From Napoleon's height to the birth of flight - lots of stories you were taught in school are not quite historically accurate. Follow along to find out ten things you learned in history class that were TOTALLY WRONG.
6. Alexander Graham Bell Invented the Telephone
Not to take anything away from the prolific Mr. Bell, but he didn’t come up with this modern little irritant on his own, but was one of several men who were working the idea at the same time. What he did do was be quicker on the draw than his competitors by getting to the patent office first. In fact, some historians maintain that another fellow named Elisha Gray was the first to create a working telephone, only to see Bell get all the credit for it. (And Gray has a pretty good claim according to many, with over 70 other patents—many communications oriented—to his credit. In fact, he may have missed out beating Bell to the Patent Office by a few hours!) Other names frequently mentioned for their work on early communication devices are Antonio Meucci, who was experimenting—quite successfully—with the electromagnetic telephone in 1857 Innocenzo Manzetti—who may have invented a “speaking telegraph” as early as 1865 and the German inventor Johann Philipp Reis, who was working on the idea during the 1860s. However, it was a Hungarian inventor named Tivadar Puskas who made the telephone useful by inventing the switchboard and with it something known as the “party line”, thereby making it possible for people to use Meucci’s/Manzetti’s/ Reis’/Gray’s/Bell’s invention in a practical way.
Things you learned at school that are just plain wrong
Water looks blue because pure water is a blue chemical. The blue color is caused by the molecular structure as well as selective absorption and scattering of the light spectrum. Impurities and other elements such as algae or plankton can create variations in the color. Water appears clear in a cup or in a shallow pond because it’s only slightly blue and there isn’t much water volume.
2. We need to drink 8 glasses of water per day
Experts agree we need eight cups of water per day. But most people assume that ‘cup’ – a unit of measurement for liquids – means ‘glass’ – which can be anywhere up to half a litre. The actual amount we need is about two litres of water a day.
But you don’t need to drink just water, since it’s present in many drinks (such as juices and tea), as well as food like fruits and vegetables.
The most correct statement? Drink when you are thirsty.
3. The Greenhouse Effect is the cause of Global Warming
The greenhouse effect often gets a bad rap because of its association with global warming, but the truth is we couldn’t live without it.
The greenhouse effect is the process by which the infrared radiation from the Sun, reflected back from the surface of the Earth, is absorbed by greenhouse gases such as water, CO2 or ozone. These gases trap the heat and regulate the climate, and are essential for our survival.
Anthropogenic Global Warming is caused by human activity, creating more greenhouse gases than necessary. Ultimately, more gases means more infrared absorption, which gradually increases Earth’s temperature beyond ‘normal.’
4. Diamonds are made of compressed coal
The idea of diamonds being formed from the metamorphosis of coal is still a widely taught concept, but a wrong one. The misconception is because diamonds and coal are both made of carbon however, coal comes from plants and most diamonds date from well before any living plants on Earth.
The carbon that makes diamonds comes from the melting of rocks in the Earth’s upper mantle. If conditions such as the chemistry, pressure and temperature are right, carbon atoms can be formed into diamond crystals.
5. We only use 10% of our brain
A better statement is that we normally use only about 10% of our brain at a time. Different activities trigger different parts of the brain. For example, solving a mathematical problem uses different brainpower than watching a movie or cooking dinner. Over the course of a day, most people use all parts of their brain.
6. The North Star is the brightest star
If you try to find your way in the wild at night by following the brightest star, you’ll probably end up getting lost. Polaris, also known as the North Star, isn’t actually all that bright and is hardly seen from your backyard.
The brightest star in the sky (apart from the Sun) is Sirius, located in the Canis Major constellation.
7. There is no gravity in space
Watching astronauts take giant leaps for humanity on the Moon or drift in space around the ISS, it’s easy to assume there is no gravity in space. Actually, any object with a mass exerts a gravitational pull, and space is full of objects. The strength of this pull depends on both mass and distance.
Astronauts in orbit are still subject to the Earth’s gravity, but are weightless because they are in a constant state of free-fall as they orbit the Earth. Walking on the Moon, astronauts are no longer in free-fall and so are subject to the Moon’s gravity – about one sixth the strength of Earth.
8. The Great Wall of China is seen from space
Just shy of 9,000 km long, the Great Wall of China is the longest manmade object on Earth, and it is often said it can be seen from space, even from as far away as the Moon. But both NASA and even China’s first astronaut have said this is not possible.
The Great Wall is narrow and irregular, measuring about 10m wide on average, and can be hard to distinguish from the surrounding environment. Seeing it from the Moon would be equivalent to seeing a single hair from 2,688m away.
9. Seasons result from the elliptical nature of Earth’s orbit
If this were true, winter would be hotter than summer, since Earth is closer to the Sun in early January than in early July. And besides, the difference in distance is relatively small.
Seasons are caused by the Earth’s tilt, meaning different parts of the planet lean towards (summer) or away from (winter) the Sun at different times of year. The tilt determines the Sun’s height in the sky and the amount of sunshine a given location receives. That’s why it is winter in Australia when it’s summer in Europe.
10. Red, Yellow and Blue are the primary colors
The primary colors are actually Red, Green and Blue (RGB). More specifically, the primary colors of light are RGB and the primary colors of pigment are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow (CMY).
Unlike RGB and CMY, red, yellow and blue can’t reproduce every color in the visible spectrum – RYB has a significant bias towards browner colors!
4 Ancient Hebrew Inscribed on a Rock in New Mexico
Picture this: You're an archaeologist minding your own business in New Mexico when a guy comes up and tells you he's got something to show you. Once you check to make sure he's wearing pants and double check to make sure you've got a gun, you follow him to this town outside Albuquerque called Los Lunas. And there he shows you a 90-ton rock inscribed with ancient writing. No big deal, right? Everyone knows Native Americans have lived in the area since at least the 1850s, it's only natural they'd scratch some graffiti up every now and then. People get bored.
