todayilearned

TIL that the movie, U-571, states that Americans were responsible for capturing the first enigma machine. The truth is that the first enigma machine was captured by the British, 7 months before the Americans entered the war.

TIL that the movie, U-571, states that Americans were responsible for capturing the first enigma machine. The truth is that the first enigma machine was captured by the British, 7 months before the Americans entered the war.

Tony Blair ridiculed the movie in Prime Minister's questions. Bill Clinton dismissed the movie as a work of fiction.

The Americans never captured a single enigma machine. 2 were by Canadians, 13 by the British.

What I find most interesting is how the intelligence from cracking the Enigma code was used.

They had to be very careful. If too many convoys were guided around lurking wolf packs or U-Boats were being found and sunk out of the blue, the Germans would get suspicious and change the code. They would try and provide an other explanation for why the wolf packs were skirted or attacked - over fly them with recon planes first for example.

And in many instances, the choice was made not to act on the intelligence. Can you imagine how tough a call it would be to know a convoy was about to blunder into a wolf pack ambush and have to decide to let it happen for the greater good?

Technically that is incorrect. The submarine U-505 that was captured by the Americans in 1944 had an enigma machine aboard. Too late in the war to be of much use but they still did capture one.

You should watch "Imitation Game" with Benedict Cumberbatch. Great movie all about Alan Turing trying to crack the first captured Enigma

Edit: not a completely historically accurate movie. Just a really great, entertaining, enjoyable movie loved by many.

TIL When Alexander the Great was invading India he learnt of a Brahmin who lived in the woods. He visited him and the Brahmin replied, "You will soon be dead, and then you will own just as much of this earth as will suffice to bury you". Alexander approved of this sentiment and left him in peace.

TIL When Alexander the Great was invading India he learnt of a Brahmin who lived in the woods. He...

Two famous quotes attributed to Alexander about his death

"Bury my body, don't build any monument. Keep my hand outside so that the world knows, one who won the world had nothing in hand when he died."

and

"A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.

Uh, they're the ones not stunted by malnutrition or broken by a overseer's staff.

Also when alexander found diogenes looking through a pile of human bones diogenes said " I am looking for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from the bones of a slave"

Oh thanks, I'm not much of a bone guy.

TIL of Dock Ellis, a professional pitcher who threw a no-hitter while high on LSD

TIL of Dock Ellis, a professional pitcher who threw a no-hitter while high on LSD
TIL of Dock Ellis, a professional pitcher who threw a no-hitter while high on LSD

Depending on how he reacted to the LSD, it may have given him an advantage. LSD can improve focus and concentration; and some people experience a mild euphoria that could prevent a pitcher from becoming anxious or tight as he progresses towards a no-hitter.

Ellis said he could barely see the catcher.

But he could feel the waves of reality that carry the ball from his hands past the plate, so he simply through the ball between dimensions to its ultimate destination.

Animated interview w Dock about this

TIL that you check out people instead of books At the Human Library. Instead of checking out a book, you "borrow" a person who has stories to tell gathered from a unique life experience for half an hour.

TIL that you check out people instead of books At the Human Library. Instead of checking out a bo...

What's the fine for forgetting to return a person you've checked out, or just losing them completely?

Wait a few decades until everyone forgets, then drop them into the delivery slot like nothing happened

This month the Human Library project comes to the University of Rochester, with a handful of great “books” to discover. You’ll have the opportunity to sit down with “a woman who grew up in South Africa under apartheid; a former teacher who underwent a gender transition; and a Vietnam War veteran who said “no” when too much was asked of his sense of morality.”

Sounds like an interesting bunch.

A place where long-winded people talk about themselves...

So, a nursing home?

TIL that Walt Disney created multiple fake companies (like M.T. Lott Real Estate) to buy Florida land in the 1960s. This let him acquire what is now Disney World while avoiding suspicion and keeping prices low. The stores on Main Street shop windows are the names of those original companies.

TIL that Walt Disney created multiple fake companies (like M.T. Lott Real Estate) to buy Florida ...

Florida's basically the most easily-fooled state in the union.

Scientology basically did the same things in Clearwater, FL

Just a slight correction, the companies weren't fake; they did really exist. The reason they are referred to as dummy companies, is because rather than being intended be a functioning business in and of themselves, they were just an extra layer to obfuscate the fact that they were all controlled by the same person/corporation.

The layer of dummy companies didn't create any business rationale at their own level, only at the level above.

Edit: To clear up the confusion:

If I start buying property in the name of Solzhe Limited, that's fraud because that company doesn't exist: it's fake and illegal.

If I actually incorporate Solzhe Limited and use it to buy property, with no legitimate rationale, it's a dummy company. It may or may not be illegal depending on other factors.

Edit: I'm not responding anymore I really no longer care. I really didn't think this TIL was going to take off.

If you ever need us, we won't be far away

TIL: Mike Myers was horrified when clips from Wayne's World were mixed with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody video. "they've just whizzed on a Picasso.". The band responded simply saying, "Thank you for using our song." This shocked Myers, "Thank you for even letting me touch the hem of your garments!"

