North Korea And South Korea No Longer Speak The Same Korean

For more than five centuries these two nations existed as one on the peninsula, being ruled as a dynasty called the Choson. Then in 1910, Imperial Japan annexed the peninsula and ruled it as a colony for 35 years. In 1945, when Japan surrendered during WWII the Korean peninsula was split into two separate zones. THe US-controlled the Southern region and the Soviets controlled the Northern regions: this North and South Korea was born.

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Due to the growing tensions during the Cold War, two separate governments were formed the peninsula has been split in two ever since. The north attempted to unify the whole peninsula under a communist rule which caused the 1950 Korean wars. Technically speaking the two nations are still at war even if now actual combat and skirmishes are rare.

So after five centuries as one nation, you would think that their cultures would still be quite similar. However, the separation of over 70 years apart has caused some strange developments. Surprisingly a key change is around around language, the language has diverged so much that 45% of the defectors from North Korea have problems understanding the Korean spoken in South Korea. In fact, 1% have admitted they do not understand it at all!

The cultures have shifted massively too, the North Korean way of life now rests on top of the image of self-reliance and the propaganda spread that their one-man ruler is the greatest. However, most defectors do not actually flee the politics. The main reason given is the economic problems of the nation: famine and poverty. A majority of people surveyed that were able to escape actually miss home.

Despite all the surveillance and terror used to sustain the regime, it has been found that a lot of television watched in North Korea is actually South Korean dramas. So in that sense, it looks like people are willing to take a risk to keep certain cultural links alive.

A Hermit Who Lived In The Woods For 27 Years

At just 20 years old, Christopher Knight decided the urban city life was not for him and retreated into the forest. It was not until over a quarter of a century later he was seen again. He left without telling anyone, never even told his boss that he quit his job. And gave no notice to his family. First, he just drove down the coast of America to Florida, becoming lost in small roads and watching people go past on the major ones. Staying in cheap motels, just thinking about what to do next.

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Quickly though he went back up North to Maine where he was originally from, driving deep into the forest. Small road after small road, deep into where the roads stopped. And then he left his car and trekked. With only a small tent & no food to survive, he trekked through the deep forests and swamps of Maine.

Christopher has never provided a reason for why he just felt the need to find peace and tranquility. But how was he going to live? He foraged a little, but no amount of berries would really keep him alive. He knew how to hunt and fish, but had no gun or rod with him. During his work life, he had been in charge of installing security systems.

Suddenly a plan started to formulate, he would burglar the small cabins that were found along the lakes. Take some food and retreat back into the forest. Christopher became an expert thief, covering all his tracks. Leaving the scene as if he had never been there. In fact over the years he became so prolific that residents started to leave bags of food on their porch. Yet the thieving never really felt right to him, but he came to the decision it was the only way to live secluded from everyone.

He would borrow canoes and go on daring night raids around the lakes, carefully planned out never to be caught. The police from the area noted that he was an expert. Finally, he was caught while stealing food at a lakeside summer camp. It was quite an ordeal – everyone wanted to know what Christopher had learned by being alone. He finally agreed to let one journalist interview him in prison and left us with these great words:

“Get enough sleep,” he said.

The Ethiopian Heros That Fought In The Korean War

A story that generally goes untold and is largely forgotten is the immense bravery and fortitude seen by the Kagnew Battalion. The Ethiopians troops that fought in The Korean War. What were they doing there? Well, they were fighting side by side with the Americans as part of a UN agreement.

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In 1951, the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie made a decision to send thousands of troops to fight in the UN force led by the Americans against communist North Korea and their ally China. This was to support South Korea, you see when Ethiopia had been invaded in 1935 by Italy, Haile Selassie had heavily blamed the League of Nations for their failure to react. So when South Korea was invaded he was determined to show the world that he would react.

The Kagnew battalion were soldiers drawn straight from his imperial bodyguard, they were Ethiopia’s elite troops. The emperor himself would send them off to Korea, giving them a speech and flag. A flag that they were ordered to bring back from Korea. And they boasted about their bravery and courage in the fight, which made even more Ethiopian troops eager to join the mission.

