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24 Things I Learned This Week That Left Me In Complete And Total Disbelief

The deepest shipwreck ever discovered is four miles below the surface of the Philippine Sea 😧

1. The Titanic's grand staircase was painstakingly recreated for — and featured prominently in — the movie Titanic. Here's what the actual staircase looked like, and here's what it looks like today:

2. This is Baldwin Street and it's recognized by Guinness as being the steepest residential street on the planet:

3. This is what a section of the Las Vegas Strip looked like in 1955:

4. In 1972, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team to a match in Chile crashed high up in the Andes mountains. Of the plane's 45 passengers and crew, 33 would survive the crash but only 16 would make it off the mountain alive. They endured freezing cold temperatures and near-starvation for 72 straight days, and were forced to eat the bodies of those who had died in order to survive. In an interview with National Geographic, Dr. Roberto Canessa — one of the survivors who was 19 years old at the time — clarified, "Cannibalism is when you kill someone, so technically this is what is known as anthropophagy." The group struggled with the decision over whether or not to eat their fallen friends but ultimately it wasn't a choice at all; they likely would've starved otherwise:

5. The Curiosity rover captured some clouds on Mars last month:

Clouds in the sky, gently passing overhead. On Mars, Friday, March 19, 2021.

Twitter: @ThePlanetaryGuy

6. And speaking of the Curiosity rover, this is how big it is:

7. At the height of the Civil War — and with nothing to lose, for he had no intention of being taken alive — Robert Smalls seized an opportunity to escape slavery by commandeering a Confederate ship that was armed for combat while its captain was away. To pull off this daring escape, he fooled not one but _two _Confederate checkpoints into believing he was the ship's captain by donning his wide-brimmed hat and mimicking his mannerisms. This act of bravery — and brilliance — earned him not only his freedom but also the freedom of 17 others (including 3 children). He would go on to become a state assemblyman and state senator in South Carolina, and serve in the US House of Representatives:

8. This photo, which is believed to be the earliest photo of the Taj Mahal, was actually taken sometime between 1858 and 1862:

9. Unlike other bird species, owls aren't really built to withstand lots of moisture:

Your Twitter feed needs these photos of a ruru (morepork) getting an antibacterial shampoo & blowdry at Wildbase Recovery Centre. This is why you don't see owls fly in the rain 😂 #NotWaterProof #Morepork #Ruru #BirdWatching

Twitter: @CerebralNurse

10. The USS Johnston — a US Navy destroyer that was lost in combat during World War II — was recently rediscovered at a depth of 21,000 feet (6400.8 meters) in the Philippine Sea, which is equivalent to four miles (!!), making it the deepest shipwreck ever recorded:

The shipwreck
Victor Vescovo / Caladan Oceanic

11. The captain of the USS Johnston was a Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans, who bravely sacrificed the ship as well as his life and the lives of his crewmen by charging into enemy territory and drawing fire so that American landing forces could retake the Philippines. For this selfless act, Evans became the first Native American to win the Medal of Honor. Here's a photo of the captain and his crew:

12. CGI has come a longggg way in the last 26 years:

13. Fossil records show that magnolia trees — many of which are in bloom right now — are at least 60 million years old. They're so ancient, in fact, that their flowers evolved to be pollinated by beetles and flies because bees, butterflies, and moths hadn't existed yet:

A magnolia tree in full bloom
Photography By Keith Getter (all / Getty Images

14. This is Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, right before he died in 2018 at the age of 45. Now there are only two left: Najin and her daughter Fatu. When they're gone, this species that has existed for millions of years will no longer walk the earth:

15. This is Ha'a Keaulana, a third-generation surfing legend. She's the daughter of Brian Keaulana and the granddaughter of the great Buffalo Keaulana — surfing royalty in Hawaii. Here's a photo of her training:

16. This is the harpy eagle, one of the most formidable raptor species still in existence in terms of size and strength. Their sharp talons are equal to a grizzly bear's in size, which are perfect for plucking sloths out of trees and baby deer off the ground:

17. And here are some scraps that were found in one of their nests:

18. This amazing photo depicts a 162-year-old portrait of a Civil War soldier in stunning HD. It was restored and colored by Adam "A.B." Cannon, a photo restoration and enhancement specialist based in Illinois:

HD restoration of a Civil War soldier
ABCannon / Via

If you'd like to see more of his work, you can follow him on Instagram here.

19. James Harrison discovered at a young age that his blood contains a rare antibody that helps fight a disease that can be fatal to newborns, so he donated blood every week for 60 years. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service estimated that his donations have saved the lives of 2.4 million babies in Australia:

20. This caterpillar, which is able to ward off predators by displaying markings that resemble a row of teeth below two large eyes, will ultimately become a pink underwing moth. It's lucky to have this added layer of protection as its currently an endangered species:

21. Gaius Caesar, better known by his nickname Caligula (which means "little boots"), was a Roman emperor whom many believed would be a merciful and moderate leader compared to some of the tyrants who ruled before him — and sources say he was precisely that for the first six months of his reign. But then, very suddenly, he became gravely ill and this unknown illness would change him forever in strange and consequential ways. He would go on to be remembered for his murderous cruelty and his god complex, and he was eventually assassinated after a mere five years as emperor. This sapphire ring is believed to have belonged to him:

22. The Battle of Trafalgar was a great naval battle between Napoleon's France and Great Britain. Spain joined the battle as an ally of France and this is one of the flags flown on their ships:

23. This volcanic eruption in Geldingadalir, Iceland, is expected to last for quite some time; in fact, two new fissures opened up this week, causing lava to ooze from the earth in three separate locations. Fortunately, these eruptions don't post a threat to Reykjavík, though it is drawing plenty of tourists:

You can watch a 24-hour livestream of the eruption here.

And last but certainly not least...

24. Despite repeatedly rising from the ocean and destroying Tokyo, which resulted in a contentious relationship between the two, Godzilla and the nation of Japan finally reconciled their differences in 2015 when Godzilla was officially declared a Japanese citizen:

Want to see what I learned last week? Click here to find out. And click HERE to see what I learned in March.