i learned about the most prohibited photos
The distribution of these images is prohibited in Thailand, and anyone who shares this image within the country may face up to 10 years in prison. The individual in the photograph, though he appears to be an inebriated commoner, is in fact His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is entering his limousine. This king is well-known for his vices, including alcohol and gambling, and he does not even reside in Thailand; rather, he rules the country from Germany. However, the public is presented with an image of a king who never leaves the country and is always impeccably dressed.
This is one of the most censored images for a good reason: if the public saw their king acting like this, there would be an uproar.
i learned about some of history's most unusual punishments
A popular form of punishment in China was a device called the Cangue. This cruel device was used right up to the start of the 20th century. Two pieces of wood were fastened around the neck and sealed with padlocks.
The Cangue was designed to humiliate the person wearing it with the offender’s crimes plastered all over the board for everyone to see.
The size and the weight of the Cangue depended on the severity of your crime. The weight of the device could reach 200 pounds which would cause immense pain and crippling deformities if you were left in one long enough.
On top of the humiliation, the board was wide enough so you couldn’t reach your mouth and relied on strangers for food and water.
Another variation of the Cangue was the cage. The Cangue was placed in a cage in such a way the prisoner’s feet wouldn’t touch the ground. Supports would be placed under the feet to help alleviate pressure on the neck. These supports would then be gradually taken away until the prisoner slowly strangles to death.
i learned that McDonald's waged a 26 year unsuccessful legal battle against a man named Ronald McDonald and his McDonald's Family Restaurant (x)
i learned that from 1988 to 1998, Wendy's had a buffet called the Superbar which served Mexican food, pasta, salad, and fruit (x)
i learned that in many countries there's a mandatory requirement for companies to pay salaried employees a "thirteenth month" and even a "fourteenth month" - yearly bonus pays each equivalent to one month's normal salary (x)
i learned that with the passage of the CARES Act, menstrual products are now considered eligible expenses for your health insurance, FSA, HSA, and HRA funds. (x)
i learned what is the most bizarre government in world history?
A bit strange that no one speaks of Italian city-states here.
I think they tried just every conceivable form of government. I will tell a bit about my dearest Florentine Republic.
In 13th century, Italian city-states witnessed an intense fight between pro-Emperor and pro-Pope factions. Most nobles were pro-Emperor. Florence was one of the places where they lost the battle, which led to the establishment of democracy.
Of course, this democracy was very different from what we call democracy today. Modern Western countries are representative democracies where people only vote in the elections and countries are governed by professional politicians. A medieval Italian would call such system aristocratic.
Of course, Florentine democracy was also exclusive. Wage labourers, people in debt and women were excluded. But all others could directly participate in government of their country: 5,000–8,000 people out of 25,000–50,000 adult citizens.
Political parties were forbidden (actually, the word party was invented as a slur, something that people do not remember now). Elections were seen as aristocratic mechanism because the rich and the educated would be capable to convince or bribe others to vote for them. So the main mechanism of democracy was casting lots.
Florence was subdivided into four quarters, sixteen neighborhoods and twenty-one corporations (seven major ones representing rich citizens and fourteen minor ones representing poor citizens): every citizen was a member of one of those. Initially, corporations had something to do with profession. Nobles renounced their nobility and joined corporations to be able to participate in the government. For instance, nobleman Dante Alighieri entered the corporation of Doctors and Apothecaries, and the ancestors of Niccolo Machiavelli registered in the corporation of Winemakers.
The main government body was Signoria. It consisted of eight Priors (two representing every quarter, six representing major corporations and two representing minor corporations) and one Gonfalonier of Justice, the chairman. They ruled the city during the period of two months only and then replaced by others. Signoria was the main legislative and executive authority. However, it could take major decisions only in common with other bodies such as Twelve Good Men (three persons from every quarter, mostly rich people) and Sixteen Gonfaloniers (one from every neighbourhood). These three bodies (Signoria, Twelve Good Men and Sixteen Gonfaloniers) were all chosen by lot: notes with their names were chosen from special leather bags preserved in the sacristy of the Santa Croce cathedral.
The laws were approved by the Council of the Commune (192 people, 48 from every quarter, majority rich) and the Council of the People (160 people, 10 from every neighbourhood, majority poor).
There was an enormous quantity of other governing bodies that regulated everything that needed to be regulated in the Republic, from quality checks of the bread to the licensing of the sex workers. In most cases, people served from three to six months. It meant that every full-fledged male citizen of the Florentine Republic could hope to be chosen for one of these positions.
The judicial and military power belonged to the podestà, a foreign citizen with good reputation, legal education and a military company or at least a group of armed servants. Florentines believed that a foreigner would be a more impartial judge in Florentine discussions. A podestà was invited to Florence for six months.
Finally, the Medici family managed to circumvent the system and become rulers of Florence but it took time. The system of checks and balances did work.
However, no one was able to circumvent the government system of Venetian Republic. Do you know why?
For more than five centuries (from 1268 to 1797) the procedure to elect the doge (chief of state) did not change.
Choose 30 members of the Great Council by lot.
These 30 people are reduced by lot to 9.
These 9 people choose 40 other people.
These 40 are reduced by lot to 12.
These 12 people choose 25 other people.
These 25 people are reduced by lot to 9.
These 9 people choose 45 other people.
These 45 people are reduced by lot to 11.
These 11 people choose 41 other people.
