18 Things You Didn't Learn in History Class

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You probably didn't find these facts in your history textbooks.

1. Julia Child concocted her first “recipe” while working as a spy during WWII. It was a shark repellent.

2. Pythagoras did not believe in irrational numbers or decimals. He also had an irrational fear of beans.

3. In 1912, a Paris orphanage held a raffle to raise money—the prizes were live babies.

4. Lord Byron kept a pet bear in his college dorm room.

5. Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard during high school and saved 77 people’s lives.

6. Jimmy Carter suffered radioactive urine for six months after stopping a nuclear meltdown in 1952 while working with the U.S. atomic submarine program. He also worked as a peanut farmer. (But you knew that.)

7. The modern necktie was not invented for any white-collar desk job. It was first worn by Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century.

8. Corn Flakes were invented as part of John Kellogg’s anti-masturbation crusade.

9. Hours before being assassinated on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. took part in a motel pillow fight.

10. The circular saw was invented by Tabitha Babbit in 1812.

11. Napoleon was once attacked by rabbits.

12. Queen Elizabeth I banned potatoes from her court.

13. In 1577, she added a “unicorn” horn to England’s Crown Jewels.

14. Princeton researchers successfully turned a live cat into a functioning telephone in 1929.

15. Pac-Man is, in fact, modeled after a pizza pie with one slice removed.

16. Kim Jong Il wrote six operas.

17. Saint Nicholas didn’t live near the North Pole. He lived in Demre, Turkey (where no one celebrates Christmas).

18. British spies briefly used semen as invisible ink during World War One. Their motto? “Every man his own stylo.”


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March 25, 2014 - 2:00pm
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