Top 10 Unique Objects, Creatures and World Events
The world is full of unique objects, creatures, and world events. Many foods are naturally radioactive and bananas contain a particularly high dose of radiation. The banana equivalent dose is a scale used to measure radiation exposure. The scale is based on the radiation levels humans receive by eating a single banana. In fact, bananas are radioactive enough to regularly cause false alarms on sensors used to detect possible illegal smuggling of nuclear material in world ports. Brazil nuts also contain a small amount of radioactive radium. It has been estimated that the Brazil nut is 1,000 times more radioactive then other foods.
Between April 1953 and August 1955, Puerto Rican Thoroughbred racehorse Camarero won 56 consecutive races, setting a world record that still exists today. The first horse to make $1 million in earnings was the 8th American Triple Crown winner Citation. The racehorse with the most grade one victories in his career, which is a test of true endurance, is John Henry (16 wins). Kincsem (1874-1887) was the most successful racehorse ever, having won 54 races for 54 starts. She is a national icon in Hungary. For over four seasons, Kincsem won all her races against both female and male competitors at various race tracks across Europe, a record that is still unbeaten. This article will document ten more unique world occurrences.
10. Lonesome George
Rarest Creature in the World
Lonesome George is the last known living individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, which is a subspecies of Galápagos tortoise, native to the Galápagos Islands. He is regarded as the rarest creature in the world. George has become an international symbol of survival and is an important leader in the animal conservation effort. He is estimated to be 60-90 years old and is currently in good health. George was named after the 1950s American comedian George Gobel. On December 1, 1971, he was recovered from the Island of Pinta by the American malacologist Joseph Vagvolgyi.
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During the 20th century, Pinta Island’s vegetation was devastated by the introduction of feral goats. The indigenous tortoise population (Geochelone nigra abingdoni) was reduced to a single identifiable individual, George. After his recovery, George was penned with two females of a different subspecies. Many attempts to produce an offspring have been made, but so far no babies have been hatched. The effort to exterminate goats from Pinta Island is complete and the vegetation on the island is starting to return to its former state. Recent discoveries made on the neighboring Isabela Island have revealed a species of tortoise that is a mixed race of Pinta ancestry.
This suggests the presence of at least one Pinta tortoise near Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island. More research needs to be conducted in order to identify this tortoise among the 2,000 living on Isabela. Another possible pure breed Pinta Island Tortoise candidate named Tony lives in the Prague zoo. Peter Pritchard, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Galápagos tortoises has found the shell on Tony to be extremely similar to that of George and the Pinta shell specimens. To date, the official classification of Tony has not been released by the scientific world. There is currently a reward of $10,000 for the discovery of a female Pinta Island Tortoise.
9. Club 33
Disneyland’s Private Club and Bar
Disneyland is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, that is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. The theme park is one of the most successful establishments in the world and has serviced over 600 million customers since it opened on July 18, 1955. By 1964, Walt Disney had recognized the popularity of his VIP lounges and decided to construct a lavish and private structure in Disneyland. He named it Club 33. The club was placed in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. It is officially maintained as a secret feature of the park. The entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at 33 Royal Street. The door is recognized by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.
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Club 33 is a unique feature of Disneyland and the structure is the only privately housed organization in the park. The group’s members have exclusive access to the club’s restaurant. The premises are not open to the public and you will be asked to leave if you don’t belong. Club 33 is the only location within Disneyland that offers alcoholic beverages. The wine list includes vintages priced at $1000 and the restaurant holds a full bar. Club members get free access to both Disney parks whenever they are open, plus early admission several days a week. Members are also provided with valet parking and access to Lilly Belle, the presidential caboose car on the Disneyland Railroad.
Club 33 opened in May of 1967, only five months after Walt Disney’s death. Walt was responsible for a large majority of the custom design and antique furnishings used in the club’s overall design. One of the buildings most lavish features is an antique-style glass lift, which is an exact replica of a lift from the Parisian hotel in France. A staircase to the second level wraps around the rise. The second level has two dining rooms. One room is named the Trophy Room and has dark wood paneling, while the Main Dining Room is more formal. The rooms are decorated with antique artifacts, paintings, murals, lavish furniture, and Disney memorabilia.
