Questions tagged [history]

Use this tag for questions that pertain to historical events, or claim whose evidence is historical in nature.

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Does torture work well as an interrogation technique?

Wikipedia's Effectiveness of torture for interrogation says, Torture has been used throughout history for the purpose of obtaining information in interrogation. Some arguments say that it is an ...
David Thornley's user avatar
329 votes
7 answers
43k views

Did Jesus live?

Regardless of whether you believe or not... What is the non-Biblical evidence regarding his existence around the time he is commonly thought to have lived? That is, are there other historically ...
Monkey Tuesday's user avatar
211 votes
9 answers
33k views

When did people first know the Earth was a sphere?

I've heard it numerous times, that in the old days people thought that the world was flat. Most commonly I heard this in connection with the voyage of Columbus, that he believed the earth to be a ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
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174 votes
1 answer
24k views

Did NASA invest a million dollars in the research of a space pen, when the USSR simply used a pencil?

I encountered this picture of the "Russian space pen" from the MIT Museum gift shop When NASA first started sending astronauts into space, they realized that the ball-point pen would not ...
SIMEL's user avatar
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122 votes
2 answers
30k views

Did the Nazis kill Jews with gas chambers?

I just heard Holocaust denier and former academic, Robert Faurisson, explaining a few things about gas chambers. What he claims : The dilapidated chambers, thought to be gas chambers in the Nazi ...
Spoutnik16's user avatar
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114 votes
2 answers
23k views

Is all gold ever mined able to fit in a 20x20x20 meter cube?

According to this picture/fact, all gold ever mined is able to fit in a 20x20x20 meter cube. Is there any evidence of this, as this seems like very very little gold?
user1622951's user avatar
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112 votes
3 answers
19k views

Is it possible to fly 4 helicopters anywhere in a country without official knowledge?

According to reports, there were 4 helicopters used in the raid on Osama Bin Laden. Is it conceivable that even one helicopter could be flown so close to the capital of another country without raising ...
going's user avatar
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104 votes
2 answers
21k views

In the American west—the world of cowboys and cowhands—was ammunition traded for alcoholic “shots” of a drink?

CLARIFICATION: Just so it’s clear, this question is specifically about the economic claims made by the meme presented below. It is a NOT question concerning the origins and etymology of the word “shot”...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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97 votes
2 answers
18k views

Did al-Ghazali lead to decline of science in Islam as Neil Tyson claims?

The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said that during the Islamic Golden Age, especially in Baghdad, science and discovery flourished for a few centuries. Then an Islamic scholar named al-...
Zebrafish's user avatar
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91 votes
2 answers
20k views

Was Morocco the first country to recognize USA?

Here in Morocco, when you talk about relations between Morocco and the USA, Moroccans tell you, proudly, that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States of America, and that the ...
Motaka's user avatar
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89 votes
4 answers
237k views

Did Charlie Chaplin lose a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest?

I heard this several times, is it really true or just a joke/rumor? The claim is, that "Charlie Chaplin once only came second in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest". source
magnattic's user avatar
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87 votes
1 answer
14k views

Was the wheel invented before the wall?

So, this extraordinary claim has been getting a lot of publicity lately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQKrfGCd7I8 They say a wall is medieval, well so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall. And ...
AJFaraday's user avatar
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86 votes
5 answers
17k views

How were the pyramids built?

It is claimed in many different pseudoscience publications and sites that it was impossible for the ancient Egyptian civilization to build the pyramids, because: too much labour was needed it was ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
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86 votes
1 answer
28k views

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle prank 12 men into fleeing their countries?

Purportedly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — creator and author of Sherlock Holmes series — sent a telegram to 12 men “…of great virtue and respected in society.” The telegram read “Flee! All has been ...
Coomie's user avatar
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82 votes
3 answers
56k views

Is this a photo of Margaret Hamilton standing next to Apollo Project code that she wrote?

The image below is widely circulated on Facebook: The caption says: Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to the code she wrote by hand and that was used to ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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81 votes
1 answer
16k views

Did the U.S. Army treat a President's cold using chlorine gas?

Several texts on the history of chemical warfare mention the story that in May 1924 the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) treated President Calvin Coolidge for a severe cold with chlorine. For ...
user avatar
78 votes
2 answers
18k views

Did Euler make the elementary mistake √-2 √-3 = √6?

The following extract is from Tristan Needham's Visual Complex Analysis, Even in 1770 the situation was still sufficiently confused that it was possible for so great a mathematician as Euler to ...
Agile_Eagle's user avatar
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78 votes
2 answers
16k views

Was the Roman knowledge of how to build aqueducts lost?

In a TED interview, Elon Musk stated: People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very ...
Favst's user avatar
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78 votes
2 answers
18k views

Did Donald Trump exclude Muslim countries in which he does business from the recent entry ban?

