André the Giant has successfully held the record for the most Beer consumed in a single sitting for the last 40 years. During a six-hour period back in 1976, André drank 119 standard 12 ounce brews in a pub in Pennsylvania (article)
The big man loved two things: wrestling and booze—mostly booze—and his appetites were of mythic proportion.
First, consider the number 7,000. It’s an important number, and a rather scary one considering its context, which is this—it has been estimated that Andre the Giant drank 7,000 calories worth of booze every day. The figure doesn’t include food. Just booze.
Cotard Delusion is a rare mental illness that makes a person believe that he is already dead and has lost all his blood and internal organs.
People affected with this delusion tend to deny their existence, feel that they are already dead, or believe that their body is void of certain body parts. The real world doesn’t make any sense to them. They do not look out after their health or hygiene and do not feel the need to eat food. Such a disorder is usually seen in people affected with schizophrenia, mental illness, neurological illness, brain damage, depression, or a severe case of migraine headaches. This disorder is named after neurologist Jules Cotard, who has thoroughly studied this delusion. (source)
In classical Athens each year, the citizens could vote to banish any person who was growing too powerful and becoming a threat to democracy. The process was called “ostracism.”
The process of ostracism was used in the fifth century BCE, during the period of Athenian democracy which was active between 506 to 322 BCE. Every sixth month of their year (January or February according to our modern calendar), the Athenians were asked to assemble to vote if they want to ostracize anyone. If they voted “yes,” then the process would be held two months later when the Athenians would scratch the names of those they wish to ostracize on a pottery shard.
These shards, which are called “ostraka” from which the word ostracism was derived, are deposited in an urn and then counted. Any person who received at least 6,000 votes would have ten days to leave the city, and the penalty for returning was death. Ostracism lasts for ten years during which time neither their property nor their status is lost. After that, they could reenter the society without any stigma. (source)
There is a semi-secret, underground city in Las Vegas filled with around a thousand inhabitants.
The 200-mile flood tunnels under the city of Las Vegas are full of makeshift homes furnished with beds, wardrobes, and even bookshelves. The underground is home to the homeless, poor, low-wage workers, beggars, and even addicts. There are also many war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of these people survive by “credit hustling” in the casinos by looking for chips that were accidentally left and salvage stuff dumped by other people. Over the years, the underground has grown into a community created by the destitute.
Three men known as the Chernobyl “Suicide Squad” volunteered for a suicide mission days after the Chernobyl disaster. They waded through water underneath a leaking reactor to release the safety valves and prevent a chain reaction of nuclear explosions. They saved 50% of Europe from being wiped out.
Three plant workers, known as the Chernobyl “Suicide Squad,” volunteered to go beneath the reactors to release the valves. The molten reactor core was coming ever closer to the water source. The connection of the two would cause a chain reaction of reactor explosions destroying the entire power station, including the three other reactors. Suited up in minimal protection from radiation, the men waded through knee-high water and intense heat to open the valves. They saved 50% of Europe from being wiped out and from being rendered uninhabitable for 500,000 years. (source)
After the Siege of Leningrad was broken, the Soviets wanted to prosecute those who had resorted to cannibalism. However, so many were accused (over two thousand) that the NKVD had to divide them into two groups; ‘corpse-eating’ and ‘person-eating’. The former were jailed, that later were shot
Thirteen cases which range from a mother smothering her eighteen-month-old to feed her three older children to a plumber killing his wife to feed his sons and nieces
North Korea once kidnapped a famous South Korean film director to create Fantasy films for the North Korean Government. Kim Jong-Il was a lifelong admirer of Godzilla and together, they made a North Korean version of it called “Pulgasari”.
In 1978, Shin Sang-ok and his wife, Choi Eun-hee were abducted. After three years in prison, the couple were instructed to create fantasy films for the North Korean government to gain global recognition. Kim Jong-Il was a big fan of films. In fact, before becoming a dictator, he was a director. He made several movies with the common theme of glorifying Kim Il-Sung and pride for the nation. By the early, 1970s he was frustrated with his films and they seemed lifeless to him. Thus, he wanted fresh creators to help him with his film ideas. In search for a better vision, he kidnapped Shin and Choi. They made dozens of films for Kim Jong-Il and one of them was “Pulgasari”. This movie was about a farmer’s uprising in Korea and a little girl’s sacrifice to help the farmers. The movie was heavily influenced by Godzilla. Fortunately, Kim loved the movie as he saw it as an an outright critique of capitalism. However, the couple escaped to the West eight years later from Vienna.
Jack Nicholson grew up thinking his grandmother was his mother and his mother was his sister. He was an illegitimate child, and his mother was 18 years old when she gave birth.
