Our understanding of history is usually determined by which country we grew up in, what our school decided to teach, and any other random knowledge we might have picked up along the way. So much has happened throughout history - all of it documented somewhere - and a lot of it fascinating but completely unheard of. They say those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it. So, with that in mind, here are 8 incredible historical facts.
1. Mariner 1 Had An Expensive Typo
Disaster struck during the launch of the Mariner 1 spacecraft when a single hyphen was accidentally omitted in the code by a computer programmer, causing the rocket to explode just seconds after takeoff. This might have been the most expensive typo in history, costing NASA today's equivalent of $630 million.
2. One Dog Saved The Lives Of A WWII Army Unit
During World War II in Australia, a former stray dog with an incredible sense of hearing was able to warn Australian Air Force personnel of an approaching Japanese air assault 20 minutes before they arrived. Not only that, but Gunner the dog was also able to differentiate between the sounds of allied and enemy aircraft.
3. Viking Warriors Who Graffitied Their Names 1200 Years Ago
Sometime during the 9th Century A.D., two Viking warriors graffitied their names in the runes of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia. Amazingly, these carvings are still visible today, having survived since the Byzantine era. One of the scribbles roughly translates as 'Halfdan carved these runes.'
4. Climbing The Eiffel Tower Was Not Easy For The Nazis
Upon the German occupation of Paris in the early stages of World War II, French resistance cut the lift cables of the Eiffel Tower. This left the invading Germans with the daunting prospect of climbing 1,710 stairs if they wished to reach the top of the landmark. A group of soldiers duly obliged, climbing to the summit to raise a German flag. Interestingly, it's well documented that Hitler himself never took on the challenge.
5. A NASA Recording Destroys History
In an unbelievable administrative error, a NASA employee accidentally recorded over the original Apollo 11 moon landing tapes. An investigation over 20 years later found that these tapes had been wiped and re-used during a data tape shortage in the early 80s.
6. Poe's Death Was A Poetic Mystery
The great American poet Edgar Allan Poe passed away at the Washington Medical College in Baltimore after being found wandering the streets delirious and in a great deal of distress. Poe wasn't coherent enough to explain how he'd ended up in such a state and was bizarrely wearing clothes that weren't his own. The cause of his death remains a mystery to this day.
7. First Vending Machine In History
The first vending machine ever recorded was invented in the first century A.D. by the Greek mathematician and engineer, Hero of Alexandria. This machine dispensed holy water in exchange for a coin, and Alexandria himself is considered a stepping stone in the evolution of modern civilization.
8. The Largest Concrete Dome Ever
To this day, the Roman Pantheon - rebuilt in 118 A.D. by the emperor Hadrian - remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. This unique type of Roman architecture has been copied by architects ever since.