Who does not know Shahid Kapoor’s wife Mira Rajput, she has become so glamorous and stylist that people who do not know her so far are probably away from the internet and social media. Now talking about Mira Rajput she is a hot looking wife, she has become quite popular on the social media right now. Let us now know some interesting facts about her.
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Friends, Mira Rajput was born on September 7, 1994. Her age is now just been 24. She has married to Shahid Kapoor in the year 2015 with Shahid.
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Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput pair are considered to be one of the best Bollywood couples, their number of fans on the social media are increasing steadily. Shahid Kapoor is not so active on social media, but posting his photos on the social media, makes everyone crazy.
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This happy couple has a boy and a girl. Recently, Mira gave birth to a child and his son’s name is Jain Kapoor and daughter’s name is Misha Kapoor. After giving birth to a son, she just got a slim trim body just within 2 months, her fans were shocked to see how she has transformed so early. Actually, Mira works out in the gym and she does not leave herself to look slim and beautiful.
Hi friends, today we are talking about the bollywood diva and always living in controversy girl Mallika sherawat. Mallika Sherawat has always been very vocal; and while some have admired the actress for that, she has received flak for the same too. Living her life on her terms, the actress is definitely going places. Love her or hate her, you can’t ignore Mallika Sherawat. So today we’ll put some light on her personal life and we believe that you might not be aware of the facts. Let’s take a look:
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1. Her original name and age: Born on October 24, 1976, Mallika Sherawat was born as Reema Lamba. The actress who turned 42, claims to be 28 years of age. We wonder why she lies when the Internet has proof that she is born in 1976!
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2. Her educational qualification: The actress holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy.
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3. Her job before entry in bollywood: Mallika Sherawat worked as an air hostess before joining the industry as a model. She later started acting in movies.
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4. Her marriage life: In 2000, the actress was married to Karan Singh Gill, a Jet Airways pilot. Unfortunately, the couple got divorced the following year.
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5. Her child: The rumour that Mallika has a son from her marriage has been doing the rounds for a long time now, but she has never accepted that fact and has even dodged questions about the same.
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6. What was her first fame in bollywood: Her initial claim to fame was the 17 kisses she shared with co-star Himanshu Malik in her first movie Khwahish.
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7. First indian woman to get offer from “playboy” magazine: Do you know Mallika Sherawat was the first Indian woman to get an offer to pose nude for Playboy magazine? But unlike Sherlyn Chopra, Mallika declined the offer, scared of being blacklisted from Bollywood.
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8. Her debut in hollywood: The actress made her Hollywood debut with The Myth, opposite Jackie Chan and also appeared topless in her 10-minute role.
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9. Honorary citizenship: Mallika Sherawat was made an honorary citizen by the Los Angeles City Council during a celebration of India’s Independence Day in 2009.
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10. How much she got paid for each episode in a TV show: Do you know Mallika Sherawat is paid Rs.1 crore for every episode of her new TV show The Bachelorette India, Mere Khayalon Ki Mallika’?
Likely due to his friendship with Donald Trump, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has recieved increased media attention since the 2016 election cycle. After recently running a list of 10 outrageous conspiracy theories believed by the far right, we felt it only fair to take a look at things from the other side of the political spectrum, as well. Here are 10 conspiracy theories believed by the left…(Note: following our initial list on this topic, a TopTenz reader asked for a chance to present the opposing view. Neither the views and theories in this list nor our previous list reflect the views of TopTenz.net)
10. Ronald Reagan had Alzheimers during his presidency
Throughout Ronald Reagan’s presidency, left wing journalists consistenly put forward the idea that the president, in fact, had Alzheimers. One notable report was that of CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl, who once wrote, “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly. ‘Oh, my, he ís gonzo,’ I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet.”This, of course, was given wide media coverage from the likes of Mother Jones and other left wing publications — despite evidence to the contrary. And the story was revived recently when Reagan’s son, Ron Reagan, released a book in 2010 speaking on the issue. In his book My Father at 100, Ron Reagan expresses his belief that his father was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimers during his presidency.It is, however, important to note that Ron Reagan is simply a left wing radio host and not a physician. In fact, the physicians who directly attended Ronald Reagan agreed unanimously that he never displayed signs or symptoms of Alzheimers/dementia the whole time he was in office. In fact, all of his presidential aides would note the rarity of Reagan facing any sort of memory loss or lack of coordination throughout his term in office.Ronald Reagan was eventually diagnosed with the condition five years after leaving office, but all expert opinions point to the fact that the 40th President of the United States did not in fact suffer from Alzheimers while in the Oval Office.
9. The Vast right-wing conspiracy
The term “vast right-wing conspiracy” was first popularized by Chris Lehane, a Clinton political consultant who wrote a memo condemning “Media Conspiracy” against the Clintons. This was, of course, in reference to media coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in which Lehane attempted to dismiss any concerns as being part of an effort by the Republican Party to delegitimize President Clinton.The term has re-emerged countless times since then from left wing figures as a method to ironically dismiss criticism as illegitimate. Most recently, Hillary Clinton blamed her difficulties in the 2016 election cycle on a “vast right-wing conspiracy theory… even better funded” than before. What the exact meaning of this term really is may never be known.
8. 9/11 was a false flag attack so George Bush could profit from oil
Ah yes, you’ve probably heard it before. Arbusto Energy was an oil and gas firm started by George W. Bush in 1977, and this is why Bush needed to go to war in Iraq: for oil. The evidence for this theory being that George Bush waited in the classroom after hearing of the September 11 attacks, rather than leave the school for an underground bunker.This, of course, ignores the reality of the situation: all that was known was that an attack on the United States of America was underway, and the full extent of the situation was not yet understood. Yet still, sites like The Guardian perpetuate the myth that Bush wanted control of Iraqi oil reserves for militaristic and personal gain. Talk about deplorable.
7. The 2016 Democrat Primaries were rigged against Bernie Sanders
In a list like this one, it is only prudent to expose one of the most outrageous, and most recent. Though their voices were ignored, a large contingent of Bernie Sanders supporters warned all throughout the 2016 Democratic primary that the election was being rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. This conspiracy theory was largely ignored until evidence leaked by Julian Assange and WikiLeaks gave it gave it more credibility.Leading members of the Democratic Party such as Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile have now come out and stated that former DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz almost certainly did rig the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. The leaked emails revealed high ranking members of the DNC advising Clinton on how best to defeat Bernie, as well a possible rigging of the super-delegate system. Truly, the fraudulent election against Bernie Sanders alienated many of his supporters, whose suspicions were quite possibly proven true that day.
6. Institutional Racism is a product of the Republican Party
…This entry is best summarized by Joe Biden, who once said that the Republicans, “Will put y’all back in chains.” Because implying your political rivals endorse slavery is perfectly acceptable in debate… said no one ever.Rather than acknowledge issues of poverty and inner city violence, demagogues on the far left have asserted that Republican support of policemen is inherently antithetical to a thriving black community. This narrative primarily comes from the Black Lives Matter organization that demands reparations for slavery, a policy now detailed in the Democratic Party platform. You see, the idea is that police disproportionately target the African-American community and because Republicans support police, they intend to put African-Americans back in chains.The evidence that Republicans want to revive slavery? Non-existent, but the conspiracy rages on among those who want to avoid a discussion on poverty.
5. Patriarchy is a product of the Republican Party
You’ve likely heard some variation of this conspiracy theory in the form of “Republicans want to outlaw abortion” or “Republicans want to outlaw contraception” — all of which is patently untrue. Left wing conspiracy theorists argue that an anti-woman agenda exists within the Republican Party to ensure that women remain subservient to men for as long as possible.Evidence for this theory includes Republican disdain for abortions and that the majority of leading figures in the Republican Party are male. This, of course, ignores the fact that the first woman in American history to successfully manage a presidential campaign was Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Keyllyanne Conway. It also ignores that President Trump hired the first female CIA director and gave his daughter a leading role as a diplomat and adviser to the Trump administration. And of course, it ignores that upwards of $450,000,000 is still allocated to Planned Parenthood, a leading provider in third trimester abortions — which are outlawed all across the globe except in the United States; but somehow, Republicans still hate women.
4. Republicans stopped marijuana due to lobbying from the lumber industry
Marijuana has a variety of possible uses, such as in the form of paper and fabric, so it seems strange that the United States hasn’t grown marijuana as an alternative to lumber. The solution, as proposed by the left? It must have been the Republican Party that caused this trouble; after all, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has come out in strong opposition to the legalization of marijuana, so Republicans must have stopped its legalization.This conspiracy theory, however, ignores the countless movements by parents and other concerned citizens against marijuana throughout the late 20th century. Specifically, many believed that the proliferation of the marijuana industry would correlate with an increase in adolescent marijuana use — which some studies indicate is damaging for overall mental health. Proposed solutions included outlawing marijuana for anyone under the age of 21, but the concern still remained that legal marijuana would make it easier for teens and children to aquire it. But of course, concerned parents don’t exist; it’s simply the Republican Party to blame for the world’s ills, right?
3. Republicans are plotting mass deportations and isolationism
Considering President Trump‘s role in bringing diplomats from North and South Korea together, this theory seems to fall flat on its head. The idea was that Trump would order mass deportationsafter ending the DACA program, leading to an economic crisis due to labor shortage. Did this come true?When Trump took office the DOW Jones industrial average hit record highs. Trump also proposed a possible reform to the immigration system, valuing educated immigrants and bringing an end to the unreasonable “Visa Lottery” System. And Trump offered Democrats a deal that if they voted in favor of securing the border, he would expand DACA into permanent law, covering over 1.8 million illegal immigrants, tripling the amount Obama’s DACA plan allowed. Considering the leak of a Democrat memo stating that the DACA recipients are critical to a Democrat electoral victory, one would think the Democrats would jump at the opportunity to legalize 1.8 million people. But alas, they did not.