Nicholson’s mother, Jane Frances Nicholson, was a showgirl who married an Italian-American man before knowing he was already married. It is believed that her agent may have been Nicholson’s father, though that is not sure. As she was unmarried and uncertain of the father’s identity, her parents brought Nicholson up as their own son and claimed his mother and her sister were his two elder sisters. He didn’t find out the truth until he was 37 when in 1974 researchers from Time magazine uncovered the truth and informed him about it. By that time, both his mother and grandmother had died. He later said that hearing the news was: “a pretty dramatic event, but it wasn’t what I’d call traumatizing…I was pretty well psychologically formed.”(source)
The Chinese were the first to invent paper money in the 7th century
Paper currency began to develop during the Tang Dynasty because the merchants and wholesalers preferred paper so they could avoid having to carry copper coinage during large commercial transactions. By 960 CE, the Song Dynasty. being short of copper, started issuing and generally circulating notes in lieu of actual copper with a promise to redeem them later. The central government soon saw the economy of using paper money, and by the early 12th century, 26 million strings of the cash-coins worth of banknotes were printed annually.
By the 13th century, the idea of paper money was brought from China to Europe by travelers such as Marco Polo and William of Rubruck. The European banks soon warmed up to the concept and started issuing individually written banknotes with the name of the payee and cashier’s signature. In 1695, the Bank of England became the first bank to start a permanent issue of banknotes to raise money for the war against France.
After the wars waged by Louis XIV left France in a dearth of precious metals, banknotes were established as a formal currency. By the mid-19th century, the Bank of England gradually moved to standardized notes with fixed denominations that would pay any bearer the mentioned amount
In 1923, Germany’s hyperinflation was so bad that the exchange rate rose from 9 marks to 4.2 trillion marks for $1. The cost of a single loaf of bread rose to 2 trillion marks, and people used to burn money to stay warm because it was cheaper than buying wood.
During the First World War, German Emperor Wilhelm II and the German parliament funded their war completely with borrowed money, unlike the French Third Republic which imposed its first income tax. Germany hoped to pay all the money back in addition to imposing reparations on the defeated Allies by winning the war, which, however, did not happen. This caused the exchange rate of mark against U.S. dollar to rise from 4.2 to 7.9 marks, and the rate kept rising.
In the first half of 1921, their currency was relatively stable at 90 marks per dollar and Germany came out of the war with their industrial infrastructure intact. However, as the winning countries started demanding reparations, things got worse. Germany had to pay 50 billion gold marks, and as reparations must be paid in hard currency rather than with paper marks which were rapidly depreciating, they mass-printed banknotes to buy foreign currency for the payment which again drove inflation through the roof.
By November 1923, the exchange rate was 4,210,500,000,000 German marks per U.S. dollar, and the value of one gold mark was equal to one trillion paper marks. The cost of a loaf of bread was two trillion marks, and people would collect their wages in suitcases and wagons. In the case of theft, thieves left the money and took the suitcases. Some people even used them as wallpaper. The inflation rose so fast that a boy was sent by his family to get two loaves of bread. He stopped to play football and by the time he got to the shop he could only afford one.
Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart, was a musical genius just like her brother and sometimes received top billing over her brother when they toured as children. But once she became a marriageable age, her parents forced her to stop performing and settle down.
Maria Anna Mozart, the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was a talented musician just like him. When Mozart was a toddler, Maria Anna (four and one-half years older) was his idol. Her father Leopold Mozart started teaching her to play the harpsichord when she was seven years old. According to Maynard Solomon, “At three, Mozart was inspired to study music by observing his father’s instruction of Marianne; he wanted to be like her.”
To showcase Maria’s and her brother’s talent, their father took them on tours of many cities such as Vienna and Paris. She was noted as an excellent harpsichord player and fortepianist. In the early days, she sometimes received top billing. But from the age of 18, her parents forbid her from touring and showcasing her artistic talent. This was because according to societal expectations at that time, a girl of marriageable age should settle down. (source)
Prince Harry took a HIV test live on July 14, 2016 to show how easy it is. It was hailed as a “groundbreaking moment in the fight against HIV.” HIV awareness group THT has reported a 5 fold increase in the number of orders of HIV self-tests since the prince’s broadcast.
During the final months of World War II, Japan planned to use plague as a biological weapon against U.S. civilians in San Diego, California, hoping that the plague would spread as much terror to the American population. Japans surrender came only 5 weeks before the plan was to be executed
The chemical warfare research unit that was behind this has a ghastly history of human experimentation, including vivisection and amputations on up to 250,000 “research subjects.” For example:
Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss. Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners’ limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen, then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.
Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines. Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc., were removed from some prisoners