The first message sent via Morse Code was "What hath God wrought?"
The Morse Code distress signal "SOS" ("sécu" of sécurité) was initially "CQD" and means "All stations: distress." Despite being so well known now, the first distress code was only sent 60 years after its invention and 30 years after the death of its creator Samuel Morse.
At one point, sailors used both "CQD" and "SOS" to signal for help. In 1912, RMS Titanic radio operator Jack Phillips initially sent "CQD", as used by British ships. Harold Bride, the junior radio operator, later suggested using "SOS", saying half-jokingly that it might be his last chance to use the new code. They then began alternating between CQD and SOS.
The Real Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe's real name is Norma Jean.
There were several misconceptions about her body:
Firstly we remember her most as a platinum blonde girl, but she was naturally a brunette. Her eyes were also often described as brown, and in a lot of photographs they do appear quite dark when in fact, her eyes are blue. For some time, there was also a rumor that she had 6 toes. This misconception was because of a photograph at the beach.
Lastly, Marilyn's mole was real but was actually skin toned. It was enhanced with makeup to make it stand out. That is why it appears absent in some photos.
Second hand Oscars
Since 1951, Academy Award winners must first offer their Oscar statues back to the Academy at the going rate of $10 before selling it in the open market. The Oscar statues are 24-karat gold-plated, and are worth about $700 each. However, the most expensive Oscar ever auctioned belonged to Orson Welles’ Academy Award, which fetched $861,542.
How rich is Monopoly?
Monopoly prints more money a year than the poorest 38 countries in the world put together.
According to Bristol zoo, Howler monkey's have some of the loudest calls in the animal kingdom. The largest member is the Venezuelan red howler, and it can be heard 5 km (3.3 miles) away.
Owls have some of the most amazing eyes in the animal kingdom. Firstly, it makes up almost 5% of their body weight while only 0.02% in man.
Their eyes are also held in their skulls by bony structures called sclerotic rings that fix their eyes in place. In order to look around, they need to turn their neck instead. Amazingly, they can turn their neck to extreme degrees (270 degrees) and even upside down. Contrary to some, they are not the only birds who can see blue.
Did you also know that their eyes are so large that you can see their eyeballs through their ears!
The first bicycles were made without pedals and were termed hobbyhorses as there were meant to be a walking machines. Later when chains and pedals were added, they became faster than the cars of that era. In fact, car tyres were modified out of bicycle tyres.
These days, there are more bicycles than cars in the world. Although they are now much slower than cars, one Olympian John Howard still managed to ride at an amazing 245.08 km/h (152.2 mph) by slip-streaming a car.
Ancient sea grass
DNA sequencing has suggested that the humble sea-grass Posidonia ocenic around Malta is probably the oldest living thing in the world. It dates as far back as 200,000 years, and has survived so long because it is able to reproduce exact copies of itself indefinitely.
The German Titanic
During World War II, Germany built the Bismarck. It was one of the greatest ships every built, but like the Titanic, it sunk on it's maiden voyage.
It took over 3 years to build and was Germany's answer to the British navy. It was built unmatched in terms of weaponry and range, capable of taking out other ships before even being seen.
After leaving port, the Bismarck got into several drawn out fights with the British Navy. In comical fashion, it suffered damage to its rudder, which locked the steering in port (left). From there on end, the Bismarck could only turn in Circles. Further attacks put holes in its fuel tanks. Battered and losing fuel, it decided to head towards the only port which was large enough to berth the massive ship... France.
Under constant attack from the Royal Navy, the Bismarck never reached its destination. It sank in less than 9 days after it was launched.
The Wicked Bible
In 1631, while printing the King James Bible, the unfortunate publisher Robert Barker accidentally left the word "not" out of the seventh commandment, which then read... "Thou shalt commit adultery." This legendary book is now known as the "Wicked Bible".
Nearly a year passed before the Bishop of London discovered the mistake. Barker was then brought before King Charles I, who quickly revoked his printing license, fined him £300 (about USD $68,476 today), and threw him in jail. Barker later died a prisoner. Almost all 1,000 copies were burnt.
