At one of my home boards, Penny Arcade, you'll find a thread called the 'Cool Stuff From History Thread', started last July. In this thread, PA forumers are invited to try and one-up each other with the most interesting anecdotes from history that they can come up with. They are very, very good at this game.
How good? Within two pages of the thread's commencement, forumers provided:
*Excerpts from a manual given to British servicemen preparing to occupy Germany in 1944.
*The cultural significance of Pacific ocean currents shipwrecking boats set adrift, up to and including three Japanese fishermen who in 1832 broke through Japan's then-closed borders completely by accident and wound up in Washington State.
*Evidence that even though the New World was famously handed smallpox blankets by the Europeans, the the New World had something of their own to give: syphilis, which went back to Europe with Columbus.
*An ammunition carrier for Poland in World War 2, who also happened to be a bear.
*Parachutes for supply drops in the Spanish Civil War, that also happened to be live turkeys.
*Color-coded war plans drawn up by the United States after World War 1 to deal with a wide variety of potential hostile forces, some much more likely than others. War Plan Black was for war with Germany, War Plan Orange dealt with Japan, War Plan Indigo was just in case Iceland wanted to start something, War Plan Red was for war with Great Britain (and various shades of red were assigned to various British colonies; Canada got crimson). The basic strategy for World War 2 ended up stemming from one of the plans assuming a war on multiple fronts, called Rainbow 5; and Herbert Hoover's attack on the Bonus Army in 1932, led by Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, came out of the plan for domestic unrest, War Plan White.
The thread is now 63 pages, and one of the better more recent entries in the thread is by forumer 'Knuckle Dragger', who on page 60 tells the story of the various attempts to irrigate the Salton Sink, an area in southeastern California stretching from Palm Springs to Yuma, Arizona to the border town of Mexicali, centering on the Salton Sea. Knuckle Dragger's story tells about how the Salton Sea was created. Geologically, the entire sink was flooded by runoff from the Colorado River, which eventually put enough silt into the area to block any further flow. The Salton Sea, long story short because I wish to send you to Knuckle Dragger's writeup, was created when various businessmen looking to irrigate the region attempted to build canals. The water in the canals thereby bypassed the silt... and then the canals... and nearly flooded the entire sink all over again. The Salton Sea is made up of the water that remained after railroad magnate Edward Harriman spent vast amounts of money to get levees built that would drive the water back.
In later decades, to keep that from happening again, the Hoover Dam was built.