2. The Parsons Green Bombing was a false flag attack using crisis actors
On September 15, 2017, an Iraqi refugee bombed an underground train station in London, injuring 30 people. In response to this attack, left wing activists on Facebook claimed that victims from the attack were crisis actors meant to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment.This was similar to the 2005 London Bombings where multiple bloggers — again — spread the conspiracy theory that the attacks were faked for the sake of creating anti-Muslim attitudes across LondonThese far left activists — without a shred of evidence — consistently dismiss all terror attacks in London as simply fabrications by nationalistic anti-Muslim sources. Honestly, it truly is the ultimate disappointment to see lives lost met with a dismissal based on political grounds.
1. The Russia Investigation
During the 2016 Presidential Campaign, FBI director James Comey became a hated figure on both sides of the aisle due to his handling of the Clinton email Investigation. Once Trump won the election, Comey was fired after refusing to exonerate Trump regarding allegations of collusion with Russia.To be clear — Comey did not state that Trump was guilty of the act, yet he did not wish to report it to Congress until the investigation was fully concluded. So, Trump fired him. This led to massive scrutiny, with Trump appointing Robert Mueller to investigate any connections Trump had with Russia. Mueller appointed a team that’s mostly Democrats.After being fired, Comey leaked government memos containing classified material. Fifteen pages of conversations he had with Donald Trump, with bits of information including Trump saying he expected loyalty from Comey. Plus, Trump totally and completed denied any allegations of Golden Showers — a term in reference to a report released by BuzzFeed alleging that Trump was peed on by hookers.Summary so far — everyone hates Comey, Comey refuses to publicly say Trump is innocent, Trump fires Comey, Comey leaks memos where Trump denies ever being peed on by hookers. There was a lot of media attention on Trump, so he appoints Robert Mueller to launch a special investigation. With us still?During this investigation, Trump learns of a FISA warrant against him, specifically that the FBI gained a FISA warrant and was tapping Trump’s phones in Trump Tower. Trump is furious — first the Steele Dossier, and now this? You see, someone said Trump was peed on Russian hookers — his name is Christopher Steele. He worked for a company called Fusion GPS. So some people call it the Fusion GPS dossier; others call it the Steele Dossier. Not important.Trump discovers a FISA warrant against him is in effect. His phones are tapped. From there, the Republicans release a memo that states the Steele Dossier was both entirely fabricated and paid for by the Clinton campaign, and the primary evidence used against Trump in obtaining the FISA Warrant.If that’s all true, it means the FBI got permission to spy on Trump based on a story created by the Clinton Campaign. Meaning Trump was never peed on by Russian prostitutes, and there is officially no connection between Donald Trump and Russia. In fact, within 48 hours of Trump’s election, both Russia and Syria announced their desire for peace with the US. Yet in spite of this, as of May 2018, tensions between the United States and Russia are high as Russia warns that there will be consequences if the US leads an air strike against Syria (over the chemical weapons attack). So Trump is controlled by Russia… as he actively takes action to piss off Russia.Yet left wing conspiracy theorists still say things are heating up, and The Donald is guilty of treason, in spite of the fact that, right now, nothing has been proven to directly tie Donald Trump to Russia.
There is a stereotype that child actors have horrible upbringings, and their careers tend to crash and burn once they become adults. This is most likely due to the fact that stage parents are just trying to cash in on their son or daughter’s talent at a young age. Other times, when a child is suddenly thrust into the limelight of success, parents have no idea how to handle raising a mini-celebrity who makes more money than they do. In these 10 stories, child actors had to sue their parents for completely screwing up their lives….
10. Leighton Meester
In Gossip Girl, Leighton Meester played the queen bee, Blair Waldorf. In real life, she could not be farther from her spoiled little rich girl character. Meester was born in prison, because her mother Constance was jailed for a drug smuggling massive quantities of marijuana out of Jamaica. For the first few years of her life, Leighton was raised by her grandparents in Florida.
After getting out of jail, Constance Meester could no longer sell drugs, so she switched her focus to cashing in on her young daughter’s beauty, Constance started pushing Leighton into professional modeling at 10 and acting on TV at 13. Her mother moved the family to Los Angeles the very next year. Even at that young age, Leighton felt the weight of responsibility for paying for her family’s bills. She got the role on Gossip Girl at age 21, which thrust her into the limelight, along with providing a much bigger paycheck.
Leighton’s younger brother Alexander had medical issues, and her mother claimed that they had to pay a crippling amount of hospital bills. So, of course, Meester believed her mother, because what kind of monster would lie about such a thing? She gave her mom $7,500 every month to help her family. It turns out that instead of paying for the medical bills, Constance started buying expensive clothes and getting plastic surgery. When she found out, Leighton stopped giving money to her mother.
In 2010, Constance responded by telling TMZ and anyone in the press who that would listen that she had a “contract” with her daughter to get a $10,000 a month allowance… just because.
Meester sued her mother to prove in court that there was never any written contract, and she demanded custody of her brother, since he truly did need expensive medical care that the mother was not giving him. In the end, Leighton won the custody battle, and made sure that her brother got the care he needed. She cut off ties with her mother completely.
Today, Leighton Meester is married to Adam Brody, who was known for playing the socially awkward Seth Cohen in The OC. At the very least, she gets to have a happy ending.
9. Drew Barrymore
The Barrymore family is famous for having a long lineage of actors and actresses as far back as the 1800s. Drew Barrymore’s parents started putting her in movies when she was only 11-months-old. As a little girl, she starred in E.T. and quickly proved that she had just as much talent as most adult actors. However, growing up in a famous Hollywood family had a dark side. Drew’s parents took her to the Studio 54 nightclub to mingle with other actors. She started drinking and trying drugs at just 9-years-old. Her parents knew about this, and did nothing to stop it. When Drew became an addict, her mother put her in an institution for a year instead of changing her own behavior and ending the party life.
Going to rehab helped Barrymore realize that if she continued to live in the toxic environment with her parents, she would never get sober. So, at the age of 14, Drew Barrymore went to court to become emancipated from her parents. Strangely enough, her mother actually agreed, and wanted her daughter to live alone and start taking care of herself.
She got an apartment and tried going to a normal school, but she was so used to only a few hours of tutoring on a movie set all day, she dropped out and got a job washing dishes at a cafe instead. Eventually, she got back into acting, and managed to build her own career as an adult. Barrymore says she really never experienced a normal childhood.
8. LeAnn Rimes
Country singer LeAnn Rimes was raised by stage parents who wanted to see her succeed. She released her album “Blue” when she was only 13-years-old, and her family suddenly had millions of dollars in sales. A few months later, her parents got a divorce, and her father and business partner took roughly $7 million dollars of Rimes’ album sales for themselves. When she was 16, she realized that her father was taking advantage of her as a manager. She sued him in court for misappropriation of her money.
Everything changed when Rimes got engaged, and all she wanted was to fix the relationship with her father. She told the media that she realized that money is the root of all evil, and she blamed her success for tearing her family apart. She chose to drop the lawsuit against her father and repair their relationship so he could walk her down the aisle.
7. Macaulay Culkin
Everyone loves Macaulay Culkin in classic ’90s movies like Home Alone, Uncle Buck, and Richie Rich. He quickly became one of the most talented child actors of all-time. His parents never got married, so when their relationship began to crumble, there was no need for a formal divorce. However, they had an even bigger problem. They weren’t just fighting over who got custody over their kids. They were also battling over who would continue to work as Macaulay’s manager and receive 15% commission of the millions he made on each film.
Macaulay wasn’t the only Culkin child that was an actor. His parents put every single one of his siblings into show business, and the parents were managing all of their careers. After the breakup, his father Kit purposely began sabotaging the kids by withdrawing parental consent for his sons to star in movies out of sheer spite for his ex. No one wanted to work with the trainwreck of a family in the middle of the legal battle.
Macaulay was 15 at the time, and he decided that instead of picking one parent over the other, he would emancipate himself in court and become a legal adult so he could have control over his own earnings. This was in 1999, and he did not star in a movie again until 2003, when he played Michael Alig in Party Monster.
6. Ariel Winter
Ariel Winter began her acting career at age 4, and as a teenager, became a star of the TV show Modern Family. According to Winter, her mother would show up on set and harass the producers and directors during the filmmaking process. She claims that her mother’s behavior almost got her fired on multiple occasions, but they could not do much about it, because a guardian needs to be on set with a minor at all times.
In 2012, Winter went to court to ask for her older sister, 34-year-old Shanelle Gray, to become her legal guardian instead. Winter was 14 at the time. Her lawyer said that the cast and crew all gave him “detailed horror stories” about her mother’s abuse, like not allowing her daughter to eat on set, for fear of her gaining weight.
Even years after emancipating, Winter’s mother Crystal Workman continues to make backhanded comments about her daughter to the media, feigning concern for her well-being. Winter says her mother never tries to reach out to her directly to repair their relationship, and just talks about her to the media instead.
5. Mischa Barton
As a teenager, Mischa Barton became popular as a star of the TV show The OC. Her mother, Nuala Barton, had been her manager since she was 8. Mischa always allowed her mother to manage her money, and she saw no reason to let that change, even well into adulthood. However, when Mischa was 29-years-old, her mortgage stopped getting paid. When the house was $100,000 delinquent, it went into foreclosure.
Meanwhile, her mother bought herself a $7.8 million house with Mischa’s acting money. Barton’s name was on the deed of this second home, since her mother was using her daughter’s money to buy it. So, when Mischa demanded that they sell the house to pay for her mounting expenses, Nuala outright refused. She kicked Mischa out, changed the locks, and chased away any real estate agents that showed up to try to put the house on the market.
Mischa was forced to sue her mother in court for stealing her money. Typically, a manager only keeps 10% of an actor’s earnings, but Nuala Barton kept far more than that for herself. She blamed her daughter for not getting their working relationship in writing, even though she had been representing her since she was a child. They eventually dropped the case, and they resolved the issue in private.
4. Gary Coleman
In the 1970s, the TV show Diff’rent Strokes became iconic. Even to this day, people still quote Gary Coleman’s character with the line, “What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” Coleman was born with health issues with his kidneys. At just 5-years-old, he had a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, his body was rejecting the new organ, and he still needed dialysis treatments multiple times a day for his kidneys to function.