This is exactly what happened to archaeology professor Frank Hibben in 1933. Only he had the sense to recognize that the scribbling wasn't Native American writing -- it was Hebrew. Ancient Hebrew. And the message wasn't "Custer sux balls," it was the Ten Commandments.
Believe it or not, while people in the 1930s were gullible enough to think Martians were invading Earth in the most melodramatic way possible, they were cynical enough to call bullshit at the claim that anyone in ancient America knew Hebrew. Yet when experts took a look, they were confounded. For one thing, the script included some Greek letters, which indicated that the script was etched by someone comfortable with mixing Greek and Hebrew (if no one comes to mind, ancient Samaritans fit that bill perfectly).
While You Are Ringing In The Summer, Don't Forget To Remember The Importance Of What We Have Off For.
Home of the free because of the brave.
"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."
On this present day in America, we currently have over 1.4 million brave men and women actively listed in the armed forces to protect and serve our country.
Currently there is an increased rate of 2.4 million retiree's from the US military
Approximately, there has been over 3.4 million deaths of soldiers fighting in wars.
Every single year, everyone look's forward to Memorial Day Weekend, a weekend where beaches become overcrowded, people fire up them grills for a fun sunny BBQ, simply an increase of summer activities, as a "pre-game" before summer begins.
Many American's have forgot the true definition of why we have the privilege to celebrate Memorial Day.
In simple terms, Memorial Day is a day to pause, remember, reflect and honor the fallen who died protecting and serving for everything we are free to do today.
Thank you for stepping forward, when most would have stepped backwards.
Thank you for the times you missed with your families, in order to protect mine.
Thank you for involving yourself, knowing that you had to rely on faith and the prayers of others for your own protection.
Thank you for being so selfless, and putting your life on the line to protect others, even though you didn't know them at all.
Thank you for toughing it out, and being a volunteer to represent us.
Thank you for your dedication and diligence.
Without you, we wouldn't have the freedom we are granted now.
I pray you never get handed that folded flag. The flag is folded to represent the original thirteen colonies of the United States. Each fold carries its own meaning. According to the description, some folds symbolize freedom, life, or pay tribute to mothers, fathers, and children of those who serve in the Armed Forces.
As long as you live, continuously pray for those families who get handed that flag as someone just lost a mother, husband, daughter, son, father, wife, or a friend. Every person means something to someone.
Most Americans have never fought in a war. They've never laced up their boots and went into combat. They didn't have to worry about surviving until the next day as gunfire went off around them. Most Americans don't know what that experience is like.
However, some Americans do as they fight for our country every day. We need to thank and remember these Americans because they fight for our country while the rest of us stay safe back home and away from the war zone.
Never take for granted that you are here because someone fought for you to be here and never forget the people who died because they gave that right to you.
So, as you are out celebrating this weekend, drink to those who aren't with us today and don't forget the true definition of why we celebrate Memorial Day every year.
"…And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice."
33 Weird Historical Facts You Didn’t Learn in School
1. In the Great Fire of London in 1666, which destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 churches, the cathedral of St. Paul, and left 70,000 people homeless, there were only 6 reported deaths. According to historian Stephen Porter, there were eight people killed.
2. The Parliament of Iceland is the oldest still operational parliament in the world. It exists since 930.
3. The Arabic numerals were actually discovered by Indian mathematicians.
4. The first bomb that fell on Berlin from the Allies in WWII killed the one and only elephant of the Berlin zoo.
5. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered a full military funeral in 1838 for his amputated leg. He lost it by canon fire.
6. King George I of England was German.
7. A man from New Orleans hired a pirate to liberate Napoleon from his exile to the island of St. Helena.
8. Among the weird historical facts you certainly didn’t learn in school is that in his college dorm room, Lord Byron kept a pet bear.
9. U.S. President Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard in high school. He has been credited for saving 77 lives.
10. In 1929, researchers in Princeton managed to turn a live cat into a fully functional telephone.
11. The infamous Kim Jong II has written six operas.
12. The New York Daily Tribune had a strange correspondent in Germany. Karl Marx.
13. Napoleon was attacked once by some rabbits.
14. In 1952, Albert Einstein was offered the position of the second President of Israel. He declined.
15. The shortest war in history is between England and Zanzibar. It lasted for a full 38 minutes.
16. The weirdest war in history is between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. It lasted from 1651 to 1986, making it the longest war that ever existed, to which there were no casualties.
17. Roman Emperor Gaius (commonly known as Caligula) planned to proclaim one of the strangest senators that ever existed. His horse Incitatus.
18. Did you know that all British battle tanks since 1945 are equipped with tea making facilities? I’m sure that weird historical facts like this one don’t get learned in school.
19. Warner Brothers Entertainment Company was founded a few months after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
20. Luck or jinx? Violet Jessop is the only known survivor of the three largest ship accidents and sinking in history. She was on board the RMS Olympic when it collided with HMS Hawke and returned to Southampton, despite the fact that there were flooding and heavy damage. She was on board RMS Titanic in 1912, and she was also on board the HMHS Britannic when it was sunk by a mine in WWI. Was she lucky or did she bring bad luck to all the rest?
21. In 1911, pigtails were forbidden in China as a reference to its feudal past.
22. If people think that today’s athletes are compensated with a lot of money, they should think again. Gaius Appuleius, who was a Roman chariot racer, earned in today’s analogies, $15 billion. Similarly, the richest person that ever existed was Mansa Musa I. His assets today would be worth $400 billion.
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23. The most successful pirate that ever existed was a Chinese prostitute Ching Shih. She was known to own 1,500 ships and 80,000 sailors.
24. In the middle ages, people believed that sperm coming from the left testicle produced girls. Men who wanted sons only had it removed.
25. In the 1800s, it was considered a cruel and unusual punishment to feed convicts and prisoners with lobster.
26. In the 14th century, Su Hui wrote a poem in a 29 x 29 grid. Each line could be read from right to left or from left to right, in both diagonal Xs and in both vertical directions. That allowed 2,848 different ways to read it.
27. Mrs. Bridget Driscoll is the first recorded accident of a pedestrian been killed by a vehicle. Arthur Edsell did that at the overwhelming speed of 4 miles per hour on August 17, 1896.