These 41 people elect the doge.
Funny that many Americans blame their electoral system for being complicated. You may think what you want about the Venetian system but it guaranteed what was probably the most stable government in the history of mankind.
By the way, despite the fact he was elected for life, the power of the chief of state in Venice was very much limited.
He could not appear in public without other officials present (security from populism). He could not meet foreign diplomats or open foreign dispatches without other officials present (security from collusion with foreign governments). He could not possess any property in a foreign land.
However, he had a nice place to live.
i learned what is one of the strangest archaeological object ever found
A crystal cup, excavated in Shitang Cun, Hangzhou, China, dates from the Warring States period(745B.C.~221B.C.)
It is incredible for its modern appearance, which is ergonomic. Experts add that the cup may not be made to drink water daily, because crystal was expensive in the past. Thus, the cup may be a symbol of wealth. When it was time for a ceremony to commemorate ancestors, the owner would take it to contain water to offer his ancestors.
Some visitors are shocked and said "Are you sure it is not bought from IKEA? I am sure that it is my milk glass which was lost yesterday."
i learned about some forbidden places in the world you aren’t allowed to visit
Where: The Vatican
Cost Of Penalty For Visiting: $275 Vatican trespassing fee.
Very few people have access to the Vatican Secret Archive, as only scholars over the age of seventy-five are permitted to study the archives. When they are authorized, academics enter the Vatican Secret Archive through an entryway guarded by the Swiss military.
These scholars can access three pre-requested documents per day, no more. Technically, the owner of this secretive library is the Pope, as he owns it until he either dies or resigns. Then, ownership transfers to his successor.
The Vatican Secret Archive is the central archive in the Vatican City for everything that concerns the church and the pope. This is no ordinary library, as it contains historical records from the church. The archives are the pope’s personal property.
i learned that the loudness of a howler monkey is relative to the size of its testicles. Researchers found that the smaller the testicles, the louder the monkey (x)
i learned that in France, bars can’t have a Happy Hour without also making non-alcoholic drinks cheaper (x)
i learned that we domesticated the silk moth 5000 years ago for sericulture. They lost their ability to fly, lack fear of predators, & have lost native color pigments since camouflage is not useful as they only live in captivity. They're entirely dependent on humans for survival, including finding a mate (x)
i learned that ant corpses release a chemical when they die. A scientist once recreated this chemical and put it on a live ant. Its ant friends kept bringing it to the graveyard no matter how much it struggled to return (x)
i learned that the developers of Donkey Kong Country wanted the Kongs to be voiced by actual gorillas and spent hours recording some at a zoo, only to realize that gorillas are actually very quiet. Finding themselves without sounds to work with, they had a programmer do gorilla impressions instead (x)
i learned that in 2005, a sheep jumped off a cliff in Turkey and 1500 sheep followed one by one. 450 sheep died and the rest survived by landing on the soft big pile of sheep (x)
i learned that the Japanese have a word "Busshu-suru" which translates as "To do the Bush thing" meaning "to vomit" referring to the time when George H.W. Bush' vomited in Japan's prime minister's lap (x)
i learned who is the most accidentally famous person ever
Imagine you're a regular 70 year old Hungarian guy, who, after a satisfactory career as an electrical engineer, has finally retired and is spending his days in peace. I know I'm asking you to get bored even in your imagination but bear with me. It's about to get fun…
So this one day, some photographer, who happened to see a picture of you vacationing, on a social media site, approaches you for a photo shoot and you comply, because there's nothing much to do.
You then proceed to upload some of your photos on Google, to see how stock photos work…
..and who uses it. (Uh oh) Because now, things start escalating…
While you're sitting in your home, punctually maintaining your routine of getting bored, there's some random guy on some random part of the world, who looks at your stock photo and finds immense potential in it, in your face, in your smile. (And no, he's not gay)
The potential for the next revolutionary meme. He posts it on Facepunch.
And fortunately for him (unfortunately for you), the meme clicks. So much so, that a Facebook page called “Maurice”, springs up, which gets 10k likes in no time.
When you first see your meme, you find it offensive, but there's nothing you can do about it, so you let it go (thinking that it'll die soon). But you duly warn your acquaintances to be more wary the next time they upload their photos on the internet.
But alas, you're already on your way to the list the most famous memes of all time. There are people on 4chan, who, in a thread dedicated just for you, start theorising that you must be some sad old man who has to work as a stock photography model. Then, an Imgur user goes on to compile notable quotes from the above 4chan thread into a gallery post titled “Hide-the-pain-Harold”, which garners more than 8,80,000 views in just three weeks.
You are now a classic meme template.
Eventually, you decide to publicly recognise yourself on a Russian social media site called “VK”.
You transcend from being bits on the Internet, to actual prints on a coffee mug, on a skirt! Documentaries are made, and articles are published about you. There's a random Quora user who nominates you as one of the most accidentally famous person from Hungary.
People start recognising you on streets. Some of them now want to get a picture taken with you. You're a celebrity for wrong reasons. After having lived 70 peaceful years as a harmless guy, you've become world famous - as a painter, as a singer, as whatever the next notorious meme maker wants you to be.
You are Arató András, the meme guy. Every single time a stranger recognises you, you acknowledge it with a smile, but there's an inevitable pain which just cannot be hidden.
So you smile like this,
I feel your pain Harold.
Hide your pain, Harold.