Top 10 Terrible Issues Facing Children Worldwide

Children are the future and it is the responsibility of adults to protect them and ensure that they get the best footing in life. Unfortunately this is not always the case in many nations around the world – including our own! This list looks at ten of the worst situations that children today are forced to face. It is hard to believe that these situations still occur, but learning about them is a good way to start trying to help.

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Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews, to glorify “jihad” (holy war), violence, death and child martyrdom almost from birth, as an essential part of their culture and destiny. As captured on an Israeli video documentary produced in 1998, a “Sesame Street”-like children’s program called the “Children’s Club” — complete with puppet shows, songs, Mickey Mouse and other characters — focused on inculcating intense hatred of Jews and a passion for engaging in and celebrating violence against them in a perpetual “jihad” until the day the Israeli flags come down from above “Palestinian land” and the Palestinian flag is raised.

In Madrasas, Islamic schools for study of pure Islamic religion, the culprits are the religious teachers; and the victims include helpless innocent underage students. The sacred teacher-student relationship is given a new definition in these Islamic schools. Following is the bitter experience of a 12 years old madrasa student from Kenya who was rescued during January 2003.

“It was a terrible place, they chain both legs and both arms, sometimes hands and feet together, They beat us at lunch time, dinner time and grab both legs and hands and give us lashes on the buttocks. We sleep in chains, eat in chains, and go to the toilets in chains. Sometimes we are hooked on the roof in chains and left hanging. We have to memorize the Koran and get punished if we cannot recite the Koran in the classroom”.

Chaining incidents are rare in Bangladeshi madrasas. Child torture incidents in madrasas are reported mostly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan. The number of students are estimated somewhere between eight hundred thousands to one million. They are often run by religious organizations and lure young children mainly from poor families by providing free food and lodging. Some of the schools even provide intensive political and armed training.

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According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water. Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea. For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are: 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3), 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5) and 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7). 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.) 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized. Millions of parents in developing countries must daily cope with the fact that their children may not survive the first critical years of life; in many cases, the diseases that threaten their children’s lives are preventable.

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Of the 50 million refugees and displaced people in the world, approximately half are children. War is the primary factor in the creation of child refugees. It is also a principle cause of child death, injury, and loss of parents. In the last decade, war has killed more than 2 million children, wounded another 6 million, and orphaned about 1 million. Children also flee their homes because they fear various forms of abuse such as rape, sexual slavery, and child labor. Circumstances of birth also play a role in depriving children of a legal home. Each year 40 million children are not registered at birth, depriving them of nationality and a legal name.

The combined ravages of AIDS and war have created a large pool of orphan refugees and displaced children, particularly in Africa. The toll of Rwanda’s civil war, for example, left orphan children to head some 45,000 Rwandan households, with 90 percent of these headed by girls. “Separated Children” are those under age 18 and living outside their country of origin without parents or legal guardians to care for or protect them. Every year, about 20,000 separated children apply for asylum in Europe and North America. Overall, children account for approximately half of all individuals seeking legal asylum in developed countries. Separated children are not often legally recognized as refugees in western countries. In Europe, for example, where there may be as many as 50,000 separated children at any given time, only an estimated 1-5 percent of those who apply for asylum are granted refugee status.

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More than 100 million children do not have access to school. Of the children who enroll in primary school, over 150 million drop out, while user fees, including levies, are still charged for access to education in 92 countries and that such charges have impact on excluding girls. 77 million children worldwide are not able to go to school due to lack of funds. For socially disadvantaged segments of the population like poor inhabitants of cities, AIDS orphans and the physically challenged, any access to education is often particularly difficult to obtain. The consequence of this lack of access to education is that 15 percent of those adolescents between 15 and 24 in third world countries are illiterate.

Location often contributes to a child’s lack of access and attendance to education. In certain areas of the world it is more difficult for children to get to school. For example, in high-altitude areas of India, severe weather conditions for more than 7 months of the year make school attendance erratic and force children to remain at home. Gender also contributes to a child’s lack of access and attendance to education. In 25 countries the proportion of boys enrolling in secondary school is higher than girls by 10% or more, and in five; India, Nepal, Togo, Turkey and Yemen, the gap exceeds 20%. The worst disparity is found in South Asia, where 52% of boys and only 33% of girls enroll; a gap of 10%. Enrollment is low for both boys and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, with rates of just 27% and 22%. Girls trail respectively behind. It is generally believed that girls are often discouraged from attending primary schooling, especially in less developed countries for religious and cultural reasons.

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Neglect is an act of omission, or the absence of action. While the consequences of child neglect can be devastating, it leaves no visible marks. Moreover, it usually involves infants and very young children who cannot speak for themselves. James M. Gaudin Jr., in “Child Neglect: Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes”, reported that, compared with non-maltreated and abused children, neglected children have the worst delays in language comprehension and expression. Psychologically neglected children also score lowest in IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests.

Emotional neglect, in its most serious form, can result in the “non-organic failure to thrive syndrome,” a condition in which a child fails to develop physically or even to survive. According to Gaudin, studies have found that, even with aggressive intervention, the neglected child continues to deteriorate. The cooperation of the neglectful parents, which is crucial to the intervention, usually declines as the child’s condition worsens. This shows that it is sometimes not that easy to change the parental attributes that have contributed to the neglect in the first place.

Parental neglectful behaviors include not keeping the child clean, not providing enough clothes for keeping warm, not making sure the child attended school, not caring if the child got into trouble in school, not helping with homework, not helping the child do his best, not providing comfort when the child was upset, and not helping when the child had problems. The prevalence of childhood neglect ranged from 3.2% in New Hampshire, United States, to 10% in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 19.4% in Singapore, and 36.4% in Pusan, Korea.

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An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world, according to the International Labor Organization. Of these, 120 million children are working full time to help support their impoverished families.

There are millions of children whose labor can be considered forced, not only because they are too young to choose to work, but also because they are, in fact, actively coerced into working. These include child bonded laborers — children whose labor is pledged by parents as payment or collateral on a debt — as well as children who are kidnapped or otherwise lured away from their families and imprisoned in sweatshops or brothels. In addition, millions of children around the world work unseen in domestic service — given or sold at a very early age to another family.

Forced child laborers work in conditions that have no resemblance to a free employment relationship. They receive little or no pay and have no control over their daily lives. They are often forced to work beyond their physical capacity and under conditions that seriously threaten their health, safety and development. In many cases their most basic rights, such as freedom of movement and expression, are suppressed. They are subject to physical and verbal abuse. Even in cases where they are not physically confined to their workplace, their situation may be so emotionally traumatizing and isolating that once drawn into forced labor they are unable to conceive of a way to escape.

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In Thailand, NGOs have estimated that up to a third of prostitutes are children under 18. A study by the International Labor Organization on child prostitution in Vietnam reported that incidence of children in prostitution is steadily increasing and children under 18 make up between 5 percent and 20 percent of prostitution depending on the geographical area. In the Philippines, UNICEF estimated that there are 60,000 child prostitutes and many of the 200 brothels in the notorious Angeles City offer children for sex. In India as many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under the age of 14, have been sold into red-light districts. Nepalese girls, especially virgins, are favored in India because of their fair skin and young looks. Every year about 10,000 Nepalese girls, most between the age of nine and 16, are sold to brothels in India. In El Salvador, one-third of the sexually exploited children between 14 and 17 years of age are boys. The median age for entering into prostitution among all children interviewed was 13 years.

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The internet is a virtual playground for child predators. It is a place that operates largely outside of the law. While trading in pedophile pornography is illegal, lack of adequate funding means law enforcement officials are able to investigate just two percent of their leads. Also, according to Interpol statistics, only one-half of one percent are ever prosecuted.

On a show that aired September 2, 2008, Oprah Winfrey showed a map that clearly conveyed how fast one pornographic image of a child being molested can spread. From a computer in Washington, DC, the image spread within 24 hours, all across the United States. The demand for new images and videos is so high that authorities report they are tracking increasingly brutal pornography with younger and younger victims.

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Trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are forced into slavery. It affects every continent and most countries. Currently, children are trafficked from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen to be used as camel jockeys in the UAE. Furthermore, Anti-Slavery International also has evidence that children are also being trafficked to be used as camel jockeys in other Gulf states including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and also internally in Sudan. The use of children as jockeys in camel racing is itself extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury and even death. Some children are also abused by the traffickers and employers, for example by depriving them of food and beating them. The children’s separation from their families and their transportation to a country where the people, culture and usually the language are completely unknown leaves them dependent on their employers and de facto forced laborers.

According to UNICEF, over 200,000 children work as slaves in West and Central Africa. Boys are usually sold to work on cotton and cocoa plantations while girls are used as domestic servants and prostitutes. In some cases, children are kidnapped outright and sold into slavery while in others, families sell their children, mostly girls, for as little as $14.

