A young German scholar, W. M. L. De Wette, single-handedly introduced the idea that there were four authors of the Pentateuch. His doctoral dissertation observed that the fifth of the five Books of Moses, Deuteronomy or Devarim, is completely different in language from the four books before it. The three authors whose voices many scholars discerned in the earlier books did not carry into the last one. De Wetter hypothesized that Deuteronomy was written by a different author. His theory is now widely accepted by biblical scholars.
The unbroken seal on King Tut’s tomb.
This is a photograph released by the U.S. government in 1960 that shows the Little Boy atom bomb, the type detonated over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. The bomb was 29 inches in diameter, 126 inches long and weighed 9,700 pounds with a yield equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT explosive.
(Source: The Denver Post)
Before and during the American Revolution, the English, both in England and in the colonies, mostly spoke with a rhotic accent. The rhotic accent means that all hard r’s were pronounced, like “hard.” Once we had the first sound recordings after the American Revolution, some three hundred years after the colonists first settled in the New World, the accents of the British and Americans were discernibly different. The Americans had kept the rhotic accent.
But the British spoke with non-rhotic accents — “hard” was pronounced more like “hahd.” Sometime 1800s, not long after the Industrial Revolution, the non-rhotic accent appeared in southern England. It quickly spread, especially among the middle- and upper-class. Non-rhotic accents became signifier of class, so important in England — especially when traditional social statuses were being upended by the economic revolution. Because the Received Pronunciation (RP) accent was regionally “neutral” and easy to understand, it spread across England and the empire through the armed forces, the civil service and, later, the BBC. Along the seacoast of America, it caught on as well among the upper classes. And since the East Coast was the social and economic powerhouse of America through much of the 19th century, non-rhotic meant high-class in America. As industry shifted, though, areas with rhotic came back into power. General American (GenAm) which is used by broadcasters and radio hosts, is non-rhotic.
Now, of course, with the quickly shifting languages, most areas of both America and Great Britain do not use the standard accents. In the US, only a small part of the midwest uses GenAm. And in Great Britain, a smaller country with many more accents packed into it, only the upper class naturally uses RP.
No matter how unbelievable this fact might sound to some, Fanta was invented by Nazis in Germany back in 1941. It was very difficult for the Nazis to import Coca-Cola syrup into Germany during World War II due to trade embargos. So, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland, Max Keith, decided to make a new product for the German market.
He used ingredients available already in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace. During a brainstorm on what to name the beverage, Keith said “use your imagination” or “fantasie” in German. Salesman Joe Knipp yelled out “Fanta!” And this is how Fanta was born. Today you can find over 100 flavors of Fanta worldwide.
In the first Crusade in 1096, two armies of beggars set out alongside the knights, one army from southern France and the other from Germany, regions that had been suffering from famine recently. When travelling towards Palestine, these armies plundered many cities on the Rhine and in southern Germany, killing Jews and in some cases Christians. They never reached the Holy Land; they were defeated in Turkey; many were slaughtered and the rest sold into slavery.
Quintessential chick flick You’ve Got Mail is an updated version of the 1940 romantic comedy The Shop Around The Corner, repackaged for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and co-starring AOL instead of the US Postal Service.
The earlier film was adapted from an obscure Hungarian play called “Parfumerie” — it is so obscure that it was never even translated into English, let alone performed for English speaking audiences. Many of the plot tropes have become standard issue for rom-coms, so the next time you’re watching one, and find yourself wondering why in the heck all of these movies have virtually the same plot, you can thank Hungarian playwright Miklós László.
The Crimean War, (1853-1856), was fought between the Russian Empire on one side and British and Ottoman Empires on the other. British soldiers suffered in battle from the effects of the cold Ukrainian weather, which England is protected from by the Gulf Stream. The troops were running short of supplies and food, and were starving and often getting frostbite. This resulted in a public outcry. As a result, the British commissariat arranged for balaclavas to be manufactured and sent to the soldiers as protective clothing. The Balaclava was designed to cover the entire head and neck, except the eyes and mouth for breathing and seeing. It entered the English language after the war, and was named after the seaside town of Balaklava, which is in the southwestern Ukraine.
After the Crimean War ended, the balaclava continued to be popular as a protective head garment and new applications for it were developed, as well as many variations. Race car drivers wear fireproof balaclavas in case of crashes and emergencies and they are also used by the military. Motorcyclists wear them to protect their faces from flying dirt and gravel and from the wind’s chill.
The largest make-up budget was $1 million for Planet of the Apes (1968), which represented nearly 17% of the total production cost.
The first newspaper was printed on silk.
Gregory Scarpa, Sr. was an enforcer for the Colombo crime family, specifically for the boss Carmine Persico. He was responsible for at least three murders in 1991. In addition to being a murderer, Scarpa was also racist. He despised African Americans. In fact, in 1986, he underwent emergency ulcer surgery at Victory Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. He refused blood donations from the local blood bank because he feared that the blood may have been donated by African Americans.
Instead, he took blood donations from several family members and associates. One associate was mobster Paul Mele, who was a body builder and steroid user. Mele had contracted HIV from a dirty needle and ended up passing it on to Scarpa. It eventually progressed into AIDS which caused the death of the mobster. So Scarpa died from being a racist.
At a council in Constance between 1414 and 1417, the man who called himself Pope John XXIII and is now known as Antipope John XXIII (1410–1415; not to be confused with Pope John XXIII, pope from 1958–1963) was convicted of piracy, murder, rape, and incest — and only received three years in prison.
American president William Howard Taft was the inspiration for Popeye’s nemesis, Brutus.
- The first sharks lived more than 400 million years ago—200 million years before the first dinosaurs
- The first written account of a shark attack is found in Herodotus’ (c. 484–425 B.C.) description of hordes of “monsters” devouring the shipwrecked sailors of the Persian fleet
- Before sandpaper was invented, people used the rough skin of sharks, called shagreen, to smooth and polish wood. Japanese warriors wrapped the skin around the handles of their swords to keep the swords from slipping out of their hands
- The first use of the word “shark” in English occurred in 1569. Previously, English sailors and fishermen used the term “sea dog” or the Spanish tiburón
- Native Americans in Florida used the teeth of Great White sharks as arrowheads