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Sunday, 29 April 2012


The British Broadcasting Corporation is the UK state-owned broadcasting network. It was formed by a consortium of six electrical companies including Marconi on October 18, 1922 to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters in order to provide a national broadcasting service.

The BBC began broadcasting radio programs on the 2LO radio station from Savoy Hill studios (off the Strand) in London. It first went on air on November 14, 1922 at 6 p.m., with the news read by Arthur Burrows.

The first entertainment program was broadcast two days later and lasted an hour. British baritone Leonard Hawke led off with "Drake Goes West" and "Tick."

The BBC was converted from a private company to a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.  The first director-general was John Reith 1922–38.

Under the BBC charter, news programs were required to be politically impartial.

The BBC's World Service was launched on December 19, 1932 as BBC Empire Service. The first radio programme from the World Service transmitting station at Daventry opened  with Big Ben chiming 9.30 am, the playing of the National Anthem, and the greeting: "Good evening, everybody!"  The explanation of the greeting was that BBC chairman Mr J.H. Whitley was inaugurating this great scheme for imperial outposts by addressing the Australasian Zone, where it was evening.

Upon launch, the World Service was located, along with nearly all Radio output, in Broadcasting House. However, following the explosion of a parachute mine outside the building in December 1940, the services relocated to new premises away from the likely target of Broadcasting House. The European services moved permanently into Bush House towards the end of 1940, completing the move in 1941, with the Overseas services joining them in 1958.

Bush House in London was home to the World Service between 1941 and 2012. By Nigel Cox, 

The BBC began transmitting a regular television service at 3pm on November 2, 1936 from a converted wing of the Alexandra Palace in London. It was the world's first regular, public all-electronic "high-definition" television service.  The BBC originally offered three hours of programming a day.

From 1934 to 1948, the motto of the BBC was Quaecunque, Latin for ‘Whatever’.

BBC suspended their television service from 1939–46 during World War II. Two days before Britain declared war on Germany, it was taken off air for security reasons and the last thing aired was a Mickey Mouse cartoon.  It returned on June 7, 1946, with Jasmine Bligh, one of the original announcers, saying, "Good afternoon everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh?" The same Mickey Mouse cartoon was replayed 20 minutes later.

Before criticizing propaganda in his classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell worked as a propagandist for BBC.

The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched on July 29, 1945 for mainstream light entertainment and music. It took over the longwave frequency which had earlier been used – prior to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 – by the BBC National Programme. The Light Programme is now known as BBC Radio 2.

A £2 a year television license was introduced on June 1, 1946 for households to watch BBC mono transmissions.

A second channel, BBC2, was launched in 1964, aimed at minority interests. It launched with a power cut because of the fire at Battersea Power Station.

The BBC announced plans on March 3, 1966 plans to broadcast in color from the following year, making Britain the first country in Europe to offer regular TV color programming.

The BBC Light Programme, Third Programme and Home Service were replaced with BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 respectively on September 30, 1967. BBC Radio 1 was also launched with Tony Blackburn presenting its first show.

Nineties sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, starring Patricia Routledge as suburban snob Hyacinth Bucket, has been sold roughly 1,000 times times to overseas broadcasters— more than any other BBC series in the past 40 years. Creator Roy Clarke says its popularity is because "everyone knows a Hyacinth."

Its expenses are met by licence fees, paid by anyone owning a radio or subsequently a television; the level of the fee is fixed annually by the government (it was ten shillings in 1927).


Bayreuth is a town in Bavaria, south Germany, on the Red Main River, 40 miles northeast of Nuremberg.

In 1874 the German Wagner moved into a house at Bayreuth that he called Wahnfried (“Peace from Illusion”).

Two years later, Wagner designed Bayreuth, an opera house made possible by the generosity of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He wished to have a building, which would meet his extravagant musico-dramatic ideals.

The theatre introduced new concepts of opera house design, including provision of an enlarged orchestra pit extending below the stage and projecting the sound outwards and upwards.

Opera festivals are held in Bayreuth every summer.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

Bayeux Tapestry

During the Middle Ages, tapestries were a popular art form. Many of the castles of Europe used tapestries not only as a decoration but as a practical measure to help cover the stone walls and keep out the cold.

Perhaps one of the best known is the Bayeux Tapestry, which was made about 1067–70. The linen hanging gives a vivid pictorial record of the invasion of England by William I (the Conqueror) in 1066.

The Bayeux Tapestry is thought by some to have been designed by Queen Matilda to honor the success of her husband, William the Conqueror.

It was commissioned by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent who was the half-brother of William the Conqueror.

It is an embroidery rather than a true tapestry, sewn with woollen threads in eight visibly different colours.

The hanging is 70 m/231 ft long and 50 cm/20 in wide, and contains 72 separate scenes with descriptive wording in Latin.

Two hundred horses are embroidered into this work of art.

It is exhibited at the museum of Bayeux in Normandy, France.

Sources Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc


The British Royal Navy launched the world's first iron-hulled armoured battleship, HMS Warrior in 1860, It was built to counter the French Navy's La Gloire, the world's first ironclad warship.

SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm (see below) was one of the first ocean-going battleships of the Imperial German Navy. Named for Prince-elector Friedrich Wilhelm, she was completed in 1893 at a cost of 11.23 million marks. She served as the flagship of the Imperial fleet from her commissioning in 1894 until 1900. SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm was sold to the Ottoman Empire in 1910; she served the empire until the second year of World War I, when she was sunk off the Dardanelles.

The first major confrontation between modern steel battleship fleets took place in the Battle of the Yellow Sea in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War.

The dreadnought was the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century. The first of the kind, the Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnought, was launched by King Edward VII on February 10, 1906. It represented such a marked advance in naval technology that her name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships.

HMS Dreadnought 

The British lost their first battleship of World War I on October 27, 1914 when the dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious, was sunk off Tory Island, north-west of Ireland, by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin.The loss was kept an official secret in Britain until November 14, 1918. The sinking was witnessed and photographed by passengers on RMS Olympic sister ship of RMS Titanic.

The crew of Audacious take to lifeboats to be taken aboard Olympic.

SMS Nassau was the first dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial German Navy, in response to the launching of the British battleship HMS Dreadnought. Nassau was laid down at the Imperial Shipyard in Wilhelmshaven and launched on March 7, 1908. Three more battleships followed in the same class: Posen, Rheinland, and Westfalen. Assigned to the First Battle Squadron of the German High Seas Fleet, Nassau saw service in the North Sea in the beginning of World War I.

