When we think about learning history, our first thought is usually sitting in our high school history class (or AP World History class if you're a nerd like me) being bored out of our minds.
Unless again, you're a huge freaking nerd like me. But I think we all have the memory of the moment where we realized learning about history was kinda cool.
And they usually start from one weird fact.
Here are a few examples of turning points in learning about history, straight from the keyboards of the people at AskReddit.
Redditor Tynoa2 asked:
"What's your favourite historical fact?"
Let’s start off with some super weird facts that you probably never even considered. These are the best.
Trees are honestly really effing cool.
"For 60 million years trees didn't decay. When they died the just fell over and laid there. For 60 million years trees existed before the enzyme that broke them down when they died. So tons of massive trees in the oxygen rich environment just laid on the ground. Until they burned. That's how we have coal."
Did they believe her though?disney bambi GIFGiphy
"In 1726 there was a woman called Mary Toft who tricked doctors into believing that she gave birth to rabbits."
"There was another woman who would take the eggs from her chicken, etch 'jesus has come' into them and shove them back into the chicken who would then lay it again and people actually thought the chicken was a prophet."
A whole river.
"Some time in around the beginning of the 1500's Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli conspired to try to steal the Arno river. They both lived in the city of Florence and at the time there was hostilities with the city of Pisa which was nearer to the mouth of the Arno river and controlled trade on it."
"Da Vinci came up with the plan to create a canal to divert the river so it no longer flowed to Pisa which would allow Florence to dominate the whole region. Da Vinci drew up the plans and Machiavelli put them into action. However Da Vinci didn't oversee the project and instead the engineer who did decided to do it his own way."
"Which would take longer and need more people. In the middle of the project war broke out and the project had to be scrapped due to attacks from Pisa so it never came to be. Still a great historical footnote though."
Some of the most stunning facts come from assassinations for some reason. Especially the ones that survive.
"Roosevelt was shot in the chest during a speech and just continued on like nothing happened."
"He was shot just before his speech and he knew it hadn't pierced his lung since he wasn't coughing up blood, so he bandaged it and went to give his speech."
In another timeline, things might have been different.John F Kennedy Democrat GIFGiphy
"It is very possible - and some consider likely - that JFK could've survived the assassination had he not been wearing a thick, girdle-like back brace that kept him stiffly upright when in public. Kennedy had terrible back problems since serving in WWII that were continually worsening."
"The back brace began as early as JFK met Stalin for the first time and wanted to appear tall and strong since it was at the height of the Cold War, however his pain was so bad he often walked around the WH hunched over and looked decrepit. JFK continued to wear the brace to keep himself upright and portray the strong youthful image he crafted."
"When the first shot was fired, the brace made it nearly impossible to move, much less crouch down in the back seat to get out of the line of fire. He was then struck with the infamous shot to the back/throat which rendered him more immobile and finally the headshot that killed him."
"Parkland doctors testified to the Warren Commission how surprised they were at the size and tightness of the brace and how long it took to get off. One remarked it likely made him a "sitting duck" because of how immobile it would've rendered him."
Good to know before she was beheaded.
"When King Henry VIII was still married to Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard(his future fifth wife) was one of Cleves' ladies in waiting. They were close, even after Cleves' divorce. With all the tragedy and abuse from the men in her life, I'm just glad that she at least had one friend to trust."
Here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for- the facts about famous animals. You’re welcome.
The student teaches the teacher.
"Benjamin Franklin had a pet squirrel. As a little girl, I dressed as him, with a squirrel beanie-baby on my shoulder. My teacher had to look it up on the internet to check if I was right. She was amused."
Sounds on-brand for Jackson.happy dr pol GIF by Nat Geo Wild Giphy
"When Andrew Jackson died they had to remove his pet parrot from the funeral because it couldn't stop swearing."
"He also had a comically large cheese wheel."
Lastly, we gotta shout out the presidents. Sometimes they actually did weird sh*t.
I guess we’ll never know.
"Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech which was so good that all of reporters forgot to take notes, still to this day we don't know what exactly he said."
Well-portrayed in the Hamilton musical.
