The Secret Ingredient To Victorian Leather Was Dog Poop

Back in time, dog poop was an extremely valuable resource for leather makers. Every coat, handbag, briefcase or any sort of leather goods was created by using dog poop to an extent. So as you can imagine some entrepreneurs around the city of London found a way to benefit from this ever-growing need for dog poop.

They kept the streets and alleyways free of the brown mess because it was worth money when taking to the local tanneries. You see long before the industrial revolution that brought in modern manufacturing and chemicals for cleaning factories, tanneries had such an overpowering smell that they were generally found outside of the city.

But in the city of London, everyone knew that poop was an important part of the tanning process. So this business effectively kept the streets clean because it would be shipped out to the tanneries. You see dog feces contains enzymes that will break down collagen in hides, part of the tanning process which is known as bating. It comes as no surprise that older encyclopedias refer to tanning as a noxious and odoriferous trade.

Skins would arrive in a tannery covered in blood and wet from whatever animal remains would be clinging to them. The process happens as following, first you soak them in water to clean them, then you would soak them in urine which makes them pliable to cut off the hair with knives. And that is when the poo would come into play, it does sound disgusting reading about it now, but back in the day, there were no chemicals available to make your leather shine. The lovely fine leather goods would be achieved by a mixture of water and dog poop. And sometimes they would even use pigeon poop also.

It is funny to think that we now find our streets covered in dog poop, as owners have no reward to pick them up anymore. Sometimes it seems we may have been doing the right thing back in time before the modern age of machinery took over.

The Famous MI5 Double Cross System From World War II

Espionage and spying really went to a whole new level during World War II and continued to become an important part of modern warfare during the Cold War. The British Security Service or as known by their cover title the MI5 used an amazing double cross system that caused every single German spy to be caught during World War II.

In fact, most of them started to work for the British. It was also known as the XX System and it was a counter-espionage tactic that worked amazingly well. It allowed the British to broadcast so much misinformation to the Nazis during the war, that many believe this system was integral to the Allies victory. All of the agents from German intelligence services were either apprehended or many simply turned themselves into authorities on reaching British shores.

There were also numerous false agents, people who had tricked the Germans into thinking they would spy for them if they helped them reach Great Britain – but really they just wanted to escape Germany. The real counter espionage started to happen when the agents that were charged with a German spy initial contact on arrival were controlled by the British.

This meant that immediately on arrival a German spy was already known to British authorities, allowing them to apprehend them almost immediately. The Abwehr as the German secret intelligence agency was called at the time would sneak spies into the country by parachute, submarine or sending them traveling via neutral countries. The last options were the preferred one as they could easily enter Great Britain by impersonating refugees.

Once the war was over, looking through the records it was discovered that every single German agent sent to England had either given themselves up or been captured, with one exception, an agent who committed suicide. The reason so many were spotted and captured was that they were mostly of Eastern European descent and usually were very poorly trained and had zero motivation as it was not really their war.

It became even easier for the British once the German Enigma machine encryption was broken, which pretty much assured they would know of any espionage plans before they happened.

Once Upon A Time Europe, Dealt With Their Rabies Problem By Airdropping Vaccine Loaded Chicken Heads

Back in 1939, the Nazis were not the only thing sweeping through Europe. There was also a whole outbreak of the rabies epidemic being carried by red foxes. The disease was moving rapidly southward and westward every year by several dozen kilometers. And it was going through country after country.

Given what was going on with World War II, not many countries had time to deal with the disease, which meant by 1967 it was a huge problem and had reached Switzerland. Rabies is a dangerous disease that targets the brain if untreated, infected people nearly always die. This meant that something had to be done, and the usual methods of trapping the foxes were not working. There were just too many animals roaming the forests with the disease, it would be impossible to hunt them all down. So a plan was created to set up a way to vaccinate them.

Vaccinating wild animals was a completely new concept that the Americans had been putting forward, but capturing animals and immunizing them by hand was proving very time consuming and also costly. So scientists figured out a way to allow wild animals to vaccinate themselves, first they tried adapting popular traps to shoot the vaccines instead of cyanide – but this failed.