SMS Moltke (see below) was the lead ship of the Moltke-class battlecruisers of the German Imperial Navy. Commissioned on September 30. 1911, the ship participated in most of the major fleet actions conducted by the German Navy during the First World War, including the Battles of Dogger Bank and Jutland in the North Sea, and the Battle of the Gulf of Riga and Operation Albion in the Baltic.

Most of the original dreadnoughts were scrapped after the end of World War I under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. Large dreadnought fleets only fought once, at the Battle of Jutland.

The Royal Navy’s HMS Duke of York and her escorts sank Germany’s battleship Scharnhorst off Norway's North Cape on December 26, 1943. Only 36 men were pulled from the icy seas, out of a crew of 1,968.

The Battle of the North Cape took place in the Arctic Ocean and was the last between big-gun capital ships in the war between Britain and Germany. The British victory confirmed the massive strategic advantage held by the British, at least in surface units.

Schlachtschiff "Scharnhorst"
The Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, was sunk by American planes 200 miles north of Okinawa while en-route to a suicide mission in Operation Ten-Go in 1945.

The Japanese battleship Settsu simulated the radio traffic of all six aircraft carriers of the 1st Air Fleet at the beginning of the Pacific War in an effort to deceive the Allies as to their location.

The Italian battleship Dante Alighieri, named after the medieval Italian poet, was the only battleship ever named for a poet.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Inspired by a visit to the union army camp, the American Unitarian and slavery reformer Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

She scribbled the words at night, in the darkness of her tent, to the melody of John Brown's Body.

It includes the line “As he (Christ) died to make men holy, let us die to make men free”, which is an explicit reference to the fight to end slavery.

During the Civil War song publishers turned out many war songs. Union soldiers sang Battle Hymn of the Republic, while the favorite Confederate song was Dixie.

Minstrel troupes continued to perform the song long after the Civil War.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc


The first recorded battle in history in reliable detail was the Battle of Megiddo on April 16, 1457 BC. It was fought between Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a large rebellious coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by the king of Kadesh. By reestablishing Egyptian dominance in the Levant, Thutmose III began a reign in which the Egyptian Empire reached its greatest expanse. The battle left such an impression on the Levantine people there that they believed the final battle of humanity would take place there as well. That's where the word Armageddon comes from.

In 585 BC, the Battle of the Eclipse between the Medes and the Athenians ended when an eclipse of the sun was seen as a sign of God’s disapproval.

The 1461 Battle of Townton in Yorkshire during the War of Roses saw some 50,000 engaged in the fight. As many as 27,000 died on the battlefield making it the largest and bloodiest ever fought on English soil.

The Battle of Cerignola was fought on April 28, 1503, between Spanish and French armies near Bari in Southern Italy. It is noted as the first battle in history won by gunpowder weapons, as the assault by Swiss pikemen and French cavalry was shattered by the fire of Spanish arquebusters behind a ditch.

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba finds the corpse of Louis d'Armagnac at the Battle of Cerignola. Federico de Madrazo, 1835. Museo del Prado.

The 1547 Battle of Pinkie Cleugh was the last full scale military confrontation between England and Scotland. It resulted in a decisive victory for the forces of Edward VI.

In the early hours of July 6, 1685, King James II’s nephew, The Duke of Monmouth planned an attack on the King’s army camped at Sedgemoor, Somerset. But the weather had been very wet and local rivers and dikes were carrying away much of the excess water. Monmouth’s makeshift army spent too long trying to cross a flooded dike and was discovered. With the army raised, the well-equipped troops of the King routed the rebel in what was to be the last major battle fought on English soil.

Battle of Sedgemoor Memorial

George II and his forces defeated the French in Dettingen, Bavaria on June 27, 1743 during the War of the Austrian Succession: It was the last time that a British monarch personally led his troops into battle.

Thousands of people watched the Battle of Bunker Hill take place . People in the Boston area sat on rooftops, in trees, on church steeples, and in the rigging of ships in the harbor to watch the American revolutionaries battle the British.

During the 1777 Battle of Germantown, ia cease fire was called due to a small terrier wandering on the battlefield.

Napoleon constructed his battle plans in a sandbox.

More than 20,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing in action in the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862. This was the bloodiest one-day fight during the Civil War.

The most American casualties in a single battle was at the Battle of Gettysburg, with 51,000.

During the 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea, United States Navy aircraft carrier aircraft attacked and sunk the Japanese Imperial Navy light aircraft carrier, Shōhō. The battle marked the first time in the naval history that two enemy fleets fought without visual contact between warring ships.

The Second Battle of El Alamein was fought between the British Empire forces under Montgomery and Germans and Italians under Rommel between October 23 and November 11, 1942. The victory for the Allies was a turning point in World War II. Later Winston Churchill said: "Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat."

British infantry advances through the dust and smoke of the battle of El Alamein.

The Battle of Kursk took place during World War II when German and Soviet forces confronted each other on the Eastern Front in 1943. It was the final strategic offensive the Germans were able to mount in the east. The resulting decisive Soviet victory gave the Red Army the strategic initiative for the rest of the war. It remainbs the largest full-scale battle in history, and included the world's largest tank battle at Prokhorovka village and the costliest ever single day of aerial warfare.

US Army General Anthony McAuliffe responded to the German ultimatum of surrender during the World War II Battle of the Bulge with a single word, "NUTS!"

The Battle of Leyte Gulf - the largest naval battle in history - took place in and around the Philippines between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the U.S. Third and U.S. Seventh Fleets on October 25, 1944. Afterward was the first Kamikaze attack of the war.

The Siachen glacier is the highest battleground on earth, where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since April 13, 1984. Both countries claim sovereignty over the entire Siachen region and maintain permanent military presence in the Siachen glacier locality at a height of over 20,000 feet.

Source The Daily Mail 2/7/05


A battery is made up of one or more electrical cells. Electricity is produced by a chemical reaction in the cells.

The Baghdad Battery is a 2000-year-old clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Sticking through the asphalt is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. When filled with vinegar or other electrolytic solution, the jar produces about 1.1 volts.

The usage of the word  "battery" to describe a group electrical devices dates to Benjamin Franklin,
In 1749 Franklin used the term "battery" to describe a set of linked capacitors he used for his experiments with electricity by analogy to a battery of cannon. (He borrowed the term from the military, where a "battery" refers to weapons functioning together.)

