You Might Not Know These 10 Things About the British Royal Family

Even if you’re one of those people who is really into (meaning obsessed) with the British royal family, I bet there’s still a lot you don’t know about them.

Cause they are some quirky folks, let me tell you.

Let’s look at 10 facts about these royals.

1. That’s odd

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Wishing all our Canadian followers a very happy Canada Day #CanadaDay As Queen of Canada, Her Majesty has a deeply held affection for and loyalty to a country that she first toured as Princess Elizabeth in 1951 and to which she has returned over twenty times since. Members of the Royal Family also represent Her Majesty The Queen when they visit Canada. Swipe to see photographs of The Royal Family in Canada. The Queen is a constitutional monarch, acting entirely on the advice of Canadian Government ministers. Her Majesty is represented in Canada on a day-to-day basis by a Governor General at the federal level and by a Lieutenant Governor in each of the ten provinces, and is fully briefed by means of regular communications from her ministers, and has face-to-face audiences with them where possible.

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Queen Elizabeth II travels with her own supply of blood. I guess that makes sense and might be common among leaders around the world, but still…kind of strange.

2. The secret documentary

The royal family filmed a documentary that aired once in 1969 and never aired again. The reason? Queen Elizabeth thought that showing how the royals lived their everyday lives could be potentially dangerous.

3. Entourage

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Today is #ArmedForcesDay! As Sovereign, The Queen is Head of the Armed Forces and maintains a close relationship with serving members and veterans of the Armed Forces, both in the United Kingdom @BritishArmy @RoyalNavy @royalairforceuk and in the Commonwealth. In 1945 The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), learning to drive and maintain vehicles, becoming the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Services as a full-time active member #ArmedForcesDay Over the years The Queen, as Commander-in-chief, has met many servicemen and women of all ranks, and their families, both at home and overseas. In 2009 HM spoke about how "deeply thankful" she, and the entire nation, are for those who serve in the Armed Forces. #ArmedForces #SaluteOurForces

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The Queen travels with her doctor and 34 other people, including her hairdresser, secretary, press officers, and bodyguards.

4. Not ever gonna happen

This is a weird one. When the Queen gets off of an airplane, you’ll never see her skirt fly up because all of her skirts are weighted. Smart, very smart.


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Today, The Duke of Rothesay (as The Prince of Wales is known when is Scotland) was in Caithness. He toured @wolfburn_whisky, the most northerly whisky distillery on the Scottish mainland, originally opened in 1821. Master distiller Iain Kerr, who has over 20 years’ experience, explained to HRH how the craftsmen at the distillery use traditional methods to produce fine spirit. His Royal Highness also opened Scotland’s largest wind farm – Beatrice Offshore Windfarm, whee he met staff and local residents at the Operations and Maintenance Base. The wind farm’s 84 turbines will generate enough energy to power 450,000 homes and is Scotland’s single largest source of renewable energy.

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On their trips abroad, Prince Charles and Camilla have a bodyguard carry a bag of their favorite drinks. Gin and tonic for Charles and red wine for Camilla.

6. Fill ’em up

Harry and William love American fast food. Once when they were young boys, their mother Princess Diana asked the family chef to cancel lunch because the boys wanted to eat McDonald’s.

7. Two birthday parties

The Queen’s birthday is actually celebrated twice. The sovereign’s birthday has been celebrated on the second Saturday of June for over 260 years in an official ceremony. But the Queen’s actual birthday is April 21, so that’s double the fun.

8. No seafood

When the royal family travels, they are not allowed to eat seafood because the chances of someone getting sick from shellfish are high.

9. That’s bright

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Today The Queen visited Cambridge on a day of engagements including to visit The National Institute of Agricultural Botany, The Royal Papworth Hospital and Queens’ College, Cambridge. #RoyalVisitCambridge In the morning The Queen helped The NIAB to celebrate its 100th anniversary. NIAB is one of Britain’s oldest, and fastest growing, crop science research centres. Her Majesty learned about the work The NIAB does, saw visitor books which had been signed by King George V and Queen Mary, and The Duke of Cambridge. In the afternoon, Her Majesty visited The Royal Papworth Hospital where she was joined by The Duchess of Gloucester, who is Patron of the hospital. Her Majesty met transplant patients, consultants and visited the new hospital which has been built and will include 300 new beds for patients. At Queens’ College Cambridge The Queen met staff and graduates, as Patroness of the college.

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The Queen wears bright colors so people can spot her from far away in crowds.

