Interesting Wikipedia articles
(Light edits have been made in order to comply with the Van Hoorn house style.)
33 Thomas Street ⁓ Manhattan, NY, US
It is often described as one of the most secure buildings in America, and was designed to be self-sufficient with its own gas and water supplies along with generation capabilities and protected from nuclear fallout for up to two weeks after a nuclear blast.
33 Thomas was described as the likely location of an NSA mass surveillance hub codenamed Titanpointe in an investigation by The Intercept[…] the investigation ties the facility to a nearby FBI building, and its rooftop equipment to the NSA's Skidrowe satellite intelligence system.
Project A119 ⁓ the Moon
The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon, which would help in answering some of the mysteries in planetary astronomy and astrogeology.
If the explosive device detonated on the surface, not in a crater, the flash of explosive light would have been faintly visible to people on Earth with the naked eye.
Anders als die Andern ⁓ Berlin, Germany
Anders als die Andern is a German film produced during the Weimar Republic. It was first released in 1919 [and] was intended as a polemic against the then-current laws under Germany's Paragraph 175, which made homosexuality a criminal offense. It is believed to be the first pro-gay film in the world.
Censorship laws enacted in reäction to films like Anders als die Andern eventually restricted viewing of this movie to doctors and medical researchers, and prints of the film were among the many "decadent" works burned by the Nazis after they came to power in 1933.
Anti-Mask League of San Francisco ⁓ ”, Calif., US
Initial compliance with the mask ordinance was high with an estimated 80% of people wearing masks in public. […] Anyone who failed to wear a mask or wore it improperly was charged with disturbing the peace, warned and for subsequent violations, fined or jailed.
[A]n estimated 4 000 – 5 000 citizens showed up to a meeting to protest the second ordinance in January 1919. Opposition to similar ordinances during the covid-19 pandemic in the United States led to renewed interest in, and comparisons with, the Anti-Mask League.
Willem Arondeus ⁓ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Willem Arondeus was a Dutch artist and author who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during World War II. He participated in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office to hinder the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews and others wanted by the Gestapo.
Mr. Arondeus was openly gay before the war and defiantly asserted his sexuality before his execution. His final words wereTell the people that homosexuals are not by definition weak.
Organ²/ASLSP ⁓ Halberstadt, S.A., Germany
The most recent note change occurred on October 5, 2013, and the next change will not occur until September 5, 2020. The performance is scheduled to end on September 5, 2640.
Ball lightning ⁓ Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon, UK
The ball of fire reportedly divided into two segments, one exiting through a window by smashing it open, the other disappearing somewhere inside the church. Because of the fire and sulphur smell, contemporaries explained the ball of fire as “the devil” or as the “flames of hell”.
Bark Mitzvah ⁓ Beverly Hills, Calif., US
The Bark Mitzvah […] can occur when the dog turns 13 months or 13 years of age. During some Bark Mitzvahs, dogs wear a tallit, a ritual prayer shawl worn during Jewish religious services and ceremonies.
In 1997, the first widely recorded Bark Mitzvah was celebrated, receiving scrutiny and disapproval from several rabbis. One rabbi expressed his distaste for Bark Mitzvahs in a letter to the editor of The New York Times, describing the celebration asnothing less than a desecration of a cherished Jewish traditionand claiming that Bark Mitzvahsdegrade some of the central principles of Jewish life.
Boring Billion ⁓ Columbia & Rodinia, Earth
The Boring Billion, otherwise known as the Barren Billion, the Dullest Time in Earth's History, and Earth's Middle Ages, is the time period between 1.8 and 0.8 billion years ago spanning the middle Proterozoic æon, characterised by more or less tectonic stability, climatic stasis, and stalled biological evolution.
John Brown ⁓ Harpers Ferry, W.Va., US
Mr. Brown advocated the use of armed insurrection to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. He first gained national attention when he led small groups of volunteers during the Bleeding Kansas crisis of 1856. He was dissatisfied with the pacifism of the organized abolitionist movement:These men are all talk. What we need is action — action!
Burnt house horizon ⁓ Southeastern Europe
Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements were completely burned every 75–80 years, leaving behind successive layers consisting mostly of large amounts of rubble from the collapsed wattle-and-daub walls.
Whether the houses were set on fire in a ritualistic way all together before abandoning the settlement, or each house was destroyed at the end of its life (e.g. before building a new one) it is still a matter of debate.
