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5 Things You Didn't Know About Ben Franklin_2

On January 17, 1706, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston. A brilliant inventor, publisher, politician, and ambassador, the founding father wore many different hats in his lifetime.  Here are 5 fascinating things you didn’t know about the man on the $100 bill...

He Only Had Two Years of Formal Education.

The man considered the most brilliant American of his age rarely saw the inside of a classroom. Franklin spent just two years attending Boston Latin School and a private academy before joining the family candle and soap making business.  But he used his money to buy books and further his education. Despite being almost entirely self-taught, Franklin later helped found the school that became the University of Pennsylvania and received honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the College of William and Mary, the University of St. Andrews and Oxford.

Franklin Became a Hit Writer as a Teenager

In the 1720s, a 16-year-old Franklin began submitting comments and essays under the pen name “Silence Dogood” to his brother’s weekly newspaper, the New England Courant. In those pieces, he pretended to be a widow offering her thoughts on many topics, including fashion, women’s rights, marriage, and religion. His letters were so popular that he even received marriage proposals. Eventually, however, Franklin admitted that he was the author, much to the embarrassment of his brother James, the newspaper’s owner.

Franklin Was Slow in Supporting American Independence

Franklin was one of the last of the Founding Fathers to support the American colonies’ independence from Great Britain. He was previously an outspoken supporter of King George III, and following the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he had stated that the tea company should be paid for its losses. It wasn’t until Franklin publicly announced that he supported American independence that some people stopped wondering if he was a spy for the British.

His Son Was a Supporter of The British

Along with the two children he had with his wife, Deborah Read, Franklin also fathered an illegitimate son named William around 1730. The two were once close friends and partners—William helped Franklin with his famous kite experiment—but they later had a major falling out over the American Revolution. Willian was a Tory who strongly supported Great Britain. William Franklin ultimately ended up in a colonial prison for being against the war for independence and later moved to England. The two never spoke again.

Franklin Is a Member of The Hall of Fame For Swimmers

Franklin was apparently a water lover, and one of the first things he invented were hand paddles made of wood that he used in the Charles River while he was swimming. He knew so many different swimming strokes that while he lived in England, a friend said he would help him open a swimming school. Franklin declined the offer, but he remained a proponent of swimming instruction for the rest of his life. His aquatic exploits have since earned him an honorary induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

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5 Legendary Diamonds of The World On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond was discovered. The diamond was named the Cullinan and it was the largest rough

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The South Pole

On January 18, 1912, English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had arrived there first. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Antarctica...

It Wasn't Seen by Humans Until 1820

The Russians first spotted Antarctica in 1820, but they didn’t stop by to visit its icy barrenness. It was a Connecticut seal hunter named John Davis who first landed on the shores of Antarctica, supposedly in search of prey to hunt. A Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, arrived on Antarctica in 1911, followed by an expedition led by Englishman Robert F. Scott.

The Largest Desert in The World is in The Antarctic

When we think of deserts, we usually think of the Sahara, the Gobi, the Kalahari, etc. Deserts tend to be very warm and sandy. However, the technical criteria for an area to qualify as a desert is just for there to be very little precipitation — less than 25 centimeters per year, to be precise. Most of Antarctica is too cold to allow for precipitation in the form of rain or snow, so approximately 5.5 million square miles of the continent is a desert — the largest desert in the World, in fact. It’s even theorized that some parts of the Antarctic desert haven’t had any form of precipitation for two million years!

Antarctica Has no Time Zones

Since we created time zones based on longitude, how do you create a time zone where all of the zones meet? That’s why there is no official time zone for the Antarctic. As a result of this (and the continent’s large size) there is no official time zone for any region of Antarctica. However, the various research stations scattered around the continent tend to observe either the time zone of the country the researchers come from or just the time zone of the nearest country. 

Antarctica is The Only Continent on The Planet Without Reptiles

Reptiles fall into one of the five main vertebrate categories, along with birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish. Reptiles come in thousands of different variations, shapes and sizes, and they can be found on every single continent on Earth… except Antarctica. This is because reptiles have no way to warm their bodies up, which means they rely on the sun and the ambient temperature to stay alive. Needless to say, the coldest content on Earth is no friend to reptiles. 

