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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Ray Charles

On February 13, 2005, Ray Charles won eight posthumous Grammy awards including Album of the Year for his final album, "Genius Loves Company." Here are five things you didn't know about Ray Charles.

"Charles" Is His Middle Name

"Ray Charles" is not the artist's full name. His full name is actually Ray Charles Robinson, but he when he entered show business, he decided to drop his last name to avoid confusion with the famous boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson.

The Blues Brothers Renewed His Popularity

The disco age in the 1970s overshadowed Ray's music genre, and as a result, his career started to fizzle. He also went through a number of personal difficulties and challenges, including a divorce and his own recovery from drug addiction. Luckily, in 1980, a film came into the picture that helped to renew Ray's career. That film was The Blues Brothers, which starred Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi and Dan Akroyd, featured Ray Charles as a music shop owner. In the film, Charles performed alongside other greats including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Cab Calloway. Not only was the movie a hit in the box office, and sparked a revival of Ray's music career.

"Georgia on My Mind" Is The Official Song Of Georgia

Charles released one of his most popular songs, "Georgia on My Mind," in 1960. It soared on the Billboard charts and reached number one. In 1979, it became the official state song of Georgia, where Ray was born. Interestingly, the song was not an original by Ray Charles. It was actually composed in 1930 by songwriter Hoagland "Hoagy” Carmichael. It has been asserted that Carmichael wrote the song about his sister, Georgia rather than the Peach State.

Ray's Wearing Of Sunglasses Has an Interesting Origin

Aside from his singing and songwriting ability, Ray Charles is well known for his donning of dark sunglasses. But it seems the idea to wear them when he performed wasn't his. When he was 18 years old, he was part of a band called the McSon Trio with guitarist Gossie McKee and bassist Milton S. Garret. Evidently, it was McKee who had an artist touch up their publicity photos and add sunglasses over Ray's sightless eyes. From that point on Charles began to wear sunglasses while performing, and began the trend for blind musicians to do the same.  

Ray's Blindness Didn't Stop Him from Learning New Skills

Ray lost his sight at the age of seven from glaucoma. But despite his lack of vision, he still managed to learn how to play the classic piano, trumpet, clarinet, organ, and alto sax in school. He could read and write music in Braille, and was an avid chess player. He even had his own chessboards made, one of which is now in the American History Museum. The musician’s board features squares of alternating height; the black squares are raised while the white squares are lowered. To help him identify the pieces by touch, the black pieces have sharper tops, while the white ones have round ones.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Valentine's Day

It's February 14th, and that means it's Valentine's Day. Lovers from around the world will exchange chocolates, flowers and gifts today to celebrate the most romantic day of the year.  Whether you're spending today with your sweetheart or you're using it as an excuse to eat tons of chocolates, here are five interesting facts about Valentine's Day. 

St. Valentine Wasn't Just One Person

It's well-known that Valentine's Day is named after the patron saint, St. Valentine — but there's actually some confusion surrounding which St. Valentine the holiday technically honors. History.com suggests that there may be two men named "Valentine" who are the inspiration for the holiday. One Valentine was third-century priest in Rome who went against Emperor Claudius II's marriage ban by marrying couples illegally. As a result of his defying of the emperor, this Valentine was put to death. But other legends claim that Valentine was martyred for helping Christians flee prison in Rome, and that he sent the first "valentine" message while in jail, signing the letter, "From your Valentine."

Valentine's Day Became an Official Holiday in the 1300s

February 14 was officially declared "St. Valentine's Day" by Roman Pope Gelasius at the end of the 5th century. But it wasn't until the 1300s that the holiday became known as the day of love and romance. This was based on the notion that February 14 marked the beginning of the mating season for birds. However,  wasn't until the 15th century that the first valentine was officially sent. According to History.com, the oldest recorded valentine sent was in 1415 by a French medieval duke who sent his wife a romantic poem that he wrote while imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Cupid Has Its Roots in Greek And Roman Mythology

Several tokens and figures symbolize Valentine's Day, including the adorable cherub with his bow and arrow that adorns Valentine's Day cards. But where exactly did the idea of the love matchmaker come from and why was it linked to this holiday? According to Time, the idea dates back to 700 BC and is depicted in Eros, the handsome, young, Greek god of love who had the power to make people fall in love. The Romans eventually made Eros into the image of a chreub, who they had named "Cupid" by the 4th century BC, depicting him as a cute boy with a bow and arrow. By the turn of the 19th century, Cupid had become linked to Valentine's Day due to his love-matching powers.