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Around the world, children are singled out for recruitment by both armed forces and armed opposition groups, and exploited as combatants. Approximately 250,000 children under the age of 18 are thought to be fighting in conflicts around the world, and hundreds of thousands more are members of armed forces who could be sent into combat at any time. Although most child soldiers are between 15 and 18 years old, significant recruitment starts at the age of 10 and the use of even younger children has been recorded.

Easily manipulated, children are sometimes coerced to commit grave atrocities, including rape and murder of civilians using assault rifles such as AK-47s and G4s. Some are forced to injure or kill members of their own families or other child soldiers. Others serve as porters, cooks, guards, messengers, spies, and sex slaves.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/07/06/top-10-terrible-issues-facing-children-worldwide/

Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World

It is almost everyone’s dream to own a flash car, but only the super wealthy can own the flashest. This is a list of the ten most expensive cars in the world. You may be surprised to know that Rolls Royce is not on the list, nor is Bentley, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Exclusions from the list are cars that exist as prototypes or special one-off makes. Ratings are based on US dollars.

10. Maybach 57 S $367,000

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DaimlerChrysler revealed the Maybach 57 S at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. It uses a 6.0 L version of the V12 engine manufactured by Mercedes-AMG. Power output is 604 hp (450 kW) and 738 ft·lbf (1000 N·m), providing a sub-5 second sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h). It also rides 0.5 in (13 mm) lower on 20 in (508 mm) wheels. The North American unveiling was at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006. The S stands for “special” and not for “sport”.

9. Maybach 62 $385,250

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The Maybach 62 includes many luxury features such as fully-reclining rear seats, Maybach 4 zone climate control, tinted, infrared-reflecting laminated glass all round, AirMATIC dual control air suspension, display instruments in rear roof liner (showing speed, time and outside temperature), folding rear tables (left and right), BOSE Surround Everywhere sound system and a refrigerator compartment.[1] The Maybach 62 also includes an array of additional features such as Cockpit Management and Navigation System (COMAND), which includes DVD navigation, CD changer in rear seats, DVD players and TV tuners front and rear, two rear LCD TV screens including remote control and two sets of headphones, automatic closing doors.

8. Porsche Carrera GT $440,000

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The development of the Carrera GT can be traced back to its successors, the 911 GT1-98 and LMP1-98 racing cars. The Carrera GT is powered by an all-new 5.7 litre V10 engine producing 612 DIN (605 SAE) horsepower (450 kW) whereas the original concept car featured a 5.5 litre version rated at 558 hp (416 kW). Porsche claims it will accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.5 mph) in 3.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), although road tests indicated that in reality the car could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and 0-100 mph in 7.0 seconds. The interior is fitted with soft leather. BOSE audio system and navigation systems are available as options. In typical Porsche fashion, the ignition is to the left of the steering wheel.

7. Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren $457,250

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The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is a German supercar jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Automotive. It is assembled at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. DaimlerChrysler owns 40% of the McLaren Group. Classified as a supercar and compared to cars like the Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo, the presence of the automatic gear box, front mid-engined arrangement and its driving characteristics lead some commentators to classify the SLR McLaren as a Super GT whose closer rivals are the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish and Ferrari 599 GTB. One of the goals of the SLR was to combine both supercar and GT characteristics.

6. Koenigsegg CCR $545,568

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The Koenigsegg CCR is an automobile and supercar made by Koenigsegg. Designed and manufactured in Ängelholm, Sweden, it debuted at the 2004 Geneva Auto Show. It briefly held the world speed record for a production car. The CCR took the record from the McLaren F1, which held the record for over 12 years of 386.7 km/h, set on the 9 km straight track at the VW Ehra facility in Wolfsburg, Germany. The CCR ran on the Nardò/Prototipo track, a circular track with a circumference of 12.5 km. This means that the car is driven in a constant turning motion, which makes the exercise and speed even more impressive. The steering wheel at this speed is kept at around 30 degrees of constant angle, a fairly sharp angle for the speed. On the same track, the F1 managed an unofficial record of 372 km/h.

5. Saleen S7 Twin Turbo $555,000

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The Saleen S7 is a limited edition, hand built coupe developed jointly by Saleen, Hidden Creek Industries, Phil Frank Design and RML, and produced solely by Saleen in Irvine, California. It is the first car produced by Saleen not based on an existing design and is considered to be the first true American production certified supercar. The S7 debuted on August 19, 2000 at the Monterey Historic Races. At this time the car was normally aspirated with 550 horsepower. In 2005, the S7 was replaced by the S7 Twin Turbo, which featured a more powerful twin-turbo system that boosted engine power to 750 horsepower (760 PS/559 kW) and the top speed to an estimated 250 mph (402 km/h).

4. LeBlanc Mirabeau $645,084

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Mirabeau is the newest car from Wysstec GmbH and Leblanc cars. It’s a new proposal for a racecar and prepared to FIA/Le Mans standards .The fact that it is street legal, is almost unbelievable. To reach the maximum of lightweight building and race feeling the car interior is optimized for maximum of speed and acceleration. There are some special options, including leather interior and a sequential gearbox. Power comes from Koenigsegg’s V8, the same engine found in the CCR. It is equipped with a Lysholm Screw Compressor, which has several advantages to the common centrifugal compressor.

3. SSC Ultimate Aero $654,400

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The American-built SSC Aero TT is a supercar built by Shelby Super Cars (SSC) in order to rival the new Bugatti Veyron with speeds of over 250 mph (400 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of just 2.78 seconds (for the Ultimate Aero TT version). The company and vehicle are the brainchilds of Jerod Shelby, who spent over seven years designing the Aero. The car is the world’s fastest production car at 255.83 mph (411.707 km/h), a speed reportedly achieved on September 13, 2007 in West Richland, WA. The results of this test, if verified by Guiness World Records, will give the SSC Aero the world’s fastest production car title. The Aero’s styling includes the use of flip doors similar to the ones found on the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, and the Ferrari Enzo, to name a few. It uses carbon fiber and titanium extensively throughout the car, keeping the weight down to 1233 kg (for the standard Aero). For the Ultimate Aero, weight is further reduced to 1179 kg by marking the navigation system, 10-speaker audio/CD/DVD system, video/DVD screen, and back-up camera as optional equipment; and removing air-conditioning and any trunk space altogether.

2. Pagani Zonda Roadster F C12S 7.3 $667,321

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The Pagani Zonda is a supercar produced by Pagani in Italy. It debuted in 1999 and continues through the present, with production proceeding at roughly 25 cars per year. As of December, 2005, 60 Zondas had been built. It is a mid-engined 2-seat coupe and convertible. Construction is mainly of carbon fiber. The Zonda Roadster F debuted at the 2006 Geneva show. It is similar to the coupe, but with a removable carbon fibre roof and canvas side curtains weighing just 11 lb (5 kg). Production of the Roadster F is suggested at 25 units. The Roadster F is able to maintain chassis rigidity without any gain in curb weight by eschewing conventional thinking by not strengthening the sills – a process which would have needed more than 35 kg of reinforcement. Pagani instead uses racecar thinking, materials and construction techniques, strengthening the firewall structure of the chassis tub together with billet alloy braces that connect the points where the roof rails would have joined. The windscreen is also strengthened for safety reasons. These techniques enable the Roadster to have virtually the same weight as the coupe – 1230 kg (2712 lb).

1. Bugatti Veyron 16.4 $1,192,057

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The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is currently the most expensive street-legal full production car in the world, with in excess of 1001 horsepower, in either the metric or SAE scale, with its top speed of 253.81 mph (408.47 km/h). The Bugatti Veyron reached full production in September 2005. The car is built by Volkswagen AG subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS in its Molsheim (Alsace, France) factory and is sold under the French Bugatti marque. It is named after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti firm. After the release of the car, it has been reported that while each Veyron is being sold for $1.2 million, the production costs of the car are approximately £5 million per vehicle. This is not the price to produce one vehicle, but rather the cost of the entire Veyron project divided by the number of vehicles produced at that time. As Bugatti, and therefore Volkswagen, are making such a loss, it has been likened by automotive journalist Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear programme team in their story on it to the Concorde, in that both were huge achievements, but the car will probably, like the plane before it, be discontinued after proving to be an economic failure.

Sources: Forbes, Wikipedia

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/09/28/top-10-most-expensive-cars-in-the-world/

10 Terrible Bigots in Modern History

History is full of people who were just plain bigots. The disease of racism and bigotry is a universal one, affecting people of every race, religion, nation, etc. The following list is the top ten of these men who, through ignorance, are at the forefront of bigotry.

