School is canceled again. My nephews are ecstatic. It’s the longest Christmas vacation ever. I would have been thrilled at their age too. More time to read. I’ve always loved books, but school was mind-numbingly boring.
My high school history teacher talked in a monotone. He inundated the class with names and dates, editing out the really cool stuff. Maybe he hoped to dampen our energy. Maybe we were easier to control if we were falling asleep. I don’t know, but I do know he lied to us.
History is filled with interesting, quirky stories. Those ancient Greek statues carved of marble? Those pure-white sculptures were actually painted in hot pinks, bright reds and more. Turns out they only look that way because of weathering. Those blank staring eyes? All the pupils were colored.
There’s all type of stuff that you didn’t know, even if you thought you knew a lot. The writers from cracked.com have the antidote to misinformation. It’s time to bring back enthusiasm and feed curiosity with The De-Textbook.
Most of the “facts” crammed in your cranium are simply not true. It’s a cold winter. Your mother said to make sure to wear your hat. After all, you lose most of your body heat through your head. It’s a myth that is based on what might be the most poorly executed studies ever conducted.
In 1951, The U.S. Army placed test subjects in arctic survival gear into the freezing cold, and measured lost body heat. Only problem? They weren’t wearing hats. Surprisingly, the majority of the measured body heat escaped through the uncovered cranium. Who would have thought?
The army proudly published in a survival manual that hats are essential survival gear, and thus gave your mother something to nag you about to this very day. The truth is that an uncovered head loses no more body heat than any other uncovered body part. So, please put on some pants.
Your teacher led you to believe that history may have some dips and plot twists, but it’s accurately plotted out. We know most of the details of major events from the beginning to the end. The truth is, humanity has forgotten, misplaced, and just plain lost some important historical records and records.
Sure we’re pretty certain of the important stuff, but all the historical facts? We have many classic works, but the world may have been a very different place if the Mongols hadn’t sacked Baghdad, which contained The House of Wisdom, basically the Library of Congress of its time.
This ancient library contained some of the oldest, rarest books written across three continents, and the great horde tossed every book in the Tigris River, and the water ran black with ink for months afterwards. All that written history and hard work washed away.
Technology doesn’t progress steadily, but wanders around like a drunken sailor. Our ancestors did more than discover fire and the wheel. Man, the naked aped, has been clever for a long time, and not all technological wonder originated in the 20th Century.
The first submarine was devised in 1580 by an English innkeeper. The first battery sometime around 200 B.C., and the first flamethrower was created by a Syrian refugee and used by the Greeks to burn ships in naval warfare, that was sometime around A.D. 672.
Some things happened way more recently that you think. Your grandparents knew people that had to adapt to the doorknob as advanced technology, because the doorknob wasn’t invented until 1878, and the French were still beheading people with the Guillotine until 1981.
The world is an amazing place. Science still can’t tell us why we yawn, why we need sleep, or how bicycles work. Is Pluto a planet? Does it matter? We don’t even know for sure how many planets there are in our solar system*. There’s still more, more mystery, more truth, more than we know…
*Between Mercury and the Sun it’s too bright; beyond Uranus it’s too dark.
School is cool? Or public education makes you drool? Comment and let me know