Americans Send 145 Million Valentine's Day Cards Each Year

According to Hallmark, a whopping 145 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged every February 14 This makes Valentine's Day the second biggest holiday for exchanging greeting cards, after Christmas. Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards annually, followed by children, mothers and wives. Needless to say, we've come a long way from 1913, which was when Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine's card.

Nearly 6 Million Couples Get Engaged On Valentine's Day

What better day is there for a marriage proposal than a day literally dedicated to love and romance? Valentine's Day is one of the popular days to pop the question, with as many as 6 million couples getting engaged on February 14.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Galileo Galilei

On February 15, 1564, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa. By the time he died, he was as famous as any person in Europe. Here are five things you didn’t know about this Italian astronomer whose discoveries laid the foundation for modern physics and astronomy.

He Didn’t Invent The Telescope

Hans Lippershey, a Dutchman who made eyeglasses, invented the telescope, but Galileo first used it to look at the heavens. He later developed his own telescope with improvements and used it to discover the moon’s craters and the four moons that orbited Jupiter, among other discoveries. His observations led him to conclude that the Earth and planets revolved around the sun in support of Nicolaus Copernicus's theory, the astronomer and mathematician.

The Roman Inquisition Sentenced Him To Prison

After Galileo built his telescope in 1609, he began mounting a body of evidence and openly supporting the Copernican theory that the earth and planets revolve around the sun. The Copernican theory, however, went against Catholic Church doctrine. Galileo received permission by the Church to investigate the ideas of Copernicus as long as he didn’t hold or defend them. He did just that in 1632 when he published his book “Dialogue of the Two Principal Systems of the World” which compared the Copernican system with the traditional Ptolemaic system. Galileo was brought to trial before the Inquisition, and sentenced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest, as well as repent in public.

An Italian Museum Displays His Finger

Galileo was buried in Florence, Italy, at a small chapel at the Basilica of Santa Croce. They moved his remains to the basilica itself in 1737, minus a tooth, vertebra, and three fingers, most of which were kept by an admirer and passed down through the family. Galileo’s middle finger has passed to various museums, and the University of Padua, where the great astronomer was a teacher, has the vertebra on display.

A Spacecraft Was Named for Him by NASA

Galileo was a space probe launched in 1989 by NASA and a German team, which arrived in 1995 at Jupiter and studied the planet for nearly eight years. The space probe discovered evidence that saltwater existed below three moons circling Jupiter and found evidence of volcanic activity on another of its moons. NASA crashed the space probe into Jupiter in 2003 when the mission ended.

Hundreds of Years Passed Before the Church Apologized for Galileo's Incarceration

Pope Paul II initiated an investigation into Galileo’s condemnation in 1979. The investigation took 13 years, which was 359 years after Galileo’s trial by the Inquisition. The pope then issued an apology and closed the case, citing mistakes made during the trial.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The 911 Emergency System

On February 16, 1968, the first official "911" call placed in the United States. It would years before the emergency number was widespread and decades before it was uniform. To mark the anniversary of the birth of the 911 number , here are 5 things you didn't know about this vital emergency system.

The Emergency System Before 911 Was Iffy at Best

Not that long ago, if you had an emergency, you had to know the number for the nearest police and/or fire department. And the emergency number was often the same as the non-emergency number, meaning a busy signal was always a strong possibility. Needless to say, this made both reporting an emergency and responding to an emergency complicated.

The First 911 Call Was Made in Haleyville, Alabama

On February 16, 1968, the first 911 call was made in Alabama. But it wasn’t for an emergency. The Alabama speaker of the House placed the call to the city's police station and gave the Alabama Telephone Company bragging rights as the first telephone service provider to implement the new system. The phone used to answer that call is in a museum in Haleyville, Alabama. 

911 Was Developed by AT&T

AT&T worked with the Federal Communications Commission to integrate 911 into their existing systems. AT&T chose the 911 number and integrated the system into the company’s existing systems. The company selected 911 for three reasons: First, it’s short and easy to dial on a rotary phone. Second, the number 9 was not yet used as an extension. Third, the company had already developed numbers like 411, allowing them to use the same basic infrastructure to process and route 911.

