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Giddy Up! We've Got 5 Things You May Not Know About the Pony Express

On April 3, 1860, the Pony Express began on a 2,000-mile route to deliver mail using relay riders from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. The Trivia Today team pulled together five things you may not know about The Pony Express.

The Pony Express Could Deliver a Letter From New York to San Francisco in 10 Days for $1. Before The Pony Express, letter delivery between coasts took an average of 25 days by stagecoach or even months by sea. But the launch of The Pony Express on April 3, 1860, cut that time in more than half. One dollar was—at the time—equivalent to a day's earnings for unskilled laborers. Today with inflation, that cost would be around $28. Not quite as cheap or quick as FedEx, but hey, it was a start!

The Pony Express Is an Innovative Piece of History, But the Business Was a Total Flop.

The boys who funded The Pony Express had a great idea and a solid business plan. They invested significant amounts of money into buying more than 200 horses, building out 184 different rest stations, and paying their riders a generous salary of $100 per month. But, three big death blows ultimately caused the business to flop within 18 months. First, was the start of the Pyramid Lake War between the U.S. and Paiute Indians. The violent, dangerous environment during that time caused business to halt for weeks on end. Second, they failed to land a big government contract that would have had The Pony Express carrying all official correspondence to the newly-formed state of California. But the final knockout punch came from the invention of the transcontinental telegraph by Western Union.

Riders Rode 75 Miles a Day, Often in Bad Weather or Dangerous Territory, But They Didn't Even Have the Scariest Job.

Riding was a pretty good gig actually. You made great money and got to see the countryside. Despite the often rough weather and ongoing war with natives, only six riders died during the history of The Pony Express. The real scary job was maintaining the rest stations, which were often in remote locations and heavily prone to attacks from Indians. One attack in the summer of 1860 killed 16 stock hands. 

The Pony Express Carried Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address to California.

Perhaps their most notable achievement was carrying news of Lincoln's election as President of the United States to the people of California. The news traveled with The Pony Express from Nebraska to California by "Pony Bob" Haslam—a young twenty-year-old rider who also held The Pony Express record for making a 380-mile round-trip in under 48 hours. 

Riders Had to Swear Not to Drink on the Job; They Rarely Kept Their Oaths.

All Pony Express riders were required to take this oath in exchange for their above-market salaries: “I do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”

While most riders got the job done, booze was always around at the relief stations, and riders were often drunk.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Dr. Martin Luther King

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated by James Earl Ray.  In honor of the great Martin Luther King Jr., we compiled a few interesting facts you may not know about the civil rights leader.

King’s Birth Name Was Michael, Not Martin.

The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

Dr. King Began College at the Age of 15.

King did well in high school, skipping the 9th grade and 12th grade. Because many students had enlisted in military service during World War II, Morehouse College announced it would accept juniors in high school if they could pass the entrance exam. King entered Morehouse College at age 15 and earned a degree in sociology, then went on to earn a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.

King Was Imprisoned Nearly 30 Times.

According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.

King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech Was Not His First at the Lincoln Memorial.

Six years before his iconic oration at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Great Emancipator during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000, King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights leadership.

King Was a Huge Star Trek Fan.

King was such a “Trekkie” of the original 1960s show that it was the only television program he allowed his children to stay up for. He took his fandom to newer heights when he once persuaded actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, to stay on when she thought of departing after the first season.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Henry Ford

On this day in 1947, Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company died at the age of 83. Ford's contribution to manufacturing is well known. However, many aspects of Henry Ford's life are not common knowledge.  Here are five things you probably didn't know about Henry Ford...

He Almost Became a Watchmaker.

Ford's initial goals were to go into machining and possibly become a watchmaker. He had already been repairing watches on the side, and as a younger teen had disassembled and reassembled a pocket watch that he was given. His goal was interrupted by an order from his father to return to the family farm. He quit his machinist job and stopped repairing watches to back home. When he was later able to look for work elsewhere, he ended up at Thomas Edison's company, where he not only worked on keeping Detroit's electricity on, but he also started working on plans for a horseless carriage on his own time.

Ford Also Branched Out Into Charcoal.

Ford made a totally random discovery: He found that he could use the wood scraps from his car factory to make charcoal briquettes. The process went so well that he opened a charcoal factory, naming it after his brother-in-law, who helped find the land for the factory. His brother-in-law's name? Kingsford—yes, that Kingsford, the name of the famous charcoal briquette company.

Ford Built His First Car Himself.

Ford was not the only person working on developing a horseless carriage, but because there were no car factories in existence—these were all fairly experimental or uncommon models—he had to build his first car himself. There were no factories he could go to, to have other people build the car for him from blueprints. Ford worked on the car in a shed on his property during the time he wasn't at work.

Ford Was Fairly Obsessed With a Nursery Rhyme.

Ford was strangely into the old nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb." He bought a schoolhouse in Massachusetts that was, he claimed, the very schoolhouse mentioned in the rhyme. (The lamb supposedly follows Mary everywhere, even to school.) He also had the building moved onto his property and wrote and published a book detailing how he knew the school was the right one. Some practical good did come out of this odd quest: Ford refurbished the old building and turned it into a working school again.

He Was a Virulent Anti-Semite.

Remember that unsavory characteristic we mentioned earlier? Ford was a major anti-Semite, publishing a pamphlet calling Jews a worldwide problem and supporting the publication of a weekly newspaper that was dripping with anti-Jewish views. The paper was also not shy about promoting racism against black people. Ford was awarded an honor by Adolf Hitler, too. However, after being hit with a libel lawsuit in 1927, Ford closed the paper and claimed the anti-Semitic views were those of others running the day-to-day operations. Yet he kept using dog-whistle phrases like "international bankers"—often taken to be a code for "Jews"—when discussing who was responsible for the World Wars. However, when Ford's grandson was put in charge of the company, things changed. His grandson actively reached out to the Jewish community to make peace.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Margaret Thatcher

On this day in 2013, Margaret Thatcher, the only–female prime minister of the United Kingdom, died in London at age 87 from a stroke. Here are five things you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher.

Thatcher Originally Didn't Think There'd Ever Be a Female Prime Minister.

Thatcher had plans to go into politics, but she once admitted that despite her goals, she originally didn't plan to be prime minister. In fact, she thought the UK would not have a female prime minister in her lifetime. She was quite content to stay at more middle levels of government for a long time and refused to consider running for prime minister in the early 1970s. It wasn't until 1975 when unhappiness with the leader of the Conservative party drove her to challenge him for leadership of the party. She won, and when the Conservatives won a general election in 1979, Thatcher ended up as prime minister.

Thatcher Argued Against the Infamous "Milk Snatching."

One of Thatcher's legacies was the end of a program that gave schoolchildren free milk. In 1971, she was the Education Secretary and was ordered to cut budgets. Because the milk program ended under her term as secretary, she was blamed and called a "milk snatcher." However, she was not actually the person to propose cutting that program—and she argued against cutting it. It was Health Secretary Ken Clarke who proposed the cuts, and Thatcher vehemently protested, claiming the loss of that program would not help matters. Unfortunately, the cuts happened anyway, and Thatcher got the brunt of the criticism.

She Was Instrumental in the Invention of Soft-Serve Ice Cream.

Thatcher originally worked as a food scientist after graduating from Oxford with a degree in chemistry. One of the projects she worked on involved figuring out how to add air to ice cream so there would be more volume with fewer ingredients (and thus less money spent on the ice cream manufacturing process). The result worked well and led to the creation of soft-serve ice cream. Thatcher was one of the people responsible for creating the process to make"Mr. Whippy," a popular brand of soft-serve in the UK.