Club 33 has a famous harpsichord which has been played by Elton John and Paul McCartney, and can be used by anyone who sits at it. The dining room holds a walkway that leads to the balcony. The balcony overlooks the water in the New Orleans area of the park. As of 2011, there is a 14 year waiting list for membership to Club 33 and the group is currently closed to new additions. It only allows 487 members. Members pay an initiation fee of $27,500 (if they are a corporation) or $10,450 (for individuals). They also pay an annual fee of about $6,100 or $3,275 respectively.
8. Dock Ellis
Pitched a No-Hitter on LSD
Dock Ellis was a professional baseball player who pitched for a number of Major League teams, most notably the Pittsburgh Pirates. His best season was 1971, when Ellis won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game. Dock Ellis is best known for a series of on-field incidents during his career. He was a ruthless competitor and is often noted for his erratic behavior.
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On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. In 1984, he admitted to being under the influence of LSD during the course of the game. Before the contest, Ellis had been visiting friends in Los Angeles and was under the impression that he had the day off. Despite not being able to feel the ball or clearly see the batter, Ellis was able to retire 27 batters without a hit. He walked eight players and was aided by excellent fielding plays by second baseman Bill Mazeroski and center fielder Matty Alou. In an interview, Ellis admitted to remembering only bits and pieces of the contest. He described the feeling of euphoria as he performed the remarkable feat.
“The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes. Sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.”
On May 1, 1971, Dock Ellis attempted to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup. It was an effort to prove a point to teammates. Ellis hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. The clean-up batter, Tony Perez, avoided Ellis’s attempts, instead drawing a walk. Next up was Johnny Bench and Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh after throwing two pitches at Bench’s head. HIs box score for the game reads: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 0 K. In 1975, while playing for the Texas Rangers, Ellis led a player revolt against manager Billy Hunter and his authoritarian coaching style, declaring that Hunter “may be Hitler, but he ain’t making no lampshade out of me.”
7. Maine Penny
Rare Pre-Columbian Norse Artifact Discovered in America
The Goddard site is an archeological location that holds the remains of an old Native American settlement. It is located at Naskeag Point, Brooklin, Maine on Penobscot Bay. A 1978 article in Time Magazine called the discovery an ancient Indian rubbish pile located near the coastal town of Blue Hill. After an intense study, a collection of 30,000 items from the area were donated to the Maine State Museum. Among these artifacts was an ancient Norwegian silver penny. The penny is unique because it has been traced to the reign of Olaf Kyrre (1067–1093 AD). This has intrigued scientists and raised questions surrounding the penny’s arrival in America and Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.
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Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact describes the interaction between the indigenous people of the Americas and people from other continents, which occurred before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Many such occurrences have been proposed over the years, based on historical accounts, archaeological finds, and cultural comparisons. However, these claims are controversial and strongly debated in the scientific world. The Maine Penny is unique because it has been described as “the only pre-Columbian Norse artifact generally regarded as genuine found within the United States.” It is not debated that the object is a real Olaf Kyrre silver penny that was minted between the years 1065 and 1080 AD.
The Goddard archeological site has been dated to 1180-1235, which is within the circulation period of the Olaf penny. During this time in history, the Norse lived in Greenland and could have potentially visited North America. The penny’s coastal origin has been offered as evidence that the Vikings traveled further south than Newfoundland or that the coin might have been traded locally. However, the penny was the only Norse artifact found at the site. It was discovered by a local resident, Guy Mellgren, who claimed that he found the coin on August 18, 1957.
Since that time, Mellgren has been accused of creating an elaborate hoax. The general scientific opinion is that the artifact should be considered “not proven.” and may have been planted by Guy Mellgren. It has been suggested that the coin could have traveled to Maine via native Viking trade channels in Labrador or Newfoundland. The Maine Museum and the Smithsonian website favor the opinion that the artifact was discovered at the Goddard site and is therefore evidence of a Viking presence on the North American continent. It has been determined that there are enough questions regarding the Olaf silver penny to leave its archaeological significance as unclear and intriguing.
6. Bili Ape
A Unique Species of Primate
The Bili Ape is a large primate that inhabits Bili Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2003, a primate specialist named Shelly Williams recorded the first human encounter with the elusive Bili Ape. Williams described her experience with the creatures, “We could hear them in the trees, about 10 m away, and four of them suddenly came rushing towards me. If this had been a mock charge they would have been screaming to intimidate us. These guys were quiet, and they were huge. They were coming in for the kill, but as soon as they saw my face they stopped and disappeared.”