Fard Muhammad

The founder of a group of black Muslims which became the Nation of Islam (NOI) in Detroit, Michigan in 1930. Muhammad’s theology was a blend of 50% theosophy, 50% traditional Islam, and 100% crazy. Muhammad taught his followers that the Earth was over 76 trillion years old and at the time before the creation of Adam, there was one continent called “Asia”. He also taught a very bizarre view of the origin of the human race, and this is where the bigotry comes in.

Muhammad taught that long ago, God created blacks as the first humans, while white people were the result of an experiment by a renegade black scientist named “Yakub” to be a slave race to the blacks. As such, whites are not fully human (Louis Farrakhan, the Nation’s current leader, has stated that “White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet”). This teaching continues to influence NOI beliefs and preaching to this day. Most recently in 1993, former NOI spokesman, the late Khalid Abdul Muhammad, referred to Jews as “bloodsuckers” and advocated the murder of all white South Africans who would not leave the country in 48 hours

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The founder of the modern American automotive industry was also the 1920s king of American anti-Semitism. Henry Ford is best known for being the inventor of the assembly line method of manufacturing automobiles, but he was also an avid fan of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, the famous Russian anti-Semitic forgery. He was so convinced of its authenticity that he published it in serial form in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. He later took the Independent’s Articles and published them as a book, “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem”. In it, Ford blamed the Jews for everything from pornography to alcoholism to communism and beyond. The book proved to be rather popular, and was especially so in 1930s Germany; so much that Adolf Hitler himself awarded Ford a medal, and Ford is the only American mentioned in “Mein Kampf”. The book has recently proved to be popular with Islamic radicals, who use it in their preaching against Israel by portraying the country as part of a Jewish plot to destroy Islam.

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Samuel Bowers was the Imperial Wizard (leader) of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a particularly violent branch of the Klan that was active in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. He formed the group in 1963 and within a year were active in most counties in Mississippi. Bowers believed that the Klan must fight back violently against the movement for black equal rights. As such, his group became famous for giving, as one modern Klansmen, C. Edward Foster, on a recent History Channel documentary about the Klan put it, “bricks, bombs and bullets, not bullshit”.

In 1964, during the civil rights campaign known as “Freedom Summer”, the group murdered several civil rights workers, white and black, most famously James Chainey, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, an event which became the basis for the movie “Mississippi Burning”. In 1966, under Bowers’ orders, Klansmen firebombed the home of Vernon Dahmer, who had been registering blacks to vote, and in 1967 they targeted Jewish establishments in a series of bombings.

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Born Hulon Mitchell Jr., Yahweh ben Yahweh is the leader of the appropriately named Nation of Yahweh, a religious group adhering to Black Hebrew Israelism, the belief that blacks are the true descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. While usually a rather harmless belief, ben Yahweh took it one step further; he declared that he was the Son of God and the Messiah, and that he was sent by God to vanquish white people and Jews, referring to white people as “white devils” in the same manner as the Nation of Islam once did. He was later imprisoned in 1990 for conspiracy in relation to 23 gruesome murders that took place in the Miami area involving members of the group.

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Little is known about Jack Chick, a reclusive fundamentalist Christian preacher operating out of Rancho Cucamonga, California, and what little can be gleamed about him is only available on the website of his publishing house, Chick Publications. What is known is the proliferation of tiny, hand drawn comic books, called “Chick Tracts” which he uses to evangelize. The subjects of the tracts range from relatively typical to downright bizarre, but are best known for a particularly vicious brand of anti-Catholic bigotry, and anti-evolution.

Chick’s tracts portray the Catholic Church as sinister and conspiracy bent, especially in regards to Protestant Fundamentalists and himself in particular. He portrays Church belief and practice as being born out of ancient paganism, and depicts demons as infesting every aspect of Catholic life, as though Catholics secretly worship Satan. He frequently refers to the Church as the “Whore of Babylon”, “Antichrist”, insinuates the Church created Nazism as a means to exterminate Jews, and portrays Catholics as foul-mouthed, angry, abusive and prone to drunkenness.

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Ian Paisley is a Northern Ireland politician and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as well as being the Moderator (leader) of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, as well as being a member of British Parliament and of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the constituency of North Antrim. Like Chick, Paisley is well known for his vicious anti-Catholicism.

Paisley frequently refers to Roman Catholicism as “popery” and founded the European Institute of Protestant Studies to promote his own particular brand of anti-Catholicism. In 1988, he attacked Pope John Paul II at the European Parliament (of which he was a member), shouting “I Denounce you as the AntiChrist!” at the Pontiff while holding up a sign accusing him of being the Antichrist, causing him to have to be manhandled out of the hemicycle by several other MEPs. In 1963, Paisley organized a protest against the lowering of flags following the death of Pope John XXIII. He also stated that seat no. 666 in the European Parliament is reserved for the Antichrist and praised Slobodan Milosevic for fighting a “Vatican conspiracy” to destroy the Serbian Orthodox Church.

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This is the only group that is on this list. The Mexica Movement is an organization of “indigenous” activists with some very unique goals. The group views (erroneously) all the indigenous groups on the American continent, from the Mayans in Mexico to the First Nations of Canada, as being one single ethnic group of a nation called “Anuhuac”, similar to white supremacist groups believing whites to comprise a single nation. Consequently, the group supports the repatriation of all whites back to Europe, and I can only assume that this will include force if no one wants to go.

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William Joseph Simmons was a former preacher from Georgia who, in 1915, founded the second Ku Klux Klan after the collapse of the original Klan following the end of Reconstruction. He formed the Klan as a fraternal organization dedicated to defending American values. Unfortunately, his version of American “values” was odious.

The new Klan retained it’s predecessor’s anti-black attitudes, and added a whole host of new ones; the new Klan added Catholics, Jews, and immigrants to its list of enemies. The new Klan fought long and hard against immigration and black equal rights, eventually numbering over 20 million members, until financial woes, government investigations and news stories of high profile scandals brought the organization crashing down.

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An aerospace engineer by trade, Richard Butler graduated to racism and neo-Nazism when he founded the Aryan Nations in the 1970s. The group was founded on a blend of racist neo-Nazism and Christian Identity, an interpretation of Christianity which holds whites as the “true Hebrews” of the Bible and blacks and other minorities as soulless “mud people” created with the other beasts of the field, as well as viewing Jews as the descendants of Satan through Eve, promoting the idea through their religious arm, the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. The group preached racial separatism and hatred of all non-whites, and was accused of attempting to foment a race war. They even attempted to forge an alliance between them and al-Qaeda based on both of their hatred of the American government and Jews.

Following Butlers death in 2003, the group collapsed as financial ruin from lawsuits brought them to their knees, and culminated in the group’s compound being given to the plaintiffs in one case.

Adolf Hitler

The only one on the list to achieve political power. Hitler rose up the ranks of the National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazi Party in the 1920s and early thirties. As the Weimar Republic was coming apart the seams, Hitler was elected Chancellor in 1933, and promptly positioned himself as “der Fuhrer” or “The Leader”. His rule was characterized by harsh anti-Semitic policies. Jews were forbidden to marry “Aryan” Germans, display the national colors, etc. Later, Jews and other “undesirables” were forcibly relocated to ghettos and later to concentration camps, leading to the Holocaust. During his rule, millions died in these camps, as the Nazis pursued a policy of deliberate racial extermination which was only brought to an end by the defeat of Germany in World War II.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/02/12/10-terrible-bigots-in-modern-history/

Top 10 Coolest Santas

The visage of the Jolly Red-Suited man has been around for a long time, and many, many different versions for almost as long. Few icons have represented the Holiday of Christmas quite like the happy-go-lucky Santa Claus (aside, of course, from Jesus, himself) and few have had the impact that the droll elf has had. Over the years, many films and TV specials have been made featuring St. Nick, each portrayed in its own different way. Here are ten of the finest examples of how cool Santa can be.

10. Bill Goldberg (Santa’s Slay)

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Bill Goldberg plays the devil’s son, who lost a wager with a angel and was forced to spend 1000 years playing Santa. Now the wager of that time has run out, and Mr. Santa isn’t so joyful anymore. He makes up for lost time and starts to kill people. And really, how incredibly cool does WWE Wrestler Goldberg look as the holiday elf? BAD ASS.

9. Paul Giamatti (Fred Claus)

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As Nick Claus, later on the eponymous Santa, Paul Giamatti really embodies, and quite perfectly looks like, the jolly old fat man. Sure, it’s all suit and make-up, but in the facial expressions and mannerisms lie the real persona. Though I still see him as a masturbating wino in Sideways, Giamatti really pulls it off.

