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The Soviet Mother Heroine medal was awarded to all mothers bearing and raising 10 or more children. It was awarded upon the first birthday of the last child, provided that nine other children (natural or adopted) were alive. It was awarded 454,142 times. Once to a man who raised 12 adopted sons.

The French word for ‘memory’ is souvenir.

For the first two centuries of its existence, Christianity included people who believed in one god, in two, in 12, in 30, and in 144.

Harry Houdini’s real name was actually Erik Weisz.

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, the 63 letter German word meaning ‘a law on the delegation of supervising the labelling of beef’, is to be removed from the dictionary because it was not used often enough. Up until now, it was the longest word in the language. The 36 letter word Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung, meaning ‘motor-vehicle liability insurance’ will probably take over first place.

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The Soviet Mother Heroine medal was awarded to all mothers bearing and raising 10 or more children. It was awarded upon the first birthday of the last child, provided that nine other children (natural or adopted) were alive. It was awarded 454,142 times. Once to a man who raised 12 adopted sons.

Most diamonds are between 1 and 3 billion years old.

Women are paid less than men for the same work in every U.S. State.

There are more than 1,700 references to gems and precious stones in the King James translation of the Bible.

Wild American bison are one of the most dangerous animals to encounter in the United States. In Yellowstone National Park alone, nearly five times as many people are killed by bison than by bears every year. The bison can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and are surprisingly nimble, making them difficult to avoid if they attack, which they do with little provocation.

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On January 7, 1558, the French nobleman Francis, Duke of Guise, captures Calais, the last English possession in mainland France.

Francis, Duke of Guise, by François Clouet

Duke of Guise

Because of a mistake in one of the five-year plans, during a brief period in the 1950s, Soviet Russia virtually ran out of lavatory paper; however, no official wanted to admit to this at the time, nor let it come out. So, to prevent the shortage from becoming public knowledge, the Soviet government made a secret trade agreement with Britain in which they bought vast amounts of compensatory lavatory paper. For months, British planes flew to Soviet Russia delivering the grey cargo. This was done at night to minimise the risk of discovery.

On January 11, 1569, The first official lottery is held in England, with 10 shilling lots sold at old St Paul’s Cathedral.

Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual. Jesus is mentioned more often in the Quran than Muhammad while Mary is mentioned in the Quran more than in the New Testament.

On 29 January, 1886, German engineer Karl Benz patents the first practical car powered by a petrol internal combustion engine.

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Bolshevik‏ And Menshevik

A bolshevik‏ – from the Russian bolševík (большевик), derived from bolšinstvó (большинство) meaning ‘majority’ – was a member of the extreme wing of the Russian Social Democratic party that seized power in Russia in the Revolution of November 1917.

A menshevik – from the Russian menševík (меньшевик), derived from menšinstvó (меньшинство) meaning ‘minority’ – was a member of the minority movement within the Socialist Democrat Party that broke away in 1903 after disputes on exclusivity and elitism.

“I treat women like royalty. But not from a Bolshevik perspective.
” – Jarod Kintz


The Glásnost (гласность, in Russian) was the 1980s policy of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev to allow more government transparency; the movement is often paired with the reformation of the Soviet Communist Party, known as the perestroika.

“Without glasnost there is not, and there cannot be, democratism, the political creativity of the masses and their participation in management.” – Mikhail Gorbachev

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The most expensive car ever made had no doors, no roof, no windscreen, it produced one horsepower and had a couple of garden chairs for seats. It cost 25 million pounds in 1971 and in its entire life it covered only 56 miles, which works out to about 500.000 pounds per mile. The one-off car was called the Lunar Rover or Moon Buggy and was designed by NASA for three lunar missions. The buggy was left behind by the Apollo 17 crew – the last humans to visit the moon. It is still there.

Millennium bridge at dusk, looking west up the...

Millennium bridge at dusk, looking west up the river Tyne, between Newcastle and Gateshead.

In San Fernando Valley, California, the pornography Hollywood of the world, around 4000 pornographic films are shot a year where around 60 gallons of semen are ejaculated in front of the camera.

Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, had a preference of photographing naked under-aged children aged between 6 and 14 with parental consent. He also coined the word Bandersnatch.

Pornography in the Soviet Union was largely suppressed until the final years of the USSR. According to The Pornography and Erotica Debate: USSR, sex in general was viewed as “a wasteful consumer of energies better devoted to the building of Communism.”

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge linking Gateshead and Newcastle across the River Tyne is the world’s first and (so far) only tilting bridge. It is so energy efficient it only uses £3.60 worth of electricity every time it opens and closes.

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Literally: Restructuring. Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

A USSR Stamp from the time of Perestroika

Perestroika is often argued to be a cause of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, and the end of the Cold War.

It refers to major changes initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev to the structure and function of both political and economic controls in the Soviet Union. Perestroika allowed more independent actions from the various ministries and introduced some market-like reforms. The intention of perestroika, however, was not to dismantle communism but rather to make communism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of Soviet consumers.

The process of implementing perestroika arguably exacerbated already existing political, social and economic tensions within the Soviet Union and no doubt helped to further nationalism among the constituent republics. Perestroika and resistance to it are often cited as major catalysts leading to the breakup of the Soviet Union.