Thatcher Has a National Holiday Named in Her Honor.

No, this holiday isn't in the UK (that would make more than a few people protest). It's in the Falkland Islands, the group of islands off the coast of Argentina that was the subject of war back in the 1980s. Argentina had invaded, claiming the British colony really belonged to the South American country. Thatcher ordered a military response that ended the war two months later with the Falklands back under British control. In her honor, the islands celebrate Thatcher Day every January 10.

She Resigned From Her Post, Only to Head Right Back Into Politics.

Thatcher was elected for three terms, but she ended up resigning during the third term. Her government was already reeling from criticism after introducing a poll tax that led to rioting. Thatcher also faced severe criticism after mentioning her own criticism of European leaders after a summit in Rome. With another general election coming up and her own political colleagues resigning or challenging her, she stepped down. However, she was then appointed a Baroness and member of the House of Lords, keeping her well within the realm of politics.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Beatles

For fans of The Beatles, April 10, 1970, was a devastating day in music history. After years of speculation, Paul McCartney confirmed in an interview that the band was finished and that Ringo, George, John, and himself would all be pursuing their own solo careers. Today, on the anniversary of that announcement, we've put together five facts you probably didn't know about The Beatles…

Ringo's Real Name is Richard.

You might know him as Ringo Starr, but his mom (and bandmates) knew him as Richard "Ritchie" Starkey. As the story goes, Ritchie first adopted the moniker "Rings" in his youth because of the flashy jewelry he was known to wear around town. He later changed the nickname to Ringo because he liked the cowboy-esque twang of it. Though he was always referred to as Ringo by his bandmates in the press, you can hear Paul say "Ready, Richard?" before Ringo counted the band in during some of The Beatles' studio recording takes.

A 15-Year-Old Girl From Maryland Started Beatlemania.

As legend has it, much of The Beatles' success in the U.S. can be attributed to one fan—15-year-old Marsha Albert—who phoned her local radio station in 1963 and requested "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The DJ tracked down the song and gave it some airplay, which quickly accelerated its popularity. Soon, stations around the country were playing tracks from The Fab Four and before long, Beatlemania had set in.

The Band Almost Bought Their Own Greek Island.

In 1967, at the height of The Beatles' "hippie" stage (this was the year they released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), the group looked pretty seriously into purchasing an island off the coast of Greece that they intended to turn into a secure commune for them and their friends. The idea was a long-time fantasy of John Lennon, but some of the other bandmates—most notably McCartney—were not too keen on the idea. Good thing the purchase never happened: the band broke up less than three years later.

The Band Officially Broke Up at Disney World.

Though Paul's announcement on April 10, 1970, is considered the beginning of the end for The Beatles, the official legal dissolution of the band wouldn't happen until the mid-1970s. According to a close friend, John Lennon was the last Beatle to sign the court documents. Lennon had skipped out on an official meeting for the band to sign at the Plaza Hotel in New York before Christmas, 1974. Angry and fed-up with the delay, George, Paul, and Ringo insisted John sign, which he later did at the Disney World Polynesian Village Hotel. 

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Napoleon

On April 11, 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of France was exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea. This was the first of Napoleon's exiles (it would not be his last), and though he would die at the relatively young age of 52, he lived a life jam-packed with action and adventure. To prove that, here are five things you probably didn't know about the life of Napoleon...

He Wasn't Actually Short.

So much has been said about Napoleon's height over the years that the guy has his own complex. "The Napoleon complex" refers to a theorized condition that short people tend to be more aggressive, but here's the thing: Napoleon wasn't actually short. Cartoons and political propaganda from the time depict him as having a smaller stature, but the physician's notes from his autopsy state that Napoleon was 5 foot 6 inches tall—right at the average height for men of the period. 

And He Probably Wasn't Afraid of Cats Either.

In addition to the short stature rumor, Napoleon has long been accused of not just hating cats (plenty of people do that), but of actually being deathly afraid of them. "Ailurophobia"—as it's known—is rumored to have affected a number of world leaders throughout history, including Julius Ceasar, King Henry III, and even Adolf Hitler. And while Napoleon often gets roped in with these other well-known historical figures, the truth is that there's absolutely no record of him hating (or loving, for that matter) cats. 

He Wrote a Romance Novel.

And you thought Napoleon was only about bloody battles and conquering Europe? No! The man had a soft side. So soft, in fact, that he tried his hand at writing a romance novel once. Clisson et Eugénie was never published during his lifetime, but after his death in 1821 the manuscript was auctioned off. It finally all came together in a complete edition in 2009 (you can buy it on Amazon if you feel so inclined). 

He Escaped Exile, Regained the Throne, and Then Was Exiled Again.

Napoleon's exile on April 11, 1814, was the first of two exiles. Napoleon spent less than a year in Elba before orchestrating an "escape" (though he technically could go wherever he pleased, he was expected to stay on Elba). He sailed for France and made it all the way to Paris without a single shot fired at him. There, he regained his title of emperor and ruled for about 100 days, before losing the Battle of Waterloo and being forced into exile a second time. This second exile required Napoleon to stay put, which he did until his death in 1821.

Napoleon Sold Louisiana to the United States (and He Has a House in New Orleans).

Napoleon completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to avoid future conflict with the United States, raise funds for his European campaigns, and reduce the power of his common foe with the U.S.: Great Britain. A total of 828,000 square miles became official U.S. territory at the fire-sale price of fewer than 4 cents per acre. Fast-forward to 1821 and the mayor of New Orleans, Nicholas Girod, had a house built for Napoleon in the heart of the city. Girod believed Napoleon would escape his exile and come live in the house. Of course, that wasn't the case—Napoleon passed away from stomach cancer later in that year.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Thomas Jefferson

On April 13, 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born and grew up to become one of the most important figures in early American history. We thought that would make today a great day to see how much you know about the famous historical figure.  Enjoy exploring these facts you probably didn't know about Thomas Jefferson...

Jefferson Was a Music Lover.

Jefferson owned at least three violins throughout his life and had started taking violin lessons as a child, so he was somewhat accomplished. As the story goes, his musical ability during his courtship of Martha Skelton may have discouraged other suitors for her hand. Even while he was in Williamsburg, Virginia, attending law school, Jefferson was known to play during weekly concerts with Governor Fauquier and others.

English Peas Were Jefferson’s Favorite Vegetable.

Considering there were 15 different types of English peas planted in the vegetable gardens at Monticello, we can safely assume that Jefferson was an English pea lover.

The peas in the garden were planted at different dates, ensuring they would be available for about two months during the late spring and summer.

Jefferson Kept Mockingbirds as Pets.

Apparently, Jefferson loved music so much that, in 1772, he began keeping mockingbirds as pets for their beautiful songs. The following year he bought more mockingbirds, but the birds only knew birdsong from those that were in and around Charles County. Jefferson once took along a mockingbird on a trip he made to France, and when he returned the birds had added the sound of creaking ship timbers to their repertoire of songs.

The First Known Written Recipe for Ice Cream in America Is Attributed to Jefferson.

Jefferson was a fan of good foods and wines, and ice cream made from his own handwritten recipe was served at the president’s house while he was in office. Jefferson's ice cream recipe is the first known instance of a recipe for ice cream found in the United States. Rumor has it that he obtained the recipe while in France. The recipe is one of ten written in Jefferson’s own handwriting.

Jefferson Was a Skilled Writer but an Unaccomplished Orator.