Cagot ⁓ France and Spain
The Cagots were not an ethnic nor a religious group. [...] Their only distinguishing feature was their descent from families long identified as Cagots. Few consistent reasons were given as to why they were hated; accusations varied from Cagots being cretins, lepers, heretics, cannibals, to simply being intrinsically evil [...] almost everything that is known about them relates to their persecution. The repression lasted through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Industrial Revolution, with the prejudice fading only in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Cat gap ⁓ North America
The cat gap is a period in the fossil record of approximately 25 to 18.5 million years ago in which there are few fossils of cats or cat-like species found in North America. The cause of the cat gap is disputed, but may have been caused by changes in the climate (global cooling), changes in the habitat and environmental ecosystem, the increasingly hypercarnivorous trend of the cats (especially the nimravids), volcanic activity, evolutionary changes in dental morphology of the Canidæ species present in North America, or a periodicity of extinctions called van der Hammen cycles.
Chabad messianism ⁓ Brooklyn, NY, US
Since the Rebbe's death, there are those who have persisted in the belief that Schneerson is still the Messiah, sometimes extremely vocally. Chabad messianists either believe Schneerson will be resurrected, or refuse to admit that he died, instead proclaiming that he is still alive.
Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office ⁓ Westminster, London, UK
The chief mouser to the Cabinet Office is the title of the official resident cat of the prime minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street. There has been a resident cat in the English government employed as a mouser and pet since the 1500s, although modern records date only to the 1920s.
Affinity for the cat divided along partisan lines: Conservative voters liked the cat far more when they were told he was Margaret Thatcher's and Labour voters liked the cat far more when they were told he was Tony Blair's.
Cistercian numerals ⁓ Leicester, Leics., UK
Digits are based on a horizontal or vertical stave, with the position of the digit on the stave indicating its place value (units, tens, hundreds or thousands). These digits are compounded on a single stave to indicate more complex numbers. After the Cistercians abandoned the system in favor of the Arabic numerals, marginal use continued until the early 20th century, with Freemasons, occultists and Nazis all briefly flirting with it.
D. B. Cooper ⁓ Portland, Ore., US
Dan Cooper is the pseudonym of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the northwest United States, in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24, 1971.
The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news miscommunication, became known in popular lore as D. B. Cooper. He extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,260,000 in 2019) and parachuted to an uncertain fate.
Despite an extensive manhunt and protracted FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or identified. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in commercial aviation history.
Darvaza gas crater ⁓ Darvaza, Turkmenistan
Geologists intentionally set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, and it is thought to have been burning continuously since 1971.
In 2019, [the president of Turkmenistan] appeared on state television doing doughnuts around the crater to disprove rumours of his death.
Terry A. Davis ⁓ Las Vegas, Nev., US
What people are going to read is, ‘It's about a pathetic schizophrenic who made a crappy operating system.’ My perspective is, ‘God said I made His temple.’
Disappearing blonde gene ⁓ United Kingdom
The disappearing blonde gene was a hoax about how a scientific study had estimated that natural blonds would become extinct, repeated as fact in reputable media such as the BBC and The Sunday Times between 2002 and 2006. Claims that blond hair would disappear have been made since 1865.
Diving horse ⁓ Atlantic City, NJ, US
A diving horse is an attraction that was popular in the mid-1880s, in which a horse would dive into a pool of water, sometimes from as high as 18 metres.
Euthanasia Coaster ⁓ London, UK
Subsequent inversions or another run of the coaster would serve as insurance against unintentional survival of passengers.
John Allen, who served as president of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, inspired designer Julijonas Urbonas with his description of theultimateroller coaster as one thatsends out 24 people and they all come back dead.
Gävle goat ⁓ Gävle, Sweden
The Gävle goat is a traditional Christmas display erected annually at Slottstorget (Castle Square) in central Gävle, Sweden.
Added security measures in 2020: Double fence, 24-hour CCTV. Two guards patrol around the goat frequently, 24-hours a day, along with a K9 unit.
June and Jennifer Gibbons ⁓ Haverfordwest, Wales
Their language became even more idiosyncratic at this time; soon, it was unintelligible to others.
I'm free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.
Globster ⁓ St. Augustine, Fla., US (& al.)
Many globsters have initially been described as gigantic octopuses, though they later turned out to be decayed carcasses of whales or large sharks.
