Movies and television are most people's favorite forms of entertainment, but real life has far more interesting stories to discover, and they all (allegedly) happened. A recent online post highlights some of the stories that sound unreal but are true.
1. Pepsi's Soviet Flotilla
At one point, Pepsi owned the sixth-largest navy in the world, thanks to a deal struck with Nikita Krushchev in 1959 in a strategic goodwill tour. The Pepsi vice president, Donal Kendall, introduced the Soviet premier to the drink, and the Russians loved it so much that he made an order. However, the Soviet ruble wasn't transmissible to the dollar, so the U.S.S.R. paid Pepsi in leftover Cold War vessels, including 17 submarines, a frigate, a destroyer, and a cruiser worth $3 million. They could have declared war on their biggest rivals, but the Soda Wars were never to be.
2. The Human Race
Every day, the world wakes up on beds manufactured with raw materials, eats breakfast harvested from the natural world, and gets into high-tech vehicles created mostly by robots they designed. Even the notion of centrally controlled hot water isn't familiar to much of the world, but it has only been possible for a century in the industrialized world. Although many of us take it for granted, our survival as a species is a daily miracle.
3. A Tragic Lightning Strike
Tragedy struck the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998 when soccer players died following a freak lightning incident. During a league soccer match between Basanga and Bena Tshadi, lightning struck over thirty people, killing eleven. What is most bizarre is that the only team that lost players was the home team, Bena Tshadi. Accusations of witchcraft and sabotage soon arose; however, reports soon established that all the deceased wore metal cleats while their visitors didn't.
4. The American Flag Was a Student's Design
Believe it or not, the current U.S. flag was designed by a high school student named Bob Heft, who sent his design after the White House opened a nationwide design competition. The objective was to add two stars without changing the flag's appearance, which Heft did accordingly. Channeling Betsy Ross and using his mom's current 48-star flag, Heft's design was chosen from 1,500 other entrants by President Eisenhower.
5. China's Cement Fixation
China's exponential economic growth has been staggering over the past few decades. With such growth comes huge industrialization and the use of cement for construction. However, nothing compares to China's period between 2011 and 2013, in which they used more cement than the United States did between 1901 and 2000 — a century's worth of cement in three years.
6. Straw Hat Fascism of the Roaring Twenties
In early 20th-century America, dark and bizarre traditions began to die off, and one such event was the 1922 Straw Hat Riots. Tradition stated that men were not allowed to wear straw hats past the middle of September, and ridiculing those who still did was socially accepted. However, gangs of teenage boys soon devolved into anarchy, actively searching out straw-hat-wearing culprits to criticize and attack. However, it soon led to a four-day riot in which adult men rounded up the young hoodlums to teach them a lesson. “Why, I oughta!”
7. The Curse of Tamerlane
Soviet archaeologists in 1941 discovered the tomb of Tamerlane, Ghengis Khan's descendant Mongol ruler, a feared military leader responsible for 17,000,000 deaths. On his tomb was the inscription: “Whosoever Disturbs My Tomb Will Unleash an Invader More Terrible than I'. Stalin ordered the tomb unsealed, and two days later, Hitler opened his war on the eastern front, invading Russia.
8. Falling to Earth
In 1971, LANSA Flight 508 was flying over the Peruvian Amazon rainforest when it suffered a lightning strike and hurtled to the ground. Somehow, a 17-year-old Peruvian-German girl named Juliane Koepcke emerged from the crash. She was the only survivor, albeit with a broken collarbone, deep lacerations to her arm, and a concussion. However, she survived eleven more days in the rainforest before a rescue party found her. Her story became the subject of Werner Herzog's documentary Wings of Hope (1988).
9. King Harold Loses an Eye
The Norman invasion of England in 1066 is one of the most bizarre transferals of power ever. Saxon king Harold Godwinson famously marched north to defeat Harold III of Norway's Viking army before marching back again to face William of Normandy's army in the south. Though tired, the English had the higher ground and soon gained the upper hand. However, the battle took a bizarre turn when Saxon infantry, encouraged by their impending victory, charged after the fleeing Normans when the king took a longbow arrow to his eye. Harold would be the last crowned Saxon king.
10. North Korea at the 2010 World Cup
The 2010 South Africa World Cup featured a North Korean soccer team that had qualified well, the first team to do so since 1966. However, their team was cursed with the so-called “group of death” alongside Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast, each team beating them soundly. What made their appearance most strange was their fanbase, who were not Korean and made of Chinese actors dressed in Korea's colors, waving flags and hoisting scarves with no passion whatsoever.
11. A Homicide Miracle
On November 27, 2012, the clocks hit midnight across New York City, signaling one of the weirdest nights ever. It heralded a full 24 hours where not a single shooting, stabbing, or slashing took place across all its boroughs. There was one gunshot; a teenager mistakenly shot himself in the leg and checked into a Bronx hospital. As expected, the violence started again in Brooklyn the next morning.
12. The Black Cat Inquisition
Pope Gregory IX was Vatican head between 1227 to 1241, and during his tenure, he decided one day that cats — especially black ones — were the instruments of Satan. He then decreed all cats to be exterminated, which led to a dramatic decline in rodent-eating mammals. Consequently, some historians believe the lack of cats may have been a factor in the exploding rat population that caused the Black Death, wiping out almost half of Europe's population.
11 Stranger Than Fiction Facts That Will Make You Say, “Wait, What?”
We live in a world where strange things are, paradoxically, normal. Science has helped explain many phenomena, from how the Earth orbits the Sun to why we get sick at particular times of the year. The things science does not understand now may seem strange, but we've accepted the fact that in the future, they may not be as strange anymore. But there are some things science understands now and has sufficient evidence for, yet still seem strange to us. No matter how many times we hear them explained or talked about, they still sound weird and wrong.
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12 Ways to Make Your Life Immediately Better: Try These Today!
In today's busy world, it's easy to overlook the little things that make life easier and more enjoyable. We live in a time where it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. That's why it's important to take a step back and find ways to make your life easier and more enjoyable. Even simple things can make a big difference – in this article, we've put together 12 life hacks that you can try today to make your life better immediately.