For the battery we must thank the frog. In the 1780s, the Italian physicist Luigi Galvani discovered that a dead frog's leg would twitch when he touched it with two pieces of metal. Galvani had created a crude circuit and the phenomenon was taken up by his friend, the aristocratic Professor Alessandro Volta, whose voltaic cells stacked in a Voltaic pile amazed Napoleon. The pile was also the first battery.

The Oxford Electric Bell is an experimental electric bell that was set up in 1840. It has been running off the same battery ever since and no one knows what the battery is made of.

When Alexander Graham Bell was working on the telephone in 1876 he spilt battery acid on his trousers. Watson, who was on another floor, heard the call through the instrument he was hooking up, and ran to Bell's room. So the first intelligible words transmitted over telephone was not "Hello its Bell ringing" but "Come here Watson, I want you".

It was Thomas Edison who developed the first alkaline storage battery in 1914.

Duracell, the battery-maker, built parts of its new international headquarters using materials from its own waste.

The Duracell Bunny promotes batteries everywhere in the world, except for the USA and Canada where Energizer holds the trademarks to a "battery bunny."

The nuclear batteries that have been installed on NASA’s Curiosity Rover, currently traversing the surface of Mars are intended to provide fourteen years of power.

Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story runs on Buy 'N' Large batteries—Buy 'N' Large is the evil corporation from Pixar's film Wally.

It would take 120,380 AA batteries to power a lightsaber.

Every Christmas Day, 400,000 Britons go out to a shop to buy batteries.

To test if a battery is still good or not, drop it — the higher it bounces, the lower the charge.

Source The Independent 3/11/07


On March 30, 1939, DC Comics published its second major superhero in Detective Comics #27; he was Batman, one of the most popular comic book superheroes of all time. He made his first appearance under the name "Bat-Man."

Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). The first appearance of Batman. Art by Bob Kane. Wikipedia Commons

Batman’s civilian alter ego, billionaire Bruce Wayne, was named after two historical figures — Robert the Bruce and U.S. War of Independence General ‘Mad Anthony’ Wayne. His birthday is February 19th, the date that Batman's creator Bob Kane first drew him.

Bruce Wayne's clock unlocks the secret door to the Batcave when the hands are set to the time that his parents were murdered, 10:47 P.M.

The first iteration of the Batmobile, introduced in 1941, was just a red Cord 812 convertible with a bat hood ornament.

Batman, a thirty-minute prime time, live-action television series based on the comic book character premiered on January 12, 1966. The series starred Adam West as the title character, while Burt Ward played his sidekick, Robin. 120 episodes aired on the ABC network for the three seasons it was shown until March 14, 1968.

Series stars Burt Ward (left) and Adam West

Adam West had his dentist add a little black Batman logo to one of his molars.

The Batmobile driven by Adam West was customized from a Lincoln (Ford) Futura concept car. The vehicle was built in 1954 for what was then a huge $250,000 and never intended for mass production. In spite of its impressive, ‘ futuristic’ appearance, it frequently broke down during filming.

The 17ft- long Batmobile  weighed 2½ tons — the equivalent of a female Indian elephant.

A normal person would have to train 15-18 years to be as physically skilled as Batman.

According to a 2015 estimate, it would cost about $79,237,480.98 to buy all of Batman's gear, mansion, and Batcaves.

George Harrison was a Batman fan, and used the theme song as the basis for "Taxman."

The University of Victoria in Canada has offered a course called "The Science of Batman."

There is a city called "Batman" in Turkey.

Source Daily Mail


The first bathroom with hot and cold running water was installed in 1700 at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire.

When it was announced in 1851, that a bathroom was to be installed in the White House, there was a public outcry against such unnecessary expenditure.

The most expensive bathroom in the world, located in Hong Kong, cost $29 million and is made of solid 24-carat gold and coated with gems.

66% of Americans admit to reading in the bathroom.

Close to 50% of the water used in a home originates from the bathroom.

You spend 7 years of your life in the bathroom.

An average person uses the bathroom 6 times per day.

Your bathroom is the scene of 3 percent of all accidents in the home.

In Baltimore, it is illegal to wash or scrub sinks no matter how dirty they get.

Elvis Presley had a reading chair in his bathroom.

Roman Baths

As Roman civilisation advanced, so did bathing. The first of the famous Roman baths, supplied with water from their aqueducts, was built about 312 BC The baths were luxurious, and bathing became very popular.

Most of ancient Rome’s inhabitants visited a public bathhouse daily. The city had close to 900, including one that could cater for 1,500 bathers at a time. 

Public baths were an essential feature of Roman towns both for hygiene (only wealthiest houses had private baths) and as social centres. Frequently built soon after forum. Bathers progressed from changing room to cold room (frigidarium), to warm room, (tepidarium), to hot room (caldarium), to open pores, then back in reverse order to close them again, ending with immersion in cold plunge bath. Warm and hot rooms had underfloor heating (hypocaust) with hot air channelled from furnaces. Men and women usually bathed separately.

The Emperor Hadrian introduced bath houses to Britain in the early second century and encouraged  the locals to dip their toes. However on seeing the behaviour of those using the Huggin Hill baths in Londinium he banned mixed bathing throughout the Roman empire.

Roman baths were much more than public places to bathe. They were also social centers where families and friends came to gather together and eat snack food and drink. The Roman philosopher Seneca wrote of the noisy "cake sellers, the sausage man and confectioner" who each peddle food to hungry bath patrons.

In Roman law, balnearii were criminals who stole clothes from public baths.

Sources The Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland

Bathing Suit

Australian-born swimmer Annette Kellerman caused public outrage in 1909 by appearing in public on a California beach wearing the first one-piece bathing suit.

It was against the law in New York, until 1936, for either men or women to wear topless bathing suits.

As her career took off, Farrah Fawcett posed in her red bathing suit for a poster in 1976, and it sold a staggering 8,000,000 plus copies.


The ancient Egyptians customarily bathed regularly. The Ebers Papyrus describes combining animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to form a soap-like material used for treating skin diseases, as well as for washing.

It is said that Cleopatra, Queen of Ancient Egypt, took baths in asses’ milk to preserve the beauty and youth of her skin. Legend has it that no less than 700 asses were needed to provide the quantity of milk necessary for her daily bath.

In the Old Testament, washing or bathing was enjoined by the law for purification from uncleanness of any kind such as leprosy (Levicticus 22v v 6). The high priest bathed himself on the day of atonement before each act of expiation (Levicticus 16 v 4, 7 & 24) & also his consecration (Levicticus 8 v 6).

