5 World Changing Decisions (Made for Ridiculous Reasons)

#2. The Motion Picture Was Invented on a Bet

Before Thomas Edison or the Brothers Lumiere, the first guy to ever shoot consecutive images and show them in motion was Eadward Muybridge, who called his invention by the slightly less catchy name of zoopraxiscope.

The development of the zoopraxiscope took Muybridge almost 10 years and was delayed by a complicated personal situation (namely his wife being boned by another dude), but his love of science was stronger than any obstacle and he continued trying until he achieved his objective.

The Arbitrary Reasons:

Did we say his love of science? We meant his love of money. Muybridge and his world changing invention were just pawns in a larger, more complex mission to settle what is without question the stupidest bet of all time.

He was employed by Leland Stanford, the former governor of California, who was apparently a very bored man. He was also very rich; a dangerous combination. Leland was a bit of a horse enthusiast and, in 1872, he took part in a high-stakes bet that sought to solve the age-old mystery: Do all the legs of a horse stop touching the ground at some point during a gallop? A firm believer that horses could for one brief instant fly, Leland offered Muybridge $25,000 to prove this to be true. He didn't care how he did it. He just wanted a picture of a floating horse, damn it.

The existence of the bet has been disputed by film historians, but they all agree that Leland did indeed pay a large amount of money to Muybridge to photograph a horse with its hooves in the air. In fact, the whole endeavor seems even more ridiculous and pointless if there was no bet involved.

Leland was so obsessed with finding the answer that, when his inventor Muybridge murdered his wife's lover, he even paid for his legal defense, ensuring that he was acquitted and could get back to the horse photographing.

The World-Changing Consequences:

Muybridge's work turned out to be instrumental to the creation of cinema. He developed a new method of fast photography for the sole purpose of catching a horse mid-gallop, and later set automatic cameras all over the side of a racetrack to capture every stage of the horse's movement. Later, he created the zoopraxiscope so he could project these images in sequence, thereby producing the first ever motion picture.

Around the same time, famed inventor and Cracked arch-enemy Thomas Alva Edison had created the phonograph. When Edison witnessed the zoopraxiscope in action, Muybridge approached him to discuss the possibility of joining their two inventions to make movies with picture and sound (about 40 years before this was actually achieved). Edison said, "No thanks," and then proceeded to copy Muybridge's invention and market it as the much more popular kinetograph.


One day we'll get you, Edison. We don't know when or even how, but we will.

#1. Nagasaki Gets the Atomic Bomb Over a Honeymoon

You know the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II, but have you ever wondered why those particular cities had to get the A-Bomb treatment? It couldn't have been an easy decision, the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians hung in the balance.

So a lot of careful consideration must have gone into choosing which cities to bomb... right?

The Arbitrary Reasons:

Well, it's true that they had a detailed report that included a list of five possible targets... which was topped by Kyoto (where the Emperor lived) and on which Nagasaki wasn't even mentioned (go on, Ctrl+F that shit). So why, then, did the U.S. choose not to bomb Kyoto, the greatest strategic target according to the report? Well, because the Secretary of War had spent his honeymoon there.

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson had admired the city and its culture ever since he visited it with his wife decades earlier. Perhaps if they'd spent more time "honeymooning" in their room rather than sightseeing, he would've been like, "Kyoto? Oh, right... I remember that... , " before grinning wickedly, thrusting his hips forward for the next 20 minutes and then giving the order to bomb it to hell.

Instead, Kyoto was vetoed by Stimson, and the new primary targets became Hiroshima and... Kokura.

Yep, Nagasaki kept getting snubbed, and it would've been saved if the weather in Kokura hadn't been cloudy that day. Due to the clouds the pilot couldn't get a clear view of his target (a factory), so he moved on to Nagasaki and dropped the bomb there.


"Fuck it."

The World-Changing Consequences:

Did we mention the Emperor lived in Kyoto? You know, the guy who surrendered and ended World War II? It's hard to imagine the military would have surrendered without him seeing as they were so willing to continue fighting that they even tried to overthrow Hirohito when he announced that he planned to surrender. So in other words, all it would have taken to extend the bloodiest war in recent history indefinitely, likely costing millions more casualties on both sides: Stimson and his wife deciding to honeymoon somewhere closer to home, or just having a little better sexual chemistry.

Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile, and when he's not being harassed by earthquakes he likes to waste his time writing back to scammers or making stupid comics.

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