These medical issues stunted his growth, so he was shorter than the average person. In a way, it helped him extend his career playing a kid on TV. But as he grew up, it became much harder for him to adjust to real life.
Since he was a child during the filming of Diff’rent Strokes, his adoptive parents, agents, producers, and so many other people were dipping into his multi-million dollar paycheck. He should have had at least 25% of his pay set aside in an estate that would have been enough money to set him up for a comfortable life, but in the end, he was left with almost nothing. He had to sue his adoptive parents for stealing his money. Despite the fact that he won the case, his acting career was doomed. His money ran out quickly, and he was forced to work normal jobs and appear on the occasional reality TV show. He died at just 42-years-old.
3. Corey Feldman
After starring in The Goonies, Stand By Me, and Gremlins, Corey Feldman should have made millions for his roles. He started his career when he was only 3-years-old. When he was 14, he was curious to see the balance of his bank account. He was shocked to see that instead of the millions he was owed, his parents only set aside $40,000 for him, and spent the rest on themselves.
When he was 15, he had three contracts for movies coming up. Feldman knew that he had to emancipate himself from his parents in order to have even a chance of keeping his own paychecks. Even though they had already bled their son dry, his dad demanded the last $40,000 during the legal battle, which meant Feldman was completely broke until he got paid for his upcoming roles. After the drama with his parents, he started using drugs and tried a career in music. Today, he still acts, but in much (much) smaller roles than he was getting as a kid.
2. Tiffany Darwish
When she was only 10-years-old, Tiffany Darwish’s mother was having her sing in local bars to try to make her famous. She was eventually discovered by her manager, George Tobin. In 1987, the single “I Think We’re Alone Now” became an overnight success, and Tiffany Darwish became known as simply “Tiffany.” She became a teen superstar who toured around malls in the United States when she was 15. She had the number one album that year, and it sold 4 million copies.
Her mom stole 70% of her earnings, and only left 30% in a trust fund that she could not touch until she turned 18. After learning about this, Tiffany ran away from home to live with her grandmother, and sued for emancipation when she was 16. Her mother tried to blame the financial situation on Tobin. He countered that he had a standard contract. She was, however, obligated to make 7 more albums with him.
Unfortunately for Tiffany, none of her subsequent albums ever made as much of an impact as the first. She did a few small acting gigs, changed her music style a few times, and even posed for Playboy, but there were no more number-on-hit singles.
1. Billy Unger
Up-and-coming Disney Channel Lab Rats star Billy Unger’s father William was working as his manager. They never had a formal written contract, but Unger trusted his father to manage his finances for years, despite the fact that he had absolutely no training in the entertainment industry.
William started taking a 33% commission out of Billy’s paychecks rather than the industry standard of 10%. Instead of spending time helping to further his son’s career with new acting gigs, he used that extra money to take girlfriends on expensive vacations and pay for their rent.
William barely spoke to his son, and just spent his time galavanting with women. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Unger’s father stole even more of his son’s money to purchase a $1 million life insurance policy on Billy, listing himself as sole beneficiary. This was very unsettling and downright creepy, so in 2015, Unger sued his father for fraud, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation.
Like people, not all animals are the same. Some have gone on to make a name for themselves in this world, and considering the name of this list you can probably gather what we’re going to talk about today. Whether intentional or not (probably not, though), these animals have reached international recognition for one reason or another, and we are here to retell their stories….
10. Pablo EskoBear – The Coked-up Bear of Kentucky
Hearing about a bear that got high on cocaine isn’t a story that one comes across on a regular basis. Pablo EskoBear’s fame began in 1985 in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. That’s when the infamous Andrew Carter Thornton II, aka the “Cocaine Cowboy” – a former narcotics officer who later went on to become a drug smuggler – dropped 40 packages of cocaine over the area, and then jumped out of the plane himself. Unfortunately for him, however, he got tangled in his parachute and plummeted to his death in someone’s yard in in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Anyway, in December that same year, police scouring the area came across the 40 packages. The only problem was that they were all opened and empty. Close by, they also found the body of a 175-pound black bear. The poor beast apparently engorged itself on the entire load and succumbed to an overdose. “Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that,” said the doctor who examined him. He also went on to say that, “cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it.”
Its taxidermied body went from being on display in the national forest’s visitor center, to a warehouse, to a mansion owned by another Andrew Thornton – this one a hustler from Las Vegas. The Cocaine Bear, as it was known back then, stayed with him until 2009, when Thornton died. After, it was purchased by a Chinese gentleman living in Reno, and in 2012, his wife donated EskoBear’s body to the Kentucky Fun Mall, in Lexington, where it is today, on display in the lobby.
9. Miracle Mike – the Headless Chicken
Back in 1945, Lloyd Olsen, a Colorado farmer, went out to the yard to bring back a chicken to have for dinner. The chicken he chose was Mike – a decision that would forever change the course of that farmer’s life, as well as Mike’s. When the axe hit the block, Lloyd realized that his aim wasn’t spot on, missing the jugular vein, one of Mike’s ears, and the entire brain stem. To everyone’s surprise, Mike survived. He was still able to walk, preen, peck for food, and even crow – to a certain degree, of course.
Instead of killing him, Lloyd decided to take care of Mike by feeding him a mixture of milk and water with an eyedropper, and gave him small corn kernels. Soon after the failed beheading incident, Miracle Mike reached national fame, touring the country as part of a sideshow and even getting his picture taken by Time and Life magazines. At the height of his career, Mike was valued at somewhere over $100,000 in today’s money, earning his owner roughly $4,500 per month (roughly $50,000 today). His career was short-lived, however; given the circumstances, that’s something of an understatement. Roughly 18 months after his story began, Mike died during the night in a motel room after choking on a kernel he somehow picked off on the floor. A star’s death, by most accounts.
8. Bobbie the Wonder Dog – a Story of Long-Distance Loyalty
Sometime in August 1923, the Brazier family from Silverton, Oregon took a trip to visit their family in Wolcott, Indiana. Bobbie, their 2-year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix, accompanied them. While there, however, Bobbie was attacked by three other dogs and chased away. The Braziers looked for him everywhere but couldn’t find him. Heartbroken, they eventually left for home.
To their complete astonishment, about six months later in February 1924, Bobbie returned to Silverton. All mangy, dirty, scrawny, and with his nails worn down to the bone, the Collie walked at least 2,551 miles through scorching deserts, flat plains, crossing rivers and mountains to reunite with his family. Averaging approximately 14 miles per day, Bobbi saw a meteoric rise to fame, drawing national attention and appearing in newspapers across the country.
Numerous letters began pouring in from people who encountered Bobbie on his arduous journey home. He was also featured in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! article, several books, and films. He even played himself in the 1924 silent filmThe Call of the West. His story of loyalty is still told to this day, as part of the annual children’s pet parade in Silverton.
7. Unsinkable Sam – The Cat That Put Its Nine Lives to Good Use
A black and white cat by the name of Oskar, and later known as Unsinkable Sam, started its ‘career’ in Nazi Kriegsmarine and ended up in the Royal Navy during WWII. But as its byname would suggest, the story doesn’t end here. He belonged to a crewman onboard the Bismarck, the Nazi flagship. After a fierce naval battle in the Atlantic, the Bismarck was sunk, leaving behind only 114 survivors and Oskar. They were picked up by the HMS Cossack where Oskar would live for the next several months. On November 14, 1941, a torpedo hit the Cossack, sinking it some 30 miles off the coast Gibraltar. The cat survived this encounter as well, reaching shore alongside the other survivors.
Now known as Unsinkable Sam, Oskar was soon transferred to the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which, alongside the HMS Cossack, was part of the battle that took down the Bismarck in the first place. Unfortunately, however, the Ark Royal was also torpedoed a bit later… and again, Unsinkable Sam survived. He was found clinging to a floating plank, “angry but quite unharmed.” This was the end of Oskar’s seafaring life as he found his way to the offices of the Governor of Gibraltar and, later, in a seaman’s home in Belfast. A portrait of him, titled Oscar, the Bismarck’s Cat, adorns the walls of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
6. Lonesome George – The Rarest Creature in the World
Born sometime around 1910, Lonesome George was discovered back in 1971 on Pinta Island in the Galapagos. As a male Pinta Island tortoise, George was the last known individual of his species and was considered by many to be the rarest creature in the world. After his island was introduced to feral goats, the island went through a severe transformation that resulted in the endemic Pinta Island tortoises disappearing… except for one individual: Lonesome George. Shortly after he was discovered, the lonely tortoise was relocated to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. Here he spent the remainder of his days, with the caretakers hoping that another member of his species would be found – either on Pinta Island or in one the world’s zoos.
Unfortunately, however, that never happened and all attempts at pairing him with females from other, closely-related subspecies failed. Eggs were produced with each batch but none were viable – meaning that the Pinta Island tortoises were separated for too long, geographically and genetically, from all other similar species to be able to breed successfully. In 2012, he passed away and his body was frozen and shipped to the American Museum of Natural History in New York to be preserved by taxidermists. Today, he can be found at the Charles Darwin Research Station, as part of an exhibit that is completely dedicated to him. After his death, researchers have confirmed the existence of at least 17 other individual hybrid tortoises that are partial descendants from Lonesome George’s unique species. This leads scientist to hope that there may still be other pure-blood members alive somewhere.
On the information panel outside George’s enclosure, it said the following: “Whatever happens to this single animal, let him always remind us that the fate of all living things on Earth is in human hands.”
5. Wojtek – The Soldier Bear
The name Wojtek is the diminutive of Wojciech, which translates to “Happy Warrior,” an old Slavic name that’s still popular in Poland today. This name was also given to a bear cub picked up by Polish POWs who left Soviet labor camps in Siberia and were relocated to Iran to form a new Polish army there during WWII. On their way to Tehran, they came across a small shepherd boy who had Wojtek in a sack, after the cub’s mother was shot and killed by hunters in the north of the country. The bear cub was raised by the newly-formed 22nd Transport Company, Artillery Division, Polish 2nd Corp, becoming brothers in arms for the following several years.