This image states that: Trump is poised to sign an Executive Order banning entry to the United States from These 7 Muslim contries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia Conspicious in ...
dsollen's user avatar
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77 votes
5 answers
17k views

Were people shorter in the middle ages?

In many castles or museums you'll find medieval armor, belonging to a knight. Those are often very small compared to the average human nowadays. I've heard this explained multiple times as being due ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
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76 votes
3 answers
17k views

The origin of "99 cents"

I've seen two competing theories on the origin of pricing products at $<desired dollar amount minus 1>.99 (i.e. charging $19.99 instead of $20, of $5.99 instead of $6): Psychological pricing ...
Billy ONeal's user avatar
74 votes
3 answers
14k views

Has a fifteen year old from Canada discovered a hidden Mayan city?

Recent news stories have reported on the discovery of a lost Mayan city by William Gadoury, a 15-year-old from Canada. According to these reports, Gadoury noticed a correspondence between the ...
Chris Taylor's user avatar
73 votes
1 answer
12k views

Are the claims made by Indian Ministers / personalities regarding ancient Indian inventions true?

In the past couple of years, several Indian Ministers / personalities have made claims regarding existence of modern inventions in Ancient India. Prime Minister Modi claimed that genetic science ...
Agile_Eagle's user avatar
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73 votes
3 answers
12k views

Has a virus ever escaped a high-level virus lab "such as the one in Wuhan"?

As somewhat unclearly related in the Daily Mail: Dr Keusch, Professor of Medicine and International Health at Boston University's Schools of Medicine and Public Health, stressed that no release of ...
Dolphin 613 Motorboat's user avatar
71 votes
4 answers
11k views

Did thousands of women die every year due to illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade?

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, has repeatedly said that thousands of women died every year as a result of abortions prior to Roe v. Wade: We face a real situation where Roe could be ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
  • 1,460
71 votes
3 answers
21k views

Did Moses live?

Moses is, arguably, the most significant prophet in Judaism and is credited with leading the enslaved Jewish population out of Egypt and into the promised land. Aside from the Torah, are there any ...
Scott Mitchell's user avatar
69 votes
2 answers
15k views

Were World War II scrap drives in the United States truly necessary for the procurement of raw materials?

I’ve been reading up on World War II scrap drive efforts in the United States, and am wondering if these (mostly) community-based efforts actually contributed enough raw materials to the war effort ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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69 votes
1 answer
18k views

Was it ever illegal to name a pig "Napoleon" in France?

This is an oft-cited "unusual law", e.g. from The Sun: IN FRANCE it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon, almost 200 years after his death. Experts say the odd law exists because ­calling a ...
fstanis's user avatar
  • 1,409
68 votes
1 answer
14k views

Was the 45.9°C temperature in France in June 2019 the highest ever recorded in France?

It was widely reported that on 28th June, 2019, a record temperature of 45.9°C was recorded in Gallargues-le-Montueux, France, breaking the previous 2003 record of 44.1°C. Sources: Metéo France, BBC, ...
diwhyyyyy's user avatar
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64 votes
8 answers
22k views

Was the German V2 rocket the only weapon whose production killed more than its use?

Early in David Edgerton's history of technology, The Shock of the Old he discusses cost benefit analysis applied to some military weapons. He argues, for example, that the US would have caused a lot ...
matt_black's user avatar
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64 votes
2 answers
31k views

Did Christopher Columbus believe America was India?

Many of us might recall learning in school that when Christopher Columbus reached the New World, he believed that he had reached India. For that reason, Native Americans are often called Indians. ...
Patches's user avatar
  • 8,152
63 votes
2 answers
24k views

Did Susan B. Anthony make these statements regarding suffrage for women and former slaves?

Telesur posted an article on 8 November 2016 which claims Susan B. Anthony made a number of statements under the headline "White Women Pay Tribute to Susan B. Anthony, Notorious Racist": ...
Luis Masuelli's user avatar
63 votes
3 answers
67k views

Claimed similarities between Jesus Christ and Horus and other Gods

The 2007 conspiracy theory film Zeitgeist: The Movie (Website, Watch online, Wikipedia Entry) states in Part I "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" that major points of the story about Jesus Christ's birth,...
Martin Scharrer's user avatar
63 votes
2 answers
8k views

Are old glass panes thicker on the bottom due to "flow"?

I ran into this common belief today, and was surprised that it has not been addressed here before. I think this belief is common enough that most anyone has heard it. Especially if they are touring ...
Larian LeQuella's user avatar
61 votes
2 answers
13k views

Was adding milk to tea started to reduce employee tea break time?