Sled Dogs Are Banned in Antarctica

Back in 1911, sled dogs hauled supplies for Norwegian explorers led by Roald Amundsen which was the first expedition to reach the South Pole. Roald Amundsen's expedition was planned around 97 sled dogs. Afterwards, sled dogs were kept and used in Antarctica for years. However, they were banned from the continent in 1993 by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty due to fear that they might transmit diseases such as canine distemper to the Antarctic seals or would escape and disturb the local wildlife.

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PHKRAUSE

I did  not  know  that there  are  not  time  zones  in the Antarctica====I also did  not know

that sled dogs have  been  banned  since 1993====

dgrimm60

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5 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is a day set aside to remember and honor late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Day is commemorated on the third Monday in January each year. Here are 5 surprising facts you didn't know about this widely respected activist and man of peace...

His First Name Wasn’t 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.

The FBI Aggressively Monitored Him

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was so obsessed with King that he bugged his home and offices while trying to tie his activism to Communism, which was later discredited. In fact, two days after delivering his earth-shattering “I Have A Dream” speech, King was described as “the most dangerous” at least “from the standpoint of … national security” in an FBI assessment. In short, he was basically on what would be considered today as a terrorist watch list for speaking out against racial discrimination in America.

He is a Grammy Winner

Even after his untimely death, King was still picking up huge honors. One of them was a posthumous Grammy for his speech Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam. After being the youngest man to ever win the Nobel Peace prize in 1964, he would also be one of the youngest to posthumously win the Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honors an American civilian can receive.

His Mother Was Also Assassinated

On June 30, 1974, as 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead.

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.

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PHKRAUSE

I  did  not  know  that  he  had been  put  in jail  29 times===I  also  did  not  know that  his  mother  was  shot and killed===

dgrimm60

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Concorde_2

On Jan 21, 1976, the first Concorde supersonic jets took to the air from London, England, to Bahrain and from Paris, France, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To mark this landmark in aviation history, here are five things you didn't know about the Concorde...

Two Flights Took off Simultaneously

Most airlines are happy when their first jet takes off, but Concorde got a double-dose of that happiness: Two planes took off at 11:40 a.m., one in London and one in France. These were the first commercial flights for the company after years of testing. The supersonic speeds cut air travel time substantially, but the cost of fuel at the time—and the amount of fuel that the planes consumed per flight—made the tickets expensive. The plane became a symbol of wealth and privilege. 

Only One Photo Exists of the Concorde Flying at Supersonic Speed

The Concorde flew at an average speed of 2170 kph - that's twice the speed of sound. A Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado once asked if it could practice an intercept of the Concorde, chasing it all the way out over the Atlantic, eventually giving up. On another occasion, the Concorde purposefully slowed down so the pilots of the fighter jet could snap a photo, said to be the only one of the plane flying supersonic.

The Concorde’s High Altitude Interfered With Spy Planes

The Concorde could cruise at about 60,000 feet, which is much higher than a normal passenger plane, and passengers could look out and see the curvature of the earth. The United States Air Force high-altitude SR-71 Blackbirds, which are reconnaissance planes, were flown at about the same altitude with their pilots on oxygen and in spacesuits. At least once, air traffic control had to ask the Blackbird pilots to get out of the way, so the supersonic jet could land at JFK Airport in New York.

The Concorde Was Much Faster Than Other Commercial Planes

It took eight hours for a regular commercial jet to fly from New York City to Paris. However, the supersonic Concorde could make the same trip in less than 3.5 hours. Its maximum cruising altitude was 60,000 feet at a speed of 1,220 mph, which was over twice that of a normal subsonic aircraft.

The Russians Built a Copycat Version of The Concorde

While militaries of the United States and Russia raced to the moon, civil aviation companies raced to supersonic flight. Dubbed the Tupolev Tu-144, this Russian plane was, unsurprisingly, a spitting image of the British/French Concorde creation. The Russians actually beat the West to supersonic flight on the 26th May, 1970, becoming the first commercial plane to exceed Mach 2. The primitive prototype was shortlived, however, following a horrific crash at the 1973 Paris Airshow when its pilots attempted to show up the Concorde in a head-to-head face-off for aerial superiority. This all but sealed its fate and saw the Concorde victorious commercially.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Roe v. Wade

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its famous Roe v. Wade decision, which protected a woman’s ability to choose whether or not to give birth. Here are 5 things you should know about Roe v. Wade on its anniversary...

Jane Roe’s Real Name Was Norma Leah McCorvey

Jane Roe, the 21-year-old represented in the Supreme Court decision was actually Norma McCorvey, a woman who had already given up two children for adoption. She originally tried to say she had been raped, which was the only way to get a legal abortion in Texas, but the evidence was lacking, so she contacted two lawyers and took the case to court.