28. Essentially, the same formula used today for concrete that is to be used underwater was created in 25 BC by the ancient Romans.
Sergeant Andrew Foster 12 Elgin cottages Dysart Fife Scotland
29. From the late 19th century and up to 1916, it was forbidden for British soldiers to shave their mustache.
30. If someone really wants to kill people, primitive weaponry is no excuse. Genghis Khan killed over 40 million people during his reign, which corresponded to 1/6 of the entire earth population of the time. Adolf Hitler and WWII with so much more advanced weaponry killed 55.
31. The only known medical procedure with the 300% mortality rate was performed in 1847 when doctor Robert Liston performed an amputation in 25 seconds. His haste was such, that he also amputated his assistant’s fingers. Both the patient and the assistant died from sepsis, as well as a spectator, who died from the shock of what he saw.
32. April 23, 1982. The famous Key West area of Florida declared that it was seceding from the U.S. They declared war followed by surrender and a request for a billion dollars of foreign aid…
33. Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates who demanded a ransom of 20 talents of silver for his release. He became mad at the price and said that he was worth no less than 50…
Bonus fact: a truly weird historical fact that will make you think is that if the history of planet Earth was reduced to one year, then humans would appear on 23:45 December 31 and their recorded history would be the last 60 seconds of the year.
How many of these weird historical facts did you know before reading this article? What other facts would fit this list? Share them with us!
25 Things That Were Considered Scandalous 100 Years Ago But Are Totally Normal Now
Human beings have come a long way in the last 100 years. Sure, we managed to beat Hitler, plant a flag on the moon, and invent that whole Internet thing, but we accomplished other things, too. For instance, did you know that we got over our collective fear of seeing women wearing pants? It's true! Also, we finally learned that tomatoes aren't "poison apples," cleaning ourselves on a daily basis wasn't so bad, and those newfangled "horseless carriages" might not be a passing fad, after all. And that's just the beginning. Here are 25 things that humans found to be scandalous or outré a century ago that are completely normal today. And for an even closer look at how quickly things change, here are 20 Present-Day Facts No One Could Have Predicted Five Years Ago.
Is there anything more soothing than curling up in bed with a good book at the end of the day? Not according to an 1832 editorial in The Family Monitor, which called bedside reading "little less than tempting God, to sport with the most awful danger and calamity which can affect ourselves and others." It likely had something to do with candles, which had a tendency to set a sleepy reader ablaze. Now for more blasts from the past, read about the 9 Times Politicians Totally Lost It and Things Got Physical.
Like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, we all feel the "need for speed." But the lust to reach dangerous and ill-advised speeds for a thrill is a fairly new impulse. The world's first speeding ticket, given to a speed-devil Ohio motorist in 1904, was for going a mere 12 miles per hour. Some people were so terrified of machines propelling us forward at mild speeds that they predicted it could result in everything from immediate asphyxiation to a moral and intellectual decline. "Veracious people will turn into the most immeasurable liars," one anxious anti-train zealot wrote in an 1830 op-ed. "All their conceptions will be exaggerated by their magnificent notions of distance." But since speeding is still illegal, make sure you know the 10 Ways to Speed Without Getting a Ticket.
In Gold Rush-era San Francisco, a woman in pants had to lobby her local alderman for permission to not be arrested for not dressing like a prostitute or maid. So yeah, it was frowned upon. The first women's trouser was introduced in 1918, with the ridiculous name "Freedom-Alls." They included a belted tunic over harem pants. So basically, the costume of a very uncomfortable lady genie. Ironically, we may have come full circle: harem pants are currently one of the 40 Things No Woman Over 40 Should Own.
These days, the biggest concern about teenagers and cars is that they might be tempted to text and drive, thus killing themselves. But back in the 1920s, a teenager with a car could mean only one thing: They want to bone your daughter. While we're on the subject of cars, check out The Best New Cars for 2018.
When a British wool merchant named Jonas Hanway tried to walk the streets of London in the mid-18th century with an umbrella, stunned onlookers "would pelt him with rubbish" and even tried to run him over with their cars. He's still remembered by some history books as "the courageous citizen who first carried an umbrella." However, these days an umbrella is an essential part of The Rain Gear Every Man Needs.
In the early 20th century, many people's first exposure to electricity was Thomas Edison electrocuting an elephant. So forgive them if they weren't super-excited about filling their homes with the stuff. Even if they didn't think their family would be fried like an egg, there were other concerns. "If you electrify homes you will make women and children and vulnerable," claimed one naysayer. "Predators will be able to tell if they are home because the light will be on, and you will be able to see them." If there's anything worse than a home invasion while being electrocuted, we'd like to hear it.
In 1900, only about half of all U.S. kids between the ages of five and 19-year-olds were enrolled in any kind of school, and those who did show up usually dropped out around the eighth grade. Resentment about compulsory education had been festering for awhile. One Democratic representative from Iowa grumbled in 1876 that forcing kids to go to school was "anti-American, anti-Republican, anti-Democratic. … It may do in a Monarchy where all is force and compulsory, but in a free society… it is unjust, wrong and .. . unconstitutional." And speaking of school: if you're rocking the schoolyard backpack look, here's how to know whether to single-strap or double-strap it.
The "Star-Spangled Banner" didn't become our official National Anthem until 1931. If you stood up before a ballgame 100 years ago, it was just to get the hotdog vendor's attention.
Tell anybody 100 years ago that drugs like cocaine and heroin might not be the best substances to put inside your body, and they definitely wouldn't agree with you. It wasn't merely okay to do heroin, doctors were regularly prescribing it. It was an ingredient in cough syrup. As for cocaine, Sigmund Freud, a widely respected psychologist and neurologist, claimed it helped him with "depression and against indigestion and with the most brilliant of success." While we're on the subject of drugs, here are the 20 Craziest Side Effects of Over-the-Counter Drugs.
