Gotta-Go Go-To Go-There(s) – WIF Travel

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Tourist Destinations

Made Famous

Through Pop Culture

Someone who is enjoying a book, a song, a movie, or a television show is enriching his or her inner world by imagining new physical, intellectual, and emotional possibilities. Sometimes, however, the world a person creates in his or her art isn’t imaginary at all. All of the places on this list are actual places that a tourist could visit. All of them have been popularized because of their associations with certain books, music, movies, and television shows.

10. Graceland (Home Of Elvis Presley)

When the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, bought his Memphis estate, Graceland, in 1957 it was one of the most costly properties in the area. Unable to afford the expense of caring for the estate after Elvis’ death, Elvis’ former wife, Priscilla Presley, opened it to the public in 1982. Now, roughly 600,000 people visit Graceland each year to pay homage to their favorite rock and roll royalty.

Graceland is a tourist destination because of its sociocultural significance. Elvis spent 20 years of his life there. However, Graceland also has artistic significance, as it has served as a muse for successful songwriters. In “Walking In Memphis,” singer/songwriter Marc Cohn sings about seeing the ghost of Elvis Presley while touring Graceland. In “Graceland,” a song from an album of the same name, singer/songwriter Paul Simon sings about the creative and personal redemption he finds while visiting his idol’s home.

9. Lyme Park And Sudbury Hall (Pride And Prejudice)

Mr. Darcy, the hero of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, was mentioned more in 1995 than at any time since 1900. This is partially because when screen and teleplay writer Andrew Davies adapted the novel into a six hour miniseries for the BBC, he put a handsome face to the famous name.

When the novel’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet (played by Jennifer Ehle in the miniseries) tours the estate of Mr. Darcy (played by Colin Firth), whose marriage proposal she has rejected because she thinks him haughty, she realizes that the man she has turned down is very well endowed… with property. His estate, Pemberley, consists of lush woodlands and a stately manor. When they unexpectedly meet at Pemberley, Elizabeth and Darcy better understand both each other and the nature of their own romantic feelings.

The Pemberley of the 1995 miniseries is actually two places. The exterior shots of Pemberley were filmed at Lyme Park in the Peak District in Cheshire. When the cast and crew were ready to film the interior shots for Pemberley, Lyme Park — which is open to the public — was no longer available. The interior shots for Pemberley, including the elegant, long gallery, were shot in Sudbury Hall, an estate in Derbyshire. Tour guide Maddy Hall says that when she takes tourists who are using P and P Tours to Lyme Hall, she doesn’t go inside herself. She wants to keep her vision of Pemberley (literally) intact. Says Hall, “In our minds we think we have seen Jennifer Ehle [as Elizabeth Bennet] looking out of the windows and seeing the lake [on the grounds of Pemberley] – but in fact it’s all down to skillful editing.”

8. Middle-earth (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy)

While he was writing the The Lord of the Rings, British fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien meticulously created the vivid details of Middle-earth, the setting for his trilogy. Tolkien produced a colorful, annotated map of Middle-earth, now housed in the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University. Tolkien also made sketches of his fantasy realm.

When movie director Peter Jackson acquired the rights for his movies based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he knew exactly which location would best represent Middle-earth: Jackson’s homeland, New Zealand. Jackson used 150 locations in New Zealand during the making of his movies. Each movie in the trilogy grossed an average of $970 million, and the third film was the highest grossing film for 2003. New Zealand embraces its identity as Middle-earth in its tourism marketing. On its tourism website, it’s called “the perfect Middle-earth.” Many people must see New Zealand’s sloping hills, majestic mountains, and limpid bodies of water as the perfect features for Middle-earth. Roughly 47,000 Tolkien fans per year visit film locations in New Zealand.

7. The Empire State Building (King Kong)

Since it opened in 1931, the Empire State Building has been featured in over 250 movies. One of the building’s earliest scene-stealing cameos was in the 1933 movie King Kong. In the film, the behemoth ape King Kong escapes from an exhibit and kidnaps the character portrayed by Fay Wray, with whom he is smitten. He carries her to the top of the Empire State Building, where she’s rescued when the gorilla is shot repeatedly by airplane gunners.

In 1933, the scene served as an homage to the sociocultural relevance of the (relatively new) Empire State Building. In 2019, the Empire State Building paid an homage to the film. As part of $165 million worth of renovations, designers built a gallery with interactive exhibits on the second floor of the world-famous tower. As visitors walk through a 1930s newsroom, King Kong’s fingers pierce the walls as he dangles from the rooftop, dodging airplanes. In another exhibit, visitors can step into King Kong’s arms.

6. The Iron Throne (Game Of Thrones)

A Song of Ice and Fire, the fantasy series author George R.R. Martin began writing in 1991, hasn’t been completed yet. The HBO series based on Martin’s books, however, premiered in 2011 and ended in 2019. The series earned 12 Emmy awards for its final season, the most wins for any individual show. The finale was watched by over 13 million viewers, the most viewers for any HBO show, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Since the show was filmed in 10 countries, fans of both the books and the miniseries have many tourist destinations from which to choose. Arguably, the most contested site in the series is King’s Landing, home of the Iron Throne that inspires the brutal succession “game” that gives the series its title. In 2019, HBO hid six Iron Thrones throughout the world and awarded prizes to fans who found them using clues posted on the Game of Thrones Twitter account. The scenes in King’s Landing featuring the “real” Iron Throne — the one built by the show’s set designers — were filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In 2015, the mayor of Dubrovnik claimed HBO was gifting the Iron Throne to his city. HBO denied the mayor’s claim. Dubrovnik does not have the Iron Throne yet, but it does have a museum honoring Game of Thrones.

