Page 154 - Interesting Facts

German WWII pilots would put bottles of Coca-Cola on the underside of their wings. They weren't weapons, though


While fighting in North Africa, German troops found cases of Coca-Cola that had been left behind by the Allied forces. Due to the extremely hot climate in the region, German fighters were forced to devise a way to cool the beverages prior to consuming them.

In order to cool the drinks, the soldiers would wrap the bottles of Coca-Cola in wet towels and affix them to the underwings of their planes. After landing their planes, the soldiers would have a cool beverage to drink in the hot African sun.

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Movie theaters used to have soundproofed "cry rooms" just for crying babies, and they're making a comeback!


Many of the early movie theaters were much more elaborate than the ones we’re accustomed to today. The theaters had several amenities and features that are hard to find in modern cineplexes.

One such feature was the “cry room,” which was an soundproofed, elevated room in the back of the theater. The rooms were used by mothers that brought crying babies to the theater so that they wouldn’t disturb the other audience members.

The rooms typically featured a large glass window and a public address system so that mothers could still watch and hear the movie while they attempted to calm their children down. Many of the rooms also came equipped with bottles of formula and nurses in order to help calm the babies.

Cry rooms are making a resurgence in modern times, with a handful of theaters around the country reinstituting the practice, including the Landmark chain.

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Notorious murder James D. French's last words before being executed were a joke—and a pretty funny one at that


James D. French was an American criminal who, while hitchhiking across Texas in 1958, kidnapped a motorist who offered him a lift. He killed his hostage near Stroud, Oklahoma. He was 22 years old at the time.

French was sentenced to life in prison for the murder. He already had 5 children and was very much loved by his girlfriend, Angel Goudy. Not willing to spend his life in prison, and too scared to commit suicide, he strangled his cellmate to death in an effort to force the state to order the death penalty.

Before French killed his cellmate, Eddie Shelton, he decided the man should have a last meal, and treated him to a steak sandwich from the snack bar. French issued a plea to be executed without appeal.

On 10 August 1966, at the age of 30, James Donald French was electrocuted at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He was the last person executed under Oklahoma’s death penalty laws prior to Furman v. Georgia and the only person executed in the United States in 1966. Apparently French’s famous last words before his death by electric chair were: “How’s this for a headline? 'French Fries'”

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Doctors in Renaissance Italy wore beak-like masks to prevent the spread of the plague. But did it work?


In the time of the plague, it was believed that bad smells were the principal cause of disease. This theory has been since disproved by the scientific theory of germs. Plague doctors therefore wore special costumes to protect them from the infection.

The doctor’s costume consisted of an ankle-length coat, boots and a wide brimmed leather hat to indicate his profession. He also wore a bird-like beak mask filled with strong smelling substances.

The mask had glass openings for the eyes and a curved beak shape that was held in front of the doctor’s nose with straps. The beak had two small nose holes and could be filled with dried flowers (such as roses and carnations), herbs (like lavender, mint and garlic), spices, camphor or even a vinegar sponge.

It was believed that the herbs would keep ‘evil’ smells away, preventing the doctor to become infected.

To make sure they stayed safe, the doctors never touched their patients – they even used a wooden cane to take a sick person’s pulse! The canes were also used to keep people away from them, to examine patients and to remove clothing from plague victims’ bodies. It's probably this practice, instead of their masks, that kept them from being infected.

These doctors will certainly not be remembered for their considerate bedside manner!

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Until 2011, beer was considered a food in Russia—not an alcoholic beverage!


Until 2011, everything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia was classified as food. This meant that beer was available in all stores and kiosks around the clock and it was common to see people drink beer in parks and in the streets as if it was a soft drink.

By 2011, Russian alcohol consumption had reached twice the critical level set by the World Health Organization. Although vodka has always been the ‘traditional’ drink in Russia, beer was marketed as a ‘healthier alternative’—increasing beer sales by 40% while vodka sales dropped by nearly 30%

The Russian beer industry was hit by a 200% tax hike on its products in 2010, as ministers sought to bring the beer swigging country under control. Eventually, beer was classified as alcoholic, with the law coming into effect in 2013.

This law allows ministers to exercise the same control over beer sales that they have over the sales of spirits like vodka. Beer is no longer sold in unlicensed kiosks and stores, and is only sold between certain hours. The advertising of beer is also now restricted.

"The law brings some order into the sale of beer," said Vadim Drobiz, director of the Centre for Federal and Regional Alcohol Market Studies.

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