So research was changed to create edible vaccines that could be hidden in a bait. By 1971, laboratories had invented an oral solution that could vaccine animals from rabies. Now they just needed the bait: they tried and tested everything from biscuits to sausages to eggs. But of course, they finally decided the best bait would be a disembodied chicken head: perfect for tracking a fox.

From 1979 to 1984, chicken heads would rain down on the Swiss countryside. In total over 52,000 heads were dropped, and wherever they did rabies disappeared. And then every European country decided to participate, millions of chicken heads were dropped, and by 1995 Europe was barely seeing any cases of rabies.

The Incredible Story Of The Town Of Coca-Cola Millionaires

There is a small town in Florida, called Quincy, that does not really have much of a claim to fame. Just another sleepy town in the sunshine state, with not much to do but relax in the sun. What you would not know though from just driving through, is that this small town is filled with the most Coca-Cola millionaires in the whole world. And that is all off the back of one banker’s love for the fizzy drink.

A small town in Florida became the richest town per capita overnight when the shares of Coca-Cola skyrocketed. All because one shrewd businessman urged all his fellow neighbors and townspeople to invest and buy Coca-Cola shares when they were still extremely cheap.

It happened in the midst of the Great Depression of the ‘20s and ‘30s, orchestrated by a banker called Pat Munroe. He noticed that everyone in his town, despite being in poverty or struggling, would always use their very last nickels to buy a bottle of Coca-Cola. And at this time Coca-Cola shares were extremely cheap, they were a steal, you didn’t need millions in your bank to invest with.

So Munroe invested and he did not keep silent, he urged all the people he knew in Quincy to do the same. And many of them, maybe due to the desperation of the time, followed his advice. Buying into Coca-Cola at around $19 per share, and as they were so cheap, Munroe simply kept urging the people to keep buying – which they did.

And it proved to be sound investment advice, his observation and advice paid off big time. In fact, the price of Coke shares going up is what saved the town from the worst of the Great Depression. The traditional farming town was about to keep afloat with the dividends they were receiving from their shares.

Which is what led to at least 67 inhabitants becoming Coca-Cola millionaires. The shares they bought so early allowed them to amass a great fortune which was passed down for generations.

One Con Man Sold The Eiffel Twice For Scrap Metal

Known as the biggest scam of all time, in 1925, Victor Lustig was sitting in his hotel room in Paris reading about the Eiffel Tower. The huge structure had been built during the Paris World’s Fair in 1889 and was actually meant to be dismantled in 1909. But due to it being such a great radio tower, they decided to keep it up.

This was because it was extremely useful for listening to the Germans during the First World War. However, since it had never been built for longevity it was now rusting and in need of major repairs. These repairs were looking to be extremely expensive, and the article that Lustig was reading, indicated that the State was finding it hard to locate the money needed to repair the damage.

At this time the French government was deciding if it might not be better to simply sell the tower. And that is when Victor realized what he needed to do: he would sell the Eiffel tower. It did not really matter that it was not his, that was just a little detail. Now he had his next project insights, he started to set in motion the scam of the century.

He printed out some stationary to make it seem like he worked at the Department of Post, which was the government’s department that dealt with all the public buildings. And then he secured a fake ID, the idea was to sell the Eiffel tower to an iron salvage company. He gave an amazing presentation and even made the companies believe that due to dismantling the Eiffel tower would be a controversial action for the general public: they had to keep it a secret.

This allowed him to dupe one of the salvage companies into paying him 100,000 Francs for the rights to dismantle the Eiffel tower. And as soon as he received the money, he was on a train for Vienna, out of France. He was sure the scam would be in the news, but it never was – the scrap company was so embarrassed that they never reported the scam!

So Lustig returned to Paris to repeat the same scam with another company, only this time they did a bit more due diligence and reported him to the police. Still, Lustig was able to escape capture and ended up in the United States, where it is said he even once conned Al Capone.