I was talking about the all important Tea Making Process to a fellow Brit the other day, and he told me that the real reason we add milk to tea is: “It cools the tea down, so you can drink it faster. ...
Puffafish's user avatar
  • 719
60 votes
3 answers
15k views

Did college students clamor for cyanide pills in student health clinics in the 1980's in America?

According to the article Media Throw Everything at the Wall to See What Sticks: Witless college students demanded cyanide pills be stocked in campus health care clinics, on the grounds that Reagan ...
Chloe's user avatar
  • 2,368
60 votes
3 answers
10k views

Were Mermaid passengers shipwrecked by 5 different vessels before being successfully rescued?

In a post by dotcommerce.ro called You think you had bad luck ? Think again! this story was mentioned: It’s either a case of the worst luck in history or the best: In 1829, a ship called The Mermaid ...
EMBLEM's user avatar
  • 967
59 votes
4 answers
31k views

Was Stonehenge built in the 1950s?

A set of photos from a Russian web-site apparently show Stonehenge being built in the 1950s, rather than the more customary dates of 3000-2000 BC. An conspiracy theory web-site Max Resistance ...
federk's user avatar
  • 715
59 votes
1 answer
9k views

Does Lebanon ban the diary of Anne Frank?

According to factslides, a reddit post, Wikipedia, and the Wall Street Journal, the Diary of Anne Frank is banned in Lebanon. According to a reddit comment this is "rubbish". Other news reports a ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 17.7k
59 votes
1 answer
10k views

Has Barack Obama achieved these goals in the last six years?

A claim, attributed to Occupy Democrats (which may or may not be true), that is doing rounds in social networks shows a photo of the current US President Barack Obama raising a toast with these words: ...
pericles316's user avatar
  • 22.7k
58 votes
2 answers
8k views

Was the Berlin Wall Breached Based upon an Erroneous Declaration?

In "Beyond the Ideological Lie: The Revolution of 1989 Thirty Years Later", Daniel J. Mahoney goes to great lengths to put this event in question in context to not down play the significance of world ...
user avatar
57 votes
2 answers
10k views

Did Roman jurists rule that "to learn the art of geometry and to take part in public exercises, an art as damnable as mathematics, are forbidden"?

According to Morris Kline, author of Mathematics for the Nonmathematician (1967): Roman jurists ruled, under the Code of Mathematicians and Evil-Doers, that "to learn the art of geometry and to ...
user avatar
57 votes
1 answer
11k views

Did Alan Turing publish a paper called The Imitation Game (as claimed in the movie)?

I have seen a couple of Turing's papers, but never have found one called "The Imitation Game". The Imitation Game seems to be a name used by Turing to refer to his test to decide whether an ...
a06e's user avatar
  • 973
56 votes
2 answers
15k views

Did the British navy fail to take into account the ballistics correction due to Coriolis force during WW1 Falkland Islands battle?

In Natural History magazine article, Neil DeGrasse Tyson claims the following: The military normally knows all about the Coriolis force and thus introduces the appropriate correction to all missile ...
Zeick's user avatar
  • 683
56 votes
3 answers
9k views

Did Neil Armstrong write such a letter to a skeptic?

Today, I saw a tweet with an image that claims to contain the answer of Neil Armstrong to a teacher that was skeptical of the moon landing (see below). Of course it's not the image of a real letter, ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 723
56 votes
1 answer
8k views

A century ago, was giving birth a major cause of death?

When reading this article on BBC News I was surprised by the following claim: Just compare now to what happened 100 years ago or so. Then, many women died in their 40s because of having to give ...
AndyT's user avatar
  • 615
56 votes
1 answer
17k views

Did the CIA blow up a Siberian pipeline in 1982?

The Telegraph claimed in 2004 that the CIA blew up a Russian gas pipeline in Siberia, by tricking the operator into installing booby-trapped software. Thomas Reed, a former US Air Force secretary ...
dont_shog_me_bro's user avatar
54 votes
3 answers
13k views

Was it ever cheaper to starve slaves and replace them than to provide them with food?

In a recent opinion piece in the Guardian, historian David Olusoga makes this shocking claim about slavery in the 17th Century British Empire: The system [Hans Sloane] witnessed and wrote about was ...
IMSoP's user avatar
  • 8,964
52 votes
2 answers
12k views

Was the Ford Model T black because of the speed black paint dries?

In this BBC news article labour historian and lecturer Steve Babson says: The reason the Ford Model-T was black, was because it was the only paint that would dry fast enough to keep pace with the ...
istepaniuk's user avatar
52 votes
3 answers
4k views

Have there been unusual disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle?

An unusual number of ships and planes are said to have disappeared without a trace in the area called the Bermuda Triangle. This has caused some people to claim supernatural causes for these ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
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