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In 1769 a single lightning bolt killed 3000 people in Brescia, Italy, and caused a large part of the city to be destroyed!

For many centuries people stored gunpowder in churches under the misguided belief that church bells will prevent lightning strikes. We now know that the opposite is true. The tall steeples and towers will encourage lightning strikes.

The most unfortunate example of this happened in August 1769 in Italy. Over 200,000 pounds of explosives were stored in the Church of San Nazaro on Brescia when a single lightning bolt struck its tower.

The resulting explosion and fire killed 3000 people and destroyed a large part of the city.

It is interesting to note that Benjamin Franklin actively advised European governments about the principles of lightning protection for munition stores after the tragedy in Brescia.

Benjamin Franklin and an Englishman, Benjamin Wilson disagreed on which type of lightning protection would be the most effective. Franklin suggested the sharp, pointed rods on top of buildings. Wilson urged the use of ball shaped terminals below the roof line.

George III decided to go with the advice of his countryman and Franklin's rods were removed from many British munition stores and replaced with Wilson's design. One of Wilson's balls disappeared with a big bang during a lightning storm!

Benjamin Franklin became the first person to initiate explosives with electricity and was well ahead of other scientists around the world.


You spend 40 minutes every day blind.

It's not that your eyes aren't working. Your mind is actually blocking images all the time, and refusing to process them. Whenever your eyes move, your brain doesn't process what would normally be very dizzying blurry images coming from the retina. To fill in the gaps of time, your brain creates an illusion for a fraction of a second to keep us from noticing. This is called "Saccadic masking" and it keeps us from experiencing motion blur.

Your brain replaces the blurry images with static images of your next object of focus. Whatever you look at after moving your eyes appears to stay still for a long period of time, because it is actually the same image stretched for a longer period of time to cover up the blur. This is called the "stopped-clock illusion", when the first second on a clock after you turn to look at it appears to take longer than all the other seconds.

Even with a miniscule make-up budget of only $250, 'Dallas Buyers Club' went on to win the Oscar for best make-up and hairstyling!

The make-up budget for the movie 'Dallas Buyers Club' was an astonishingly low $250.

Not $250 to create the skin rashes of AIDS patients in the 1980's. The $250 were not allocated to drastically transform Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto from healthy to near-death AIDS patients up to five times a day either.

The very small budget was for ALL the make-up and hair of the entire cast of the movie, including all extras!

There was so little money allocated to make-up artist Robin Mathews that she had to come up with ingenious ways to create things that a bigger budget movie would use prosthetics for.

She borrowed grits and cornmeal from her mother's pantry to create the seborrheic dermatitis – a rash that AIDS patients suffer from. She didn't even have enough money in her budget to buy those ingredients!

Matthew and Jared had to lose 40 pounds for the movie, but at some stage, when the medication is supposed to kick in, they were supposed to look 25 pounds heavier. Those 25 pounds were added to them by Robin using paint and powder and "dental plumpers" for McConaughey.

According to Robin the Academy Members gasped when they heard what the budget was and Dallas Byers Club went on to win the award for best make-up and hair-styling.


This amazing service dog saved his owner in so many ways

Service dogs devote their lives to helping humans, just another reason they are considered man's best friend.

Many service dogs have been known to do remarkable things, but there's one that grabbed global attention, and for good reason.

Endal was a male Labrador retriever in Britain, born in 1995. He almost never made it as a service dog because he was born with a lifelong debilitating joint condition called osteochondrosis in both of his front legs.

His intelligence and problem-solving abilities, however, more than made up for that, and he became a fully operational and accredited assistance dog despite the fact that he was only part trained.

Allen Parton, Endal's owner, suffered serious head injuries from the Gulf War, including 50% memory loss and inability to reliably make new memories for more than around 2 days, required a wheelchair to move, had speech and word difficulties, an inability to perceive invisible materials, and an inability to safely judge speed and distance of traffic.

What got media attention was Endal's rescue of Parton when the man was knocked out of his wheelchair by a passing car. Endal pulled Allen, who was unconscious, into the recovery position, retrieved his mobile phone from beneath the car, fetched a blanket and covered him, barked at nearby dwellings for assistance, and then ran to a nearby hotel to obtain help.

That's heroic, but Endal was dedicated before then, too. He was able to respond to over one hundred instructions and hundreds of hand signals. He could retrieve items from supermarket shelves, operate buttons and switches, and load and empty a washing machine. He was able to put a card into a cash machine, retrieve the card when the process was complete, and return the card to a wallet, the first dog to be able to do so.

This quote from Allen Parton gives a good account:

"When I couldn't talk, he learned sign language – if I touched my head I wanted my hat, if I touched my face it was for the razor. He learned hundreds of commands in signing. Eventually one day, in this very silent world we lived in, I grunted. That was like an electric shock going through him, he was so excited. They said I'd never speak again, but Endal just dragged the speech out of me." - Able Magazine

Parton states that Endal's ability to comprehend his wishes and needs showed when they first met, and was responsible for helping him recover from the initial deep depression and trauma caused by his disability.


During the Berlin Airlift of 1948, a French general blew up two Soviet radio towers. When the Russian general asked how he could do such a thing, he replied: "With dynamite, my dear colleague."

Brigadier General Jean Ganeval was the Commandant of the French Sector of Berlin during the time of the Berlin Airlift. French participation in the Airlift was limited compared to British and US participation, but when winter came, France played a major role.

Britain and the USA could not keep up with delivering the demand for coal by air, because supplies had to be more than doubled.

France stepped in and built a new airfield in the French sector, Tegel. They accomplished this in a mere 90 days!

There was a problem, though. Two Soviet-controlled radio towers made the approach to the Tegel airfield unacceptably dangerous. Brigadier General Jean Ganeval requested the Soviets to take it down or to move it. They refused.

Ganeval warned them that, if they did not remove the towers, he will remove it for them. They ignored him. He kept his word and on 16 December 1948, on Ganeval's orders, the towers were blown up using explosives.

The Soviets were outraged in their disbelief! Lieutenant General Alexej Kotikow called his French counterpart and asked him how he could possibly have done such a thing.

General Jean Ganeval responded in true French style: "With dynamite, my dear colleague." Unfortunately there is no recorded record of General Kotikow's reaction to this laconic reply.



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