Random Facts Thread.

nivek

As Above So Below
This is one of the only two remaining jolly roger flags, from 1850 located at St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum.



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pigfarmer

tall, thin, irritable
Tomorrow's Groundhogs Day. Punxatawney Pennsylvania is a day trip from here.

Winter's over, right Phil ?
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nivek

As Above So Below
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Kitum Cave in Kenya

A salty cave excavated by elephants and the location of a deadly disease vector.​

WHEN THE KITUM CAVE WAS first discovered, the many marks, scratches, and furrows along its walls were assumed to have been the work of picks wielded by ancient Egyptians searching for gold or diamonds. In fact, the excavated sections of the cave are the result of something much more unusual.

The cave is found on Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano, and it developed as the result of cooling volcanic rock. The cave, which extends some 600 feet into the mountain, has walls that are rich in salt, and it is here that the mysterious cave diggers reveal themselves.

Each night for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years, animals have traveled into the cave in the dead of night to use it as a giant salt lick. Buffaloes, antelope, leopards, hyenas, and most of all elephants bumble blindly through the cave (the elephants often bump their heads in the process), making their way to the salty walls of the cave. It is the elephants that have done the digging.

Using their massive tusks, the elephants pull off chunks of the walls to crush and lick up the salt. Over the centuries this has resulted in a noticeable increase in the size of the cave as well as walls that are covered in tusk marks. The trip to the depths of the cave is not without its dangers; there is a deep crevasse into which many younger, more inexperienced elephants have fallen, leaving behind an elephant graveyard.

The Kitum Cave is more recently famous for a very different sort of lifeform: a deadly virus. In 1980 and again in 1987, visitors to the cave contracted Marburg virus, a deadly virus similar to Ebola. The cave and Marburg virus rose to notoriety when they were featured in the 1994 bestseller The Hot Zone. It is believed that bats in the cave are carriers of the virus, and that their powdered guano may act as the disease vector.

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Rikki

High Priestess
"Charlie and the chocolate factory" is a horrible racist book. published in 1964 the books hero Charlie was going to be black! Dahl's widow said that Charlie was originally written as "a little black boy." Dahl's biographer said the change to a white character was driven by Dahl's agent, who thought a black Charlie would not appeal to readers. then there are the Ompa Lumpas who were descibed as follows:
In the version first published, [the Oompa-Loompas were] a tribe of 3,000 amiable black pygmies who have been imported by Mr. Willy Wonka from ‘the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had been before.’ Mr. Wonka keeps them in the factory, where they have replaced the sacked white workers. Wonka’s little slaves are delighted with their new circumstances, and particularly with their diet of chocolate. Before they lived on green caterpillars, beetles, eucalyptus leaves, ‘and the bark of the bong-bong tree.'
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no amount of editing is enough to allow my children to read these books, so we watch the movie instead.
Blessed Be
RIKKI
 

wwkirk

Celestial
During the invasions of Sicily and Italy, the US Army made extensive use of mules. But to my knowledge, the only remaining US Army mules are a few mascots at West Point. But it's a different story for the Unites States Marine Corps (USMC).

A few decades ago, the use of equine was almost abandoned in the military since there was not a definitive need. But the wars in Afghanistan created a necessity for pack mules which are now an integral part of the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California.

Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan D. Greenwalt demonstrates how to secure a mule during an animal packing course at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif.
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Lance Cpl. Tyler Langford, anti-tank missileman, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, leads his pack mule during a hike at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. The 16-day course teaches Marines how to use animals in the region they find themselves in as a logistical tool to transport weapons, ammunition, food, supplies or wounded Marines through terrain that tactical vehicles cannot reach.
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A Marine secures a M252 81mm mortar to a mule
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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ymoXxVvi4E
 

pigfarmer

tall, thin, irritable
Interesting feller
Alexander Chizhevsky - Wikipedia

Sunspots and mass excitability​

Chizhevsky proposed that not only did geomagnetic storms resulting from sunspot-related solar flares affect electrical usage, plane crashes, epidemics and grasshopper infestations, but human mental life and activity. Increased negative ionization in the atmosphere increased human mass excitability. Chizhevsky proposed that human history is influenced by the eleven-year peaks in sunspot activity, triggering humans en masse to act upon existing grievances and complaints through revolts, revolutions, civil wars and wars between nations.[8]

He analyzed sunspot records (and approximated records), comparing them to riots, revolutions, battles and war in Russia and seventy-one other countries for the period 500 BCE to 1922 CE. (A process known as historiometry.) He found that a significant percent of what he classified as the most important historical events involving large numbers of people occurred around sunspot maximum. Edward R. Dewey, founder of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, analyzed and published his data in 1951 in the Foundation's publications.[9] In a 1971 book Dewey described the "four components" of Chizhevsky's eleven-year cycle and their approximate lengths: 1) a three-year period of minimum activity characterized by passivity and autocratic rule; 2) a two-year period during which masses begin to organize under new leaders and one theme; 3) a three-year period of maximum excitability, revolution and war; 4) a three-year period of gradual decrease in excitability until the masses are apathetic. Dewey questioned Chizhevsky's theory because in Chizhevsky's data, the sunspot cycle height lagged about a year ahead his "mass excitability index."[10]

In 1992 Arcady A. Putilov, a researcher in Animal and Human Physiology,[11] published a paper empirically testing Chizhevsky hypothesis analyzing events described in Soviet historical handbooks. Putilov found that the frequency and "polarity" of events, including revolution, is the highest in the years of the solar cycle maximum and the lowest in the year before the minimum.[12] In 1996 professor of psychology Suitbert Ertel (University of Göttingen) corroborated a "substantial" relationship between solar activity and revolutionary behavior through statistical analysis of a "Master Index of Violence from Below" (MIVE) for the period 1700–1985 CE.
 

wwkirk

Celestial
'Moroccan Goums' were French colonial soldiers recruited from North Africa.
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In Italy, the Allies suffered a long stalemate at the German Gustav Line. In May 1944, three Goumier groupes, under the name Corps de Montagne, were the vanguard of the French Expeditionary Corps attack through the Aurunci Mountains during Operation Diadem, the fourth Battle of Monte Cassino. Here the Goums more than proved their value as light, highly mobile mountain troops who could penetrate the most vertical terrain in fighting order and with a minimum of logistical requirements. They were highly skilled at scaling the most difficult terrain while maintaining good military formation and played a vital role in the Battle for Rome. The knife-wielding Goumiers swarmed over the hills, particularly at night, and General Juin's entire force showed an aggressiveness hour after hour that the Germans could not withstand.

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Upon their arrival many Italian soldiers surrendered en masse, while the Germans began staging major retreats away from known Goumiers presence.

Perhaps not surprisingly, they were said sometimes to commit atrocities. General Alphonse Juin was alleged to have said before the battle: "For fifty hours you will be the absolute masters of what you will find beyond the enemy. Nobody will punish you for what you will do, nobody will ask you about what you will get up to."
 
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