10 Facts That You Thought To Be True

… but really aren’t. And that’s perfectly fine. Over the course of time, humanity has been constantly evolving, and that refers to the knowledge we possess. Back in the B.C. times, people thought that rain was a sign that the sky was going to collapse on them. That obviously isn’t true, and funnily enough, neither are the things that are on this list. But given the constant change in our perception, maybe ten years from now someone will be writing an article proving that, in fact, they are true. But let’s not get into that. For now, here are 10 Facts That You Thought To Be True (but unfortunately aren’t).

1. Lightning Doesn’t Strike The Same Place Twice

Lightning Storm Unleashed

We’ve all heard this expression before, though I can bet that it had a much more metaphorical sense to it. Scientifically, however, there is absolutely no foundation that would prove the statement to be true. Nature doesn’t abide by any rules, especially a powerful force like the lightning. If it wants to strike the same place twice, it will do it and it’s done it before. Lightning hooks to the nearest electricity conductor, making tall buildings and constructions like the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower sure targets. And there are people out there who can vouch that they have definitely been struck more than once.

2. Bats Are Blind

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Bats Are Blind

This common misconception has spawned one of the most used retaliations: have you ever heard of the expression “blind as a bat?” Couldn’t be falser. Unless you’re insinuating that the certain someone the expression is aimed for needs some eyesight improvement, in which case you’ve hit the nail. Out of over 1200 total bat species, none of them are sightless. Truth be told, there are some that that don’t really see particularly well, but they have their infamous “echolocation” systems to guide them around through the power of high frequency sounds.

3. Red Is a Bull’s Greatest Enemy

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Red Enrages Bulls

Except, it’s not the color, it’s the flag. Like most other animals, bulls are what we call “color blind.” The crew of Myth Busters made it their quest to disprove this particularly intriguing myth, and they were successful in their attempts. It turns out that the bull helping with the experiment charged towards the waved flags, regardless of their colors. It’s safe to assume that the red flag is more of a symbol in bull fighting rather than a scientific means to an end.

4. America Was Discovered By Christopher Columbus

Facts That You Thought To Be True: America Is Columbus'

Then why is it named America? Because it’s named after another one of history’s greatest explorers: Amerigo Vespucci. And because Christopher Columbus never actually set foot on North American land. Most of his voyages circled around Caribbean islands and he definitely made plenty of important discoveries. However, America wasn’t just a deserted land prior to his so called discovery. The continent was inhabited by indigenous folk, and long before Columbus was even born, the first people to set foot on American land were the Vikings of the 11th century. Who’s pro changing America’s name to Vikingia? 

5. Sushi Is Raw Fish

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Sushi Is Raw Fish

For many people, sushi is a delicate type of dish. After all, how many people are readily willing to experience the taste of raw fish? If this is your case, then you don’t have to worry about sushi. That’s because what sushi really refers to is a type of dish served with vinegar rice. The Japanese meal that consists of raw fish is sashimi, something entirely different from sushi. Moreover, so many people still believe this to be true and, in turn, avoid consuming sushi, that new types have been intended, marketed solely for westerners so they won’t have to worry about eating raw fish again.

6. Coffee Is Made From Beans

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Coffee Is Made From Beans

This one is a definite shocker. But don’t worry, it’s not too far away from truth either. Coffee is actually made from the seeds of a type of fruit called “coffee cherries.” They’re red, strongly resembling grapes, and underneath a layer of bitter skin lays delicious, sweet flesh. As for the “beans” we’re all so fond of, in their natural form they’re a blue-green hue, gaining the well known brown shade after being roasted.

7. China’s Wall Is Visible From Space

The China Wall Is Visible From Space

The Great Wall of China is seemed as one of the greatest man made constructions in history, and this statement has been backed up by the claim that it can be allegedly sighted from outer space. Well, surprise, it’s not. It’d be a wonder if it were barely visible. In fact, astronauts would need vision 17,000 times better than your average human’s to be able to see it. That doesn’t mean that nothing else is visible from space. Several astronauts claimed that, upon looking at the shadowed side of Earth, they were able to clearly see city lights and distinguish cities from the outer, less populated areas. Some say that, with the aid of binoculars, they were able to see large buildings, roads, airports, dams and even large sea and air vehicles.

