Thursday, May 2, 2013

10 Factlets

1. The middle name of US President Harry Truman (188 – 1972), who was President between 1945 – 1953, was simply the letter “S” – Harry S Truman. His parents chose "S" as his middle initial to please both of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. The "S" did not stand for anything, a common practice among the Scots-Irish. 

2. In 1977, Australian driver Alan Jones scored a surprise victory in the Austrian Grand Prix. Initially officials were going to play the Austrian anthem but then realised that Australia and Austria were not the same country. Unfortunately, they didn't have the Australian anthem so instead a local drunk played "Happy Birthday to You" on a trumpet. 

3. Australia was the second self governing country to give women the right to vote, in 1902. The first country to do so was New Zealand, in 1895. 

New Zealand did not give women the right to be elected to parliament until 1919. Australia gave this right in 1902. 

South Australia gave women the vote in 1895 and the right to sit in Parliament in the same year. Western Australia followed suit in 1899 and New South Wales in 1902. 

The UK gave women over 30 the right to vote in 1918. Voting on the same terms as men did not happen until 1928. 

Many countries gave women the right to vote after the end of WW1, among them the USA which gave the vote in 1919. 

4. False eyelashes were invented by the American film director D.W. Griffith while he was making his 1916 epic, "Intolerance". Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life. A wigmaker wove human hair through fine gauze, which was then gummed to Owen's eyelids. "Intolerance" was critically acclaimed but flopped financially, leaving Griffith with huge debts that he might have been able to settle easily - had he only thought to patent the eyelashes. 

5. The YKK that you see on zippers stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha which is the name of the founder of the zipper manufacturing company in Japan.

6. Homosexuality was listed as a mental illness with the American Psychiatric Association (APA) until 1973. It has since been removed and is now considered an orientation by the APA instead of an illness 

7. In 2005, Advertising Age cited Ronald McDonald as the number two top-10 advertising icon of the twentieth century. The Marlboro Man was number one 

8. At the same time the Star Trek series was beginning to create a loyal following, the Monkees were exploding onto TV sets. Consequently, Roddenberry created the character of Pavel Andreievich Chekhov (above) as a close approximation of the Monkees’ lead singer, Davy Jones (below) —with a Russian accent 

9. The first nude scene in a major motion picture was of Australian swimmer and actress Annette Kellerman (1887-1975) in the silent film A Daughter of the Gods (1916). The scene takes place in a waterfall seuqence and was controversial as being superfluous nudity, notwithstanding that most of Kellerman's body is covered by er long hair.  The film has been lost, only stills remain.

10. The ancient Greeks believed a blessing might prevent evil from entering your body during its unguarded state while you sneeze. 

Our tradition comes from the black plague of 1665, when sneezing was believed to be one of the first symptoms of the disease. Infection meant certain death, and so the symptom was greeted with the prayer, “God bless you,” which through time has been shortened to “Bless you!” 

Today, the phrase is still used after a sneeze.

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