While growing up, Wojtek liked play-fighting and boxing with his colleagues, drinking beer, and even smoking on occasion. But what Wojtek did best of all was to keep up the troops’ morale. Alongside the 22nd Company, he traveled from Iran to Iraq, through Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, before being deployed over the Mediterranean in order to take part in the Italian campaign. To get him on the transport ship, however, Wojtek had to be officially drafted into the Polish Army as a Private, with his own pay book, rank and serial number. Though he didn’t receive any money, he was, however, granted double rations.
During the infamous and bloody battle at Monte Cassino, Private Wojtek was seen hauling 100-pound ammunition crates containing artillery shells. In recognition for his service, the 22nd Company approved its official emblem as a bear carrying an artillery shell. After the war, Wojtek, now a retired Corporal, found a home in the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, where he spent the remainder of his days. Over the following years until his death in 1963, he received frequent visits from his old fighting comrades. Many memorials and statues were raised in his honor, both in England and Poland. In 2011, BBC made a documentary film about him entitledWojtek: The Bear That Went to War.
4. Cecil the Lion – One Life to Save Thousands More
Named after Cecil John Rhodes, a British businessman, mining magnate, and politician in South Africa who founded Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Cecil the Lion reached international fame after his death at the hands of an American dentist and big-game hunter in 2015. Cecil was best-known animal in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, famous for his black-fringed mane and being under continuous observation by the University of Oxford since 2008. The Minnesota dentist, who shot him with an arrow, reportedly paid $50,000 for the privilege.
Though we will not go into everything that followed the incident, the Cecil’s killing sparked international outrage over trophy hunting. Many politicians and celebrities decried the action, leading to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to place Cecil’s subspecies and another one from India on the endangered species list.
3. Cher Ami – The Pigeon Behind Enemy Lines
Cher Ami, French for “dear friend,” was a Black Check hen carrier pigeon who served in the US Army Signal Corps in France during WWI. Cher Ami made a name for herself during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the largest US operation of WWI, where over 1 million American soldiers were deployed. It was also the deadliest campaign in US history, with over 26,000 KIAs (killed in action). On October 3, 1918, the 308th Battalion of the 77th Infantry Division became trapped in a small depression behind enemy lines with no food, ammunition, or easy chance for escape. Surrounded by the Germans, the so-called “Lost Battalion” suffered heavy losses during the first day, and even began receiving friendly fire from the allied artillery who didn’t know their location.
Major Charles White Whittlesey, who was in charge of the battalion, began sending runners and pigeons back to HQ, but all of them were either killed or intercepted. Cher Ami was finally sentwith a piece of onionskin paper attached to her leg, with a message saying: “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake stop it.”When the Germans saw her rising out of a bush, they began firing and after several seconds, she was shot down. Nevertheless, with a bullet wound through the breast, one blinded eye, and her right leg hanging by a tendon, Cher Ami managed to take flight once again and reach the allied HQ, some 25 miles away. All the 194 men who were part of the ‘Lost Battalion’ were saved soon after.
For her services, Cher Ami became the Department of Service’s mascot and received the French Croix de guerre (War Cross), as well as several other decorations. In popular culture, the carrier pigeon appeared in several books, essays, short stories, and films.
2. Sergeant Stubby – The Most Decorated War Dog of WWI
Yes, that animated movie you’ve probably seen commercials for is based on a real dog.
Found wandering the grounds of Yale University while the 102nd Infantry was training there,Stubby was a dog of “uncertain breed,” probably a mix of Boston terrier and something else. One Corporal took him under his care and when it came time to ship out, Stubby went with them. For over 18 months, he served with the 102nd in the trenches in France, warning his comrades about incoming artillery fire, poison gas attacks, and locating wounded soldiers across No Man’s Land. He even singlehandedly captured a German spy, leading to the commander of the 102nd to nominate Stubby to the rank of Sergeant. Stubby also saw his fair share of wounds, being injured in the chest and leg by a grenade.
After the war, he became a celebrity back home, leading many parades across the country. He met with three US presidents and received a gold medal from the Humane Education Society, presented to him by General John J. Pershing. In 1921, Stubby became the mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas athletics teams. After his death in 1926, he received a half-page obituary in the New York Times – considerably longer than the ones made for notable people at the time. Stubby was also the subject of several books and films. There are several memorials erected in his honor as well as a portrait at the West Haven Military Museum in Connecticut.
1. Harambe – 2016’s Meme of the Year
Back in 2016, a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Harambe, one of the three gorillas in the enclosure, began dragging the boy around, to the utter consternation and panic of the onlookers outside. Afraid for the boy’s wellbeing, the zoo officials decided to shoot the gorilla with one rifle shot. Harambe was killed one day after his 17th birthday. The entire episode was filmed by someone in the crowd and later posted online. The video went viral, sparking international outcry and controversy over what happened. Some people called for the boy’s parents or for the zoo to be held accountable, while others said the right thing was done. Several vigils also took place, with over 3,400 people gathering to mourn Harambe at Hyde Park in London.
Following his death, Harambe became subject to some of the most viral memes of 2016, attracting both progressives and conservatives alike. The Public Policy Polling (PPP) even added the 440-pound gorilla into their polling for the US presidential election. In July, 2016, Harambe had a 5% support, coming ahead of the Green Party’s candidate, Jill Stein. In August, the Cincinnati Zoo even closed its Twitter account as it was constantly receiving messages from internet trolls. One year later, in 2017, a new male gorilla was introduced in the enclosure, alongside the other two females present there. The zoo is also working on a new enclosure where visitors can observe the silverback gorillas from behind safety glass.
Some people worry about the amount of dominance that Facebook has in our personal lives, and the fact that both Google and Facebook really don’t seem to care about privacy. Some worry that Walmart and other corporations have far too much power over our buying choices. However, people may want to put Amazon under a greater microscope, especially after several moves in recent years to enter every consumer space possible, and intrude into every single aspect of our daily lives. Over the past few years Amazon’s consumer dominance has continued to grow, and at this rate, it seems as if there’s almost nothing to stand in its way….
10. Bezos Bought The Washington Post Just For His Own Personal Propaganda Purposes
Bezos bought the ailing Washington Post back in 2013 for roughly $250 million and quickly turned the paper’s fortunes around. Before long, the Washington Post was doing amazing again, and many people’s fears that a man who had no experience in the newspaper business would only make the company fail more were proved to be unfounded. However, for those who were worried that this was just one more step in Bezos’s attempts to conquer and control basically every aspect of our lives, it wasn’t long before he started using his newspaper in a more sinister way — he decided to make it a propaganda vehicle to destroy Donald Trump.
Now, to be clear, we aren’t saying there is anything wrong with criticizing President Trump. Presidents get criticized. It comes with the territory. However, the reason CNN remains so popular and trusted, by comparison, despite The Donald constantly referring to it as fake news is that despite the human bias that will always exist to some extent, CNN is actually trying to report the news as they see it. On the other hand, Bezos has been perfectly open about directing his paper to do its level best to smear and tear down Trump at every turn. Whatever your opinion of Trump, positive or negative, this should be alarming. The purpose of a newspaper is to report the news, not take down a political enemy, and in the hands of the richest billionaire who is actively working to increase his fortunes, it is downright disturbing to see this behavior.
9. Amazon Just Bought Out Whole Foods So Bezos Could Control Retail Grocery As Well
In Amazon’s largest single acquisition yet, which ballooned their employee count, they paid $14 billion to buy the Whole Foods grocery store chain. Now, at first this might sound great to many consumers, as Amazon has promised to bring down prices, and further integrate it with their own Prime services, but it has disturbing long term implications. After dominating the sale of almost all other products, what many felt Amazon at least couldn’t control was food — after all, it is hard to control perishables without brick and mortar stores.
However, now Amazon has a whole mess of brick and mortar stores and a pre-established business all over the country that they can integrate with their online services as they feel necessary. They are able to easily expand into the perishable home food delivery service now, since they have physical food stores all over the country that they can even get fresh produce from as needed. Despite some worrying about Amazon monopolizing everything, there was no real antitrust fight and Amazon continues to gobble up more properties.
8. Amazon Employs Well Over Half A Million People And Is Growing Rapidly
Amazon is one of the biggest single employers in the world, and recently greatly increased their employee count after buying the Whole Foods grocery store chain. They now employ well over half a million people; approximately 566,000 at the last count. As they continue to grow, they will continue to provide more and more jobs around the world, but their claims to be a job creator are extremely disingenuous. Amazon has put countless brick and mortar stores and even online retailers out of business and all of those businesses employed people who now need jobs. Amazon is not really creating jobs, but shifting them more from private business to Amazon itself.
This would be nice if Amazon were one of those big corporations who is good to its employees, but they are really not known for that at all. As Amazon continues to expand and control more and more sectors of the economy, it will be more and more important to keep them in check and keep an eye on their employment practices. We cannot expect them to simply start treating employees better once they finally settle down and control literally all aspects of our economy.
7. Jeff Bezos Is Trying To Change The Way You Shop For Groceries In Retail
Jeff Bezos has his hands in the retail and retail grocery game, and as a man known for not being so nice to employees, it may be no surprise to most that he is also trying to remove physical employees from the process whenever he possibly can. In his new Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle, Bezos is testing a system where someone firsts scans a QR code before they enter, and then incredibly sophisticated cameras watch your every single move, and add items to your virtual cart if you pick them up, or remove them if you put them back.
When you walk out of the store, it charges your Amazon card on file for whatever you took. Some shoppers find this convenient and others find it dystopian, jarring, or downright bizarre, but others are more worried about the removal of the human element. As a company that is rapidly expanding into all sectors of our lives and trying to edge out the competition whenever possible, it is frightening that they are also looking to find ways to remove the need for employees — thus removing jobs permanently from many sectors — and unfortunately they may have found a fairly efficient system that could theoretically work.
6. Amazon, Despite Edging Out So Many Competitors, Doesn’t Make Much Money
Amazon is moving forward with a truly frightening business strategy that could end up as more than one kind of disaster, and is risky for a lot of people in a lot of ways. The strategy is something Amazon has been going forward with since the beginning and it involves their plan to continue to attempt to dominate all aspects of the market and never settle on one core competency or ever stop expanding. Bezos constantly reinvests heavily in the business, including updating infrastructure and buying other businesses to add to his rapidly expanding portfolio.