The ancient Greeks bathed for aesthetic reasons and believed it unmanly to have a hot bath. They did not use soap, instead, they cleaned their bodies with blocks of ashes, clay, pumice and sand, then anointed themselves with oil. They then rubbed off the oil and dirt with a skin scraping instrument known as a strigil.

The ancient Romans made soap from animal fat and wood ashes, but these early soaps were apparently used only for medical purposes. Not until the 2nd century AD were soaps recognized as cleaning agents.

Fear of impurity prevented nuns removing their clothes to wash, until a hygienic vision revealed to St Brigitte that the Lord would have no serious objection to a proper bath once a fortnight.

There were areas of the medieval world where personal cleanliness remained important. Daily bathing was a common custom in Japan during the Middle Ages. And in Iceland, pools warmed with water from hot springs were popular gathering places on Saturday evenings.

The Vikings were considered overly concerned with cleanliness for bathing once a week.

Most people in the 18th century only had a proper wash twice a year.

In mid 19th century America bathing was thought to be unhealthy, partly because of the poor quality of water. In Boston for instance, bathing was outlawed unless it was done under a doctor's orders.

An estimated 30 million people gathered to bathe on Mauni amavasya on February 10, 2013 during Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India. Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river and it was probably the largest ever human gathering on a single day.

Ablutophobia is the fear of bathing or cleaning yourself

Sources, From Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

Monday, 23 April 2012


Archimedes discovered the Archimedian principle when he stepped into his bath and perceived the displaced water overflowing.

According to records of payment made to King John (1166-1216)'s bath attendant, William Aquarius, the king bathed on average about once every three weeks, which cost a considerable sum of 5d to 6d each, suggesting an elaborate and ceremonial affair. Although this may seem barbaric by modern standards, it was civilised compared to monks who were expected to bathe three times a year, with the right not to bathe at all if they so chose.

Frederick II (1194 – 1250), the Holy Roman Emperor was the first European of this era to take a daily bath.

Isabella I  of Castille (1451-1504) had two baths in her life. One when she was born and one on the eve of her wedding to Ferdinand II of Aragon.

In the 1500s baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"

Henry VIII created the Great Garden at Whitehall Palace in the mid-1540s. It had a screen installed to ensure that passers by would not see the King of England in his bathtub.

In the 16th century, people believed water opened the pores and allowed dangerous diseases into the body, so they never took baths.

By the late 16th century, the European aristocracy were beginning to use soap for washing the body. However as having a bath was still not a regular occurrence the use of soap for ablutions is still fairly rare, especially for the common folk who couldn't afford it.

Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) of England had a bath every three months whether she needed it or not according to a courtier. This was against the advice of her physician.

The French king Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) had had his first bath when he was christened and he has only taken two more baths in the rest of his life both under protest. 

At the turn of the 18th century, the man took the first bath in a tub of water, then his wife and children. The baby was last. Hence the expression: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

In the Victorian era, people used rocking bathtubs--literally, tubs of water that could be sloshed back and forth--to recreate the feel of the ocean in their homes. 

There were over 25,000 Chinese working on the American railroads. They bathed and changed their clothes between meals. The Americans at this time only bathed once or twice a year.

William Howard Taft (1857 – 1930), the obese 27th President of the United States, had a bathtub that could hold four people installed in the White House because he couldn't fit into the present one.

Until the post-war era homes in Japan had no baths - people went to communal baths instead.

A crystal bathtub is carved from a single block of the purest white rock crystal, quarried in the Amazon region of Brazil is said to be the most expensive in the world at £530,000.

In Japan, baths, known as of 'ofuro' are deep, short and made of wood. People wash before entering one, as bathing is seen as a leisure activity. 

The inventor of the ATM, John Shepherd-Barron, was lying in the bath when the idea of a cash dispenser occurred to him.

The world’s oldest animal, Jonathan the Seychelles giant tortoise who lives on the island of Saint Helena, was given his first ever bath in 2016.  A loofah and soft brushes were used to protect his shell.

Virginia law forbids bathtubs in the house; tubs must be kept in the yard.

If everyone in the world took a daily bath, our entire supply of fresh water would be get dirty in a single day


There are two main groups of bats: megabats, which eat fruit, and microbats, which mainly eat insects.

Bats are nocturnal, and those native to temperate countries hibernate in winter.

Bats are the second largest order of mammals (after the rodents), representing about one fifth of all classified mammal species worldwide, with about 1,240 bat species divided into two suborders.

Bats can hang upside down without getting dizzy because they don't have enough mass for gravity to mess up their circulatory systems.

Bats like to eat moths, so tiger moths produce ultrasonic clicking sounds that jam a bat's sonar.

Bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitos an hour and may eat 3,000 insects (their body weight) nightly

Without bats there would be no tequila. It’s made from the agave plant, which is pollinated by bats.

Vampire bats need two tablespoons of blood a day.

Bats are the only mammal that can fly.

Common fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) flying

The common vampire bat is the only species of bat that can run.

The leg bones of a bat are so thin that no bat (apart from the vampire bat) can walk.

Many microbats have poor sight and orientation and hunt their prey principally by echolocation. They have relatively large ears and many have nose-leaves, fleshy appendages around the nose and mouth, that probably help in sending or receiving the signals, which are squeaks pitched so high as to be inaudible to the human ear.

Larger bats have good eyesight and only use echolocation at night because it's too dark to see. In fact, some bigger bats can see three times better than humans.

Bats groom themselves for an hour a day, rubbing their wings with oil from glands on their faces.

Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.

According to scientists, vampire bat saliva is the best known medicine for keeping blood from clotting.

Bats produce the largest offspring relative to their size of any animal. A pipistrelle bat weighing just 8g may give birth to a 2g baby, a quarter of its bodyweight.

The world's smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, weighing less than a penny.

The largest bat is the giant golden-crowned flying fox which has a wingspan of up to 5ft 7in.

Bats alter their calls to specifically address other individuals, a form of communication that only humans, dolphins and monkeys possess.

The bulldog bat squeaks at 137dB. It is about 30dB louder than a rock concert.

The flying fox is not a fox – it is a bat.

Brazilian free-tailed bats reach speeds of up to 100 miles an hour in little bursts—faster than any other bird or bat previously recorded.

Bats do good work, they keep pests away and they’re also pollinators.which is why they get their own day. April 17th is National Bat Appreciation Day.