According to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, John Adams noted that he had never heard Jefferson speak publically during their time together in the Continental Congress. Margaret Smith, a friend of Jefferson’s, noted that during his first inaugural address, Jefferson spoke in such a soft voice that almost no one could hear him. His second inaugural address wasn’t much better: written copies had to be distributed as soon as possible to allow people attending the event to read what he had said.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Abraham Lincoln

On the night of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth. See if you recall some of the lesser-known facts about the 16th President of the United States...

Lincoln is The Only U.S. President to Ever Receive a Patent

Abraham Lincoln patented an invention to lift boats over shoals and obstructions in a river. It is the only United States patent ever registered to a President of the United States. On May 22, 1849, Abraham Lincoln received Patent No. 6469 for a device to lift boats over shoals, an invention which was never manufactured. Part of his patent application reads, "Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield, in the county of Sangamon, in the state of Illinois, have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steam boat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes..."

Edwin Booth Saved the Life of Lincoln’s Son.

Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was on a crowded train platform in Jersey City, and he pressed his back against one of the train cars because of the crowd. When the train started moving, Lincoln fell between the train and platform. Edwin Booth, who was a celebrated actor at the time and brother of John Wilkes Booth, pulled him out, saving his life.

Grave Robbers Wanted to Steal Abraham Lincoln’s Body and Hold It for Ransom.

Grave robbers tried to steal Lincoln’s body in 1876 from the tomb in Springfield, Illinois, intending to ransom it for $200,000 and secure the release of one of their comrades from prison. They might have pulled it off since security at the cemetery was lax, but an associate they recruited to help turned out to be a Secret Service informant. Lincoln's body was moved and eventually buried underneath thick concrete and encased in a steel cage.

Lincoln’s Mother Died From Milk Sickness.

Milk sickness is an often fatal disease caused when someone eats the meat or drinks the milk from a cow that has eaten white snakeroot, a plant that grows in wooded areas. Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died of milk sickness in October 1818. The disease was so prevalent that a $600 reward was offered by the Kentucky General Assembly to determine the cause.

Lincoln Never Slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.

What is now the Lincoln bedroom in the White House served as Lincoln’s office during his term as president, not as his bedroom. It was here that he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. However, the furniture in the room that became known as the Lincoln bedroom was purchased in 1861 by Mary Todd Lincoln, including the eight-foot by nine-foot rosewood bed.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Sinking of the Titanic

April 15, 1912, is the day the British ocean liner Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.  Here are five things you might not have known about the sinking of the Titanic..

The Sinking of the Titanic Was Predicted in More Than One Fiction Book Years Earlier.

At least four books (at last count) had eerily similar tales of liners that met the same fate as the Titanic. That might not sound so weird until you realize that all four were written before the ship sank. The first was the 1886 novel The Sinking of a Modern Liner, a British story about a ship that leaves Liverpool for New York, hits something, sinks, and loses most of her passengers because she lacked the correct number of lifeboats. What's even stranger is that the author of this book, W.T. Stead, died on the Titanic. Another book is 1898's Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, in which a liner named Titan, supposedly unsinkable, hits an ice shelf and sinks. Additional creepy details include sinking off Newfoundland, like the Titanic; not having enough lifeboats; having similar dimensions to the Titanic; and traveling at similar speeds. A third book was 1908's The Ship's Run. However, there were so many similarities between the Titanic and the ship in the book that there is speculation that the author saw construction plans for the Titanic before writing the story. The fourth book was 1912's The White Ghost of Disaster. This book, released as the Titanic was setting sail, saw a ship crash at a specific speed—the same one that the Titanic traveled at when it hit the iceberg.

The One Japanese Passenger Survived, Only to Be Vilified for Not Staying With the Ship.

There was one Japanese passenger on the Titanic, a man named Masabumi Hosono, and he survived; however, when he returned to Japan, instead of getting a nice welcome reception, he was vilified. Popular sentiment said he should have stayed with the ship even if it meant dying, instead of actually trying to save his own life. While Hosono died broke and forgotten, his memoirs and story gradually edged back into the spotlight, this time as objects of benign interest, and there have been exhibitions of his documents regarding the Titanic.

Another Ship Was Close By, but It Did Not Help Because the Radio Room Was Closed.

It turned out that just a mere 20 miles away from the site of the Titanic's demise was another ship, the Californian, that could have picked up survivors—but it didn't because the crew had no idea what had happened. The radio room on the ship was closed for the night. However, after that news was revealed, the maritime industry instituted rules that demanded radio rooms be staffed constantly.

The Titanic Had Several Close Calls as the Journey Started.

The ship did not have totally smooth sailing and then—bam! Instead, it nearly sideswiped another ship in port, it had a coal room fire, and it was constantly receiving iceberg warnings throughout the trip.

Several Passengers Were Delayed or Told Not to Take the Ship at the Last Minute.

Want to talk about some lucky breaks instead? Try looking up the people who were supposed to be on the ship but who bowed out of travel at the last minute. You'll see names like Hershey (yes, of the chocolate company fame), Marconi, Vanderbilt, and Dreiser (Theodore, who was convinced to find a cheaper boat for his trip home) are among the many. And those are just the famous folks; there were also several non-famous people who missed the boat, literally. Canceled bookings for more than 50 passengers have been authenticated, mainly in newspaper stories at the time of the disaster. 

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5 Fascinating Facts About Past Presidential Inaugurations

On April 16, 1789, George Washington left Mt. Vernon to attend his inauguration as the first President of the United States. While inaugurations are now huge events that are televised and live-streamed across the world, they were a lot different in Washington's day.  Here are five fascinating facts about past presidential inaugurations.

Washington Actually Didn't Want to Be President, and He Was Nervous About Taking the Reins.

Washington really just wanted to retire to his home, run the farm, be with his wife, and lead a quiet life after the bloody battles that characterized the American Revolution. However, there was so much discord between various parties trying to set up the government that Washington feared the new country would tear itself apart, and he reluctantly went back into government work out of a sense of duty. He was so popular that he was elected the first president, but he admitted publicly that he had reservations.

Only Two Former Presidents—Who Were Related—Didn't Attend the Inauguration of Their Successors.

It's a tradition that all living former presidents and first ladies attend the inaugurations that occur after the other presidents left office. This is why Hillary Clinton showed up at Donald Trump's inauguration; she was a former first lady, so she attended in that capacity. However, John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, both skipped out on their successors' inaugurations. In the elder Adams' case, he left Washington several hours before the ceremony in 1801, not wanting to see his former friend and then rival's swearing-in. His son skipped Andrew Jackson's ceremony in 1829 because he felt humiliated by his loss to Jackson.

Presidents Don't Have to Swear on a Bible, and Four Didn't.

There's a popular image of the president being sworn in using a bible, but that's more a tradition and not a requirement. In fact, four presidents skipped using the bible for a swearing-in. One, Franklin Pierce, affirmed his oaths, instead of swearing them, and avoided using a bible; the other three were John Quincy Adams, who used a book of U.S. laws because he thought the bible would have violated the separation of church and state; Theodore Roosevelt, who used nothing; and Lyndon B. Johnson, who was so hurriedly sworn in after John F. Kennedy's assassination that he mistook a Catholic missal, or book of prayers, for a bible. 

There May Actually Be Another President in the Lineup.

Now, this is a strange one. When Zachary Taylor was elected, it turned out his 1849 inauguration would have to be on a Sunday. He refused to go because it was the Sabbath and he was not going to do any oath-taking on a Sunday. However, the country's election laws stated that the previous president would no longer be president as of inauguration day. The solution was to have Senate President Pro Tempore David Rice Atchison take the oath on Sunday and have Taylor sworn in on Monday. The confusion arises from that one day. Does that mean that Senate President Pro Tempore David Rice Atchison is actually supposed to be listed among presidents? Technically yes, but no one counts him because his oath was a stopgap measure. It's understood that he was not actually taking power.