Today only 9 copies are in existence. One of which has been sold for $89,500 in 2010.
The Basketball teacher
Basketball was invented by a teacher, James Naismith in 1891.
In fact, the first basketball game was played with a soccer ball and two peach baskets. This image shows him playing basketball with his wife Maude.
After getting a medical degree, Naismith later tried inventing a machine that stretches infants to make them taller.
Naismith was also against race segregation, and became mentor to the first black coach in professional basketball, John McLendon.
The first barcode was used on Wrigley's gum.
Bamboo flowers are rarely seen and many bamboos only blossom at intervals as long as 65 or 120 years.
The species Phyllostachys bambusoides has the longest known flowering interval of 130 years. This entire bamboo species blossoms at the same time, no matter where they are in the world or whatever the climate... then they die.
pin through a balloon
If you put a piece of scotch tape on an inflated balloon, then stick it with a small pin or needle, it won't pop.
`Abdu'l-Bahá, was initially scheduled to be on RMS Titanic for His voyage to America. Instead, He gave the ticket money to charity and traveled on a slower craft, the S.S. Cedric.
His trip to New York was intended "to do away with prejudices... prejudice of nationality, of race, of religion."
Believe that Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Baha'u'llah are all prophets from God? Believe in progressive revelation? Have you heard of the Baha'i faith? Unlike other religions, Baha'is do not accept donations outside the faith.
Iranian Baha'is are still being prosecuted in this day and age. They are ejected from universities, imprisoned, their graves and Holy sites are demolished, homes raided and assets confiscated.
On average, there are 200 times more fecal bacteria on your kitchen cutting board than in your toilet. Charles Gerba Ph.D., University of Arizona.
The human gut contains 100 trillion bacteria. They outnumber your own cells 10 to 1 and make up 10% of our dry weight. All the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug and there are estimated to be more than 500 species living at any one time in an adult intestine. Carolyn Bohach, University of Idaho
Jackie: The baboon soldier
A Baboon called "Jackie" became a private in the South African army in World War I.
He could salute, light cigarettes for his comrades and was the best sentry around due to his great senses of hearing and smell. Jackie spent 3 years in the front lines in France and Europe.
Human babies are born 2 months premature for their size and lifespan. This is to accomodate for the fact that we have large brains during birth. Most Caucasian babies are born with dark blue eyes, although it normally changes colour shortly after birth.
Babies are born without knee caps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age. Even so, they crawl an average of 200 meters a day.
August has the highest percentage of births.
bird lung efficiency
Birds can extract twice as much oxygen from the air than a similar sized mammal. This is due to air sacs that allow continuous oxygen flow when it breaths both in and out.
An atom is made out of a nucleus and orbiting electrons. If the nucleus were a size of a marble, and the electron the width of a hair, the region the electrons orbits would be as far as 2 miles.
Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr was rescued in the nick of time from German occupied Denmark. While Danish resistance fighters provided covering fire he ran out the back door of his home stopping momentarily to grab a beer bottle full of precious "Heavy Water". He finally reached England still clutching the bottle. which contained beer. I suppose some German drank the Heavy Water.
Fate of submarine U-1206
German submarine U-1206 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.
Coca Cola at war
General Eisenhower ordered three million bottles of Coca Cola to be sent to the allies in North Africa. When the US Army later landed in North Africa, 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants were part of the equipment brought over.
Coca-Cola wanted to support US troops, so metal cans were made and sold at 5 cents each. By the end of the war, five billion bottles or cans of Coca Cola had been drunk.
Russian mine clearing battalions
The Russians cleared mine fields by marching over them. These soldiers were the penal battalion infantrymen called the Shtrafbat.
How fragile was the Nazi power supply?
During World War II, Germany had 8200 electrical power plants. After the war, it was discovered that 82% of electricity was generated by 4% of those plants.
If 1% of bombs used in Europe were redirected to destroy power plants, the Nazi war machine would ground to a halt. Destroying 2 plants outside of Berlin would have plunged the city into darkness.
If this was done in 1943, the war would have probably ended a year earlier.
