Best Facts of the Week - Page 6

Dashboards were originally just to protect drivers from horse poop!

Carriages and buggies had a "dash" board that were made of drop cloth or leather. The board kept the horses feet from slinging up mud or poop as they dashed along through puddles and muck keeping the driver and passengers clean.

When motorized vehicles were introduced, the dash board adapted and was used as the instrument panel. Trunks were derived from carriages and buggies, too. At the back of them, trunks, or suitcases, were strapped on for traveling.

Therefore, when the motorized vehicles came around, they added a back area to store things and kept the name trunk, since it is what had been used previously. It was very logical at the time. Several parts of the car are named after practical parts of the carriage and buggy system.


A strange woman showed up in a strange boat on a Japanese shore in 1803. Some believe she may have been an alien!

Folklore rarely recounts anything that really happened, but when a story is told through three different texts, it's hard to dispute some fantastical, mysterious events. Such is the case with the "Utsuro-bune" that showed up in Japan in 1803. The tale provides more questions than answers.

According to the legend, a hollow ship reached the shores in the Hitatchi province with a beautiful young woman inside, along with many texts written in an unknown language. The woman had red hair and eyebrows and was elongated by artificial white extensions, which could have been made by white fur or white-powdered textile streaks. The mentioned hairstyle could never be found in any literature.

The woman was friendly, though off, and held onto a quadratic box made of a pale material that nobody was allowed to touch. She didn't speak a lick of Japanese and couldn't communicate with the fishermen that found her. Eventually the fishermen returned her to the Utsuro-bune and sent it back into the sea, since they believed it was her predetermined destiny.

Ufologists claim that this story represents solid evidence for an alien visit to the small Japanese town. Drawings depicting the woman and Utsuro-bune even have a very saucer-like appearance.


Captain Morgan was a real pirate who later became the Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica. Find out what made him so famous!

Sir Henry Morgan was well known for his privateering. In 1663, Morgan joined a fleet of men that would be sailing the Caribbean and Central America to take over any Spanish settlements and strip them of their riches.

Morgan was the most ruthless and successful privateer in history! Shortly after Morgan's few run-ins with success he became captain of his own ship.

In 1671, Captain Morgan had his eyes on Panama City, known for its riches and occupied by 1500 Spanish settlers and the Governor of Panama. Once getting through the first ships in his way, he collected his riches and his crew began to celebrate, not knowing that the Spanish had hid most of their gold. Morgan and his men got so drunk, that they never recovered the rest of the gold and settled for what they had already taken.

This small battle broke a treaty between the British and the Spanish causing Captain Morgan to return home, where he was arrested. Once things had dissipated between the British and Spanish, the King of England sent Morgan to Jamaica, a British settlement where he had frequented, to become the Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica.

The king grew tired of Morgan's recklessness and fired him from his position. Unfortunately, Morgan spent the remaining years of his life as an over-weight, obnoxious drunk, which would be forever immortalized in his namesake alcohol brand.


Some awesome lists!

The wind can play wind chimes, but did you know the sea has an instrument of its own?

There is a type of instrument called a Tidal Organ which uses the tides as its player. One such organ is located in Zadar, Croatia. The organ was made by architect Nikola BašIć as part of a project to redesign the new city coast and was opened to the public in April of 2005.

Much of the seafront in Zadar was destroyed during WWII and in an attempt to quickly fix it, much of the seafront was turned into a plain concrete wall. The organ was a response to this and has succeeded in bringing tourists and locals alike to the site.

Marble steps that lead down to the water are what you can see on the outside, but underneath those stairs is a system of tubes and a resonating cavity which turns the whole thing into an instrument which plays somewhat random, yet harmonic, sounds. The sounds emerge from holes along the top step.

In addition to the Sea organ, there are a few other tidal organs around the world. The Wave organ is located in San Francisco, which carries the natural sounds of the waves and their interaction with the pipes to listeners at several different stations. The High Tide Organ is another tidal organ which is located in the town of Blackpool, England. This organ features a 50 foot tall sculpture described as a "musical manifestation of the sea.”


The English word "girl" used to be the word for any child, male or female. So how did people distinguish between the sexes?

Up until the sixteenth century, the English word for girl was used to refer to a youngster of either the male or female gender. Trying to relate the story of some rebellious child in medieval times might have proven difficult. In order to refer to a specific sex someone had to add a qualifier.

For a boy this qualifier was knave. An author during those times might write, "The knave girl stepped our of the barn," if he was narrating a story of a boy in a barn.

Girls were referred to as gay and might be addressed as such, "the gay girl fixed her hair in the morning." Of course, these aren't the only examples of these interchangeable words.

"Man" and "men" were also used as gender neutral terms when they were originally formed. Man was used to refer to any "thinker" or member of the human race and the word "men" meant "to think" or "to have a cognitive mind." The difference implemented nowadays to help decipher between man, meaning a male, and man, meaning a thinker, is a simple capital "M."



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