Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was a dirt poor Scottish kid who immigrated to the U.S. where he became the richest man in the world. He gave away $350 million, nearly 90 percent of the fortune he accumulated through the railroad and steel industries.โ€ฆ
Milhouse from the Simpsons was named after U.S president Richard Milhous Nixon. The name was the most "unfortunate name Matt Groening could think of for a child". Later in the series, it was also revealed that Milhouse's middle name was Mussoliniโ€ฆ
During the Prohibition era, the U.S. Government allowed Whiskey to be sold through pharmacies. As a result, Walgreens grew from 20 retail stores to almost 400.โ€ฆ
There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas Trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.โ€ฆ
In the 1920s, one reason corsets went out of style was because they were made of lots of metal which was needed for tools during WWI. The U.S War Industries Board even asked women to stop buying them which helped them save enough metal to build two battleships.โ€ฆ
The U.S. Navy employed a dolphin, Tuffy, to regularly deliver tools and mail to scientists living in an experimental underwater laboratory.โ€ฆ
During the U.S. Civil War, Andrew Carnegie was drafted for the Army; however, rather than serve, he paid another man $850 to report for duty in his place, a common practice at the time.โ€ฆ
Today I learned about the U.S. Air Force's doomsday weapon, SLAM. The rocket was designed to fly fast and low over the Soviet Union, dropping hydrogen bombs over predetermined targets while its unshielded nuclear reactor contaminated everything in it's path.โ€ฆ
When recording with Bowie in Berlin, Brian eno would use whatever loose change he had in his pocket to buy a U-Bahn subway ticket to however far that cash would take him, and then spend the day exploring there. Bowie says they took that approach to recording the albumโ€ฆ
This photo of U.S. Army code breakers trained by William Friedman and his wife Elizebeth during WW1 spells out โ€˜Knowledge is Power.โ€™ By facing either forward or sideways, the soldiers formed a coded phrase utilizing Sir Francis Baconโ€™s biliteral cipher.โ€ฆ
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" was first published in Japan because U.S. printers could not afford the holes and irregular pages.โ€ฆ
The unofficial motto of the U.S. Air Force crews serving in America's nuclear missile silos is 'Death Wears Bunny Slippers' because of the tendency for missileers to wear pajamas and Snuggies while on duty.โ€ฆ
At least 3.3 million Soviet POWs died in Nazi custody, out of 5.7 million, primarily through deliberate starvation. This figure represents a total of 57% of all Soviet POWs. This is compared with 8,300 deaths (3.6%) out of the 231,000 British and U.S. prisoners.โ€ฆ
In the 1790s, an Oxford student introduced using guano (bird poop) as fertiliser. He spread guano across the university lawn, using it to spell G U A N O. The lawn was soon scrubbed, but when spring came, the word GUANO was clearly visible, growing higher and thicker than the rest of the grassโ€ฆ
In April of 1996, Taco Bell announced in seven leading U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times, that the company had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell". Outraged people were happy to hear that it was an April Fools Day prank.โ€ฆ
The only U.S. Secret Service officer killed protecting a president is Leslie Coffelt. Shot three times in the abdomen, he fired one round and hit Truman's attempted assassin in the back of the head from 31 feet away with his revolver.โ€ฆ
Leaving cookies and milk for Santa started to become popular in the U.S during the Great Depression. Parents wanted to teach their kids it was better to give and to be grateful for presents they received during times of economic hardship.โ€ฆ
Sugar can be dangerously explosive. In 2008, 14 people died and 40 were injured when sugar dust combusted at Imperial Sugar's refinery in Georgia. A U.S. Chemical Safety Board report found the explosion was entirely preventable. The sugar industry has been aware of explosion risks since 1926.โ€ฆ
Baskin Robbins used to have a milkshake that contained 2600 calories, 1700mg of sodium, 135g of fat, and 263g of sugar. Unsurprisingly, Menโ€™s Health Magazine dubbed it the worst food in the U.S.โ€ฆ
Following his resignation as U.S. President in the midst of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon forged a successful post-presidency as an author and elder statesman, meeting many foreign leaders such as Gorbachev. In 1986 he was ranked by Gallup as one of the ten most admired men in the world.โ€ฆ
English speakers of Indian descent in South Africa say "y'all" with the same meaning and pronunciation as southerners in the U.S. It is one of the few non-American instances of "y'all" in English and is attributed to coincidence.โ€ฆ
The Super Soaker was invented in 1990 by NASA engineer, and Air Force Veteran Lonnie George Johnson who describes himself as a "part of a small group of African-American inventors whose work accounts for 6 percent of all U.S. patent applications."โ€ฆ
Charm bracelets had an increase in popularity in the U.S during and after WWII. Soldiers found that they could easily buy and send small charms home to their partners. The charms helped their wives and girlfriends feel connected to them still.โ€ฆ
In 1969, a musician named Jim Sullivan recorded an album called โ€œU.F.O.โ€œ, which featured strange lyrics about leaving his family and being abducted by aliens. Sullivan disappeared 6 years later without a trace, the only piece of evidence being his abandoned car found on a desert road.โ€ฆ
