Did You Know- What do you know that isn'

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Did You Know: What do you know that isn't so? You know what they say… it's not what you don't know that will hurt you, it's what you know that isn't so! In other words, your misconceptions.

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Where is Persia, and what language do they speak?. There’s no country called ‘Persia’ anymore. Persians speak a language called ‘Farsi’. Persians are the main majority and dominant ethnic group of Iran. However they are also found as minorities in other countries, particularly Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, though in these countries they are usually thought of as sub-groups. Significant numbers of Persians also reside outside of Iran, with the largest communities found in the United States, Germany, England, Canada, Kuwait, Turkey and UAE. Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, and the UAE also have large populations of Persian descendents, referred to as Ajamis. Since the Sassanian era the country has been known to its own people as Iran; however, to the western world, the official name of Iran from the 6th century BCE until 1935 was Persia Nowadays, both Persia and Iran are used interchangeably in cultural contexts; however, Iran is the name used officially in political contexts.

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Where is Wonderland? Once Alice falls through the rabbit-hole into Wonderland, the reality that surrounds her undergoes profound change while her strategies for dealing with that reality do not. Wonderland presents her with a myriad of shifting categories; boundaries — such as those between animal and human, decorum and rudeness, order and chaos — are continually violated. Alice, a stranger to Wonderland, realizes the fantastical nature of the world that surrounds her and must constantly work to navigate and understand it.  In her first experiences with Wonderland, Alice clings to the logic and behavior approved for her reality; Wonderland will soon challenge this reliance since its ground rules correspond neither to those of the real world nor to those of Wonderland.

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Where is Bombay? Mumbai  formerly called Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It was officially changed to its Marathi pronunciation of Mumbai in November 1995. The former name Bombay had its origins in the 16th century when the Portuguese arrived in the area and called it by various names, which finally took the written form Bombaim After the British gained possession of the city in the 17th century, it was believed to be anglicised to Bombay. The city was known as Mumbai or Mambai to Marathi speakers and as Bambai in Hindi, Persian and Urdu. Mumbai is built on what was once an archipelago of seven islands: Bombay Island, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli and Old Woman’s Island.

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Where is the River Kwai? The largely fictitious film plot is loosely based on the building in 1943 of one of the railway bridges over the Mae Klong – renamed Kwae Yai in the 1960s—at a place called Tha Ma Kham, five kilometres from the Thai town of Kanchanaburi. The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. It was completed and operational by early February 1943. The incidents portrayed in the film are mostly fictional, and though it depicts bad conditions and suffering caused by the building of the Burma Railway and its bridges, to depict the reality would have been too appalling for filmgoers. Historically the conditions were much worse than depicted.

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What is the Romantic element on Valentine’s Day? Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Both Valentines were martyred between AD197-AD269. No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs and the films on view here have nothing to do with their Martyrdom. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the fourteenth century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost. In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed. However, this is still celebrated here in Balzan-Malta where relics of the saint are claimed to be found

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Were the facts about the BOUNTY all true? The mutiny on the Bounty is a mutiny that occurred aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789, and has been commemorated by several books, films, and popular songs, many of which take considerable liberties with the facts. The ship was built in 1784 at the Blaydes shipyard in Hull. The only two men ever to command her as the Bounty were Lt. William Bligh and Fletcher Christian, the latter illegally taking command through mutiny.  Though Bligh is commonly portrayed as the epitome of abusive sailing captains (as seen in all the movies that came out) this portrayal has recently come into dispute.  Bligh was relatively lenient compared with other British naval officers. The ship had been purchased by the Royal Navy for a single mission in support of an experiment: she was to travel to Tahiti, pick up breadfruit plants, and transport them to the West Indies in hopes that they would grow well there and become a cheap source of food for slaves. Bligh and his crew spent five months in Tahiti. On 28 April 1789, some 1,300 miles west of Tahiti, near Tonga, mutiny broke out. Contrary to what we saw on the screen, the ship was taken bloodlessly and apparently without struggle.

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Are the historical facts about the way the Nun's story came into existence, accurate? The Nun's Story is the title of a 1956 novel by Kathryn Hulme. She wrote the book based partly upon the experiences of her friend, Marie Louise Habets of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, a Belgian nurse and an ex-nun . The lead character of the book, Sister Luke (real name Gabrielle Van Der Mal) finds her faith tested in Africa where she finds herself at odds with headstrong Dr. Fortunati, operator of a remote Congo hospital. Sister Luke is stretched between her desire to be faithful to the rule of her congregation and her desire to be a nurse. Fans of this film might enjoy knowing how someone living a life under religious vows views the film's accuracy.  Many of the customs of religious life depicted in the film were phased out, de-emphasized or abandoned after Vatican II. The emphasis nowadays is on being honest about one's failings.  The superior general of a religious order like the one depicted in the film has no equal in rank anywhere in the entire community. The bottom line is while the film and novel both sensationalize and dramatize religious life the depiction of religious life in the early 1900's is pretty accurate.   In real life, Marie Louise Habets entered the convent two weeks after a brief interview with the superior general, Mother Xaverine. Today, months (if not a couple of years) of discernment would take place and the aspirant would be expected to pass a series of psychological tests.

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Is the footage used in the film equivalent to true historic archive material? Malta Story is a 1953 black and white war film based on the heroic defence of Malta, the island itself, its people and the RAF aviators who fought to defend it. In 1942, Britain is trying hard to keep Malta while invasion seems imminent and Italians and Germans are regularly bombing the airfields and towns regardless. The RAF fight to survive against the odds using the few planes available. In the meantime, the situation becomes desperate. Many civilians are buried daily under the rubble, and famine is threatening their survival, as relief convoys become easy prey to the numerous attacks by air. The island relies on the last few ships of a convoy for supplies. Many air raids take place either to defend the island with Spitfires or a number of torpedo planes, like the Beauforts, which succeed in sinking Italian tankers. Filmed on location, the film boasts some exceptional aerial photography. The unique footage used in the film is equivalent to true historic archive material. Additionally, many scenes were shot next to the real types of aircraft still available in Malta at that time, some of which did not exist any longer elsewhere. The Spitfires shown in action are, however, mainly of the later IX, XIV and XVI types that flew from Malta after 1943-44. In 1942, the RAF was mainly using the V type only that appears rarely in the film. In the footage, one can see however the planes that attacked Malta, such as the Italian SM79 and the German Bf 109F.

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It seems the film, though outstanding, was filled with anachronisms! The film is based on the true story of Eric Liddle and Harold Abrahams  who ran for British and Scottish gold in the 1924 Olympics despite great personal obstacles. It seemed a triumph of film-making on its 1981 release. In some ways that actually benefits the film as its true age somehow helps its 1920s setting but other aspects suffer. The score by Vangelis, for instance, remains impressive but its electronic sound is so obviously 1980s that it jars against the period detail. Chariots of Fire tells the story of the British triumphs at the 1924 Olympics, where the UK representatives took a number of medals over the heavily-favored Americans. In the film we see many flags, but in the 1920s, the Canadian flag was either the Union Jack or the Canadian Red Ensign. The red maple leaf flag was not introduced until 1965.  We also see a five-striped red-yellow-blue-white-black flag flying next to the US flag in the stadium. Although this is the correct flag for the Republic of China in 1924, China did not participate in the Olympics until 1932. In the first Cambridge scene, set in 1919, passengers are seen on the railway station's footbridge. In fact, pressure from 19th century Cambridge University leaders opposed to railways led to special conditions being imposed on the station before it was constructed, and one of these was that it must have no footbridges.

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The End

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