"That George Washington was known as this Really Talented Dancer, and was very in tune with the dances at the time of his being... Idk why I just never woulda thought this at all but it's dope to hear that dancing/socializing was always a thing!"
"Like from the passage I read it seemed like Whenever George was in attendance at the function, everyone knew he was gonna cut a rug and tear the house down.. and the ladies considered themselves lucky to be his dance partner."
When in Prussia...
"August von Mackensen, imperial German field marshal, commander of the death's head hussar regiment (who the SS would later steal imagery from), was born in 1849. He therefore grew up watching telegraph and train systems grow up around him, and would be 9 when the first ironclad warship was commissioned in France (1859)."
"At that time several of Napoleon's famous marshals were still alive. He served in the Prussian and later German military, and would lead the invasions of Serbia and Romania in WWI. He died in November 1945, just before his 96th birthday.
"Having grown up with muzzle loaders, wooden warships, horse carts, and trains only just being adopted, he ultimately witnessed the rise of telegraph, cinema, radio, powered flight, electricity for the home, recorded music and later film, the early theories of the atom, automobiles, submarines, airships, plastics, early computers, the jet plane, and the nuclear bomb."
"He witnessed 6 German regimes, saw both the rise and fall of imperial Japan, being alive while it was still in isolation, and watched the US go from civil war to superpower. That's how much the world changed in a single documented lifetime, from the mid industrial revolution to the end of WWII. The sheer rate of change boggles the mind. He also had a really cool hat."
Little FellaLooney Tunes Animation GIFGiphy
"Stalin was only about 5’4” and wore high raised boots to make himself look taller"
Don't Hit Snooze
"Hitler overslept on D-Day and refused to send reinforcements because he believed it was a decoy."
"Another funny story about him: The Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun became a scumbag Nazi sympathiser in the 30’s and 40’s, which led to him having a meeting with Hitler."
"Since Hamsun’s hearing was very poor, he kept asking Hitler to speak louder, and louder, till Hitler was screaming in rage. Witnesses said they had never heard him so angry, and Hamsun was lucky to live. I think he was declared as a national disgrace. His books were good, too, but he was a despicable man."
Fast & Furious
"Orville Wright of Wright Brothers fame lived long enough to see an airplane fly faster than the speed of sound."
"Yeah it's weird to think about: the first flight was 1903, and we landed on the Moon just 66 years later. That's easily within a single lifetime."
Get the Dogs
"In WWII the Soviets tried to make anti-tank dogs which were dogs strapped with bombs trained to run under tanks. The problem was that they trained on soviet tanks that ran on gasoline when German tanks ran on diesel. So long story short the first field test resulted in them running under their own tanks instead of the Germans and thus ended that wild chapter of history."
"Coolidge also liked to have Vaseline rubbed onto his head while he ate breakfast. Presidential fun facts are wild. One of my favorite ones is Andrew Jackson's inauguration turning into an absolute rager. And him beating the living crap out of his almost assassin with a cane."
"Mary Lincoln had to invite people over for breakfast because Mr.Lincoln would just start working and then forget to eat, which was apparently a very common occurrence. He'd be socially obligated to join everyone for breakfast."
Tag! You're it!scooby doo halloween GIF by Boomerang OfficialGiphy
"Calvin Coolidge, as president, played hide and seek with the secret service."
"The taunt 'kiss my a$' was first recorded being used by a German mercenary lord named Gotz von Berlichingen and nicknamed Gotz of the Iron Hand. (He lost a hand in battle and a blacksmith made him a high tech fake iron hand). He shouted that taunt to his enemy when he was told the surrender a fort he was defending."
"Nobody truly knows who was the first person to reach the top of Mount Everest. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first recorded people to reach the top, but many think climbers Mallory and Irvine reached the top before dying on the descent."
"Evidence pointing to this theory being correct is that Mallory always said how he would leave a picture of his family at the summit, and when his body was found in 1999 the picture was not in the pocket (but other papers like bills and otherwise unimportant notes were found)."
