12 Of The Most Important Cities In History - And Why They Fell From The Top

• None Uruk Is Considered The First 'True' City In History, But Its Importance Declined Over The Ages Located in Mesopotamia and settled by King Enmerkar in c. 4500 BCE, Uruk is considered the oldest known city in the world. It was the most influential city in Mesopotamia from approximately 4100-3000 BCE, when it was the largest urban center in the region and a hub of trade and administration.

The Completely Preventable Disaster Of The Exploding Ford Pinto

Soon after the Ford Motor Company introduced the Pinto to the public in 1970, the inexpensive subcompact model became one of the most popular cars in the United States. However, by the end of the decade, the Pinto had earned a reputation as a "firetrap." The car's fuel tank could explode if the car was involved in a rear-end collision - a danger that Ford engineers were aware of but failed to address. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration first received pressure to force Ford to recall all Pintos as early as 1974, but it wasn't until early 1978 - shortly after a jury awarded a badly disfigured driver $128 million in damages - that the automotive company finally gave in to the pressure to take the cars out of service. Sadly, this decision came too late for the dozens, possibly even hundreds, of people killed or injured in these rear-end collisions. And although Ford was able to survive the Pinto scandal, the company's reputation took a major public relations hit. For years, Ford was widely considered to be more interested in making a profit than it was in passenger safety. Meanwhile, the Pinto has gone down in history as one of the worst automobiles ever produced.

How 14 Natural Wonders Of The World Were Actually Formed

Thousands of natural wonders exist in the world. But have you ever wondered about the history behind them? Some of these amazing formations and events date back millions of years, while others are less than 100 years old. There are legends and theories attached to how some of them came into existence, but what are the actual scientific explanations? And while climate change is a major topic in the 21st century, what role did this play in the formation of these natural wonders, and how has it affected them in the years since they were formed? These are the stories about how some of the most amazing natural wonders came into existence.

Facts About Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s Overlooked Daughter

Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, may not receive as much scrutiny from the general public as her older brother Prince Charles or nephews Prince William and Prince Harry, but she's still had an eventful life. From making the British Olympic team as an equestrian, to nearly being kidnapped just weeks after her wedding, to being nominated for a Nobel Prize, the Princess Royal has packed a lot of living into her years. Blunt and often sharp-tongued, and with little use for pretense, she is considered one of the most popular members of the British royal family in the eyes of the general public and has earned the informal title of being the hardest-working royal. And she managed to carry out her royal duties while providing her children with a fairly normal childhood (well, as normal as one can have as a member of the British royal family), keeping them more or less out of the spotlight. Here is more about the Princess Royal, who, as of this writing, is 14th in line to inherit the British throne.

Cast Members Who Were Controversially Fired From 'SNL'

Since Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC on October 11, 1975, the weekly late-night live sketch/variety show has had more than 150 cast members. Some of the actors have remained on the show for years - for instance, Kenan Thompson is the longest-tenured cast member in show history, having been with SNL for 17 seasons (2003-present). Others have lasted for just one season, if that. And when cast members do leave SNL, the breakup can be messy or confusing. Shane Gillis never even got to appear on

The Life Of Oscar Micheaux - The First African American To Direct And Produce A Feature Film

In the first few years following the end of WWI, a new type of filmmaking started to appear in the United States. Known as "race movies," these were films usually featuring all-black casts targeted to black audiences. The man widely considered to be the leading figure in this genre was Oscar Micheaux. From 1919 to 1948, the self-taught Micheaux produced and directed more than 40 short and feature-length silent and talkie "race movies," the majority of which he also wrote. He is believed to be the first African American to produce any sort of feature film, as well as the first to produce a talkie. Most of Micheaux's movies have not survived. But two that have, Within Our Gates (1920) and Body and Soul (1925), are considered among his most important works; many historians believe the former was a direct response to D.W. Griffith's epic, The Birth of a Nation (1915), while the latter introduced movie audiences to the great Paul Robeson. Micheaux was not afraid of tackling controversial issues like prejudice, lynching, and interracial romance, which led to many conflicts with film censors. He was also determined to give black actors better roles than they could expect from white Hollywood. Here's a look at the life and career of the pioneer who inspired many black filmmakers.

