Santa Clara of Coimbra, escorted by many horses and noblemen and maids and clergymen. And all the way through, a thousand men were holding candles, in such a way that always the body was enlightened; and thus it arrived at the Monastery, which was seventeen thousand leagues away from Coimbra, where the body was buried with many religious services and great solemnity. And it was the most magnificent translation ever seen in Portugal". The extraordinary splendour of this unique ceremony was so impressive that Heinrich Schöffer (Historia de Portugal, ed. 1893) described the scene with a memorable metaphor: "Inês de Castro was led to Alcobaça between two lines of stars".

Afterwards, the accounts of Pedro's actions mix reality with legend. Some say that the tomb was placed opposite Pedro's own grave, so that they could look into each other’s eyes on the day of the last judgment. Others go even further and say that, once in Alcobaça, Pedro had Inês placed on the throne, put the royal crown on the skull, and forced the entire court to swear allegiance to the dead Queen, by kissing the hand of the corpse. One thing is known for sure: the eighth King of Portugal was moved by strong feelings that united him to the queen of his heart and, according to the royal chronicler Fernão Lopes, he was consumed by a "great madness".

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There is a technical name for the "fear of long words."

It's called "hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia."

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The game Tug of War has a long, bloody history:

 

 

https://priceonomics.com/a-history-of-tug-of-war-fatalities/

 

When Ropes Snap

 

Severe tug of war injuries are almost always the result of amateur organizers using the wrong types of rope and underestimating the forces generated by play, says Shelby Richardson, President of the U.S. Tug of War Association (USTOWA). In several instances, these oversights have resulted in dire consequences.

 

During a typical tug of war match, a tremendous amount of tension (or elastic recoil) builds up. When improper rope is used (i.e. nylon), the chances of a snap exponentially increase. When this does happen, the stored tension in the rope can easily tear through tendon and bone. Similarly, the broken ends of an elastic polymer (again, nylon) can recoil like a rubber band if released, and reach speeds high enough to sever appendages.

 

***

 

On June 13, 1978 in a Pennsylvania suburb, the entirety of Harrisburg middle school -- some 2,300 students -- lined up in a schoolyard and attempted to set a Guinness World Record for the largest tug of war game ever played. Instead, disaster ensued.

 

Twelve minutes into the match, the 2,000-foot-long braided nylon rope snapped, recoiling several thousand pounds of stored energy. “It sounded like someone pulled the string on a party cracker,” recalled 14-year-old participant Shannon Meloy. “I smelled something burning and I thought it was the rope...but it was hands. I looked down and saw...blood.” In the ensuing chaos, nearly 200 students lay wounded -- five with severed fingertips, and one missing a thumb. Hundreds more faced second-degree burns. “It was just a game,” another student told the Gadsden Times a day later. “We just wanted to see how many could do it.”

 

The rope, provided by Pennsylvania Power and Light Co., had been intended for use in heavy construction, and was rated to withstand 13,000 pounds of stress.

 

Seventeen years later, in June of 1995, two incidents occurred only a week apart.

 

A man participating in a large tug of war game in Chattanooga, Tennessee had the rope wrapped around his hand (another no-no, according to USTOWA). When the other team suddenly exerted a tremendous pull, the loop tightened and tore off his hand.

 

Days later, in Frankfurt, Germany, one of the worst disasters in tug of war history occurred -- again, the result of trying to set a Guinness World Record. Several troops of Boy Scouts converged to attempt a 650-person match; minutes in, the “thumb-thick” nylon rope (which was nowhere near capable of withstanding the force of hundreds of people) snapped.

 

One end of the rope whipped back, instantly killing a 9-year-old boy on impact. In the aftermath, 102 others were severely injured; another boy passed away as a result of being crushed when everyone fell.

 

On October 25, 1997, a massive tug of war match was organized in Taiwan in celebration of Retrocession Day (the day the Japanese ceased colonial rule in Taiwan following World War II).

 

The 1,600 participants exerted over 180,000 pounds of force on a 2-inch thick nylon rope designed to withstand only 57,000 pounds. Amidst cheers, the rope violently snapped; the sheer rebounding force tore off the left arm of the first man on each side.

 

Forty other people suffered injuries, including ambassadors from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua -- some quite serious, according to the medical report:

 

"The most devastating injury, described in this report, comprised liver and spleen rupture with C5-6 spinal cord injury as the initial presentations. A bilateral brachial plexus injury was also found in the subsequent investigation."