The Kagnew battalion joined the US 7th Division, an American army where segregation had only just been removed. Yet discrimination was not a problem for the elite Ethiopian soldiers, they were proud and showed it. And when you break it down they were right, this battalion was one of the best groups of fighters the world ever saw.

After fighting in 253 battles, they had never let a single Ethiopian soldier be captured. There was never a Kagnew prisoner during the Korean War. In fact, it became their motto “Never be captured on the war field.”

They held true to their motto no matter how hard the fighting and always prevailed, becoming one the most feared battalions to come out of The Korean War.

Horses Have The Ability To Read Human Facial Expressions

The hooves of horses have been an instrumental part of the rise of modern human civilization. We have worked side by side with horses for the past 5,000 years – hauling plows, pulling carriages or carrying soldiers into battle.

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A very strange partnership – a predator and a one-ton prey, but humans and horses have been able to successfully talk across the species barrier mostly because of one shared trait: emotion. Any experienced horse rider will tell you they can read the small changes in moods of individual horses. An irritated flick of a tail or the concerned move of their eyes – once a rider knows the read the signs then he can see the emotions of his horse.

But the really cool thing is that horses can also pick up on human emotions. Though the modern domesticated horse is no longer a furious roaming stallion, the ability to pick up on emotions comes from their older generations. When horses roamed the open plains they did so as bands of five to ten. These bands had social orders and formed close relationships.

Basically, humans have become part of the herd which is why domestic horses respond to changes in voice, pitch, and tone. They can even understand things like quality of touch and the stiffness of a rider’s body. This is already quite an amazing talent, but they can also read facial expressions.

This is something that was thought only to be seen in dogs. A team of researchers showed 28 horses large photos of a man’s face either making a positive smile or an angry face. The horses were able to distinguish the difference. And what they meant! This is an amazing skill for a domestic horse because let us be honest if a human approaches you with an angry face it probably is not going to be for a happy reason.

The question remains, however, is this an ancestry trait or a skill domesticated riding horses have learned after generations of interacting with humans?

Alcatraz Prison Actually Had Great Food

When it comes to food in prison, most places have been pretty terrible. So bad that some inmates have even claimed they escaped just for better food. Unfortunately, it is a part of the business that most prisons try to save as much as they can on. We’ve all seen the series and movies where prisoners just throw around sludge in the cafeteria. So it may surprise you to know America’s most notorious prison was actually quite a nice place to eat.

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Alcatraz, the infamous prison at San Francisco, had the best food in a federal prison system, in fact, it featured much comfort food that you may eat on a relaxed Friday night in front of a movie. Some chili dogs? Fried pork chops? Biscuits and gravy? Maybe even some banana pudding – it was all on the menu. And they also served a healthy well-balanced breakfast of cereal, eggs, and fruit. So there was no need for food smuggling at Alcatraz – which would have been difficult on an island!

The food was so good that the guards and prison staff ate the same meals. You see Alcatraz chief warden believed that “most trouble in prison is caused by bad food!” And that definitely makes sense, the biggest concern for prisons are riots. When inmates are hungry or not eating well enough, then they are bound to get restless. Riots are extremely dangerous for fellow inmates and staff members so they have to be avoided at all costs.

Sure their cafeteria may not have been serving fine dining or looked like anything like the measure of Henry, Vinnie, and Johhny in the hit movie Goodfellas. But this was definitely a step above most federal prisons. Essentially, if any of the prisoners had cooked up some moonshine or toilet wine then they would have been having a nice dinner.

The Prince Of A Fictional Country

Need to make some extra money? Why not try tricking people into thinking you are a prince of a fictional country? That is what a Scottish con artist by the name of Gregor MacGregor did in the early 1820s. The former military officer claimed to have been made the ruler of a complete fictional Central American nation called Poyais.

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Macgregor surfaced in London in around 1821 and started to spread stories of a new lush paradise called Poyais. On the Caribbean coastline a place of untapped wealth: a way for everyone to start a new life. It had gold and streams and rolling hills: beauty. All the farmland was fertile and the locals? They were friendly and hardworking people. There was only one problem, this land did not exist at all.