5. Llanddewi Brefi (Little Britain)

One of the recurring characters on Matt Lucas and David Walliams‘ 2003 BBC sketch comedy television series, Little Britain, is Daffyd (a misspelling of the Welsh “Dafydd”) Thomas, a flamboyant, inexperienced youth who doggedly insists he’s the only gay man in his village of Llanddewi Brefi, Wales.

The sketches are actually shot in Buckinghamshire, England. Still, the popularity of Lucas’ character has strengthened the tourism industry in Llanddewi Brefi. Shop owner Neil Driver, who owns Siop Brefi in partnership with his wife, Glesni, says tourists come to have their photos taken while they’re standing in front of the sign at the town’s entrance, and sometimes they steal the signs. In 2005, Driver told Wales News he had sold roughly 40 shirts with a line from one of Daffyd’s sketches on them to visiting tourists.

4. Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)

Sam Wallaston, a television critic for the British newspaper The Guardian, called Julian Fellowes’ series Downton Abbey “a posh soap opera [but] a pretty bloody splendid posh soap opera.” The series dramatizes the interpersonal relationships of the Crawley family, the owners of the estate Downton Abbey, and the servants who attend the Crawleys. The Crawleys’ story also intersects with important sociocultural and sociopolitical events in England at the turn of the 20th century.

Highclere Castle is where the interior shots (most notably the dining hall, the entrance room, and the staircase) and the exterior shots for the series were filmed. In a way, Highclere Castle is the titular character, since the show is named for the Crawleys’ estate. The popularity of the show has increased the popularity of Highclere Castle, Downton Abbey’s real world counterpart. George “Geordie” Herbert, the eighth earl of Carnarvon and Lady Fiona Carnarvon, who own Highclere Castle, say the tourism created by the show has assisted them in paying for the castle’s necessary repairs. As of 2015, 1,250 tourists per day visited Highclere Castle. In 2019, Airbnb offered two sweepstakes winners an overnight stay in order to promote the newly released Downton Abbey movie.

3. King’s Cross Station (Harry Potter)

In 2018, author J.K. Rowling’s seven book Harry Potter series became the bestselling book series in history. Rowling’s series has sold over five hundred million copies worldwide. Rowling’s work is appealing — especially for her most devoted fans — partially because of how deftly she depicts Hogwarts, the wizard training school where Harry seeks to master his craft.

In the book, Harry travels to Hogwarts by taking the train at platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station. Boarders must reach the platform by running through a brick wall between platforms nine and ten. At the actual King’s Cross Station, platforms nine and ten are separated by tracks. Luckily for Harry Potter fans, there is still a platform 9 ¾… sort of. A luggage trolley is embedded in a wall in the station concourse. Above the trolley is a sign that says Platform 9 ¾. Tourists may have professional photos taken grasping the trolley. A nearby gift shop offers tourists the option to further personalize the photo by wearing a scarf in the Hogwarts house colors of their choice. The photo and the scarf are available for purchase. King’s Cross Station’s platform 9 ¾ welcomes over one million visitors each year. Rowling, for her part, said she immediately knew she would locate platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, because it has emotional significance for her. Her parents met on a trolley there.

2. The Hollywood Sign

In 1923, Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler invested in an upscale housing development. The housing development was called Hollywoodland. In order to advertise, Chandler bought 45-foot high white letters that spelled out the name of his development, located on the south side of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills. He anchored the letters to telephone poles, and attached a total of 4,000 illuminated lights to his lettering.

The word “land” was removed from the sign in 1949, long after Hollywoodland had gone out of business. The sign has received regular maintenance checks since the 1970s, and its sociocultural significance continues to be confirmed. The Hollywood sign, or at least a studio set replica of it, has appeared in over a dozen movies.

1. Abbey Road (The Beatles)

When rock and roll’s most famous quartet, The Beatles, crossed Abbey Road in the cover photo for their 1969 album of the same name, they elevated the significance of their recording studio, Abbey Road Studios. Now linked inextricably with the success of a band ranked Number One in the 2010 Rolling Stone list “100 Greatest Artists,” Abbey Road is a symbolic home for any musical artist who desires creative freedom.

Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, and Adele, for example, have recently recorded at Abbey Road Studios. While Abbey Road Studios isn’t open for tours, Abbey Road Crossing — the crossing on The Beatles’ album cover — is usually crowded with tourists taking photographs.


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Prehistoric Man and His Petrifying Pets – WIF World

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Terrifying Animals

That Lived Alongside

Prehistoric Man

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Hunting the Cave Bear by Zdenek Burian

Our species, Homo sapiens, have only been around for about as long as a blink of an eye in terms of Earth’s history. It’s believed that the Earth formed over 4.6 billion years ago, and the first humans evolved about 200,000 years ago in Africa.

 In order to survive so that modern humans could flourish, our prehistoric ancestors had to fight off and hunt animals that were much bigger and far stronger than them. These are 10 horrifying animals that they may have encountered as humans migrated all over the world.

10. The Columbian Mammoth

Columbian mammoths were one of the biggest mammals to ever walk on Earth, and they were cousin to the more famous woolly mammoths. Columbian mammoths were found all the way from modern-day Canada to Mexico, while woolly mammoths, who were smaller, were found in northern Asia, Russia, and Canada. Another major difference is that Columbian mammoths had much less hair, so they looked closer to modern day elephants, but bigger with much longer tusks.

Columbian mammoths were 12 to 14 feet tall and weighed anywhere between 5.5 and 11 tons. The Columbian mammoth also had the biggest tusks out of the elephant family. They were, on average, 12 feet long, spiraled, and very strong. They would have been used to fight off predators, including humans.

9. The Ground Sloth

We know that this list is about terrifying animals, and sloths are anything but terrifying. However, their ancient ancestors, ground sloths, were a bit more intimidating than their modern day counterpart because they were some of the biggest mammals to ever live.