Manfred Gnädinger ⁓ Camelle, Galicia, Spain
He lived a very simple and natural life, building sculptures on the beach where he lived and tending to his small garden. In November 2002, when the oil spill of the Prestige destroyed his sculptures and the ecosystem of the area he lived in, it is thought that he let himself die of melancholy and sadness, thus becoming a symbol of the destruction unleashed by the oil spill.
The Hole ⁓ San Jacinto, Calif., US
Inside, a who's who of Scientology leadership went at each other with brutal tongue lashings, and even hands and fists. They intimidated each other into crawling on their knees and standing in trash cans and confessing to things they hadn't done. They lived in degrading conditions, eating and sleeping in cramped spaces designed for office use.
If Day ⁓ Winnipeg, Man., Canada
If Day was a simulated Nazi German invasion and occupation of the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and surrounding areas on 19 February 1942, during the Second World War.
Books were burned in front of the main Carnegie branch of the Winnipeg Public Library (the books had been pre-selected for incineration as damaged or outdated).
Infinite monkey theorem ⁓ Paignton, Devon, UK
A monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, the lead male began striking the keyboard with a stone, and other monkeys followed by soiling it.
List of animals with fraudulent diplomas
Zoe D. Katze ("Zoe the Cat" in German) was a housecat owned by Steve K. D. Eichel. Around 2001, Mr. Eichel was able to obtain several well-known hypnotherapy certifications for his cat. The ease with which Zoe obtained these credentials became the subject of an article by the American Bar Association and a news report by CBS News.
List of sexually active popes ⁓ Vatican City
Paul II: Thought to have died of indigestion arising from eating melon, though it has been suggested that he died while being sodomised by a page.
Rodney Marks ⁓ Antarctica
On 11 May 2000 Rodney Marks became unwell while walking between the remote observatory and the base. He became increasingly sick over a 36-hour period, three times returning increasingly distressed to the station's doctor. Advice was sought by satellite, but Mr. Marks died on 12 May 2000, age 32 with his condition undiagnosed. The whereabouts of the station doctor, Robert Thompson, are unknown.
Max Headroom signal hijacking ⁓ Chicago, Ill., US
The video ended with a pair of exposed buttocks being spanked with a flyswatter before normal programming resumed. The culprits were never caught or identified.
Ken McElroy ⁓ Skidmore, Mo., US
Over the course of his life, Mr. McElroy was accused of dozens of felonies, including assault, child molestation, statutory rape, arson, hog and cattle rustling, and burglary.
The next day, Mr. McElroy was shot to death in broad daylight […] from at least two different firearms, in front of a crowd of people estimated as between 30 and 46. […] Only Ms. McCloud claimed to identify a gunman; every other witness either was unable to name an assailant or claimed not to have seen who fired the fatal shots.
Memphis Pyramid ⁓ Memphis, Tenn., US
The Memphis Pyramid has not been regularly used as a sports or entertainment venue since 2004. In 2015, the Pyramid re-opened as a Bass Pro Shopsmegastore, which includes shopping, a hotel, restaurants, a bowling alley, and an archery range, with an outdoor observation deck adjacent to its apex.
Merkel-Raute ⁓ Berlin, Germany
[T]he youth wing of the CDU organised flashmobs in which members gathered in a circle while imitating the gesture in several public places in Germany.
Mill Ends Park ⁓ Portland, Ore., US
The park is a small circle 2 ft (0.61 m) across, with a total area of 452 sq in (0.292 m²).
[Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan] told this story of the park's origin: He looked out the window and spotted a leprechaun digging in the hole. He ran down and grabbed the leprechaun, which meant that he had earned a wish. Fagan said he wished for a park of his own, but since he had not specified the size of the park in his wish, the leprechaun gave him the hole.
Gregson Street Overpass ⁓ Durham, NC, US
Commonly known as the 11-foot-8 Bridge and nicknamed The Can-Opener or The Gregson Street Guillotine…
Despite numerous warning signs about the low clearance, a large number of trucks, buses, and RVs have collided with the overpass at high speed, tearing off roof fixtures, and at times shearing off the trucks' roofs, earning the bridge the nickname the Can-Opener.
Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E ⁓ Aisne, France
All individuals currently interred in Plot E were found guilty at general court martial of the capital crimes of rape and/or murder.
Officially, Plot E does not exist: it is not mentioned on the ABMC website or in any guide pamphlets or maps. The plot is accessible only through the back door of the superintendent's office.