The terms “bats” and “batty”, to mean crazy, were first heard in the early 20th century. They came from the slightly earlier “bats in the belfry”, which was first heard in 1880s America

Johann Strauss II's most famous work was the opera Die Fledermaus, which means “the bat”.

Sources Daily, Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


The Bassoon is a double-reed woodwind instrument in C. It is the bass of the oboe family and lowest sounding of the four main orchestral woodwinds (the flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon).

Its direct ancestor is the dulcian, a hairpin-shaped instrument with a long, folded bore and a single key; developed in the first half of the 16th century, it remained in use until the 17th century.

The design of the modern bassoon owes a great deal to German composer Carl Almenräder (1786-1846), who, assisted by the German acoustics researcher Gottfried Weber developed the 17-key bassoon whose range spanned four octaves.

The bassoon doubles back on itself in a conical tube about 7.5 ft long and has a rich, deep tone.

The bassoon concert repertoire extends from the early Baroque via Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Paul Dukas, to Karlheinz Stockhausen.

They are capable of dignified solos at high register, a famous example for bassoon being the eerie opening solo of Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring (1913).

Several 1960s pop music hits feature the bassoon, including "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "Jennifer Juniper" by Donovan, "59th Street Bridge Song" by Harpers Bizarre, and the one underlying The New Vaudeville Band's "Winchester Cathedral".

Sources Wikipedia, Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.


Basset Hound

The Basset Hound originates from France in the late 16th century. It may have descended from some now extinct breed of French hunting dog such as the Basset d'Artois.

The first mention of a "basset" dog appeared in La Venerie, an illustrated hunting text written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585. The dogs in Fouilloux’s text were used to hunt foxes and badgers.

The name Basset is derived from the French word bas, meaning "low", with the attenuating suffix -et, together meaning "rather low".

Basset type hounds achieved noticeable public cultural popularity during the reign of Emperor Napoleon III (r. 1852-1870). French bassets were being imported into England at least as early as the 1870s.

In the early days of television, Elvis Presley famously sang "Hound Dog" to a basset hound named Sherlock on The Steve Allen Show on July 1, 1956.

Because of their short stubby legs and thick bodies, basset hounds have trouble swimming.

It is believed that the short legs were originally the result of a congenital bone disease.

Basset hounds have over 220 million smell receptors, and the portion of their brains tied to sense of smell is 40 times that of a human's.

Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the bloodhound.

As a basset hound trots across the ground, its large floppy ears help bring smells directly to its face, while its dewlap (the loose skin underneath its chin) helps trap them.

Median longevity of Basset Hounds in the UK is about 11.4 years, which is a typical median longevity for purebred dogs and for breeds similar in size to Basset Hounds.

Sources Wikipedia,

Basketball Player

Wataru "Wat" Misaka  was a 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) point guard of Japanese descent. He played three games for the New York Knicks during the 1947–1948 season becoming the first non-white player and the first player of Asian descent to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It was the same year Jackie Robinson broke the racial barrier in baseball.

Wilt Chamberlain set the single-game scoring record in the National Basketball Association by scoring 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962.

By Source, Fair use, Wikipedia Commons

Wilt Chamberlain never fouled out of a game - a feat that he was very proud of.

Penny Ann Early became the first woman to play major professional basketball, when she came on during a time out for the Kentucky Colonels in an ABA game against the Los Angeles Stars on November 27, 1968.  (At just 5'3" and 112 pounds, she was also the smallest pro basketball player ever.) Early achieved another notable first that same year: she was the first female jockey

When Moses Malone was drafted by the ABA's Utah Stars in 1974, he the first basketball player to go directly from high school to a professional American team.

Chris Ford is credited with scoring the NBA's first three-point shot for the Boston Celtics on October 12, 1979 in a game against the Houston Rockets at Boston Garden.

Nancy Lieberman-Cline became the first woman to play in a men’s pro basketball league, when she signed in Massachusetts with the Springfield Fame of the USBL in 1979.

The term 24-7, referring to someone who is constantly on the job, was first used in 1983 by Sports Illustrated magazine. It referred to U.S. basketball player Jerry Reynolds, who was described as "good, 24 hours a day, seven days of the week."

In 1984 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the all-time NBA regular season scoring leader when he broke Wilt Chamberlain's record of 31,419 career points.

When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for $5 million in 1987, it made him the highest paid player in any sport.

Pearl Jam's first album, 10, was named in tribute of basketball player Mookie Blaylock whose number is 10. 

After beginning his 20th season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015–16, Kobe Bryant set an NBA record for the most seasons with the same team, 

Keith Allison Flickr: Kobe Bryant

James Harden became the first NBA player to score more than 50 points while also having 15 rebounds and 15 assists on December 31, 2016. In total he achieved 53 points, 17 assists and 16 rebounds in Houston Rockets' 129–122 win over the New York Knicks.

The average height of an NBA basketball player is 6 foot 7 inches. 

1 in 6 Americans over seven feet tall are professional basketball players.

LeBron James and Michael Jordan are the only basketball players to have won an Olympic Gold medal, regular season MVP, and NBA Finals MVP all in the same season.



A similar game to basketball was played by the Olmecs in Mexico in 1000 BC.

Basketball was invented on December 21, 1891 by Canadian YMCA trainer James Naismith. He set out to invent a game to occupy students between the football and baseball seasons. Naismith nailed two peach baskets on opposite ends of the YMCA International Training School (later named Springfield College) in Massachusetts and instructed his students to toss soccer balls into them. Half-bushel peach baskets were used at first, thus providing the name "basketball." He first published his basketball rules on January 15, 1892.

The original 1891 "Basket Ball" court in Springfield College. It used a peach basket attached to the wall.

Before finishing his education, earning a doctorate, and inventing the sport basketball, Dr. James Naismith was a high school dropout.

Basketball immediately became popular. At nearby Buckingham Grade School, the women instructors wanted to try it out themselves. They were granted permission but with the one proviso that they did so in private. The result was that not only did they become enthusiastic fans of the sport but one of them - Maude - attracted Dr Naismith's attention so much that they were married soon afterwards.

The first college basketball game took place in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in 1893 when Geneva College defeated the New Brighton YMCA.

The original basketball peach basket was closed at the bottom; a ladder was needed to recover the ball.

The peach-basket was replaced by a metal one and in 1906 by open loops fixed on a pole or board, ten feet (3 m) above the ground. This dispensed with the ladder that had been necessary until then to retrieve the ball from the basket.

