Monthly Archives: May 2013

24/05/13

today I learned:

  • the asian giant hornet is not only the size of your thumb, but it also stings with acid that’ll dissolve your skin, and alert other wasps to sting you until you die. not such a friendly dude.
  • saddam hussein was awarded the key to the city of detroit in the 1980s.
  • bose (the audio company) makes car suspension that can allow a vehicle to jump over obstacles.
  • in 2010, tao bell secretly (didn’t tell anyone..) reduced the sodium content of all its food by 23% in 150 dallas restaurants, replacing the salt with “other spices and ingredients”. they received no complaints about the changes.
  • rick astley has earned $12 in royalties from rickrolling.
  • C. S. lewis married a woman to keep her from being deported, honored his commitment when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, then fell in love with her and remarried her while she was in the hospital. they lived as a married couple for 3 years before she passed away.
  • stairwells in medieval castles are curved very narrowly and are built clockwise. attackers coming up the stairs had to have their right (sword) hand against the interior curve of the wall, making it very difficult to swing their swords. defenders had their sword hands on the outside wall, giving them the advantage.
  • a mild electric shock to a person’s brain can improve their math skills for up to 6 months.
  • pencils are yellow because, in the 1890s, the world’s best pencil graphite came from china. in china, the colour yellow is associated with royalty, so american pencil manufacturers starting painting their pencils yellow to indicate they contained high-quality chinese graphite.
  • alex the parrot was trained through modelling. he’d watch his handler give treats to another human when they got questions right, so alex would get jealous and learn the answers to win his own treats.
  • 98 year old dobri dobrev is a man who lost his hearing in WWII. he walks 10k in homemade clothes to the city of sofia each day, where he begs for money. he has collected over 40,000 euros and has donated it towards the restoration of bulgarian monasteries, churches, and the bills of orphanages.
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20/05/13

today I learned:

  • frank zappa was approached by a crazed fan with a gun. zappa then persuaded him into walking with him and others to a nearby lake. he then persuaded everyone to start throwing things into the water, including the crazed fan, who threw in his gun.
  • putting hemorrhoid cream on your chest and waist can make you appear more muscular. the cream draws water from the skin and reduces swelling, which is why some bodybuilders/fitness competitors use this technique.
  • a lost wallet is more likely to be returned if it contains a photo of a baby. in one study, 88% of wallets containing a baby photo were returned, followed by wallets with a photo of a puppy (53%), family (48%), and an older couple (28%). only 15% of control wallets were returned.
  • smokers actually cost the healthcare system less because they usually die earlier.
  • it was believed that if a man had no gag reflex he must be gay. in some cases, if a man admitted to being gay in the military but gagged when tested, he wasn’t released.
  • the 5 permanent members of the UN security council account for 67% of all global arms exports.
  • the ahmadiyya muslim community collected 11,170 pints of blood (that’s enough to save 30,000 lives) in honour of the 9/11 victims 🙂

15/05/13

today I learned:

  • a narwhal’s horn is actually an erupted left tooth that can sense temperature, salinity, particle density, and can “feel”
  • albert einstein was asked to be the president of israel. he said no.
  • after dying, the victims of ancient pompeii left cavities beneath the volcanic deposits when their bodies decayed years later. when excavating, scientists filled the holes with plaster and made casts of the victims’ last moments alive.
  • the oxford english dictionary was initially constructed via cited user submissions, just like wikipedia.
  • coco chanel was a homophobe, an anti-semite, and a nazi collaborator. BUT HER DESIGNS ARE TOO NICE NOT TO WEAR RITE LADIES ?! (boooooo)
  • a trans woman wasn’t allowed to change her gender marker to female at the DMV, so she went outside and took off her shirt. she was arrested, despite being legally known as “male”
  • the full quote of “ignorance is bliss” by thomas gray is “where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise”

13/05/13

today I learned:

  • when pete conrad (astronaut and shorter than neil armstrong) stepped onto the moon during apollo 12, his first words were “whoopie! man, that may have been a small one for neil, but that was a long one for me”
  • 90% of all adoptions in japan are adult adoptions (men in their 20s-30s). this is mostly because business leaders want to ensure they have a son to take over their business.
  • ben cohen, the co-founder of ben and jerry’s icecream, doesn’t have a sense of smell. because of this, he compensates for his lack of taste by adding big pieces of fruit to the icecream, successfully satisfying his need for texture in food.
  • there is a mountain in australia named mount disappointment. it was named so, because the explorers found the view from it “sub par” and wanted its name to reflect that.
  • in 2004, an elephant charged and killed a mother and her child, then proceeded to bury the bodies before leaving the scene.
  • ernest hemingway took a urinal from his favourite bar and moved it into his own home, arguing that he had “pissed away” so much of his money into that urinal that he owned it.
  • fred armisen (from SNL and portlandia) was once a member of the blue man group.
  • if you have 23 people in a room, there’s a 50/50 chance two people have the same birthday, if there are 57 people, there’s a 99% chance.
  • steve jobs had a highschool GPA of 2.65 
  • the CEO of abercrombie & fitch went on record saying he doesn’t want “fat or unattractive people” wearing his clothes nor does he want them to be employed at his company. oh, and by the way, he’s not the most attractive bloke himself

02/05/13

today I learned:

  • in 2006, australia tried to sell new zealand on ebay.
  • after a massive power outage in los angeles, police received numerous 911 calls by people reporting they were seeing “strange clouds overhead”. it was the milky way.
  • when ben & jerry’s was founded, they had a 5 to 1 salary ratio policy, meaning the highest paid employee could only make 5 times the lowest’s salary.
  • the british crown had at least a 15% approval rating during the revolutionary war. that’s higher than the current approval rating of the US congress, at 13%
  • despite sharing the same oral language, british, irish, australian, and america sign language are completely different languages.

01/05/13

today I learned:

  • there is a weight limit for donating your body to science (300 pounds is the limit. I swear I saw some big bods at the “bodies” exhibit, though…)
  • in 2008, norway knighted a penguin.
  • the “pinky promise” originally meant that if the person didn’t keep their promise, their pinky finger would be chopped off. FAIR IS FAIR AMIRIGHTYAFREAKOS?!
  • in europe, until the 17th century, teenage boys were routinely masturbated by their nannies to get a good night sleep. how kind.
  • katt williams is the father of eight– one biological son and seven adopted children.
  • albert einstein would appear to women in a silk bathrobe and would have it “accidentally” pop open….he would then make a move depending on the woman’s reaction.