Sometimes Inaugurations Occurred Outside Washington.

Washington, Coolidge, and Johnson stand out among presidents because their inaugurations did not take place in Washington, D.C. Washington's two inaugurations took place in New York and Philadelphia, though at the time, Philadelphia was technically the capital. Calvin Coolidge was in Vermont when Warren Harding died, so Coolidge was sworn in overnight at the farm by his father, who was a notary public. And Johnson was sworn in on a plane, so far the only president to have to do that, after Kennedy died.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Benjamin Franklin

On April 17, 1790, one of America's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, passed away in Philadelphia at the age of 84. How much do you really know about this American icon? Here are five interesting facts you probably didn't know about the man on the $100 bill...

He Had 16 Brothers and Sisters.

Talk about a big family. Ben's dad, Josiah Franklin, had 17 children between two different wives. Ben was child #8 for his dad's second wife and the 15th overall kid in the bunch. He was Josiah's youngest son and by far the most successful member of the family. Ben's older brother, James, owned the print shop where Ben got the start that would eventually lead him to own the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 22.

He Invented a Lot More Than Just Bifocals.

Most of us know Benjamin Franklin was responsible for bifocals and the lightning rod. But, did you know he also invented the wood-burning stove? How about the armonica (a glass instrument used by both Mozart and Beethoven)? America's first Renaissance man also invented the modern urinary catheter (yikes). And here's a really random one: at just 11 years old, he invented swim fins. All of this in addition to being a leader of the American Revolution. Needless to say, the man was busy.

He Also Tried to Invent a New Alphabet. It Failed.

Known as a man who always looked for ways to be more efficient, Franklin had his fair share of issues with the English alphabet. He hated the redundancy of several letters—namely C, J, Q, W, X, and Y—and published a proposed phonetic alphabet with six new letters to replace the ones he felt were unnecessary. Needless to say, the experiment was not one of his big successes. 

His Son Was a Hardcore British Loyalist.

Move over Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker—here's the real-life version of the dark-side versus the light. Ben's illegitimate son, William, was an outspoken British loyalist who spent two years in a New Jersey prison before running off to England at the end of the Revolution. While Ben himself was slow on the revolutionary uptake himself (he was an advocate for peace and compromise all the way until 1775), William's betrayal was enough to get him cut completely out of his father's will.

His Last Years Were Spent Fighting Slavery.

Though Franklin did own two slaves during his lifetime, his old age brought on some new wisdom, and in 1787—three years before his death—Franklin took over the presidency of a Pennsylvania abolitionist society. Before he died in 1790, Franklin presented a petition to Congress calling for the freeing of slaves. Congress ignored the petition (slavery wouldn't end for another 75 years), but Franklin was undeterred. When he died a few months later, his will stipulated that his two legitimate children free their slaves in order to receive their inheritance. Well played, Ben.

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5 Shocking Facts About Paul Revere's Famous Midnight Ride

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere made history with his midnight ride that alerted colonial militia to approaching British forces and set the stage for the first battles of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord. To carry the torch (pun intended) on this important day in American history, the Trivia Today team has put together these five shocking facts you probably didn't know about Paul Revere and his midnight ride!

Despite the Legend, Revere Wasn't Drunk on the Midnight Ride.

During the Vietnam War, a salty rumor about Revere slurping rum at a pit stop on his midnight ride surfaced as a way to discredit the Founding Fathers. A Boston newspaper ran a story that Revere's heroic alert to Samuel Adams and John Hancock was actually just drunken yelling that happened to wake the colonial militia. The rumor stuck, but according to historians, there's no reason to believe it is true. By all accounts, Revere was well below the legal limit on his ride from Boston to Concord. And speaking of Concord...

Revere Never Reached Concord. But Another Midnight Rider Certainly Did.

Ever heard of Samuel Prescott? No? That's what we thought. Paul Revere gets all the fame and glory because of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, but the truth is that he was actually one of three men who rode to alert Adams and Hancock of the British forces headed toward Concord. William Dawes rode with Revere from Boston, and in Lexington, they picked up a third rider: Samuel Prescott, who was leaving a lady friend's house at 1:00 am (not suspicious at all, Sam). Though Revere did alert Hancock and Adams, Prescott was the only rider to make it to Concord. Revere was captured and had his horse taken by British troops and Dawes, somewhat embarrassingly, got lost and then fell off his horse. It sounds like Dawes was the drunk one.

That Horse He Rode Wasn't Even His.

Look, we can all agree that when a man lets another man borrow his horse, he expects it back in good condition. Unfortunately, Charlestown merchant John Larkin learned the hard way that doesn't always happen. After Revere crossed the Charles River under cover of darkness, he needed a worthy steed to carry him the 20 or so miles to Concord. Larkin lent his horse, Brown Beauty, thinking he'd get it back, but British troops took the horse and never returned it when they captured Revere. Even if Revere hadn't lost the horse, chances are good it would've been some time before Larkin would see Brown Beauty again. Following the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Boston was besieged, and Revere took up accommodations in Watertown. He didn't return to Boston until 1776.

Revere Never Said, "The British Are Coming!"

Though it certainly makes the story more exciting, the statement would have made no sense in 1775 considering the fact that colonialists were...well...all British. That'd be a bit like running through Massachusetts today saying, "Americans are coming this way!" Actual accounts of Revere's midnight ride reveal he and his riding pals actually said: "The Regulars are coming out." Admittedly, that's a lot less catchy than "The British are coming," but people are rarely considering how they'll sound in the history books. 

However, He Did Introduce the Famous Phrase "One If by Land, Two If by Sea."

Fearing he may not even make it across the Charles River without getting caught by British troops, Revere made a "Plan B." He coordinated a signal with Christ's Church in Boston's North End (which is right on the river) to notify colonists in Charlestown when the British troops were coming. One lantern in the bell tower meant troops were coming by land, two in the tower indicated a naval attack. 

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5 Radioactive Facts About Marie Curie

On April 20, 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie proved the existence of the new element radium when they chemically isolated one-tenth of a gram of pure radium chloride. The following year, Curie would become the first woman in history to receive a Nobel Prize. To celebrate this exciting scientific discovery, here are five interesting things you may not know about Marie Curie..

Curie's Laboratory Notes are Still Too Radioactive to Be Studied.

Though Marie and Pierre were at the forefront of research into radioactivity, the duo had no idea how harmful the elements they studied were to the human body. Both scientists handled radium with zero protection. Pierre supposedly kept a chunk of uranium in his pocket for the curious to observe its heating and glowing properties while Marie kept some by her bedside as a night-light. It wasn't until well after Marie's death from aplastic anemia in 1934 that the effects of radioactivity on the human body were thoroughly understood. Given their reckless handling of the elements, many of the Curies' possessions remain so radioactive today that researchers cannot safely handle them.

Even Marie's Grandkids Have Clout in the Scientific Community.

Many people know that Pierre and Marie's oldest daughter, Irene, went on to follow in her parents' footsteps and win a Nobel Prize for chemistry. But few know that both of Irene's children—Helene and Pierre—went on to become distinguished scientists, too. Helene Joliot is 90 years old and a nuclear physicist with a seat on the advisory board to the French government. Pierre, who is 86 now, became a preeminent biologist. He is a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research and a member of the French Academy of Sciences.

She Was the First Woman Enshrined in the Pantheon Based on Her Own Merits.

