The Rock of Guatape

In the Colombian department of Antioquia lodged between the towns of Guatape and El Penol you will find an enormous boulder known as The Rock Of Guatape. Or if you are from Penol, then you may refer to it as the Rock of Penol – just depends on which town you are from.

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It stands out towering above the grassy plains and lakes, it has always been a mysterious place that has immense cultural value and heritage. The Tahamies who lived in the area before the arrival of the Spaniards used to worship the rock. And even today, scientists are unsure how the rock was formed or where it has come from. It is very smooth which is why most believe it rose up out of the ground during the forming of what today is the Cordillera Occidental mountain range in Colombia.

The rock is over 650 feet or 200 meters tall and is made up a mix of minerals such as quartz, feldspar, and mica. It is estimated to weigh over 10 million tons and that the boulder is over 70 million years old. Which means are certain points this rock would have been underwater when for example Colombia was submerged during the Mesozoic Era.

It has held significant importance over the years in the local culture, it was worshipped by the Tahamies which was a South American agricultural tribe that had chieftains. It is not really known what the Tahamies believed the rock was or why they thought it was divine, but they definitely were impressed by its grandeur. It may be that since there is nothing like the rock in the region, they could have thought it had an otherworldly origin.

In 1954, the rock was scaled by two friends who made it to the top by using wooden planks that they kept moving and inserting into the cracks of the rock formations. Later a whole series of stairs was added, to allow people to climb to the top of the rock without needing specialized equipment.

Today the journey is a popular tourist attraction allowing you to have a bird’s eye view of the region, that is of course if you are able to walk up the 656 steps.

The Time When Heineken Bottles Were Building Blocks

Alfred Heineken after visited the Caribbeans in 1963 and finding the beaches littered with Heineken bottles, decided to amend his design and make the bottle’s square. His aim was to allow the bottle to function as a brick also & let people use them to build homes in impoverished countries.

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You can find hundreds of examples of whole buildings being built out of recycled materials, there are even several Buddhist temples that have been made out of them. Or if you are ever traveling through California consider checking out the Grandma Prisbrey Bottle Village which is constructed entirely out of reused glass. And during the 1960s, Heineken tried to help this type of recycling flourish by creating their bottle to be designed as a building block for homes.

Heineken today is one of the most successful breweries and has always been a top seller in the United States. The distinctive green bottle is found all over the world and is a house known brand. It was the founder’s grandson Freddy who had an eye for marketing and design who was able to bring Heineken to such success. And he made it a point to visit the plants he was setting up worldwide to ensure Heineken’s quality was a global success.

This led to him visiting the island of Curacao in the Carribean Sea and realized he could barely take a step on the beach before finding a littered Heineken bottle. This was alarming to him as their product was creating a huge amount of waste in a region that could not cope with recycling glass. And he also saw immense poverty, noticing that the people did not have the building materials required to create a house.

So he set about trying to solve this problem by creating a brick that holds a beer. This was known as The Heineken World Bottle and was rectangular. It also had grooves that allowed them to be stacked easily with mortar or cement. It was designed so that a 10-foot by 10-foot shack would take around 1,000 bottles to build.

Ultimately the idea never really caught on however, many designers have acknowledged Alfred’s brick in a bottle design as the first ever eco-conscious consumer design to be produced.

Surviving Three Naval Disasters All Related To Titanic

There is a nurse called Violet Jessop, an Irish woman that is referred to as the unsinkable woman. She survived not one, not two, but three of the worst naval ship disasters of the 20th century. And the really strange thing was? All disasters were related to the Titanic. Talk about having bad luck!

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Growing up in the 20th century was no easy life and during her childhood, Jessop had to overcome a bout of serious illness, but she was ever lucky and kept surviving. Her first disaster came when she boarded the RMS Olympic in 1911 which crashed into one of Titanic’s sister ships and nearly sunk. She was then aboard the infamous RMS Titanic when it sunk in 1912 and then she actually got on a boat again in 1916 the RMS Britannic. Which then sunk – and did we mention the RMS Britannic was the sister ship of the Titanic?

