Something New Every Day: Random & Newly Found Facts

Yithian

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The two biggest social issues of the 1630s in England were forest clearance and fen drainage.

Communities in and around at least seven royal forests erupted in riots during the 1620s and 1630s over plans to convert them into farmland to raise income for the Crown.

Fen drainage, again under sponsorship of the Crown, was imposed despite huge opposition from locals who envisioned the loss their traditional livelihoods based on fishing and wild-fowling.

Fenmen known as the Fen Tigers went so far as to sabotage the drainage efforts.

Never knew.

In depth here:
https://books.google.co.kr/books?id...YsBHY68BywQ6AEwAHoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

Yithian

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Here's a good 'un.

Text copied from a Twitter 'thread' [Includes illustrations]:


A history lesson for people who think that history doesn't matter:​

What's the big deal about railroad tracks? The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used. So, why did 'they' use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same wheel spacing. Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, that's the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And what about the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)
Now, the twist to the story: When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but they had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, a major Space Shuttle design feature, of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system, was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important?
So, ancient horse's asses control almost everything and....
CURRENT Horse's Asses are controlling everything else.
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
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And what about the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels.
didn't we have a thread that involved the archaeology of wheel ruts fairly recently? A cross link might be in order!
 

maximus otter

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Here's a good 'un.



A history lesson for people who think that history doesn't matter:​

What's the big deal about railroad tracks? The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Those killjoys at Snopes take issue with this.​
maximus otter​
 

mikfez

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Assume the dark red Baltic States is down to huge male emigration (to work overseas). View attachment 20369
When I was an active lad in Lincolnshire there was a rumour that there were twice as many women than males in Nottingham - there never seemed to be when we took the effort to go there though.
 

oxo66

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Agreed.

how have the nordic countries reached the opposite?
The map is possibly misleading. 'Equal' has been coloured blue so it looks like a male majority. Also the geographic areas differ greatly in size, due to huge differences in population density across Europe, which can distort how a map 'looks'. I should really take a look at the data... Eurostat website is not so easy though...
 

EnolaGaia

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The map is possibly misleading. 'Equal' has been coloured blue so it looks like a male majority. ...
Indeed ... In the context of visualization design for portraying large data sets, it was a significant blunder to not use a distinct color (e.g., green) to code the presumptive baseline "equal +/- less than 1%" category.
 

EnolaGaia

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Lizard King

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Here's a good 'un.

Text copied from a Twitter 'thread' [Includes illustrations]:


A history lesson for people who think that history doesn't matter:​

What's the big deal about railroad tracks? The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used. So, why did 'they' use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same wheel spacing. Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, that's the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And what about the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)
Now, the twist to the story: When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but they had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, a major Space Shuttle design feature, of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system, was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important?
So, ancient horse's asses control almost everything and....
CURRENT Horse's Asses are controlling everything else.
I like that a lot!
 

EnolaGaia

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There seems to be a new unofficial record for elapsed time without blinking ...
Actor goes 1 hour, 17 minutes, 3 seconds without blinking

An actor in the Philippines set what is believed to be an unofficial world record when he kept his eyes open without blinking for 1 hour, 17 minutes and 3 seconds.

Paolo Ballesteros was competing against comedian Allan K as part of a segment on the Eat Bulaga! variety show that pits celebrities against each other in unusual challenges.

Allan K managed to make it about 34 minutes without blinking ...

Guinness World Records said it has no official record for not blinking, but website RecordSetter.com lists the world record as being 1 hour, 5 minutes and 11 seconds, set by Julio Jaime of Colorado in 2016.
SOURCE: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/1...-seconds-without-blinking/5801570550478/?sl=1
 

GNC

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And now his eyeballs have turned to leather.

Edit: @Timble beat me to it by one second!
 

OrsonSwells

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Yesterday I read that in 1911 during his stay in Manchester the philosopher Wittgenstein lived on Palatine Road, fairly near me. So I looked it up in some biographies and most stated he lived in Fallowfield - though actually the address is in West Didsbury. It's a small point, but I discovered all these books are actually wrong!
 
Last edited:

EnolaGaia

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Kids - Don't Lick Meteorites!

According to Philipp Heck, the Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum ...

... "We smell the organic volatile compounds that leave the meteorite," Heck explained. "Different meteorites have different volatile inventories, mainly because they were 'cooked' to different degrees for different amounts of time on their parent asteroids. That causes them to smell differently."

Another carbonaceous chondrite meteorite, perhaps the most well-studied in the world, is the Murchison meteorite, which is also in the Field Museum's collection. This space rock fell in 1969 and has "a tar-like smell," Heck said. "Aguas Zarcas smells sweeter to me."

But however tantalizing a space rock may smell, geologists never taste them (yes, geologists sometimes lick their subjects as a diagnostic test).

"Most geologists learn to lick their rocks. This is what I learned in basic geology class at the university. However, we refrain from licking meteorites," Heck said ...

"First, because we don't want to contaminate them. Second, because we don't want to expose them to liquid water, which degrades them, particularly the metal and water-soluble minerals and organics. And third, because some meteorites contain harmful materials when eaten," he explained.
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/mudball-meteorite-smells-like-brussels-sprouts.html
 

EnolaGaia

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Long before people argued over gateway drugs, there were midway drugs ...

At the 1892 / 1893 Columbian Exposition (aka the Chicago World's Fair) visitors were offered the opportunity to sample:

- Opium (China Pavilion)
- Hashish (Turkey Pavilion)

The Turkish Pavilion even offered hashish pipes and hookahs for purchase.

SOURCE: https://www.thecannachronicles.com/chicago-worlds-fair-1893/
 

JamesWhitehead

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- Opium (China Pavilion)
In a salesroom for a preview last month, I found a mysterious jumble of what looked like square plumbing bits. Such is my innocence, I needed to read the label to be told they were opium pipes. I had seen elegant, ornamental versions in museums or online but these were clearly rather utilitarian versions, with evidence of use. There were no loose contents but no doubt, traces could have been found . . .

An elegant opium pipe would have made a nicely-decadent talking-point.

"Belonged to Aunt Phyllis the flapper, so fascinatingly wasted! All the family jewels in hock to support her appetites for narcotics and boys! It's the reason I haven't a bean, old chap!" :gent:
 

James_H

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Long before people argued over gateway drugs, there were midway drugs ...

At the 1892 / 1893 Columbian Exposition (aka the Chicago World's Fair) visitors were offered the opportunity to sample:

- Opium (China Pavilion)
- Hashish (Turkey Pavilion)

The Turkish Pavilion even offered hashish pipes and hookahs for purchase.

SOURCE: https://www.thecannachronicles.com/chicago-worlds-fair-1893/
Fascinating! I read 'the devil in the White City' which didn't mention this juicy fact.
 

EnolaGaia

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Oh, great ... Now it's been learned deletrious fat can accumulate in the lungs, too ... :doh: :roll:
Fat Can Build Up in Your Lungs

Add this to the list of insidious places that fat can accumulate: your lungs.

A new study shows, for the first time, that fat can accumulate in the airway walls of the lungs, the authors wrote. The amount of fat accumulation was higher among people who were overweight or obese, compared with those of normal weight.
SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/fat-accumulates-in-lungs-airways.html
 
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