8. Mount Everest Is The World’s Tallest Mountain

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Everest Is World's Tallest

The delicate bit about this statement is the wording. While at 8,850 meters, Mount Everest definitely possesses the highest altitude on Earth, it’s not the tallest. When we talk about how tall a mountain is, we need to refer to the meters both below and under the sea level. On the other hand, altitude only refers to the distance above the sea level and the mountain’s summit. Going by this criteria, the tallest mountain in the world is actually in Hawaii, and it’s called Mauna Kea. While its altitude is half Mount Everest’s, given how 60% of the mountain is below sea level, it sums up a total of 10,100 meters from base to summit, making it the true tallest mountain in the world.

9. Fortune Cookies Are Chinese

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Fortune Cookies Are Chinese

Odd, isn’t it? Apparently, they’re an American invention, although how they came to be created is up to debate. Some say it was a Cantonese immigrant from 1918 who took pity on the poor and started spreading around cookies with inspirational, Biblical based messages in them. Others say that it was a Japanese man who wanted to thank his new employer at San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden for taking care of him, by slipping a small note of gratitude in his cookie. Whichever will prove to be the real story, we can be sure of one thing: fortune cookies were never a Chinese thing.

10. People Thought The Earth Was Flat

Facts That You Thought To Be True: Flat Earth

Some believe that before Christopher Columbus made the legendary discovery of American land (which he didn’t, as we’ve just established), people thought that the Earth was flat. Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, Columbus wasn’t the first man to set sail and explore the world beyond European borders. Many before him have traveled the seas and oceans, and have concluded that the Earth was indeed round. More than that, this claim was made even longer prior to the 15th century: Greek philosopher Pythagoras suggested Earth’s roundness back in the 6th century B.C. It’s true, however, that there was a point in time between the 18th and the 20th centuries when this claim was up to debate, but it was mainly kept between religious and secular groups.

How did this list affect your views on the world? Changes in perspective and even universally accepted realities have been a common recurrence in the course of humanity’s existence. They happened before and they definitely still will. This is why all of these were  10 Facts That You Thought To Be True.

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10 Rare Historical Photos That You Might Not Have Seen

Some of these rare historical photos are bone-chilling, while others are glimmering with joy. The world is a terrifying, yet pleasant place. People have been killing themselves since man realized that he can use his fists to get what he wants. But at the same time, laughter and joy has fueled us, and brought humanity closer together. Technical advancements have made it possible for you to read my words, even though you are probably thousands of miles away, and civil rights movements marked our progress towards a better world for all.

When we, as humans, started taking photos, we learned that we not only can capture memories with a camera, we also capture the era’s soul and heart.

1. Buchenwald concentration camp guards

Rare historical photos of the Buchenwald concentration camp guards

After the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated in 1945, the prisoners got their just revenge on some of the guards who tormented them day-in, and day-out.

Built in 1937 near Weimar, Germany, the Nazis plastered the entrance of the camp with a slogan meant to provoke existential anguish for whoever was not part of the Reich, and Hitler’s perfect aryan race. Written on the main entrance gate, Jedem das Seine means to each his own, literally, and figuratively everyone gets what he deserves.

It seems to me that these concentration camp guards didn’t get enough of what they deserved.

2. Audrey Hepburn and her deer

Rare historical photos of Audrey Hepburn with her deer

On a more lighter note, here we have Audrey Hepburn shopping for groceries along with her pet deer. The picture was taken in Beverly Hills, 1958, meaning that she was 29-years-old, and right at the beginning of her booming acting career.

Does anyone know what happened to her deer?

3. Kurt Cobain and his daughter, Frances

Rare historical photos of Kurt Cobain holding his daughter

The grunge icon, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain is known to have said that the best drug in the world is holding his daughter, Frances. Too bad that this wasn’t enough to trump his other addictions.