10. Breaking protocol

Kate Middleton broke the royal protocol in Germany when she hugged children while visiting a charity. There is usually a handshake only rule.

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The “Hundred Flowers Campaign” of…

The “Hundred Flowers Campaign” of 1956 China, allowed and encouraged people to speak freely and openly express their opinions about the communist regime. After a year, the campaign was withdrawn the Chinese government imprisoned those who spoke critically about them.

Classical Illustrations Depict What Can Only Be Described as Japanese Fart Battles

If you’ve ever needed proof that potty humor in general has been around for years– fart humor in particular – these images depicting epic flatulence battles should do the trick.

Image Credit: Waseda University

There’s a centuries-old scroll called He-Gassen (“the fart war”) dating to Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1868) that depicts men, rear ends bared, spraying powerful gusts of gas toward each other – gas that can break boards and cross wide battlefields to win the day.

Image Credit: Waseda University

Image Credit: Waseda University

Though the depictions aren’t entirely unique – Arabian Nights features a story titled “The Historic Fart” and Apocolocyntosis, a satire possibly written by Seneca, references a “shart” (“When he had made a great noise with that end of him which talked easiest, he cried out, ‘Oh dear, oh dear! I think I have made a mess of myself.’”)

And bathroom humor has a long history in European political dissent – this is a woodcut from 1545 entitled “Kissing the Pope’s Feet”:

Image Credit: Public Domain

But back to Japan…

Image Credit: Waseda University

Image Credit: Waseda University

In the Japanese art, Westerners in particular were apt to be blown away by the strength and prowess of the Japanese wind, so the scroll pictured also counts (crudely) as a political cartoon.

Image Credit: Waseda University

Image Credit: Waseda University

The creators of South Park have nothing on whoever created it, for sure.

If you want more (and of course you do), you can check out the full collection here.

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American and Mexican Children Play Together on Seesaws Built into the Border Wall

Here’s a feel-good story.

Despite all the current examples of tragedy, hateful rhetoric, and divisiveness in the news, the images of children simply playing together at the US-Mexico border can make us all pause and reflect on what it means to be human.

There’s no doubt that the situation along the US-Mexico border is complicated and has been for many, many years. But two university professors decided to change the tone from “it’s scary and complicated’ to “maybe this can be a little whimsical” by installing seesaws that straddle the border so kids on opposite sides of the fence can play with each other.

How do you like that for breaking down barriers?

The folks behind the project are Ronald Rael, a professor of architecture at the UC Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San Jose State University.

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One of the most incredible experiences of my and @vasfsf’s career bringing to life the conceptual drawings of the Teetertotter Wall from 2009 in an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall. The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. – Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side. Amazing thanks to everyone who made this event possible like Omar Rios @colectivo.chopeke for collaborating with us, the guys at Taller Herrería in #CiudadJuarez for their fine craftsmanship, @anateresafernandez for encouragement and support, and everyone who showed up on both sides including the beautiful families from Colonia Anapra, and @kerrydoyle2010, @kateggreen , @ersela_kripa , @stphn_mllr , @wakawaffles, @chris_inabox and many others (you know who you are). #raelsanfratello #borderwallasarchitecture #teetertotterwall #seesaw #subibaja

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The seesaws were installed at the border in Sunland Park, New Mexico, not far from the very busy border of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Photo Credit: Instagram,rrael

Photo Credit: Instagram,rrael

Rael and San Fratello actually came up with the idea for a “Teetertotter Wall” back in 2009. In his Instagram post, Rael said, “The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S.-Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.”

Photo Credit: Instagram,rrael

Rael added that the seesaw project “is incredibly important at a time when relationships between people on both sides are being severed by the wall and the politics of the wall.”

Kids simply having fun knows no boundaries, no borders, no walls, and no fences.

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Desperate-Sounding Officials Are Using Pizza to Help People Understand Russian Election Interference

Let’s be honest: hearing a story (or, in this case, daily stories) about how Russia used bots and trolls and other vague, internet tactics in order to influence an American presidential election can be kind of hard to wrap one’s mind around.

I mean, this isn’t Cold War tactics like nuclear weapons that we can hide from under our school desks to (pretend we can) survive. Without a concrete thing to point to, officials have found it difficult to really present how big of a deal – and how much of a threat – these actions have been and continue to be to our democracy.

In a last-ditch seeming attempt to meet the masses where they live, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is relying on pizza to get the message apart.

Because if Americans live anywhere, it’s in a pizza parlor.

The agency created an infographic that they shared in a July 25 tweet that puts the Russian interference in the 2016 election in terms of an ongoing, widespread, and passionate disagreement about whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza.