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The Bili Ape has characteristics that are unique to any other primate species. They exhibit behaviors that don’t fit into ape classification. It has been reported that the Bili Ape could be a new species of animal unknown to science, a new subspecies of chimpanzee, or a hybrid of the gorilla and the chimp. At the very least, the creatures are unique and unlike any studied before. Preliminary genetic testing with non-nuclear DNA has indicated a close relationship with the Eastern Chimpanzee, but the animal’s range of behaviors and facial features have greatly intrigued primatologists. The ape’s mixture of traits has led to questions of taxonomic classification.
In some ways, the Bili Ape’s behavior is more like gorillas then chimpanzees. For example, they build their nests directly in the ground, using interwoven branches and saplings. However, the Bili Ape’s diet is decidedly chimpanzee-like, consisting mainly of fruits. In June 2006, British Science Weekly reported that Cleve Hicks and his colleagues from the University of Amsterdam had completed a year-long study of the ape. Hicks reported that upon meeting the animal, including adult males, the creatures would simply surround the human visitors and show curiosity. The Bili Ape did not attack or become aggressive toward the researchers, which is unusual behavior. Reports have indicated that the creature would come face-to-face with their human visitors, stare intently in half-recognition, and then slide away quietly.
The major difference between the Bili Ape and the Common Chimpanzee is the size. The Bili Ape has been reported to walk bipedally at times, with the look of a giant chimpanzee. Their footprints range in size from 28 to 34 centimeters. This is longer than the biggest common chimpanzee and gorilla specimen, which has an average size from 26 cm to 29 cm. The Bili Ape has a very flat face, a wide muzzle and a brow-ridge that runs straight across and overhangs. Bili Ape skulls have a prominent brow ridge and may have a sagittal crest similar to that of a robust great ape. However, the animals other bone measurements are representative of chimpanzees. Bili Apes are currently under threat from poachers, who are taking advantage of the creature’s gentle nature.
5. Methuselah and Hyperion
Methuselah is a 4,800 year old Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree that is currently growing high in the White Mountains of eastern California. The tree is named after Methuselah, who is a Biblical figure that is reported to have lived for 969 years. Methuselah is growing at an elevation of 2,900-3,000 m (9,500-9,800 ft) and lives in the Forest of Ancients. Hyperion is a coast redwood tree that was discovered on August 25, 2006, by naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. Hyperion is located in a remote area of the Redwood National Park in Northern California. The tree was confirmed to measure 115.61 meters (379.3 ft) tall.
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In 1957, Methuselah was sampled by Edmund Schulman and Tom Harlan who identified the tree as 4,789 years old. As of 2011, Methuselah is the oldest known living tree and non-clonal organism in the world, aged at 4,842 years. After measurements were taken on Hyperion’s incredible size (379.3 ft), it was determined that the tree is the world’s tallest. Hyperion contains roughly 502 m3 (18,600 cubic feet) of wood. Despite its great height, Hyperion is not the largest (by volume) known coast redwood. Lost Monarch is a tree that is at least 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter and 320 feet (98 m) in height. It is the world’s largest coast redwood in terms of wood volume. The exact location of both Methuselah and Hyperion is undisclosed to the public for fear that people will upset the ecosystem. The trees need to be protected from human vandalism.
History has taught us that sacred trees need to be guarded from the human public. Arbre du Ténéré was a solitary acacia that was once considered the most isolated tree on Earth. The tree was a landmark on the caravan routes through the Ténéré region of the Sahara desert in northeast Niger. It was the only living tree for over 200 kilometers (120 mi). Arbre du Ténéré was the last of a group of acacias that flourished when the desert was less dry. The tree stood alone for decades. During the winter of 1938-1939, the Tree of Ténéré was researched and it was found that the roots extended all the way to the water table 33-36 meters (108 to 118 feet) below the surface. Over the years, the tree suffered great damage from vandalism. In 1973, it was knocked down by an allegedly drunk Libyan truck driver.
4. Rothschild Family
Richest Family in Modern History
The Rothschild’s are a European family of German Jewish origin. Beginning in the late 1700s, Mayer Amschel Rothschild began to establish a collection of European banking and finance houses. He spread his empire by installing organizations in separate European cities. A major part of Mayer Rothschild’s strategy was to keep his business in family hands, allowing the Rothschild’s to maintain full discretion about the size, wealth and overall achievements of the company. Mayer accomplished this with carefully arranged marriages, including relationships between first and second cousins. However, by the later 19th century, almost all the family members began to marry outside the group.