4. Muhammad Ali and The Beatles

Rare historical photos of Muhammad Ali and The Beatles

I’m not quite sure who was the bigger fan here.

Muhammad Ali is undoubtedly a big The Beatles fan, and I’m sure that he’s still listening to the occasional Abbey Road album, even at his respectful age of 74. But The Greatest and The Beatles didn’t really have a great start.

You see, the four legendary musicians were kind of annoyed waiting for Ali, who was running late for the photo-shoot. Yet, when the door burst open, and everyone met Ali’s charming laugh John, Paul, Ringo and George, all immediately fell in love with him and started giggling, forgetting about having to wait for the boxer to arrive.

The emblematic picture was taken in 1964.

5. Every soldier counts

Rare historical photos of warfare dogs

…even those who make barking sounds.

Dogs have been in warfare since ancient times. The United States even has a US War Dog Association that commemorates and respects our most beloved pets.

The picture above was taken in World War II, in Normandy of 1944.

6. The freedom of women is not a crime

Rare historical photos of the suffragist movement

The suffragist movement changed the highly-bigoted world that we used to live in. Can you image a time where women were seen inferior to men? Well, you surely can, because women are still discriminated today – not as much, thanks to the suffragist and feminist movement, but still, it’s an issue.

7. Tsar Nicholas II and his daughter, Anastasia

Rare historical photos of Tsar Nicholas II and his daughter Anastasia

Grand Duchess Anastasia, that is.

Her father, Tsar Nicholas II, is seen allowing his daughter to smoke. Some of you may see this as bad parenting, while others note that lung cancer clearly wasn’t the issue for Anastasia as her time on Earth was cut short due to, you know, the whole Romanov family being killed by the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin.

8. A young Queen Elizabeth II

Rare historical photos of Queen Elizabeth II

The picture was taken when she was 18-years-old, that puts the photo-shoot in 1944. Queen Elizabeth II is from House Windsor, a highly-reputable English House that has been ruling over England, and its Commonwealth regions, since 1952.

9. Titanic survivors

Rare historical photos of the Titanic survivors rescued by the Carpathia

The Titanic sank on April the 15th, 1912, halfway through its voyage. Over 1,500 people died that early morning when the ship hit an iceberg. The lucky few who managed to save themselves, were rescued, as seen in the picture above, by the Carpathia.

10. Anti Nazi demonstration in Berlin

Rare historical photos of an anti-nazi demonstration

It took place in 1932, when the Nazi party was beginning to gather more and more followers, with each passing day. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who lived in Nazi Germany during WW II was evil. Not everyone agreed with concentration camps and killing minorities, and performing incredibly cruel acts, horrid tortures that stained our history.

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5 People Accused of Stealing the Work of Others

Sometimes, people receive inspiration for their work from various sources. Other times, people accused of stealing the work of others are completely innocent and they end up fighting in cases because of malicious persons who seek personal gain. Whatever the reason, authors, politicians, activists, producers and so on have been the subject of plagiarism. No profession has been spared, and the advanced technology of today makes it easier to identify real thieves from blameless people. Take a look at some of the most famous cases that took place in recent times.

1. J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien was accused of plagiarism in the past.

This might seem surprising to some of you, but the author of the popular fantasy series was accused of plagiarism. J.R.R. Tolkien is among the famous people accused of stealing the work of others because the trilogy borrowed elements from the Ring of the Nibelung opera by Richard Wagner. Even though Tolkien denied basing his work on the famous opera, it is well known that he studied thoroughly the composer’s work before he started writing his own trilogy. In this case, we might say that the author found his inspiration in Wagner’s work.

2. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is among the people accused of stealing the work of others.

Our next entry is truly one of the most unexpected people accused of stealing the work of others. King is well known for his activism and influence on the movement regarding Civil Rights in America. One of the most influential people in history, King seems to have copied certain parts of his dissertation from other sources. The fact was discovered when his widow donated the document to King Paper’s Project, when some scholars verified the work and reached this conclusion. Fortunately, this discovery did not have a great negative impact on King’s image.

3. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling did not escape controversies.

We have become used to hearing accusations of plagiarism every time a successful book is released. The Harry Potter series was not spared from this controversy. Back in 2010, J.K. Rowling was accused that she stole ideas from The Adventures of Willy the Wizard, a book by Adrian Jacobs that was published in 1987. The representative of the estate of the late author claimed that Rowling’s fourth volume in the series included similar plots to Jacobs’ book. Fortunately, Rowling managed to win the case. However, Adrian Jacobs’ estate attempted to sue the author in many different countries, but did not achieve success.

4. Barack Obama

Barack Obama copied a part of one of his speeches.

After writers and activists, it is time to turn our attention to politicians. President Barrack Obama was first accused during the presidential campaign in 2008. Hillary Clinton, his main rival at the time, claimed that Obama plagiarized some parts of the speech he held in Wisconsin. Obama admitted that he should have credited Governor Deval Patrick, but also that the two were good friends who shared ideas for that particular speech. Governor Patrick defended Obama and thus his campaign was not affected by the malicious accusation. In the end, he became president of the United States, but also vowed to be more careful in the future.

5. Dan Brown

The top people accused of stealing the work of others include Dan Brown.

Lastly, we return to another writer among the people accused of stealing the work of others. Dan Brown probably expected to create controversies with his book The Da Vinci Code. However, a whole case was brought against the author twice. Firstly, writers Richard Lee and Michael Baigent claimed he stole themes from The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail book. Secondly, Brown was accused by Lewis Perdue of plagiarizing his book Daughter of God which was published in 2000. Dan Brown won the first case and was spared from the second, because the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Perdue. However, he never retracted the accusations.

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Top 5 Best Fantasy Book Series

Since the beginning of time, we have been fascinated with stories. They give a certain tone of mystery to our daily lives, and they are a way to free our minds and escape reality. Fantasy books are still standing strong today, after the huge success of well established series. However, no matter the times during which they were written, the best fantasy book series are still read today by millions of fans. Some of them have even been turned into successful movies, although we all know that a motion picture can only be just the tip of the iceberg that is the book.

1. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings trilogy stands as the parent of modern fantasy.

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Years: 1954 – 1955

Considered by many the founder of modern fantasy, The Lord of the Rings is a pinnacle of its genre. One of the best fantasy book series, the work of J.R.R. Tolkien is more than simple fantasy since it combines both fictional history and myth. While trying to escape the grimness of the First World War, the author managed to create an entire imaginary world, complete with geography and history. Additionally, the trilogy has been wonderfully represented on the big screen and the movies managed to claim quite a few Oscars.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia series is among the best fantasy book series.

Author: C.S. Lewis

Years: 1950 – 1956

The next best fantasy book series on our list are The Chronicles of Narnia, written by a close friend of Tolkien. The seven volumes that complete the story take the readers from the beginning of a brilliant world, through the adventures of some brave children and until the thrilling end. Even though the realm is not as extensive as Middle-Earth, it is still a piece of high quality fantasy complete with talking animals and mythical creatures. All readers must have wondered what would happen if they tried to enter another world through a wardrobe.

3. A Song of Ice and Fire

George R.R. Martin's series is one of the best fantasy book series.

Author: George R.R. Martin

Years: 1996 – Present

One of the most popular tales of our times, partially grace to the enormous success of the HBO TV series is A Song of Ice and Fire, otherwise known as Game of Thrones. The feuds between the great houses of Westeros have fascinated both readers and viewers. Martin proved his incredible skill of writing from different perspectives of characters, whether they are queens, peasants or little girls. His unique style of writing also includes presenting events that happen in parallel in several different places on two continents.