Not All Countries Use The Number 911

While North America uses 911 as an emergency number, other countries dial 999. These countries include  Ireland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Macau, Bahrain, Qatar, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Swaziland, and Trinidad and Tobago. For all members of the European Union and several other countries, 112 is the emergency number. In the United Kingdom, both 999 and 112 connect to an emergency center. Additionally, in the United States some carriers, such as AT&T, will direct the number 112 to 911.

Not All 911 Calls Are Emergencies

Some people phone 911 for non-emergencies such as an overflowing toilet, a barking dog or that the batteries have died in their smoke detector. Usually, the operator will tell them to call someone else, but some cities press charges if 911 is misused. That was the case for a woman in Ohio who was hit with a misdemeanor charge for phoning 911 because she didn’t like her Chinese food. A woman in Deltona, Florida, was arrested after she called 911 four times to complain about a nail technician.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Thomas Jefferson_2

On April 13, 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born and grew up to become one of the most important figures in American history. Here are five lesser-known facts about the author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States.

He Bribed A Reporter

James Callender condemned some politicians in his news articles for their indiscretions, including John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. His attention was turned to Jefferson in 1801 because he had heard that he was romantically involved with Sally Hemings, his slave. Callender tried to blackmail Jefferson, asking for $200 and a postmaster’s job in exchange for keeping quiet. Although Jefferson angrily paid him $50, the reporter broke the news anyway. Callender  later drowned in the James River in 1803.

He Invented A Few Things

In addition to being one of the Founding Fathers and a brilliant statesman, Jefferson used his talent as an inventor to improve upon his farm at Monticello. Anxious to till soil more efficiently, he and his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph, conceived of a plow that could navigate hills. Jefferson also made improvements to a dumbwaiter, a small elevator used to transport food and other items up and down different house levels without using the stairs.

Jefferson Helped To Restock the Library of Congress

British forces burned the Library of Congress during the War of 1812, reducing its 3000-volume library of books to ashes. In an effort to repopulate the repository of knowledge, Jefferson sold Congress his entire personal library of 6,707 books for $23,950. The books from Jefferson’s library were transported by wagon to Washington, D.C., from his home in Virginia.

Jefferson Was One of The Founders of The University of Virginia

Jefferson was a strong advocate of education and worked to establish a higher education institution in Virginia. Jefferson arranged funding, contributed design ideas, and helped shepherd the University of Virginia toward its opening in 1825. Known as the “founding father” of the university, his influence has not always been welcomed.. In 2018, protestors at the school spray-painted the word “rapist” on his statue at the school, referring to his controversial  relationship with slave Sally Hemings.

He Died On The Same Day As John Adams

On July 4, 1826, former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were once fellow Patriots and then adversaries, died on the same day. Both men were the last surviving members of the original American revolutionaries who had stood up to the British empire and forged a new political system in the former colonies. On July 4, 1826, at the age of 90, Adams lay on his deathbed while the country celebrated Independence Day. His last words were, "Thomas Jefferson still survives." He was mistaken: Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 83.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

On February 18, 1885, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book remains one of the most loved, and most banned, books in American history. Here are five things you didn’t know about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Huckleberry Finn First appears in Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a sequel to Tom Sawyer, Twain’s novel about his childhood in Hannibal, Missouri. Huck also appears in Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Tom Sawyer Abroad. Twain once said that Huck is based on Tom Blankenship, a childhood friend whose father, Woodson Blankenship, was a poor drunkard and the likely model for Pap Finn. In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was,” Twain wrote in his autobiography, “He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had.

Many Consider Huckleberry Finn The First American Novel

“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” Ernest Hemingway wrote in Green Hills Of Africa. “There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." Huckleberry Finn was notable because it was the first novel to be written in the American vernacular. Huck speaks in dialect, using phrases like “it ain’t no matter” or "it warn’t no time to be sentimentering.” Since most writers of the time were still imitating European literature, writing the way Americans actually talked seemed revolutionary. It was language that was clear, crisp, and vivid, and it changed how Americans wrote.

The Book Is Frequently Banned By Schools Around The Country

Huckleberry Finn was first banned in Concord, Massachusetts in 1885. It was considered “trash only suitable for the slums”, and continues to be one of the most-challenged books. The objections are usually over the n-word, which occurs over 200 times in the book. Others say that the portrayal of African Americans is stereotypical, or racist.

The Drawing of Penis Nearly Ruined The Book

Twain hired 23-year-old E.W. Kemble to illustrate the book’s first edition. As soon as the book went to press, it was discovered that someone added a penis to the drawing of Uncle Silas. According to Twain’s business manager Charles Webster, 250 books were sent out before the mistake was caught. They were recalled and publication was postponed for a reprint. Webster went on to say that if the full run had been sent out, Twain’s “credit for decency and morality would have been destroyed."

