This Vietnamese Dictator Left Nothing To Chance

In 1955,  Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm printed his ballots on red paper, which the Vietnamese consider a very lucky color. He printed the ballots for his opponent on green paper, which is considered a very unlucky color. Ultimately, he won the election—with more votes than there were registered voters.

Don't Make Jokes About Alien Invasions, One City Violently Learned

In 1949, a radio broadcast based on The War of the Worlds caused panic in Quito, Ecuador. Thousands of people attempted to escape the impending Martian gas raids. Many ran to churches, attempting to confess their sins to overwhelmed priests. A panicked mob set fire to the radio station's building, killing fifteen people inside, but authorities were slow to respond and quell the violence.

Why? Well, most police and soldiers in the city had been sent to the countryside to help fight off the aliens.

The First Color Photograph Is Older Than You'd Expect

The first true color photograph was made in 1861! James Clerk Maxwell wanted to take a photograph of a tartan ribbon. He was really into being Scottish, I guess. The celebrated scientists took a picture of the tartan ribbon three times, each time with a different color filter over the glass lens of his camera. The three images were developed then projected onto a screen together, aligned one on top of the other, to produce a single colored image.

There was no way to actually print the photograph until years later. But hey, Maxwell made the history books, and that's what matters, right?

Owls Are Old!

Owl-like birds, like Berruornis and Ogygoptynx, lived 60 million years ago. Owls are one of the most ancient types of bird, along with chickens, turkeys, and pheasants.

Kinsan Ginsan

The title is the affectionate nickname, given to identical Japanese twins from Nagoya. They were the oldest-living recorded twins in the world. Narita Kin and Kanie Gin were born on August 1st, 1892. Their names, in Japanese, meant "Gold" and "Silver." After being featured in a newspaper article in 1991, when they were about to turn 100, Kinsan Ginsan became celebrities in Japan. Healthy and active, despite their age, the twins were viewed as “an ideal form of living in your sunset years.” Narita Kin died in 2000, at the age of 107, and Kanie Gin died in 2001, at the age of 108.

The World's Oldest Photograph

It was long thought that the world's oldest photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicephore Nipce, a French inventor with the nickname "The Father of Photography." His first photograph is a blurry eight-hour exposure of a building in the French city of Le Gras. But in 2002, and even earlier photograph turned up. Who took it? Why, Nipce in 1825.     The oldest photograph in the world is a photograph of an engraving! A picture of a picture. The Flemish engraving, from the 1600s, shows a man leading a horse.

A Medieval Muslim Perspective on Human Existence

In the 700s, a Persian scholar named Ibn al-Muqaffa recorded a parable, describing human existence. A man fears an elephant so he dangles himself into a pit to hide. He soon realizes there is a dragon waiting at the bottom of the pit, and rats are gnawing on the branches he is holding onto. The man then notices a beehive and tries its honey. He becomes "diverted, unaware, preoccupied with that sweetness" and while he is distracted, the rats finish gnawing the branches. The man falls into the dragon's mouth with sweetness still on his tongue.

What a happy parable!

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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