In a nutshell, we’re to imagine that, instead of using clever tactics to pit Americans against each other when it comes to issues of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., a foreign power wants to encourage a battle to the death over pineapple.

Image Credit:

“To date, we have no evidence of Russia (or any nation) actively carrying out information operations against pizza toppings. This infographic is an ILLUSTRATION of how information operations have been carried out in the past to exploit divisions in the United States.”

The illustration takes people on a fairly thrilling ride examining how foreign powers like Russia can turn ordinary people against their friends, family, and neighbors.

“Foreign influencers are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to inflame hot button issues in the United States. They don’t do this to win arguments; they want to see us divided.”

Some examples of how they use social media to push further division are given as “Being anti-pineapple is un-American! Millennials are ruining pizza! Keep your pineapple off my pizza! What’s wrong with plain old cheese?”

Basically, the lesson is that you should consume all of your media – especially online media – with a hefty dose of skepticism, and if someone is intent on stirring the pot, make sure to ask yourself what’s in it for them.

Oh, and as for pineapple on pizza? To each her own.

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Democracy and demon came from…

Democracy and demon came from the same Greek root: ‘dā mo’ is the distance between different types of people, both ‘citizens’ (‘demos’) and Gods and humans (‘dai-mon’ meaning ‘divider’).

10 Facts About Chernobyl That Will Give You the Creeps

A devastating nuclear disaster took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union on April 26, 1986. The incident is back in the public consciousness right now due to the success of the HBO show Chernobyl that dramatizes the events surrounding the accident.

Much of what happened before, during, and after the 1986 event is still the cause of much debate due to the secrecy of the Soviet Union. But one thing is for sure: the Chernobyl accident is considered the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.

Here are 10 facts about the terrifying Chernobyl disaster and its aftermath.

1. Casualty rate: Unknown

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It’s sometimes strange how different paths in life come together and suddenly your path takes an unexpected direction. The path towards Chernobyl with @jonadbo. We have been there twice now and it remains such a special place because of its history. We ended up there to photograph abandoned locations and we got fascinated by the history. Ofcourse I have watched the HBO series and it’s made so accurate. It’s very realistic and I recognized so many places. I hope that the ghost town of Prypjat remains protected from mass tourism, that it does not deteriorate even more and that nature can still run its own way. So keep it nice. In the end we all have our reason to visit this city. First picture: @jonadbo #pripyat #chernobylzone #chernobyl #ukrain #decay #abandoned #deserted #netflix #disaster #rooftop #tsjernobyl #urbex #urbexphotography #belgiumphotography #belgiumphotographer #canonbelgium #urbexkings #abandonedafterthedark #urbextopia #urbexbelgie #forgotten #forgottenplace #chernobyltour @urbexchampions @urbex_kings @urbexeurope @urbex_3336 @abandonedafterdark @urbex_utopia @urbex_supreme @deurbex

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The number of victims that can be blamed on the accident ranges anywhere from 4,000 to 90,000. Two people died in the initial blast, 29 people died from radiation sickness in the months after the accident, and there are literally thousands that may die from radiation-related causes in the future.

2. A gruesome death

One of the first firefighters who responded to the accident scene was Vasily Ignatenko. He suffered a terrible two-week death from his exposure to radiation, including excreting blood and mucus 25 times a day and coughing up pieces of his own internal organs.

3. Other ailments

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⚠ On April 26, 1986, the fourth block was destroyed, the reactor was completely destroyed. The largest accident of this kind in the history of nuclear energy, the estimated number of dead and wounded and economic damage. ⠀ ⚠ 134 people suffered radiation sickness. More than 115 thousand people from the 30-kilometer zone were evacuated. More than 600 thousand people took part in the aftermath of the accident. During the first three months after the accident, 31 people died, another 19 deaths from 1987 to 2004 can be explained by its direct consequences. ⠀ ⚠ Unlike the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the explosion resembled a very powerful "dirty bomb" – radioactive contamination became the main striking factor.

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People in neighboring areas had to flee their homes and complained of such symptoms as “black spots,” bodies getting “fat, like a barrel,” and turning “black, like coal, and shrinking.”

4. Radiophobia

Because women were terrified of possible radiation poisoning, there were an estimated 100,000-200,000 abortions in Europe after the Chernobyl disaster.

5. Dead trees everywhere

The area around the nuclear power plant became known as The Red Forest because the trees died and turned a ginger color after the accident.