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the 32nd president) is related to the most other U.S. Presidents with a total of 11; 5 by blood and 6 by marriage. Notable mentions are George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and James Madison.โ€ฆ
As many as 1 million Vietnamese people are disabled or have health problems as a result of U.S. use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. Nearly 20 million gallons of various herbicides and defoliants were sprayed over Vietnam between 1962 and 1971 by the U.S. military.โ€ฆ
From November 1969 to June 1971, a Native American group occupied and held Alcatraz Island, claiming that, under the Treaty of Fort Laramie between the U.S. and the Lakota tribe, all retired, abandoned, or out-of-use federal land was returned to the Indians who once occupied it.โ€ฆ
During World War II, U.S. east coast cities were asked to adopt blackouts to protect shipping - but resisted them to protect tourism, giving German U-Boat crews such easy targets they called it "The Second Happy Time."โ€ฆ
Billions of wooden pallets are circulating through the world (2 billion in the United States alone). Some 80 percent of all U.S. commerce is carried on pallets. Theyโ€™re so widespread they account for more than 46 percent of total U.S. hardwood lumber production.โ€ฆ
Pike Place Market in Seattle is one of the oldest farmers' markets in the U.S. In the early 1940's most of the stalls were owned by Japanese-Americans. After Japanese internment during WWII, โ€œThe majority of the Market's farmers were forced from their homes and livelihoods, never to return.โ€โ€ฆ
The radio transmitter used by Nazi Germany to communicate with U-boats worldwide is still in use today by the Russian Navyโ€ฆ
There are an estimated 8 parking spaces for every car in America, with parking spots taking up about 30% of citiesโ€™ areas. When combined, all U.S. parking spots take up about the same area as the state of West Virginia. theneighborhooddevelopersโ€ฆ
Historians have estimated that from the years 1798 to 1848, the U.S. Navy lost two-thirds as many officers from dueling as from combat.โ€ฆ
Trading onion options is illegal. In the 1950โ€™s two traders in Chicago cornered the market by crashing the price of a 50lb bag of onions to lower than the cost of the bag that carried them, leading to a shortage of onions in the U.S.โ€ฆ
Prior to 1913, U.S. Senators were largely chosen by state legislatures. The 17th Amendment changed this by giving that power to the people. The publishing giant, William Randolph Hearst, used his papers to influence the public in favor of this change.โ€ฆ
In 2014 during a hockey game between the Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs, a woman performing the U.S. national anthem lost her mic and the Canadian fans joined in to help her finish the Star Spangled Banner.โ€ฆ
During the early 1780s, Vermont tried to join the Quebec. The British agreed and offered generous terms but when the British surrendered at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. American independence became apparent, now bordered on three sides by the U.S. they opted to join the United States.โ€ฆ
Two U.S. states, Delaware and Colorado, have statutes that allow a marriage to be annulled if it was done as a dareโ€ฆ
Today I learned about Jeremiah Denton, a North American POW in North Vietnam. He was held prisoner and tortured for 8 years before being forced to participate in a televised press conference. During this, he blinked out morse code for "T-O-R-T-U-R-E", confirming that the POWs were being torturedโ€ฆ
The U.S. motto, "In God we trust" comes from the fourth verse of the Star Spangled Banner.โ€ฆ
The U.S. Presidency has a 18.6% death rate with 3 leading causes: illness, natural causes, and assassination.
Walter Freeman, who championed lobotomy in the U.S., toured the country with his van that he called the "Lobotomobile," demonstrating the procedure and performing dozens of ice-pick lobotomies each day. He often used carpenterโ€™s hammers and also liked to insert picks in both eyes.โ€ฆ
The game called "Telephone" in the U.S. is known as "Chinese whispers" in Englandโ€ฆ
In 1945, the German submarine U-1206 was sunk after a toilet malfunctioned, resulting in seawater flooding into the hull, which when coming into contact with a battery, created chlorine gas, forcing the submarine to resurface. At the surface, it was discovered and sunk by Allied Forces.โ€ฆ
Today I learned of the Trent Affair. In 1861, two Confederate envoys traveling to Britain aboard an English ship were seized by U.S. Naval forces. This angered Great Britain, who claimed seizing a neutral ship violated international law, almost causing a war with Great Britain and France during the Civil War.โ€ฆ
There are about 100 secret offices in the U.S. Capitol building used by members of the Senate and senior members of the House; their locations are unknown even by staff members.โ€ฆ
Van Halen refused to make videos for their album 5150, so Warner Bros quickly cobbled together a video for the song "Dreams" by using stock footage of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels. The cheap video became a surprise hit on MTV and the Navy began to use it as part of their recruiting efforts.โ€ฆ
Every night the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are lowered underground into a bomb-proof vaultโ€ฆ
The U.S. flag hasn't always had 13 stripes. When Vermont and Kentucky joined the union, they increased both the stars and stripes to 15. They reverted back to 13 stripes for all flags that came after. The 15 stripe flag was the flag that inspired the "Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key.โ€ฆ

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