It Took Seven Years To Write The Book

Huckleberry Finn was written in two bursts. The first was in 1876, when Twain wrote 400 pages that he told his friend he liked “only tolerably well.” He stopped working on it for several years to write The Prince and the Pauper and Life on the Mississippi. Twain explained in his autobiography that he would work faithfully on a book for as long as it "wrote itself". He returned to writing Huckleberry Finn in 1882, after he took a steamboat ride on the Mississippi from New Orleans to Minnesota.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Battle of Iwo Jima_3

On February 19, 1945, U.S. Marines invaded Iwo Jima and engaged in one of the most important battles of World War II. Find out what you didn’t know about Operation Detachment, the success of which brought American forces within 660 miles of Japan...

The Medal of Honor Was Awarded to 27 Men For Valor at Iwo Jima

The Battle of Iwo Jima accounted for 1/3 of all Medal of Honor awards for U.S. Marines in WWII.  27 U.S. Marine Corps and Navy personnel were awarded Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration in America, for their heroics in the Battle of Iwo Jima. On February 19, 1985, an event was held to mark the 40th anniversary of the landing on Iwo Jima. Called “Reunion of Honor”, it was attended by veterans from both sides that fought the battle.

The Battle of Iwo Jima Was The Costliest Battle in The U.S. Marine Corps

On the first day of the battle, Lt. General Holland Smith predicted that capturing Iwo Jima would cost up to 15,000 casualties among American troops. In fact, he was way off; the battle made casualties of one in four U.S. troops, a staggering ratio when you consider that their forces numbered close to 100,000. Over 23,000 of them were U.S. Marines, with close to 6,000 dead, making it the costliest battle in the history of the Marine Corps. On the other side, Japanese forces are believed to have numbered over 21,000 at the start of the battle. Only about 1,000 were taken prisoner. The other 20,000 were killed or committed suicide. 

The United States Transferred Ownership of Iwo Jima Back to Japan

Although the battle for Iwo Jima resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead., the island was returned to Japan after 24 years. When Eisaku Sato, the Japanese Premier, visited America in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson gave Japan some small islands captured during the war, including Iwo Jima. Veterans of the battle from Japan and the United States hold a reunion on Iwo Jima every year.

Two Japanese Soldiers Didn’t Surrender Until 1949

American forces outnumbered the Japanese troops, but Japanese soldiers prepared and fortified the island in advance. They dug extensive caves and a warren of tunnels in which to hide and move around. Two Japanese soldiers who participated in the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima stayed hidden in the tunnels and caves for nearly five years, avoiding detection by U.S. forces.

Navajo Code Talkers Were Credited With Winning the Battle of Iwo Jima

Navajo code talkers used their native language to relay coded messages during the battle. It was so successful that Major General Howard Connor said that without the Native Americans, the Marines could never have captured Iwo Jima. Lt General Seizo Arisue, the Japanese chief of intelligence, admitted after the war that while they broke the Air Force code, they failed to break the Navajo code, making it one of a select few codes in history to remain unbroken.

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6 Things You Didn't Know About The Postal Service_3

On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office. Here are five interesting facts you probably didn't know about the U.S. Postal Service...

Blue Mailboxes Came to Be in 1971

The postal services mailboxes are distinguishable thanks to their color. It would be hard to imagine them being anything other than blue. But the postal service didn't actually start painting their mailboxes blue until as recently as 1971. Prior to the 1970s, mailboxes ranged in colors, including army green just after the First World War.

Mules Still Deliver Mail in One Part of the Country

It may be hard to believe, but there is still one part of the US where mules still deliver mail. While this may sound like a scene from Little House on the Prairie, it's a real scenario played out in a small village in Arizona. Mail is still being delivered in this pioneer way because of the location of the village of Supai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Mules and horses have to trek 8 miles to deliver mail to the local Havasupai tribe that lives there.

The Post Office Has an Unofficial Mascot

The US Post Office's unofficial mascot is a dog named Owney. The terrier was found abandoned at a post office in Albany in the late 1800s. The dog stuck around the post office and would only allow postal workers to pet him. Owney was eventually honored with a commemorative stamp in 2011.