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The numbers regarding the Rothschild family fortune are unknown, but during the 19th century, the family possessed by far the largest private fortune in the world, and the largest fortune in modern history. During the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Nathan Mayer Rothschild was instrumental in financing the British war effort. In 1815 alone, the Rothschild’s provided £9.8 million (in 1815 currency prices) in subsidy loans to Britain’s continental allies. Following the British victory, Nathan immediately bought up the government bond market. He waited two years and sold the bonds back to the government for a 40% profit.
The turnaround produced an enormous sum of money for the family. After amassing a huge fortune, the name Rothschild became synonymous with extravagance and great wealth. The family was renowned for its art collecting, palaces, and philanthropy. By the end of the 19th century, the family owned, or had built, over 41 palaces, on a scale of luxury unparalleled by even by the richest Royal families. The figures pertaining to the wealth of the Rothschild family have never been made available. It is estimated that at the family’s height, during the mid-19th century, assets would, in today’s terms, be in the high hundreds of billions to trillions.
On September 29, 1916, John D. Rockefeller became the first man to reach a nominal personal fortune of US$1 billion. Rockefeller was the founder, chairman and major shareholder in the Standard Oil Company. By the time of his death in 1937, Rockefeller’s net worth was in the range of US$392 billion to US$663.4 billion in adjusted dollars. It has been estimated that John D. Rockefeller’s personal fortune was equal to 1.53% of the total U.S. economy. He is widely regarded to be the wealthiest American in the history of the United States. Other Americans on this list include Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie. Marcus Licinius Crassus was one of the leading politicians of Rome. Crassus is held to be the wealthiest man in Roman history and is likely to be the richest man in all of history.
3. Battle of Karánsebes
A Massive Self-Inflicted Defeat
The Austro-Turkish War was an inconclusive struggle between the Austrian and Ottoman Empires. It took place between the years 1787-1791, which was the same time as the Russo-Turkish conflict. The decision to launch the war was made by the Austrian ruler Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, who was in an alliance at the time with the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great. On the evening of September 17, 1788, the army of Austria, approximately 100,000 strong, was scouting for forces of the Ottoman Empire near the town of Karánsebes (now Caransebe?, in modern Romania).
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The Austrian army was comprised of Italians from Lombardy, Slavs from the Balkans, Austrians, plus other minorities, many of whom did not understand each other. During the night of September 17, a group of the army’s vanguard, a contingent of hussars, ran a reconnaissance mission across the Timi? River in search of Ottomans. Instead of the enemy, the soldiers found a group of Gypsies, who offered to sell schnapps. The small group of men agreed and got drunk, however, when other members of the infantry saw the party, they demanded alcohol for themselves. When the soldiers were turned down, tensions mounted and fighting between the Austrian hussars and infantry started.
During the conflict, a large collection of the men on horseback retreated back across the Timi? River to the division’s main camp. Some of the infantry began shouting “Turcii, Turcii” (Romanian for “The Turks, The Turks”). The situation was made worse when officers, in an attempt to restore order, shouted “Halt, Halt,” which was misunderstood by soldiers with no knowledge of German as “Allah, Allah.” As the cavalry stormed through the Austrian camps, a corps commander mistook the event as a charge by the Ottoman army, so he ordered artillery fire on his own soldiers. Meanwhile, the entire camp awoke to the sound of battle and, rather than waiting to see what the situation was, everyone grabbed their guns and started to run and shoot.
The troops fired at every shadow, thinking the Ottomans had surrounded the camp, but in reality they were shooting at fellow Austrian soldiers. In was a unique wartime event and the army of Austria accidently fired on each other in a self-inflicted disaster. The incident escalated to the point where the entire Austrian army, 100,000 people, retreated from the imaginary enemy. During the event, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II was pushed off his horse into a small creek. Two days later, the Ottomans arrived in the area and discovered over 10,000 dead and wounded Austrian soldiers. After the self-inflicted Austrian defeat, the Ottomans easily captured the city.
2. Times Beach, Missouri
Largest U.S. Civilian Exposure to Dioxin
Times Beach, Missouri was a small town of 2,240 residents located 17 miles (27 km) southwest of St. Louis and 2 mi (3 km) east of Eureka, Missouri. The city was founded in 1925, based largely on a promotion by the now-defunct St. Louis Star-Times newspaper. A purchase of a 20 x 100 ft (6 by 30 m) lot for $67.50 included a six-month newspaper subscription. Times Beach was built along a floodplain near the Meramec River. It was initially a summer resort destination, but after the Great Depression and World War II, the town became a location for low-income families. Times Beach has been prone to flooding in its history and the first buildings were constructed on stilts.