McCorvey Never Actually Had An Abortion

It took over three years before a decision came from Roe v. Wade. During that time, McCorvey, despite being the woman in the case, never once attended a trial and ended up having the baby. Again, McCorvey put the baby up for adoption.

The Court Ruled in Favor of McCorvey in a 7-2 Decision

On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the watershed ruling that a woman's right to make her own medical decisions, including the choice to have an abortion, is protected under the 14th Amendment. After the decision, SCOTUS had to work on consent issues, both parental and spousal, as well as struggling with appropriate waiting periods for women hoping to get an abortion.

McCorvey Has Tried To Have Roe v. Wade Overturned

In 2003, after converting to Christianity, McCorvey filed a motion to have Roe v. Wade overturned, citing that "abortion hurts women." The following year, the motion was dismissed. Norma McCorvey eventually became a Christian, left her job at an abortion clinic, and would go on to become a powerful pro-life voice. 
McCorvey died in an assisted living home in Texas at age 69, in February 2017.

Most Americans Support Legal Abortion

Public opinion on legalized abortions has changed little since the time Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. According to Gallup polls in 1975, 21 percent of respondents supported abortion for any reason, 54 percent supported it under certain conditions and 22 percent were against it. In the latest poll taken in 2019, 25 percent of respondents supported abortion for any reason, 53 percent under certain circumstances and 21 percent opposed it.

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6 Shocking Facts You Didn't Know About Johnny Carson

On January 23, 2005, former Tonight Show host Johnny Carson died at age 79 at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Here are 6 shocking facts you may not know about Johnny Carson...

He Started Out as a Magician

Johnny Carson discovered his love for entertaining people when he found a book on magic at a friend’s house. He quickly ordered a magician’s kit through the mail and started practicing his skills on family members. His mother sewed him a cape and he got his first paid gig at the age of 14, when he performed as “The Great Carsoni” and was paid $3 for a show. His magic performances continued when he joined the Navy, and at one point, he even performed magic tricks for the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. 

He Had His Own Talk Show Before Taking Over the Tonight Show.

Carson got into radio broadcasting in the 1940s while in college and continued to broadcast after moving to California. He landed jobs as a comedy writer and suddenly found himself hosting on TV when his boss at the time, Red Skelton, suffered an injury. Carson became the host of the Johnny Carson Show in the mid-1950s. His Tonight Show stint didn't begin until 1962.

He Hosted a Game Show

Carson was picked to host the game show Who Do You Trust in the late 1950s, which is where he met Ed McMahon, who worked on the show as the announcer. It was a program where couples competed, and the man would be asked if he wanted to answer the question of whether his wife should. Carson spent a large part of the show interacting with the contestants, which helped land him the job on The Tonight Show after the retirement of Jack Paar.

He Started a Toilet Paper Crisis

Carson’s influence was so huge that he created a toilet paper crisis by just joking about it. In 1973, in jest, Carson alluded to an alleged toilet paper shortage in the markets. This created such panic in his viewers that people began to buy and stock up on toilet paper, creating an actual shortage in the market. Stores and manufacturers had to ration supplies until the alarm ended and Carson apologized for his role in starting the brouhaha.

He Made The Game Twister a Pop Culture Sensation

If it hadn’t been for Johnny Carson, Twister may have never gotten off the ground. On the night of May 3, 1966, host Johnny Carson played a game of Twister with glamorous actress Eva Gabor, star of television’s “Green Acres.” Sidekick Ed McMahon worked the spinner as Gabor and Carson soon became playfully entangled. Sales of the game soared the very next day! Twister proved a runaway success and has sold well ever since—all it took was a demonstration.

He Taught Himself Russian and Swahili

Carson did a lot in his lifetime, and that included learning languages to a conversational level. Carson reportedly learned Russian in about five months before traveling to Russia. After his retirement, he taught himself Swahili, which he used to communicate during several trips to Africa.

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5 Legendary Diamonds of The World

On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond was discovered. The diamond was named the Cullinan and it was the largest rough diamond ever found. However, the Cullinan is only one of many famous diamonds. Here are 5 legendary diamonds and their rich history...