Over 200 Billion Pieces of Mail Are Delivered Every Year

We all know how busy mail carriers can be, but it may come as some surprise at just how productive they really are. There are currently over 40,000 post offices across the US, delivering 212 billion pieces of mail every year to over 144 million homes and businesses.

1940 Marked the First Year With an African-American on a Stamp

Booker T. Washington was the first African-American to be commemorated on a stamp in April 1940. The stamp was part of the Post Office's Famous American Series.

The Postmaster General Earns More Than the Vice President of the US

Only one federal government employee earns more than the Postmaster General: the US President. The Postmaster General earns more than the Vice President of the US as a federal employee, earning $276,840 a year compared to the vice president's salary of $235,100.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Polaroid

On February 21, 1947, Edwin Land displayed his Polaroid Land camera, a unique camera that could produce in as little as 60 seconds. Here are 5 interesting facts that you probably  didn't know the company...

Polaroid Initially Made Sunglasses

Polaroid inventor, Edwin Land, came up with the first polarizing material intended for commercial use in 1929 and established the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. But even though Polaroid is known as an instant camera, the company actually started out making sunglasses. More specifically, the company created Polaroid Day Glasses, the first pair of sunglasses that featured a polarizing filter. The glasses were designed to cut out glare instead of darkening the landscape.

Edwin Land's Daughter Inspired the Creation of the First Polaroid Camera

While vacationing in Santa Fe, Edwin's daughter — then 3 years old — wondered why the camera being used to take their holiday pictures couldn't produce immediate physical photos. That question inspired him to set out to invent such a camera. His prototype was complete and ready to be shown to the world by 1947, then known as the Polaroid Land Camera with film. It was the world's first one-step, dry-process camera that could produce photos within one minute. It was an instant hit and sold out during the following Christmas season of 1948, and remained on the market for over 50 years.

The Polaroid Camera Tripled in Size in WWII

During the Second World War, Polaroid accepted a $7 million Navy contract to work on Project Dove, a Navy-backed project to create a heat-seeking missile bomb, the first of its kind. This was the most significant contract Polaroid ever had, though the bomb never ended up being used during WWII.
Polaroid's efforts during the war didn't end there, as the company became involved in 3D technology and helped design a trainer whereby students would operate a life-size anti-aircraft gun that simulated a plane's attack. Reconnaissance aircraft were able to take 3D vector graphs that showed relief maps of enemy territory. When combined with polarized glasses, the 3D photos would outline contours of planes, buildings, and even guns.

Polaroid Played a Role in The Medical Imaging Field

In addition to its role in producing commercial use cameras and helping the US successfully fight the Second World War, Polaroid has also had its hand in the world of healthcare. In 1993, Polaroid released Helios, a medical laser imaging system that produced medical diagnostic images in as little as 90 seconds. Polaroid's goal was to slash costs for radiology departments all over the world.

Lady Gaga Worked as Polaroid's Creative Director

Lady Gaga spent four years working as a creative director for Polaroid. The singer was part of the launch of several products under the Gray Label name, including a pair of camera sunglasses that featured 1.5-inch LCD displays. The glasses served as wearable cameras that could take pictures and be pre-loaded with videos and slideshows. The design of these glasses was inspired by Lady Gaga's Poker Face music video.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About El Chapo

On February 22, 2014, the world’s most-wanted drug kingpin “El Chapo” was captured and arrested in Mexico, after outrunning law enforcement for more than a decade. Here are 5 surprising facts you didn't know about El Chapo.

His Nickname of “El Chapo” Was a Physical Description

El Chapo, whose real name was Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, was nicknamed a Spanish version of the word “shorty.”  It was used to describe his short stature, standing at only 5’6″ tall. This physical attribute became an advantage when he escaped prison, crawling into a small hole under his cell’s shower.

El Chapo Was the Houdini of Drug Kingpins

Guzman managed to escape from prison twice. The first time was in Jalisco, Mexico, when he escaped from the Puente Grande prison with 78 people cited as conspirators. He was recaptured in 2014 but escaped again in 2015, this time through a tunnel dug under his cell’s shower room.

Actor Sean Penn Interviewed Him

While on the run, Guzman met Hollywood actor Sean Penn. Penn interviewed the Mexican kingpin and it was published in Rolling Stone magazine. Guzman was quoted as saying, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”

He Was On The Forbes Billionaires List

In 2009, Guzman made it to the Forbes Billionaires list. He ranked 701 with an estimated wealth of $1 billion. In Mexico, he was listed as the 10th richest man in the country. As the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Guzman has moved illegal drugs in the US more than any other drug lord. He is reported to have brought 500,000 tons of cocaine in the United States.