The Longest-Serving Exonerated US Inmate Is Now An Acclaimed Contemporary Painter

In October 1972, Richard Phillips was one of two men convicted in the untimely demise of Gregory Harris. Phillips always claimed he was innocent, but his appeals for a new trial were consistently denied until 2014, four years after Richard Palombo, Phillips's co-defendant, confessed that Phillips was not involved. He was finally granted a new trial in December 2017, and was released on bond after being imprisoned for over 45 years. In March 2018, the charges against him were dropped, making him the longest-serving exonerated inmate in US history. While incarcerated, Phillips took up painting as a way to try and keep his sanity and process the trauma of being wrongfully accused. He composed hundreds of watercolors, and since he couldn't keep them in his cell, he sent the artwork to a pen pal. After he was released, he retrieved the paintings and reluctantly decided to start exhibiting and selling some of his work in the hope of being able to support himself financially. Since his release, Phillips has worked on readjusting to being a free man and has received much acclaim for his artwork. He has even established his own gallery.

Common Slang Terms & Phrases From Every State

To Alabamans, "a ways" is a distance that could be anything from 10 minutes to two hours in terms of travel time. "Butter my butt and call me a biscuit” is a colorful way to express delight and/or surprise. A shopping cart may be referred to as a "buggy." Alabama is in the tornado belt, so if an Alabaman says they're "goin' to the shelter," that likely means they're headed to a tornado shelter. It doesn't snow much in Alabama, so if people think a storm is coming, they'll go buy out all the

The Best Villain Performances By Actors Who Always Play The Hero

How We Usually See Him: While films like Romeo + Juliet and Titanic made him a heartthrob, DiCaprio has long been considered one of the top leading men in Hollywood. He's known for taking risks in his choice of roles, and for his range as an actor. But while he has played several characters who have dubious moral values and/or are on the wrong side of the law, he still maintains point-of-view and audience sympathy. His protagonists may be complicated - sometimes truly heroic, sometimes not so mu

The Mysterious Green Children Of Woolpit Have Baffled Historians And Folklorists

One of many strange and unexplained mysteries of the world surrounds the sudden appearance of two children (a girl and a boy) who climbed out of a wolf pit or cave just outside the English village of Woolpit sometime in the 12th century. Not only were the children literally bright green, but they also wore strange clothes and spoke a language no one in Woolpit understood. This real-life mystery, which has long been part of English folklore, has baffled and intrigued historians, folklorists, sci

How Milli Vanilli Lip-Synced Their Way To Grammy-Winning Stardom And Scandalous Pop Culture Infamy

When Milli Vanilli burst onto the music scene in the late 1980s, manufactured groups had been around for years. But while acts like the Monkees and the Partridge Family made it publicly known that they didn't necessarily play the instruments - or even perform the vocals, in some cases - and credited the musicians who did, the same can't be said for Milli Vanilli. Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan were presented as both the face and talent of Milli Vanilli. The duo, their producers, and others connected

Movie Characters That Don’t Look Anything Like How The Books Described Them

When books are adapted into feature films, casting can be determined by who is the best box office draw, or who gives the best audition. As a result, while sometimes the actor chosen to play the part really fits the book's description, other times actors who look nothing like their characters end up being cast. It's understandable that the author of the original source material will be protective of his or her creation, and that fans of the book have expectations about how the characters are po

'The Roosevelts' Is The Only Documentary Anyone Needs For All The Drama From TR To FDR

In 1920, when FDR ran as the Democratic nominee for Vice President, Teddy's sister Corinne and daughter Alice campaigned for the Republican ticket, while Theodore Jr. combatted his fifth cousin politically and personally. Eleanor did not forget this public blow. In 1924, when Theodore Jr. ran for governor of New York, she followed her cousin on the campaign trail in a car with a paper mache teapot on the roof (Theodore Jr. and his brother had been implicated in the Teapot Dome bribery scandal b

Behind-The-Scenes Stories From ‘A League of Their Own,’ The Most Rewatchable Sports Movie

In 2017, Robert Greenhut, who was one of the producers on A League of Their Own, told ESPNW that the film was difficult to cast because they were looking for actors who could play baseball. While it might look easy when watching a game on television, the producer admitted, "We all quickly learned how hard it is to throw from first base to third to get somebody out." Director Penny Marshall told MLB.com, "There was a big tryout where [the actors] were judged on running, catching, hitting. Throwi

Behind The Scenes, ‘The Sixth Sense’ Was A Weird Underdog Story

In the months leading up to The Sixth Sense's release in August 1999, there was little buzz around the film and no expectations that it would become a hit. Disney had so little faith in it that, even though one of their executives paid millions for the script, the studio ended up offloading the production rights to an independent film company. M. Night Shyamalan was relatively unknown at the time, and the film starred a child actor alongside Bruce Willis, who was known for making big-budget acti

