Ah, the land of abundance! “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A lot has happened since some important folk scribbled their names on the Declaration of Independence, liberating the USA from the yolk of British rule. Here’s some stuff you may not know!
1. The Library Of Congress Saves The Internet
Every tweet Americans send is being archived by the Library of Congress.
2. Americans *Really* Love Pizza
100 acres of Pizza are served in the United States every day. Additionally, 8 billion chickens and 50 billion burgers are consumed in the US each year.
3. Ah, The Cost Of Change
The US government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition in the 20s and 30s, killing over 10,000 people. Not everyone thought it was a good idea to make alcohol deadly, but the alcohol-must-be-stopped camp persisted, arguing that legal alcohol had killed many more than poisoned alcohol would kill during the transition to a booze-free world.
4. The pioneer of American slavery.
America’s first slave owner was a black man. In the early 1600s, there were no legal slaves in the colonies, only indentured servants who were released after seven years. In 1655, Anthony Johnson sued successfully for the right to own another black man indefinitely.
5. A few inmates.
9 million people are in prisons around world, and a quarter of them are in the United States. It costs the US Government $2,768,902 per year to hold a prisoner in Guantanamo.
6. Sweet name, bro.
There are at least 97 people called “LOL” in the US. There are 4,746 people in the United States with an identical first and last name, with Thomas Thomas being the most common. 5,840 people in the United States have a last name that ends with their first name, with Donald MacDonald being the most common.
7. I wonder what that red button does…
In 1962, the United States blew up a hydrogen bomb in space that was 100 times more powerful than Hiroshima.
8. A lot of money for a hunk of ice.
The United States purchased Alaska from Russia for just US$7.2 million in 1867. At the time, the acquisition was popularly dismissed as “Seward’s Folly” (Seward was Secretary of State at the time), as the frozen land was considered worthless. Today, Alaska produces $45 billion dollars of goods and services annually.
9. A little money.
The United States has the largest GDP in the world with 18.6 trillion. That’s larger than the United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, Brazil, Canada, and Russia combined.
10. Using those noggins.
The United States has 115,000 janitors, 83,000 bartenders and 323,000 restaurant servers with bachelor’s degrees.
11. Merry Christmas! Now go to jail.
Christmas was illegal in the United States until 1836 as it was considered an Ancient Pagan Holiday.
12. And you can’t even sell them for parts anymore…
In the United States, it costs $245K to raise a child, before college. And if you’re planning on paying for additional schooling, things don’t get better! The cost of college in the United States has gone up 500% since 1985.
13. Maybe next election we could vote using the “Like” button?
There are more Facebook users from the United States than US citizens that voted in the last election.
14. Whoops, we missed one.
At least 1 in 25 people sentenced to the death penalty in the United States are not guilty. The total number of exonerations is 156, with the most recent being Derral Hodgkins on October 12, 2015.
15. It kinda has a nice ring to it…
In 1893, an amendment was proposed to rename the United States into the “United States of the Earth.”
16. Big guns.
$1 in every $5 paid in taxes in the United States goes to defense. The US defense budget is $612 billion. Despite sequestration and other spending cuts, the United States spends more money on defense than the next ten highest spending countries combined. America’s biggest military advantage is its fleet of 19 aircraft carriers, compared to 12 carriers operated by the rest of the world combined. These massive carriers allow the United States to set up forward operating bases anywhere and project power throughout the world.
17. Fear of red.
Nelson Mandela wasn’t removed from the United States terror watch list until 2008. Despite Mandela’s heroic, life-long battle against apartheid and injustice in South Africa, his ties to the South African Communist Party made Raegan a little queasy.
18. Good old George.
There are 189 things named after George Washington: 1 state, 7 mountains, 8 streams, 10 lakes, 33 counties, 9 colleges, and 121 towns and villages.
19. Charitable donations.
In 2014, individual Americans gave $258 billion USD to charity —more than twice the amount given by corporations and foundations combined.