He Was a Drug Dealer With His Own Shipping Line

Guzman’s shipping empire helped guarantee total freedom to conduct his drug smuggling. His business in transporting drugs meant that he didn’t have to deal with outside parties. A report released recently said that he had a large fleet of Boeing 747 jets and submarines to move his illegal drugs into the United States from Mexico.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About The Polio Vaccine

On this day in 1954, a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received the first injections of the new polio vaccine. Here are 5 things you didn't know about the polio vaccine...

Salk Tested The Vaccine on Himself And His Family

After successfully inoculating thousands of monkeys, Salk began the risky step of testing the vaccine on humans in 1952. In addition to administering the vaccine to children at two Pittsburgh-area institutions, Salk injected himself, his wife and his three sons in his kitchen after boiling the needles and syringes on his stovetop. Salk announced the success of the initial human tests to a national radio audience on March 26, 1953. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt Was Instrumental in the Development of a Vaccine

Franklin D. Roosevelt came down with polio in 1921 at age 39, following his nomination as a vice presidential candidate, which left his legs permanently paralyzed. Five years after he was elected president, he helped create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which became the March of Dimes. Using poster children and celebrities to encourage funding, the foundation raised $20 million or more each year by the latter part of the 1940s.

A Tainted Batch of The Salk Vaccine Killed 11 People

This happened in 1955 when a batch of the inactivated-strain vaccines was contaminated with live polio virus due to human error. 11 people died; 200 had become infected with polio as a result of the tainted batch. Although the United States surgeon general ordered all inoculations temporarily halted, Americans continued to vaccinate themselves and their children. Outside of the “Cutter Incident,” not a single case of polio attributed to the Salk vaccine was ever contracted in the United States.ad

Salk Did Not Patent His Vaccine

On April 12, 1955, the day the Salk vaccine was declared “safe, effective and potent,” legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Morrow interviewed its creator and asked who owned the patent. “Well, the people, I would say... There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” said Salk. Lawyers for the foundation had investigated the possibility of patenting the vaccine but did not pursue it, in part because of Salk’s reluctance.ad

The U.S. Is Now Considered Polio-Free

The CDC says the U.S. has been considered polio-free since 1979, thanks to those early mass vaccinations and continuing childhood vaccination requirements. While polio is a distant memory in most of the world, the disease still exists in some places and mainly affects children under 5. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). 

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Guantanamo Bay

On February 24, 1903, President Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba to lease 45 square miles of land and water around Guantanamo Bay.  Here are five surprising things you didn’t know about Guantanamo Bay...

The U.S. Leased The Land For Guantanamo From Cuba

The United States leases 45 square miles of land and water at Guantanamo Bay. These rights originally came from the 1903 Platt Amendment, which resulted from the American occupation of Cuba that began during the Spanish-American War.

The Lease Rent Is Equal to an Expensive House

Leasing the Guantanamo Bay area is supposed to cost the United States $4,085 each month, paid to the Cuban government. Former President Fidel Castro protested Americans' occupation on Cuban soil, and refused to cash these checks for over half a century. Cuba accidentally cashed just one check 60 years ago by mistake. According to Castro, that check was cashed in 1959 due to confusion during the Cuban revolution.

Guantanamo Is The Most Expensive Prison in The World

The U.S. government is estimated to be spending between $9.5 – $13 million per year on each prisoner. Currently, there are 40 inmates. Sheikh Mohammed, a suspected mastermind of the 9/11 terror attack in the United States, has spent 17 years at Guantanamo Bay. This means that $161.5 million of US taxpayers’ money has been spent on just him alone. In total the prison has cost taxpayers $6 billion since it was established by the Bush Administration. 

Close to 6,000 People Live There

They include families of American sailors and long-term contractors with about 250 school-aged children who go to a K-12 school system run by the Department of Defense. The Naval base has a seaport and airstrip, which are both run by the Navy. It also has a McDonald’s, a nine-hole golf course, beaches, a bowling alley and a chapel complex.

1/3 Of The Residents Work At The Military Prison

Nearly a third of the residents — 1,800 troops and contractors — are assigned to the Detention Center Zone. It’s a base within the base where the Pentagon has 40 war-on-terror prisoners, all sent there by the George W. Bush administration.

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