Repeated bouncing of the ball (dribbling) was illegal in Naismith's original rules.

Naismith's original 13 rules were constantly changed and not until 1934 were they finally standardized.

James Naismith, was the first coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. He is also the only Kansas coach with a losing record.

Basketball was televised for the first time when the University of Pittsburgh's win against Fordham University at Madison Square Garden was shown by NBC station W2XBS on February 28, 1940.

The first game in the history of the American Basketball Association was played on October 13, 1967. The Anaheim Amigos lost to the Oakland Oaks 134-129 in Oakland, California.

In 1980 the NBA Board of Governors voted to make the 3-point goal a permanent part of pro basketball. They drew the 3-point line at 23 feet 9 inches.


The lowest scoring game in the NBA was played on November 22, 1950. The Fort Wayne Pistons (later the Detroit Pistons) defeated the Minneapolis Lakers (later the Los Angeles Lakers) 19-18.

The United States suffered its first loss of an Olympic basketball game on September 10, 1972 in a disputed match against the Soviet Union at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. The Americans had won the previous seven gold medals, since the sport began Olympic play in 1936. and was favored to win another at the 1972 Summer Olympics. The Soviets won the game by a single point, making the winning basket as time expired and igniting vociferous American objections questioning the legitimacy of the final play.

The Philadelphia 76ers hold the record for most defeats in a season with 73 during their 1972-1973 season.

In 1977 University of Cincinnati guard Brian Williams roared in for a dunk but misjudged the distance and missed everything -- except the head of referee Darrin Brown. It's the only known slam-dunk air ball in basketball history.

Detroit Pistons beat Denver Nuggets by 186-184 in triple overtime on December 13, 1983, the highest scoring game in NBA history.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 162-158 in the highest scoring regulation game ever on November 2, 1990. Golden State’s Run TMC crew – Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin combined for 99 points: 38 for Mullin, 32 for Hardaway and 29 for Richmond.

On December 17, 1991, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat 148-80, the largest margin of victory in an NBA game.

The 1992 Olympics US basketball team (the "Dream Team") won all of their games by an average of 44 points. They have been called "the most dominant squad ever assembled in any sport."

With his 1000th win with the Utah Jazz, Jerry Sloan becomes the first coach in NBA history to reach the mark with one team on November 7, 2008. Sloan also holds the record for coaching one team longer than anyone in NBA history. The 2009–10 season was his 22nd season (and 21st full season) as coach of the Jazz.


Basketball is the national sort of Lithuania and Georgia. It is the summer national sport in Latvia, where ice hockey is the winter national sport.

Basketball has been included at every Olympics since 1936 and was a demonstration sport in 1904.

North Korea has developed its own scoring system for the game: three points for a dunk, four points for a three pointer that doesn't touch the rim, and eight points for a basket scored in the final three seconds. Also teams lose points when they miss free throws.

Hospital emergency rooms in the US in 2011 treated 249,650 cases aged 12-17 for injuries sustained by playing basketball.  Among all sports, only American Football causes more injuries.

Air Jordans were banned from the NBA. Michael Jordan wore them anyway and had Nike pay the fines.

Sigourney Weaver made the behind-the-back, half-court basketball shot successfully on the very first take in the 1997 movie Alien: Resurrection after two weeks of basketball tutoring.

Players in the US National Basketball Association (NBA) are said to be on average the world’s best paid sportsmen.

A basketball hoop is 18 inches in diameter.

There's a basketball court above the Supreme Court. It's known as the Highest Court in the Land.

Shooting free throws in basketball underhanded, or "granny style," is statistically more effective, but players don't do it because it doesn't look cool.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, Daily Express

Sunday, 1 April 2012


The impermanence of the materials means that the earliest surviving fragments of baskets (from a cave in Utah) date only from about 7000 BC, but the craft is almost certainly practiced considerably earlier. Around the same time baskets for storing grain and other possessions were being used in the Middle East.

The earliest known record of a carousel device is a Byzantine etching from 500 AD which portrays riders swinging in baskets tied to a center pole.

Henry III of France frequently appeared with a basket of puppies hanging from his neck.

The first fire escape was patented in 1766. It consisted of a wicker basket on a pulley and chain.

When Canadian YMCA trainer James Naismith set out to invent a game to occupy students between the football and baseball seasons in 1891, he nailed two peach baskets on opposite ends of the Spring College gym in Massachusetts, thus providing the name "basketball."

The term "Basket case" indicating a state of helplessness came from World War I slang for soldiers who had lost all their limbs and, as a result,  needed to be carried in a litter or basket.

A girl, in the Vacococha tribe of Peru, to prepare her for marriage at the age of 12, is placed in a basket in the hut of her prospective in-laws and must remain suspended over an open fire night and day for three months.

In Holland, you can be fined for not using a shopping basket at a grocery store.

The corgis owned by England's Queen Elizabeth II.mostly spend the night in their own room. They sleep in wicker baskets raised slightly off the ground to avoid drafts. 


Basel is the capital of Basel-Stadt demi-canton, Switzerland, situated on the Rhine at the point where the French, German, and Swiss borders meet.

Basel was a strong military station under the Romans.

Following the spread of the Black Death through Basel, the Jews were accused of having poisoned the wells, on account of the fact that they suffered a lower mortality rate than the local gentiles from the pestilence. The reasons for the lower death rate of Jews from the plague were in fact due to mandatory hygiene practices outlined in their scriptures.
On January 9, 1349 the Jewish population of Basel was rounded up and incinerated. Following the massacre, it was decreed that all Jews were banned from settling in the city of Basel for 200 years. However, the city's subsequent financial collapse necessitated their early re-admittance.

On October 18, 1356 the most significant earthquake to have occurred in Central Europe in recorded history destroyed Basel, and caused much destruction in a vast region extending into France and Germany.

Basel was one of the literary cent res of the Reformation period and many books were printed on its presses between 1468 and 1500, of which 324 are in the British Library.

Its university was founded in 1460 and became famous under the Dutch scholar Erasmus.

In 1501 Basel joined the Swiss confederation.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

Baseball Uniform

In 1849, the New York Knickerbockers wore the first ever recorded baseball uniforms. They wore pants made of blue wool, white flannel shirts and straw hats.

 U.S. patent #200,358 was issued in 1878 to Frederick Thayer for his baseball catcher's mask. It was similar to one worn by cowboys to keep from being kicked in the face while branding cattle.

The first baseball caps were made of straw.