Aside from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, a bushy nether region has typically been the culturally accepted norm. It was such an accepted look that when prostitutes in 1450 had to shave for STD-reason they replaced the hair with used merkins (or lower-body "wigs"). Imagine what they'd think of modern women, 84% of whom remove some or all of their pubic hair? And while we're on the subject: here is the New Grooming Tech You Need Right Now.
During the late 1700s, tomatoes were dubbed "poison apples" because some aristocrats got lead poisoning while eating tomatoes on pewter plates—which were especially high in lead. But the reputation (though undeserved) stuck, and even 19th-century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson considered them (or at least the worms that purportedly lived in tomatoes) "an object of much terror, it being currently regarded as poisonous and imparting a poisonous quality to the fruit if it should chance to crawl upon it." Now, of course, we know that tomatoes are one of the 25 Foods That'll Keep You Young Forever.
When French inventor Louis Réard tried to introduce his latest fashion creation, the bikini—made from just 30 inches of fabric—he couldn't find a single model willing to wear it in public. So he hired a 19-year-old stripper, for whom wearing anything at all was a career step up. Modern Girl magazine responded that it was "inconceivable that any girl with tact and decency would ever wear such a thing." Fast forward to today, and you've got Instagram, quite possibly the world's largest repository of bikini photos.
This newspaper ad from 1915 pretty much say it all. Compare the price of a harness with automobile tires, and the choice is obvious. What kind of dummy buys a car when a horse "will take you through snow and mud as well as on good roads and his carburetor is never out of order?" Now, if you're in the market for a new set of wheels, here are The Best New Cars for 2018.
No, not the 1985 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. The actual color. A 1903 Boston Globe story, with the (presumably unironic) title "Colors That Will Drive the Brain to Madness," pegged purple as "the most dangerous color there is." Hold on, because it gets so much better. "If purple walls and a red tinted window surrounded you for a month with no color but purple around you, by the end of that time you would be a madman," the author wrote. "No matter how strong your brain might be it would not stand the strain, and it is doubtful if you would ever recover your reason."
Wait, wait, hold on a minute, you're saying that radiation isn't something you should put on your skin and drink like a health smoothie? Well, color everybody from 100 years ago embarrassed. Especially Eben Byers, a steel mogul who drank three bottles of radiation a day until his death, which was reported in a Wall Street Journal story from 1932 with the sublime headline "The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off." And for more foods you should ingest, here are the 10 Best Foods for Your Heart.
A century ago, baths were a special occasion—the kind of thing you did on the weekends. (It was like "date night," but with more loofahs.) Regular bathing didn't become a thing until the mid-20th century, thanks to magazine ads for grooming products, with aggressive pitches like "There's self-respect in SOAP & WATER." Today, a matching towel set is one of The 40 Things Every Man Over 40 Should Own.
You might think of coffee as a delicious morning beverage that keeps you alert and productive when you'd rather be sleeping. But to early 17th century Catholics it was a "bitter invention of Satan" and a "(delicious) devil's drink." Can't we all be right? Now coffee is probably an inescapable part of your morning routine, so check out The 15 Best Coffee Makers on the Planet.
The problem with bicycles is that sometimes women insist on riding them. And then they forget to do things, like the bullet points outlined in this 1896 article. A woman on a bicycle should never coast (too dangerous), wear tight garters or heavy jewelry, refuse assistance from a man who's felt pity for their dainty lady legs and wants to push them up a steep hill, or worst of all, makes a "bicycle face," described as a "haggard, worried expression" in this 1895 newspaper story. And speaking of bikes, here are 17 Insanely Cool Luxury Bicycles.
In 1900, the average life expectancy for an American man was 48.3. And that was if he was lucky. Today, it's around 78.7, and the chances of hitting 100 aren't as laughably rare anymore. In just the last decade and a half, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans living to 100 have increased by more than 43 percent. Becoming a Supercentenarian will always be amazing, but it no longer makes you look like a biblical character. Still, you should check out these 100 Ways to Live to 100.
Even up to the 1950s and 60s, you could smoke pretty much anywhere. Restaurants, movie theaters, airplanes, even hospitals. The only places where cigarettes were frowned upon were elevators, churches, and high school classrooms (and you could probably smoke there too if you were nice about it.) If you told a smoker from 1917 that a hundred years in the future, nobody can smoke in bars anymore, he would be just slightly less alarmed than if you told him about a zombie apocalypse.
Those hanging straps on a subway that passengers can hold onto to keep from falling? According to this 1912 editorial in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, they could cause "a frightful strain upon [your] internal organs."
Not because of the excessive sugar, or how soda consumption could lead to a 26% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Soda was once considered dangerous because it turned women into harlots. Okay, fine, we're paraphrasing. But when the US Food and Drug Administration seized forty barrels of Coca-Cola in 1911, they explained that the beverage was a danger to college girls, capable of causing "wild nocturnal freaks, violations of college rules and female proprieties, and even immoralities." We're a bit more enlightened now, and we know that cola ain't great for different reasons. Chiefly, it's one of The 40 Unhealthiest Foods if You're Over 40.
At the beginning of the 20th century, tattoos "were associated with criminality and underground, seedy things," says Anni Irish, a Brooklyn writer who has written extensively about the social history of tattooing in America. "It was tied to sailors, prostitution, and crime." Unless a woman worked for the circus, or sold her body for money, getting inked just wasn't socially acceptable. Well, it definitely is today. In fact, according to a Harris Poll, women with tattoos (23%) now outnumber men (19%). Before you get yourself inked though, consider that tattoos are one of The 7 Most Surprising Everyday Exercise Killers.
In 1915, the average salary for a U.S. worker was in the ballpark of $687 a year, according to Census Bureau data. That's about $16,063 in modern dollars. Also, expecting your job to come with health benefits didn't become typical until the 40s, when the IRS began offering tax breaks for employer-based health care. Try asking an employer in the early 1900s if "this job comes with dental," and he would never have stopped laughing.