This business plan means that Amazon almost never makes any real significant earnings, because almost all net profits are spent on some new buyout or other crazy scheme that Bezos is working on to take over the world. To put into perspective just how much of his net profit Bezos puts into further expansion, Walmart recently made more net profit in one week than Amazon did in an entire quarter of earnings. However, Walmart also did not heavily increase their holdings and continues to gain market share in every single sector they have entered into. If Amazon were to start falling they would take a lot with them and their fall would be very ugly considering how little extra cash on hand they have, and how many properties they own. However, if they can maintain momentum, they will be hard to stop.
5. Amazon Is Raising The Price Of Prime, But People Will Probably Still Pay For It
Amazon is raising the price of Prime from $99 per year to $119 per year, which is a full 20% increase — for those who just want Prime Video, you can still get that for only $8.99 a month for now. This is probably not too surprising to many who have been watching closely, as Amazon already increased the price of Prime from $10.99 to $12.99 for those who were paying monthly and clearly cannot sustain the cheaper prices they were offering anymore. While many news articles are sounding the alarm and talking about how “upset” consumers are, there is no talk of boycotts or anyone planning to end subscriptions, and people are unlikely to do so. Those who pay monthly already have dealt with their big price hike, and the yearly payers tend to be fairly wealthy and have a lot tied up in Amazon.
The truth is that Amazon has increased the value of Prime in recent years and also increased their dominance in the market while they have been at it. Prime at first simply offered two day shipping on millions of items, but now they offer it on many millions more, and have an excellent video and music streaming service and an eBook service as well. They have continued to add more and more media to these services over time, increasing the value and trying to get you to put all of your digital life into their hands. For many people, the combined value of all Amazon services will still be worth the price, and with the Whole Foods connection Amazon can now offer even more perks to sweeten the deal — with over 100 million subscribers, it would have to be a tremendous amount of people leaving to have any noticeable impact.
4. Amazon’s Employment Practices Are Horrific And Probably Won’t Get Better Soon
As Amazon becomes a bigger and bigger employer, the fairness of its employment practices become much more important to closely watch and police. Unfortunately, most of Amazon’s employees work at their warehouses and the conditions are not known for being very good. In many big name companies you hear about some kind of special culture where the company looks out for its workers, but Amazon has never really cared much about that kind of rapport. Using temporary workers is common, and Amazon will offer people a cash package after their first year as an incentive to leave. If the employee decides to forego the cash and stay, it shows their drone-like commitment and loyalty to a company that doesn’t even care to make sure people get proper bathroom breaks.
Yes, Amazon has come under fire recently as some employees have complained to the media about conditions that make work… kind of awful. Some who work in the warehouse in positions where you are pretty much doing constant menial labor find it pretty much impossible to be allowed to go to the restroom outside of their scheduled breaks, which don’t necessarily always occur when scheduled anyway. Some employees have resorted to peeing in bottles or trash cans — certainly not an environment that will create loyal employees.
Also, despite not being a bank or anything that high security, Amazon is so worried about theft from their employees that they make them wait in a long security screening line before and after work. Some employees complain the process of getting in or out can take 30 minutes, and Amazon is not offering to pay people for this time. The Supreme Court ruled that, federally, Amazon can get away with this, but on a state level that is not necessarily the case, and Amazon has settled one class action lawsuit from California out of court for $3.7 million, all while still claiming that they did nothing wrong.
3. Bezos Has Pushed Amazon To Work Its Way Into All Aspects Of Your Daily Life
Jeff Bezos has slowly turned Amazon into a ridiculous behemoth and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. One of his latest ideas is Amazon’s’ Alexa, which now comes in many different forms, but all fit the same central programming and theme — they are a smart device that connects everything in your house, allows you to control things with voice commands, and gives Amazon total intrusion into every single aspect of your daily life. Now, you can be reminded of the site you use to shop for books and knick knacks every time you want to do literally anything.
Alexa is designed to obey voice commands and search things for you online, buy products for you, but mostly just control everything in your house. In connection with companies like Philips Hue Lighting, or August Locks and others, you can now use it to control the lights in your house, the locks in your house, your TV, and eventually everything else in your house if Bezos has anything to say about it. In some ways, they are fighting Google on its own turf — attacking them in the search market and the home technology market by directly competing with Google Home, and they seem to be doing a good job of it so far.
2. Amazon Is Going Full Circle And Creating Their Own Retail Bookstore Chain
Some people have worried that Amazon would change things forever and bring all shopping, even food shopping, to where it was all simply online. These fears have been somewhat understandable as more and more brick and mortar stores, even chains, have slowly but surely gone the way of Amazon’s boot-heel. However, the truth is that while a lot of brick and mortar stores are suffering, it is not necessarily because of online shopping itself, but because as we mentioned earlier, Amazon is willing to forego profit for growth and continues to expand into every single sector of the economy. One of the biggest warriors still duking it out with Amazon is Barnes & Noble — the last major physical book retailer.
Now, while some are worried it’s inevitable that Barnes & Noble, and by consequence all physical book stores will soon be gone, the truth is that Amazon may soon make a lot of people swallow a very bitter pill, and pull the rug right out from under Barnes & Noble. Amazon is already experimenting with using their gigantic, cheap-book juggernaut to start supplying physical bookstores and has already opened 13 brick and mortar Amazon Books stores with more in the works if those are successful enough. If Barnes & Noble goes out of business because of Amazon’s efforts, Bezos could buy out the remaining stores, change them to Amazon Books and rub the final and most insulting salt possible into the gaping wound.
1. Bezos Practically Has A Monopoly On Online Sales And No One Seems Able To Challenge Him
While it isn’t a real monopoly enforced by anything, and thus would be hard to bust with antitrust laws, Amazon makes up 43.5% of all online sales currently. Ebay, Apple and Walmart combinedcan barely come close to a third of the online selling power of Amazon. To make matters worse, Amazon’s dominance in this sector is expanding extremely rapidly, as they went from about 38 cents of every eCommerce dollar spent in 2015 to about 44 cents in 2017. As if that wasn’t scary enough, the truth is that the figures don’t even show the full extent of Amazon’s market control.
Companies that are separate from Amazon but sell exclusively on the platform, even if they recently went public, may not properly show up in these figures as counting toward Amazon’s total percentage. Which means that the actual amount of customers buying through Amazon is much higher than these numbers can even show. The sad truth is that even most companies that do have their own online store still have to at least have a presence on Amazon, both for advertising purposes and to get those extra sales whenever they can. In many ways Amazon has become not just a store, but the biggest platform online for online sales, and it is insanely hard to get any kind of a foothold as an online retailer without using Amazon as some kind of springboard to help you get your start. With Amazon’s online dominance, and increasing retail dominance, they may soon became a bigger part of our daily lives than any company in known history.
The Earth is not always your friend, and the planet upon which we developed may not treat us gently despite the effort with which we have colonized so much of its surface. In this account, we move beyond familiar floods, tornados and earthquakes to discover the really weird ways that an active and sometimes badly behaved planet can create a real but strange threat to your safety. Learn, and be safe; looking out not only for wild animals, but approaching the planet itself with care as you walk its surface….
10. Tree Wells
The Earth is defined by interactions between the rocks, the atmosphere and water. And when that interaction involves the accumulation of frozen water in the form of snow in places where there are trees, an extraordinary level of danger may form. It is not only a crevice that may threaten skiers. A much more common and sometimes worse danger comes from tree wells. Tree wells are an everpresent risk on mountainsides that suffocate many unwary snow sports enthusiasts when they fall into a gaping hole in the snow where a tree stands, concealing the snowy well around its trunk.
When a large conifer tree stands on a mountain, snowfall may pile up to a depth of many feet. Yet around the tree trunk and within the curtilage of the tree’s branches, snow is likely to be missing. The result is the presence of a diabolically well concealed hole or “well” around the tree. Upon beginning to pass a tree at too close a range, a skier or snowboarder may pitch forward into a tree well and be stuck, often headfirst. As a result, suffocation may occur from the fine snow material while limbs may be trapped in the snow. Giving trees a wide berth is the best defence against the actual issue of falling in, while skiing with a partner affords a far greater chance of being seen and rescued.
9. Gas Lake
We all know the danger of drowning in a lake, but surprisingly, the most dangerous lakes in the world are not those in which one could drown, but rather, create the effect of oxygen deprivation while the victims are still on land. When seismic activity, organic decomposition and toxic gas combine together in the gas lake phenomenon, the results are both horrifically eerie and costly in human lives. Lake Nyos in Cameroon is the most notorious gas-releasing lake, having killed 1,746 people when stored carbon dioxide was released en masse, annihilating nearby villages. On August 21, 1986, the eerie looking lake, surrounded by dark hills and containing settled areas in its curtilage, released a massive cloud of carbon dioxide totalling 1.2 cubic kilometers in volume.
As a result, the vast majority of those who encountered the cloud suffocated to death, unable to access oxygen as the cloud hugged the ground and spread throughout the village of Nyos and other nearby settled areas including Cha, Kam and Subum. Countless animals were lost along with human lives, while the extinguishment of candles indicated the arrival of the deadly cloud. Those resting close to the ground or first encountering the gas represented many fatalities, while some still standing survived as the gas remained closer to the ground. Now, equipment is in place to release gas to prevent another deadly buildup.
8. Large Hailstone Catastrophes
Frozen rain may sting slightly, but truly monstrous hailstones, sometimes weighing over a pound and measuring several inches in diameter, have been responsible for a disturbing range of fatalities throughout world history. Being struck on the head by falling ice is no laughing matter, particularly when that ice is formed into a rock-hard ball and is falling at maximum velocity. In the United States, a number of deaths, injuries and cases of extreme property damage have resulted from hailstones of substantial size and weight. Giant hail the size of a baseball may fall at speeds at around 100 mph. Hail 2.75 inches in diameter may smash windshields, while larger hail, up to 4.5 inches may punch a hole through a roof. Injuries can be horrific.