Unlike the marble monuments and inscribed standing headstones of the regular plots, Plot E contains nothing but 96 flat stone markers (arranged in four rows) and a single small granite cross. The white grave markers are the size of index cards and have nothing on them except sequential numbers engraved in black. The intention was that individual graves would be impossible to identify
Onfim ⁓ Novgorod, Russia
Onfim, who was six or seven at the time, wrote in Old Novgorodian; besides letters and syllables, he drew battle scenes and drawings of himself and his teacher.
Greg Packer ⁓ Huntington, NY, US
He has been quoted in more than 100 articles and television broadcasts as a member of the public (that is, aman on the streetrather than a newsmaker or expert).
His quotes have ranged from the expression of common sentiments, such asIt's a day for happiness and to be together, regarding a St. Patrick's Day parade, to colorful statements such as his opinion of a New York Yankees game played on Yom Kippur:There's no way the Yankees will lose, but if they do, they will certainly have something to atone for.
Phallus paintings in Bhutan ⁓ Punakha, Bhutan
Drukpa Kunley's intention was to shock the clergy, who were uppity and prudish in their behaviour and teachings of Buddhism. However, his ways appealed to lay practitioners. It was he who propagated the legend of painting phalluses on walls and flying hanging phalluses from roof tops of houses to drive away evil spirits and subdue demonesses.
Prince Philip Movement ⁓ Yaohnanen, Tanna, Vanuatu
According to ancient Yaohnanen tales, the son of a mountain spirit travelled over the seas to a distant land. There, he married a powerful woman and in time would return to them. […] They had seen the respect accorded to Queen Elizabeth II by the colonial officials and concluded that her husband, Prince Philip, must be the son referred to in their legends.
Project Azorian ⁓ Pacific Ocean
Project Azorian was a CIA project to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129 from the Pacific Ocean floor in 1974, using the purpose-built ship Hughes Glomar Explorer.
The Soviet Union was unable to locate K-129, but the US knew where to look. [..T]he US identified an acoustic event on March 8 that likely originated from an explosion aboard the submarine. The US zeroed in on the location to within five nautical miles (9.3 km). The recovery operation in international waters about six years later used as its cover mining the sea floor for manganese nodules.
Project MKUltra ⁓ United States
Once Project MKUltra got underway in April 1953, experiments included administering LSD to mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts, and sex workers—people who could not fight back,as one agency officer put it. In one case, they administered LSD to a mental patient in Kentucky for 174 days. They also administered LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, and members of the general public[…] The aim of this was to find drugs which would bring out deep confessions or wipe a subject's mind clean and programme them asa robot agent.
Public Universal Friend ⁓ Jerusalem, NY, US
The Friend suffered a severe illness in 1776 and reported having died and been reanimated as a genderless evangelist named the Public Universal Friend, and afterward shunned both birth name and gendered pronouns. In androgynous clothes, the Friend preached throughout the northeastern United States, attracting many followers who became the Society of Universal Friends.
The Public Universal Friend rejected the ideas of predestination and election, held that anyone regardless of gender could gain access to God's light. Calling for the abolition of slavery, the Friend persuaded followers who held people in slavery to free them.
Ryugyong Hotel ⁓ Pyongyang, North Korea
Construction began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After 1992, the building stood topped out, but without any windows or interior fittings. In 2008, construction resumed, and the exterior was completed in 2011. […] The building remains unopened.
Had it opened on schedule, it would have surpassed the Westin Stamford to become the world's tallest hotel, and would have been the seventh-tallest building in the world.
Samson Option ⁓ Dimona, Israel
The name is a reference to the biblical Israelite judge Samson who pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Philistines who had captured him, crying outLet me die with the Philistines!
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Arab forces were overwhelming Israeli forces and prime minister Golda Meir authorized a nuclear alert and ordered 13 atomic bombs be readied for use by missiles and aircraft. The Israeli ambassador warned president Richard Nixon ofvery serious conclusionsif the United States did not airlift supplies. Nixon complied.
Shakers ⁓ Sabbathday Lake, Maine, US
They were initially known as “Shaking Quakers” because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. They practice a celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, uniform charismatic worship, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalised in their society in the 1780s.
During the mid-19th century, an Era of Manifestations resulted in a period of dances, gift drawings, and gift songs inspired by spiritual revelations. At its peak, there were 2000-4000 Shaker believers.