There were several different subspecies of ground sloths and the ones that lived in North America were the size of rhinos and humans most likely dined on them. However, the biggest ground sloths, the Megatherium, which lived in South America up until about 10,000 years ago, were as big as an elephant. From head to tail, they were 20 feet long and weighed up to four tons. Also, because they had sharp teeth and long claws, there is some speculation that they may have been carnivores.

Ultimately, the last species of ground sloths lived until about 4,200 years ago on theCaribbean islands. When humans arrived on the islands, it was the final death blow to the ground sloths.

8. Gigantopithecus

The biggest known primate to ever walk the earth was the Gigantopithecus, which is a relative of orangutans. They were 10 feet tall, and they weighed around 1,100 pounds.

One thing you may notice is that the Gigantopithecus looks a lot like the mythical Sasquatch. However, before anyone begins to speculate, the Gigantopithecus died out 100,000 years ago. So unless a group of 10-foot, half ton apes actively hid themselves from humans for one thousand centuries, it doesn’t seem likely that people have seen Gigantopithecus and thought it was Bigfoot.

The reason they died out after living on Earth for six to nine million years is because they needed a lot of food, like fruits, to sustain their giant bodies, which wasn’t a problem when their home in Southeast Asia was tropical forests. But then, because of weather changes their forests started to disappear and they became dry savannas, meaning there was less food and the giant primate just died out.

Of course, Gigantopithecus may be familiar to those people who saw the very excellent live adaptation of The Jungle Book, because King Louie is a Gigantopithecus.

7. The Cave Hyena

Cave Hyenas, also known as spotted coyotes, were about double the size of their relatives, the laughing coyote. They weighed up to 285 pounds, they were about three feet tall, and were nearly five feet long. According to calculations based on fossils, one cave hyena was strong enough to take down a 5-year-old mastodon that weighed a ton.

However, they lived in packs, sometimes consisting of 30 coyotes. These made them much more effective hunters, and they could take down a nine-year-old mastodon that weighed nine tons. Needless to say, a small family of humans would not want to come across a pack of hungry hyenas.

Their population started to dwindle about 20,000 years ago, before going extinct somewhere between 11,000 and 13,000 years ago. One reason may have been humans, because we competed with hyenas for cave space during the last ice age.

6. Smilodon

Saber-toothed cats are often given the very misleading title of saber-tooth tigers. It’s misleading because while they are part of the Felidae family, they weren’t closelyrelated to tigers.

Saber-toothed cats first appeared 42 million years ago. There were many species of them and most of them had died before humans first appeared. However, it’s believed that humans living in the Americas could have come across two different species of saber-toothed cats, Smilodon fatalis and Smilodon populator. They ranged in size and they could be as big as an African lion, which is the biggest wild lion living today. They also could weigh as much as the biggest subspecies of tiger, the Siberian tiger.

With their size came great strength. The smilodons could take down much bigger animals than themselves, like mammoths. Often, they would wait for prey to get close and then launch a surprise attack.

Out of the feline family, the smilodon didn’t have the strongest bite. According to calculations, it only had about one-third of the bite strength of modern lions. However, it had a really flexible jaw and could open its mouth 120 degrees, compared to a lion, which maxes out at 60 degrees.

The smilodon also had fairly weak teeth, but researchers think to compensate for that, they developed the strongest forearms of all cats. It’s believed that they used this strength to hold down their prey and then stabbed their fangs through the prey’s neck. Another theory is that the Smilodon repeatedly stabbed the prey with their fangs after it was held down. No matter how they killed their prey, a human did not want to find itself under the forearms of a smilodon.

5. The Dire Wolf

Fans of Game of Thrones may recognize Dire Wolves, but unlike many other animals on the show, Dire Wolves were real.

They first appeared about a quarter of a million years ago. They were similar tomodern-day gray wolves but sturdier. The gray wolf, which is the largest living wolf, is about 4 feet to 6.6 feet long and weighs 40 to 170 pounds, while Dire Wolves were about 5 feet long and weighed up to 200 pounds.

Dire Wolves, which were found all over North and South America, had a bite force that was 29 percent stronger than gray wolves. Their diet consisted of mostly horses.

They became extinct like so a lot other carnivores, at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago.

4. The American Lion

Like a lot of other animals on this list, the American Lion is horribly named because it’s not a lion at all. Its scientific name is Panthera atrox, and as it suggests, the American Lion is more closely related to panthers than lions. One part about their name that is correct is that they lived in modern-day America starting about 330,000 years ago.

One notable aspect that our ancient ancestors would have noticed right away if they encountered an American Lion is that it was huge. In fact, it is the biggest known wild cat in history. On average, they weighed 772 pounds, which is 25 percent larger thanan African Lion. The American Lion was also incredibly strong. They were powerful enough to bring down a bison, meaning a small group of humans would have been in trouble had they encountered one of these lions.

They died around 11,000 years ago around the end of the last ice age.

3. The Megalania

Megalania was a monitor lizard, which is the same lizard family as the Komodo dragon, and it lived in Australia until about 50,000 years ago; around the same time that humans migrated there.

The size of Megalania is a highly debated topic. Originally, it was thought to be 23 feet long, while other estimates put its size more in the range of 11 feet long.

Regardless, they were bigger than Komodo dragons, but like the Komodo dragon, the Megalania also had poisonous glands. It would simply bite its prey and if it didn’t die of blood loss, then it would be slowly poisoned to death and the Meaglania would feast on its carcass.

Today, Komodo dragons are considered a very dangerous animal. They are fast, strong, and poisonous. They are also on average 6.5 feet long. The Megalania could have been four times that size; not exactly something a human, either prehistoric or modern, would want to bump into.