Long before the movie Footloose warned of the dangers of dancing, The Washington Post reported on a girl, just 17 years-old, who died in 1926 after attempting the Charleston. According to her doctor, her untimely death was caused by the "extreme physical exercise" involved in all the kicking and hand gestures of a dance, which he warned was "particularly dangerous for young women." How we haven't lost a young woman yet to twerking is nothing short of a miracle.
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10 Failed Revolutions That Almost Broke History
The French revolution is thought of as the most influential event of it’s era, leading to the rise of Napoleon, and therefore a unified Germany, and therefore Nazi Germany, and therefore the Cold War. A revolution can change everything, overthrow a stable government and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a successful revolution that didn’t change the course of history. There are dozens of failed revolutions from history that just didn’t have enough momentum to achieve their demands. These revolutions would have changed history in ways we can’t even guess to. In this list I will go into how different our history might look if these 10 failed revolutions that almost changed anything were successful.
Revolution Of 1905
The revolution of 1905 was the biggest in a series of failed revolutions against the Imperial Russian government. It lasted for over 2 years and genuinely posed a major threat to the Russian Tsar. The Tsar was forced to appease the rebelling peasants by announcing the adoption of some of their demands. He agreed to introduce a new parliament, implying Russia would slide into democracy.
How it could have changed history:
If the revolution was successful in overthrowing the Tsar, it is unlikely Russia would have entered the first world war. The first world war was a disaster and clearly paved the way for Soviet control of Russia. It is thought that the Soviet Union never would have existed if the revolution of 1905 didn’t fail.
The Peasants’ Revolt was a huge revolution in the late 14th century. As the name would suggest, the lower classes of England were revolting against their feudal overlords. The revolution was caused by several things: the black death had driven people desperate, the hundred years war required higher taxes on ordinary peasants, and it just sucks to be a feudal subject. Most of the English army were either in France or Northern-England so there wasn’t much standing in the way of the peasants. They simply took control of several major cities, including London! The King was forced to flee London for safety. He met with rebel leaders and ordered those leaders immediately killed. Killing the leaders gave the royals enough time to gather soldiers and retake London. They then got to work executing anyone involved.
How it could have changed history:
The peasants wanted an end to the feudal system in England. The king didn’t change it in the end. If they were successful in changing the system, it would have changed the course of English history. And England is one of the world’s most influential countries historically.
Roman Slave Rebellion
The Roman slave rebellion is a string of failed revolutions driven by escaped slaves against Roman officials. The third revolt is the most well known as it was led by Spartacus. Incredibly, Spartacus was a former slave himself who led a massive army of 120 thousand other escaped slaves in the quest for their freedom. They also wanted to capture some Roman territory and live there free. But they were defeated after being on the run for 2 years.
How it could have changed history:
Some think their goal was to end slavery, but this is unclear. If they were successful, they would have embarrassed the Roman people and weakened their diplomatic position. The Roman public would certainly have demanded some kind of big action to resurrect the glory of Rome.
The Satsuma Rebellion was when a group of Samurai warriors decided to abandon their posts and revolt against the Japanese government. It was named after the area of Satsuma, which was traditionally a place where disgraced Samurai would go to live when they couldn’t find work. The rebellion lasted almost the whole year of 1877, and commanded an army of around 20 thousand. They were rebelling against the controversial new emperor of Japan, Emperor Meiji. He took Japan from being a backwards feudal society to being a strong empire under his full control. The Satsuma was just one in a series of failed revolutions waged against him.
How it could have changed history:
If successful, Emperor Meiji wouldn’t be able to continue the progress that he later did. This included expanding the Japanese overseas territories. Japan probably wouldn’t have got involved in either the first or second world wars. That’s a significant change.
The Jacobite were a group who believed the English monarch should be a catholic. More specifically, they believed the English monarch should be either James II or one of his many descendants. He was England’s last ruler to be catholic and during his lifetime there were several failed revolutions aiming to regain power for him. But even after he died, the Jacobite didn’t stop struggling for his descendants to return to the thrown. The Jacobite were strong in numbers for several hundred years after. All their attempts, both armed and peaceful, ultimately failed. Some still believe they operate today in secret planning the return of a catholic king.
How it could have changed history:
Well the British switch away from Catholicism did change history. The Church of England thrived and influenced the whole country. The line of kings had direct impact on the way British society developed, how the empire spread. So much would be different.
The Boxer rebellion was a huge Chinese uprising in 1899. The rebels, known as the Boxers, wanted less of a Christian and western presence in their country and were extremely nationalist. It was deemed as a threat to the diplomatic relations between China and the world powers. This prompted a grand allience of 8 major powers to join forces and suppress the revolution. Japan, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, America, Italy, and Austria-Hungary were the alliance. So obviously the rebels didn’t last very long.
How it could have changed history:
If the Boxers had been successful, Chinese history would be quite different. Perhaps the Imperial Chinese rulers wouldn’t have been overthrown in the early 20th century. This would have made the rise of the Chinese communist party even more unlikely. Maybe China wouldn’t be the economic superpower it is today if the Boxer rebellion had been a success.
Great Jewish Revolt
The great Jewish revolt was one of many failed revolutions attempting to attain independence Jewish independence from the Roman empire. The Jews wanted their freedom, but the Romans valued their middle-eastern land greatly. So they weren’t just going to give it up without a fight. The Jewish rebels were tough, forcing Roman officials to flee from Jerusalem and defeating a strong Syrian military force brought in to suppress them. The rebels then started massacring Romans. This caused to Empire to get desperate and call in the big guns. Five experienced legions were sent in to suppress the rebellion. They did so, and then destroyed most of Jerusalem.
How it could have changed history:
Jerusalem was an important city in the middle-east at the time. And the middle-east was seen as Rome’s soft underbelly. If Rome had lost control of Jewish land, it would have weakened them in the whole region. It’s possible they would have lost their already struggling grip on Syria, which was a great source of wealth for the Empire.
The California Republic was a defacto independent nation that existed in 1846 for just a couple of weeks. In itself, it was a revolution. This was immediately after California was taken from Mexico by American settlers. So they decided to just make it their own country. The republic of California was born. They had a tiny military of under 300 soldiers. So the United States decided it would be an easy defeat. The republic surrendered as soon as the US soldiers arrived, and California was absorbed into America.