Born in Argentina in 1887, Jessop was already against some bad odds for surviving. Born to a large Irish family who had immigrated to Argentina. She nearly died several times during her childhood being inflicted by tuberculosis multiple times. Doctors told her parents that she would die, but fate kept her alive.

At the age of 23, Jessop decided to become a stewardess on the seas working for the White Star Line company. Which was why she was traveling and working on so many different boats. Yet even though she was privy to some of the worst disasters ever seen on the sea, it seemed that did nothing to scare her away from working on boats.

First aboard the RMS Olympic when it collided with the HMS Hawke, a British warship. And then went on to be present on the infamous first journey of the Titanic, maybe she thought two crashes was enough for one lifetime & would not have to worry about another crash. But then the HMHS Britannic sunk with no explanation at all.

The real amazing part of the story is all this happened within 6 years, and Jessop went on to work the rest of her life on large ships until she was 63 – never seeing another disaster.

Stalin Had A Secret Lab That Analysed World Leader’s Poop

Mao Zedong once famously shouted at Josef Stalin at his only meeting in Moscow that he was here for more than just eating and shitting. Stalin had kept him waiting for days in a bid to show him who the real boss was. However, it appears that records have come out that Stalin was indeed more interested in the leader’s inner workings than he let on. In fact, Stalin had a secret lab that was dedicated to analyzing a world leader’s poop.

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A Soviet agent by the name of Ivor Atamanenko has told the world how he was ordered by Stalin to follow Mao around and keep him well fed, collecting his excrement on a daily basis to be studied. The Russian scientists decided to analyze his poop to determine Mao’s state of mind. They were searching for chemicals that at the time it was believed told a person type of behavior or traits. It sounds completely crazy but there had been researching done into looking the chemicals found in someone’s poo and linking it to their mental state.

And this was not something Stalin reserved for Mao, any world leader who visited Russia at the time would have been subject to the infamous poop test. The researchers believed that a high level of brain chemicals such as amino acid tryptophan was a sign that someone would be calm and easy to deal with. Whereas if the levels were low then that would mean the opposite – there was also the level of potassium. If your potassium levels were low then it was thought you would be more nervous and could even be suffering from insomnia.

Nobody really knows the results of all these tests Stalin ordered on world leader’s poop and it is doubtful that any of the true documentation will ever surface. During the era of the soviet union and Stalin, there were many different fields of science that were followed which look strange now that we look back. It just goes to show how much of the science field was controlled by the political struggles of the time.

The Man Who Gave The World Clean Water

John Laing Leal was a doctor who lived from 1858 to 1914 and is largely responsible for having given the whole world an easy way to treat water. His technique to disinfect water using chlorine helped give the whole world an easy way to provide clean and drinkable water. This led to a much lower rate of disease and allowed populations to thrive.

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In fact, Leal is credited with setting up the first disinfection center of a U.S water supply using chlorine and even did it secretly for a time. Before it was eventually approved by the courts and became common practice across the globe.

After obtaining a medical degree, Leal opened a medical practice in New Jersey before setting his sights on solving the world’s problem with access to clean drinkable water. This was also because he worked in the local government as a health inspector and saw first hand the problems that dirty water could cause. Leal located numerous diseases and epidemics that happened due to dirty water being drank in homes all across the U.S. which saw him become the city’s chief sanitary advisor for the East Jersey Water Company.

As a physician, Leal knew that chlorine killed bacteria which is why he decided it would be the perfect solution to treat water. He constructed a chlorination plant by hiring George W. Fuller who was a respected sanitary engineer at the time and started to use it to treat Jersey City’s water supplies.

This led to the device being put before the justice system in 1908, where Leal defended his actions and the trial confirmed that the chloride of lime system was indeed cleaning the water correctly & adequately. Leal’s application of this type of disinfection system and its defense in the court of law, made sure that chloride systems were set up all across America to disinfect cities’ water supplies.

The Lost Cave Of The Jaguar God Has Been Found

Below the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, archaeologists have been steadily digging and searching for the long-sealed cave of The Jaguar God. The treasure in this cave is supposedly immeasurable, and now it seems they may finally find out with the cave being rediscovered.