The Cullinan

The Cullinan was found in 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa and later cut up. It was divided into 105 diamonds (nine major and 96 minor) plus several chips. The cut diamonds were known as "Cullinan #" (such as Cullinan I, Cullinan II, and so on), with "Star of Africa I" and "Star of Africa II" used for the largest two cut stones. The Cullinan I is mounted in the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter, while the Cullinan II sits in the Imperial State Crown.

The Hope

The Cullinan might be the largest known rough diamond, but the most notorious is likely the Hope Diamond, a brilliant dark violet-blue diamond weighing 45.52 carats. The Hope was once owned by Louis XIV and was officially designated “the blue diamond of the crown.” Stolen during the French Revolution, it turned up in London in 1830 and was bought by Henry Philip Hope, after whom it is currently named. It was while the diamond was in the possession of the Hope family that it acquired its gruesome reputation for bad luck. Harry Winston purchased the Hope Diamond in 1949, and 9 years later it was given to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

The Excelsior

The second largest stone ever found is the Excelsior, which was 995.2 carats in the rough.  A high clarity, blue-white stone, found in 1893 by a South African mine worker who picked it out of a shovel full of gravel. Due to its irregular shape, it was cut into 21 polished stones, of which the largest is a marquise of 69.80 carats. A smaller, 18 carat marquise stone cut from the Excelsior was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair by De Beers.The shape of the stone was out of the ordinary: flat on one side and rose to a peak on the other, somewhat like a loaf of rye bread. It is believed that this is what inspired the diamond to be named ‘Excelsior’, meaning higher.

The Regent

A truly historic diamond discovered in 1701 by an Indian slave near Golconda, it weighed 410 carats in the rough. Once owned by William Pitt, the English Prime Minister, it was cut into a cushion shaped brilliant of 140.50 carats and, until it was sold to the Duke of Orleans, Regent of France when Louis XV was a boy in 1717, was called The Pitt. It was then renamed The Regent and set in the crown Louis XV wore at his coronation. After the French revolution, it was owned by Napoleon Bonaparte who set it in the hilt of his sword. It is now on display in the Louvre.

Taylor-Burton

This pear-shaped 69.42 carat diamond was sold at auction in 1969 with the understanding that it could be named by the buyer. Cartier of New York successfully bid for it and immediately christened it “Cartier.” However, the next day Richard Burton bought the stone for Elizabeth Taylor for an undisclosed sum, renaming it the “Taylor-Burton.” It made its debut at a charity ball in Monaco in mid-November where Miss Taylor wore it as a pendant. The famous actress cherished it, but sold it after she divorced Burton and used the $5 million dollars to build a hospital in Botswana. 

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5 Amazing Facts You Didn't Know About Television

On January 26, 1926, John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gave the first public demonstration of a true television system in London. Baird’s invention was a pictorial-transmission machine that he called a “televisor”. Here are 5 amazing facts you didn't know about the history of television...

The First Television Image Was Transmitted in 1925

The first image transmitted for television was done by John Logie Baird and starred a ventriloquist's dummy. It wasn’t easy for Baird to show off his invention because few people believed he had invented what he claimed. When, for example, he went to the newspaper Daily Express, the editor thought Baird wasn’t quite right in the head. He reportedly said that Baird claimed to have a machine where wireless could be used to see images. The editor warned a reporter to watch Baird closely because he might be armed with a razor.

The First Color Television Broadcast Took Place in 1951

The first color television program, simply titled “Premiere,” was broadcast commercially by CBS on June 25, 1951. The big problem with the broadcast was that all the television sets at that time only showed images in black-and-white. So-called field-sequential television sets with limited color came out in September of that same year, but the production of these sets was halted because of the Korean War. Additionally, field-sequential color systems were superseded by the NTSC system by 1953.

The First Color Television Set Was Really Expensive

The first color television set, the RCA CT-100, was introduced on December 30, 1953, but came with a shocking price tag of $1,000, which would be the equivalent of around $9,500 today. Several weeks later, the prototype of their 15-inch model set was shipped to dealers in time for the Rose Bowl Parade in New York, which was being broadcast on New Year’s Day. Admiral came out with its own 15-inch television model several weeks later, which sold for $1,175 or equal to about $11,000 today.

During World War II, the BBC Shut Down

The plug got pulled on BBC television several days before Britain made its declaration of war on Germany during World War II. And it stayed off the air for nearly seven years. The last program to air before the BBC went dark was a cartoon starring Mickey Mouse. When the BBC came back on in 1946, the first thing viewers saw was the same Mickey Mouse cartoon that the station had ended with.