8. Richard Attenborough (Miracle on 34th Street)

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Six-year-old Susan has doubts about childhood’s most enduring miracle – Santa Claus. Her mother told her the “secret” about Santa a long time ago, so Susan doesn’t expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special department store Santa (who is convinced he’s the real thing) Susan is given the most precious gift of all – something to believe in. Sure, it’s a remake, and for the most part those really suck, but just look at the guy! Now THAT is a Santa!

7. Tim Allen (The Santa Claus)

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Scott Calvin (Allen) reads The Night Before Christmas…then receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When he’s startled by Scott’s calling out and falls, the Santa impersonator disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if it’s owner is involved in an accident. Scott does, and is transported around the town dropping gifts through chimneys, until he’s taken to the North Pole and informed by a group who claim they’re elves that he is now Santa. For actually being a relatively thin fellow, Allen looks surprisingly convincing as Father Christmas.

6. Jack Black (Saturday Night Live)

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In a hilarious Debbie Downer sketch, Rachel Dratch, in her most sob-storied, rotten-lived best, portrays Downer on Christmas morning. Jack Black as Santa (wonderfully done, by the way) attempts to get past Debbie’s neuroses by asking repeatedly what she really wants for Christmas, only to be blocked at every corner by her constant hypochondriacal issues.

5. Ed Asner (Elf)

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Though Will Farrell steals the movie as Buddy, the elf, Ed Asner does a fine job as the portly man in red. He arrives only at the end, in a ruined sleigh, to explain to Buddy that the Christmas spirit is going to need to be refurbished in the city in order for him to fly again. He looks really cool as Santa, too, especially considering he’s kind of a grumpy ass.

4. Santa (Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer)

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At first, Santa is a skinny jerk who croons madly about being the King of Jingle-Ling to Rudolph’s family, just moments after telling Donder that his son is a shiny-nosed freak. He let’s the father deer know, in no uncertain terms, that he is a failure of a father for producing such an abomination of an offspring. Well, as it goes, old Saint Nick eats his shitty words as he requires Rudolph’s assistance to guide his fogged-in sleigh. Take that, fatty!

3. The Grinch (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)

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When the Grinch, annual loather of the poor little Whos down in Who-ville, decides to finally take matters into his own hands by raping the town of its Christmas celebration, he chooses to do so dressed as ‘Santy Claus’. By slicing up a curtain and attaching some white fluff, the Grinch looks really nothing like Santa to the human eye, but to Cindy Lou Who, he apparently does. Nice suit though.

2. Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)

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As the most obnoxious of all Mall Santas, Billy Bob, with his lanky and bony build, really looks nothing like the Jolly Fat Man. He’s drunk, rude, mouthy and a thief, but he is as cool as it comes when it comes to what matters: women and good old-fashioned Holiday Cheer.

1. Santa (Coca Cola)

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This is it: the one and only. The popularity of the Santa Claus as we know him comes from an ad campaign from the Coca Cola Corporation in which the well established Victorian English image of Father Christmas was spread worldwide.

Contributor: StewWriter

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/12/24/top-10-coolest-santas/

Site Update: July 2013

It has now been six months since our last site update and there has been a lot happening here at Listverse. Below you can find out about our latest goings on as well as learn about our future plans (which, I can assure you, are very exciting). There is also an opportunity for someone to help out (and get paid!)

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We’ll get straight to it with mobile apps because they are on everyone’s lips right now! Currently 45% of Listverse readers are looking at the site on a mobile device (phone or tablet). This has also meant we are now getting regular requests for mobile apps. So I am very thrilled to announce that we are about to start phase I of our mobile strategy: iOS on iPhone. We expect to have an iPhone app available within three to four months. As soon as that app is available we will be starting on the next phase which will be Android devices. And after that comes iPad. Our design guys are already working on their new concepts. If you wish, you can mention some features you would like to see in the comments, but to prevent repetition I will tell you that it will definitely have the ability to takes lists off-line for reading when you don’t have the Internet.

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As some of you probably noticed, we recently tried out multiple-page articles. The motivation behind this was, in part, to help fund the mobile development strategy. Due to a rather large and vocal group of people we have reverted to single page posts. Funding of the app will come from other sources and you can rest assured that we will continue to use single page posts.

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Welcome to our three new editors (who are joining our current Editor Matt Hayes). We are pleased to have Micah Duke, Kier Harris, and Josh Sargent on-board helping us out. They are working incredibly hard to get our content up to a high and consistent standard. We will eventually place blurbs for them on the about page so you can read more about them and see who they are. And that brings us to the opportunity to help out:

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We are currently considering taking on a part-time person in the role of chief editor. The job involves selecting from the submissions lists which are good enough to publish here and then verifying sources and checking for plagiarism. It also involves fielding questions and comments from the editors and liaising with me daily on the state of things. And finally it requires going over all lists before they go live on the site to catch any missed errors. To do this job you will need to have English of a very high standard (better than the average native speaker), good communication skills, and—most importantly—a very good knowledge of the majority of lists on Listverse. In other words, someone who has been a reader since the start would be ideally suited in that regard. If you are interested and meet the criteria above, please email a full resume and CV to jfrater@listverse.com.

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I have recently been working incredibly hard to produce a backend database for submissions and payments. It is now mostly complete and all new lists are being sent to the database which allows me to automate the tasks of plagiarism checking, posting and scheduling to Listverse, and managing editing schedules. This has fortunately freed up some time for me and allows me to better understand the statistics of lists we are sent. Because of our new plagiarism testing scheme and our editor’s sharp eyes, we are switching payments to weekly rather than immediately upon acceptance. This is to allow us to reject a list if we discover plagiarism or facts not backed by sources. In terms of what you see on the site this should mean a higher standard of fact checking.

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If you are not already a fan of Listverse on Facebook go and “like” us right now! We often post questions or polls there to help us gauge the opinions of our readers and the more regulars there the better. You can also use our Facebook page to contact us (if you prefer not to email) and interact with other Listverse regulars. We are currently looking into the possibility of running some competitions through the page.

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You do know we have three published books you can buy right now correct? You can find them here. In addition to our three books we are close to signing a deal on a fourth book which will be The Ultimate Book of Top 10 Lists: Volume 2. We are very excited about this as it will be our first book in two years. The original books are selling well in bookstores all around the world and no doubt some of you reading here today found us because of them. In the next edition all authors will be listed by name along-side their list.

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When we launched our redesign we posted a welcome article. Since then we have all had plenty of time to get used to it. Please feel free to let us know via the comments how you are finding the site now that it has been live for three months. Does everything run as smoothly as you would like it to? If there something we could add to make it even better? We want your opinions so get commenting!

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We love lists, we can’t get enough of them. So do you—that’s why you’re here! We are getting some amazing submissions these days but because we publish only three a day we can’t accept some that we think you would like. Recently we started trialling four lists occasionally. How many lists would you read per day if we published more? Does your day permit you time to read only three? Could you cope with five? Six? Let us know in the comments.

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Finally I just want to say thanks for your patience of late while I have been so busy tied up with the backend code for the submissions. I am hoping to get some spare time soon to write a list of my own so keep your eyes peeled for that. I also want to thank the moderators who have been working overtime to handle the increase in trolling of late. Their efforts are appreciated not just by me but everyone here I am sure you will agree. Listverse turned six three days ago. It has been an amazing six years. Thanks to everyone for sticking with us and sharing us with your friends.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/07/03/site-update-july-2013/

Top 10 Richest Women

We all know who the richest men in the world are, but we seldom hear about the richest women. So, it is time to put that right! This is a list of the ten richest women in the world.

1. Liliane Bettencourt Wikipedia

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At the age of 83, Liliane Bettencourt is the wealthiest woman in the world and is the 12th richest person overall. She has a net worth estimated at $20.7 billion made possible through the family business, a little company called L’Oreal. She is the daughter of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller and holds a controlling stake in the cosmetics giant so is likely to make even more money in the future.

2. Christy Walton Wikipedia

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Christy Walton, 51, is the widow of John Walton, the Wal-Mart heir who died in an aircraft accident in June 2005. She inherited $15.9 billion (£8.4 billion) from the company originally founded by Sam Walton, making her the wealthiest woman in the United States. Wal-Mart is still the world’s largest retailer with more than 5,100 stores serving 138 million customers a week and ringing up sales of $285 billion (£151 billion). All of which makes Christy the 24th richest person in the world.

3. Alice Walton Wikipedia

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As one would expect, the Waltons have deep family ties. Alice, 56, is the sister of the late John Walton and her fortune of $16.6 billion puts her at number 26 in the world’s rich list. Her brother Rob serves as chairman and the company donates a small fortune to charity through the Walton Family Foundation.

4. Abigail Johnson Wikipedia

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As the 42nd richest person in the world, Abigail Johnson’s $13 billion inheritance comes from Fidelity Investments, America’s largest mutual fund company. The firm was founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson in 1946. Abigail, 45, interned at Fidelity while pursuing a Harvard MBA and returned full-time in1988. She became president of the company’s mutual fund division in 2001, and picked up $31 billion (£16.4 billion) in fund assets during her first six months. In May 2006 she took over Fidelity’s employer services division, administering payroll and employee stock plans.

