Random Facts Thread.



Before the printing press, manuscripts had to be periodically recopied. (Massive quantities of text were lost over time.) Once printing came in, books and other paper documents still had to be preserved somehow and/or reprinted. During the age of disk storage, it was still necessary to have back-ups. And during the present era of cloud storage, not only are back-ups on separate servers a logical safety precaution, but even local disk storage may still be advisable.


Calvin Graham was the youngest U.S. serviceman to serve and fight during World War II. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the United States Navy from Houston, Texas on August 15, 1942, at the age of 12.


He was a kid from Texas that was inspired by the death of his cousins in combat. This is what motivated him to join the military at such a young age. Calvin began shaving at the age of eleven. He talked his friends into forging his parents signatures and told his mom he was visiting his grandmother one hundred miles away. John Maag, a seaman who served with Graham told the Chicago Tribune. "They needed to ship out men quickly. We'd suffered a lot of casualties, and the Navy needed to build up its crews." This was one reason he was able to join the Navy so easy. He was assigned to the battleship USS South Dakota and saw heavy action at Guadalcanal. On November 14, 1942 the South Dakota suffered 47 casualties and Calvin suffered wounds along with having his front teeth being knocked out by shrapnel and suffering serious burns. In spite of that he helped many of his wounded comrades. He took belts off of the dead and used them as tourniquets for the living. Calvin stayed up all night giving support and cigarettes to the wounded. A year later the Navy found out his age through his mother and he was arrested. Graham was sent to the brig for three months. He would have remained longer but his sister threatened to go to the newspapers. In May 1943, a year after his enlistment, Calvin was dishonorably discharged and his medals were taken from him along with his Bronze Star, Purple Heart and disability benefits.

Calvin spent the postwar years fighting to have his medals and disability benefits returned. In Finally in 1978 his record was cleared and he received an Honorable Discharge. All of his medals were returned minus his Purple Heart. In 1988 a movie was made about him called (Too Young The Hero). President Reagan reinstated his disability payments. He received back pay and some pay for medical expenses, although it did not fully pay back the money he had spent out of pocket over the years. Graham died in 1992 at the age of 62 of heart failure. Two years later his wife was presented his Purple Heart by President Clinton. Besides his Purple Heart and Bronze Star he had also been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze Battle Star device and the WWII Victory Medal.

The shadow

The shadow knows!
Dec 8th 1941 aboard the Japanese battle ship nagato the high command was celebrating the destruction in peril harbor. Admiral Yagamoto sat quietly.
"Why are you celebrating?" He asked.
He was handed the reports of the attack. He looked at them. A look of dismay crossed his face. He then said:
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And went to his quarters. He was right.
From the beginning he knew. The war was lost.


Up until 1942, the standard American salute to the flag was quite different from what it is today. It was called The Bellamy salute, but Congress changed it because it too much resembled that of the fascists and Nazis. Her's what it looked like



Maybe I knew about this, but forgot. Back in 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building, killing 14 people.

Contemporary report.

Obviously, the building did not collapse, here's an explanation why. (Details begin at around 01:22)

Succinct explanation from Quora:
There were several reasons the Empire State Building did not collapse. The B-25 was a much smaller plane. It was getting ready to land and had consumed much of its fuel. The structural support for Empire State Building was internal rather than external like the World Trade Center.


tall, thin, irritable
Yeah, whole different story with that B25. The 767-200 is like, nine times heavier moving more than twice as fast carrying up to 24000 gallons of highly flammable aviation fuel for long trips not way less than 670 on it's way to a runway.
Multiply by two and you don't need to look for secret missiles or any of that.

Boeing 767-200
Wingspan: 156′ 0″
Length: 159′
Cruise speed: 541 mph
Max takeoff weight: 315,000 lbs
Fuel capacity: 16,700-24,140 US gal

North American B-25J "Mitchell" Medium Bomber
Wing Span: 67 ft 7 in
Length: 51 ft
Cruising Speed: 230 mph
Max takeoff weight: 35,000 lbs
Fuel capacity: 670 US gal


Cracker Jack has been around for 126 years!
In 1896, the first lot of Cracker Jack was produced, the same year the product's name and tagline "The More You Eat, the More You Want", were registered. It was named by an enthusiastic sampler who remarked: "That's a crackerjack!" (Crackerjack is a colloquialism meaning "of excellent quality").-Wikipedia


We are all aware of the banal suggestion that sliced bread is some great invention. Well, did you know it was once banned in the USA?
Pre-Sliced Bread Was Once Banned in the United States
In 1943, Claude R. Wickard, the head of the War Foods Administration as well as the Secretary of Agriculture, got the bright idea to ban pre-sliced bread in America, which he did on January 18, 1943. The specific reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, though it was about conservation of resources, particularly generally thought to have been about conserving wax paper, wheat, and steel.

With regards to the wax paper conservation, by FDA regulations, pre-sliced bread used much thicker wax paper than loaves sold whole, due to the fact that sliced bread, not surprisingly, goes stale significantly faster than loaves left unsliced. While this was the official stated reason for the ban, there was no shortage of wax paper at the time the ban was put in place; according to the War Production Board, most bread making companies had wax paper supplies on hand to last several months, even if they didn’t buy anymore during that span.

It has also been suggested that a secondary goal was to try to conserve wheat and to lower bread and flour prices. Around WWII, the Office of Price Administration had authorized an increase in flour prices by about 10%. This naturally resulted in the price of bread increasing. When pre-sliced bread was first introduced nation-wide, it drastically increased bread sales. So, the thought was that by banning pre-sliced bread, the amount of bread consumed would go down. This would then reduce the demand for flour and wheat, and, thus, decrease prices of those products while simultaneously increasing stockpiles of wheat.

As with the wax paper reasoning, the idea of conserving wheat seems an odd thing given that, at the time of the ban, the U.S. had stockpiled over 1 billion bushels of wheat. This is enough to meet the United States’ needs for about two years, even if no new wheat was harvested over that span.

Finally, bread making machines themselves used quite a bit of steel in their production; so it has been suggested that one of the reasons for this bread ban was to conserve this metal. This line of reasoning also seems somewhat dubious as most bread manufacturers weren’t actively buying new bread slicing machines at any given time; so the benefit would be marginal, even accounting for the machine’s large size and significant amount of metal used in its production.

As you might imagine, banning pre-sliced bread didn’t go over very well with the masses. “The best thing since sliced bread” is an expression for a reason. As one woman aptly put it in a letter appearing in The New York Times:

I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that’s ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!

Within about three months of the ban being introduced, on March 8, 1943, it was rescinded. Upon lifting the ban, Wickard stated, “Our experience with the order, however, leads us to believe that the savings are not as much as we expected…”