The First Commercial Aired on Television Cost $9

The first TV commercial appeared on July 1, 1941, during a Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. The advertisement was for Bulova Watch and lasted a total of 20 seconds and cost $9. In comparison, a 30-second ad that aired during the last Super Bowl cost an eye-watering $5 million!

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5 Things You Didn't Know About J.D. Salinger

On January 27, 2010, J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of the novel The Catcher in the Rye, died in Cornish, New Hampshire at the age of 91. Here are 5 fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about this eccentric author...

Salinger Wrote His Most Famous Book During World War II

Salinger served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was involved in the 1944 invasion of Normandy. From the day he landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, Salinger carried six chapters of The Catcher in the Rye and worked on the novel during his war years, carrying pages of his book with him even in battle. He was one of the first U.S. soldiers to enter a liberated concentration camp, serving as a counter-intelligence officer responsible for interrogating prisoners of war. He eventually returned to the United States with a German bride, Sylvia Welter.

The Author Refused to Allow His Work to Be Edited

Following the war, Salinger returned to New York, writing short stories while he completed his novel. Harcourt Brace, the publishing company, agreed to handle his novel but insisted that areas of the book would have to be rewritten. Salinger refused the offer and finally got his book published by Little, Brown and Company with no editorial changes. The book became an instant success and has sold over 65 million copies since its publication.

Sallinger and Charlie Chaplin Were Rivals

In 1941, 22-year-old Salinger dated Oona O'Neill, a 16-year-old New York socialite and the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill. Their relationship ended when Salinger went to war and Oona moved to California where she met silent screen legend Charlie Chaplin, eventually becoming Chaplin's fourth wife. Salinger read about the marriage in the newspaper and wrote a scathing letter to her about her marriage to the famous funny man.

He Only Gave One Interview

Salinger became more and more reclusive after his blockbuster novel was published, going so far as refusing to publicize the immensely popular book or allowing his photo to appear on the dust jacket. However, after he moved to New Hampshire, he did give an interview for a high school newspaper. When he saw that the interview had been published as a front-page article in the local newspaper, he became angry and erected a high fence surrounding his property to safeguard his privacy.

Salinger Was One of the World’s Most Famous Recluses

Howard Hughes and actress Greta Garbo were both famous recluses during the 20th century, and Salinger vied with them for the title. Rumors were widespread about this famous author, and he was frequently sought out by both fans and journalists. But he avoided them all and wore mechanics overalls, went to local restaurants and ate his meals in the privacy of the kitchen and even drove around with curtains shielding the windows of his old jeep.

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5 Shocking Facts About The Challenger Disaster

On January 28, 1986, the NASA space shuttle Challenger exploded at 48,000 feet just 73 seconds after lift-off, killing all seven crew members and leaving a nation stunned and in mourning.  Here are five shocking facts you didn't know about the Challenger disaster...

The Astronauts Didn’t Die in the Explosion

Although people were led to believe originally that those aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger died in the explosion, that wasn’t actually the case. After an independent investigation, the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine reported that the cabin did not depressurize instantly because several of the air packs for emergencies had been activated during the explosion. The study showed that those inside the cabin were alive as the compartment rose another three miles and then fell for 12 miles, landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

An Engineer Predicted "It's Going To Blow Up" The Night Before The Launch

That o-ring problem wasn't a surprise to NASA engineers, who had warned the rings could fail in very cold weather. January 28 was exceptionally cold in Florida, and the launch had already been delayed by several days. One engineer even refused to sign off on the launch because he was worried about how the below-freezing temperatures could affect the ring material. After his managers and NASA overruled their warnings, engineer Bob Eberling told his wife, "It's going to blow up." However, NASA managers gave the go-ahead for the flight despite knowing about the potential for failure.

The Last Sound Recorded Was the Word “Uh-Oh”

This spaceflight on Challenger was the first for pilot Mike Smith. Right before contact with the space shuttle was lost by NASA, his voice can be heard on the flight recording uttering “Uh-oh.” This transmission indicated that at least one person on board knew that something was wrong before the explosion occurred.

Big Bird Was Nearly A Member Of The Challenger Crew

NASA officials discussed including Big Bird on the Challenger, going so far as to contact Sesame Street and Caroll Spinney, the actor behind the giant yellow bird, about sending Spinney to space as a passenger. "I once got a letter from NASA, asking if I would be willing to join a mission to orbit the Earth as Big Bird, to encourage kids to get interested in space," Spinney said in an essay in The Guardian in 2015. "There wasn't enough room for the puppet in the end, and I was replaced by a teacher." Tragically, high school teacher Christa McAuliffe took his place, and died along with the six other crew members aboard the shuttle that day.