The South Korean Baby Box Hero Pastor

One pastor from South Korea became an immediate hero all around the world when the story of his baby box idea came out to mainstream media. In South Korea, there is an immediate and big problem with parents abandoning babies that are born with deformities or mental handicaps. Pastor Jong-Rak was concerned by these actions and decided to provide a solution.

Jong-Rak was horrified to learn about the number of babies being abandoned on the side of the street, left to die alone. He wondered how any parents could do this to their child. As a result, he set up a concept which is now known as the baby box. A small box attached to the side of his house, that is a kind of secret and safe door into his home. Here parents bent on abandoning their child, can leave the baby in the box knowing that Pastor Jong-Rak will ensure the baby is taken care of.

So far over 1,500 unwanted babies have been saved by Pastor Jong-Rak. The clergyman is the head of the Joosarang church. New adoption laws in 2012, made it harder for mothers to give up unwanted pregnancies for adoption. This meant that more and more babies were being found abandoned.

The clergyman Jong Rak belies the government should do more to help mothers who have unwanted pregnancies, therefore, he sprung into action and created the baby box. The small hatch allows a baby to be placed inside and is equipped to keep the child safe. Most mothers who leave their babies are unwed or victims of sexual violence.

Generally, the babies are placed in an orphanage or a foster home. The government has been telling Jong-Rak for years that he is helping child abandonment and that he will be arrested. Jong-Rak has refused to install security cameras and even wipes the fingerprints off the box to ensure parents are not prosecuted.

When the hatch is opened it does trigger a bell, which signals for the pastor or church member to chase down the parent to attempt to dissuade them. And sometimes they are able to change their minds.

The Town Of Huescar Declared War On Denmark And Forgot For 172 Years

When it came to the small town of Huescar in Spain, they were not going to be pushovers no matter what happened. The people of Huescar did not really have the resources or means to battle against a whole country, with only 8 municipal guards being deployed at all times. But they were proud people and entered the Napoleonic Wars with every intention of taking part.

Eventually, Napoleon lost the war and Ferdinand VII was returned to his throne, the Spanish people went back to their daily lives and a time of peace happened. In 1814, the Treaty of Paris actually signed by both Spain and Denmark ensured all hostilities were done and that diplomatic relations between the two countries moved forward positively.

But despite The Treaty of Paris the little town of Huescar never actually declared peace with Denmark. And this declaration of war had been forgotten completely for 172 years. Though never a single shot had been fired or even an injury had happened during the war, in fact, it was a little bit of a pointless war! A cultural officer by the name of Vicente Gonzalez discovered the 172-year-old declaration and published it.

The town than did not really know what to do and started to debate their options, in 1981, they decided that they should end the way. A Danish Ambassador by the name of Mogens Wandel-Petersen promised to do everything possible to put things right with the small town. And he traveled to Huescar with the intention of signing a peace treaty.

Both sides decided to have a little fun over the affair, the Danes arrived dressed as Vikings with shields that stated Danish Hispanic Friends. And the people of Huescar even put up a huge banner to let the Danes know they were entering enemy territory. A great celebration happened with much wine and food being shared, and then the mayor of Huescar finally signed a peace agreement with the Danish ambassador.

Wolves Help Shape Ecosystems

When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park in 1995, not really too much was thought into the matter. Just that biologists wanted to ensure the species did not become extinct. However, research today shows that the wolves have helped ensure a large number of positive consequences on the ecosystem.

We now find that beaver populations are increasing, aspen and other vegetation are all flourishing. Today you can walk through the Yellowstone park and you may actually hear the slap of a beaver’s tail hitting the water, something that was extremely rare just 10 years ago. In 1995 when the grey wolf was first reintroduced into Yellowstone Park, there was only one beaver family. Today we count over nine beaver families roaming the Yellowstone park, all because of the cascading effects a wolf pack has on the surrounding ecosystem.

