Page 8 - History Facts

John Muir once 'kidnapped' the president and managed to save Yosemite by doing so!


The early 20th century was a simpler time full of slow cars, formal wear, and kidnapping the president to get your way.

John Muir, National Parks advocate and nature lover, needed to steal adventure-lover Theodore Roosevelt from the boring scheduled dinners and speeches and show him the real Yosemite.

Yosemite was in danger of being mined out, overrun with logging camps and used for sheep herding.

Yosemite's great protector, John Muir, wouldn't stand for this kind of treatment of one of the most beautiful places on Earth and was prepared to take drastic measures to show the president what fun a little wilderness is. It wasn't tough to convince Teddy Roosevelt to play along.

The party the president traveled with continued on after resting, assuming he was in the front car. When the caravan was out of sight, Muir and Roosevelt came out of hiding and camped along the Glacier Point trail for a few days, enjoying camp fires and porterhouse steaks.

When the president finally returned, he made it his personal mission to set aside vast reserves of protected forests and double the amount of National Parks. Mission accomplished!

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Silly string is used in the US and British Armies!


In their Iraq missions, troops from these countries developed a way to search for traps. They sprayed open doorways and halls with silly string to detect and maneuver around tripwires, preventing explosions!

How does it do this? silly string is sticky enough to latch itself onto wires without weighing too much and setting off traps. At the peak of the War in Iraq, people held silly string drives to send the canned goop to troops overseas! To read more on the properties of silly string and other uses, click the Source below!

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This might just be the silliest communication ever made from space


Has it ever happened to you that you suddenly remembered that you forgot to file your tax returns? Well, it happened to John Swigert at a very inopportune time!

He was the Command Module Pilot aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft, and was quite a distance away from Earth when it dawned on him.

The difficulties experienced by the Apollo 13 mission were watched by the entire world, and everybody was holding their breath and praying for the safe return of the astronauts after a drop in power in one of the module’s two main electrical circuits.

Swigert uttered the words that were repeated by his captain Jim Lovell in communication to Houston, “Houston, we've had a problem…” signaled the biggest emergency in the history of space exploration at that time.

But it's less known that the first ‘emergency’ Swigert informed Houston of was that he forgot to file his tax returns! The usually calm astronaut was in a mild panic.

“How do I apply for an extension?” he asked seriously. Mission control erupted in laughter. “Things kinda happened real fast down there and I need an extension. I’m really serious!” he insisted, “Would you turn it in?”

Flight Director Glynn Lunney put his mind at ease by explaining that American citizens out of the country get a 60-day extension on filing. “I assume this applies,” he added dryly.

Thankfully, after a very tumultuous journey, all three astronauts returned safely to earth and Swigert had the opportunity to file his tax returns – although I believe it was very far from his mind by the time he splashed down in the Pacific Ocean!

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Some awesome lists!

An Arabic scholar theorized evolution and natural selection 1000 years before Darwin!


Most of the world knows Charles Darwin as the father of the theory of evolution. There was, however, someone who thought about it long before him. Al-Jahiz was an Arabic scholar. He was born in Basra in 776 and later, frequently traveled to Samarra and Baghdad to study literary and scientific works.

After extensive work with animals, Al-Jahiz put forward a theory on biological evolution. He recognized the environmental effects on animal life and also the way species changed under different factors.

Al-Jahiz also identified natural selection, or the evolution of a species according to which members actually survive to reproduce. Sounds like he would have given Darwin a run for his money.

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According to Julius Caesar's will, Decimus Brutus was the second listed heir if Octavian died or refused his inheritance!


Shakespeare gave a very dramatic version of Julius Caesar’s funeral, but the version closer to the actual truth is that of Roman historian Appian. It is therefore of great historic interest.

When Caesar’s will was produced, the people wanted it to be read immediately. In his will Caesar gave his gardens to the people for recreational activity and he also gave every Roman living in the city 75 Attic drachmas.

The fact that Caesar was accused of being a tyrant was very upsetting for the people, as he was now obviously seen as a kind philanthropist.

In his will Octavian, his sister’s grandson, was adopted by Caesar and that would have meant a very large and handsome inheritance for him. It was Roman custom at the time to name a second person in case the first choice refused or failed for some reason to claim the inheritance.

Imagine the fury of the people when they discovered that the man Caesar named as second in line for his inheritance was none other than Decimus Brutus – one of his murderers!

The crowd went hunting for the murderers after seeing the 23 wounds inflicted on their leader, but the guilty had already fled the city in secret.

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