A Soccer Ball Survived the Explosion

Astronaut Ellison Onizuka carried along a soccer ball belonging to his daughter’s team on the mission, which he had stowed on board for his trip into space. Following the explosion, the ball was found by salvage crews floating on top of the ocean. After the ball spent many years in a display cabinet at the high school his daughter had attended, it was retrieved to head into space again, this time accompanied by Astronaut Shane Kimbrough on his trip to the International Space Station in 2017 - 31 years after the Challenger tragedy.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The State of Kansas

On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as free state. It was the 34th state to join the Union.  Here are five fascinating facts that you probably didn't know about the Sunflower State...

The Windiest City in the Country Is in Kansas

Chicago may be nicknamed the “Windy City,” but Dodge City, Kansas, is the town that should actually have that nickname. The wind speed in Dodge City averages about 14 miles per hour. Chicago’s wind speed is an average of 10.3 miles per hour, so the former frontier town of Dodge comes out ahead. As a state, however, Kansas is only the 10th windiest.

A Town in Kansas Is Near the Exact Center of the Country

Lebanon, Kansas, a small town with a population of around 200, holds the distinction of lying closest to the exact geographic center of America. In 1912, the National Geodetic Survey marked the occasion by posting a plaque and a stone monument, along with a picnic table and a tiny chapel for weddings. The location is about 1.74 miles from Lebanon’s town center.

The State Has Some Interesting Laws

Most states have some unusual laws on the books from the old days, and Kansas is no exception. In the state of Kansas, for example, you're not allowed to hunt whales, although they are probably hard to find since the state is landlocked. In the city of Topeka, you are not allowed to sing the alphabet song if you are out on the streets at night. Nor can you shoot rabbits if you happen to be in a motorboat. The American Pie Council has reported that in Kansas it has been against the law to provide ice cream on top of cherry pie when served.

Several Popular Eateries Had Their Start in Kansas

White Castle, with its famous tiny hamburger sliders, opened in 1921 in Wichita and is generally credited as the country's first fast-food chain. The company had its 90th birthday celebration in style by returning to Wichita to hold a fundraiser for the state food bank. In 1958, the first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita. It was owned by brothers Frank and Dan Carney, whose company’s name was selected because the sign would only hold nine letters and the building was shaped similarly to a hut.

Kansas Is Flatter Than A Pancake

Kansas Is Flatter Than A Pancake—No Really, It’s True. Scientific research has been done to prove that Kansas is in fact flatter than everyone’s favorite breakfast treat. Researchers from the geography departments of Texas State University and Arizona State University used a mathematical analysis to determine the flatness ratio of both Kansas and a pancake purchased from IHOP. So how flat is Kansas, compared to a pancake? Mathematically, a value of 1.000 would indicate “perfect, platonic flatness.” The pancake was scored as 0.957, which researchers said is “pretty flat, but far from perfectly flat.” The value for Kansas, meanwhile was ~0.9997, or “damn flat,” as they said. Simply put, the results show that Kansas is considerably flatter than a pancake”.

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6 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Gandhi

On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, was assassinated in New Delhi. Here are 6 surprising facts you didn't know about Gandhi... 

Mahatma Wasn’t His Name

Many people incorrectly believe that Mahatma was Gandhi’s given name. However it is merely an honorific, said to have been bestowed upon him by the Bengali poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore. From the Sanskrit words maha (meaning “great”) and atma (meaning “soul”) it seems to have been a well-chosen title for the man. However, in his autobiography Gandhi notes that he never valued the title, and was often pained by it.

Gandhi Never Won The Nobel Peace Prize

The man perhaps more associated with peace than any other human being was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Gandhi was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1947, but never received the award. He also was nominated in 1948, the year he was assassinated, but the Nobel committee opted not to bestow him with the award posthumously. In fact, out of respect to the man, the award was not given to anyone in 1948.  In 2006, the Nobel committee publicly expressed regret that Gandhi had never been given the prize.

Gandhi Married at Age 13

In May of 1883, at the age of 13, Gandhi was married to 14-year-old Kasturba Makhanji in an arranged marriage, according to the custom of the region. Gandhi had been engaged to Kasturba since he was seven years old. The two were married for 62 years and had five sons, four of whom survived into adulthood.