How it could have changed history:
If successful, the who knows what the world would be like today. Imagine if California had never joined the union, and simply remained independent. California is the most wealthy and populous American state, more than able to survive independently. Californian oil help fuel America’s rise during it’s industrialization too.
Rebellion Of 1857
Failed revolutions don’t get much closer to success than this one. The Rebellion of 1857 was a huge uprising in India against the British Empire. Lasting for 13 long months, it all started when the British wanted Indian army recruits to use a new type of gun lubrication containing animal grease. This went against both the Hindu and Muslim religion’s teachings. As India’s two biggest religions were Hinduism and Islam, this was never going to go down well. Widespread fighting broke out and the British were forced to call in foreign legions. The east-India company was weakened to the point where it was dissolved and the British government imposed direct control in India. That’s how the revolt was crushed.
How it could have changed history:
Well, if the British lost power in India… that would have been a big deal. India was one of the most valuable lands in the British empire. Without it, who knows where we would be today.
Revolutions Of 1848
The revolutions of 1848 was a massive wave of failed revolutions across all of Europe. Revolts broke out everywhere from Italy and Hungary to Germany and Denmark. All of which failed within a year. The revolutionaries aimed at liberating themselves from serfdom at the least and overthrowing their ruling monarchs at most. The revolutionary groups really didn’t work together and coordinate their attacks. The European monarchs did work together to maintain power. The events were triggered by the revolution in France. But their outcomes were quite different, resulting in almost no political change at all.
How it could have changed history:
The failed revolutions were active in 50 countries. Can you imagine 50 successful government overthrows at the same time? It would have really broken the history of Europe, and therefore the world.
The Multiregional theory was one of the opposing theories to the Out of Africa Model, until it fell out of favor thanks to genetic evidence.
According to the Multiregional theory, our early hominid ancestors left Africa 2 million years ago, and then settled in different places around the world (like Europe and Asia). The hominds chilling in Europe evolved into humans. The Asian hominids evolved into another, different group of humans.
It turns out, early hominids evolved into humans IN AFRICA around 200,000 years ago then migrated to different parts of the world a mere 60,000 years ago. Basically, we're all descended from one original group of African humans.
40 Facts You Learned in the 20th Century That Are Totally Bogus Today
These elementary school facts don't hold up in the 21st century.
The 20th century may not seem that long ago, but when you look at some lessons commonly taught in schools then—from science to technology to culture to history—you'll realize just how long ago it really was. That's why we've compiled some of the biggest whoppers that were considered "facts" then that have since been proven to be wrong.
So read on, and know that that our solar system isn't quite so big, our coffee isn't quite so dangerous, and Thomas Edison may get a lot more credit than he deserves. And for some amazing things we hope to learn in the future, check out the 30 Craziest Predictions About the Future Experts Say Are Going to Happen.
It seems like yesterday that we were walking around thinking Pluto was among the planets in our solar system. We had songs and rhymes to help us remember how far it was from the sun and how much smaller it was than the other planets. Then the International Astronomical Union came along in August 2006 and clarified that it was not a planet at all. Instead, it's a dwarf planet. We will miss you, Pluto! And for more knowledge for wowing your friends, here are 100 Awesome Facts About Everything.
While the image of astronauts floating weightlessly has led to the perception that space is a place of zero gravity, in fact there is a lot of gravitational pull happening there. As Yale Scientific's Chidi Akusobi explains: "it is important to distinguish 'weightlessness' from 'zero-gravity.' Astronauts feel weightless because their shuttle is in a state of continuous free fall to the earth. However, the space shuttle never falls to the earth because it is traveling horizontally at about 18,000 km/hr, opposing the force of gravity. If the spacecraft was not moving quickly enough, it would fall prey to the effects of earth's gravitational field and fall to the earth." And for more fun trivia on things much closer to home, here are 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Smartphone.
The popular narrative of the space race is that the Soviet launch of Sputnik caught the Eisenhower administration entirely off-guard and created a spell-binding shock that our Cold War enemies were further along in their space program. However, historians have recently pointed out that while lots of scientists were surprised, the administration was well aware of how far the Soviet program had progressed (thanks to U-2 spy plane photos). In fact, U.S. officials were slightly relieved, since the legality of space exploration was still up in the air at the time, so by going first, the USSR helped make it easier for the U.S. to follow suit.
We used to believe that Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, was the hottest. But researchers have found that the hottest planet is, in fact, Venus, which can reach temperatures of 863 degrees Fahrenheit (Mercury only gets to 800 degrees Fahrenheit). The reason is that Venus has a thicker atmosphere, trapping in the heat of the Sun. And for more great knowledge, here are 10 Amazing Facts That Will Make You Smarter.
This was a commonly held belief for years, based on nothing but anecdotes. As Alan Bean, Apollo 12 astronaut has clarified: "The only thing you can see from the Moon is a beautiful sphere, mostly white, some blue and patches of yellow, and every once in a while some green vegetation."
Health fads come and go, but a fear of fat plagued the U.S. for decades. Diet books and nutrition regiments urged us to cut out all the fat from what we were eating. But it turns out, not only was it virtually impossible to remove fat from the food we put into our bodies, it wasn't actually as good for us as we were told.
This myth took a big hit in 2006 with a study of almost 50,000 postmenopausal women that tracked incidents of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. It turned out that whether someone at high-fat or low-fat diets had little effect on these health outcomes. Also, we've since learned that healthy fats are essential. For proof, see these 40 Foods to Eat After 40.
This was a related and equally bogus believe that was held for a long time. The waxy cholesterol that inhabits the fat in our blood was believed to increase our risk of heart attacks and stroke—keeping us from enjoying eggs and other high-cholesterol foods. Turns out, cholesterol relates more to the types of fat we eat, with saturated and trans fats being the ones most likely to raise cholesterol levels.
We swung from believing carbs were great for our energy and health, to the biggest enemy of keeping our weight down. It's become clear now that the truth is somewhere in the middle.
