Historical Events  Geography
Historical Events  Geography
Einstein

Where did tomato sauce originate?

MMDE: Tomato sauce originated in Italy

Current: Tomato sauce originated in Mexico

Pizza, Spaghetti, Lasagne, Tortellini... what do they all have in common? Tomato of course! So when you think of where the first tomato sauces came from, you'd be forgiven for assuming it must have been Italy.

However, that's not the case - it was Mexico, and the earliest documented use is a recipe from 1540. This was taken to Spain shortly afterwards by Bernardino de Sahagún, a Franciscian friar.

The first country to use tomato sauce with pasta was Italy, and that's used in a recipe from 1692, and the first recorded use in France is at the relatively later date of 1807.

Historical Events  Geography
London Bridge

Where is London Bridge?

MMDE: London

Current: Arizona

Come on everybody, sing along with the children's nursery rhyme: "London Bridge is falling down, falling down...".

Is there anything to this? It turns out there is. Not to be confused with the equally famous Tower Bridge, distinguished by its, err, twin towers, London Bridge originally had houses and shops built on it and was in poor repair after standing for nearly 150 years since it's construction in 1831. Yes, it really was falling down.

So the City of London decided a new one was needed, and to fund this would sell the old one. It was bought by Robert P. McCulloch, a US oil magnate who wanted to use it as a tourist attraction to a new city he founded by Lake Havasu, Arizona. There's no truth in the rumor he thought he was buying Tower Bridge, by the way.

The bridge was purchased for $2.46m, disassembled, and was finally opened on 23 September, 1968 in Lake Havasu City.

Historical Events  Geography
Switzerland

Is Switzerland is a third world country?

MMDE: Switzerland is not a third world country

Current: Switzerland is a third world country

When you think of third world countries, it's usually the most poverty stricken. So if someone told you Switzerland is one, you'd probably ask what they've been smoking.

However, it turns out there is a reason it's true. The origins of the terms First World, Second World and Third World to describe global areas goes back to the cold war, when the groups meant (broadly) "those aligned with the West" (First World), "Those aligned with the East" (Second World) and "The rest".

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the term "Second World" fell into disuse, so it just left the countries not aligned to either of the first two left over, and since Switzerland is neutral, it logically falls into the Third World category.

Historical Events  Geography
Library of Alexandria

How many books were lost when it was destroyed?

MMDE: Thousands

Current: None

It was a noble goal - to house a copy of every book in the world in one place. That was the vision of the rulers of Alexandria 2,300 years ago. They built a library with huge storage areas to house the scrolls, and it attracted scholars the world over to study and contribute.

However, in the year 5 BC it was said to be destroyed in a catastrophic fire. The legend is this was a disaster for all mankind, and the loss of such irretrievable knowledge "set mankind back 1000 years". Many people have been led to believe this, and it comes as such a shock to them to hear no books or scrolls were lost, that it's being pointed to as a Mandela Effect.

Historical Events  Geography
Olympic Flame Relay

Who started the Olympic flame relay?

MMDE: Ancient Greeks

Current: Nazi Germany

We're all familiar with the origin of the Olympic games.

Starting in ancient Greece from the 8th century BC, in the city which bears it's name, Olympia, they ran until the 4th century AD before being started again in the modern era with the first being held in Athens in 1896. Of great significance is the opening ceremony, for which in turn the famous Olympic Torch plays a huge role.

Just as well known is the relay the torch is carried through, traditionally starting from Olympia, before lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony and finally being extinguished at the closing ceremony. What surprises many people is that this relay only began with the Nazis introducing it for propaganda purposes when Germany hosted the Olympics in 1936, since they were sure it had been a feature of the Olympics all along.

Historical Events  Geography
Mount Everest

Where is the highest point on earth?

MMDE: Mount Everest

Current: Not Mount Everest

Following the MMDE regarding Australia's highest mountain not being where it was popularly thought to be, we now have one regarding the big daddy of them all - Mount Everest itself. 

Unlike the Australian one, this isn't down to the historical naming of territories but a technicality relating to how the heights themselves are measured. The standard way is "height above sea level", but there's an issue with that. It assumes the earth is a perfect sphere, which it's not. Gravity and it's rotation makes it appear as though it's squashed. This "bulge" contains the sea, so it's level is different at the poles to the equator by about 13 miles.

An alternative way to measure heights, which would handle the situation of the earth being slightly flattened at the equator due to gravity and rotation. is to measure the distance from the centre of the earth. When you do that with Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, you find it is 3.966.80 miles from the center of the earth, with Everest being slightly less at 3.965.50 miles away.

Historical Events  Geography
Mount Kosciuszko

Where is Australia's highest mountain?

MMDE: Australia's highest mountain is Kosciuszko

Current: Australia's highest mountain is not Kosciuszko

It sounds like a crazy trick question - which country is Kosciuszko, Australia's highest mountain in? The answer is a little contrived but none the less very surprising. To cut to the chase, it might be helpful to ask if Britain's highest mountain is still Ben Nevis if you include Britain's external territories. The technical answer, which itself comes as news to many, is no, it becomes Mount Paget in the South Atlantic.

The situation in Australia is similar. The highest point on mainland Australia is Mount Kosciuszko. But that's not the highest mountain in Australia. In 1947, Great Britain handed over to the Commonwealth of Australia one of its most remote areas, the Heard and McDonald Islands in the Indian Ocean. Heard Island is home to Mawson Peak, which is 1,700 feet higher than Kosciuszko, and that's why you'd naturally think the highest point on the mainland is Australia's highest mountain, but technically it's not.