Gandhi Took The Vow of Brahmacharya

At the age of 37, Gandhi took the vow of abstinence from sexual relations. He believed that by taking the Vow of Brahmacharya he would be able to completely stay focused on his mission as a public advocate. The vow also made him restrict his diet. He switched to food which was usually uncooked and bland. His diet mostly comprised of fruits, vegetables, and goat’s milk. He sometimes traveled with his goat to ensure that the milk was fresh and that he wasn’t given cow or buffalo milk. 

Gandhi Spoke English With an Irish Accent

People who heard Gandhi speak in English could not fail to notice his Irish accent. His first English teacher was of Irish origin and this is where he got his accent. In fact, the same Irish teacher once gave him an exercise to improve his English, which involved copying the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount and Bhagavad Gita were two religious scriptures that Gandhi read daily during his morning and evening meditation sessions and there is no doubt that the philosophies advocated in these religious books had a major influence on his peaceful ways of fighting for justice.

He Was Assassinated by a Hindu Fanatic

Gandhi was assassinated in the presence of around 1,000 followers by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a Hindu, who shot the spiritual leader three times. The gunman blamed Gandhi for going along with the 1947 plan that partitioned British India along religious lines into two new independent states: Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan. Gandi was 78 years old at the time of the attack and was also frail from his many hunger strikes over the years. The fanatic who murdered Gandhi was executed by hanging the following year, along with a co-conspirator.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The First McDonald's In Moscow

On January 31, 1990, McDonald's opened its first Soviet-Union location in Moscow. The opening of the new location was a massive hit in Moscow, with people lining up at 4 a.m. and lines stretching down the street. Here are 5 things you didn't know about McDonald's and its introduction into the USSR...

McDonald's Moscow Location Took 14 Years From Conception to Opening.

The idea of opening a McDonald's in the Soviet Union was first considered in 1976. It would be a joint venture between the Canadian branch of McDonald's and the Moscow City Council and was dreamed up by McDonald's senior chairman George Cohon. During the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Cohon had allowed some of the Soviet Union's sports officials to use one of the company's buses, and he came up with the idea of bringing McDonald's to the USSR.  It wasn't until Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the more open policies of glasnost and perestroika in the 1980s that Cohon saw an opportunity to actually open an outlet. By the time the restaurant opened, McDonald's had spent $62 million on the facilities alone.

It Was The Largest McDonald’s Restaurant in The World.

At the time of its construction, it was the largest McDonald’s restaurant in the world. The restaurant had 900 seats with a staff of about 600 workers that were carefully selected from 35,000 applicants. Reportedly, it was expected to serve around 1,000 during the McDonald’s opening day. However, a crowd of more than 5,000 Soviet citizens lined up before it even opened and about 30,000 customers passed through the door that day, setting a record for the number of customers served by a single McDonald’s in a day.

Workers at the Moscow Location Were Asked to Smile Less.

When the first Moscow location opened in 1990, the typical Soviet customer service face was not that friendly. No smiles, for the most part, and fairly dour attitudes. Not so at McDonald's, where the staff smiled constantly and were polite to the point that one worker said customers thought something was wrong, or that she must have been laughing at them. In fact, at one point, the management had to ask the staff to smile less because they were making the customers uncomfortable.

The Russian McDonald's Has Several Regional Menu Items.

It's well-known that McDonald's offers regional menus in both the U.S. and around the world, with websites spotlighting India's McAloo Tikki or Australia's Cheesy Bacon Fries. Russia has its own regional specialty menu as well, with options ranging from fried shrimp ("McShrimp") to a McFlurry with strawberries and chocolate biscotti mixed in. Chicken wings are also available as are country-style potato wedges, which replaced McDonald's regular shoestring fries when the country's government ordered McDonald's to use Russian potato suppliers.

McDonald's Operates 650 Restaurants in Russia

The hype surrounding the opening of the first McDonald's in Russia was lasting. By 1992, long lines could still be seen and people had to wait for hours to enter. The crowds outside the Moscow restaurant did eventually die down a little after Jan. 31, 1990, when more McDonald’s were opened in Russia. The unveiling of the next McDonald’s restaurants were also considered big historic moments. The opening ceremony of the second restaurant in 1993 was even attended by President Boris Yeltsin. It now operates about 650 restaurants in Russia, opening 45 during 2016.

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