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Times Beach has become infamous for an incident that occurred in the 1970s when a large amount of toxic dioxin was released on the town. In 1982, the disaster made national headlines, ending with the entire evacuation of the surrounding area. The incident remains the largest civilian exposure to dioxin in United States history. During the 1970s, people in Times Beach sprayed oil on the roads and in barns in order to remove dust. In 1971, the city employed waste hauler Russell Bliss to oil the roads in and around the town. The problem began when Bliss was hired by a local company named ICP to dispose of toxic waste. ICP was being paid $3,000 per load to haul away toxic material from the Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company (NEPACCO). The company passed the deadly waste off to Bliss for $125 per load.
NEPACCO operated a facility producing chemicals that were used for Agent Orange, a substance involved in the herbicidal warfare program of the Vietnam War. The waste clay and water produced in the Times Beach facilities contained levels of dioxin some 2,000 times higher than the dioxin content of Agent Orange. After obtaining the material, Russell Bliss began to mix the substance with his oil. He sprayed the toxic oil over dozens of sites in Missouri, including his own farm. In March of 1971, the toxic exposure resulted in the death of 62 horses, the owners of the stable suspected Bliss. After similar farms experienced problems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating the situation. On December 3, 1982, a soil sample was taken from Times Beach that showed dioxin levels some 100 times higher than what is generally considered hazardous to humans.
On December 5, 1982, the Meramec River flooded, spreading the poison to separate locations in the town. The twin disasters caused the Federal government to buy out all residents in the area and to shutter the city, creating a toxic ghost town. President Ronald Reagan formed a dioxin task force and residents began to panic. Many illnesses, miscarriages, and animal deaths had been attributed to the poison. By 1985, Times Beach was evacuated except for one elderly couple who refused to leave, and the site was quarantined. Approximately 265,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris was removed from Times Beach and 28 other sites in eastern Missouri. The material was incinerated on the town’s former ground. Today, the area that was once Times Beach is Route 66 State Park.
1. Domestic Dog
Most Deadly Carnivore in the United States
Many articles have been written that examine the most deadly animals in the world. The diseased mosquito is routinely listed as the most dangerous. However, when looking at human death by mauling and mass trauma, the domestic dog is the most deadly. In modern society, the close relationship that humans have with dogs has caused a significant amount of attacks, with injuries varying from minor to significant, and severe to fatal. It has been estimated that 2% of the U.S. population, 4.7 million people, are bitten by a domestic dog each year.
One study showed that 77% of dog bites are carried out by a pet that is owned by a family member or friend, while 50% of attacks occur on the dog owner’s property. A large debate has been raised in the United States regarding certain dog breeds. It has been statistically proven that violent breeds are inherently more prone to attack people and cause serious injury or death. Regardless of the dog’s genes, human actions and training, such as neglect, fight training, carelessness, and loss of control is a strong predictor of violence.
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The amount of deadly domestic dog attacks in the United States is remarkable. In most cases the victims are babies, small children, and the elderly. One of the biggest threats to children in the U.S. is the domestic dog. In 2009, 30 individuals were killed by dogs in the United States and in 2010 32 people died. One of the largest contributing factors to these deaths is unsupervised children. Because of their small size, kids are not able to withstand a dog attack, while many adults have survived severe incidents simply because they were able to sustain and fight the animal back until help arrived. Children often engage in behavior that will trigger a dog attack. For example, approaching a chained dog, trying to hug or kiss an unfamiliar animal, or trying to pull its tail.
Since 2005, 177 people have been killed by the domestic dog in the United States and 100 (56%) were kids between the ages of 0-10. The dog’s breed plays a strong factor in the animal’s tendency to attack. It has been argued that certain breeds are inherently aggressive towards people and should be banned from personal ownership. In fact, certain pit bull-type breeds’ are forbidden in Australia, many European countries, and in several U.S. and Canadian localities. Of the 177 recorded deaths since 2005, around 50% have been attributed to a pit bull-type breed. Some other dog breeds that routinely show up on the list of attackers are the Rottweiler, Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, German Shepherd, and the American Bulldog. Isolated fatal incidents have occurred with a number of breeds, including the Bullmastiff, Weimaraner, Doberman Pinscher, Jack Russell Terrier, and the Perro de Presa Canario.
by Bryan Johnson