5. Anne Cox Chambers Wikipedia

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Anne, 86, inherited $12.6 billion (£6.6 billion) from the family media firm Cox Enterprises. Her father James Cox’s empire includes 17 newspapers, 15 TV stations, 79 radio stations and also cable systems. The business also runs to cars, including Manheim Auctions, America’s leading used-car auction business and majority ownership of AutoTrader.com, the world’s largest online auto classifieds site. Last year the family took cable arm Cox Communications private in an $8 billion (£4.2 billion) deal. She is the world’s 45th richest person.

6. Birgit Rausing Wikipedia

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Dr Birgit Rausing is a Swedish art historian. Together with her three children, she inherited packaging giant Tetra Laval in January 2000 after her husband Gad Rausing’s death. As of 2007, her net worth is about $11 billion.

7. Jacqueline Mars Wikipedia

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Jacqueline Badger Mars is the daughter of Forrest Edward Mars, Sr., and granddaughter of Frank C. Mars, founders of the giant American candy company Mars, Incorporated. With her share of the company, she is worth US$14.0 billion as of September 2007 she is the 58th richest person in the world, and the 19th richest person in the United States according to Forbes, she’s also the fourth richest American woman.

8. Susanne Klatten Wikipedia

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Ms. Klatten, 43, picked up $8.1 billion (£4.3 billion) via a 12.5% stake in BMW cars and a 50.1% stake in pharmaceutical manufacturer Altana from her late father, Herbert Quandt. A trained economist with an MBA, Klatten is credited with helping transform Altana into a world-class pharmaceutical/chemical corporation with $3.6 billion (£1.9 billion) in sales and almost 11,000 employees. As of 2007, her net worth is $9.6 billion.

9. Yang Huiyan Wikipedia

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Yang Huiyan is the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings and is currently considered the wealthiest person in Mainland China, with a net worth of about $9 billion USD as of April 2007. She is the daughter of Yang Guoqiang, who transferred 70% of Country Garden’s shares to her before its IPO.

10. Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler Wikipedia

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Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler is joint owner with her son Georg of The Schaeffler Group, one of the world’s largest producers of roller bearings. Maria Elizabeth runs the company, which brought in about $11 billion last year. Her net worth in 2007 is $8.7 billion.

Contributor: nartjai

Technorati Tags: ,

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/09/26/top-10-richest-women/

Top 10 Tips For Decorating On The Cheap

If you’ve scrimped and saved and now are finally able to afford to buy a bigger or better place, the last thing you want to do is ramp up your debt on fitting her out. However, having beautiful bare walls and nothing much else may appeal to those with minimalist inclinations but will shortly send any one else into fits of depression. Preferable to that is using your pennies wisely and being price-smart over purchases.

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Windows take up a good deal of wall space. By using sheers, windows can be transformed into ethereal lightscapes. Illuminate a room by capturing and bouncing natural light off sheers or semi-transparent drapes. This type of fabric creates interesting points in any room. Plain sheers will break up and diffuse light while patterned ones make pretty dapples. Adding privacy to your home is inexpensively achieved and when more money can be allocated to the decorating budget, tails, frills, valances and swags may be added over the sheer. To get shine into your home use sheers made from silk, organdy, diaphanous synthetics or plain cotton. Textured sheers in cheesecloth, gauze, voile and muslin bring in some busyness (necessary where you’re trying to dress up a bare room) and are more dramatic with the small shadowing they create. Once a window is dressed in sheers a billowing, gossamer effect is created when the wind moves which adds to the sense of satisfaction that a room now has life in it.

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More and more popular, throwing a length of fabric over your existing furniture is an instant way to change mood and ambience of a room. When buying used furniture the throw is an inexpensive way to hide faults until they can be dealt with at a later stage.

2nd hand couches and chairs are an economical way to decorate your home for less. If you know your budget will be stretched for a fairly lengthy time into the future, yet you still need furniture then 2nd hand is a way forward. Steer clear of those establishments which are obvious junk shops and concentrate on places whose owners have given a little thought to their wares. Check for quality. Beware of pieces where you can feel the frame through the fabric. If you sit and your legs or arms connect with timber this is a sign of bad manufacture – something you’ll seldom find in well-crafted makes.

What you’re looking for is well made furniture that through years of use has become tatty and torn, the filling has lost its plumpness and it’s ready for a spruce up. When you have the resources you’ll be able to do a proper reupholstering job but for now, a throw covering a grand, though tired old lady, will serve you, and your money, well.

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This is one of the cheapest ways to add style and detail to a boring room. A host of dado moldings are available on the market and are quite easily fixed to the wall. The dado rail, usually positioned about a third of the way up the wall, was originally used to show a break between two types of wall fabrics and to keep chair backs from scraping the fabrics and damaging them. From a simple plain design to one filled with flourishes and curlicues, dados, once painted have a remarkably decorative effect. If the room is small it is best to stay with an unfussy rail. Dados will assist in widening a room by directing the eye downwards so that walls seem more apart than they are.

A large baronial-type room can support excess so decorate accordingly. In some houses the walls are tall enough to add extra decoration to the standard cornices. These moldings can then be painted in a contrasting, or complementary color.

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Versatile, cheap and with selective use paint can fool the eye. Rooms with a low ceiling usually feel claustrophobic. By playing with optical illusions a room can be made more spacious. Using vertical stripes draws the eye up and down and fools us into believing the ceiling is higher than it is. Stick to soft contrasting colors and make the stripes broad or thin depending on the proportions of the room. Bold stripes can be used if you are sure of your color sense but be careful to not end up with a room that looks like the inside of a circus tent. Before painting carefully mark off the stripes and take care around windows and doors.

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The color wheel is an integral part of coordinating hues, tones and tints. Once you are confident about color you’ll find painting a bathroom in dark green, or a wall of a study in midnight blue, less intimidating. Buttercup yellow is a shamelessly delicious color that uplifts and punches you in the eye the minute you see it. No-one can remain gloomy for long in a buttery yellow room, yet almost no-one dares use it in their home. The average person instantly labels those ‘arty’ or ‘bohemian’ who actually put yellow on the wall.

Strawberry red, toned with complementary or contrasting colors from the color wheel will provide a visually pleasing room in which the strong color will take centre stage. Adding plainer, coordinating furniture can come later as the boldness of the room will carry it through sparse times.

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A beautifully decorated room is quickly marred by lack of order and neatness. Storage space is cheap to install and reduces the chaos inherent in a busy household. Most people do not return items to their rightful place, even more so when the item is buried under a heap of mismatched objects. Without a place for each, items soon vanish and endless searches made hunting it down when needed. A place to put things helps keep sanity in the home. Lots of simple shelving, a bookcase or two and chests with lids go a far way in bringing calm to the environment.

From a practical point, if your family has a large collection of ceramic frogs or delicate figurines then consider glass fronted cabinets. It cuts down on the dusting, displays all that is important to you and if you buy ready-to-assemble units you can keep costs down.

If you have a great deal of books then consider building shelves across a wall and incorporating the windows into the design. This way visual pleasure is gained by the mix of different sizes and the attention will be drawn to the wall and views through the glass panes. Painting the shelves the same color as the walls cause them to recede and the decoration of the books emphasized. Shelving can also be built around doors and in awkward spots. Incorporate space for displaying a few treasured possessions. Bulky vases, that enormous hat you bought the last time you went to Lesotho, all can find a home between novels and magazines.

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In the lounge or living room, storage chests can double as side tables. If the chests are padded, place a large ceramic or cork tile on top to serve as a stable surface for your cup of tea, glass of wine or juice. The wet marks are easily wiped from the tile and the price of a tile is a tenth of purchasing side-tables.

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For a cheap solution buy plain, sturdy wooden chests with lids. Paint to suit the room. Add thick removable cushions. Extra dense foam will cope with the occasional visitor as well as providing them with a comfortable seat. Plan around how you actually live. If you have lots of elderly aunts and cousins to tea then proper chairs will be used for them while you use the chests. If it’s a younger set, lounging around on your living room floor on a throw down pillow will be quite acceptable.

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Compartmenting off areas in a big room is achieved by using various screens. For the sake of style, and to keep air flow and airiness alive, use lightweight dividers, preferably with a slatted or meshed effect which doesn’t entirely obscure what’s beyond. If the light is good enough, potted indoor palms help the screening effect and soften hard edges.