20. Big wars.
The Afghan War is the longest war in United States. history. It has cost $1.6 trillion to date.
21. All they do is sit around and smoke that catnip anyway.
There are 2 pets for every 3 people in the United States. It seems that dogs have come out on top. 74% of Americans said they liked dogs “a lot.” Only 41% said the same thing about cats.
22. Holy crap.
In WW2, the United States and New Zealand secretly tested 3,700 “tsunami bombs” designed to destroy coastal cities. The tests revealed that a series of 10 large offshore blasts could result in a 33ft tsunami that would wreak havoc on a coastal city.
23. With great power comes… don’t you dare take my Waze.
GPS is owned and controlled by the United States government. It can be ‘switched off’ at any time.
24. Mass psychology.
Gun sales in the United States actually increase after mass shootings.
25. Turtles are not for sitting.
In the United States, sitting on a sea turtle is a third degree felony.
26. Money, money, money.
The poorest 5% of people in the United States. are still richer than 68% of the world’s inhabitants.
27. Dead money.
A United States law mandates that only dead people can appear on US currency.
28. Rethinking biometrics…
In the United States, your fingerprint isn’t protected under the 5th amendment, so police can force you to unlock a phone with a fingerprint but not a password.
29. A gateway to money.
In 2015, the marijuana market in the United States was bigger than craft beer, wine, and organic food.
30. The right to measure things differently than everyone else.
The United States officially accepted the metric system in 1975 when President Gerald Ford signed the Metric Conversion Act. Of course, this didn’t do anything… since Americans rarely actually use the metric system. In fact, many Americans view their system of measurement as a long-standing pillar of American individualism. There’s also a huge cost to conversion. NASA claims its costs to convert its measurement systems would be over $370 million. But not converting has costs of its own. NASA lost $125 million when its Mars Climate Orbiter crashed after its altitude-control system mixed up US customary units with metric units.
31. Canada, eh?
One of the thirteen articles in the 1781 US Articles of Confederation states that if Canada wants to be admitted into the United States, it will automatically be accepted.
32. Burn, baby, burn!
The Eternal Flame at Bullhead City, Arizona, only lasted until city officials received a $961 gas bill. It was relit after veterans groups complained.
33. Super-charged udders.
American cows produce 4 times as much milk as they did in 1944.
34. The man responsible for the Unlimited Kibble Bill of 2015.
In August 2016, a dog was elected mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, for its third term in a row. Duke was elected in a “landslide” when all twelve citizens residing in the town voted for the pup.
35. Bring it, Mr. President.
When President Barrack Obama was asked if he could have beaten Trump, he said, “if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” he told his former political operative David Axelrod. “I know that in conversations that I’ve had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one.” Trump disagreed, tweeting out later in the day that “President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! — jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.” Drama, drama.
36. The King of the North!
Canada’s immigration website crashed on US election night of 2016.
37. It’s lasted a bit longer than the Eternal Flame….
The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, has been burning since 1962. Centralia, Pennsylvania sits atop a few of the biggest coal deposits in the world. No one knows exactly how the Centralia fire started, but apparently, it could burn for another 250 years.
38. Tricks up his sleeves.
Houdini drew on his arsenal of magician’s tricks to provide special instructions to American troops during WWI.
39. Pretty sure we’ll catch them soon…
The 1962 escape from Alcatraz (the only successful one) is still under investigation by the United States Marshals Service.
40. Just give “1234” a shot, that should work.
The launch code for most United States nuclear missiles was the same for 20 years: 00000000. This was chosen by Strategic Air Command to make the weapons as quick and as easy to launch as possible.
41. It’s the plague!
There are still cases of bubonic plague reported in the United States every year.
42. Those bad boys are potent, eh?
The United States is the world’s largest exporter of sperm. These exports are actually being used to help sperm-starved Canada. It’s estimated that Canada has just 60 sperm donors who, try as they might, can’t meet demand from over 5,000 Canadians who attempt artificial insemination each year.
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