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4thJulygirls

In pictures: A 100 years of 4th of July celebrations

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The first officially celebrated Independence Day in 1777 was marked in a way that would be very familiar to most modern Americans. There was an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts were made and 13-gun salutes fired. There were speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.

A year earlier, founding father John Adams had written to his wife Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

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29 American customs that surprise the rest of the world

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You might think over the last few years America’s popularity around the world has taken something of a battering. Yet the annual Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, an international survey measuring the popularity of countries around the world by polling 20,000 people across 20 countries, says otherwise. In fact, in this year’s survey, the United States came second behind Germany and just ahead of the UK. But despite all the love and respect for many aspects of the American way of life, there are many American customs that non-Americans find, frankly, bizarre. To see for yourself, here are 29 recently shared on Reddit.

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Folk of Genius: The 5 most unusual habits of Jack Kerouac

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For many people today, The “father of the Beat Generation” Jack Kerouac epitomizes the romance of the open road and the passion of mad wanderings. He has become an icon of wanderlust, a role model for those that wish to emulate his life of spontaneity and perpetual restlessness, moving from one city to another, one woman to another.

In reality, Kerouac was an intensely complicated man, filled with contradictions. Let’s take a look at five unique habits of Kerouac that just might shatter some of your preconceived illusions about the mythical author.

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Folk of Genius: The 5 unusual habits of Ernest Hemingway

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Hey, we’re all creative, right? But what differentiates my papier-mâché Halloween masks or your colourfully crocheted undergarments from the Nobel Prize-winning artworks of somebody like, say, Ernest Hemingway? Well, maybe Ernest was just a little stranger than you or me. New studies show that both creativity and eccentricity may be the result of genetic variations that increase the brain’s ability to filter out useless distractions and just get on with it. Well, Papa certainly got on with it – but just how peculiar was he?

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The 5 unusual habits of Audrey Hepburn

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Well, we all know there’s nothing ordinary about a genius, and scientists now tell us that the ability of these brainiacs to tenaciously press their noses to the grindstone can throw off some pretty extraordinary sparks – behavioural side-effects that might explain some of the more unexpected quirks of our most beloved heroes and heroines. We’ve been taking a closer look at these wonderfully talented individuals, now it’s the turn of someone very close to our hearts. Audrey Hepburn – step on up!

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Folk of Genius: The 5 unusual habits of Andy Warhol

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Eccentricity and genius go hand in hand, right? Well, so the scientists would have us believe: research suggests that peculiar habits and behaviours are quirky side-effects of the kind of clever thinking that gets the Big Results. And as artistic oomph goes, one of the Twentieth Century Greats has to be Andy Warhol – everybody’s favourite mop-headed Pop Art supremo. So, other than screen-printing his way into every student bedroom in the Western World, what did our Andy get up to?

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