Doug Smith one of the wildlife biologists in charge of Yellowstone Park, has mentioned that the reintroduction of wolves has triggered an event unfolding chain of events that researchers will take many years to truly understand.

To understand what is going on you have to go back to the 1930s when the last wolf was killed in Yellowstone park. You see even though the Yellowstone elk was still preyed on by bears, removing the wolves from the equation took off a huge amount of predatory pressure from the elks. As a result, they pushed the parks carrying the capacity to the limits and population grew tenfold.

And due to feeling so relaxed they grazed and grazed, eating up much of the park’s willows which are directly needed for species like beavers to grow positively. Now with the reintroduction of wolves, even though the elk’s population is larger, they keep on the move due to the predatory pressure. With the elk’s moving around more often and not staying put, the park’s plant life has time to grow robustly and provide enough food to herbivores.

The History Of Hawaiian Luau Themed Parties

The Luau themed parties are an extremely famous and known culture staple that has been happening in Hawaii for generations. What may shock you is that this was not always the case, in fact, at one point in Hawaii, it was illegal for men and women to be seen eating together.

In ancient Hawaii, men and women ate their meals separately at all times. They also had extremely restrictive measures in place on what women could eat, they were not allowed to eat foods that were deemed not common. In fact their beliefs would in this modern day seem very strange: for example, women were not allowed to eat bananas as it was said it would turn them into a man. The chicken was the only meat women were allowed to eat, as red was a color associated with being sacred and therefore was only offered in a temple.

And it took until 1819, for King Kamehameha II to abolish all the religious laws that were being followed. King Kamehameha II even went and started to eat with a woman as an extremely symbolic act. These acts quickly ended the Hawaiian religious taboos and the first Luau parties were born.

The food served at a luau party is often squid or chicken luau. Luau is the type of leaves you find in Hawaii and also they add in coconut milk. The main dish is, however, the pig, which traditionally would be cooked in an earth oven. The feast would normally be shared on the floor with mats being the centerpieces. Everything was of course eaten by hand as utensils would never be present during a luau party.

Luau themed parties today is generally seen as having a large open area, such as a backyard. This is because generally, you will find a luau party being celebrated outside under a large tent. A big component of the modern-day luau party is the necklace of flowers known as a lie. It can also be a necklace of ferns or kukui nuts.

Today, luau themed parties are very commercialized to the extent that some people in the United States will import their products from Hawaii to have an authentic party.

Amazing Transylvania Amusement Park Is Underground

If you travel deep into the Transylvanian countryside you will find an ancient salt mine that can date itself back over two whole millennia. Yes, it is extremely old. And you would have thought that would mean this salt mine would be extremely dangerous, maybe even prone to a couple of landslides or collapses.

Well, that is where you would be wrong, you see today, Salina Turda has been a popular tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors coming down its vertical shafts deep into the mine every year. But it is not a historical attraction to show you how we used to mine. Today, visitors flock down to play mini-golf, go bowling or simply row around the underground lake.

This is considered a submerged wonderland in Romania. And it is even considered to have special healing powers with a center to help people with lung problems deep in the mine. This is a place where humans and nature have become blurred. A salt mine is a man-made after all, but here the man-made features have become blurred into the nature of the underground lake. Which is why many tourists consider it to be a place of wonder.

During the 13th century, Salina Turda filled up the treasure chests of the Hungarian kings and the Habsburg emperors. At this time salt was even more valuable than gold, therefore, it sustained the local community for centuries. In 1932, mining activity finally finished. And since then it has had many lives – including being a World War II shelter. Once it was even a huge cheese storage center.

In 1992, after a 6 million euro investment, it reopened as a museum and theme park. There is even an 80 seat amphitheater for concerts set against a backdrop of salt formations and stalactites. Visitors can be treated to halotherapy also by breathing in pure air.

Two vast mines make up the bulk of the theme park, an attraction that even includes a Ferris wheel and a spa. An amazing showcase of what Romanian architects can do when collaborating.