I'm what you might call a "factoid." I love ironic, unusual facts in science and in history. As you can tell lately, I have been delving into the strange and unusual in history. Today I'm going to present you with some amazing facts and I will give a brief commentary. I take this from this page. There are 87 interesting facts on this page linked above. I'm just going to deal with ten of them. So, let's get started.
1. People have been wearing glasses for about 700 years. (Now, I admit I find this surprising as an eyeglass wearer since I was only 15 years old).
2. The US federal income tax was first enacted in 1862 to support the Union's Civil War effort. It was eliminated in 1872, revived in 1894 then declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court the following year. In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the US tax system. (There is still some debate and controversy of the 16th Amendment giving the federal government the right to levy taxes on citizens. Some say the 16th Amendment is misinterpreted to benefit the federal government).
3. The custom of shaking hands with the strangers originated to show that both the parties were unarmed. (So, that's how that got started. I've always assumed it was just a way to greet people).
4. The Black Death reduced the population of Europe by one third in the period from 1347 to 1351. (Think about that for a moment. One-third of the population of Europe died from disease).
5. Cleopatra married two of her brothers. (I've read that Cleopatra was a nymphomaniac. But, her own brothers?).
6. The first novel ever written on a typewriter was Tom Sawyer. (Ok, I admit I found this surprising that Mark Twain actually had a typewriter and knew how to type).
7. In the 1800s, if you attempted suicide and failed, you would have to face the death penalty. (I can't even begin to understand the logic behind this).
8. During the First World War, the punishment for homosexuality in the French army was execution. (Well, times have obviously changed, haven't they?)
9. Roman Emperor Caligula was so upset by the death of his sister Drusila that he imposed a year of mourning. During this time, everyone in the empire was forbidden to dine with his family, laugh or take a bath. The penalty for transgression was death. (The man was crazy in more ways than just one. If I'm not mistaken, he had taken his sister for a lover).
10. It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years, there have only been 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world. (That is an incredible stat if true. It seems after 3500 years, people could learn to get along).
Yeah, most are useless facts. But, I found these the most interesting out of the entire list of 87 that were listed. You can click on the link above to view all the others.