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In 1813, Camembert cheese was made an honorary citizen of the town of Caen in Normandy.

27,000 trees are felled each day for toilet paper.

On 26 November 1867, due to a loophole in the law, Lily Maxwell became the first woman to vote in a British parliamentary election. As it turned out, British women would have to wait to 1928 to get the vote.

Air contains about a billion trillion atoms per cubic inch.

The male line in the Roman family tree was Pater (father), Avus (grandfather), Proavus (great-grandfather), Abavus (great-great-grandfather), Atavus (great-great-great-grandfather), Tritavus (great-great-great-great-grandfather).

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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In the summer of 2013, male train drivers in Sweden circumvented a ban on shorts by wearing skirts to work in hot weather. Because of Swedish anti-sexist laws, men and women are allowed to wear the same clothes to work.

An American could become President of the United States by winning the majority of the votes in just 11 U.S. States.

The tomato has been brought back from the verge of extinction at least three times since it was first domesticated.

The word acalculia describes the inability to do sums.

Hummingbirds, bees and ants spend 80% of their day doing absolutely nothing.

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In English, a jill is a female ferret; to jill means female masturbation.

When Navajo babies laugh for the first time, they get a party. The food is paid for by whoever made the baby laugh.

The Republican Party is the only political party in U.S. history to win a Presidential Election without achieving a majority of the popular vote. As a result, three Republicans were elected President even though their main opponent received more votes.

More than half the world’s population has seen a James Bond film.

During the Second World War, the Führer oath that every party member, officer and soldier had to take contained the words “I swear in the name of almighty God, my loyalty to the Führer.” Also, the belt buckles of German soldiers were inscribed with ‘Gott mit uns’ (God on our side).

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Problems with Electoral Votes

In a democratic election, it is common for the people to choose their government. In the United States, the head of government is not chosen directly by the people, but by Electors who represent the nation’s fifty States and the District of Columbia – these Electors form the Electoral College and they in fact choose the President of the United States.

To put it simply, the American people decide who votes for the President they want.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken

To become President of the United States, a candidate needs to win the absolute majority of the Electoral Votes from the Electoral College. In order to win Electoral Votes, one needs to obtain to majority of the votes in a State.

Each U.S. State is worth Electoral Votes. The number of Votes a State is worth is determined by the population of the State. The more populous a State, the higher its number of Electoral Votes. These values are adjusted every decade.

U.S. Presidential Elections are ruled by a system called first past the post. This means that whichever candidate receives the most votes in a certain State is declared the winner in that particular State. The winner receives all the Electoral Votes of the State (except for Nebraska and Maine, which allow Electoral Votes to be divided between different candidates).

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” – Isaac Asimov

Now, from a democratic viewpoint, this system is not ideal for a number of reasons, namely:

  • The use of Electoral Votes is not as democratic as it could be; the President of the United States is chosen indirectly. Whenever the word ‘indirectly’ has to be used in reference to an aspect of an election, it does not engender ‘more democracy’. In other words, the Electoral Vote system (indirect election) discards the Popular Vote (direct election). Hypothetically, a candidate could become President by winning just the eleven biggest States.
  • Because the Popular Vote counts for nothing as a whole, and because of discrepancies in the way Electoral Votes are assigned to States, it is possible for a candidate to win more Electoral Votes than his opponent and still lose the Popular Vote. To put it simply, one can become President of the United States by getting fewer votes from the American people than your opponent. – R.B. Hayes (1876), B. Harrison (1888) and G.W. Bush (2000) became President even though they and their party did not win a majority of the Popular Vote (in 1824, J.Q. Adams did not personally win a majority of the Popular Vote even though his party did).
  • In 157 instances, members of the Electoral College have cast their Electoral Votes in a different manner than the majority of the people in their respective States wanted them to. Electors who essentially vote against the wishes of their State are called Faithless Electors.
  • The Electoral Votes cause the votes in more populous States to be of less significance. To illustrate that, consider the following: in Wyoming, less than 200,000 votes make up one Electoral Vote; in Texas, over 700,000 votes are needed for the same Electoral Vote.
  • However, the current system does not make the votes in small States more significant either. Because votes are counted per State, only those States which can realistically be won by more than one candidate are relevant to the competing parties. These States, which do not have a predictable voting trend, are called Swing States. In a typical U.S. Presidential Election, only the Swing States which carry a large number of Electoral Votes are important to the candidates and the media. Because of this, the Americans in 80% of U.S. States receive no attention whatever.
  • Finally, participation suffers under the current system. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, in a first past the post system small parties are irrelevant since they can never realistically win the majority of the votes in an entire State. Instead, the voter is usually left with two or three flavours. Secondly, the system more often than not discourages participation. Around 80% of U.S. States usually have quite a predictable voting trend, and since only the winning party receives an electoral reward, other voters may be more inclined to abstain from participating in an election. In other words, the system causes political apathy.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Historical Rhetoric Twitter Style