TIL: Mike Myers was horrified when clips from Wayne's World were mixed with Queen's Bohemian Rhap...

It's almost like he wasn't worthy

/sub/titlegore

Yeah, here's a longer but more easily understood version.

Mike Myers held such a high opinion of Queen that he was shocked to learn they had used clips from Wayne's World in the music video for Bohemian Rhapsody, believing they had "whizzed on a Picasso".

Queen's response was simply, "Thank you for using our song," to which Myers replied "Thank you for even letting me touch the hem of your garments!"

I was turned onto Queen because of the movie. Queen put out a couple of best of albums around the same time. I listened to Classic Queen over and over for months.

In turn, I fell in love with the film, The Higlander because of listening to that album.

TIL that every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top prizes worth over 300,000 USD. It was introduced in 1951 to combat sales tax dodging by businesses.

TIL that every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top prizes worth over 300,000 USD. It was introduced in 1951 to combat sales tax dodging by businesses.
TIL that every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top pri...

Taiwanese guy here! I've won money from this before! Only the lowest prize though, which is 200NTD, or approximately six US dollars.

As with pretty much any lottery, the odds of winning are very low, so there's no real point in trying to split up your purchases to get multiple receipts. A, say, 0.00002% chance of winning the top prize isn't that much different from a 0.00001% chance.

So you're telling me there's a chance

Actually we the donate the receipts to charities who check through all the numbers and get the winnings

This is pretty genius for the government. It's not that much money for the government to fork over compared to their losses otherwise, and it would help change some lives for the better.

TIL Gauss personal diaries indicate that he had made several important math discoveries years/decades before his contemporaries published them. Math Historian Temple Bell said that if Gauss had published all of his discoveries in a timely manner, he would have advanced mathematics by 50 years.

TIL Gauss personal diaries indicate that he had made several important math discoveries years/dec...

The dude was a genius. He told his children he didn't want them going into science/math since he didn't want them to bring down the family reputation he created.

He also is known for that famous anecdote where he was being a lil shit in third grade, and his teacher instructed him to leave the class until he added up the numbers from one to 100. Shortly after being sent out, he returned with the correct sum after developing a formula for adding subsequent numbers (n/2)*(n+1)

Edit: parenthesis for clarification, spelling.


He told his children he didn't want them going into science/math since he didn't want them to bring down the family reputation he created.


Unlike many anecdotes about him, this one is actually 100% verifiable, too. His grandson told a professor this in a letter, and the letter is available online. 

EDIT: This is silly of me. I really should have just posted the letter. 

Page 1: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/images/c/c4/1898-12-21-p1.jpg

Page 2: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p2.jpg

Page 3: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p3.jpg

Page 4: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p4.jpg

Page 5: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p5.jpg

Page 6: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/images/c/c6/1898-12-21-p6.jpg

He told his children he didn't want them going into science/math since he didn't want them to bring down the family reputation he created.

Unlike many anecdotes about him, this one is actually 100% verifiable, too. His grandson told a professor this in a letter, and the letter is available online.

EDIT: This is silly of me. I really should have just posted the letter.

Page 1:

Page 2: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p2.jpg

Page 3: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p3.jpg

Page 4: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p4.jpg

Page 5: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/index.php?title=File:1898-12-21-p5.jpg

Page 6: http://www.gausschildren.org/genwiki/images/c/c6/1898-12-21-p6.jpg

Haven't you ever tried to construct a polygon with a compass and straight edge only to get to the end and realize that the number of sides was not a product of distinct Fermat primes and a power of 2?

something like 100 % i guess

TIL that Taco Bell failed to pay the men who pitched the idea of the Taco Bell Chihuahua and later were court ordered to pay $42.1 million dollars.

TIL that Taco Bell failed to pay the men who pitched the idea of the Taco Bell Chihuahua and late...

If you could win $42 million every time a client let its ad agency steal another agency's idea, it would set off a nuclear war of lawsuits at ad agencies.

Clients suck. They don't hire you and then give your idea to another agency for development.

Makes you wonder how many stolen ideas go under the radar if big companies like this think they can work with the originators for over a year developing the advertising campaign then decide not to pay them AND win in court.

Zuckerburg paid peanuts to the people who's idea he stole and now he's swimming in billions.

This is how some feature screenwriting works. Production companies/studios will have pitches where they invite a number of different solo writers come in to pitch their own take on an idea or existing story / IP. The company then takes their favorite parts from all the pitches, combines those elements, and hires a different writer to write the thing.

Very common in Hollywood, very awful, and the WGA is striking... but not over that. They stopped caring about feature writers years ago.

Don't get me started on free treatments and months of work on projects where the writer doesn't get paid. If you complain, they stop calling you and get someone else to do it for free.

TIL: Over the course of two weeks, a single human male produces enough sperm to impregnate every fertile woman on the planet.

TIL: Over the course of two weeks, a single human male produces enough sperm to impregnate every ...

And they will mostly end up in a sock or a wad of toilet paper

That's a TERRIBLE way to treat fertile women!

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised

I was so shocked when I found out about battered women.

I've been eating them plain for years

Try one of these subthreads