The Secrets of the FBI by New York Times bestselling author Ronald Kessler reveals the FBI’s most closely guarded secrets and the secrets of celebrities, politicians, and movie stars uncovered by agents during their investigations.
Based on inside access, the book presents revelations about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, the recent Russian spy swap, Marilyn Monroe’s death, Vince Foster’s suicide, and J. Edgar Hoover’s sexual orientation. For the first time, it tells how the FBI caught spy Robert Hanssen in its midst and how the FBI breaks into homes, offices, and embassies to plant bugging devices without getting caught.
From Watergate to Waco, from congressional scandals to the killing of bin Laden, The Secrets of the FBI presents headline-making disclosures about the most important figures and events of our time.
1. Every two minutes we snap more pictures than the whole of humanity did in the 1800s.
It’s estimated only a few million pictures were taken in the 80 years before the first commercial camera was introduced. In 1999, the peak of the film-camera industry, Kodak reported that people took around 80 bn photos. Nowadays it is very hard to estimate how many photos are taken annually, but here are some statistics for 2015. According to Benedict Evans, People share 730 bn photos per year on Facebook, 255 bn – on WhatsApp and around 22 bn – on Instagram. And don’t even get us started on Snapchat, Apple’s iMessage, WeChat and other small messaging and photo-sharing apps. We can only estimate that around 3 trillion of photos will be taken this year. Or more! 😳
2. Cheerleader effect: Individuals seem more attractive on group photos than on individual portraits.
Thinking about uploading a new photo on Facebook? Better pick one where you are around friends! According to the research of Drew Walker and Edward Vul at the University of California, individual faces appear more attractive when presented in a group than when presented alone. This phenomenon was called the “Cheerleader effect”. 👯
3. Cameras that captured the Moon’s surface for the first time were left there because of their weight.
The Moon serves as a cosmic graveyard for 12 Hasselbald cameras – astronauts abandoned them when leaving the Earth’s satellite. These cameras shot iconic images of the Moon’s surface and were left behind to allow for the 25kg of lunar rock samples to be carried back instead. 🌚
4. People started making funny cats photos in the 19th century.
Images and videos of cats create one of the most viewed content on the Internet – and let’s admit it, we are very happy about it. Interesting thing is, cats have been viral since the 1870s when the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer became famous for his funny cat pictures. Pointer began his career taking conventional photos of cats but soon realized that people enjoyed more pictures of cats in ridiculous poses, unusual settings or with a silly facial expression. 😺
5. The largest photo competition ever held received 353, 768 entries.
According to the Gunnies Book of World Records, the largest photography competition entrant is achieved by Vereniging Wikimedia Nederland from the Netherlands at the Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 competition. From the 1st of September to the 15th of October, exactly 353, 768 photos were submitted to the contest. Wiki Loves Monuments is an annual photo competition held by the Wikipedia community members. Participants submit pictures of different historical monuments and heritage sites. This is the winning photo was taken by Parnav Singh. 📷
6. People never smiled on the old photos because they had to stay still for hours.
Over the years, many theories have popped up trying to explain why people never smiled in old photographs. The most popular ones were that people didn’t want to show their bad teeth or that people thought smiling made them look ridiculous. In fact, due to insanely long exposure times, making one shot took hours. Try to keep a smiling face for a couple of hours – not only your facial muscles will start killing you after a while – your smile will look more creepy than sincere. 😶
7. A photo of a cute child in your wallet will save your money.
If you want your lost wallet to be returned, take some precautions: put a photo of a baby there! A studyby a Scottish psychologist Richard Wiseman showed that you have more chances to have your wallet returned if there is a picture there. Researchers “lost” 240 wallets with the contact information of the “owners” on the streets of Edinburgh, to see how many of them would be returned. The rate was pretty high: 42% of the wallets were posted back in total. Thus, 88% of the wallets that contained a picture of an infant were returned, followed by 53% ”return rate” of the wallets that contained a picture of a puppy. Of those picturing a family photo, 48% were returned, and 28% of those with a photo of an elderly couple. The wallets with no pictures were returned only in 15% of the cases. 👶🏻