Screens are under utilized in the modern home and often a long uninteresting room can be made more secret and intriguing by stopping the eye from easily seeing the other end. For very little money you can customize your screen through painting, stenciling or just hanging bits of your favorite memorabilia from it. If you have boisterous children and/or pets choose a screen with a sturdy base that can deal with the odd collision or two.

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These can be used everywhere, require minimal outlay, can be layered, stacked or grouped and provide texture and visual appeal until such time as real furniture is affordable.

After buying a new house resist the urge to tear off to the shops and snap up everything your eyes fall upon. The joy of a new home quickly sours when the owners are fraught with money problems. Rather enjoy the spaciousness and emptiness of the home, use cheaper decorating options and save up towards a time when you can install your dream kitchen. There is no need to sacrifice style when there is a restrictive budget but patience is required when you wish to end up with fine things.

Contributor: Annetta Holmes

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/12/15/top-10-tips-for-decorating-on-the-cheap/

10 Fictional Characters Based On Real People

There’s a famous saying that truth is stranger than fiction, so it stands to reason that reality is simply more interesting than fiction. That is probably why writers so frequently base characters on people they have met, people who have quirkier and more interesting traits than anything the writer could conjure himself. Here is a list of some classic characters you may not have known were based on real people.

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Some people are only familiar with globetrotting comic reporter Tintin through the Steven Spielberg film that came out in recent years, but the character has been around since 1929, the creation of Belgian comic writer Herge. Over 200 million volumes chronicling Tintin’s adventures have been sold, and he became one of the most beloved international comic strip characters in history.

But even those who are familiar with the comics might not know about the real life inspiration for Tintin Danish Boy Scout named Palle Huld, who at the age of 15 won a contest to re-enact Phineas Fogg’s circumnavigation of the globe in the novel Around the World in 80 Days. Of course, unlike Fogg, Huld needed only 44 days to complete the trip. This took place in 1928, less than a year before Tintin debuted. Some people believe Tintin was based on another young adventurer named Robert Sexe, but one look at Huld should give anyone pause and convince just about anyone that he was, indeed, the real-life Tintin.

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Ebenezer Scrooge is the infamous miser from the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, who learns the error of his ways when he is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. It is one of the most told and retold tales in modern literature, ranging from CGI retellings to re-imaginings like Scrooged. But while you are no doubt familiar with the story, you may not have realized that Scrooge is based on a real-life person named John Elwes.

Elwes was an 18th century politician and notorious penny pincher, and despite having a vast fortune he lived like a homeless hermit, by all accounts. He would eat rotten food and live in abandoned houses rather than finding himself a home or buying food that wasn’t totally gross. The eccentric miser was born into money but refused to spend any of it, choosing instead to live in squalor in order to save his fortune.

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Other than the titular character, Severus Snape is likely the most widely recognized character from the Harry Potter universe. A cold and morally ambiguous character, he is almost immediately an enemy of Harry and his friends, and was brought to life on the big screen by Alan Rickman. But certainly, a potentially evil wizard in this young adult novel about all things magic could not have possibly been inspired by anyone in the real world, right?

If you said “of course not” then we hate to break it to you, but Professor Snape was in fact based on a real person named John Nettleship. So what did this man ever do to inspire such a loathsome sounding character? Why, he was JK Rowling’s teacher, of course. Snape taught potions at Hogwarts, so it makes a bit of sense that Rowling would use her former chemistry teacher as the inspiration. Nettleship did not know he was the inspiration for the character until the films came out and his students, along with his wife, pieced things together. Rowling’s mother actually worked as an assistant in the chemistry department under Nettleship, so we can’t help but wonder what the real life professor, who dies in 2011, thought about the revelation that Snape was in love with Harry’s mother.

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You might not have ever heard the name Dave Toschi, but you have no doubt watched some incarnation of the man in any of the numerous films in which he was an outright character, or the inspiration for a character. Toschi was an inspector for the San Francisco Police Department, and was the chief investigator on the infamous Zodiac Killer case. He has been portrayed as himself by Mark Ruffalo in the film Zodiac, and Steve McQueen took some inspiration from Toschi for the character of Bullitt, but even more impressive is the fact that Toschi is the man on which the entire Dirty Harry franchise is based.

If you are familiar with the original Dirty Harry film, it should not come as a surprise to learn that he was based on Toschi, though obviously some liberties were taken to turn him into more of a badass than he was in real life. The film echoes the investigation into the Zodiac killings, with “Dirty” Harry Callahan working on tracking down the killer. Of course, unfortunately, unlike Callahan, Toschi never got his man as the Zodiac killings remain unsolved to this day.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only novel that famed wit Oscar Wilde ever wrote, and it tells the story of a man of unsurpassed beauty who has his likeness painted as a portrait. To make a long story short, Dorian sells his soul in order to maintain his youth and beauty while the painting version himself ages instead. It’s a bit of a strange and supernatural tale, but the character of Dorian Gray, believe it or not, was based on a real man named John Gray.

John Gray was an acquaintance of Wilde, and that’s really just a nicer way of saying he was one of Wilde’s many trysts. The real Gray was a poet who traveled in the same social circles as Wilde, and was reputedly an “Adonis” of a man. While Wilde did not bother to change his last name for the fictionalized version, he did change John to Dorian, but it was for a very specific purpose. The Dorians were an ancient Greek tribe that famously practiced and engaged in sex between men. Apparently, when the story came out the real Gray was mortified, as it was abundantly clear that the titular character was based on himself, and the connection caused a rift between he and Wilde.

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Norman Bates, the titular Psycho in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, can be most aptly described as a sick puppy. While he is a transcendent horror movie villain, you may not realize he has something in common with such other horror villains Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. You know, other than being a twisted murderer. As it turns out, all three characters are based on the same man: Ed Gein.

Gein was a brutal murderer in the 1950’s in Wisconsin, a 51 year old handyman who the police discovered had butchered women and, just like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, was attempting to make a “woman suit” out of their skin. Body parts had been chopped off and strewn about Gein’s little farmhouse. The man who went on to pen the novel Psycho lived less than an hour away from where this took place, and quickly turned to fictionalizing this deranged and brutal string of murders.

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Indiana Jones, famed adventurer and archaeologist extraordinaire who enjoyed nothing more than ditching his work as a college professor to go gallivanting around the world in search of lost treasures, is one of the most beloved characters in cinematic history. For the most part, the character and his stories take their cues from the serial adventures of the early 20th century, but believe it or not, Indy was also inspired by several real life people. No one knows exactly which adventurers he is truly based on, and in likelihood is an amalgamation of several people, but none is more apparent than Hiram Bingham III.

Bingham was a professor in the history of Latin America at Yale University, where he worked from 1907-1915. Most famously, however, he was the man who re-discovered Machu Picchu. One of the connections between Bingham and Indiana Jones is actually a separate movie called Secret of the Incas, a 1954 film starring Charlton Heston as a character named Harry Steele, who explores the lost city of Machu Picchu. Steele, of course, was inspired largely by Bingham, and the makers of Raiders of the Lost Ark have openly admitted to basing Indiana Jones largely on Harry Steele.

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Just like with Indiana Jones, it’s hard to believe that James Bond could have actually been based on a real person. And, as with Indiana Jones, it turns out that no one is quite sure exactly who 007 is inspired by, but there are several prime suspects from author Ian Fleming’s own days as member of British Intelligence. However, many believe the most direct inspiration for Britain’s top secret agent was a man named Forest Yeo-Thomas, renowned as one of the UK’s top spies during World War II.

Yeo-Thomas parachuted into occupied territory three times on secret missions and reported directly to Winston Churchill. He was actually captured and tortured by the Gestapo before being placed in a concentration camp, but escaped and made his way back to allied territory. As it turns out, it was not long after this that Fleming held a briefing about Yeo-Thomas and his exploits in escaping from the Nazis. Considering they did not actually work together during the war, yet Fleming was clearly fascinated by Yeo-Thomas, it lends credence to the theory that the agent known as “White Rabbit” was certainly one of the strongest inspirations for James Bond.

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Over the years, Zorro has become something of a superhero in popular culture. The masked, swashbuckling, sword fighting vigilante was created in 1919, and has been the star of many books, television shows, and movies. It’s hard to believe that a character like that could have actually been based on a real person, but as it turns out, Zorro was indeed inspired by a man named Joaquin Murrieta, also known as the Mexican Robin Hood.

Born in 1829, Murrieta found success mining for gold in California before his family was attacked and murdered by American miners. He was unable to find justice through the legal system, so that’s when he became the vigilante that would inspire Zorro. He formed a gang to exact his revenge on the men who had attacked his family and raped his wife, and he and his gang continued to rob banks and commit murder until the Texas Rangers became involved and tracked down and killed Murrieta in 1853. Soon after his death, the legend of Joaquin Murrieta began to spread and he became a folk hero of sorts.