It was all a clever money making scheme by Macgregor! He had forged all the official documents he needed to make it seems real and even had a full-length guidebook. This way he was able to sell fake Poyais bonds, land certificates, and even a settlement scheme.The latter was a complete disaster which caused the death of over 150 people.

You see Macgregor was not a brilliant mastermind – but he had the skill to promote himself and convince people. He was able to convince a native Indian king to grant him some 8 million acres of territory along Central America’s Mosquito Coast: a complete undeveloped dangerous jungle. But Macgregor reinvented into the lush land called Poyais. He marketed himself as a Prince looking for investment – and quickly found himself in London’s circle of aristocrats. He even started printing Poyais dollars and let people convert all their lives savings!

Even when the first settlement went out there – finding nothing & being nearly entirely wiped out by tropical disease, even when he was still not brought to justice! He was finally jailed in 1825 for fraud but was acquitted due to lack of evidence, he even resurfaced in 1827 sold more bogus land bonds to the region of £800,000 and retired to Venezuela… having never been found guilty of a single crime.

A Kodak Employee Invented The Digital Camera Back In 1975 But It Was Suppressed

If one of your motivated and determined employees came to you with an amazing finished product that blew your existing one out of the water, would you be happy? If your company was Kodak then not at all, in fact, they chose to hide the digital camera completely and hope it was never released at all.

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Steven Sasson, the man behind the invention of the digital camera went to work for Kodak in 1973. His role was to look into if a charged coupled device had any use in the world of photography. Through his research and innovation, he produced not only the first digital camera but also a way to display the photos directly onto your TV.

This was all shown to the Kodak top executives back in 1975, it was a strange looking device basically a sort of mix and match between a cassette recorder, a Super-8 movie camera, and an analog-digital converter. All this together let you take a picture and in under a minute you could record it onto the cassette tape which could then be connected to your TV to display the image.

His bosses reaction? They were not very impressed, the image was apparently grainy and they believed no one would ever want to see their pictures on a television set. However, Sasson convinced them he could improve it and they allowed him to keep working on the project.

And he did keep working on his design until, In 1989, the first prototype for the DSLR camera was created. It was no longer a strange looking device, this camera looked very much like the devices that you can find on the market today. Kodak, however, did not want anything to do with the device, their marketing team completely resisted it.

At the time Kodak was making money off every film sale in the world and every other step in the photography business. Why risk losing this revenue? The camera was swiftly hidden and the hope was it would never be seen again.

Of course, that is not the case, and though Kodak did make billions off digital camera patents until it ran out in 2007, their decision to hide the technology was ultimately a bad one. In 2012, Kodak ended up filing for bankruptcy due to the world adoption of digital.

World War I Created A Fashion Icon

One of the most interesting things that happened during world wars throughout history is actually the innovation in technology that they caused. Some researchers even estimate that if the world had not gone through World War I and World War II then we could even be 20 years behind in terms of scientific discovery.

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The reason being is that when conflict arises, governments are happy to pump money into their research departments. Provided they are of course developing something that can help them win the war. However, later on when you look back at the discoveries made well you find they actually had a big influence in other areas. Such as the Atomic bomb helping fuel the idea for nuclear-powered energy plants. Well, another fascinating area to look at is actually clothing. Did you know the trench coat was created by Burberry during World War I?

Countries lining up against each other trying to create the best gear to win a conflict. This is what pushes people to innovate. And that is what Burberry did, they produced the waterproof trench coat for soldiers. Before this, waterproof clothing had to be waxed or rubberized which made it extremely heavy and not practical.

Gabardine, the fabric used to make the trenchcoat garment is lightweight and waterproof. But most of all it is breathable, which ensured a soldier’s body temperature was always ideal. They were actually first produced for the Boer War in 1895 by Burberry, but for World War One they improved them and produced over half a million.