8. The inventor of photography was better known for his invention of propeller and boats.
Cameras existed way before photographs were invented – they evolved from camera obscura and have been changing throughout centuries. The fist somewhat successful photograph was taken in approximately 1816 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. This took him eight hours of exposure to light, and the picture still was fuzzy. Maybe that’s why during his lifetime, Niépce was better known for his invention of a propeller for boats. Here is how the first photo ever taken looks like:
9. The left side of our faces looks better on photographs than the right side.
If you are familiar with the situation when you are trying to figure out, which angle should be picked for a perfect selfie, think no more! The study by Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo from Wake Forest University showed that the left side of our faces is perceived as more attractive than the right side. The research suggests that the left side of our face tends to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing. 🐺
10. The most viewed photograph in history is the Windows XP’s default wallpaper called “Bliss”.
Bliss was taken in 1996 (years before Windows XP was launched) in Sonoma County, California by an American photographer Charles O’Rear. He snapped the picture on film with a medium-format camera. Although many claim that the photo was digitally manipulated, O’Rear claims it never was. Right now the landscape looks different – grapevines were planted on the hill so now Bliss is impossible to duplicate. 🙏
Melissa & Doug (formerly known as Lights, Camera, Interaction!, Inc) is an American manufacturer and purveyor of children’s toys that makes wooden puzzles, arts & crafts products, plush toys and other educational toys. It was founded by Melissa and Doug Bernstein in their basement and in Doug’s parents’ garage in 1988. All products are designed in-house at the company’s Wilton, Connecticut headquarters by a team of designers led by Melissa.
The company has manufacturing sites in both the U.S. and abroad with about 1,000 employees worldwide, including some in China. A 2013 New York Timesprofile reported that it has had double digit growth every year.
In a 2016 Good Morning America profile, Melissa Bernstein shared her belief that through imaginary play, kids explore, create, take risks, and discover who they really are. The Melissa & Doug philosophy matches the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ recommendation that parents limit screen time for young children.
The private company was founded in 1988 when the co-founders left corporate careers to start their own company. Three of their four parents were educators, so they were drawn to doing something involving children. The first product that brought them attention was the Fuzzy Farm Puzzle, a wooden puzzle with texture. An extensive line of wooden puzzles followed. For more than ten years, the company produced puzzles before expanding into wooden toys, arts & crafts, pretend play, plush toys, and more. According to Good Morning America, the company has made more than 5,000 products, putting them “…in the same league as toy titans Mattel and LEGO.”
You On Kazoo! and Brett Ambler
From 1989 to 1991, the company produced three short films by Melissa and Doug Bernstein to promote their products, under the “Lights, Camera, Interaction!” banner and under the name “Special Friends”, the first was 1989’s “You On Kazoo!”, it did really well that the 8-year-old star of “You On Kazoo!”, Brett Ambler was brought back for two more short films starring him, “Let’s Sing-Along” in 1990, which came out with a microphone toy, and “Ring-Along, Sing-Along” in 1991, which came out with a bell-ringing toy. You On Kazoo! was uploaded to Youtube in 2014, and it became a “viral” meme; the video was remixed by Mike Diva in February 2016 and Florian Rehn Olsson sampled the video in his Soundcloud song “dootdoot”. Brett Ambler would go on to narrate some commercials, Dr. Seuss projects and video projects that were produced by Random House Publishing. Following the success of the campaign Ambler continued acting and was interviewed by Channel One iTV in Missouri in 2016.
The company sponsors an entrepreneurship program at Duke University, the Bernsteins’ alma mater, providing funding and mentors throughout the year. Melissa and Doug Bernstein personally assist students in the program.