In case you're unfamiliar, the Pantheon is a world-famous shrine that houses the remains of the best and brightest from France's history. Everyone from Voltaire to Alexander Dumas calls the Pantheon their final resting place. And in 1995—61 years after her death—Marie Curie officially became the first woman enshrined in the mausoleum based on her contributions to the world (technically Sophie Berthelot was the first woman interred, but she only got in based on her husband's merit). 

Albert Einstein Once Gave Her a Much-Needed Pep Talk.

Following the sudden passing of Pierre in 1906, Marie Curie fell into a bit of a depression that culminated with the outing of an on-going relationship she had going with one of Pierre's former students, Paul Langevin. Langevin was married at the time of their relationship in 1911, and though estranged from his wife, the press did not take kindly to Curie's indiscretion. She was bullied and chastised to the point of retreating from public life. Luckily, Curie had impressed another notable scientist by the name of Albert Einstein at their chance meeting earlier that year. When Einstein caught wind of the negative press, he wrote to Curie, telling her to ignore the "hogwash" being written about her and leave it for "the reptile for whom it has been fabricated."

She Met Two U.S. Presidents.

In a bitter twist of irony, Curie's very discovery (and her willingness to share the method for extracting it with the wider scientific community) eventually led to a price so exorbitant; she could no longer afford to buy it for her experiments. On two separate occasions, Curie came stateside to cash in on fundraising efforts for purchasing radium. On the first occasion, President Warren G. Harding delivered the radium himself to Curie (again, with no protection whatsoever). The second occasion was even more unique. Curie arrived in America two days after the stock market crash that caused The Great Depression. Despite that, President Herbert Hoover still took the time to sit down and meet with the esteemed French scientist.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day, when people take stock of how their actions affect the planet, and how they can improve so that their lives don't leave so much of an environmentally destructive mark.  Here are five things you probably didn't know about Earth Day...

Earth Day Led to the Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Prior to Earth Day, there was really no oversight regarding pollution. Leaded gas was the norm, as was thick smog and polluted land. People littered frequently, and exposure to harsh chemicals was just a fact of life. After the huge turnout for the first Earth Day, the government realized there was great concern about how the country was doing and how polluted it had become. As a result, the government created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed several acts, like the Clean Air Act, to help reduce pollution.

April 22 Was Chosen as Earth Day Because It Was Also Arbor Day.

April 22 is Earth Day not because that's when college students are most likely to be on campus, despite some claims. April 22, 1970, was Arbor Day, the day celebrating trees and planting trees. It seemed like an appropriate day to spotlight how the planet was doing. Granted, April 22 is usually too late for spring break and too early for finals, so it is a good day if you want to involve college students. But Earth Day itself was given that date just because of the connection to Arbor Day.

Those Celebrating Earth Day Have Sometimes Not Practiced What They Preached.

Namely, keeping the Earth clean. Unfortunately, in recent years, Earth Day celebrations have left behind heaps of trash. This happened at the 2015 celebration at the National Mall; there weren't enough trash cans, so garbage overflowed and left the Mall a mess. A 2017 celebration near Orlando, Florida, also produced a littered landscape instead of the clean grounds that you'd expect from environmental supporters.

Before Earth Day, Environmental Groups Were Scattered and Not That Effective.

The fact that the country was polluted did not mean that people didn't care about the environment; as the 20-million-person turnout indicated, there was massive concern. But before 1970, environmental groups were scattered and did not really work together. They focused on specific issues rather than coming together under the umbrella of environmental awareness. Earth Day changed that and brought the groups together, making it easier to gain visibility.

Earth Day Is Now Considered the Largest Non-Religious Observance in the World.

With over one billion participants, Earth Day is now considered one of the largest, if not the largest, non-religious observance on the planet, with many concerned about climate change and preserving resources. 

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Shakespeare

On April 23, 1564, William Shakespeare was born. As an adult, he became a popular actor, playwright and poet. See if you know these surprising facts about the greatest English writer to ever live.

Shakespeare Wore an Earring.

Only one portrait of the many painted of William Shakespeare can be traced as being done during his lifetime. In the painting, believed to have been done by John Taylor, Shakespeare is bearded and has a receding hairline, but he is also wearing a gold hoop earring in his left ear. During this period of the English Renaissance, both courtiers and sailors wore an earring, although those worn by sailors were intended to pay for their funeral expenses if they died.

No One Knows How Shakespeare’s Name Was Spelled.

During Shakespeare’s life, his name was spelled in every conceivable way from Shakspere to Shaxberd and Shakespear. Only six signatures exist, and they are found on legal documents. Shakespeare spelled his name differently on each one, and on two, he neglected to write his entire last name, abbreviating it instead.

Shakespeare Died on His Birthday

While the exact date of his birth has long been a source of debate, the general consensus is that he was born on April 23, 1564 and died on that same date in 1616. That sounds like a huge coincidence, but it turns out, it's much more common than anyone realized. A study released in 2012 found that people are about 14 percent more likely to die on their birthday after the age of 60. Shakespeare died at the age of 52, making him a bit of an outlier.

Shakespeare Had an Amazing Vocabulary.

The Oxford English Dictionary credits Shakespeare with adding nearly 3,000 new words to the language. Some words Shakespeare added include arch-villain, addiction, cold-blooded, fashionable and uncomfortable. He also wrote about 1/10th of all often quoted lines either spoken or written in English.

Shakespeare’s Never Published His Works.

Two actors published Shakespeare’s collected works in 1623, otherwise, they may have been lost to future generations. Henry Condell and John Heminges were the editors for the collection, called First Folio, which contained Shakespeare’s 36 plays. Only four of Shakespeare’s plays were missing, “The Two Noble Kinsmen,”  "Pericles, Prince of Tyre” and two other works that were lost in time, “Love’s Labour’s Won” and “Cardenio.”

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5 Things Even Bookworms Don't Know About the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is celebrating its 218th birthday today, and the Trivia Today team is ready to party! On April 24, 1800, President John Adams approved a $5,000 budget for Congress to purchase over 700 books in what would become the first entries in the Library of Congress. Book nerd or not, we'll bet you didn't know these five interesting facts about our nation's oldest cultural institution.

The Library Contains Over 164 Million Entries.

The $5,000 budget approved by President Adams on April 24, 1800, was enough to get Congress 740 books and three maps. Today, that number has risen pretty significantly. In addition to over 30 million books and nearly 70 million manuscripts, the library contains over 13 million photographs, 6.5 million pieces of music, 5 million maps, and 3 million miscellaneous recordings spread across 883 miles of shelving.

Thomas Jefferson Made $24,000 When He "Donated" His Books.

In 1814, British troops burned the Capitol Building—where the Library of Congress was housed at the time—to the ground as part of their siege on Washington during the War of 1812. Most of the library's 3,000 volumes were incinerated. Soon after, President Thomas Jefferson volunteered to donate his collection of over 6,000 books to build a new foundation for the library. Despite some controversy around the idea, Congress eventually agreed, and Jefferson was paid $24,000 for his books.

The Library of Congress is Home to One of Only Three Perfect Copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

The Gutenberg Bible owned by the Library of Congress was likely printed in the mid-1400s in Germany. It spent nearly five centuries in possession of the Benedictine Order in their monasteries of St. Blasius and St. Paul in Austria before the Library of Congress purchased it in 1930. It is one of only three copies of known existence—the other two belong to the British Library in London and Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

It Also Has Over 120,000 Comic Books.

If you thought it was all law books and old Bibles, you're wrong: the Library of Congress also houses the world's largest collection of comic books. There are 6,000 titles in all, including comics from Japan, France, Spain, and Germany dating back as early as the 1930s. As far as American comics go, the library owns the first appearance comics of Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and the Incredible Hulk, as well as Famous Funnies No. 1 which many consider to be the first American comic book. 

