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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