2. The Short-Faced Bear

Bears first appeared about 40 million years ago, and several subspecies have evolved over the years. One that our prehistoric ancestors would have encountered is the short-faced bear.

Short-faced bears (Arctodus pristinus) were five feet tall at shoulder height, but when they stood up, they were 12 feet tall and with its arms raised it was 14 feet tall. It also had the ability to run on two legs. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, the short-faced bear also had long limbs, and could run faster than a grizzly, possibly reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour. That means even Usain Bolt, who was clocked in at 28 miles per hour, would be dinner for this beast.

The Giant Short-Faced Bear was one of the biggest carnivores in North America. They first appeared about 800,000 years ago and they became extinct about 11,600 years ago.

1. The Quinkana

According to fossils, the Quinkana first evolved about 1.6 million years ago and they lived in modern day Australia. They were huge members of the crocodile family and they could grow to be 23 feet long. Just for some perspective, the longest crocodile in captivity was Lolong and he was 20 feet long.

A major difference between the Quinkana and many other crocodiles is that they were land dwellers. Since they lived on land, there was two major physical traits that the Quinkana developed. The first was that it had long, powerful legs. It would hunt its prey by chasing after them for long distances. The second difference is that crocodiles use their teeth to latch on and drag their prey into the water and drown it. The Quinkanas’ teeth, on the other hand, were much sharper and they were used for cutting.

They died out about 50,000 years ago, about 10,000 years after humans first arrived in Australia.


Prehistoric Man and His Petrifying Pets

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TV and Movie Fact-Check – WIF Edu-tainment

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Fan Fact-check About

TV Shows and Movies

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Most films and TV shows take place within the confines of their own fictional universe, which differs from our own in varying ways. Even shows that do seemingly take place in our world, like Friends or The Office, are dramatically different to the reality we all know when you take the time to do the math. Not sure what we mean? Well, why not think about the fan calculations that show that…

 10. Rocky is Filled with Marathon-Running Superhumans

Within the Rocky cinematic universe, Rocky Balboa is considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all-time. The films tell us Rocky is held in such high regard not for his finesse or skill (in fact that explicitly go out of their way each film to show that Rocky blocks haymakers with his chin), but because he’s made of granite and impossible to knock out.

In the film Rocky Balboa, in which Rocky makes a comeback at about 60 years old, the film makes it clear that his only advantage is his power and ability to take a hit over a much younger boxer. Which doesn’t make sense when you realize a fan worked out that for the now iconic montage sequence in Rocky II, where Rocky runs through Philadelphia, the supposedly made-of-cast-iron boxer sprints for over 30 miles. By analyzing the landmarks shown during the montage a fan worked out that Rocky punch-sprints his way through a marathon and a half, across uneven ground, and still possesses enough energy at the end to sprint up a giant flight of stairs.

This isn’t just unbelievable, it also means that not only is Rocky a world-class boxer with near unrivaled stamina and ability to take a blow, but one of the finest long distance runners to have ever lived… and it’s never mentioned in the movie. Meaning either Rocky had no idea being able to sprint 30 miles and then win a heavy-weight boxing match was a big deal, or more amusingly, that nobody in his universe think it’s impressive. The latter of which is more likely, because for the entire montage Rocky is followed nearly the entire way by a large crowd who run the exact same distance, meaning Rocky’s fictional Philadelphia is filled with random people who can sprint 30 miles like it’s no big deal.

9. The Walking Dead – 99.9998% of the World is Dead

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According to the creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, the universe the characters inhabit, prior to being overrun with shambolic reanimated corpses, was identical to our own save for the fact it didn’t contain any zombie related media. This is why no character on the show ever uses the term “zombie” in any comic or episode.

This is important, because it’s one of the only real clues Kirkman has ever given about the world of TWD, leaving most everything else about it (including the source of the outbreak and even the date it occured) a mystery. This irked some fans, who decided to use what little information the comics and show reveal to work out exactly how many people the show’s zombie apocalypse killed.

One fan in particular, Matt Lieberman, scoured TWD media. Through searching the background of shots with calendars, and noting clothing styles and technology used by the characters, he discovered that the zombie outbreak likely occurred sometime in January 2012. By taking the global population from this time, and a quote from Kirkman saying zombies outnumbers humans “5000 to 1” when the outbreak went global, he was able to discern that only 1.4 million people survived the initial outbreak globally. When you take into account the fact 70% of the characters in TWD die during the series in a country filled with guns, Lieberman additionally calculated that if you extrapolate these figures globally, by the start of seventh season, only about 400,000 people are still alive. That’s roughly 0.0002% of the world’s population.

8. Chandler Bing is Obscenely Wealthy

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There’s a running joke in Friends where nobody is quite sure what the character Chandler Bing does for a living. He clearly works an office job of some kind, and it obviously makes him quite a bit of money, seeing as how he lives in a big-ass New York apartment, pays for his extravagant wedding with his savings, and loans his friend Joey $120,000. Wait, what?

Throughout the series, Chandler lends his roommate Joey a lot of money as well as paying his share of the rent on their apartment for three years. This is clearly established and commented upon in several episodes. In one episode, Joey insists on paying this money back. Chandler works out the rough amount, writes it on a piece of paper and hands it Joey, who sees the figure and immediately backs down.

A Reddit user, curious about what this figure was, calculated the square footage on Chandler’s apartment for the average rent, along with the minimum cost of the other things he buys for Joey like professional headshots and elocution lessons. The minimum figure they come up with for this is $120,760. Remember, this is money Chandler basically gives away to a down-on-his-luck friend who never pays it back in just over three years. That’s approximately $40,000 per year the Chan Man gives away like it’s nothing, meaning he’s presumably earning at least 5 times that. Then again, it’s no wonder he doesn’t seem to mind, considering that another fan worked out that…

7. Every Character in Friends has a Ton of Sex

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The average number of sexual partners a person will have in their lifetime is a figure that’s difficult to pin down, with various sources claiming that the number can be anywhere between 4 and 8 for women and 7 and 11 for men. This said, most sources agree that around 10 is a safe estimate for most of the population over their lifetime. Every character in Friends blows this figure out of the water.

Between the group of six, a Reddit user (it’s always a Reddit user who calculates this stuff) figured that they have approximately 138 combined, different sexual partners. That’s more than 20 each, doubling the top end of the national average. While Joey and Phoebe make up the bulk of this data, accounting for 51 and 32 occasions of being joined at the hip, respectively, even Chandler – a character who is married for five seasons – still manages to have sex with 11 partners.

Ross, on the other hand, a total jerk who treats women like crap, manages to convince 14 women to do the horizontal hug with him. Just think about that for a second. In theFriends universe, Ross has convinced more people to have sex with him in four years than 90% of people reading this will in their entire life.

6. Harry Potter Couldn’t Afford a London Flat with his Vault Full of Gold

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Throughout the Harry Potter series, a rarely mentioned plot point is that the eponymous Harry has a giant vault filled to the brim with big gold coins. Despite having enough cheddar to fund endless magical cocaine and hooker parties, Potter never once decides to use the money to splurge and buy magical supplies that could help defeat wizard Hitler. This may have something to do with the fact that in reality, Harry barely has enough money to afford a crappy 1-bedroom flat.

 You see, although the Galleons in Harry Potter are described as being made of gold, according to JK Rowling they’re only worth about $7 each. A fan took this information, as well as a screenshot from the first film showing the vault (the films were all overseen by Rowling herself), to work out roughly how much money the boy wizard actually inherited from his parents. The answer? About a quarter of million pounds.

This sounds like a lot until you realize that in the UK, this amount of money would barely be enough for Harry to buy himself a half decent London flat. If you’re thinking “maybe the money is worth more in the wizarding world so he’s probably still considered fairly rich,” remember that in the books Harry notes that even if he emptied his entire vault, it still wouldn’t be enough to buy a Firebolt, which could be likened to the wizarding world equivalent of a fancy sports car.

So in other words, Harry, the savior of the wizard race, barely had enough money to buy himself a second hand Ferrari after killing wizard Hitler and watching the only living relative he liked die.

And hey, speaking of fictional net worth…

5. The Simpsons Live Better Than You

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For most of the show’s run, the Simpson family has been portrayed as an average lower-middle class American family. Numerous jokes are made in various episodes that the family is, if not poor, at the very least struggling financially most of the time, with Marge once claiming to feed the entire Simpson family on 12 dollars a week. Which is unusual, seeing as Homer earns a fairly decent wage and the house they live in is massive.

The average wage of a nuclear safety technician (Homer’s job for most episodes) is about $82,000, or about $30,000 more than the average American family earns. Which, among other things, explains how the family has basically trekked the entire globe during the series. However, the most ridiculous thing the Simpsons own is their house.

Again, the Simpson home is often shown as being in a state of poor repair, but even so, it’s almost big enough to be considered a mini-mansion. The house contains at least four bedrooms, several bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, a rumpus room, a sitting room, a sauna, and enough lawn space to build an Olympic sized tennis court.

The house has variously estimated to be worth, $300,000, double that of the average American home with at least 3 times as much space.

4. Jim from The Office Wastes Most People’s Savings Being an Awful Colleague

While the American version of The Office has been praised by critics and fans for many reasons over the years, arguably one of the show’s most popular elements is the relationship between the characters Jim Halpert (played by John Krasinski) and Dwight Schrute (played by Rainn Wilson).

Most of the character’s interactions revolve around the various pranks played by Jim, which vary in the scope and complexity from simple pranks involving putting his stapler in some Jello, to learning morse code.

A Reddit user (we told you) decided to calculate just how much money Jim wasted basically being an ass to his co-worker and found that, at minimum, he invested $5,000 of his hard earned money playing pranks on a guy he claims not to like. This is 5 times more than most Americans have in their savings account, and Jim pissed it away on making one of his co-worker’s lives just a little bit more difficult for his own amusement. Which, when put that way, makes Jim seem like a bit of a tool.

3. Movies have Spent Billions Rescuing Matt Damon

This entry’s a little different from the other in that it takes into account information from different movies, all of which involve Matt Damon. Specifically, movies involving Matt Damon being rescued from some kind of danger or peril, such as Saving Private Ryan and The Martian.

According to a Quora user with either too much time on their hands or a huge Matt Damon man-crush, within the confines of the fictional universes of Damon’s movies, an estimated $900 billion has been spent rescuing his dumb ass. In our world, this equates to $729 million worth of movie budgets on the various films he’s appeared in that have been spent exclusively on rescuing him from some kind of danger.

2. Walter White Makes $5 Per Second

Exactly how much money Walter White makes while he’s breaking all that bad is never actually fully established in the show. Even the character admits that after a certain point, he simply stopped counting. Fans, however, have worked out from that episode with the giant money pile, and Walt’s own comments to other characters, that he earned about $80 million in two years.

An enterprising Reddit user (we really weren’t kidding) went right ahead and used that impressive figure to calculate how much Heisenberg earned per hour. The final figure they came up with was about $5,000 an hour, every hour, for two years straight. Or $5 per second.

But here’s the thing: seeing as for most of the show, White was basically doing regular shifts making his meth, it’s possible to work out how much more he earned than an average person. Assuming Walt was working the average amount for an American man, which is apparently 34 hours per week, Walt was earning about $23,000 an hour. Taking into account the average American wage ($24 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), Walter White earned 95,000% more than the average American per hour. Not a bad paycheck, all things considered.

1. Someone Figured Out the Main Character of Game of Thrones with Math

What sets Game of Thrones apart from other shows is that it doesn’t really have a main character, instead following the stories of multiple characters of seemingly equal importance who can be killed off at any point.

This didn’t sit well with a math nerd named Andrew J. Beveridge, who used a mathematical formula usually reserved for studying terrorist cells to map out every relationship in the entire series to determine who the most mathematically important character was. By carefully analyzing every interaction between characters in the books, Beveridge was able to accurately pin down which one was the most important to the overall progress of the plot by their connections to other characters, the result? It’s Tyrion, the wine-drinking (P)imp with a silver tongue.

Meaning yes, it has been proved with math that Peter Dinklage is awesome.


TV and Movie Fact-Check

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Game of Thrones Gone Bad

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bad history

Historically Inaccurate Things

About “Game of Thrones”

10. England Wasn’t Full of Drab Stone

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As people smarter than us have noted, the Game of Thrones universe draws inspiration from a number of historical events. In particular, the War of the Roses, which was fought between the houses of York and Lancaster, served as the primary influence for the Stark and Lannister families. On a lesser site this is where they’d say something like “MIND BLOWN,” which is silly, so we’ll just say that Lannister and Stark are way cooler names.

Moving on, it’s only reasonable to assume that a lot of the universe is similarly inspired by this real period in time. However, if that were the case, the awful drab stone walls that seem to form the background to every other scene wouldn’t be there. According to historians. medieval stone work was positivelyfabulous, as it was often painted with vibrant murals or even decorated withdifferent colored stones.

We’re not saying that every random wall was like the Sistine Chapel. But just like today, walls, especially in the less respectable parts of town where like half ofThrones is set, were often covered in hastily scrawled art and graffiti. So there’s really no excuse to set so many scenes against boring stone when it would be historically accurate to put a few crudely drawn penises behind the actors.

9. All Of the Animals Were Not Tiny

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Animals play an important role in Thrones, and like seemingly every character they can be killed at any moment. Now, it’s common knowledge that animals, especially domesticated ones, have gotten a lot bigger over the last few hundred years thanks to things like steroids and selective breeding, but exactly how much bigger may surprise you. Horses, which are a staple of the show, were considerably smaller back then compared to their contemporary counterparts. Experts analyzing horse armor have concluded that even the largest horses from history would only be considered average by today’s standards. While this doesn’t mean much for average characters, the larger characters like the Hound and Brienne would be unable to find a horse large enough to support their frame. So the next time you see one of them in a scene, imagine them riding a tiny little pony and try not to giggle.

8. Women Weren’t Helpless

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Thrones features so much sex that reviewers came up with a new word, “sexposition,” which describes the seemingly endless amount of scenes in which major plot discussions take place when one character is inside another. The show also features quite a bit of sexual violence, mostly aimed at women, which has drawn a fair amount of criticism.

The author of the series, George R.R Martin, has always defended the inclusion of such scenes by stating that “history is written in blood,” and that not including this kind of violence would be dishonest to viewers and readers by not representing history as it actually happened. But while it’s certainly true that sexual violence was common in the Middle Ages, women weren’t entirely helpless.

Contrary to popular belief, rape was indeed a crime that could be punished with castration, whipping or even death. It should also be pointed out that in the Middles Ages, men and women were surprisingly equal to one another, at least in the case of peasants, which Thrones is just full of. There was no perceived difference between the genders, because they both did the same awful, awful work.

7. The Mountain and Viper Duel Would Have Never Happened

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The duel between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane is arguably one of the show’s most memorable scenes, so it’s with a heavy heart that we tell you it’s in no way realistic. Although duels and trials by combat were indeed a thing during the Middle Ages, combatants had to conform to a host of rules, including that they had to be of relatively equal skill and have roughly the same equipment. While Oberyn and Gregor are skilled fighters, experts have concluded that there’s no way they’d have been allowed to fight with such different weapons and armor, especially when Oberyn’s weapon basically amounted to a stick dipped in poison.

Historically, duels stressed the “Parity of Combatants,” which basically meant that both duelists were required to fight using the same weapons and armor so the only thing that would set them apart would be their skill. But it’s not all bad news, as scientists have concluded that the Mountain probably would have been able to crush Oberyn’s head like a melon. Yay?

6. Not Everyone Was Filthy

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If you’re filming a show like Thrones, the easiest way to convey to the audience that the show is set hundreds of years ago is to push everyone into a muddy puddle before each take. But although waste disposal in the Middle Ages was poor, personal hygiene was a lot better than most people would assume. In fact, people had access to soap and even rudimentary toothpaste, which they used as often as they could. Back then, having a rotten tooth meant you’d need to have it pulled out without anaesthetic, which we’re guessing was a pretty good motivator to keep them clean.

This means that one of the most realistic aspects of Thrones is that every character, regardless of social standing, has a perfect Hollywood smile. It’s just a shame they didn’t go the distance and make some of them wash their face sometimes.

5. Grey Worm Would Be a Terrible Soldier

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If you need a refresher, Grey Worm is the commander of the Unsullied, an elite band of soldiers famed throughout the Thrones universe for being stone-cold badasses who will straight up thank you for cutting their nipple off. Like all Unsullied, Grey Worm is a eunuch. Within the confines of the Thrones universe, not packing genitals supposedly makes the Unsullied better soldiers, because it means they’re immune to “bloodthirsty or sexual urges in the midst of battle,” which keeps them from being distracted from kicking all of the ass all of the time, forever.

Though an army of soldiers who are immune to being kicked in the nuts seems like a good idea, scientists disagree that eunuchs would make effective soldiers. The lack of testosterone production would make them unable to build muscle mass as effectively as an average man, making them weaker by default. A lifetime of ruthless training is nice, but at a certain point you just need some raw strength.

4. Dothraki Swords Just Wouldn’t Work

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The Dothraki are the undisputed throat punching, head lopping badasses of theThrones universe. Which is weird, because according to weapon experts, the chief head lopping weapon of the Dothraki is kind of terrible.

The Dothraki arakh is a curved blade loosely based on the Ancient Egyptian khopesh. Though the weapon did indeed have a place on the battlefield, it was normally found in the hands of foot soldiers who could use it to reach around an opponent’s shield and stab him right in the liver. However, since the Dothraki fight mainly on horseback, the curve in the blade is practically useless. In fact, the curve “goes the wrong way for mounted use,” meaning it’s actually a hindrance. Although, to be fair…

3. The Sword Fighting Isn’t Realistic Either

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Sword fighting is one of those things that almost nobody pictures correctly, because it’s spent so long being bastardized by pop culture. The idea of two opponents smashing their swords into each other until one sees his chance to deliver an awesome one liner and a coup de grâce to the balls is laughably out of step with how things actually went down.

For starters, one of the first rules of sword fighting was to avoid clanging your swords together, because all it did was tire you out and dull your weapon, two things you generally want to avoid when someone is trying to stab you to death. Another rule was to not waste time — while parrying and defending were important, the key principle was to end the fight as quickly as possible and always be closing ground with your opponent.

According to John Clements, a leading expert on medieval fighting arts, almost everything we see in the media related to weapon-based combat is wildly unrepresentative of actual history. So we guess Thrones gets a free pass on this one, because at least the fight scenes are entertaining.

2. The Lannisters Aren’t the Richest People in Westoros

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One of the defining traits of the Lannisters is that their family is rich as all hell. They own a giant gold mine which is regarded as one of the most productive in the world, which of course means they’re considered to be quite wealthy. However, although gold is certainly a good indicator of wealth, it isn’t the only indicator. Experts aren’t convinced that the Lannisters are as rich as people tend to believe. As nice as gold is, it has no value beyond the fact that it can be traded for other things. Farmland is more valuable in the long run, because it can produce a constantly in demand resource forever, meaning its value is technically infinite. To paraphrase this Slate article, what would you rather own — all of the gold on Earth, or all of the farms?

In terms of actual resources, the richest family in Westoros would be the Tyrells, the guys who own all the farms. This is because, as anyone who’s played Age of Empires II will tell you, having a lot of gold and no other resources just means that your neighbors will charge you through the nose when you eventually go hungry. Speaking of gold…

1. That Gold Crown Scene Is Impossible

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Viserys Targaryen, who you most likely remember from the first season as the guy who looks a bad Legolas cosplayer, was the character who demonstrated to viewers that anyone can die at any time when he was killed by having an entire bucket of molten gold poured onto his face.

As metal as that sounds, the actual plausibility of the scene has been called into question by skeptics, because the temperatures required to melt gold would be almost impossible to reach with the tiny campfire shown in the episode. Gold requires a temperature of around 1064 degrees Celsius to melt, and though a campfire can theoretically reach temperatures in excess of this, it’s not a likely scenario.

That’s probably why, when asked about how the gold that killed his character melted in the first place, the actor who played Viserys reasoned that it was probably a kind of special “Dothraki hybrid gold.” Which we can’t really argue with, because like 95% of the people who like the show, we haven’t read the books so we have no idea if it’s true or not.

Game of Thrones Gone Bad

“Are You Stealin’ My Stuff, Man?”

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Top 10 Interesting and Surprising Facts

about Online Piracy

Piracy is one of those subjects that completely divides people. On the one hand, it’s blatant thievery. On the other hand, free episodes of Breaking Bad, yo.

The internet is chock full of horror stories about digital piracy ruining people’s lives when the RIAA knocks on their door, so we wanted to share some stories about piracy that everyone should be able to agree are awesome.

10. The People Behind Game of Thrones Think Piracy is Pretty Damn Neat

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Game of Thrones, AKA We’re All Going to Die: The Show is one of the most popular TV shows in recent history. In completely unrelated news, it’s also one of the most pirated shows of all time too.

However, not only do the people behind the show not care about it being pirated, they’ve gone on record as saying the piracy is more flattering than an actual award. Probably because millions of people risking prison to see your show is a bigger compliment than a bunch of pretentious people giving you a shiny statue in a desperate bid to stay relevant.

9. Netflix Use Piracy Figures to Decide Which Shows to Buy Next

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Netflix will likely rule the TV game in a few years, so why bother dropping $80 a month on a severely limited TV package when, for the price of a broadband connection and a Big Mac, you could have every film ever made?

In an effort to really keep its finger on the pulse of what people like, Netflix higher-ups have openly admitted that they’ll look into what people are pirating to make a more informed decision about what rights to buy. For example, in the Netherlands they noticed people there really like Prison Break (though not enough to buy the DVDs,) so when the service launched there they made sure Prison Break was one of the big titles they had to offer.

This isn’t just Netflix either; a big-wig at Warner Brothers admitted earlier this year that piracy is one of their preferred methods to help gauge consumer demand. It’s not a perfect system, but just remember this is probably why you can now watch every episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix, and it’ll probably only be a matter of time until they have every awesome show people love to not pay for. So what we’re saying is: download more Adventure Time so we can watch it legally.

8. Trent Reznor Hates His Record Company So Much, He Tells Fans to Steal His Music

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The brilliantly-named Trent Reznor is the frontman (and only man) of Nine Inch Nails, and you better believe this man hates him some high CD prices. When he visited Australia, he was so appalled by the stupidly high price that Universal Records was charging for his music, he openly told fans to steal their songs on stage.

The thing is, when Reznor asked Universal why his CDs cost so much more than other bands they represented, their answer was that they were basically fleecing the most die-hard NIN fans because they knew they’d pay whatever Universal charged. So, Reznor was told that his fans would pay anything for his band’s music, and his response was to order them to go get it for free. How rock and roll is that?

7. System of a Down Were So Annoyed at Songs Being Pirated, They Released Better Versions on Principle

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A little while after System of a Down’s explosive and well-received Toxicity album, a few incredibly poor-quality songs were released under the name Toxicity 2. These were songs the band didn’t feel gelled with the original album, and they were all in a very rough state. Upon hearing them, the band was so upset that they recorded an entirely new album and added even more songs to spite the pirates. They then called it “Steal This Album” as a final jab.

Basically, System of a Down saw that people were pirating their music and, rather than complain, just wrote better songs and released a better, cheaper version than the pirated bootleg versions people were selling. That seems like a solution we can all agree on.

6. Piracy will Likely Save All Your Favorite TV Shows

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Back before you could download an episode of Breaking Bad minutes after it was uploaded, people simply taped things they saw on TV and made copies of them. Though this arguably seems more harmless, it was still piracy.

However, now the ball is in the pirates’ court, because some of these illegally-made tapes are pretty much the only recordings of these shows left. For example, the Digital Archive Project is dedicated to ensuring recordings of old shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Bill Nye the Science Guy are preserved.



Another, more extreme example are the so-called missing Dr. Who episodes. Back in the 70′s, due to pressure from acting unions who saw tapes as a threat to their livelihood (since why record new shows when you can simply replay old ones?) dozens of episodes of the now-iconic series were exterminated from the face of the Earth. However, because some fans saw fit to record the show, some episodes have since been recovered.

5. Microsoft Doesn’t Mind if You Steal Software, as Long as You Steal Their Software

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Microsoft invest millions in anti-piracy measures, though they’re aware that people will invariably steal their products anyway, because people love getting things for free. Which is why the company has a fairly odd stance: “if you’re going to steal, steal from us.” The logic here is that a person using their software illegally is still using their software and will, as such, become used to it and possibly become a paying customer somewhere down the line. Again, Microsoft aren’t happy with people stealing their product, but you have to admit it’s pretty awesome that being stolen from more than Apple is something a Microsoft executive has probably bragged about in the past.

4. Radiohead’s Songs were Bootlegged So Fast, Fans Could Sing Along to Their New Album

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Radiohead has long realized people are going to steal their music no matter what, so they’ve decided hey, might as well embrace it. Along with being one of the first bands to pioneer “pay what you want” albums and digital downloads, the band has also expressed amusement at the results of bootlegging and piracy. For example, the band kicked off a tour in Barcelona, in support their new album Kid A; within a few hours of the concert, the entire thing was on Napster. When the band played in Israel a few weeks later the entire crowd, who by all rights should have never heard the album before, sung along to most of the tracks. Radiohead’s bassist said the experience was “wonderful.” Presumably because it proved that, though many people had stolen their music, a whole bunch of them had stuck their hand into their pocket and actually paid to see them live, which in virtually every case results in more money going to the band anyhow.

3. My Morning Jacket Happily Rip Their Own CDs and Send Them to Fans

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My Morning Jacket, AKA That Band You Saw on American Dad, are a fairly popular and successful band in the states with a few albums under their belt. They’re also really cool guys, something they proved in 2005 when Sony slapped a bunch of restrictive measures on their new album ZThese measures stopped the CD from being burned onto iTunes, a service we’re assured a lot of people use. The band had no idea these measures were in place, and actually put instructions up on their website telling fans how to circumvent them.

However, this still irked some fans, which is when the band decided to go one step further. Along with personally responding to virtually every email they received about the issue, the band also went to the effort of burning copies of the CD themselves to send to disgruntled fans, as a means of apologizing.

2. A Number of Bands Offer People Blank CDs so They Could Burn Their Own Albums

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Perhaps the ultimate embodiment of bands realizing everyone is going to steal their music is the act of releasing a blank CD. To date, only a few bands have taken the plunge, but it’s such an awesome move that it can’t help but catch fire as a legit movement down the line.

For example, Green Day, realizing many of their fans had gotten hold of their songs illegally, released a special album full of unique blank CDs, so fans could create their own Green Day albums. Meanwhile, DJ Danger Mouse, realizing he’d be sued if he released his mash-ups, released a blank CD instead so fans could make their own. But perhaps the coolest example is that of the Dead Kennedys who, for their  album In God We Trust Inc., intentionally left the B-side blank so people could copy their own music. That album, by the way, was released in 1981, meaning the Dead Kennedys are hardcore hipsters, who were fighting soaring record prices way before it was cool.

1. Lars Ulrich Pirated His Own Album Simply Because He Could

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Lars Ulrich is a member of Metallica. If you didn’t know that, we’re sorry for the considerably un-metal upbringing you had compared to your peers. The band gained a lot of infamy in the early 2000′s, when they came out in staunch opposition of digital piracy, despite being kajillionaires who made their money off of non-stop touring, and who actively encouraged fans to record their shows and trade them back in the day.

However, in a 2009 interview Ulrich admitted that, a few days after the band’s new Death Magnetic album was released, he downloaded it illegally just to see what piracy felt like, and also just because he could. As he put it, “if there is anybody that has a right to download Death Magnetic for free, it’s me.” You have to admit, he’s got a point, but why he didn’t already have a free copy in his house speaks volumes about how popular he is with his band mates.

But that album was hugely pirated for two reasons: one, “screw Metallica” and two, because the album was so torn up in post-production that the version included in Guitar Hero was objectively better. This led to legions of fans downloading the Guitar Hero version instead because it actually sounded better the the official copy you could buy from shops. Wow, no wonder Lars finally embraced his inner pirate.

“Are you stealin’ my stuff, man?”