"The main reason [carbs get a bad rap] is that when people think 'carbs' they think 'starch', like white rice, pasta, potatoes or white bread," Susan Bowerman, director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition, told NBC News. "While many refined carbs don't offer up much nutritionally, there are lots of 'good carbs' — healthy foods that provide carbohydrates your body absolutely needs every day to function properly." For the right carbs to eat, see the 10 Healthiest Carbs That Won't Derail Your Six-Pack.
On a related note, looking at the "net carbs" of an item was often proposed as a solution to figuring out how good/bad that particular food product was. In fact, just understanding the total quantity of carbs tells us little about their quality.
"For example, I have patients who don't drink milk because of the carbohydrate content, but the carbohydrate in milk is not added, it's simply the natural sugar (lactose)," Bowerman also pointed out to NBC News. "But it's hard to tell from a label which carbs are natural and which are added, and unless you read the ingredients list as well, you won't know the source of the carbohydrate."
A common belief just a few years ago was that letting kids drink coffee would stunt their growth—a notion that was promoted at least as far back as the early 1900s by coffee alternative Postum. But these assertions have more recently been debunked. For example, one study of 81 adolescents over a six-year period found no correlation between daily ingestion of caffeine and bone growth or density. And yes, this false belief is one of the 20 Worst Food Myths That Still Persist.
In 1992, the United States Department of Agriculture introduced the "Food Guide Pyramid" laying out some simple rules about the proportion of fats, veggies, carbs, and sugars we should be eating. Turns out, it had some problems, and these started at the top, with the little triangle that urged keeping "sugar" as a very limited part of one's diet. This lumped all sugars in together, whether it came from gummy bears or apples and pears. In fact, not all sugar is bad for you, a fact we are finally learning to accept.
Speaking of sugar and the Food Pyramid, it also spread the notion that "fruit" was a broad category of healthy food that included fruit juice. In fact, the processed, high-calorie fruit juices offer miniscule health benefits compared to raw fruit. The new approach to the Pyramid, known as MyPlate, takes these variations into account. And for more bogus health news, here are the 40 Health Myths You Hear Every Day.
Let's just continue looking at the errors in the Food Pyramid's approach. It also presented foods as being equally nutritious, however they were prepared. But while chicken may offer valuable protein, there's a vast difference between a skinless chicken breast and a dozen buffalo wings. The government has since made preparation a key part of dietary recommendations, encouraging consumers to avoid frying foods. And for more mind-blowing trivia, check out the 20 Crazy Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.
One more on the Food Pyramid. It also recommended that high-carb dishes like bread and pasta should serve as the foundation of a healthy diet. It not only recommended eating more bread than proteins and veggies, it didn't clarify which kinds of bread consumers should be eating—whole grain was as good as Wonder Bread in the Department of Agriculture's view. We've since wised up. And for more great health knowledge, check out the 30 Worst Women's Health Myths That Won't Die.
When talking about the founding of the United States, the word "God" has a habit of popping up. A popular belief was that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation. While it's true that the colonies were originally established by those seeking to escape religious persecution, it's been made clear through recent books and historical reviews that the country's relationship with Christianity is far more complicated. These historians assert that if there was any overriding religious notion during the founding of the U.S., it was skepticism of organized religion and a belief that a country's citizens should be able to worship who they liked. And for more of history's more glaring falsehoods, check out the 28 Most Enduring Myths in American History.
The great inventor Thomas Edison (with 1,093 patents to his name) was also a great self-promoter, and generally receives full credit for creating the lightbulb when he was far from the only person to develop this new technology. In fact, other inventors including Warren de la Rue, William Staite, and Joseph Swan developed their own versions of the bulb before Edison, and it's unlikely he could have struck on his revolutionary design without standing on their shoulders.
We've all seen that map of the tongue: sweet up front, bitter in the back, sour and salty on the sides. Turns out, the whole thing is nonsense. It doesn't take scientists to prove that you'll taste salt on the tip of your tongue or sweet on the sides, yet this myth persisted for a good part of the 20 th century. And for more about your body, here are 20 Amazing Facts you Never Knew About Your Body.
For years, we were enchanted by the idea that there were two types of people—the analytical, numbers-oriented left-brained folks, and the creative, wordsmiths who do most of their thinking with the right side of their brains. Though brain studies have found that there are patches of activity in certain parts (e.g. speech emanates from the left side of the brain for right-handed people), on average people use both sides of their brain equally. And for more on your body, This Is What One Cigarette a Day Does to It.
Sweet, salty, sour, and bitter were the four basic taste qualities we believed that people had. But in the past two decades, scientists made the case for the fifth category of taste, the elusive savory flavor that has come to be known as umami. It's now become such a conventional concept, in restaurants, cookbooks, and even fast food dishes, that it's hard to believe it was a fairly recent discovery.
Just as we believed that we had only four types of taste, we've long held the view that there were just five senses. In fact, scientists have emphasized that we have at least a couple more. There's proprioception (sense of pain) and nociception (sense of space). And some researchers have identified a handful of other particular senses—sadly, none of which include seeing dead people.
The idea that crushing coal with enough power can produce a diamond is a compelling idea and makes for a nice metaphor about how hard work can create wonders. But sadly, it's not actually true.
While both diamonds and coal are forms of the element carbon, and pressure is key to creating both coal and diamonds, the two are not the same thing. They are two different forms of carbon. Coal originates as decaying plants and other life forms, which could not further be turned into diamonds. Diamonds are even found in meteorites from outer space, which coal is not. Oh, and speaking of diamonds: Here are the 20 Best Engagement Rings for Every Budget.
We once believed that blood flowed blue inside of us and when exposed to oxygen, through a cut or wound, then shifted to the color red. In fact, while veins may look blue on the skin's surface, that relates more to how the light hits your eye than the actual color of the blood itself, which ranges from bright to dark red, but is never blue.