And they even helped change the psychology side of the battle, these trench coats were produced to help you be camouflaged. The coats were no longer brightly colored showing off the colors of your country. These coats were khaki and ready to help British soldiers be camouflaged. Basically, Burberry played a big part in making the uniform be more functional and less decorative.

And then when the war was over, the trenchcoat went on to become a Hollywood fashion icon. In fact, it was a favorite in the Hollywood costume department up until the 1960s. Everyone remembers Audrey Hepburn’s iconic beige trench in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It really goes to show how something can go from the field into the fashion world. From Humphrey Bogart to Kate Moss, the trench coat has become a wardrobe essential that appears timelessly in fashion magazines.

The King That Made His People Worship A Corpse

As with nearly all kings in history, King Afonso IV of Portugal was used to getting his own way no matter what the situation. It just seems to be a king, with all that power, seems to have a negative effect on their minds, no? So when he was not happy with his son choice of a wife, Ines, he forbade the marriage.

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The reason being that Ines was apparently illegitimate. Meaning she may have already been married or was not of nobility. His son, however, Don Pedro, in his own princely fashion decided he would not listen to his father and kept seeing Ines. In fact, their relationship continued to the day they announced they were actually married.

As you can imagine King Afonso was not so happy about not being listened too. Even if Don Pedro was his heir, this could not do at all. He decided he would end their relationship once and for all, exiling Ines to a monastery where she was confined. It just sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?

But when it comes to real life, that happy ending is so far and seldom to materialize. As in 1355, Afonso decided he was done playing these games with his son and sent three henchmen to murder Ines. Don Pedro was devastated and possibly pushed a bit into the realm of madness. How could he seek his revenge? Well he couldn’t his father was the king, so he waited for his father to die. And two years later, he became king himself.

Don Pedro aka Peter I Of Portugal, first order was to rip the heart’s of his wife’s murderers right out. Yet he never actually caught the third murderer, and maybe this lack of being able to seek his complete vengeance is what drove him over the edge. Because later during his reign, he had Ines corpse exhumed and had her crowned. Pedro would sit on the throne next to his dead queen Ines and make all the nobility file passed. They even had to kiss her bony hand to show loyalty!

The Tsar Who Decided Modernization Needed A Beard Tax

Peter The Great traveled all around Europe for a year during 1697, he was in disguise and wanted to learn about Western culture. He was on a mission for Russia to learn about shipbuilding and how they could integrate into the world. What was his proposal? Shave.

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Around 1698, Tsar Peter I or Peter The Great created a beard tax in Russia. And funnily enough, he is not the only king in history to have done this – England’s Henry VII also made one. But there is a fascinating story about how Peter’s beard tax came about.

At the time Russia was not really part of Europe at all, it may have been a huge country but it had no power to control any authority. They had barely any navy of any note, so could not patrol any of their sea borders. And whilst other great empires like the British or the Dutch were out colonizing the world, Russia was stuck at home, with no connection to the outside world. Peter The Great decided he had to learn and understand what made the European nations so great. So he traveled around Europe in disguise as a diplomat for Russia, together with high ranking ambassadors.

In fact, he even spent months working in a shipyard, blending in completely and never causing any suspicion that he was, in fact, a Tsar. He learned about shipbuilding from the Dutch and the British, hoping he could bring this knowledge back to Russia.

On his return to Russia, he set out his grand plans in motion: to modernize Russia so it would compete with the world’s superpowers. And he was vital to the westernizing of Russia in all forms: he changed their economy, government, culture and even religious affairs. He even reformed their calendar, and attempted to make all men beardless! Peter The Great had noticed that the modern western Europeans were all shaven, so he was determined that Russian society followed suit.

Initially, he announced every man in Russia had to lose their beards. But this was wildly unpopular, so eventually, he decided a beard tax would be more appropriate. Because might as well make some money for the state too, no? For proof of paying the tax, little tokens were made: silver for nobility and copper for commoners.

If you had a beard then you had to keep your token on you at all times, just in case you were stopped by the beard tax police. Haha! Just kidding… there was no beard police. But one thing is for sure Peter I’s reforms really did bring Russia into the modern world.