In one case, a runner was covered in welts and bruises, while a hail strike on a pizza delivery person in Fort Worth, Texas in 2000 was fatal. Previously, Fort Worth had hosted an ill-fated Mayfest gathering in May 1995 when hail pummeled a crowd of 10,000, injuring 400 people. A total of 60 people had to be sent to hospital. In 1988, 246 individuals in India lost their lives during a tragically fatal hail onslaught. While falling ice from the sky naturally poses extreme dangers, it is worth remembering that certain storms are better met with a riot shield than an umbrella. Better yet, just stay indoors if there is any indication of hail, as you don’t know how big the stones may get.
Wishing the ground might open up and swallow one alive may be a clichéd expression, but in fact sinkholes, sometimes in urban areas, can cause untold devastation and shake our confidence in the Earth to the core. In some cases, sinkholes can kill as they swallow individuals, roads, and even entire buildings at depths of over 250 feet. In places around the world, the ground below the surface may be pockmarked with cavities and also less than solid. In certain cases, a thin layer of the uppermost portions of the Earth’s crust may conceal gaping holes capable of swallowing buildings, buses and pretty much anything else unfortunate enough to be in the way; that is, on top of such a hidden cavity when the inevitable collapse happens.
Sometimes triggered by an earthquake, sometimes by a sudden increase in pressure (as in certain construction projects), or as the result of flash flooding or the accumulation of slow-acting, groundwater-based erosion, sinkholes may result in catastrophic injuries, deaths and property damage. While even moderately sized sinkholes may be fatal, enormous sinkholes that bend the bounds of imagination have included such horrors as the monster sinkhole that opened in Guatamala City in 2010, spurred by tropical storm induced floodwater action. The hole measures around 60 feet wide and is estimated to be in the range of 30 stories in depth as judged by University of Kentucky hydrogeologist James Currens.
6. Geyser Attack
Geysers and hot springs may look fun, but they also present the risk of simply steaming or boiling careless viewers and adventurers alive. After all, erupting magma is obviously extremely dangerous, and most people will stay away from an erupting volcano, but many explorers are less aware of the danger of an encounter with what could turn out to be a killer geyser or a hot spring from hell. When viewing geysers or examining hot springs, don’t get too close, and in an uncharted walk in geyser country, be prepared to run for your life. Geysers in popular places such as Yellowstone National Park have killed a disturbing number of visitors, adding up to more than 20 documented deaths.
The most recent fatality to take place was in 2016, when a young man walked over 200 yards into the Norris Geyser Basin, only to die in a hot spring that boiled him to death. Many people visiting Yellowstone have been burned either by spraying geysers or by breaking through the thin layer of rock into boiling water underneath. In other cases, individuals have died when attempting to navigate over or around chasms or pools of boiling water, only to fall in and get fatally scalded. The moral of the story? Avoid stepping off marked paths and be sure to resist the temptation to pioneer, as the unknown is also the most unsafe when it comes to natural areas full of boiling water.
5. Lava Haze Encounter
It’s not just the liquid magma of volcanoes that presents a threat. Just as a lake filled with carbon dioxide can pose a great risk, volcanic activity can create highly dangerous situations where those in the vicinity of the action may be deprived of oxygen, exposed to toxic fumes and possibly risk loss of life. Unnervingly, grisly deaths have occurred from lava haze, where hot gases have accumulated and subsequently suffocated and burned the lungs of those explorers who engage in geo-tourism or attempt to study volcanoes. The ground may look safe and walkable near a volcanically active zone in certain cases, but accumulating gases may suddenly make such an area uninhabitable, with no air left to breathe.
As volcanic activity occurs, a plethora of chemicals are released, which may accumulate undetected, be suddenly let forth with little warning, or be greatly compounded through chemical reactions with solutions and compounds already present on the Earth. The lava haze capable of causing death can contain extremely dangerous chemicals resulting from the mixing of hot volcanic products with seawater. The deadly vapors can not only limit access to oxygen, but cause nasty, potentially fatal chemical burns and lung damage. The makeup of volcanically produced haze can include hydrochloric acid caused by the reaction of lava with seawater, sulfuric compounds, and carbon compounds. While less visible than lava, lava haze is another reason to keep your distance when the Earth is agitated!
4. Pyroclastic Bomb Drop
More than just air raids present the risk of being smitten from above. Nature does its best to rain down not only frozen hazards in the form of hail, but freshly launched weaponry in the form of pyroclastic bombs hurled forth as the result of intense volcanic activity. Extreme dangers are presented not only by flowing magma when a volcano erupts, but by the presence of flying pyroclastic bombs. These pyroclastic bombs are little less than natural weapons of mass destruction if encountered. The objects are one of the worst ways to get clobbered to death by rocks as angry volcanos not only spew molten magma, but launch the pre-hardened, bomb-shaped stones at incredible velocities to great distances.
Unfortunately, the desire of some amateur volcanologists to collect the bombs may create an even greater risk of being hit. If small, the objects may inflict bullet-like wounds. If large, the impact may cause immediate death through the force of impact. While extremely hot, lava bombs are not molten on the outside. The largest specimens may blast entire sections of a mountainside into the air when they land, and could easily demolish a car, tree, or house. However, the lava bombs present highly useful research opportunities as freshly ejected specimens of volcanic material from deep below the surface. Researchers may forget due caution as they put themselves within a volcanic bomb volley’s striking distance just to gather a specimen.
3. Lava Tube
Volcanic areas do not just present the risk of eruption; a risk comparable to a sinkhole from falling into open lava tubes makes walking near volcanically active areas a recipe for disaster in many cases. While a sinkhole may lead to crushing or falling injuries, a lava tube fall may result in more than just injury from a fall or limb entrapment. Lava tubes that are more open and accessible are sometimes explored by the intrepid who visit volcanos, but the areas are frequently fraught with danger. Further risks are presented by the presence of either hot lava, steam, or toxic gases. The physical structure of areas near to volcanic activity can be unpredictable and hard to clearly define and navigate.
Accidentally falling into a treacherous lava tube poses the greatest threat, as one does not know what may lie at the bottom or how far or hard one may fall. Lava tubes can be incredibly deep, with serious threats facing anyone who explores out of bounds and ends up falling into the tube. In one case, a 15-year-old boy fell a full 25 feet down into a lava tube while carelessly exploring after climbing a fence. Fortunately, the victim was able to be rescued, but the results of a mishap involving a lava tube can have a far more serious end. The presence of lava tubes goes to confirm why volcanically active areas must be treated with great caution, whether or not there appears to be active magma present.
2. Rogue Wave
Not a tsunami, a rogue wave may appear at any point on the ocean, causing death by sweeping people out to sea who are near the coast, even if a little ways inland. Rogue waves at sea present further immediate threats to ships, which may be swamped, hit by debris or capsized. As a result of the risk posed to the public by rogue waves, signs indicating the dangers of standing near the open sea have frequently been posted to discourage careless beach combing. Turning one’s back on the water is especially risky, while even facing the water is not advisable in rocky areas where being caught up in a sudden avalanche of water comes with the added risk of being dashed against the rocks.
Once believed to be mere tall tales told by overly imaginative sailors, rogue waves have been discovered to be real life events backed by physics through exploration of accounts and theoretical analysis. Rogue waves can not only be reported both on the high seas and when the strike near the shore, but statistical and physical analysis shows how certain waves at intervals may gain great power and size. In certain cases, ships have been downed by absolutely enormous waves, exceeding 80 feet in certain cases.
The ocean is a massive water body, and where whirlpools form at sea, the results can be disastrous. Immortalized in Norwegian culture as the Maelstrom and described as a phenomenon in Sicily under the name Charybdis, the oceanic whirlpool is a force to be both feared and avoided, and also difficult to study for obvious reasons. In the Scandinavian regions, the exceedingly powerful Moskstraumen Maelstrom formed where the sea is actually very shallow, between 131 and 197 feet in depth. The resulting tidal movements of the water, exacerbated by the action of the moon led to grand legends forming of enormous whirlpools capable of bringing ships down to the ocean floor. While such a maelstrom indeed would be dangerous in many craft, the reports have certainly been, shall we say, bolstered by popular mythology.
In the case of the Charybdis, one notorious Mediterranean whirlpool was ascribed to the action of a sea monster (if you’ve ever read Homer’s Odyssey you’ll no doubt be familiar). The Strait of Corryvreckan is known to be home to one of the worst whirlpools on the planet. While not the largest or strongest, this whirlpool was “tested” with a dummy wearing a lifejacket, which was sucked out of sight and recovered some distance away, showing signs of scraping the bottom deep below the swirling waves, while the depth indicator read 226 feet.
Is there more to Japan than simply anime and outrageously weird game shows? We’d believe so. Other than a huge number of awesome tourist spots, the Land of the Rising Sun and its inhabitants have been busy bees for more than a century and, as a result, the country is home to numerous successful businesses. But at TopTenz, we like to separate ‘successful’ from ‘cool’, so even if these companies aren’t the wealthiest, we think they are certainly the coolest. From video games to watches to cars, you’ll discover that many of these awesome Japanese brands have become household names all over the world….
Surprisingly, the company responsible for the insanely popular Mario character (and somewhat popular Luigi) actually started life as a playing card business way back in 1889. Although you could argue that Nintendo’s consoles haven’t quite been the powerhouses that they were during the 90s, the company is continually innovating and at least trying to be different. The NES, SNES, 64, and Wii hold a special place in many fans’ hearts, but it’s great to see Nintendo still releasing brilliant games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey for the Switch console. The Labo project is also highly interesting, albeit something that looks more like fun for a few minutes than anything very serious.
Among the photography enthusiasts out there, who isn’t familiar with the name Canon? For many decades, the company has produced fantastic cameras, lenses, camcorders, projectors, and perhaps less exciting: printers and scanners. Although it would be fair to say that Canon’s PowerShot and Ixus compact camera range has taken a big hit with the massive increase in smartphone camera lens technology, the company’s digital SLRs – particularly the EOS range – is considered the best in the biz by many professional photographers. Canon also provides amateurs a shot at recognition by sponsoring many photographic contests and skills workshops around the world, with cash or equipment usually given as prizes.
