Category: People

Hedwig Porschütz rescued Jews during the Holocaust was jailed in a concentration camp but was not honored as an “unsung heroine” in West Berlin because she had been a prostitute and at the time they did not consider helping Jews an act of resistance. She died poor; no known photos of her exist.

Photo: OTFW, Berlin

A teenager contacted NASA because he found a mistake in their International Space Station data. When STEM students in the UK were given ISS data to review, 17-year-old Miles Solomon noticed a mistake in the radiation levels and wrote NASA an email to alert them. They reviewed his graphs, and when they recruited him to analyze more of their data further, he discovered a daily recurring error in their system.

Gary Gygax’s wife was convinced he was having an affair, so she followed him to a dimly lit basement and burst into the room only to find him and his friends hunched over hand-drawn maps. Gary would go on to invent the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

Photo :  Moroboshi / wikimedia

Deland McCullough, former NFL player and current RB coach for the Chiefs, was given up for adoption at birth in 1973. He found his birth mother in 2017. She told him the name of his father, who turned out to be his college coach and mentor throughout his adult life. 

In 2013, a homeless man named Billy Ray Harris found a $4,000 engagement ring in his beggar’s cup. A woman had accidentally dropped it while giving him some change. She returned two days later, and he gave the ring back. In thanks, she set up a fund with the goal of raising $4,000 for him. It ended up making over $185,000.

Twenty-six years before Titanic, William Thomas Stead wrote a story called “How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid Atlantic by a Survivor.” The title’s pretty descriptive, with the concern of the story being a lack of adequate safety precautions, specifically lifeboats. Stead himself would die on Titanic.

“Ugly Laws” in the US banned many disabled people from appearing in public until the 1970s. (source 1,2)

Photo: Lewis Hine/Library of Congress

People have a cognitive bias where they over-estimate how noticeable their embarrassing behavior is to others. This is called “The spotlight effect”. 

Photo : tian2992 / flickr

Roller coasters were invented to distract Americans from sin. In the 1880s, hosiery businessman LaMarcus Thompson didn’t like that Americans were going to places like saloons and brothels and created the first roller coaster on Coney Island to persuade them to go there instead.

Marion Stokes, a Philadelphia woman began taping whatever was on television in 1979 and didn’t stop until her death in 2012. The 71,000 VHS and Betamax tapes she made are the most complete collection preserving this era of TV. They are being digitized by the Internet Archive.