"The last person to see them alive noted that they were determined to reach the top that day and he saw them pushing towards the summit. Mallory's body was found with a pick-axe wound to the head, suggesting that his tool had bounced off a rock when he tried to use it to stop himself from falling, killing him."
The Bardwilliam shakespeare GIF by will herringGiphy
"William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers, poets and playwrights of British history, could not spell his own name right consistently, spelling it at least six different ways in his lifetime."
As for me, my favorite weird historical fact is that Anne Boleyn had an extra finger. That fact is frequently overlooked in favor of her identity as Henry VIII sixth wife. I could go into that, but they already made a whole musical about it.
Anyway, I hope this made history a little more fun for you. It's not all memorizing dates- sometimes you never know what you'll find in a history book
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June is a happy and exciting month for the LGBTQ+ community, being Pride Month.
Where people can proudly celebrate who they are and who they love.
And the crowds at these events seem to only grow bigger every year, as more and more LGBTQ+ allies also partake in the celebration.
Some of these allies might be late to the party, as it were, owing to the fact that they once held homophobic views, and only recently became more educated and changed their minds.
Redditor aestheticbear was curious what exactly it was that led former homophobes to change their previous views, leading them to ask:
"Former homophobic people of Reddit: what happened that made you stop being homophobic?"
It was what they were taught.
"Like many here, I grew up around people where homophobia was the norm."
"I come from a Latino, Mexican, background and I'm really ashamed of how much homophobia/hate in general there is in our culture."
"Since most Mexicans are Catholic, I grew up around the church a lot, especially since my father had once been a Catholic priest, long story."
"Growing up, and to this day, I was surrounded by lots of hate towards the LGTBQ+ community."
"My parents would often make remarks making queer people seem almost as if they were crazy."
"They would often say that they were crazy for wanting 'gay rights' and even saying 'yuck' if they saw a movie scene where 2 people of the same sex where kissing."
"As a kid, I was sort of brain washed into all of this."
"As I grew older, I learned more about the world around me especially learning from friends who had come out."
"I especially owe a lot to a teacher of mine who had opened my eyes up to many issues of our world."
"Now I'm a proud pansexual."- davvaz62
By simply getting to know them.
"I met some gay people."
"As it turns out they were just people"- moolord
By witnessing unjustified judgment.
"Not homophobic, but I woke up at about 10 when my mom said my uncle was banned from coming to our vacation condo by my father because he was gay."
"Before then I kind of let the arguments and both sides bit wash over me, but that was a crystallization point where I started noticing it as pure bigotry."
"I'm sorry the nicest dude in the family full of domestic violence and white collar drug abusers cant come to Christmas because he's gay?"
"You're both cheating on each other, sanctity of what marriage now?"- Robin_games
My mother knocked some sense into me
"My mom slapped me and told me everyone has a right to be happy."
"That was in 9th grade 13 years ago."- Bloodllust
"Homophobia was the norm when I was growing up."
"Then I got older and the political landscape changed which made me question my belief and I came to the conclusion it just didn't make any sense to be homophobic."- LuciferIsFallen
"Realized that, fundamentally, being gay is just 'what' you are. It’s not 'who' you are."
"I came out as gay."- pethal
"Stopped listening to my homophobic family and left their religion."
"Oh and also realized I myself was pretty gay."- Raidden
Just one moment of clarity
"I wasn't super homophobic, just a 'love the sinner, hate the sin' kind of guy."
"On my last day in high school, someone said 'Why do I care? They're not hurting me'."
"Cured me in three seconds."
"I still remember how magical that moment was for me."- Dirgonite
"There are 20 years between myself and my youngest brother."
"I, and my SO, was raised in an explicitly homophobic/biphobic/transphobic fundamentalist religion, that I left with my SO in my early 20s.
"So I had a lot of internalized, conditioned, toxic beliefs about the LGBTQ that needed to be deconstructed."
"My little brother was obviously either gay or bi and it was obvious from the time he was six imho."
"He came out to my sisters, SO, and I as bi when he was 11 and we were like 'tell us something we don't know lol'."
"I think watching him just grow up, it was obvious that he hadn't chosen to be that way, it was just how he was."