4. The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files combine various story genres.

Author: Jim Butcher

Years: 2000 – Present

The Dresden Files is another of best fantasy book series, mostly because it perfectly combines different genres: fantasy, comedy, mystery, horror, they are all there in between the pages. Including many references to other beloved franchises, Butcher tells the story of Harry Dresden, a wizard detective living in Chicago. By working on supernatural cases, he gets to meet all sorts of magical creatures and enter other fantasy realms. Thus, the author manages to merge a modern world with a fantasy one, a feat that is not featured in many works.

5. The Realm of the Elderlings

The top best fantasy book series include the novels by Robin Hobb.

Author: Robin Hobb

Years: 1995 – Present

The Elderlings series already spans over 13 books and it is not over yet. Robin Hobb combines elements from The Lord of the Rings with the magic of The Wizard of Earthsea, and the result is simply wonderful. The story follows a royal bastard named Fitz who is adopted into the royal family and must adapt to a new life. Furthermore, as he grows up he has to face the perils that threaten the kingdom and embark upon a special mission. The series is split into several trilogies and the next volume is expected to be released next year.

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Top 5 U.S. Presidents With the Shortest Terms

The history of the United States includes 44 presidents starting with George Washington in 1789 until today with the current leader, Barrack Obama. However, not all of them are particularly remembered today, and that is mostly because some of them did not occupy the function for a very long time. While some of them did achieve important feats in office, others were cut short either by certain circumstances or by death. The U.S. presidents with the shortest terms have had quite some interesting life stories. If you think John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, John F. Kennedy or Millard Fillmore had very short presences in the political history of the United States, take a look at the following unfortunate presidents.

5. Gerald Ford (August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977)

Gerald Ford is the only man on this list that did not die during his term.

Gerald Ford occupies the fifth place on our top U.S. presidents with the shortest terms list. Ford became the president of the United States right after Nixon, in 1974. During his career he had to deal with the withdrawal from the Vietnam war, as well as the poorest economy state since the Depression. Not the mention Nixon’s pardon for Watergate. Ford’s term lasted for two years, five months and twelve days and it came to an end when he lost the elections to Jimmy Carter. He is the only one on the list who did not die during his term.

4. Warren G. Harding (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923)

The top U.S. presidents with the shortest terms includes Warren G. Harding.

Despite having introduced progressive policies such as the eight hour working time for railroad workers and miners, supporting the suffrage and condemning the lynchings, Harding was president for only two years, four months and thirty days. Unfortunately, he gave positions in the government to his friends, who in turn abused the power they received and gained immense amounts of money. Harding was planning to run for a second term. However, while he was on a tour through Canada, his health greatly deteriorated. He died later on unexpectedly in San Francisco.

3. Zachary Taylor (March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850)

Zachary Taylor is among the U.S. presidents with the shortest terms.

Zachary Taylor had previously been deemed a national hero after his forty year military career, before he became one of the U.S. presidents with the shortest terms. Many believed he was planning to veto the Compromise Bill introduced by his predecessor. However, he never managed to put his plan into action because he died of cholera after only one year, four months and five days in service. The doctors could not save him, and this has led many to believe that Taylor might have been assassinated by the ones who supported slavery.

2. James A. Garfield (March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881)

James A. Garfield was assassinated by a preacher.

James A. Garfield spent only six months and fifteen days in the office. The president was shot twice by a mad preacher named Charles Julius Guiteau. His motive seemed to be that Garfield repeatedly refused to give him a job. The gunshots did not kill Garfield right away. One of the bullets was lodged inside his body, and the doctor could not find it. By searching the wound with unsterilized hands, he provoked a terrible infection that ultimately killed the president.

1. William Henry Harrison (March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841)

William Henry Harrison must be the most unlucky U.S. president.

William Henry Harrison concludes our top of U.S. presidents with the shortest terms. The ninth president of the United States contracted pneumonia shortly after beginning his term. The reason for this seems to be the fact that he held the inaugural speech that lasted for quite some time in the rain. He also did not wear a coat. His death led to a crisis which in turn created the 25th Amendment. Furthermore, the Tippecanoe legend rose after he passed away, and it referred to the fact that every president who was elected in a year that is divisible by twenty died in office.

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