5 Sunken Ships That Are More Interesting Than The Titanic

For a significant chunk of human history, maritime domination was of utmost concern for the world’s leading powers. As the saying went, he who ruled the seas ruled the world. Given the constraints of existing technology, water was really the only viable method of covering long distances from one continent to another. Obviously, this led to many conflicts among nations, and more than a few ships found their ways to a watery grave. Some of these shipwrecks have since been recovered and transformed into spots for historical study or recreation.

HMHS Britannic

For better or worse, everyone’s already heard of the Titanic, which is why it’s been left off the list. That’s not likely the case for its sister ship, the Britannic. This ship was actually built by the same company as the Titanic – the White Star Line. The Britannic was constructed after the sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic so, obviously, some changes had to be made in order to make it stand up to its reputation. A few extra lifeboats plus a reinforced hull around the boiler room, engine room and other regions vulnerable to icebergs made for smart additions.

Sunken Ships Britannic Front

Admit it, you were thinking of that scene in Titanic Source: Gallery Hip

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When Texas Sprayed DDT On Citizens To Prevent Polio

Yes, this happened in San Antonio, Texas. The director of the city’s Department of Health, H.L. Crittenden, ordered the spraying of DDT along every one of over a thousand streets in May, 1946 in an ill-fated attempt to wipe out polio. A handful of other cities joined in, like Rockford, Illinois, and Paterson, New Jersey. Such an event came from the misguided notion that polio was spread by mosquitoes or other insects. Jonas Salk had yet to begin his groundbreaking work that culminated in a polio vaccine in 1955.

Learn more about the disease and the panic it caused in this short clip:

DDT Iron Lung

Many patients with the paralytic form of polio had to be cooped up in an iron lung because their chest muscles wouldn’t work–they couldn’t breathe
Source: NPR

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Mummies: People That Time Forgot

Mummies Tollund Closeup

The detailed facial features are quite remarkable
Source: 500PX

We are all familiar with the concept of mummies. But if you associate mummies only with ancient Egyptians, you’ve got a lot to learn. Corpse preservation has been practiced in all corners of the world and by all sorts of cultures, and–sorry Tut–even those whose bodies were accidentally preserved through natural means are considered mummies.

The Tollund Man

Tollund Head

Only the head was recovered from the original body
Source: Blogspot

This natural mummy was found 65 years ago in a Danish peat bog. These kinds of findings, referred to as bog bodies, aren’t that unusual. Bog conditions preserve the remains quite well, but the Tollund Man still stands out. In fact, he was so well-preserved that authorities initially mistook him for a recent murder victim. It wasn’t until later that it was determined that they were off by about 2,300 years.

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Nixon’s “Thumbs Up” Resignation

Nixon After Resigning 1974

Following a series of scandals that devastated a vulnerable nation along with the ambitions of a less-than saintly presidential administration, Richard Nixon said sayonara to the Oval Office on August 9, 1974.

Straight from the pages of future President George H.W. Bush’s journal:

“There is no way to really describe the emotion of the day. Bar [Bush’s wife, Barbara] and I went down and had breakfast at the White House. Dean and Pat Burch and the Buchanans were there in the Conference Mess. There was an aura of sadness, like somebody died. Grief. Saw Tricia and Eddie Cox [President Nixon’s daughter and her husband] in the Rose Garden – talked to them on the way to the ceremony.

President Nixon looked just awful. He used glasses – the first time I ever saw them. Close to breaking down – understandably. Everyone in the room in tears.

The speech was vintage Nixon – a kick or two at the press – enormous strains. One couldn’t help but look at the family and the whole thing and think of his accomplishments and then think of the shame and wonder kind of man is this really. No morality – kicking his friends in those tapes – all of them. Gratuitous abuse. Caring for no one yet doing so much. When he used the word ‘plumbers’ [in his speech] meaning it [as] ‘laboring with his hands’, the connotation was a shock to me.”

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