Cyclopedia of Factoids - The Letters I-J

Entries written by Sam Vaknin for the Links and Factoids Study List


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Indians (Native Americans, Amerindians)

Native Americans are often cast in the role of victims of White aggression and unbridled avarice-driven or gratuitous violence, especially in the territories known collectively today as the United States. But the first massacre was perpetrated by Indians in the British colony Jamestown, in Virginia in 1622. They slaughtered 347 white men, women and children on that occasion.  

Europeans are also accused of importing pathogens, disease causing agents, such as smallpox and measles, malaria and yellow fever. Indigenous people had no immunological resistance to these illnesses as they were never exposed to them.

But recent findings by a team of anthropologists, economists and paleopathologists who have completed a massive study of the health of people living in the Western Hemisphere in the last 7,000 years - suggest that Native American's health was severely run down long before the Europeans delivered the coup de grace.


The researchers analyzed more than 12,500 skeletons - half of them pre-Columbian - from 65 sites in North and South America for evidence of infections, malnutrition and other health problems.


The study - "The Backbone of History: Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere", edited by Dr. Richard H. Steckel and Dr. Jerome C. Rose - discovered that the haleness of Native-Americans declined markedly in the 1000 years before Columbus "discovered" them.

The vast majority of the skeletons showed telltale signs of advanced degenerative joint disease, deteriorating dental health, stature, anemia, arrested tissue development, infections and trauma from injuries. These were attributed by the participants to limited diets and urban congestion. People became shorter and died earlier - on average at age 35 - as the centuries passed.


"Pre-Columbian populations were among the healthiest and the least healthy in our sample," Dr. Steckel and Dr. Rose said. "While pre-Columbian natives may have lived in a disease environment substantially different from that in other parts of the globe, the original inhabitants also brought with them, or evolved with, enough pathogens to create chronic conditions of ill health under conditions of systematic agriculture and urban living."


Moreover, there are signs that diseases hitherto thought to have been introduced by the white explorers were actually indigenous.1,000-year-old Peruvian mummies, for instance, were found to have been infected with tuberculosis in their lungs.


Throughout its history, it was Britain which prided itself for its splendid isolation - ostensibly aloof and detached from the petty squabbles of continental countries across the channel. Yet, the record is held not by the United Kingdom but by the United states. It was established in 1776 - yet the first time an American president ever visited Europe while in office was in 1918. In the wake of the first world war, Woodrow Wilson left Washington to participate in the peace negotiations. He stayed in Europe for 6 months to the great chagrin and consternation of his countrymen.

Israel, economy of

At $105 billion annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Israel's economy is larger than Bulgaria's ($19 billion gross domestic product per year), the Czech Republic (91), Hungary (77), Romania (53), Slovakia (27), Ukraine (47), Kazakhstan (28), Pakistan (72), Singapore (97), Vietnam (35), Argentina (99), Chile (69), Colombia (77), Kenya (10), Nigeria (45), South Africa (101), Algeria (59), Egypt (78), Iraq (26), Jordan (10), Lebanon (19) and dozens of other countries.

Israel's GDP per capita exceeds $15,600 a year. The USA spends $10 billion on foreign aid - $3 billion of which go to Israel. The USA pledged to increase its foreign aid by $5 billion as of next year.

(Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2003)

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper, who committed his atrocities in September-October 1888, was not the tall, gaunt, gothic,  dark figure we all "know" from countless movies.

Actually, he was probably seen more than once shortly before he committed his crimes.

He was described as short, stocky (stout), shabbily dressed (though a gentleman), foreign-looking  euphemism for Jewish-looking), and with a moustache. He wore a deerstalker hat (similar to Sherlock Holmes'), wore no cape and carried no cane.

Read more about this elusive figure here

Jesus, Family of

Jesus' mother, Mary, was a virgin before it gave birth to him - and remained a virgin in perpetuity. This is the official (Catholic) doctrine.

But Jesus had brothers and sisters - plenty of siblings.

St. Paul wrote (Galatians 1:18-19):

'Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But of the other apostles saw I none save James the Lord's brother."

This very same James is also the son of one, Alpheus! All the brothers of Jesus are the sons of this Alpheus whose wife's name was ... Mary!

Matthew 1:25:

"And he [Joseph] knew her [Mary] not until she had brought forth her first-born son..."

First-born meaning there were others who followed (second-born, third-born, etc.)

Matthew 13:55-56:

"Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James and Joses and Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?"

Mark 6:3 (referring to Jesus):

"Is this not the carpenter, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?"

According to both Matthew and Mark, three women stood by the cross at the crucifixion: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and of Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children (Salome). Salome was Virgin Mary's sister and, therefore, Jesus' maternal aunt.

John (an eyewitness to the events) identifies Mary as Jesus' mother - but distinguishes her from Mary, wife of Alpheus and two other women (for a total of four women rather than three):

John 19:25:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus (1) his mother, and (2) his mother's sister, (3) Mary the wife of Cleophas [Alpheus], and (4) Mary Magdalene."

Mary, wife of Alpheus, could not have been the sister of the Virgin Mary, as the Church would have us believe. In Jewish families, two sisters cannot share the same name.

John implies that Mary, mother of Jesus was not the wife of Alpheus, father of James and Joses, and Judas, and Simon, who are identified as the brothers of Jesus by all the other gospels!

Jesus, Year of Birth

Was Jesus born 2002 years ago? Was he born in year zero?

The first year AD was 1 - so, Jesus could not have been born in year zero. The very concept of zero was invented much later.

Numerous historical minutia in the gospels indicate that Jesus must have been born before 4 BC.

For example, He was said to have been born during the reign of King Herod, who died in 4 BC.

Much more here:

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