History Fun Fact: Sputnik 2 and hamburgers and hot dogs

We all know, or should know, about Sputnik, the first artificial satellite put into orbit around Earth. It lasted for 92 days before being burnt up in the atmosphere.

The U.S.S.R. soon after sent up Sputnik 2, the second satellite put into Earth orbit. The craft also contained a small dog called Laika, the first living creature to go into orbit.

Well, unfortunately, Laika was killed early on in the mission as a result of heat exhaustion and stress. She would have died anyway, as Soviet mission control planned on euthanizing her before re-entry where she would have burned up along with the craft.

As this was taking place in the midst of the Cold War and the Space Race, Americans, upon learning of Laika, her mission, and her ultimate fate felt the need to gloat a little bit:

Sounds tasty!

History Fun Fact


In Liechtenstein’s last military engagement, in 1886, none of its 80 soldiers were killed. In fact 81 returned, including a new Italian “friend.”

Yep, more came home than left. I don’t think that has been done any other time in history.

Way to go Liechtenstein! High fives all around. 

Over 5000….over 1000 in the past few days alone….9 months later….What the wha?

(Football) History Fun Fact:


Football History Fun Fact: Before becoming one of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen, Vince Lombardi was a member of Fordham University’s offensive line.

The Fordham line was called the Seven Blocks of Granite in 1929, 1930, 1936, and 1937.  However the 1936, and 1937 lines are the most famous. The 1936 group essentially have become football immortals as a result of their domination of the line which helped the Rams reach a 5-1-2 mark in ‘36 with a no. 15 ranking at the end of the year. The 1937 group, also considered among the greatest lines (though not as great as the year before),  followed that up with a 7-0-1 record and final ranking of no. 3 in the polls. 

Each of these two years saw the Fordham offense, behind the blocks of granite, score more than 100 points in eight games, which in the mid 1930s, was quite impressive.

History Fun Fact:

What connection do Ben-Hur and Billy the Kid have?

The author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ, Lew Wallace, was also the governor of the New Mexico Territory and signed the death Warrant of William H. Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid.

Yes I learned this on QI.

This Tortoise Is Older Than the United States


Even with the long life expectancy of giant tortoises, an Aldabra Giant Tortoise named Adwaita blows all others away with a life lasting around 255 years. Estimates put his birth date around 1750, making him an entire generation older than the United States of America.

The tortoise was originally owned by a man named General Robert Clive, an important member of the East India Company, who got addicted to opium and killed himself in 1774. Barely a toddler at that time, Adwaita bummed around for a bit before eventually being transferred to an Indian zoo in 1875, where he spent the rest of his life eating and…that’s pretty much it. After his death in 2006, carbon dating on his shell confirmed his age, making him quite possibly the oldest living creature ever, and almost certainly the oldest living vertebrate.

[Read More: 6 Amazing Animals That Practically Lived Forever]

History fun fact: This tortoise was goddamn old


In one of the more humorous events of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln politely rejected an offer of elephants from the King of Siam.  While the letter from Rama IV (aka Mongut) was addressed to former President James Buchanan, it was up to Lincoln and his Secretary of State William Seward to politely decline this offer from afar.   As Lincoln points out in his reply, steam power had overtaken the need for heavy animal power of this kind.

To the King of Siam 
February 3, 1862

Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States of America.

To His Majesty Somdetch Phra Paramendr Maha Mongut,

King of Siam,

Great and Good Friend: I have received Your Majesty’s two letters of the date of February 14th., 1861.

I have also received in good condition the royal gifts which accompanied those letters,—-namely, a sword of costly materials and exquisite workmanship; a photographic likeness of Your Majesty and of Your Majesty’s beloved daughter; and also two elephants’ tusks of length and magnitude such as indicate that they could have belonged only to an animal which was a native of Siam.

Your Majesty’s letters show an understanding that our laws forbid the President from receiving these rich presents as personal treasures. They are therefore accepted in accordance with Your Majesty’s desire as tokens of your good will and friendship for the American People. Congress being now in session at this capital, I have had great pleasure in making known to them this manifestation of Your Majesty’s munificence and kind consideration.

Under their directions the gifts will be placed among the archives of the Government, where they will remain perpetually as tokens of mutual esteem and pacific dispositions more honorable to both nations than any trophies of conquest could be.

I appreciate most highly Your Majesty’s tender of good offices in forwarding to this Government a stock from which a supply of elephants might be raised on our own soil. This Government would not hesitate to avail itself of so generous an offer if the object were one which could be made practically useful in the present condition of the United States.

Our political jurisdiction, however, does not reach a latitude so low as to favor the multiplication of the elephant, and steam on land, as well as on water, has been our best and most efficient agent of transportation in internal commerce.

I shall have occasion at no distant day to transmit to Your Majesty some token of indication of the high sense which this Government entertains of Your Majesty’s friendship.

Meantime, wishing for Your Majesty a long and happy life, and for the generous and emulous People of Siam the highest possible prosperity, I commend both to the blessing of Almighty God. 

Your Good Friend, ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Washington, February 3, 1862.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Imagine how awesome that would have been! Imagine Sherman’s March with elephants! 


Strangely, Hitler was unfazed by the fact that this high-fiber diet was having the opposite effect on his digestion than what he had intended. His private physician, Dr. Theo Morell, recorded in his diary that after Hitler downed a typical vegetable platter, “constipation and colossal flatulence occurred on a scale I have seldom encountered before.”

Great Scientists: Thomas Edison

Apparently LSD lets you throw no-hitters, play awesome guitar, or figure out the structure of the building block of life.

I think the message here is unquestionably that everyone should do LSD.*

*I’m not actually advocating LSD use. That’s what is known as sarcasm.

History Fun Fact

In Liechtenstein’s last military engagement, in 1886, none of its 80 soldiers were killed. In fact 81 returned, including a new Italian “friend.”

Yep, more came home than left. I don’t think that has been done any other time in history.

Way to go Liechtenstein! High fives all around.