Best Facts of the Month - Page 6

Charles Dickens is the reason we celebrate Christmas as we do today!

Christmas used to be a very church-centered holiday. The observance of it was falling at the end fo the 18th century / beginning of the 19th century. 

However, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" would change the way Christmas is celebrated up to this day. The main shift that occurred due to Dicken's work is from a church-centric celebration to a self-centered generosity festival.

The story of Scrooge changing his mind and helping out his workers moved people into celebrating Christmas as a time for being generous, being around loved ones and helping people out. This shift resulted in the more typical celebration of today, where families get together and celebrate by eating. 

He also helped propagate emerging traditions such as gift-giving and the display of Christmas trees, which had been introduced by Prince Albert but were not ingrained into the public consciousness until Dicken's work became popular.

As a last note, while some of these traditions had in some form existed before, they were dwindling and were repopularized by Dickens. There's a lot more on this subject to read, so check out the sources!

(Sources 1 and 2)

Scientists have found beginnings of morality in some primates!

It makes sense that the animals most evolutionarily close to us would exhibit early manifestations of higher social behavior. In this case, scientists have observed that some primates are surprisingly sensitive to others' problems. For example, chimpanzees can't swim. Despite this, some chimpanzees have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others from drowning.

More evidence: Scientists set up an experiment where rhesus monkeys could pull a chain to get food. If they pulled the chain, however it would shock one of the monkey's companions. The result? They starve themselves for several days.

Behaviorists say that human morality grew out of this primate sociality, with two extra levels of sophistication: humans have a much more rigorous enforcement of moral codes with rewards, punishment and reputation building. We also have a degree of judgment and reason, something that other animals haven't developed.


San Francisco is no longer the US's gayest city!

According to the US Census Bureau, the city of Seattle has overtaken San Francisco as the city with the highest concentration of gay couples.

2.6% of Seattle's households are gay couples (or 1 in 17), which barely edges out San Francisco at 2.5% in the study which considered the top 50 US cities by population.

The third is Minneapolis at 2.4%. According to the bureau, the reason Seattle beat out San Francisco is because there are many more lesbian couples in Seattle.

If you're curious, the bottom 3 are Colorado Springs (0.29%), Fort Worth (0.26%) and El Paso (0.25%)


Some awesome lists!

Isaac Newton was so devoted to science that he stuck a needle behind his eye to test a hypothesis!

Newton thought that color is infused by pressure on the eye. To prove this, in an optical experiment, Newton stuck a darning needle around the side of his eye until it poked the backside. 

He calmly noted that he saw white, dark, and colored circles when he stirred the needle in his eye. Although it is not known what he concluded from his experiment, Newton argued that light is composed of particles. 

Science later adopted a wave theory of light and color, because of what some experiments found. Newton had some vindication on his theory, though. With the discovery of quantum mechanics, light is now thought to be both a wave and a particle. 


Two thieves dressed as Boston police stole $500 million from a museum. Nobody knows how!

In what remains as the largest property crime in United States history, also remains as one of the most impressive feats when it comes to burglaries.

Two thieves with astounding confidence at 1:24AM simply asked to be buzzed in by security after claiming that they were called to the scene because of a disturbance.

The security guard without asking any other further questions, let the burglars in.

At the time of the burglary, there were only two security guards on duty. One of them was assigned to sit at the desk to monitor the cameras, and notify police if there were any robberies or disturbances.

The other security guard was to walk around the museum and make sure nothing suspicious was happening.

The two thieves took advantage of this by first approaching the guard at the desk. The thieves claimed that they recognized the man at the desk from an outstanding warrant, and 'arrested him' on the spot by putting him in handcuffs.

The second guard heard the commotion and made his way over to the thieves, who was also 'arrested'. The security guard asked "What am I being arrested for?" To which one of the thieves responded "You aren't. This is a robbery".

The robbery lasted 81 minutes, as the thieves stole 13 paintings. The security guards remained handcuffed, with their mouths duct taped until police arrived the next morning around 8 AM!



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