Seiko manufactures some gorgeous luxury watches, which is perhaps unusual when we consider that many of the world’s luxury watch brands are based in Switzerland (Rolex, IWC, Omega, Tag Heuer, Patek Philippe, etc.). However, credit where credit’s due, as Seiko has been pioneering since 1881 and actually produced the Astron: the world’s very first quartz-powered watch in 1969. Since then, Seiko has been very active in creating quality mechanical watches, many of them now vintage and have shot up in value on the second-hand market. What’s most cool, perhaps, is that Seiko created the H558-5009 and the Giugiaro 7A28-7000, which were worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens respectively.
Seriously, what doesn’t Sony produce? TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones, cameras, headphones, virtual reality headsets and even music and movies… Sony seems to do it all. True, the company’s image took a hard knock back in 2014 when a hacker group stole personal data and released thousands of controversial emails sent between high-ranking employees, but Sony has since recovered and is still considered a great tech brand. Although Sony could never quite make a splash with their smartphones (the Xperia is average at best), the PS Vita, Walkman, Discman and of course the PlayStation are just some hugely memorable products released since the company was founded in 1946. Amazingly, Nintendo inadvertently helped Sony create the original PlayStation in the 90s.
It might seem an easy business model to stick to, but Uniqlo has become massively popular all over the globe by simply producing quality apparel that isn’t too flashy nor particularly expensive. Uniqlo reportedly has around 788 stores in Japan, with roughly 100 of those in Tokyo. Although you’ll mostly see plain colors and patterns on Uniqlo products, it does get a little crazy from time to time. The brand’s UT graphic T-shirt range has seen partnerships with Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and even electronic music equipment company Roland, which is also Japanese.
For quality footwear and sports equipment, many consider Asics to be genuine specialists in the field – more so than Nike or Adidas. Asics, which is an acronym for the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano” (translated to “healthy soul in a healthy body”), actually started life as Onitsuka Tiger back in 1949, but officially became Asics in 1977 due to a merger. Despite this, some shoes are still sold under the Onitsuka Tiger name, perhaps as an homage to its founder, Kihachiro Onitsuka. Reportedly, co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, was hugely impressed by Onitsuka Tiger during a visit to Japan in 1963 and went on to sell the shoes in the USA. Knight was also said to have headhunted engineers from Onitsuka Tiger around the time when Nike was being created. The Mexico 66 sneakers have also been seen on film, in Game of Death with Bruce Lee and Kill Billwith Uma Thurman. Asics has also recently teamed up with DJ Steve Aoki for a new line of street footwear.
It’s pretty difficult to pick just one popular car manufacturer from Japan (Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda are all great), but Honda is definitely the coolest. This has a lot to do with two of its best vehicles, chiefly the NSX and the Civic Type R, as both are considered exquisite to look at and fantastic to drive. Honda’s marketing also has a lot to do with its popularity, as the slogan “The Power of Dreams” is one of those you just don’t get sick of seeing, not to mention the amazing 2-minute video advert for the Accord – often cited as one of the best adverts of all time.
It’s fair to say that Sega isn’t anywhere close to the driving force it once was in the 90s, but for a time, it was neck-and-neck with Nintendo to see which company could be more popular as a home console – especially with the Genesis. Sonic is a revered video game character, even if the quality of the games haven’t always been stunning, and solid franchises like Golden Axe, Streets of Rage and The House of the Dead have made sure that Sega is well-respected in the industry. The Dreamcast console essentially ruined the company financially in 1998, as it was a monumental failure for numerous reasons, but many gamers still have a lot of love for Sega to this day.
2. Studio Ghibli
Although Studio Ghibli’s name may not be as recognizable as other animated film studios (namely Disney), the production house and its primary creator Hayao Miyazaki are absolute Japanese national treasures. Virtually every film released by the studio goes on to become the highest grossing picture of that year in Japan. English-language versions generally do well outside of the country, such as 1997’s Princess Mononoke, 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro and 2010’s The Secret World of Arrietty, but there’s absolutely no doubt that Studio Ghibli’s finest hour was with 2001’s Spirited Away. The charming story of a young girl’s struggle to find her family after becoming trapped in a fantasy world was a wonder to behold, with the film also winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003.
Yamaha is yet another Japanese brand that has been operating for well over 100 years, as it first saw the light of day in 1887 as a piano manufacturer. Since then, Yamaha has grown to become a world-leader in music instrument production, as along with pianos and keyboards, it manufactures guitars and basses, drums, brass and string instruments as well as recording equipment. What’s perhaps most interesting about Yamaha, however, is that the company has a much more extreme and louder side to it in the form of selling motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats and off-road buggies. No matter where Yamaha goes in the future, its music origins will forever be reflected in the company logo, as it depicts three tuning forks interlocked
When the world calendars turned over to the year 1800, most of Earth’s goods were taken to market by beasts of burden and the ocean’s shipping lines. In just a few decades, steam-powered trains crisscrossed the world with their metal rails. Until well after World War II, steam trains moved goods over land….
From there, technology progressed to train dieselisation. But since the birth of the steam engine to modern trains the principal has always been the same; some sort of powered engine would pull lines of train cars along two rails laid down on the Earth. While this system has reigned supreme, there have been a few challengers that made it off the drawing board. Here are 10 weird types of trains that actually had working prototypes…
10. Hovercraft trains
Steel tracks ridden by trains with steel wheels take a tremendous amount of force to move. The weight of the trains also takes their toll on the tracks and the wheels of the train. This requires an incredible amount of money to initially install the tracks, and in turn even more for their maintenance.
Today the fastest trains hover above ground using the power of magnets. Before magnets, engineers figured they could do away with railway tracks entirely if they developed trains that utilized hovercraft technology. Instead of magnets making the trains float just off the ground, scientists figured they would be able to do the same on a cushion of air. All that would be required would be a track that was nothing more than a concrete slab; way cheaper than railway tracks.
In the 1960s and ’70s, America’s Urban Mass Transportation Administration (now the Federal Transit Administration) sponsored two designs: the Grumman Tracked Levitation Research Vehicle (TLRV) and the Rohr Aerotrain. The TLRV designers hoped to reach speeds of up to 300 mph, while the Rohr Aerotrain, which was to carry 60 passengers, hoped to reach 150 mph. Test tracks were created in Pueblo, Colorado. Even though the track’s length limited how fast they could run, both prototypes worked. The TLRV reached speeds of 90 mph and the Rohr Aerotrain reached 145 mph. The track was limited to 1.5 miles, and designers knew they could go faster if they had longer test tracks.
Sadly, before the trains could be developed, funding was cut and the prototypes left to rot. Now the remaining hover trains are in the process of being moved to the Pueblo Railway Museum.
9. Steampunk monorail
One of the first monorails was built as a novelty ride at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia. Just 10 years later, Josiah V. Meigs built a demonstration track and train in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. He patented the technology and then spent the next few years operating the functioning train in hopes of expanding around the world.
At the time, elevated trains, using conventional rail technology, were being rolled out in major cities but residents complained that the huge structures made the streets underneath the tracks too dark. Meigs hoped his monorail idea would solve this problem with its one skinny rail. According to a 1992 Boston Globe article the train was scrapped due to suspected arson and vandalism, possibly from other train competitors.
8. Railplane Train
More train development has always been hampered by the need to first build the railway tracks. In addition to the materials to build the tracks, you first have to purchase the land where it will travel. This can be incredibly expensive, especially when the railway enters more urban areas.
The Bennie Railplane hoped to solve this with an overhead rail system using plane technology. A prototype was launched in Scotland in July 1930. The Bennie Railplane people movers were powered by propellers that would “fly” over existing train lines. While the concept received interest from around the world no one would invest and the overhead flying Bennie Railplane was scrapped in 1956.
Dr. Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren dreamed of fast trains, and in the early 1950s started the Alweg transportation company. He hoped to develop high-speed trains that would transport passengers from city to city. His prototypes did prove his trains could handle highly banked curves, of great importance when dealing with difficult terrain.
Alweg didn’t receive any more investments but a scaled down version, the Monorail System of Disneyland, opened in 1959, and another small line was opened in Seattle for the city’s 1962 Expo. Besides these two, the Alweg system failed to catch on until it was bought by Japan’s Hitachi Monorail company, who have used the tech to build a number of the scaled down public transit lines in Asia.
6. Houston’s Skyway Monorail
The Texas city of Houston is huge, measuring in at 8,778 square miles, making it slightly larger than the state of New Jersey (8,722.58 square miles). The sheer size of the fourth most populous city of America made it a prime candidate for mass rail, but incredibly, until 2004 it was “the only top 10 US metropolitan area without rail transit.”
Not that some Houstonians didn’t try. With increasing traffic problems, in 1956 Monorail Inc built a test track at the city’s Arrowhead Park. The futuristic cars traveled on a sleek monorail carrying 55-passengers at around 10 mph. While the train got a lot of attention, the city instead turned to buses and expanding its freeway system to handle more private vehicles. After a few months, the Houston monorail was dismantled and shipped to be exhibited in Dallas.
5. Gyro Monorail
In 1879, inventor Louis Brennan successfully launched the “world’s first practical guided missile.” The British War Office officials were so happy at the demonstration missile they bought the patent for £110,000 (£9.5 million in 2018). Brennan worked a number of years for the UK government before turning to his true love: trains.
Buying land for the railway tracks is expensive, but so too are the actual rails. Brennan had a novel plan for this issue: reduce the two tracks trains used to one. To accomplish this he built an incredible balancing train called the gyroscopic monorail that balanced on a single rail using the powers of gyroscopes, or spinning wheels, that use physics to balance. In 1910 the train passed all tests, functioning perfectly even with a full load of passengers leaning to one side. The only problem was without the operating gyroscope the train would fall over. When he couldn’t guarantee a gyroscope that wouldn’t break down, investors panicked and withdrew their money. The final nail in the coffin was World War I, when project funding was funneled into helping the war effort.