"This false narrative that LGBTQ are somehow defective or sinners became more disgusting to me over time."
"I can't remember exactly when it happened but my SO and I were like 'if our future child happened to be LGBTQ, could we teach that child the things we were taught about the LGBTQ?'"
"'We were like 'no, that would be evil'."
"Now, we have an 18yo niece that recently came out as lesbian and we feel honored to be the only family that she trusts enough to introduce to her first GF."
"Spending time with her just reaffirms the fact that there is nothing wrong with the LGBTQ, it was our upbringing that was defective."- Jormungandr91
It's amazing how so many ignorant people don't realize that all one needs to do to see a little more clearly is to open your eyes.
Here's hoping that they help others who remain as ignorant as they once were to open their eyes as well.
Everyone has unusual phobias.
Things which they simply can't bear the sight of, and are forced to turn away when they find themselves in the presence of it.
More often than not, these things are usually habits or behaviors which one normally wouldn't do in polite society.
But, have you ever been repulsed by something that the majority of people might consider "normal"?
Something that's just an everyday occurrence in life?
Redditor Allthelights011 was curious to learn what "normal" things fellow Reddit users were disgusted by, leading them to ask:
"What’s a completely normal thing you find disgusting?"
Fun to do, not to watch.
"Watching people eat."- elladeighthecat·
Just not my style
"Gauged ears, or is it gaged ears?"
"I don't know."
"Big gross holes in people's ears gross me the f*ck out."- alienanimal
Blood? No problem. Saliva on the other hand...
"I was a nurse for 6 months before I found a better paying job and I could deal with blood, feces and urine no problem but if someone is drooling or spitting it grossed me out."- sayziellwatching arrested development GIFGiphy
Just because it's nature doesn't mean it isn't gross.
"When animals are 'doin' it'."- Colonelfudgenustard
"I know it's completely normal but just the initial cramps and mood swings honestly suck."
Mmm, that's good.
"Licking fingers while eating."- scapstickoscar isaac eating GIFGiphy
Not pleasant to watch or do.
"The feeling after you puke is terrific."
"It's all the sh*t you feel beforehand and the act of throwing up itself that weirds me out."- geico_fire
No one needs them or needs to see them.
"I know people can’t help them and they’re painful to remove but they make me physically ill."- Stealthnt13
Wash your freakin' hands!
"Dirt in your nails"- dejavuthrills
If I didn't actually have to, I wouldn't...
"Pooping!"- stormwaltzToilet Pooping GIF by Alberto PozoGiphy
Perhaps what's most difficult about these particular aversions, is that ignoring or avoiding them, or simply looking the other way might not be possible.
Leaving one no other choice than to grin and bear it.
And maybe occasionally withhold the vomit you feel coming...
Chances are, you've been told to try new things ever since you were a little kid. I know I was.
Sometimes, certain activities or experiences seem crazy, and you don't even want to give them a chance.
This could be true of some things. For example, there is no reason to ingest tide pods.
Sometimes an activity or experience that seems crazy only seems that way because you haven't tried it yet.
I thought nothing good could come of mixing buttery popcorn with Swedish Fish, but now it's my favorite snack!
Redditor TheUnthinkableVids wanted to know about other things that seem crazy, but should be given a chance.
"What’s a “don’t knock it till you try it” experience that you would weirdly recommend?"
Having Fun Doing You
"It has a bad reputation of power tripping nerds deluding themselves in public with seemingly no self awareness, but give it a go."
"I found it was more like sparring with a stunt troupe. It was harder than it looked, and everyone was having fun doing their thing while ignoring the haters, which was pretty cool I must admit."
The Perfect Sauce
"Balsamic glaze on pizza."
"Have it on Vanilla ice cream. Amazing."
"Basalmic on watermelon is refreshing!"
"Climbing onto your roof"
"I like how most of the responses in this thread are "try psychedelics" or "go skydiving" or "see a therapist" but you're like, "have you ever been on your roof?""
"Gotta admit though, I've been on my roof and it's strangely satisfying. You get a vantage point to see something that you see everyday, just a little higher up."