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A statement by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology states that this cave contains hundreds of long lost artifacts from the Mayan time. There are incense burners, vases and decorative plates all covered with pictures of ancient gods and other types of religious icons. It is thought that the treasure trove belongs to the network of tunnels which is referred to as the Balamku or “Jaguar God” and that this cave is one of the sacred chambers.

It is part of a city that during its peak time accommodated over millions of people and created many wonders. It is thought that this cave will have been untouched for over 1,000 years. It is most likely that the treasures and artifacts were sealed off intentionally, as it was a ritual cave. But the cave actually did have one visitor in the past millennium, as it was written about in 1966 by Victor Segovia Pinto but decided to not excavate it. In fact, for reasons still unknown, he informed local farmers to seal the entrance of the cave. And the records of his discovery even went mission, which led to it taking five decades for this mystery to be solved.

Now searchers have crawled in the caves for hours and enter claustrophobic conditions to finally find this long lost cave of Mayan history. A cave full of secrets that will help historians and anthropologists learn more about the culture of Mayan cave rituals.

And even studying the cave itself could lead to interesting facts about the site’s geology and microbiology, it may even help us understand why the major city collapsed. Potentially it was caused by climate change or a freak change of weather, which by researching the soils may let us know the answer.

The Terror That Was Balloonfest ’86

In 1986, United Way of Cleveland in Ohio decided to put together a world record by blowing up and releasing the most balloons ever: over one-and-a-half million balloons were released. Of course, the event was put together for fun and was meant to be completely harmless, it was a fundraising publicity stunt. However, the balloons did not float up into the air as intended. Weather caused them to drift back over the city, and this is when the terror that was Balloonfest started.

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Millions of balloons floated back over the city, over Lake Erie and dropped to the ground all over the surrounding areas. This caused huge problems for traffic and a nearby airport. Multiple car crashes happened and the airport had to be shut down, more seriously the event even interfered with a search and request mission by the United States Coast Guard who was searching for two boaters in a lake. The boaters were later found drowned, the coast guard had been unable to reach them due to the massive amount of balloons covering the lake making it impossible to see the surface.

Consequently, the organizers and the city of Cleveland faced lawsuits in the millions of dollars for damages. In fact, the lawsuits were so bad that the cost put the whole event at a loss. The stunt was coordinated and planned by a Los Angeles based company that had done this sort of stunt before, it was known as Balloonart. They even spent six months preparing for the stunt, an immense structure of woven mesh material was put together to hold all the balloons. The idea was children sold sponsorships for charity at the price of $1 for every two balloons.

Close to 1.5 million balloons were released on 27th September 1986, normally helium-filled balloons will stay in the air long enough to become fully deflated before dropping back down to the ground. However, the millions of balloons collided with a large front of cool air and dropped to the ground still inflated. They clogged up the land and waterways of all of Northeast Ohio, with balloons even washing up on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. Hundreds of car crashes were reported as drivers were left swerving around slow-motion blizzards of multicolored orbs.

The Siege Of Candia Lasted 21 Years

The city of Candia which is today known as Heraklion on Crete played an important part during the Ottoman-Venetian Wars, so much so that it was besieged for over 21 years. The siege of Candia is seen by Historians as one of the longest sieges in history. It started in 1648 and did not end until 1669 before finally surrendering, the area was highly contested because Candia held a key position in the Mediterranean.

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Of course, the goal was to have supremacy over the Mediterranean sea, which is what caused the numerous clashes between the two powers at the time: Venice and the Ottoman Empire. They had battled it out for control of the sea numerous times during the early 15th century and even during the late 16th century.

War was declared in 1644 when the Knights Hospitallers were able to loot an Ottoman ship that was carrying many of the sultan’s treasures to Constantinople. This prompted the forces of the sultan to land on Crete itself and start an invasion. They were quickly able to conquer La Canea and Rettimo and start to occupy the whole island. And this is why in 1648, they started to set their goal of conquering the city of Candia which was seen as the jewel of this region.

During a vicious 21 year siege, the Ottomans would capture numerous lands around the city and fight the Venetians on both land and water. The conflict lasting so long caused an immense expense on both Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Thousands of lives were sacrificed and huge amounts of treasure were given up in the fight for who would end up controlling Candia.

