A 10-year-old girl wrote a letter to the leader of the Soviet Union asking him why he wanted to start a war. In response he invited her to visit.
In 1982, Yuri Andropov replaced Leonid Brezhnev as leader of the U.S.S.R. In response to the change, a 10-year-old girl named Samantha Smith decided to write one of the most powerful men in the world asking him why he wanted to start a war and begging him to reconsider. She then wrote, “I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.”
Her letter was eventually published in a Soviet newspaper and gained so much attention Andropov wrote back. He explained that the Soviets did not want war any more than Americans, yet, “There are nuclear weapons –terrible weapons that can kill millions of people in an instant.” Andropov wrote that these weapons complicated political matters. To finish his response, he wrote, “I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country…and see for yourself: in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples.”
Smith made the trip and became one of the most famous children in the world. When she returned to America she was presented with roses and a red carpet in Maine. She became an international sensation and began touring the World and pursuing acting. Unfortunately, in 1985 Smith was returning to Maine when the small plane she was on crashed. Smith and her father passed away in the tragedy, yet she is still remembered throughout the World.
Hummingbirds are continuously hours away from starving to death, and are able to store just enough energy to survive overnight!
Hummingbirds are one of the smallest species of bird in the world with the average size measuring only 3-5 inches. The record for the smallest bird in history is actually a species of the hummingbird called the Bee Hummingbird, which averaged only 5-cm! These birds are amazing for several reasons, including their size and the speed at which they move their wings, but one aspect most people don’t know about them is that they are almost always just hours away from starving to death!
The reason they do this is because of the speed of their wings, which beat 12-80 times every second. The strange part is that they are not starving because they don’t consume food as many would assume, but rather because they burn it off so fast. With a heart rate reaching 1,260 beats per minute they have the fastest metabolism of any animal.
They consume up to double their own weight in nectar each day, yet move so much for their size that they simply burn it off extremely quickly and nearly starve until they eat again!
King Gustav III of Sweden was terrified by coffee and conducted an interesting experiment with twins to learn more about it.
When coffee was first introduced to Europe from the Americas it was a new and exciting crop that drew much attention. There were many conflicting views on coffee, mostly on whether it would kill you or not. Coffee was illegal in Sweden as of 1674, yet use continued because it became fashionable among the wealthy and powerful. However, the king was terrified of it and implemented heavy fines against its use.
Gustav III thought the substance threatened public health and ran a study with two twins to learn more about it. Two identical twins had been arrested and sentenced to death. Instead, the king changed their sentence on the condition that one twin was to drink three pots of tea each day and the other was to consume three pots of coffee. The results? Strangely, the king and all of his physicians died before either of the twins.
The tea-drinker lived to the age of 83 and the coffee drinker made it even longer. This helped the Swedish government conclude that it couldn’t be that bad for you and in 1794 the ban on coffee was lifted!
Fred Rogers, more often known as simply Mr. Rogers, was a minister, songwriter, author, and television host. Born in Pennsylvania just southeast of Pittsburg, he first attended Dartmouth College and then transferred to Rollins College in Florida. Rogers’ life changed when he first saw a television in his parent’s home. He was fascinated, yet claims, “I went into television because I hated it so, and thought there’s some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen.” In 1951, he was first hired by NBC and quickly took off as one of America’s most famous personalities.
His most famous endeavor was his show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” which ran from 1968-2001 and featured his gentle, soft-spoken personality. Rogers was also famous for his advocacy of various public causes and his testimony in front of the U.S. Senate for government funding of children’s television has since become extremely famous.
Rogers became so well known he was named the No. 35 greatest TV star of all time by TV Guide. Rogers was awarded nearly 40 honorary degrees from different universities for his educational programing, a Peabody Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom!
The position as President of the United States is considered perhaps the most powerful in the world, yet they are not paid as highly as many would assume. The modern salary for the President is $400,000, which is still considerable but not the millions as some would initially think. George Washington earned $25,000 when he took office, which is equal to $566,000 in today’s money. In fact, in all of American history, the President makes less today than ever before.
The most they’ve ever earned was in 1909 under President Taft. A raise in salary was approved by Congress for the President to make $75,000, which is equal to $1,714,000 today! It was not until later, much later in fact, that the public and Congress agreed this was far too much money. The amount wasn’t changed for some time and was then gradually lowered after the 1960’s. Interestingly, the salary was forgotten for so long that presidents found it difficult to live off of and was not increased until Bill Clinton took office.