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At first glance, Sherlock Holmes and a medical lecturer might not seem to have much in common. After all, Holmes is perhaps the greatest fictional detective of all-time, and certainly the most famous. However, when you really stop to think about it, it makes sense that Holmes would be based on a medical doctor renowned for his keen observational skills and superior intelligence. That man was Dr. Joseph Bell, and he was a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in the 19th century.

Bell was an acquaintance of Holmes’ creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and in fact served as the doctor’s clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Bell was famous for being able to observe a man and instantly deduce things he could not possibly have known, which should like a familiar trait to anyone even loosely aware of Sherlock Holmes. Reportedly, Bell even advised the police in several investigations in Scotland, including the Ardlamont Mystery, and testified as an expert witness in the ensuing murder trial.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/02/19/10-fictional-characters-based-on-real-people/

10 Reasons the Moon Landings Could Be a Hoax

The theory that the moon landings were hoaxed by the US government to assert their victory in the space race over Russia, is something which has grown in popularity over time.

Recent polls indicate that approximately 20% of Americans believe that the U.S. has never landed on the moon. After the Apollo missions ended in the seventies, why haven’t we ever been back? Only during the term of Richard Nixon did humanity ever land on the moon, and after Watergate most people wouldn’t put it past Tricky Dick to fake them to put America in good standing in the Cold War.

In this list I have presented some of the proposed evidence to suggest that the moon landings were hoaxes. I tried to include NASA’s explanations to each entry to provide an objective perspective.


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Conspiracy theorists have pointed out that when the first moon landing was shown on live television, viewers could clearly see the American flag waving and fluttering as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted it. Photos of the landing also seem to show rippling in a breeze, such as the image above which clearly shows a fold in the flag. The obvious problem here is that there’s no air in the moon’s atmosphere, and therefore no wind to cause the flag to blow.

Countless explanations have been put forward to disprove this phenomenon as anything unusual: NASA claimed that the flag was stored in a thin tube and the rippled effect was caused by it being unfurled before being planted. Other explanations involve the ripples caused by the reaction force of the astronauts touching the aluminum pole, which is shown to shake in the video footage.

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The claim goes as follows: had NASA really landed us on the moon, there would be a blast crater underneath the lunar module to mark its landing. On any video footage or photograph of the landings, no crater is visible, almost as though the module was simply placed there. The surface of the moon is covered in fine lunar dust, and even this doesn’t seem to have been displaced in photographic evidence.

Much like the waving flag theory, however, the lack of an impact crater has a slew of potential explanations. NASA maintains that the module required significantly less thrust in the low-gravity conditions than it would have done on Earth. The surface of the moon itself is solid rock, so a blast crater probably wouldn’t be feasible anyway – in the same way that an aeroplane doesn’t leave a crater when it touches down on a concrete airstrip.

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On the moon there is only one strong light source: the Sun. So it’s fair to suggest that all shadows should run parallel to one another. But this was not the case during the moon landing: videos and photographs clearly show that shadows fall in different directions. Conspiracy theorists suggest that this must mean multiple light sources are present -suggesting that the landing photos were taken on a film set.

NASA has attempted to blame uneven landscape on the strange shadows, with subtle bumps and hills on the moon’s surface causing the discrepancies. This explanation has been tossed out the window by some theorists; how could hills cause such large angular differences? In the image above the lunar module’s shadow clearly contradicts that of the rocks in the foreground at almost a 45 degree angle.



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In order to reach the moon, astronauts had to pass through what is known as the Van Allen radiation belt. The belt is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field and stays perpetually in the same place. The Apollo missions to the moon marked the first ever attempts to transport living humans through the belt. Conspiracy theorists contend that the sheer levels of radiation would have cooked the astronauts en route to the moon, despite the layers of aluminum coating the interior and exterior of the spaceship.

NASA have countered this argument by emphasizing the short amount of time it took the astronauts to traverse the belt – meaning they received only very small doses of radiation.

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After photographs of the moon landings were released, theorists were quick to notice a mysterious object (shown above) in the reflection of an astronaut’s helmet from the Apollo 12 mission. The object appears to be hanging from a rope or wire and has no reason to be there at all, leading some to suggest it is an overhead spotlight typically found in film studios.

The resemblance is questionable, given the poor quality of the photograph, but the mystery remains as to why something is being suspended in mid-air (or rather lack of air) on the moon. The lunar module in other photos appears to have no extension from it that matches the photo, so the object still remains totally unexplained.





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In order to support claims that the moon landings were shot in a studio, conspiracy theorists had to account for the apparent low-gravity conditions, which must have been mimicked by NASA. It has been suggested that if you take the moon landing footage and increase the speed of the film x2.5, the astronauts appear to be moving in Earth’s gravity. As for the astronaut’s impressive jump height, which would be impossible to perform in Earth’s gravity, hidden cables and wires have been suggested as giving the astronauts some extra height. In some screenshots outlines of alleged hidden cables can be seen (the photograph above supposedly shows a wire, though it is extremely vague).

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One compelling argument for the moon landing hoax is the total lack of stars in any of the photographic/video evidence. There are no clouds on the moon, so stars are perpetually visible and significantly brighter than what we see through the filter of Earth’s atmosphere.

The argument here is that NASA would have found it impossible to map out the exact locations of all stars for the hoax without being rumbled, and therefore left them out – intentionally falling back on an excuse that the quality of the photographs washes them out (an excuse they did actually give).

Some photographs are high-quality, however, and yet still no stars are shown. Certainly eerie, considering you can take pictures of stars from Earth in much lower quality and still see them.



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One of the most famous photos from the moon landings shows a rock in the foreground, with what appears to be the letter “C” engraved into it. The letter appears to be almost perfectly symmetrical, meaning it is unlikely to be a natural occurrence. It has been suggested that the rock is simply a prop, with the “C” used as a marker by an alleged film crew. A set designer could have turned the rock the wrong way, accidentally exposing the marking to the camera.

NASA has given conflicting excuses for the letter, on the one hand blaming a photographic developer for adding the letter as a practical joke, while on the other hand saying that it may simply have been a stray hair which got tangled up somewhere in the developing process.

Sibrel Crosshair

The cameras used by astronauts during the moon landings had a multitude of cross-hairs to aid with scaling and direction. These are imprinted over the top of all photographs. Some of the images, however, clearly show the cross-hairs behind objects in the scene, implying that photographs may have been edited or doctored after being taken. The photograph shown above is not an isolated occurrence. Many objects are shown to be in front of the cross-hairs, including the American flag in one picture and the lunar rover in another.

Conspiracy theorists have suggested NASA printed the man-made objects over a legitimate photograph of the moon to hoax the landings – although if they really planned on doing this, then why they used cross-hairs in the first place is a mystery.

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The two photos from the Apollo 15 mission shown above clearly have identical backdrops, despite being officially listed by NASA as having been taken miles apart. One photo even shows the lunar module. When all photographs were taken the module had already landed, so how can it possibly be there for one photo and disappear in another? Well, if you’re a hardcore conspiracy theorist, it may seem viable that NASA simply used the same backdrop when filming different scenes of their moon landing videos.

NASA has suggested that since the moon is much smaller than Earth, horizons can appear significantly closer to the human eye. Despite this, to say that the two hills visible in the photographs are miles apart is incontrovertibly false.

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This loose extension of the popular conspiracy theory states that acclaimed film director Stanley Kubrick was approached by the US government to hoax the first three moon landings. There are two main branches of this somewhat implausible theory: one group of believers maintain that Kubrick was approached after he released 2001: A Space Odyssey (released in 1968, one year before the first moon landing), after NASA came to appreciate the stunning realism of the film’s outer-space scenes at that time; another group contends that Kubrick was groomed by the government to film the moon landing long before this, and that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a staged practice run for him.

So what evidence might support such claims? Well: apparently, if you watch The Shining (another Kubrick picture), you can pick up on some alleged messages hidden by Kubrick to subtly inform the world of his part in the conspiracy. The most obvious is the child’s Apollo 11 shirt worn in only one scene. Another supposed gem is the line written on Jack Nicholson’s character’s typewriter: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, in which the word “all” can be interpreted as A11, or Apollo 11.

