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The Quick 10: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Colin Powell

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Mangesh very astutely pointed out the other day that Colin Powell is a guy you hear about a lot politically, but it seems like most of us don't know much about him personally. Turns out he's pretty fascinating, and he has a great sense of humor. If you've got a little time to kill, check out this interview with Larry King. It takes a while to get to the funny stuff, but near the bottom he swears that he TiVos Larry King every night and calls Larry a Luddite (Larry: "What's a Luddite?") in the same breath. He also talks about how he made Pottery Barn angry.

powell1. In the late "˜50s, Powell was posted in Gelnhausen, Germany. They now have a street named after him: "General-Colin-Powell-Straße".

2. If you have ever noticed a red wagon pin on his lapel, it's not just a whimsical style choice "“ it's the logo of his organization, America's Promise. It's a charitable organization with the goal of helping children in the U.S. succeed in various fields.

3. When Powell was in Vietnam, he fell victim to a punji stick booby trap. He was leading his unit when his right leg fell into a shallow hole; his foot was pierced by the stick. The simple trap is a stick whittled razor-sharp, then smeared with animal feces (the intent was to cause infection and fever). The stick was so sharp it went right through his boot and into the bottom of his foot, which had swelled up by the time he got back to camp. It was infected, but he was treated and the wound healed effectively.

4. He served in Germany at the same time as Elvis and met him twice.

He said, "When I met him, he was out in the field just as dirty and tired as the rest of us from doing his job. We were in this wooded area north of Frankfurt and I was driving along in my Jeep and somebody noted that, there he was. When I got out of my Jeep and walked over to him he saluted and what very proper and what struck me was that he looked just like another GI. He was shorter than I expected."

5. As a member of the ROTC, Powell joined the Pershing Rifles, a fraternity and drill team famous for their precision routines. Even after he achieved great success in the military, he kept a pen set that he had won in a competition on his desk.

6. Speaking of the ROTC, very few generals have come from there (as opposed to a military academy). Powell was also the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ever come out of the ROTC.

7. When he was in his teens, Powell got a job at a baby furniture store. They had just gotten in a bunch of cribs and grabbed the first kid on the street to see if he would help out for a little extra cash. It was Colin Powell, and he did such a great job that they hired him for 75 cents an hour. While there, he picked up some Yiddish used by the shopowners and drops it into his speeches from time to time.

8. His parents were immigrants from Jamaica "“ they settled in Harlem in 1937 and later moved to the South Bronx.

9. He loves TiVo.

10. His bachelor's degree from City College of New York was in geology. And he wasn't a great student "“ he gave a commencement address at Marymount University in 2006 and admitted that he had a "C" average.

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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