Famous People Who Survived The Spanish Flu

The first recorded case of what would be labeled the Spanish flu came in March 1918 at an Army training facility in Fort Riley, KS. By the time the influenza pandemic came to an end in December 1920, an estimated 500 million people - more than one-quarter of the world's population at the time - had been infected. The death toll was estimated to be anywhere from 17 to 50 million, with some believing it could actually be as high as 100 million. This disease did not discriminate. It infected the y

Comic Book Superheroes Who Have Regular Human Siblings

Hal Jordan and his older brother, Jack, have a strained relationship because Jack blames Hal for the loss of their mother. Hal had promised her that he wouldn't become a test pilot like his late father but ended up breaking that promise by joining the Air Force. Jack believes their mother's constant worrying about Hal's dangerous career drover her to an early grave. Both Hal and his younger brother, Jim, assist in Jack's campaign for district attorney. After he is elected DA for Coast City, Jac

The Objectively Worst Cartoon Parents

To sum up the parenting style of Family Guy's Peter Griffin, look no further than the patriarch's own words: "I just hate being around the kids." Peter would rather hang out with his drinking buddies than his family, and when he is around his three kids, he's hardly a paragon of virtue. Lois Griffin, meanwhile, has admitted that she never wanted to be a mother, and often seems detached from her children's problems. The Griffins' marriage is extremely dysfunctional: Peter has a drinking problem,

Everyone Who Has Ever Said 'F***' On 'Saturday Night Live'

One of the hazards of live television is that it is just that - live. Without the cushion of tape delay, whatever someone says on-mic (and sometimes off-mic) will end up being aired. Slips of the tongue are not uncommon. And when that slip of the tongue results in an F-bomb or other obscenity being heard on-air, it tends to be a very big deal - the audience notices, the media notices, and the FCC notices. The consequences of an obscenity airing on live television can vary. As the history of Satu

Dramatic Stories From Behind The Scenes Of ‘M.A.S.H.’

H. Richard Hornberger, under a pseudonym, published his novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors in 1968. The book, based on Hornberger's 18 months serving as a surgeon attached to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.) during the Korean conflict, was adapted as a feature film directed by Robert Altman, then turned into a television series. The character of Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce was a romanticized version of what Hornberger wanted to be like while serving in Korea. "Hawkeye

The Oldest Teenagers In Teen Movie History

List Rules Vote up the actors who pulled off a teenage character even though they were well past graduation. There is a long history of older actors being cast to play teenagers in films. For example, Julie Harris was 26 years old when she portrayed a 12-year-old in 1952's Member of the Wedding; James Dean and Sal Mineo were both in their mid-20s when they played high schoolers in 1955's Rebel Without a Cause; Sidney Poitier was 28 when he played a teen in 1955's Blackboard Jungle; and most of

The Uncomfortable History Of Vince McMahon’s 'XFL,' The XTREME Football League That Failed Miserably

If Vince McMahon's original plan to buy the Canadian Football League (CFL) had come to fruition, we may have never gotten the XFL. But when that plan fell through, he turned his attention to the WWF starting its own league. Future XFL president Basil DeVito first heard about Vince McMahon's idea of forming a new league in a meeting in late October 1999. About three months later, on February 3, 2000, McMahon held a press conference in which he announced that the XFL would debut exactly one year

The Tumultuous Real-Life History Of Archie Comics

Although she had been married to one of the co-publishers, Nancy Silberkleit had no real involvement with the workings of Archie Comics until after her husband's passing. "I had no business experience and had never, ever thought about running Archie Comics," she admitted in 2010. Not long after she and co-CEO Jon Goldwater took over Archie Comics, they sued each other for control. The two had differing ideas for the company's direction; Silberkleit reportedly wanted to keep the company family-o

Actors Who Turned Down Oscar-Winning Roles

How many times do we hear that an actor "owns" a movie role - that the critics and/or the audience couldn't imagine any other actor playing that specific part? This is often the case when the performance ends up winning an Oscar. But sometimes, the performer who ends up nabbing that Academy Award was not the first choice for the part. There can be any number of reasons why an actor may have rejected a role - anything from not being interested in the part, to having already committed to another f

What Football Players Looked Like In Every Decade Of The 20th Century

Rutgers and Princeton played in what is believed to be the first American football game in history way back in 1869. In the 150 years since that event, the players have gotten bigger, faster, stronger and much more athletic (and they've also been immortalized in video games). But the players aren't the only thing about football that has changed over the decades. The rules, uniforms and equipment are all quite different from what they were just a few decades ago, let alone what they were in the 1
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