The Library Still Collects Over 8,000 Phone Books Each Year.

You know those big yellow directories you use for kindling each year? Well, the Library of Congress keeps them. Today, it holds more than 124,000 directories from over 650 U.S. cities and towns. It also takes in over 1,500 foreign telephone books and directories each year. And you thought they were completely useless!

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5 Shocking Facts You Didn't Know About Lucille Ball

Today marks 29 years since Lucille Ball passed away from an aortic aneurysm on April 26, 1989. The beloved star of I Love Lucy was loved by millions, but even some of the most hardcore Lucy fans don't know these five shocking facts about Lucille Ball...

Her Career and Family Didn't Really Kick Off Until After She Turned 40.

Despite landing her first gig at the age of 12, Lucille Ball didn't find much commercial success as an actress until 1951 when I Love Lucy hit the airwaves. Lucille was 40-years-old at that time and had just given birth to her first child, aptly named Lucie, with then-husband and co-star, Desi Arnaz. In an industry that often casts aside older actresses, Lucille Ball defied the norms of the time and saw her career skyrocket after turning 40. And that's not the only way she changed the television industry. 

She Became the First Millionnaire Actress Based on a TV Show.

Along with Desi, Lucille became the first person to achieve the million-dollar mark as a television star. And though I Love Lucy was an incredibly popular show, their success actually had to do with some smart—albeit risky—negotiating. Network executives wanted I Love Lucy to be filmed in NYC because filming would be cheaper, but Lucy and Desi preferred to stay in California. To offset the additional costs of an LA set and crew, Lucy and Desi took big cuts to their salary in exchange for outright ownership of the series. The network agreed, and when I Love Lucy became a hit in the reruns, the two made off like bandits in the night with all the profits.

She Was Required to Smoke on I Love Lucy.

Lucy and Desi knew that I Love Lucy would be a hit, but network sponsors weren't so sure. The network had a hard time finding sponsors but finally landed on funding from Phillip Morris who agreed to fund the project in exchange for some on-air screentime between the stars and Phillip Morris's product: cigarettes. Lucy was already a smoker, but here's the funny part—she was a Chesterfield girl. In order to keep on-brand, Lucy had a production assistant stuff her packs of Phillip Morris smokes with Chesterfield tobacco. 

She Refused to Do the Show Without Desi.

The network liked Lucy and knew the I Love Lucy concept had some legs, but when Lucy insisted that her Cuban-American husband, Desi Arnaz, play her on-screen husband, things almost went up in smoke. Network executives didn't believe the American public would buy into an interracial couple like Lucy and Desi. Nor did they think that Desi, who was a touring musician at the time, had the acting chops to build chemistry with his real-life wife on camera. The duo set out to prove them wrong: On Desi's 1950 tour, Lucy made an on-stage appearance halfway through each show, and the two acted out a hilarious skit that had every audience in stitches. Network executives were all-in from then forward.

She Was a Natural Brunette.

Queue the record scratch: the beloved Lucille Ball, known for her strawberry curls, was actually a brunette. Early headshots of Lucille's pre-I Love Lucy days show her with her natural dark hair. It wasn't until the show that she started dying it red—or, technically, "golden apricot"—but she kept it that way all the way until her death on April 26, 1989. 

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Babe Ruth

On April 27, baseball fans around the country honor one of baseball’s all-time greatest players.  It’s National Babe Ruth Day.  On April 27, 1947, "Babe Ruth Day" at Yankee Stadium was held to honor the ailing baseball star.  Here are five things you probably didn't know about Babe Ruth...

Ruth's Early Life Didn't Look So Promising.

Ruth did not act like a child was expected to act; in fact, by age seven, when you'd think most kids would still be interested in childish things, Ruth was instead chewing tobacco, drinking, and hanging out at dockyards. Soon after, his family sent him to a boarding school that was basically a reform school run by priests, in hopes he'd straighten up and grow into a more respectable life. The school was luckily not one of those movie-horror-schools, but instead was a place where Ruth found a father figure in a monk, Brother Matthias, who was sharp and realized that Ruth displayed awesome baseball skills.

Ruth Often Pulled in More Money Than the President of the United States.

You'd think it would be the other way around, but Ruth pulled in so much money from baseball that he out-earned President Herbert Hoover in 1931. Hoover made $75,000, while Ruth made $80,000. There is a legend that, when asked about earning more than the president, Ruth shrugged off the question, claiming, "Why not? I had a better year than he did." However, there is no official record of this statement, even though it certainly sounds like something Ruth would have said.

Chances Are the Baby Ruth Candy Bar Really Was Named After Babe Ruth.

The makers of the Baby Ruth candy bar, the Curtiss Candy Company, claimed that it was named after "Baby" Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of former President Grover Cleveland. Ruth had died when she was a teenager, several years before the introduction of the candy bar, so using her as a model for the bar's name didn't seem to be something a candy company would do. There was speculation that the name was really based on Babe Ruth, with the "y" added to avoid having to get permission from Ruth. It's now thought that this second scenario is the more likely origin of the name, though at least one court has believed the Curtiss Candy Company.

Ruth Partnered With a Candy Company to Sell His Own Candy—and Got Sued by the Baby Ruth Company.

That court decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought by Curtiss against Ruth and another candy company. The Baby Ruth bar was introduced in 1921. In 1926, Ruth decided to make his own candy bar, the Ruth's Home Run Candy, with the help of the George H. Ruth Candy Company. (George H. Ruth was Ruth's father's name; Ruth himself was born George H. Ruth Jr.) Curtiss sued for copyright infringement, and the court decided that yes, Baby Ruth referred to Ruth Cleveland, and Ruth himself was trying to cash in on his fame using a name too similar to that of the Baby Ruth bar.

Ruth's Career Took off When a Punishment Backfired.

Ruth got into professional baseball early as a catcher, and at one game, he decided to heckle the pitcher. His manager didn't like that and made Ruth go pitch (in the "fine, let's see you do it, smart mouth" vein). Ruth turned out to excel at pitching, and he moved from catcher to pitcher in a flash.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Watergate

On April 29, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced the release of the Watergate tapes, which included the “smoking gun” that led to Nixon’s resignation. Find out how much you know about some of the lesser known facts concerning the Watergate scandal.

Two Reporters for The Washington Post broke the Story That Led to Nixon’s Downfall

Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the story by uncovering evidence, along with the FBI, of the crimes that implicated 40 White House and administration officials all the way up to the presidency. Both men won Pulitzer Prizes for their work in connecting the burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters at Watergate, as well as other political crimes, to President Nixon’s re-election campaign.

A Case Officer for the CIA Was Aware of the Break in at Watergate

Bernard Barker, a Cuban-born man who was employed by the CIA, recruited three of the men who broke into the Democratic headquarters and planted listening devices. He was arrested along with James McCord, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez and Eugenio Martinez after they were found hiding in the DNC office by plainclothes officers. After pleading guilty to charges of theft and wiretapping, Baker went to federal prison for 13 months.

Three Different Articles of Impeachment Were Written

The initial article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee charged Nixon with trying to impede the investigation into Watergate as well as covering up and concealing evidence and protecting those involved. The second concerned charges of abuse, including doing illegal surveillance using the FBI, and the third was about a failure to cooperate with Senate Watergate Committee subpoenas as well as those from the prosecutors. Nixon escaped impeachment by resigning from office on August 9, 1974.