What if Twitter had existed for over two centuries? Mankind might not have experienced the beautiful prose, witty quips and moving rhetoric produced by some of the world’s foremost speech writers. Here are some examples of the most famous English speeches of the past two hundred years as they would have been written on Twitter.

“Less is more.” – Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto

Abraham Lincoln
“The Gettysburg Address”
19th of November 1863; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, United States

This nation is conceived in liberty. All men are created equal. Government of/by/for the people shall not perish from the earth. #Gettysburg

Winston Churchill
“We Shall Fight on the Beaches”
4th of June 1940; House of Commons, London, Great Britain

We shall defend our Island whatever the cost may be! We shall fight on the beaches, landing grounds, fields, streets, hills. #neversurrender

John F. Kennedy
“Ich Bin Ein Berliner”
26th of June, 1963; Rathaus Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany

Freedom is indivisible. When one man is enslaved, all are not free. Free men, wherever they live, are citizens of Berlin. #IchbineinBerliner

Martin Luther King Jr.
“I Have a Dream”
28th of August 1963; Washington, D.C., United States

I have a dream that black&white boys&girls join hands as sisters and brothers. My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. #freedom_ring

Barack Obama
“Yes We Can”
4th of November 2008; Grant Park, Illinois, United States

Hope of a better day. Change has come to America. We’ve never been a collection of red&blue states. We are&always will be the USA. #YesWeCan

Niles: What happened to the concept of “less is more”?
Frasier:  Ah, but if “less is more,” just think of how much more “more” will be.
Frasier (1999) Season 7, Ep. 13; “They’re Playing Our Song” [No. 157]

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On the last Wednesday in August, crowds of over 40,000 people gather in the Spanish town of Buñol and throw tomatoes at each other. The event is called La Tomatina. Over 50 tons of tomatoes are wasted.

In Dutch, the noun eend means both ‘duck’ and ‘Citroën 2CV’.

In Britain, it is illegal for a party in an election to call itself None of the Above. This is to prevent the words appearing on ballot papers; presumably, there is a fear that NOTA would win by a landslide.

In the First World War, the British were the only side to have separate brothels for officers and men.

The hobbies of Norodom Sihanouk, the ex-King of Cambodia, were listed on his website as ‘jazz saxophone, magazine editing and having affairs with foreign women’.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young is listed as a co-inventor on seven U.S. Patents related to model trains.

Louis XIV of France

Louis XIV of France

On 26 November 1867, due to a loophole in the law, Lily Maxwell became the first woman to vote in a British parliamentary election. As it turned out, British women would have to wait to 1928 to get the vote.

The Photocorynus Spiniceps is the smallest known vertebrate, a quarter of an inch long, about half a million times smaller than the female.

On the 27 October 1662, much in need of money, Charles II sells the strategic port of Dunkirk to Louis XIV of France.

When American Republican politician Newt Gingrich was running as a presidential candidate in January 2012, he presented the idea of making the moon into the 51st member of the United States. He also proposed to establish a permanent colony on the moon by 2020 to reinvigorate the American Space Program.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts