Strange History and News of Weird Trivia 1939 to 1952

A collectiong of random facts and strange history from 1939 to 1952 including trivia about Hungarian inflation and Albert Einstein as possible president of Israel.


1939 Although e is the most commonly occurring letter in the English language, British author Ernest Vincent Wright managed to write a 50,000-word novel entitled Gadsby that was entirely e-less. Herewith a sample passage:

"Gadsby was walking back from a visit down in Branton Hills' manufacturing district on a Saturday night. A busy day's traffic had had its noisy run; and with not many folks in sight, His Honor got along without having to stop to grasp a hand, or talk; for a Mayor out of City Hall is a shining mark for any politician. And so, coming to Broadway, a booming brass drum and sounds of singing told of a small Salvation Army unit carrying on amidst Broadway's night shopping crowds. Gadsby, walking toward that group, saw a young girl, back toward him, just finishing a long soulful oration, saying, '. . . and I can say this to you, for I know what I am talking about; for I was brought up in a pool of liquor!'"

1946 Postwar inflation diminished the value of the Hungarian pengo to 1/828,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1/828 octillionth) of its prewar worth.

1951 Chicago temperatures fell to 11 below on the night of Feb. 1, 1951, and by the time the police discovered Dorothy Mae Stevens Anderson--who had passed out from drinking and had slept all night unprotected in an alley--the woman's body temperature had plunged to 64.4 deg., her blood and legs had long since frozen solid, and her eyeballs had all but turned to ice. Her pulse rate was barely 12 beats a minute, breaths came three to the minute, and there was no measurable blood pressure. Doctors at Michael Reese Hospital saw little chance that she would survive; still they did what they could. They administered cortisone and swaddled her arms and legs in gauze to keep the flesh from chipping off. Within 24 hours, Mrs. Anderson was conscious and taking liquid nourishment; a week later she was eating solid food, her body temperature at 100.2 deg. No one had ever before survived such a catastrophic loss of body heat.

Ultimately both of Mrs. Anderson's legs and all but one finger had to be amputated. But she was able to leave the hospital after six months and lived till 1974.

1952 The greatest scientist in the world, Dr. Albert Einstein, was offered the chance to become president of a nation. On Nov. 18, Einstein, in Princeton, N.J., was asked to become president of the republic of Israel.

Two days earlier, Abba Eban, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., had made the informal proposal. The 74-year-old physicist who formulated the theory of relativity replied, "I know a little about nature, and hardly anything about men." Then came the formal offer from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Since Chaim Weizmann's recent death, the office of president of Israel was open. Ben-Gurion considered Einstein "the most illustrious Jew in the world, and possibly the greatest man alive." If Einstein had accepted the office, he would have had to leave the U.S., take up citizenship in Israel, and become more actively involved in politics. However, he would have been allowed to continue his scientific work. Einstein declined, saying, "All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfill the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength."

Thus, Israel never had a President Einstein.

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