"A lot of computer noobs think that they would never use more than one monitor, and they don't see the purpose behind it. Bruh. It's magical, trust me."
"I could use a third tbh"
"I was one of those computer noobs for the longest time. A second monitor changed my life. Then I eventually got a third.... And I can't lie if every now and then I didn't tell myself "a fourth monitor would be quite convenient in this situation....."
Cheese And Everything
"Fresh Mozzarella and honey"
"Or really any cheese and honey. I love eating sharp aged cheddar with hot honey."
"Cheese and jam on toast"
"Cream cheese and grape jelly sandwiches! (On toast)"
Pampering Is Always Good
"Pedicure for men."
"My mom made me get one with her when I was a teenager. It rocked. Adult me gets a pedi at least once a month now. $25 to sit in a massage chair while someone cuts my toenails and massages my feet/legs? Yes please!"
The Magic of Salt
"Black pepper and salt on watermelon"
"Salt on pineapple!"
"A little sprinkle of salt in your coffee"
"Salt in Fanta"
"Draw a bath, turn the shower on, turn the lights off, prop up an umbrella, have a headlamp, a beverage and a good book."
"You look crazy, but try it, you’ll like it."
Be Your Own Best Friend
"Go to a restaurant on your own. Cinema on your own."
Jumping Out Of A Plane...Safely
"Skydiving. I did a tandem for my 60th I wish I had of done it when I was younger and learnt to do it solo."
"Tandem skydiving instructor here - I wish everyone would try it at least once, it isn't as bad as most people expect, and is much safer than the general public is willing to admit! Glad you had fun :)"
You don't even have to try something if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but sometimes pushing boundaries and stepping out of your comfort zone can be the best thing for you.
Give seemingly crazy things a chance, and who knows what could happen? You could end up finding a great new hobby... or at least something delicious to eat!
Wise people tend to glorify the past for good reason. Simpler times seemed to indicate just that. Less life drama.
While many technical advances have also made our current life easier, it certainly has come with its share of complications that never existed prior to another time.
Curious to hear from strangers online, one Redditor asked:
"What was actually better in the past?"
People found traveling, particularly flying, was less dramatic back in the day.
"This is true. We used to go to the airport to go to the cafe within the airport, watch the planes take off, people watch."
Comfort In The Skies
"Flying in general."
"More seat space, meals included (and a choice of meals), actual metal utensils, luggage included, no need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight..."
A Proper Send-Off
"And you could say goodbye to your friends at the gate. Get there early before the flight and grab a leisurely meal with them. Man, airports used to be fun."
"In the 90s airport security took half as long."
Many Redditors believe living in the present is a huge economical inconvenience.
"Prices vs earnings."
"Psh. Try childcare. Our childcare cost for two children is more than our mortgage. When I was the same age, it cost my parents about $50/week. Today that would be roughly $135/week per kid. We’re paying $500/wk and still don’t have full time care for both kids. Sh*t’s crazy."
Criminals seemed to have a field day once upon a time.
"Being a criminal. If there was a security camera, it was too low resolution to make your face very identifiable."
"also DNA analysis and fingerprinting wasn't as good, no Internet to track you."
Leaving The Country Undetected
"It used to be that it was possible for someone to commit a serious crime, move across the country, and never be caught. As communications technology has improved, that’s no longer feasible."
How people occupied their time in the past seemed to be more favorable.
The Life-Line Device
"Smart phones too, Reddit is the only social media I use and still I stare at this f'king thing 5 hours a day. I know I’m addicted to it and I’d love to punt it but unfortunately it’s also my phone, my map, my camera, my tape measure, my dictaphone, my Walkman etc. etc."
The sentiment that the past was better stems largely from nostalgia.
Aside from accessing our Gameboys and Tamagochis, my friends and I would ride our bikes or skateboard out in the cul-de-sac.
We would scrape our knees from falling, get knocked to the ground playing freeze tag, and come home with dried mud on our clothes from a day of roughhousing.
It was some of the best times of my childhood, and I feel for today's youth who still have the option of playing outside but choose to live on their iPads and iPhones instead.
They don't know what they're missing, TBH. Maybe it's just me.