Australia's land and sea
Australia owns more sea (16 million km2) than land (7.6 million km2), and has more kangaroos (40 million) than people.
The box jellyfish
The Australian box jellyfish has toxins more potent than the venom in cobras, and is one of the deadliest jellyfish in the world. There have been more than 5,000 jellyfish-related deaths since 1954 and they kill more Australians than Great White Sharks.
Richer than the USA
Apple Inc. is much richer than the United States of America. In fact its $158.8 billion cash stockpile more than triples the entire U.S. reserve. Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. both also have more cash than the U.S. Treasury.
Macquariums are aquariums made from old Macintosh computers.
The word Armadillo in Spanish means "little armoured one". The shell of a baby armadillo is as soft as a human fingernail. As they grow, bone gets deposited under the skin to harden it. For protection, not all armadillos can curl into a ball. Only the 3 banded armadillo can do it. They are also very mobile: they can swim, dive for up to 5 minutes and even climb trees.
The USA has the only species of Armadillo that live outside of Latin America.
armadillo life cycle
After sex, an armadillo can delay impregnation for up to 2 years. Armadillos always give birth to four identical babies. All four develop from the same egg, like quadruplets.
expensive air conditions
In Iraq, the US spends more in air conditioning ($20 billion) than NASA does in an entire year ($19 billion)
Apples are scientifically known as M. Communis.
In olden times, ripe apples were used as a laxative while raw apples were used as an anti-diarrheal medication. This is due to Pectin in the apple which soaks up water and stimulates the gut. The bark of the apple tree was also once used to bring down fevers.
Gases emitted from a banana or an apple can help an orange ripen.
If Twitter was a country, it’d be the 12th largest in the world.
When you are born, your umbilicus is the best source of stem cells that can be used to generate every single cell in your body. If not harvested immediately, this source is lost forever.
The actor who played the monsters in Ultraman was a martial arts expert (Nakajima) and his apprentice acted as Ultraman instead. In the Ultraman series, the monster costumes would often be complete except for the feet. This was to allow the actors to balance themselves for the fights.
At the end of the series, the English dub is incorrect. In the English dub, Ultraman stated he would return, and this was different to the original script.
26 of the American states have names originating from native Indian words, including Illinois meaning "best people", Iowa which means "Sleepy Ones" and Texas meaning "Friend".
The kevlar armor vest was invented by a woman.
The car windshield wiper was invented by a woman who had never driven before.
Her invention was considered ahead of its time and was initially considered of no commercial value. After its patent ran out, the first company to install it in their cars was Cadillac.
Do women talk more?
On average, women only talk slightly more than men. 16,215 vs. 15,669 words a day. Men however had a wider vocabulary. The most economical speaker used only 500 words daily while the most talkative yapped at over 47, 000 words a day. Both these extremes were men.
In terms of content, women talked more about other people, while men talked about more concrete objects.
Zinc is found in oysters
Canada has claimed the zipper to be No. 8 on its list of Greatest Canadian Inventions. Although its inventor Gideon Sundback was a Swede, who studied in Germany and later emigrated to the United States. The first factory to manufacture the zipper however, was a Canadian factory: Sundback's Lightning Fastener Company in St. Catherines, Ont.
Today, almost 70% of the world's zippers are made by Japanese company YKK, which has its biggest factory in China.
Originally there was a standard set of 18 constellations established as early as 2,000 B.C.E.
Now there are thirteen accepted Zodiac signs, not twelve. The 13th being Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer that is between Scorpio and Sagittarius. This sign lasts 11 days between 6 to 16 December.
Patton and the Rhine
When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing General Patton did was pee in it. He then picked up some dirt on the far side in emulation of William the Conqueror.
high altitude farts
Air crewmen can die of farts. (ascending to 20,000 ft. in an un-pressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand 300%).
It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. That was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing.
Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. That was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.
First deaths of the war
The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the
Russians (Finland 1940).
The highest ranking American killed was Lt Gen. Lesley McNair, (awarded the Purple Heart in the first World War) by friendly fire.
A labour of collecting the world's most amazing facts