6. Lingerers

Although it’s illegal to live in the area around the plant known as the Zone of Alienation, or the Exclusion Zone, it’s estimated that 130-150 people still live there, many of them older women taking care of their family’s land.

7. Poor animals

If you’ve seen the show, you know that people were not allowed to evacuate with their pets. This actually happened and units were sent in to put the animals down.

8. But…there are still hundreds of dogs there

Descendants of the dogs who survived the aftermath of the disaster still live in the Exclusion Zone. There are an estimated 300 stray dogs here. You can help them out by donating HERE.

9. Tourist spot

Tourists can visit the Exclusion Zone, and it’s actually become pretty trendy after the success of the HBO show about the disaster.

10. Ghost town

There is an abandoned amusement park in nearby Pripyat that looks like something out of a horror film.

While it’s truly terrifying what happened at Chernobyl, the strength that the people of Russia have shown in the face of unimaginable devastation should be commended.

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This American’s Experience with Iceland’s Healthcare System Really Strikes a Nerve

Stop me if you’re heard this somewhere, possibly from your local politician: “We have the best health care ever invented! Of all time! Can’t be touched!”

I think most people know that A WHOLE LOT of other countries on the planet have much better health care than Americans do – plus, overseas it’s CHEAP. But that’s not what politicians and insurance companies want you to hear.

A woman named Mary Robinette Kowal shared her health care experience in Iceland, and her tweets went viral. I think that this will be very eye-opening for a lot of you. It sure was for me.

Let’s take a look at Kowal’s Twitter thread.

3 dollars…

Kowal offered a little clarification about an earlier tweet.

We get your point, Ms. Kowal. Something to think about…

What do you think? Share in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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Having Grown Up in Foster Care, This Woman Explains Why Adoption Isn’t the Best Alternative to Abortion

The abortion debate is becoming increasingly intense again, and many anti-abortion activists are in favor of adoption as a more humane alternative to abortion. But a woman who grew up in foster care wants people to know that adoption is not the simple solution that it seems.

Olivia Paige knows exactly how broken the adoption system is in the US because she grew up in it. She posted on Facebook to explain what it’s really like for children in the system.

“Let me start off by reminding you of the 390,000+ children and teens in foster care, 100,000+ of which are waiting to be adopted,” Olivia’s post began. “Around 50,000 are placed up for adoption each year—these abortion bans are sure to make those numbers grow so let me share some statistics with you.”

Posted by Olivia Paige on Sunday, April 28, 2019

“20% of teens who age out of foster care become instantly homeless, with no support system in place.
There is less than a 3% chance that any of these kids will obtain any sort of degree.
25% suffer from PTSD.
1 out of every 2 kids will develop substance abuse problems.
Adopted children make up only 2% of children under 18.”

Then Olivia went on to share her own experience as one of the “lucky ones” who made it out alright. She attached a photo of a flyer that was handed out to prospective adopters when she was a teenager. She was never adopted, she says.

I debated posting this for a while, I’ve decided to do it because not many people know what it’s really like as a child…

Posted by Olivia Paige on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

“I spent a decade in foster care, bouncing between ‘homes’ with strangers in places I’d never known before. With no warning, a social worker would show up and tell me I’d have to pack my things (the very few I had) and leave whatever strange place I’d kept myself from getting too comfortable in at the drop of a hat,” she wrote. “I had no say in the matter.”

In two of her foster homes, Olivia was physically and sexually abused. Many times, she watched her foster parents take their money from the state and spend it on themselves instead of her. Sometimes, there were no homes for Olivia to stay in, so she had to sleep in a cubicle at Family Services.

“I spent ten years feeling unworthy of love, unwanted and waiting for the next bad thing to happen to me,” Olivia wrote.

it’s Octoberween and this is one of my favorite self portraits so ~ figured it was fitting 🙂

Posted by Olivia Paige on Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thankfully, Olivia aged out of the system at 16, and she’s been doing well ever since. But there are tens of thousands of children just like her currently going through the same thing.

“I dare you to say ‘adoption is always an option’ to any of the several tens of thousands who have been waiting patiently for years for someone to come along and give them the chance to define the word ‘family’.”

Olivia wrote that, while she doesn’t wish she’d been aborted or that she were dead, she does believe that abortion is preferable to forcing so many kids to go through this.

missing doing shoots with Rich Adams Jr.!

Posted by Olivia Paige on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

“A life is not saved just by letting it be born,” she said.

“Kids should be in homes with families that truly love them. If you’re so adamant about kids being born—go through the process and adopt some yourself.”

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