The Ottomans set up huge siege lines cutting off the city from all form of supplies, which led to the Venetians pleading with other European countries and the Pope, though this led to nothing. So the Venetians started to blockade the Ottoman’s supply routes also in different regions, and even though they won some battles, the situation at Candia did not change.

Over 40,000 Ottoman soldiers lost their lives trying to take the walls of Candia, and even though the Venetians repelled them every time: ultimately they realized the end was near with no chance of resupplying. In 1669, the city surrendered and a peace agreement was made between the Venetians and the Ottoman empire.

These Places Were All Abandoned Long Ago. Take a Look At Them Now

Generally, when we think of a cool vacation stop we think of lush green gardens, maid service, infinity pools, you name it. It’s not often that we think about what happens to an area when people, for some reason, stop going and it’s left alone.

Our list of abandoned places is sure to make you rethink your idea of where to go on your next vacation. It might not be your typical idea of beauty, but these places are beautiful nonetheless. It might be time to take trip to check them out.

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The Blitz During World War II Happened By Accident

The Blitz refers to what is thought to be a strategic campaign of bombing by the Germans against London. It also included various over English cities from 1940 to 1941, the targets were populated areas, factories, and dockyards.

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During the nightly bombing raids that happened across the United Kingdom, many people would hide & take shelter in basements or in the underground systems. Many makeshift beds were set up and shelters were normally pretty primitive conditions with barely any privacy or any sanitation conditions. Of course, Hitler’s intentions were to try to break the morale of the British people, he hoped that it would be too much pressure for Churchill. The goal was to force Churchill into negotiating with the Germans, but the complete opposite happened.

Due to the bombings, the British people were closer than ever and all came together to face a common enemy. Motivated by Churchill’s numerous public appearances and radio speeches, people became more determined than ever to hold on and defend their nation against the Nazis.

But what may come as a big surprise is the Blitz was actually a complete accident. It is true that before World War II, civilians were not normally a big target during wars. On the night of August 24, 1940, Luftwaffe bombers were flying out to destroy military buildings on the outskirts of London. Yet unfortunately, they were flying off course and did not realize it, which caused them to accidentally drop bombs on the center of London.

This was one of the first time during World War II that several homes and civilians were killed. And due to the public outrage, the British bombed Berlin the next evening. This completely stunned the Germans, especially as the Luftwaffe Chief had assured the public it would never happen. And the British continued the bombings for the next few nights. And this prompted Hitler to start the Blitz air campaign, delivering a famous speech on September 4, 1940, advising they would not stop no what matter the consequences.

President McKinley Gave Away His Lucky Charm And Was Assassinated

Not everyone is into superstition, and even fewer people believe in lucky charms or voodoo spells. Definitely, in this modern day and age, society has a tendency to champion science over superstitious traditions that are seen as the old ways. But during 1887 when William Mckinley was a young man, lucky charms were all the rage.

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Early in his political career, he won debate after having received a red carnation boutonniere to wear during the conference. McKinley went on to win the debate and then was elected into the House of Congress. This cemented his idea that this flower was indeed a lucky charm looking over him. He began to wear it during all his election cycles, never being seen without it on an important day. And when in 1896 he won the presidential election he began to wear it all the time, even keeping a whole barrel of them in his Oval Office to gift visitors. In fact, the red carnation flower started to become a symbol of his supporters.

Sometimes though he would also even gift people the flower he was wearing, though he would immediately replace it. Because of course while not wearing the flower, McKinley believed he no longer had the lucky charm’s protection.

In 1901, a couple of months after his second term started, he was in Buffalo. There was a huge Pan-American exposition going on and to have the president visible during the conference meant a great deal to the attendees. As he was greeted by the public and talking to the crowd, he was approached by a 12-year-old girl named Myrtle Ledger.

I must give this flower to another little flower

That was President McKinley’s famous last words, he gave away his lucky charm. Just a couple of minutes later, his assassin walked up and greeted him. The president was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz and then died the following week. The scarlet coronation is now an official state symbol in Ohio after President McKinley.