While it might be true that we don't use every part of our brains simultaneously at all times, researchers using brain-imaging technology have found that most regions of the organ are active throughout the day. Robynne Boyd explains in Scientific American:
"Take the simple act of pouring coffee in the morning: In walking toward the coffeepot, reaching for it, pouring the brew into the mug, even leaving extra room for cream, the occipital and parietal lobes, motor sensory and sensory motor cortices, basal ganglia, cerebellum and frontal lobes all activate. A lightning storm of neuronal activity occurs almost across the entire brain in the time span of a few seconds." To make sure your brain is working at full capacity, here are the 7 Ways to Boost Your Brainpower After 40.
Being "double jointed"—which physicians officially call "hypermobility" or "joint laxity"—is actually something you are born with, not something you can learn. It used to be believed that this was something you could train your body to do through practice. In fact, while athletes and dancers may get more flexible over years of training, they will not truly be "hypermobile." So call your buddy from the 7th grade playground and tell him he's wrong! And for more amazing lessons, here are the 40 Ways Your Body Changes After 40.
We like to imagine that the U.S. rode in to Europe like the cavalry and almost single-handedly beat Hitler and won World War II. While that may make for some great movies, every reputable historian will tell you that the war was won thanks to contributions by the Russians, English, and plenty other nations, with the U.S. playing a crucial, but not the only role. In fact, Russia arguably played the more important role winning the war by holding down the Eastern Front—and lost far more soldiers than any other nation.
Every Thanksgiving, we hear about how we feel exhausted after the big meal because of the amino acid tryptophan contained in turkey. While the fowl gets the reputation for making you want to nap, this notion has been debunked by scientists who have noted that the bird contains no more tryptophan than many other meats, cheeses, and other foods. If you're tired, it's probably just because you ate too much.
We used to believe that our heads were the areas of our body where we lost most of our body heat. On a cold day, put on a hat and miraculously notice the difference. But in fact, scientists have found little evidence that your head releases more heat than average compared to other parts of your body exposed to the same cold conditions. It seems like more heat escapes through your head because that's usually the part that's not covered with clothing.
Researchers recently discovered that crickets actually do have hearing organs—on their knees. They are three parts that together capture sound vibrations and send these to the brains of the crickets, grasshoppers, or katydids.
Conventional wisdom is that "blind as a bat" isn't just an expression—that bats are in fact blind and use only sonar to guide their way and avoid obstacles. In fact, bats actually can see, at least in a limited way, and there are times when they are searching for food that the creatures don't use their natural sonar at all, solely their sight.
The advice has floated around for decades: If you are stung by a jellyfish, you can neutralize the pain by urinating on it. In fact, researchers have exposed this as totally bogus. Applying urine, or ammonia or alcohol, to a sting results in the opposite reaction, irritating the active cells and making the sting worse. Instead, they urge those stung by a nasty jelly to use household vinegar.
Whether from Looney Toons cartoons or teachers who should know better, we came to the common misconception that camels store water in their humps. In fact, the hump is just a mound of fat. That being said, these desert-roaming creatures are able to go without drinking water for a week or more, but because of their red blood cells and organs that retain water effectively, not because they're carrying a canteen.
Another popular image from the animal kingdom that's not actually real. When these giant birds get scared, they actually lay on the ground and stay still, getting their neck as flat to the ground as possible, which can look from a distance as if it's buried. But that being said, these creatures are not cowards—they've been known to come out hard against predators with their clawed foots when they or their eggs are threatened. And for more stories from the animal kingdom, here are 20 Animals That Are Tragically Near Extinction.
This wasn't even true in the 19 th century, when drinking "the green fairy" was all the rage in European nightclubs. It was banned in the 20 th century in the U.S. and many other countries out of fears that it could cause hallucinations and even death in its drinkers, but this was not based on actual research than a need for a convenient scapegoat from the temperance movement and French wine industry.
The idea that the "hair of the dog that bit you" can help you to overcome a hangover—drinking a Bloody Mary or Greyhound to get over that morning-after headache—may be a compelling idea, especially if you're a big-time boozer. But those who have looked into it recently have found little evidence that it works. The only thing that seems to really help a hangover is a healthy amount of water.
This author is well known for his drinking prowess and had for much of the last century been believed to drink like a fish while he wrote his work. But while the man loved to get soused, recent research into his life has found that he did not make a practice of tippling while he typed. One biographer notes that when asked if it was true that he took a pitcher of martinis to work each morning, he replied, "Jeezus! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You're thinking of Faulkner."
It's a simple story of science in action that we learn in elementary school: A young Isaac Newton relaxes under a tree when an idea hits him in the form of an apple falling from the tree: gravity! In fact, manuscripts in the London Royal Society's archives have found that the story is partly true—it just didn't involve the fruit hitting him on the head. His biographer during his life, William Stukeley, wrote:
"After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank tea, under the shade of some apple trees…he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself…"
Richard III is one of William Shakespeare's greatest villains, and physically memorable as having a hunchback "rudely stamp'd" and "deformed, unfinish'd," who cannot "strut before a wanton ambling nymph." But it was widely assumed that the Bard had taken liberties in describing the actual man—exaggerating his physical deformities for dramatic effect. But when the actual king's bones were uncovered in 2012, it was learned that he did have a substantial hunchback just as Shakespeare described.
Turns out that lighting can strike the same places dozens of times. Just to give one example, on June 30, 2014, during a huge lighting storm in Chicago, the Willis Tower was struck 10 times, Trump Tower took eight hits, and John Hancock Center had four strikes. In one year, the Willis Tower is estimated to be hit by lightning as many as 100 times.
All right, this one involves some semantics, but while Everest is the highest mountain in the world, Hawaii's Mauna Kea Volcano is technically the tallest—measuring 33,476 feet from its base to its top (Everest is only 29,035 feet). We don't hear as much about Mauna Kea, however, because most of it is underwater, with just 13,796 feet rising above sea level.
This is one of the biggest myths to be exploded in the past few years. While football is as American and beloved as apple pie, the mounting evidence and heartbreaking stories about the damage it can cause to players' brains has made it hard for even the NFL to pretend the jury is still out on the dangers this sport involves.
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