In 1888 the Spalding sports goods company advertised 10 different baseball cap styles ranging from 12 cents for cheap muslin to $2 for the highest quality flannel.

The first infielder to wear a glove was Phillies shortstop Arthur Irwin in the 1880s. He designed and patented his glove, but sold the patent to the Reach-Shibe firm.

The Detroit Tigers were the first baseball club to have a logo on its cap in 1901, in their case an orange running tiger.

When Roger Bresnahan adopted the use of shin guards in Major League Baseball on Opening Day in 1907, angry fans threw snow onto the field.

Pinstripes were added to the New York Yankees uniform specifically to make Babe Ruth appear slimmer.

In 1976, the Chicago White Sox were nearly laughed off the field when they wore Bermuda shorts to the game.

In South Korea, it is against the rules for a professional #baseball player to wear cabbage leaves inside of his hat.

Baseball Team

The Knickerbockers Baseball Club, the first baseball team to play under the modern rules, was founded in New York by firefighter Alexander Cartwright on September 23, 1845. The club was named the "Knickerbockers", in honor of  Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 12 of the New York City Fire Department, the fire company where Cartwright was a member.

The New York Knickerbockers Baseball Club, circa 1847. Cartwright at the top middle

The original Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first openly all-professional team, was founded in 1869. The Red Stockings won 130 games in a row between 1869 and 1870.

Baseball’s National League was founded in New York City on February 2, 1876. Eight competing baseball teams met in New York City’s Grand Central Hotel. The first president of the new league was Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, who later became a U.S. Senator. The eight original cities with teams were: Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Louisville and Hartford. Two of the original teams are now in the American League (Boston and New York) while Louisville and Hartford are now minor-league baseball towns.

The 1899 Cleveland Spiders recorded the worst-ever record in Major League Baseball, winning 20 games and losing 134.

Before they moved from New York to LA, the Dodgers got their name from Brooklyn's deadly, fast moving street cars—the "Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers."

National League Baltimore Orioles, 1896

In Major League Baseball's World Series, the Boston Braves defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 4 games to 0, at Fenway Park on October 13, 1914. In doing so they completed the first World Series sweep in history.

A program from the 1914 World Series, featuring Braves manager George Stallings.

The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park (currently Wrigley Field) on April 20, 1916, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings.

1913 Chicago Cubs

Weeghman Park is now named Wrigley Field. It was christened after chewing gum manufacturer William Wrigley Jr. who first bought a minority share in the Chicago Cubs in 1914 and then became the majority owner in 1921.

Before they were called the New York Mets, owner Joan Whitney Payson considered other names, including the Bees. ("Metropolis" is a nickname for New York City).

In 1992 The Toronto Blue Jays became the first Canadian team to play in a World Series and the first non-American team to win the World Series when they won 4 games to 2 over the Atlanta Braves.

An estimated three million people attended a parade in Boston, celebrating the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series victory on October 30, 2004. The victory ended an 86-year drought of World Series championships and ended the era of the famous Curse of the Bambino for the Red Sox.

When the The Texas Rangers routed the Baltimore Orioles 30–3 on August 22, 2007, they broke the record for most runs scored by a team in modern Major League Baseball history.

In 2012 Guggenheim Partners agreed to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers  for US$2.1 billion, the most ever for a professional sports franchise.

The New York Yankees have won 27 World Series championships, 16 more than any other Major League Baseball team.

Baseball Player

The first perfect game in baseball history was achieved by John Lee Richmond on June 12, 1880. Before the game against Cleveland on June 12, Worcester Worcesters pitcher Richmond was up all night taking part in college graduation events, and went to bed at 6:30 AM. He caught the 11:30 AM train for Worcester and then pitched a perfect game in the afternoon contest to beat Cleveland, 1–0.

Lee Richmond

Lee Richmond once had a physics professor explain to him that a curveball couldn't exist, and it was only an optical illusion. In response to this, Richmond invited the entire faculty to watch him pitch.

Moses Fleetwood ″Fleet″ Walker (October 7, 1857 – May 11, 1924) is credited with being the first African American to play major league baseball. He made his major league debut on May 1, 1884 for the Toledo Blue Stockings, a club in the American Association. Walker played one season as the catcher of the Toledo Blue Stockings. He then played in the minor leagues until 1889, when professional baseball erected a color barrier that stood for nearly 60 years.

Moses Fleetwood Walker

William Henry "Whoop-La" White was an American baseball pitcher who played all or parts of  ten seasons in Major League Baseball, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds in the National League (1878–1880) and the Cincinnati Red Stockings in the American Association (1882–1886). He holds the records of 75 complete games and 680 innings pitched in one season,

Whoop-La White is also remembered as the first, and for many years only, major league player to wear eyeglasses on the baseball field.

Pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in 1904. Cy Young of the Boston Americans threw the first perfect game in the modern era of baseball.

Elmer Stricklett is considered to have been the first baseball pitcher to master the spitball. He pitched in Major League Baseball for the Chicago White Sox and Brooklyn Superbas from 1904 through 1907. He learned the pitch while pitching in minor league baseball, and taught it to National Baseball Hall of Fame members Ed Walsh and Jack Chesbro.

The first unassisted triple play in major-league baseball was achieved on July 19, 1909 by Neal Ball of the Cleveland Naps when they played the Boston Red Sox. (An unassisted triple play occurs when a defensive player makes all three putouts by himself in one continuous play, without his teammates making any assists).


Cincinnati Reds pitcher Adolfo Luque became the first Latin player to appear in a World Series in 1919. As a blue-eyed, fair-skinned, white Cuban, he was one of several white Cubans to make it in Major League Baseball at a time when non-whites were excluded.

Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman (January 15, 1891 – August 17, 1920) was hit on the head and fatally wounded by a fastball from Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. He died the next day, becoming the only Major League Baseball player die from an injury received at a MLB game.

Ray Chapman

When Wally Pipp, first baseman of the New York Yankees, asked for a day off due to a headache in 1925, he was replaced in the line-up by Lou Gehrig, who then started the next 2,128 consecutive games.

In 1938 pitchers intentionally walked and pitched around Hank Greenberg as he closed in on Babe Ruth's (at the time) record of 60 home runs in a season, because they didn't want a Jew to break Ruth's record.

Joe Nuxhall became the youngest player ever to appear in a major league game, when he pitched 2/3 of an inning for the Cincinnati Reds on June 10, 1944 at the age of 15 years, 316 days.