As of 2017, the only remaining active Shaker community in the United States has three members: Brother Arnold Hadd, Sister June Carpenter, and Brother Andrew.
Star war ⁓ Mayans, Mesoämerica
An inscription from a monument found at Tortuguero (dating from 0669) describes the aftermath of a star war:the blood was pooled, the skulls were piled.
The dates of recorded star wars often coincide with astronomical events involving the Planet Venus, either when it was first visible in the morning or night sky or during its absence at inferior conjunction. Venus was known to Mesoämerican civilisations as the bringer of war.
St. Scholastica Day riot ⁓ Oxford, Oxon., UK
The disturbance began when two students from the University of Oxford complained about the quality of wine served to them in the Swindlestock Tavern, which was based at Carfax, in the centre of the town.
University halls and students' accommodation were raided and the inhabitants murdered; there were some reports of clerics being scalped.
Timeline of the far future ⁓ the Universe
2.8 billion years from now: All life, which by now had been reduced to unicellular colonies in isolated, scattered microënvironments such as high-altitude lakes or caves, goes extinct.
Time Pyramid ⁓ Wemding, Bavaria, Germany
As of 2020, the first 3 of its scheduled 120 concrete blocks have been placed.
Vela incident ⁓ Prince Edward Islands, S. Africa
The cause of the flash remains officially unknown, and some information about the event remains classified. While it has been suggested that the signal could have been caused by a meteoroid hitting the satellite, the previous 41 double flashes detected by the Vela satellites were caused by nuclear weapons tests. Today, most independent researchers believe that the 1979 flash was caused by a nuclear explosion — perhaps an undeclared nuclear test carried out by South Africa and Israel.
Virtual House of Commons ⁓ Westminster, London, UK
[The initial vote] was followed the next day by a vote on an amendment to the Agriculture Bill, where a number of MPs voted against the bill by mistake, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. This led Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard to ask the Government's deputy chief whip Stuart AndrewHow many members of the Cabinet voted the wrong way?, to which Mr. Andrew replied:Just the one. He's a very busy man.
Wojtek ⁓ Hamadān, Iran
Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear bought, as a young cub, at a railway station in Hamadān, Iran, by Polish II Corps soldiers who had been evacuated from the Soviet Union. In order to provide for his rations and transportation, he was eventually enlisted officially as a soldier with the rank of private, and was subsequently promoted to corporal.
Wojtek initially had problems swallowing and was fed condensed milk from an old vodka bottle. He was subsequently given fruit, marmalade, honey, and syrup, and was often rewarded with beer, which became his favourite drink. He later also enjoyed smoking (or eating) cigarettes, as well as drinking coffee in the mornings. He also would sleep with the other soldiers if they were ever cold in the night.
Wow! signal ⁓ Columbus, Ohio, US
The signal appeared to come from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius and bore the expected hallmarks of extraterrestrial origin.
Xenu ⁓ Clearwater, Fla., US
Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of psychiatrists, he gathered billions of his citizens under the pretense of income tax inspections, then paralyzed and froze them to capture their souls.
Official Scientology scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm.
Yahwism ⁓ the Levant
Yahwism was the historic monolatristic worship of Yahweh in the ancient Israelite kingdoms of Judah and Israel (Samaria), Yahweh being one of the many gods and goddesses of the pantheon of gods of the Land of Canaan. Yahwism thus evolved from Canaanite polytheism, making Yahwism the monolatristic primitive predecessor stage of Judaism in Judaism's evolution into a monotheïstic religion.
The deity most commonly worshiped alongside Yahweh was Asherah, venerated as Yahweh's consort or mother. In the Canaanite pantheon, Asherah was El's consort.
Boris Yeltsin circling over Shannon diplomatic incident ⁓ Co. Clare, Ireland
On 30 September 1994, Boris Yeltsin, then president of the Russian Federation, was scheduled for an official state visit to the republic of Ireland but failed to get off his plane when it landed at Shannon Airport. The incident embarrassed the Irish government, in particular taoiseach Albert Reynolds who was left standing at the foot of the stairs to Yeltsin’s plane, and raised questions about Yeltsin's health and fitness to serve.
The Irish Times ran a cartoon on its front page the next day which depicted a bottle of vodka bouncing down mobile stairs while an onlooker states “At last a message from President Yeltsin.”
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