As a result, calls were put out for Taipei’s Mayor, Chen Shui-bian, to step down. Ultimately, several of the mayor’s staff members were impeached, and all medical expenses were paid for out of the officials’ pockets.

 

Jim Thurber, a 59-year-old from Nova Scotia, decided to participate in his county’s annual tug of war match at the last minute -- usually a light social event. “I had retired,” he told CBC in 2010. “But I thought it was one more chance to give the municipality a hand.” He never suspected he’d mean that in a literal sense.

 

Shortly into the match, the former warden spotted a loop in the rope and decided to grab it to get a better grip. In reality, he’d just put his hand into a slipknot: as 30 people on each side of the rope pulled with all their strength, Thurber’s palm was crushed. “My hand was in where there was no way I was getting it out,” he recalled. By the time officials had managed to stop the game, Thurber had lost four fingers.

 

It was one of many incidents in the decade. In 2007, two 17-year-old boys participating in a tug of war game at a Colorado homecoming looped the rope around their hands and suffered amputations. “Hearing it was pretty gross,” a student at the scene later told NBC. “There was like a lot of people screaming and just all blood flying everywhere and just people running out of the room." Signs were later posted at the Christian high school that read, “Their hands are in His hands.” Less than a year later, an eight-year-old Minnesota girl lost four fingers in a similar mishap during a tug of war match at a Leukemia fundraiser.

 

In 2013, there were two more incidents involving snapped ropes -- one in Hungary, and one in California -- each of which resulted in multiple finger avulsions.

 

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According to polling (an assortment of polls and surveys from Gallup, Harris Survey, Wall Street Journal, and others), these are some of the most popular (and least divisive) opinions internationally:

  • 99 % of people think its wrong for employees to steal expensive equipment from their workplace.
  • 98 % would like to see a decline in world hunger.
  • 98 % would like to see a decline in high unemployment.
  • 98 % believe lifeguards should watch swimmers rather than reading or talking on the phone.
  • 97 % would like to see a decline in terrorism and violence.
  • 97 % would like to see an end to all wars.
  • 97 % believe there should be laws against texting while driving.
  • 96 % have a positive impression of small business.
  • 96 % think the Olympics are a great sports competition.
  • 96 % oppose legalizing crystal meth.
  • 95 % say that if a pill were available that made you twice as good looking but only half as smart, they would not take it.
  • 95 % disapprove of people using cell phones in movie theaters.
  • 95 % believe employers should not be able to access the DNA of their employees without permission.
  • 95 % would like to see a decline in prejudice.
  • 95 % support laws against money laundering involving terrorism.
  • 95 % think doctors should be licensed.
  • 95 % would support going to war if the US were invaded.
  • 95 % are satisfied with their friends.
  • 95 % think its wrong to pay someone to do a term paper for you.
  • 95 % don't believe Magic Eight Balls can predict the future.  @Jetscode1

 

If one were running a political campaign and hoping to increase one's popularity, some of these would be decent issues to lead with as part of your platform.  

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The Moon is slowly moving away from the Earth, at a rate of approximately 4 cm per year.  It is estimated that it will break free from Earth's orbit in about 15 billion years.

But don't worry, the Sun will explode well before that (6-7 billion years from now).  The Moon will be our faithful companion until the very end of our Solar System.

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The Sun's output is 382,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules per second.

For comparison, a McDonald's Big Mac contains about 2,250,000 joules.

Matching a few days' worth of Sun output would require eating a sphere of hamburgers the size of the Earth, and keeping up with the Sun over its entire lifetime would take a pile of burgers much larger than the Sun. In fact, it would be heavier than the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy.

 

Challenge accepted, @The Crusher?

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Ever since some time in the late 1700s-early 1800s, the Sun actually has not yet set on the British Empire.  

The reason why this still remains the case is the Pitcairn Islands, a UK-owned territory in the Pacific.  These islands have a population of 43 people, who primarily are made up of descendants of the HMS Bounty mutiny. 

In 2004, nearly a third of the male population living on Pitcairn were charged and convicted of sexual assault, some with multiple counts of sexual encounters with children.  In 2016, the mayor was found guilty of downloading more than 1,000 images of child pornography.  He was also convicted of conducting a "sex chat" with a 15-year old.

Without this territory, there would be several hours in the day where no sunlight touched a UK territory.

 

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