Cal Ripken Jr of the Baltimore Orioles surpassed the 56-year-old record when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game on September 6, 1995, against the Califoria Angels in front of a sold-out crowd. Fans later voted his 2,131st game as Major League Baseball's "Most Memorable Moment" in MLB history.  Ripken played in an additional 501 straight games over the next three years, and his streak ended at 2,632 games when he voluntarily removed his name from the lineup for the final Orioles home game of the 1998 season.

Ripken in 1996 at Yankee Stadium

The first players elected to Baseball Hall of Fame were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson in 1936.

The mustache that Frenchy Bordagaray grew in 1936 is likely to have been the only mustache worn in Major League Baseball between 1914 and 1972.

Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball against the Chicago White Sox on April 16, 1940. Feller was assisted by Indians second baseman Ray Mack when he made a diving play to record the final out. The Indians beat the White Sox 1–0.

Cleveland Indians' Bob Feller Dennis Goldstein Collection/

Joe DiMaggio (see below) holds the Major League Baseball record of hitting safely in 56 consecutive games (1941). The day after his 56 game hitting streak ended, DiMaggio embarked on a second streak that lasted 16 games. Had he hit in game #57, he would have had a 73 game hitting streak.

Joe Nuxhall became the youngest player ever to appear in a major-league baseball game at the age of 15 years and 316 days in 1944. He pitched two-thirds of an inning for Cincinnati, giving up five runs on five walks and two hits. Eight years later he came back to the big leagues and stayed for 15 years.

Satchel Paige at age 46 became the oldest pitcher to throw a complete game on August 6,1952.

Yankees pitcher Don Larsen, pitched the first and only perfect game in World Series history during New York Yankees 4 games to 3 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, earning himself MVP honors. It is also the only no-hitter thrown in any post season game.

Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles becames the first player in baseball history in 1961 to hit grand slams in consecutive innings.

On September 8, 1965 in a game against the California Angels, Kansas City’s Bert Campaneris played a different position every inning, becoming the first major-leaguer to play all nine positions in a game. Catching in the 9th, he was injured trying to block the plate from runner Ed Kirkpatrick.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry, six years after quipping, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run," hit the first and only home run of his career just hours after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.

In 1971 Satchel Paige became the first black League player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The American League used the designated hitter rule for the first time in 1973. Ron Blomberg was the first player to bat as a DH and when Orlando Cepeda signed with the Boston Red Sox, that same year, he was the first player signed by a team specifically to be a designated hitter.

At Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run to surpass Babe Ruth's 39-year-old record.

During his career, Hammerin' Hank Aaron performed at a consistently high level for an extended period of time. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.

In 1977, the first openly homosexual baseball player, Glenn Burke, ran onto the field to congratulate his Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker after Baker hit his 30th home run in the last game of the regular season. Burke raised his hand over his head as Baker jogged home from third base. Not knowing what to do about the upraised hand, Baker slapped it. They have been credited with inventing the high five.

Hall of Fame baseball player Dave Winfield is the only professional athlete to have been drafted in the first round of the NFL, NBA and MLB.

19-year-old Dwight Gooden set the baseball record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie in 1984 with 277, pitched in 218 innings. He usurped Herb Score's rookie record of 245 in 1955.

In 1986 Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens set a major league record by striking out 20 batters in a nine-inning game against Seattle. That broke Nolan Ryan’s record of 19.

Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Niekro was suspended for 10 days for possessing a nail file on the pitcher's mound in 1987. Niekro claimed he had been filing his nails in the dugout and put the file in his back pocket when the inning started.

During the 1988 Major League Baseball season, pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers set the MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Over 59 consecutive innings, opposing hitters did not score a run against Hershiser.  The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher's streak of 59 innings spanned from the sixth inning of an August 30 game against the Montreal Expos to the tenth inning of a September 28 game against the San Diego Padres, not counting eight scoreless innings he pitched to start Game 1 of the 1988 National League Championship Series on October 4.

Hershiser pitching for the Dodgers in 1993.By jimmyack205 - Hershiser Pitching 2, Wikipedia Commons

When Nolan Ryan struck out Rickey Henderson on August 22, 1989, he became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to record 5,000 strikeouts.His 5,714 career strikeouts rank first in baseball history by a significant margin.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. earned about $18 million, excluding endorsements, during his career as point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. He used the money to launch Magic Johnson Enterprises – a business that grew to be worth in excess of £1 billion. 

The phrase "Manny being Manny" is named after Dominican-American professional baseball outfielder Manny Ramirez (b 1972) because of his frequent quirky behavior. Such instances of this behavior included inducing his Red Sox teammates to drink alcohol which he had spiked with Viagra and wearing Oakley THUMP while playing the outfield.

Mike Greenwell of the Boston Red Sox holds the major league record for the most RBIs that accounted for all of his team's runs. In 1996, he batted in nine runs in a game against the Seattle Mariners.

In 1998 Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa each chased the home run record set previously by Roger Maris in 1961. Both men ended up breaking the record; McGwire with 70 and Sosa with 66.

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants surpassed Mark McGwire's single-season home run total with his milestone 71st and 72nd home runs on October 5, 2001. He ended the season with 73, which is still the MLB record for most home runs in a single season.

Bonds in 1993

Barry Bonds broke baseball great Hank Aaron’s record by hitting his 756th home run on Father's Day, June 17, 2007. 

Bonds is the lone member of the 500–500 club, which means he hit during his career at least 500 home runs (762) and stolen 500 bases (514). 

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has recorded the hardest hit batted ball, with a ground ball with a recorded 123.9-mile-per-hour (199.4 km/h) exit velocity, and the longest distance for a home run, at 504 feet (154 m), 

Cuban-American Aroldis Chapman threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in Major League Baseball on September 24, 2010 for the Cincinnati Reds against the San Diego Padres. The pitch was clocked at 105.1 mph (169.1 km/h), according to PITCHf/x. On July 19, 2016, Chapman matched his previous record of 105.1 mph when he threw a ball to Baltimore's J. J. Hardy.

Chapman pitching for the Cincinnati Reds in 2011

Among pitchers who tossed at least 50 innings in a season, Aroldis Chapman owns the best (52.5 percent, 2014) season in baseball history in terms of strikeout percentage 

President George W. Bush was the first managing general partner of a Major League team (the Texas Rangers) to become President of the United States.

Of the over 18,500 players have played in the major leagues since 1851, over half have come from abroad or one of six states: California, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio and Texas.

A baseball player only needs to spend one day in the major leagues to earn free healthcare for life.