4. Propellor Train
Around the same time the elevated Railplane Train was being proposed in Scotland, the Germans were developing their own prop-driven train. Instead of flying overhead existing train lines, it would use conventional ground-based railways. And instead of steam engines, it would be powered by airplane propellers. The Germans called this streamlined propeller-powered aluminum train the Schienenzeppelin after their huge Zeppelin airships.
Built by the German rail company Deutsche Reichsbahn in pre-Nazi Germany the train performed beautifully and in 1931 reached speeds of 140 mph. One of the fastest trains of its time it never made it into production due to concerns about passenger head decapitation if people accidentally got too close to the rear of the train (er… yeah, that seems like a good reason for concern). When Hitler came to power the historic train was melted down to feed the Nazi War Machine.
3. Jet Train
Since the days of steam, the method of rail propulsion has changed little. Mechanical power is transferred to the engine, which drives the wheels and powers the train forward. The mechanical power can be steam, gas, diesel or electricity but the principle is basically the same.
In 1966, the New York Central Railroad corporation tried to change this by strapping two jet engines, taken off an American intercontinental bomber, to a streamlined train engine. The result was the M-497 Black Beetle a train which, on test tracks, reached speeds of 183.68 mph, an American rail speed record that remains unbeaten to this day. When New York Central Railroad corporation merged with its rival Pennsylvania Railroad, the project was abandoned.
Using cameras, sensors, and radar, Tesla, Uber, and even Google are all pouring billions into testing in hopes of mastering driverless cars. China is taking these concepts and applying it to their trains. In the summer of 2017, the CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co Ltd unveiled a concept train, Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART), in the city of Zhuzhou.
This train follows a marked path made only from painted “tracks.” No railway tracks drastically increase the flexibility of the light rail passenger service. If there is heavy traffic or an accident, the train can detour around the disruption. No actual rails mean less money spent on track maintenance and initial railway installation. When the prototype goes live it will have drivers but will soon after be automated into a Driverless light rail train.
1. TEB Train
As early as 2010, a Chinese company proposed a giant vehicle, the TEB, that would drive on stilts over and through congested traffic. In May 2016, the company released a slick video and scale model showing the concept. Observers were quick to point out how impractical this would be. Tall trucks or vehicles with towering cargo would be struck by the TEB as it passed overhead. Drivers might panic when the TEB passed, potentially swerving into the TEB’s driving stilts much like the famous Christmas Vacation scene when the family station wagon gets caught under a logging truck. Other concerns included: how would such a long vehicle turn corners? What would it do when it encountered bridges or footpaths?
Yet, to everyone’s surprise, a full-scale prototype was built and unveiled in the summer of 2016 in China’s Qinhuangdao city. TEB, or Transit Elevated Bus, actually ran on special tracks and could not swerve. Since it is limited to straight railway tracks it should really be TET or Transit Elevated Train. Its makers claimed the prototype, dubbed Batie, could carry the equivalent of 40 conventional buses worth of passengers. Its belly towering over the road at 2 meters high, traffic, in theory, could pass under — but only small vehicles, not trucks.
As the world expressed its wonder at the audacity of the plan, the Chinese government began to investigate. More alarm bells went off when it was revealed the company touting the TET was Huaying Kailai, a blacklisted Chinese corporation known for its shady investment schemes. Just a few weeks later, Chinese officials shut the project down. Later, it was revealed that over 30 people were arrested, including the head of the group, Bai Zhiming. In the summer of 2017 Batie lay abandoned and rusting in a parking lot filled with overgrown vegetation.
If you’ve ever seen the HBO series Deadwood, your first thoughts are probably about Ian McShane’s character, Al Swearengen, or perhaps the overabundance of extremely salty language… delivered in the midst of flowery prose, of course. Seriously, though – we looked for clips from the show to use, and not a bit of it was safe for work enough to embed here….
And then you start thinking about other characters, and eventually you’ll get to Timothy Olyphant’s character, Seth Bullock. Despite being the show’s protagonist, Bullock isn’t typically the guy you immediately jump to. That may be due to the fact that, since the show was axed (way too) early, creator David Milch never got a chance to put on display all of the ways in which the real-life Seth Bullock was an incredible historical badass.
If you’re at all familiar with the show, you probably also know that it’s based on real people, doing real things, in a real town. Yes, there was an Al Swearengen. Yes, there was a Gem saloon. (There still is, in fact.) And yes, there was a real, live Seth Bullock… and as we alluded to before, the show only gave us a small part of just what an iconic figure he really was in the history of American law enforcement.
Born in Canada and the son of a soldier and politician, Bullock found his way to Montana as a teenager. He became involved in politics himself at a young age, and in fact played a key role in getting Yellowstone established as America’s first national park. Somehow, despite that, he’s still only vaguely remembered, and that’s mostly thanks to the show. But there are some other reasons people should better remember Deadwood’s ass-kicking sheriff.
He may have run the Earps out of Deadwood
Take that header with a grain of salt, because the details around this one are vague at best, and the show itself actually did sort of deal with the run-in between Bullock and the Earps (Wyatt and Morgan, specifically). Wyatt Earp is, obviously, probably the most famous lawman in American history. Yet the story goes that he and Morgan ventured up to Deadwood in search of their fortune, like so many before them. Deadwood was a prospector’s town, after all. “Gold in them thar hills,” and all that.
But there are also stories about how Wyatt was looking to muscle his way into the local law enforcement, which obviously would have rubbed Bullock the wrong way. This particular angle was written about by Bullock’s son, so obviously it’s coming from a biased perspective, but as David Milch pointed out in interviews, it checks out that the presence of the Earps in Deadwood (and the reasons they told Bullock they were there) wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. Anyway, according to that account of how things transpired, Bullock quickly let the Earps know that they weren’t needed. Specifically, Bullock and Wyatt “didn’t see eye to eye on an issue,” and the rumor being that’s what drove the Earps out of Deadwood (Morgan actually left before Wyatt). Guys, do you know what this means? If this account is true, it means we have an actual situation where this town wasn’t big enough for the both of them.
While getting the better of Wyatt Earp certainly earns him badass status, what’s even more impressive is the fact that…
Now, like so much of Bullock’s life, there’s some confusion about when exactly he and the future president first met. Roosevelt had moved to the Dakotas in the 1880s, though Roosevelt would write in a letter that he first met Bullock in 1892. However, other reports place the two men crossing paths for the first time in 1884, when they were both in pursuit of the same horse thief. Roosevelt was, at that time, serving as a deputy in Medora, North Dakota, located about 200 miles (and some change) north of Deadwood. According to that particular tale, it was over their shared interest in justice that they bonded over “coffee and beans,” and their friendship lasted through the rest of Roosevelt’s life.
The two further bonded at the time of the Spanish-American War, when Roosevelt was in the midst of getting his Rough Riders to Cuba. Bullock, who is reported to have idolized Roosevelt, quickly volunteered and gained the rank of captain of Troop A, part of Grigsby’s Cowboy Regiment. While Bullock was technically a Rough Rider, he never did get to fight in the Spanish-American War, as Roosevelt and his boys made quick work of the situation in Cuba. Troop A, meanwhile, never made it out of training; the war was over too fast.
But the mutual admiration between the two men continued, and in 1905, after he’d become President of the United States following William McKinley’s assassination, Roosevelt appointed Bullock as a US Marshal for the District of South Dakota. He would go on to hold that position for nine years, with both Taft and Woodrow Wilson re-appointing him when each man took over the presidency.
Bullock and a group of real, authentic cowboys had previously made the ride from South Dakota to Washington DC, in order to participate in Roosevelt’s Inauguration Parade. When Roosevelt died in 1919, Bullock had a monument erected to him on what would later be named Mt. Roosevelt. Dedicated on July 4 of that year, it was the first memorial to Roosevelt constructed anywhere in the United States.
Bullock actually died a short time after Roosevelt, but you may still be able to encounter him. That’s because…
He may also be haunting his own hotel
Alright, so you probably won’t be able to encounter Seth Bullock, unless you happen to believe in ghosts. But whether or not you do believe in ghosts, you might be interested in staying at the Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, which was built and operated by the man himself and continues to operate to this day. At the time of construction, it was considered one of the most luxurious hotels of its kind, and it also happens to be where Bullock succumbed to cancer. In room 211, specifically.
And now, because everyone loves a good haunted house story, of course the word is that Bullock’s spirit still haunts the place. Not just the room he died in, of course – did you really think a larger-than-life cowboy of Bullock’s stature (Roosevelt once described him as “the finest type of frontiersman,” after all) would be limited to a single room in death? Supposedly, Bullock’s spirit roams the second and third floors of the hotel.
It’s not just a small, local legend to drum up business, either. The haunting has drawn attention from television shows likeUnsolved Mysteries and Ghost Adventures.
So, if you go stay the night in Bullock Hotel, are you likely to bump into Deadwood’s famed sheriff? …eh, probably not. Unless Tim Olyphant happens to be in town, anyway.
At the end of the day, Seth Bullock is a fascinating figure from history. Now, obviously things weren’t all sunshine and rainbows, and he wasn’t a guy who walked on water. Although, considering his reputation as a storyteller, he may have tried to convince you he could do exactly that. But this small sampling of the things Bullock did after the events of Deadwood should give you an idea of just how little the show got to tell us about the man. If the series had continued past its truncated third season, could we have gotten a storyline about Bullock and Teddy Roosevelt teaming up to track a gang of horse thieves? It certainly would have been possible.
Despite reports to the contrary, chances still feel fairly slim we’ll ever get to see the continued adventures of Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, and the rest of the assorted rough-around-the-edges frontiersmen and women of Deadwood. After all, the series has been off the air for more than a decade, and its actors are awfully busy these days. There’s also the fact that Olyphant himself has stated rather emphatically that he doesn’t believe the long-rumored Deadwood movie will ever happen.
But considering a script is reportedly finished, and HBO recently received a tax credit to begin filming… there’s always hope. And if they do finally get the cameras rolling, we can only hope they dig into just what an Old West legend Seth Bullock actually was.