It's time again for everyone who hasn't filed their taxes to start freaking out about how much work they've left to the last minute. Fortunately, people have been up against much more uncomfortable walls with much less time to spare. And they've done some pretty mind-blowing things ...
8Macedonia Plants 6 Million Trees in One Day
Of all the troubling statistics that hippies shout at us as we pretend to be on our phone to avoid signing their petitions, the ones about how much rain forest is cut or burned down each day are always some of the most troubling. In 2008, after two summers of wildfires laid waste to their forests, the citizens of Macedonia didn't need anyone to tell them their forests were in trouble. And so they decided to put all those trees back ... in one day. The simplistic plan must have been the laughingstock of the green movement. Everyone knows you have to get Bono to attend one of your parties before your nonprofit is taken seriously.
"Remember to budget the $300 per hour for the lady who points at the word 'strategy' all day."
Not realizing that they hadn't done any of that, on November 19, 2008, the citizens of Macedonia got together and planted a total of 6 million trees -- three trees for every human in the country. Thousands of people were bused around the country to planting sites. "Just as we take care of our homes, we should take care of our planet," said one of the citizens who took part in the planting, and then "I don't know what you're talking about" when asked which ad agency had come up with that slogan.
By the way, here's how big Macedonia is compared to a chunk of the United States:
The next year, when the fires took their toll again, Macedonians had another planting day, where they put down another 6 million trees. They did it again last year, when they put down 7 million. By November 2011, they had planted 44 million new trees (with only two days of planting a year).
Macedonia: Now buried beneath three layers of trees.
In addition to helping out their homeland, the organizers were hoping to send the world a message about how much you can do to fight global warming if you put just a little effort into it. You have to admit that a tiny country of 2 million people planting 6 million trees in a single day makes that point a lot better than some hippie shaming you with buzzwords.
7George Washington Builds a Frozen City in the Night Like It Ain't a Thing
One of the key battles of the Revolutionary War was won not by fighting but by pushing a lot of heavy things around in the middle of the night. George Washington's army was moving on British-occupied Boston, but with the British well-defended and able to see them coming, they needed some kind of edge.
Well, yes, this is obvious to us now, but remember that they had much smaller brains back then.
Washington went with what we will call the "instant fort" plan, where the British would go to bed to an empty hillside and wake up in the shadow of a fortified bank of cannons pointing down at them. This involved sneaking over 60 cannons up a hill right in front of the town, as well as all the materials for fortifications.
On March 4, 1776, they wrapped their wagon wheels with straw to deaden the sound, put hay bales between whatever they were moving and the city and did the impossible, just like Washington asked.
Stealth equipment in the 1700s was not as cool-looking as it is today.
By morning, there was an impressive fortification staring down on the city, stirring British general William Howe to say, "The rebels have done more in one night than my whole army would have done in a month." Which implies that either the Revolutionary Army had accomplished an extraordinary feat or that the British Army was mostly worthless.
Howe's first plan was to attack, but a sudden storm gave him some time to think about it, as well as giving Washington some time to keep building his fortifications. By the time the storm cleared up, Washington's instant fort was impressive enough that Howe decided to head out. Washington had basically managed to take a city with the military equivalent of flexing his muscles.
"You think this is nonchalant? I can get at least 15 percent more nonchalant than this."