Page 10 - Interesting Facts

In the early 1900's, farmers used their fences to communicate. How they did it is amazing

There's an old saying that goes "give a farmer some wire and a pair of pliers and he will fix anything". Farmers in the US are a resourceful bunch.

Thus, when US phone companies found it too expensive to run telephone cables to rural areas, the farming communities weighed in to solve the problem.

Communication methods in the early 1900's were primitive and rural ranchers were certainly cut off from the world. There was no way of sharing information regarding weather, fires or general problems, with neighbouring farms.

The invention of the telephone and subsequent roll out of a national system gave these isolated folk a glimmer of hope. However, phone companies were focusing on urban areas first, so in 1902, a group of Montana farmers decided to build their own phone network.

Farmers discovered that if you hooked phone sets to the wires of the barbed wire fences that separated the farms, calls could be made. Thus was born the first distributed "party line."

Farmers were now able to communicate and share important information. Even better, there were no operators, no bills and certainly no long distance charges.


Archaeologists found 2000 year old seeds in Israel. One of them sprouted and is now a tree that was extinct for 1800 years!

When archaeologists excavated Herod the Great's palace on Masada, Israel between 1963 and 1965, they found some date palm seeds in an ancient jar.

They were stored in a very dry and sheltered space.

Radiocarbon dating was performed at the University of Zurich and it revealed that the seeds dated from between 155 B.C.E. to 64 C.E.!

They were subsequently held in storage at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, until in 2005.

Three of the seeds were planted after being pretreated in a fertilizer and hormone-rich solution and eight weeks later, one of the ancient seeds sprouted.

Three years later, in 2008, the tree was nearly four feet tall and had nearly a dozen leafs.

The tree is now the only living tree of its kind because the Judean date palm was extinct for more than 1800 years until this seed germinated. This type of palm tree used to be a major food source and an export crop of ancient Judea.

It was decided to name the tree Methuselah, after the longest-lived character in the Bible and it grows at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arabah desert in southern Israel.

In 2011 Methuselah flowered and it was established that it is a male.


There are some facts about corn you did not know, like the fact that it's a grass and is very heavily processed when grown in the United States

America is good at growing corn and they sure do grow a lot of it!

But most American corn differs from corn grown in other countries.

In America, most of the corn grown is a high starch variety that tastes horrible unless it's heavily processed!

So unlike in other countries like South Africa, where you can pick and eat corn right off the land, American corn is literally grown to be processed.

Corn is not a vegetable at all. It's actually a grass and evolved from a grass in Mexico known as the teosinte. Teosinte can actually cross-breed with modern maize varieties to form maize-teosinte hybrids that can go on to reproduce naturally.

Although there is very little health benefits in corn, it is the main ingredient in almost all food in the US. It's used in additives, and High Fructose Corn Syrup has replaced sugar as a sweetener because it is not only sweeter, but also a lot cheaper.

Unfortunately this is very unhealthy, as it raises blood sugar levels much faster and your body converts it to fat faster than any other type of sugar.

In the US 86% of all corn grown is genetically modified—32% is converted into ethanol, 18% is for food additives and 50% is grown to feed animals that will later be served as meat.


Some awesome lists!

Walt Disney actually used to produce pin-up drawings for soldiers.

When you think of Disney, you probably think of magical parks or animated movies. Maybe you even think of them as the second largest broadcasting and cable company in the world.

Perhaps it would surprise you to know that they used to produce pin-ups for soldiers in World War II!

These pin-ups were in ‘The Mousetrap Disney In-House Magazine for Employees In The Service.'

The magazine was done for Disney staffers serving in the military, "to let you know what's going on at the studio."

It was definitely meant for insiders as it notes, "All references herein to characters, persons, and even places living or dead are purely malicious."

There’s actually a directory of some of the servicemen that this went out to. This is fairly insightful, as there were a few surprising names on there.

For example, George Baker ("Sad Sack"), Hank Ketcham ("Dennis the Menace"), and the longtime Tarzan artist Jesse Marsh all received copies. Only 500 of these were ever made, so they are pretty rare.


There are still 3 coded messages from WWII that haven't been decrypted yet, but we are still working on them!

Over the years codes have become increasingly more complex and difficult to crack. It was the birth of computers that mandated the increase in difficulty when creating codes because traditional codes could be broken within minutes once entered into a computer.

During World War II, codes were an important aspect of war for communication and both sides made huge efforts to create the best system and crack the opposing sides information to save the lives of their soldiers. Strangely there were three German codes that the Allied forces were unable to crack during the war and have so intrigued code enthusiast that they are still being studied today!

The codes date back to 1942 and were created by various German encryption techniques. Today, massive computer data bases are searching for what these codes meant, and two have actually been deciphered fairly accurately since new technology was used in 1995. Both were coordinates for German U-boat attacks on British forces, which, if cracked on time, could have saved important lives. The last is yet to be translated, even with supercomputers.

They are so difficult to crack because they were created with plugboards, which swapped pairs of letters during the encoding process and greatly increased the number of possible encryptions. Also, some of the letters are believed to be missing making it even more difficult to decipher the last code!



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