The Informant Known as “Deep Throat” Was Finally Identified as Mark Felt

For around 30 years, the identity of the informant who provided important information on the Watergate scandal was kept secret, but the name was finally released in 2005. Felt had worked in some of the highest positions as an agent within the FBI during Nixon’s administration. He met with Bob Woodward in maneuvers that resembled a spy novel, with secret signs to indicate their meetings in an underground parking garage in the middle of the night.

Frank Wills, a Watergate Security Guard, Called Police in to Investigate

When Wills noticed masking tape covering the door locks at a door on the stairwell, he removed the tape and went about his business. Later, he noticed the tape had been replaced, keeping the doors from locking. He reported it to police as a possible burglary, and it was at this point that police discovered the five people who had ransacked the offices of the DNC.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the 1939 World's Fair

On April 30, 1939, the New York World's Fair opened. The fair celebrated inventions and an optimistic vision of the future at a time when the country was still recovering from the Great Depression. Here are 5 tidbits you probably didn't know about the 1939 World's Fair...

The Exhibit by Westinghouse Featured a Robot

The robot, named Elektro, talked, walked and smoked (as many people did back in 1939.) Elektro measured 7-feet tall, walked, could blow up balloons, make jokes and move its mouth and head. After the fair, Elektro was presented as an exhibit at an amusement park in California and is now on view at the Mansfield Memorial Museum in Mansfield, Ohio.

Television Was First Introduced to the Public at the Fair

RCA Victor televised the first appearance of an American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, when he gave the opening speech for the dedication of the fair. The company helped fill in the gaps for this newfangled gadget by handing out brochures explaining what television was, how it worked and how the programs would be broadcast. RCA televisions were available in three sizes at the time, but the brochure did not mention how much they would cost the consumer.

Albert Einstein Was One of the Speakers at the 1939 World’s Fair

Einstein, an immigrant himself, spoke at the Wall of Fame, which held the inscriptions of notable immigrants, including American natives and blacks. In his speech, he noted that known and unknown immigrants help to make America what it is: a country of diversity and cultures.

“Futurama” Was the Most Popular Exhibit

This exhibit was presented by General Motors and offered a view into transportation that might be present in the future such as hover cars, elevated highways and anti-gravity machines. Norman Bel Geddes was the exhibit designer and incorporated utopian designs such as sleek streamlined buses that looked more like airplanes and highways that looked like today’s interchanges. The moving part of the exhibit allowed visitors to sit down and glide along to see what the world would look like in the future, from dazzling automatic kitchens to quaint houses and streets.

The Theme Name Was Changed in 1940

The world was a changing place in 1939/1940 and caused some nations to close down their exhibits at the fair because of strife. Czechoslovakia and Poland shut down their exhibits because Nazi Germany had overrun both countries, and the Soviet Union, with one of the most popular exhibits, shut down because they had attacked Finland in November 1939. Because of the upheaval around the world,  the theme of the World’s Fair was changed to “For Peace and Freedom.”

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5 Fascinating Facts About the Empire State Building

On this day in 1931, President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated New York City’s Empire State Building, pressing a button from the White House that turned on the building’s lights.  Think you know a lot about this symbol of The Big Apple? We've got five fascinating facts for you!

The Empire State Building Went Up in 13 Months.

At 102 stories tall, the Empire State Building was meant to rival two other prominent skyscrapers being built at the time: the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street. While its height was certainly awe-inspiring, perhaps even more amazing was the fact that John Jakob Raskob's crew built the entire building in just over a year. At their peak, construction crews were completing 4.5 stories a week. The project completed way ahead of schedule and under-budget.

The Mast at the Top of the Empire State Building Was Originally a Docking Station for Airships.

When the building was constructed in the early 1930s, transatlantic airships were gaining steam and appeared to be the future of intercontinental travel. As a result, the building's designers included a 200-foot mast at the top of the building intended as a docking station for arriving airships. Passengers would deboard via a ramp, go through customs, and be on the streets of Manhattan in seven minutes or less. But high winds (and the eventual distaste for airship travel) made the concept a complete flop. Aside from a couple of publicity stunts, the tower was never used for docking purposes.

The Architects Nearly Did Away With the Tower in the Early 1970s.

The Empire State Building was the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1931 until 1970 when the north tower of the World Trade Center took over the title. The building's original architecture firm devised a scheme to demolish the 16-story tower at the top of the building and convert it into more office space. The plan would've made the Empire State Building the tallest on the New York skyline once again—above both the World Trade Center and Sears Tower (which was under construction at the time). Luckily, budgetary concerns and public uproar caused the architects to cancel the renovations.

A B-52 Bomber Crashed Into the Side of the Building in 1945.

Over 50 years before the tragedy of 9/11, another iconic New York skyscraper was struck by a plane. Though this time, instead of an act of terrorism, the B-52 bomber that plunged into the 78th and 79th floors of the Empire State Building was a sad accident. The pilot and two crew members lost their lives along with 11 people inside the building at the time. One woman—a 19-year-old elevator operator—plunged 75 floors when plane debris severed cables in her elevator. Miraculously, she survived! The coiled-up cables at the bottom of the elevator shaft lessened the blow of the crash and though she broke her neck and back, she lived.

Three People Have (Illegally) Parachuted Off the Building's Observation Deck.

If you've ever been to the top of the Empire State Building, you know there is security and fencing up everywhere. And for good reason: In 1986, two daredevils successfully hid parachutes from security and launched themselves from the top of the building. Both survived and were arrested. Fourteen years later, another man followed suit and jumped from the observation deck. He managed to evade capture and later successfully jumped from the Chrysler Building, too. He was finally caught while attempting a jump from the World Trade Center.

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Five Crazy Facts You Don't Know About Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster

On May 2, 1933, a story appeared in Scotland’s Inverness Courier about the sighting of a mysterious creature that rose to the surface of the Lake at Loch Ness and has been sought ever since. Here are five crazy facts you probably didn't know about Scotland’s famous monster...

Nessie Sightings Date Back to the Year 565.

May 2, 1933, was the first account of the Loch Ness "Monster," but by no means is it the first recorded account of a "water beast" living in the lakes and rivers of the Scottish Highlands. The earliest record dates back to a book called The Life of St. Columba by Adomnán in 565 AD. In the account, Columba—an Irish missionary—comes across a group burying a man killed by a large "water beast." Columba later saves a swimmer in the River Ness (not Loch) from the monster. Despite the story, the 1933 account is largely considered the first authoritative sighting of the monster.

Apple Caught an Alleged Satellite Image of the Monster.

In 2014, Apple made waves (literally) when a satellite photographing Loch Ness for Apple Maps captured a strange fish-like formation in the center of the lake. Nessie believers were quick to point to the photo as the latest evidence of an aquatic beast living in the depths of the Scottish Highlands. However, skeptics have been quick to attribute the admittedly strange formation to a boat or seal.

In 1987, a Group Spent £1 Million Trying to Find the Monster.

Dubbed "Operation Deepscan," the 1987 mission, led by Loch Ness Monster enthusiast Adrian Shine, had 24 boats equipped with echosounder technology. At one point in the mission, scientists encountered an object that they claim was larger than a shark but smaller than a whale. Despite the excitement, no conclusive evidence regarding the existence of a monster was ever presented, and the mission was dubbed a flop.

The Famous "Surgeon's Photo" Was Really Just a Toy Submarine with a Wooden Head Attached.

In 1934, British gynecologist Kenneth Wilson snapped a series of photos at Loch Ness that for the next few decades would be widely regarded as the first official "proof" of a monster hiding in the depths of the lake. But, in 1975, The Sunday Telegraph lifted the veil on how Dr. Wilson fabricated the image using a toy submarine purchased from Woolworth's and a wooden head and neck fastened to the top of the toy. Analysts have revealed that the majority of photos and videos today show clear signs of fabrication, while others are clearly just mistaken animals, debris, or...possibly a monster.

