Feed Your Brain With These Fascinating Facts

January 11, 2018 | 1 Comment » | Topics: Facts

After Col. Shaw died in battle, Confederates buried him in a mass grave as an insult for leading black soldiers. Union troops tried to recover his body, but his father sent a letter saying “We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers.” 

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw was the commanding officer of the 54th Massachusetts, the first all-black regiment in US history. On July 18, 1863, the regiment was ordered to spearhead an assault on Fort Wagner. Shaw was killed during the initial charge as he led his men into battle.

While the assault was initially successful, Union forces were eventually pushed back and Confederate troops held on to the fort. Common practice at the time was for fallen officers to be given an honorable burial, regardless of the side they were on. However, as Shaw led the first all-black regiment, commanding Confederate General Johnson Hagood did not deem him worthy of that honor, stating

Had he been in command of white troops, I should have given him an honorable burial; as it is, I shall bury him in the common trench with the niggers that fell with him.

Union troops tried to recover his body and give him a proper burial, but were unsuccessful. Hearing of this, Shaw’s father sent a letter to the regimental surgeon, stating:

We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers….We can imagine no holier place than that in which he lies, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company. – what a body-guard he has!

And so, the act considered by General Hagood to be an insult, came to be seen as the greatest honor that could have been bestowed upon him.


Organ donation is on an opt-out basis in Singapore. Citizens who opt-out have a lower priority of receiving an organ should they need one

In the US, if you are a living kidney donor (i.e. when you freely donate a kidney while still alive), you are automatically reserved a spot at the top of the transplant list (for kidneys only)

The average wait time for a kidney transplant is 1600 days, it’s about 150 days for a living donor.


In the 1880s, many farmers communicated by connecting their phones to barbed wire fences. This process often allowed for up to 20 people to be connected at once, everyone’s phone would ring regardless of who called, and the invention helped many farmers overcome depression and loneliness. (article)

A young woman homesteading in the area in 1899, remembered how the line kept loneliness at bay and brought neighbors closer together. “The theory was that we would answer only when our own ring sounded, but whenever the bell rang, every woman on the line rushed to a receiver,”

Homesteaders often suffered from what today might be thought of as crippling clinical depression, brought on by days, if not weeks, of solitude, isolation, and physical labor. Marble herself lived alone on a property of 160 acres. “News and gossip were common property, like the sunlight, and we never had any privacies when we went to the telephone.” … Every now and then, someone cut into a conversation, while multiple listeners reduced what any one of them would be able to hear.“Get off the line!” was a familiar refrain.



Flow is the mental state in which a person is completely absorbed in an activity, resulting in a loss of their sense of space and time

Csíkszentmihály’s model  is a really great visual representation of what Flow is: the mental state (focused, happy) of doing something that requires a high level of skill to tackle something with a high level of challenge.

Relevant Reading: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience



Teddy Roosevelt’s Son Died Flying for the US During WWI. When His Body Was Discovered Behind Enemy Lines, the Germans Gave Him A Full Military Burial With Honors. (article)

After Quentin’s death, the once boisterous former president was more subdued, and his physical health declined rapidly. In his final days, Roosevelt often went down to the family’s stables to be near the horses that Quentin as a child had so loved to ride. Lost in sorrow, Roosevelt would stand there alone, quietly repeating the pet name he’d given his son when he was a boy, “Oh Quenty-quee, oh Quenty-quee…”


The Oakland Buddha, placed by a resident on a street corner to prevent illegal dumping, the statue has now become a shrine for the local Vietnamese population who leave offerings and have even built a shelter for the Buddah. Crime in the area dropped 82% (article)


In 2007 workers in Antarctica discovered several perfectly preserved crates of Scotch Whiskey left behind by Ernest Shackleton in 1909. (article)

Once the ice, speckled with lumps of scoria, was gone, conservators recovered 11 bottles of whisky, carefully wrapped in tissue paper and protective straw. Meek describes them as being in “fantastic condition.”…

The initial plan was for a small sample of liquid to be removed to find out more about historic whisky making, but when the current owner of Whyte & Mackay, the parent company of Mackinlay’s, got involved, the project took a grander turn. Three bottles of whisky were transported to Whyte & Mackay in Scotland for analysis by the distillery’s chemists…

In Scotland, chemists at Whyte & Mackay’s Invergordon distillery, with input from analysts at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute in Edinburgh, subjected the whisky to a battery of tests. Under sterile conditions, a sampling needle was passed through the cork of each bottle to remove a 100ml sample…

After the mass spectrometers and gas and liquid chromotographs had done their work – including radiocarbon-dating the whisky and measuring levels of ethyl esters, phenols, cations, anions, sugars and metals – it was up to a panel of 15 expert “noses” from the Scotch Whisky Research Institute to profile the whisky’s flavour…

The first thing the analysts noted, in a paper recently published in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing, was how well the whisky was preserved. Whisky ages in the cask, not in the bottle, and temperatures at Cape Royds had preserved the whisky in its 1907 state. Analysis revealed a well-preserved malt whisky of 47.3% alcohol by volume – high enough to stop the alcohol freezing – made with water from Loch Ness and using peat from the Orkney Isles…


As a child, Michael Jackson’s father would torment him about his appearance, calling him ‘fat-nose’. Michael went on to have four rhinoplasties and fussed over how his body and face looked for the rest of his life


In 2005, Facebook hired graffiti artist David Choe to paint murals in their new office space. Choe accepted Facebook shares instead of a cash payment, and when Facebook went public in 2012, his shares were valued at $200 million

Great interview David Choe did with Howard Stern


Genie Wiley was a girl who was raised in a dark isolated room with no indication of an outside world for the first 13 years of her life, her father was incredibly abusive, and when authorities rescued her she couldn’t speak at all and only made infantile noises.

Genie is a ward of the state of California, and is living in an undisclosed location in Los Angeles. In May 2008, ABC News reported that someone who spoke to them under condition of anonymity had hired a private investigator who located Genie in 2000. According to the investigator she was living a simple lifestyle in a small private facility for mentally underdeveloped adults and appeared to be happy, and she only spoke a few words but could still communicate fairly well in sign language.


Before the filming of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón had Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson write essays about their characters. Watson turned in a 16 page essay, Radcliffe gave a single page, and Grint forgot to turn his in


John Travolta has a rank of Khakhan within Scientology which means he could kill someone and get away with it as the Church would cover it up as part of Ethics protection (article)

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  • H.H. Augustine

    #1 was chronicled in the 1989 film “Glory”, with Matthew Broderick in the role, including Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman, among others. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097441/