20140725

Mata Hari

In 1917, Mata Hari was sentenced to death in France as a spy for Germany in World War I. 

She was executed by firing squad less than three months later and her name became a synonym for a seductive female spy.


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20140724

Pine Tar Incident

The Pine Tar Incident was a controversial incident during an American League game played between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees on July 24, 1983 at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

With his team trailing 4–3 in the top half of the ninth inning, with two outs, George Brett of the Royals hit a 2-run home run to give his team the lead.

However, Yankees manager Billy Martin, who had noticed a large amount of pine tar on Brett's bat, requested that the umpires inspect his bat. 

The umpires ruled that the amount of pine tar on the bat exceeded the amount allowed by rule, nullified Brett's home run, and called him out. As Brett was the third out in the ninth inning with the home team in the lead, the game ended with a Yankees win.

The Royals protested the game, and American League president Lee MacPhail upheld their protest and ordered that the game be restarted from the point of Brett's home run. The game was restarted on August 18 and officially ended with the Royals winning 5–4.

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20140723

Detroit Riot

The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a violent public disorder that turned into a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan.

It began on a Saturday night in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th (today Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount streets on the city's Near West Side.

Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in United States history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot.

In 1967, rioting erupted on 12th Street in the heart of Detroit's predominantly African-American inner city.

By the time it was quelled four days later by 7,000 National Guard and U.S. Army troops, 43 people were dead, 342 injured.

Major League Baseball

The average life span of a Major League Baseball is 7 pitches.



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20140722

Malaysian government dug a large hole in the ground near the airport tarmac and buried an entire plane

Malaysia Airlines had an unusual claim in 2000 for the total loss of an Airbus A330.

In that case, a canister of a mysterious Chinese shipment destined for Iran broke open near the end of a trip from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur and began leaking, producing a smell that prompted the captain to conduct an emergency evacuation upon landing of all 266 people aboard.

A subsequent investigation found that the hold was contaminated beyond cleaning with mercury and other chemicals that may have been precursors for the manufacture of nerve gas.

The Malaysian government ended up digging a large hole in the ground near the airport tarmac and burying the entire plane. 

20140721

Seeds

When Mom told you not to eat apple seeds, she had good reason.

From peaches to cherries, many fruit seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which turn into cyanide gas during digestion. 

In the last 50 years, at least nine people in Turkey have died of cyanide poisoning from gorging on apricots.

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President Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford is the only person to serve as both president AND vice-president of the U.S. without having been elected to either office.



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White Chocolate

So-called white chocolate isn't chocolate in the technical sense — it is comprised of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no actual chocolate.



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Man Avoids Death After Being Scheduled On Two Doomed Flights

A Dutch cyclist escaped tragedy twice after being scheduled to fly on doomed Malaysia Airlines flights -- Flight MH 17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine, and Flight MH 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean.

According to a Netherlands public broadcaster RTV Oost, Maarten de Jonge was scheduled to be on both Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 and the still missing flight MH 370. In both cases de Jonge ended up changing his flight at the last minute.

De Jonge, 29, confirmed he had been scheduled to take the doomed flight MH 17 but ended up changing his ticket for another flight.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

In 2007, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh installment in the best-selling series, sold more than 8.3 million copies on its first day in bookstores.



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20140720

Germany honored a group of Nazi-era officers

BERLIN - In 2014, Germany honored a group of Nazi-era officers who tried to kill Adolf Hitler 70 years ago.

The plot - portrayed in films such as the 2008 Hollywood movie "Valkyrie" - helped establish a principle under which German soldiers today are encouraged to defy orders if they would result in a crime or violate human dignity.

In a somber ceremony, President Joachim Gauck called the July 20, 1944, bombing of Hitler's Wolf's Lair headquarters in Eastern Prussia a "significant day in German history" for showing the world that there were Germans who opposed the Nazi regime.

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84-Year-Old Grandpa Has Spent The Past 30 Years Collecting Beer Cans

And you thought your beer can collection was huge.

This 84-year-old grandpa's beer can collection is a 30-year effort.

And the kicker is that each can is organized alphabetically by brand.

This beer-lover also built that warehouse especially for the beer cans.

And while it hasn't been appraised yet, his grandson believes the collection to be valued anywhere from $100,000 - $250,000.

Why can't apes learn to speak like a human?

Given that it is possible to teach a chimp how to communicate using sign language, why is it that apes are unable to form words and sentences ? Is it down to a lack of intelligence or are they just physically incapable ?

One notable example of primate communication can be found in the case of a 33-year-old bonobo called Kanzi. Through many years of observing and interacting with humans Kanzi was able to learn how to understand human language sentences and could respond accurately to verbal instructions. His responses, however, were far from human - he couldn't speak the words himself even though he did understand some of them.

The biggest problem is that the vocal chords in non-human ape species operate differently to our own, rendering the recitation of human vocalizations impossible.

On top of this there is also the fact that non-human primates are unable to fully understand the concept of syntax, meaning that while a chimp learning sign language can communicate certain words and phrases it has no concept of forming complex sentences.

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