If you aren’t convinced yet, Kubrick made the mysterious hotel room in the film number 237. Guess how many miles it is from here to the moon: 238,000. So divide that by a thousand and minus one, and you’ve got one airtight theory right there.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/12/28/10-reasons-the-moon-landings-could-be-a-hoax/

10 Fascinating and Unexpected Origins of Words

Language is a fascinating thing. The words we use today are drawn from, and have evolved for, today’s usage from a wide variety of sources. One source is someone’s name. An eponym is a word that has its origin in a person’s name. This list contains 10 eponyms and their fascinating origins. Be sure to add any others you know to the comments…

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Named After: Mickey Finn

This term refers to something added to someone’s drink, without their knowledge, that is designed to intoxicate, incapacitate or, at worst, kill them. The act of “Slipping someone a mickey” is common in detective stories and spy fiction. Mickey is named after Mickey Finn, a criminal who operated in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th century. He started off as a pickpocket whose favorite prey was the drunken patrons of the bars in South Chicago. He then became the proprietor of The Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden Restaurant, which was where he put the technique that bears his name into practice. Finn, or one of his employees, would lace a patron’s drink with chloral hydrate. Once passed out, they would be escorted to a back room where they were then robbed and dumped into the street. When they came to, the effect of the drug left them with no memory of the events. Finn’s scam was eventually exposed and the bar was closed by authorities in 1903.

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Named After: Etienne de Silhouette

The definition of silhouette is, “an image of a person, object or scene consisting of the outline and a featureless interior”. Silhouettes are a popular artistic technique that started in the 18th century, with the outline of the subject being cut from black card. Artists that used them include Hans Christian Anderson and William Heath Robinson.
The popularity of the form has grown, and they are widely used today. Many films, especially Films Noir, have used silhouettes for artistic effect. Silhouette is also a favorite technique of modern day photography & design, and many can be seen in optical illusions. As well as art, they have many practical applications such as road signs, and are used in Jane’s manuals to depict aircraft and other vehicles. Etienne de Silhouette was a French finance minister who, in 1759, imposed harsh economic demands on the country to fix France’s credit crisis during the seven years war. Some of his measures included taxing “signs of wealth”, such as doors, and seizing, and then smelting, gold and silverware. One of his hobbies was creating paper portraits. The term was, at the time, used to mock Silhouette and referred to something cheaply done.

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Named After: Draco

Draconian is defined as “unusually severe or cruel punishment”, but is often used nowadays to mean any sort of harsh regime or thought. It is often used in the press to refer to government policies, and is widely used in fiction. This is perhaps one of the most interesting entries. Draco was a lawmaker in Ancient Greece, who abolished the “oral law” system, and then replaced it with a written code, against which a person’s crimes would be judged in court. To ensure everyone was aware of the law, it was carved into wooden tablets and displayed for the population to see. This, arguably, laid the foundations for the system of law widely used today. So, the question is, how can a man who created a system which was fairer than the one which preceded it, have a negative word associated with him? The answer is in the laws that he created. Minor crimes that would result in a fine or a warning today, were punishable by death.

Mentor

Named After: Mentor from Greek Mythology

This is another entry from Ancient Greece that has stood the test of time. A mentor is described as a “teacher or trusted counselor”. Mentoring is very common today, both on an informal basis and as a part of formal education programs. The idea of a Mentor is also very common in fiction. I am sure we have all had mentors, be they family, teachers or friends, who have guided us. In Homer’s Odyssey, the main character, Odysseus, asks Mentor to look after his son, Telemachus, when Odysseus departs for the Trojan War. The two develop a near-paternal relationship, as Mentor (and the Goddess Athena, in disguise as Mentor) helps Telemachus to overcome the difficulties he faces.

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Named After: Thomas Derrick

A Derrick is a lifting device designed for moving large objects. They are used widely in engineering, and are also used to drill for oil and gas reserves. Thomas Derrick was a hangman in Elizabethan England. Derrick was a convicted rapist who was facing the death penalty. In an event that could be straight out of a spy film, Derrick was offered a pardon by the Earl of Essex, if he worked for the state as an executioner. During his time as a hangman, he designed a new system with a topping lift and pulley, as opposed to the rope over a beam method. Derrick executed over 3,000 people. One of whom, rather ironically, was The Earl of Essex, the man who pardoned him.

Charles Cunningham Boycott (Vanity Fair)

Named After: Captain Charles Boycott

A boycott is defined as “the act of voluntarily abstaining from, using, buying or dealing with an organization or country as an expression of protest”. Boycotts are widely used today for a variety of reasons: I know (as I am sure you do, as well) people who avoid differing brands as an act of protest. At the other end of the scale, there have been examples of entire countries boycotting something: for example, the Soviet boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Charles Boycott was an English Estate Agent in Ireland. In 1880, harvests were poor and many tenants were struggling to pay their rent. One landlord, Lord Erne, offered his tenants a ten percent reduction on their rents. Some of these rejected this and demanded 25%. This was refused by Erne, and Boycott then attempted to evict some of the protestors. Instead of violence, the protestors used a new kind of resistance, isolation. The simply refused to have any dealings with Boycott. This spread throughout the area. Boycott’s workers stopped, local businesses refused to deal with him and even the postman refused to deliver to him! As well as the problems caused by isolation the extra staff that Boycott needed to draft in from other areas resulted in him losing money on that year’s harvest.

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Named After: Franz Mesmer

Some definitions of mesmerize are “to attract strongly, like a magnet” and “to induce hypnosis in”. The kind of feeling you have when you just cannot take your eyes from something, despite any distractions, one where the outside world seems to disappear and all focus is on that which mesmerizes. Franz Mesmer was a German physician and astrologist. He is known for a particular medical procedure where he sat with a patient, looked into their eyes and made passes in front of their face. Mesmer believed that this would remove the barriers in our body and allow the free-flow of the processes of life. This procedure was later developed, by others, into the complex hypnosis procedures practiced today. Mesmer was highly criticized at the time for his procedures, mainly due to the lack of scientific evidence to support them. Disclaimer: Hypnosis is still a highly controversial area today. Some people think of it as a pseudoscience and some people swear by it. Personally, I am a sceptic but this article in no way wishes to provoke anyone.

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Named After: William Henry Hoover

William Henry Hoover was an American businessman who, in 1908, bought the patent to a model of vacuum cleaner designed by janitor, and friend, James Spangler. The company became the leading manufacturer of vacuum cleaners in the 20th century, and they are known for introducing a number of innovations to the market. Hoover was also known for his community spirit. He was a great philanthropist, using much of his wealth to improve the lives of his workers and others around Ohio, where his company was based. For example, he donated some of his land for a community centre, was instrumental in establishing railway lines in Ohio and served as president of the Goodwill Mission. He was nicknamed “boss” by his employees who held him in high esteem for the way he treated them. During the depression, Hoover held over $100,000 of home down payments for his employees and was known to personally visit sick employees.

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Named After: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich

Although the act of eating bread with other foods dates back to prehistoric times, the modern sandwich was named after John Montagu. The exact circumstances for the naming is still a matter of debate, with 2 main hypothesizes being argued. The most popular one is that he asked his servants to bring him pieces of meat between slices of bread during long card games so the cards would not get damaged by the grease. The other is that, due to Montagu’s commitments as a statesmen, he needed a quick and easy meal which could be eaten at his desk, a concept that’s common today.

Whichever story is correct, I am sure that he had no idea that what is now one of the most popular, versatile and enduring meals would bear his name. Over 1.69 billion sandwiches were bought in the UK last year. There is even a British Sandwich Association. As well as the eponymous sandwich, Montagu was a very important British statesman, who held many positions of high office in the armed forces and the government. He was an astute politician and an excellent diplomat. He served as First Lord of the Admiralty 3 times, and was also Secretary of State for the North of England. He was a big supporter of exploration, and helped to fund Captain James Cook’s voyages. This led to the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii), the South Sandwich Islands and Montagu Island, in Alaska, bearing his name.

Sacher Masoch

Named After: The Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher Masoch

Ok, I decided to leave this one till the end, not because I enjoy either of these acts personally, but because it is a fascinating example of the nature of eponyms and language. Two opposite ends of a scale, named after two totally unrelated men. The terms are widely used today and have medical, as well as social, applications. The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) was a French revolutionary, aristocrat and author. He believed in extreme freedom from law, religion and morality. His books were full of sexual fantasies, with an emphasis on violence. This was highly controversial in its time, and Sade spent half his life in various asylums, where many of his works were written. Sade was also accused of various sexual crimes including violence, false imprisonment of prostitutes, sodomy and spiking people’s drinks so to gain sex from them (see number 10).

Conversely, Leopold von Sacher Masoch (1836-1895) was a harmless Austrian author and journalist. He was a utopian idealist whose writings contained many humanist and socialist ideas. Many of his works are, sadly, not translated into English. Some of his writing, including his best known work, Venus in Furs, described someone voluntarily receiving pain and humiliation from a sexual partner. Masoch believed this led to a state called “suprasensuality”. It is not known to what extent Masoch took part in these practices in real life, but there is some evidence that he did, including making himself a slave to one of his girlfriends for a period of six months. Masoch did this not for any sinister reason, but because he was a ultra-romantic who believed that the submission of a man in a male dominated society was an act of love.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/10/11/10-fascinating-and-unexpected-origins-of-words/