Some People Believe Nessie is Dead.

In early 2017, Nessie had been going through a bit of dry spell. After a "monster skeleton" washed ashore (one of the more obvious-looking hoaxes) and more than eight months without a single sighting, people began questioning whether the mythic beast had finally kicked the bucket. Then, in May 2017, a nurse from Manchester made the first official sighting of 2017, reviving rumors of the monster's existence. There has already been one sighting in 2018!

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See If You Know These Five Facts About Gone with the Wind

On May 3, 1937, novelist Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel "Gone with the Wind." More than 30 million copies of Mitchell’s Civil War masterpiece have been sold worldwide, and it has been translated into 27 languages.  Here are five interesting facts about Gone with the Wind...

It's the Second-Most Popular Book of All-Time After the Bible.

According to Adweek, Gone with the Wind is more popular among Americans than both the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series along with other classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. To-date, the book has sold more than 30 million copies and interestingly enough, crosses party lines: it is the most popular book among both Republicans and Democrats.

Margaret Mitchell Wrote the Book Out of Boredom.

Margaret Mitchell was a 25-year-old journalist in Atlanta when she took a leave of absence from her job to recover from injuries related to an auto crash. She was a voracious reader, and her husband got sick of lugging books from the local library to keep her occupied, so he suggested she write her own instead. Margaret spent the next ten years on the book, keeping her work a secret from almost everyone and never intending actually to publish it. After submitting the manuscript in a spur of the moment decision (that she immediately regretted), an editor at MacMillan realized he had a masterpiece on his hands and moved forward with publishing the novel.

It Took $50,000 and 16 Writers to Turn the Book Into a Movie.

And that doesn't include the actual production costs of the film. Movie mogul David O. Selznick spent a record (for the time) $50,000 to acquire the film rights to the book shortly after publication in 1936. Sixteen different writers—including F. Scott Fitzgerald—took a swing at adapting the novel. In the end, it all paid off: the film went on to win 11 Academy Awards and gross $390 million globally at the box office. 

Scalped Tickets to the Atlanta Premiere Sold for Over $3,500 a Piece.

That's more than a lot of people spend to go to the Super Bowl. The Atlanta premiere of the film was so hyped up that Georgia's governor declared the day a state holiday and the mayor organized three days of parades and parties to celebrate the film. High-profile attendees included the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Astors, along with J.P. Morgan and of course, the author herself, Margaret Mitchell. A group of Confederate Army veterans was in attendance at the film premiere as well.

Margaret Mitchell Was Fatally Struck by a Car Ten Years After the Film's Release.

On August 11, 1949, Mitchell was crossing the street with her husband on the way to see a film when a speeding vehicle struck her. Margaret died five days later of her injuries at the age of 48. Some controversy—including an ebook published by the daughter of the man who accidentally struck Mitchell—surrounds the accident. Whether it was a murderous cover-up or an accident, the sad truth remains: we lost one of America's great authors before she could write her second novel.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Kent State Shooting

On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on a group of student protesters on the campus of the Buckeye State's Kent State University. To mark the anniversary of that somber occasion, here are five things you probably didn't know about the Kent State shooting…

Two of the Students Who Were Killed Were Only Bystanders.

Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause were both participating in the protests when they were shot. However, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder were only passing by that part of campus as they walked to their classes. The National Guard had started shooting indiscriminately, firing 70 shots in just a few seconds. Scheuer and Schroeder were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Woman in That Chilling Photo Was Actually a Teenager and Not a Student.

While she looked older in the photo, Mary Ann Vecchio was a 14-year-old runaway who ended up at Kent State that day. After the shootings, her already unsteady life became more volatile because of the amount of attention—much of it negative, including accusations from random people that she was the actual cause of the shootings—and she eventually stopped going to commemorative events. She has been able to settle into a much calmer life, luckily.

A Lawsuit Filed After the Shooting Asked for Only $1.

The parents of the dead students filed lawsuits and eventually reached settlements. However, the initial lawsuit filed by the parents of student Allison Krause asked for only $1. For Arthur Krause, it was about justice rather than money. In total, the group sought $46 million in damages in a 1975 civil trial; they lost the original trial, but appealed the decision and later reached a settlement. 

Kent State's ROTC Building Was Burned To The Ground

Two days before the shooting occurred on the Kent State campus, protesters burned the wooden ROTC building to the ground. It was not the only college campus in the US to have its ROTC building damaged around that time - Washington State's was vandalized as well.  The identity of the arsonist is still unknown to this day.  In the days and weeks following the shooting, things ramped up very quickly. Students staged a massive strike and 450 colleges around the country were forced to close.

There Was Nearly Another Shooting.

According to John Filo, when he held a chat session on CNN in 2000, there was nearly another shooting incident. Many students returned to the quad after it was cleaned up and held a sit-in. The National Guard ordered the students to leave, claiming that the Guard would shoot again if the students did not go away. Filo said several professors managed to defuse the situation.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Napoleon (Part 2)

Napoleon Bonaparte, the former French ruler, died on this day in 1821 as a British prisoner on the remote island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.  Here are five things you probably didn't know about Napoleon...

Napoleon Didn't Die of Arsenic Poisoning—but He Definitely Had Some in His System.

For years, people thought Napoleon had died from arsenic poisoning because someone tested a hair sample from him and found the deadly element. And there were certainly people who had good reason, politically speaking, to do him in. But further testing of additional hair samples, some dating back to his childhood, revealed that those levels of arsenic stayed pretty steady throughout his life. (Had he been poisoned, the amount of arsenic would have increased in his later years.) It wasn't unusual to find traces of arsenic in people from his time because arsenic was used in everyday items like wallpaper. Anyway, the current thinking is that he died from undiagnosed stomach cancer.

People on Elba—His First Place of Exile—Seemed to Have Actually Liked Him.

"Napoleon complex" is seen as a negative condition for a reason, but Napoleon's ego and demands don't seem to have fazed the inhabitants of Elba at all. Saint Helena was Napoleon's second exile; his first was on Elba, in the Mediterranean. Not only did Napoleon and his family lead a pretty good life there, but the inhabitants still mark his death with a memorial parade.

He Was Likely of Average Height.

So, Napoleon was supposed to be ridiculously short, right? Turns out that may have been British propaganda as well as a misunderstanding of French measurement. Napoleon was measured for his coffin at 5 feet 2 inches, but the records from the doctor note that the 5 foot 2 inches used French measurements and not British. In British terms, he was closer to 5 foot 6 inches, which was pretty average for the time.

He Was a Wannabe Romance Novelist.

This is not a joke. Napoleon wrote a romance novel, and you can find it on Amazon. His novel was not published when he was alive, and in fact the manuscript was portioned and auctioned away. But in 2009, the parts were put back together. The book is called Clisson et Eugenie, and it's gotten decent reviews.

The Russian Orthodox Church Called Him the Antichrist.

Normally, conspiracy theorists call someone the antichrist because of a specific feature of the person's birth, like a birthdate or birthmark. Napoleon got labeled an antichrist for a much more mundane reason: He annoyed the Russian Orthodox church by treating Jews fairly. It was typical for cities and countries to restrict Jewish populations to certain sections of town (the Italian versions of these sectors are where the term "ghetto" comes from; the term was expanded in the United States in the 1900s to encompass any deprived area populated by a single group, ethnicity, and so on) and place really heavy restrictions on the people there. However, Napoleon was the first to end the ghetto restrictions and make Jews equal members of society. Other countries soon followed.

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