Bargain: In 1867, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7M

USA Alaska purchase from Russia 1867-6
The purchase of Alaska in 1867 marked the end of Russian efforts to expand trade and settlements to the Pacific coast of North America, and became an important step in the United States rise as a great power in the Asia-Pacific region. Beginning in 1725, when Russian Czar Peter the Great dispatched Vitus Bering to explore the Alaskan coast, Russia had a keen interest in this region, which was rich in natural resources and lightly inhabited. As the United States expanded westward in the early ...  View More
February 4, 2017 Jason

James Dresnok deserted to North Korea in 1962. He is still there.

James Dresnok desertion North Korea
James Joseph Dresnok (born 1941) is an American defector to North Korea, one of six American soldiers to defect after the Korean War. After defecting, Dresnok worked as an actor in propaganda films, some directed by Kim Jong-il, and as an English teacher in Pyongyang. He was featured on the CBS magazine program 60 Minutes on January 28, 2007, as the last United States defector alive in North Korea, and was the subject of a documentary film entitled 'Crossing the Line'.  View More
February 3, 2017 Jason

Personal flamethrowers are legal in 49 U.S. states

flamethrowers legal 49 US states-3
Flamethrowers are one of the coolest weapons in human history. The ability to shoot fire at your target is an amazing feeling for any person. While flamethrowers are cool, many people may feel that flamethrower ownership is probably restricted where they live. If you live in the United States, then you probably will be able to own a flamethrower if you want to. Flamethrowers are legal in every state in the union, except California.  View More
February 1, 2017 Jason

Grand Prismatic Spring: A natural wonder in Yellowstone Park

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone Park-8
With a name like the Grand Prismatic Spring, a natural wonder has a lot to live up to and this huge hot spring in Yellowstone Park is more than up to the task with its vivid rainbow ring of colors. First discovered in the early 1800’s amidst the geysers and sulfurous bubblings of Yellowstone National Park, the record setting natural wonder has been stunning visitors for over a century. The pool is a piercing blue surrounded by rings of color ranging from red to green. The otherworldly effect ...  View More
January 31, 2017 Jason

The U.S. Constitution sleeps in an atomic bomb-proof strongbox

US Constitution atomic bomb-proof vault-3
The National Archives building in Washington, D.C. houses some of the United States’ most foundational texts, including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These three documents are collectively known as the Charters of Freedom, and could be the most closely guarded pieces of paper on the planet. During the day these important texts are available for public viewing under bulletproof glass and constant guard. But every night (and at the press of a button, ...  View More
January 28, 2017 Jason

The U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition killing over 10,000 people

US government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition-1
Although mostly forgotten today, the "chemist's war of Prohibition" remains one of the strangest and most deadly decisions in American law-enforcement history. Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare ...  View More
January 8, 2017 Jessica

The US law forbids using the US flag for clothing or advertising.

Prior to Flag Day, June 14, 1923, neither the federal government nor the states had official guidelines governing the display of the U.S flag. On that date, the National Flag Code was constructed by representatives of over 68 organizations, under the auspices of the American Legion. The code drafted by that conference was printed by the national organization of the American Legion and given nationwide distribution. On June 22, 1942, the Code became Public Law.  View More
October 28, 2016 Joshua

The Oklahoma official state vegetable is the watermelon.

Everywhere else it is considered a fruit, but in Oklahoma the watermelon has been officially declared a vegetable. And not just any vegetable, Oklahoma's house of representatives yesterday voted to award the watermelon the honor of official state vegetable. The official state fruit is the strawberry.  View More
October 15, 2016 Michael

The U.S. rents Guantanamo Bay from Cuba for $4085 a month

The United States pays Cuba $4,085 a month in rent for the controversial Guantanamo naval base, but Cuba has only once cashed a check in almost half a century and then only by mistake, Fidel Castro wrote in an essay published on Friday. The ailing Cuban leader, who has not appeared in public for more than a year, said he had refused to cash the checks to protest the "illegal" U.S. occupation of the land which he said was now used for "dirty work".  View More
October 11, 2016 Megan

In Colma, CA the dead outnumber the living by a thousand to one

Incorporated in 1924, the city of Colma actually has a lot more dead resident (an estimated two million) than it does living (around 1,200). There are seventeen cemeteries within the city’s two square miles, which account for approximately 73% of the total acreage of the town. Some of bone yards contain some fairly noteworthy former folks, such as denim pioneer Levi Strauss, publishing potentate William Randolph Hearst and Tombstone gunslinger Wyatt Earp.  View More
October 4, 2016 Jessica
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