Then And Now: Our Favorite Internet Memes

1 Then: Disaster Girl

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The Disaster Girl meme started in November 2007. The photo of a smiling little girl in front of a burning house may look sinister, but the story behind the photograph is innocent. Zoe Roth was just 4 when her father, Dave Roth, took the picture.

According to Know Your Meme, the family watched the local fire department during a training exercise from across the street when Roth snapped a photo of Zoe. In November 2007, Roth entered the pic in a JPG Magazine “Emotion Capture” photo contest and titled it “Firestarter”. It won first prize, and the rest is history. 

Now: She’s All Grown Up

These days, Zoe Roth is 20 years old and can still find the humor in her famous picture. She often posts references on Instagram about the meme that made her famous. Roth shared a pic of her sitting next to a bonfire with the same expression on her face, along with the caption “In my element (get it).”

Then And Now: Our Favorite Internet Memes

Her Instagram reflects the life of a normal college-aged girl as she often posts vacation pics with her friends. She never sold the rights to the famous image and doesn’t want to be known for the meme alone. “I ultimately want people to know me for me,” she told Refinery 29.

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Funny Fun Fact

Here are some fun facts to entertain you and fuel your discussions!

  1. The photo considered to be the very first in the history of photography was taken in 1826 by Joseph Niepce. It is entitled “View From the Window” and required an 8-hour exhibition.
  2. Space smells like seared steak.
  3. Greenland Sharks can live to be over 500 years old.
  4. The moon sometimes has moonquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, these are caused by tidal stresses connected to the distance between the Earth and the moon.
  5. Rowdy goats have to wear pool noodles on their horns.
  6. Pigeons are able to differentiate between the paintings of Monet and Picasso.
  7. Bee hummingbirds are so small that they are often mistaken for insects.
  8. In 2009, research conducted by Texas researchers and published in the journal PLOS One showed that Brazilian free-tailed bats could communicate distinguishable syllables and phrases to sing a love song to attract suitors.
  9. Humans are the only animals that blush or feel embarrassed—a most complex emotion that requires understanding the opinions of others as well as other factors.
  10. Sometimes one bee stings another.
  11. Matthew McKnight was hit by a car in 2001 and has since held the record for the greatest distance thrown in a car accident. The car was travelling at 70 miles per hour and McKnight was propelled 118 feet away. Fortunately, he survived.
  12. Since 2002, in Florida, pregnant pigs are constitutionally protected against caging. This amendment considers that during pregnancy, a pig must be able to turn around freely.
  13. The very first color photo dates back to 1861. It was taken by the British physicist James Maxwell.
  14. Your nostrils can only work one at a time. This explains, among other things, why, when you have a cold, you have only one blocked nostril at a time.
  15. The wood frog can refrain from peeing for up to 8 months.
  16. It has already happened that the total weight of ants on Earth equals the total weight of humans. This would have happened about 2,000 years ago.
  17. Manatees are also known as “floaty potatoes”.
  18. The very first aerial photograph was taken by the French inventor Turnache in 1858. He photographed the city of Paris from a balloon.
  19. There are only two mammals that enjoy spicy foods: humans and tree shrews.
  20. Just like humans, koalas have fingerprints.
  21. Sea lions can dance to a beat.
  22. Looking at a picture of a cute animal can increase your productivity.
  23. According to statistics, nowadays, only 2 out of every 10 photos taken with digital cameras are printed on paper.
  24. Rabbits can’t puke.
  25. A human sneeze occurs at 100mph. That’s faster than the maximum running speed of a cheetah, 4.5 times faster than Usain Bolt’s speed record and 20 times faster than Michael Phelps.
  26. Including humans, there would be about 8.7 million species on Earth.
  27. In the United States, more humans die each year because of a cow than because of a shark.
  28. There is a giant fish with a transparent head.
  29. Being bitten by the Lone Star tick can make you allergic to red meat.
  30. Cheetahs can’t roar, but they can purr, hiss, meow, and growl, just like our house cats.