15 Leftovers of Trivia We Nibbled on This Week
This Thanksgiving, conversation around the dinner table covered all the usual topics. You know the ones. Irish drinking laws. People being boiled alive. What chimps do to fit in. And, of course, bees. In case your own holiday was not quite as interesting, we saved up some of these facts so we can share them with you.
The Sea-Loving Gene
People use the word “thalassophilia” online to describe how much they love the ocean. Originally, the word described that love as a genetic condition. The gene is carried on the Y chromosome, theorized confused 20th-century scientists, which explained why men go to sea so much.
When a museum wants to put a skeleton on display, they have two options. They can boil the flesh off the subject’s bones. Or, they use flesh-eating beetles to remove all that unwanted meat from the specimen. Many museums therefore choose to employ dermestid beetles as permanent staff.
The Fattest Man
Every family in Ethiopia’s Bodi tribe is expected to fatten up one man to enter into the Fattest Man Contest. They bulk up by drinking a mixture of milk and cow’s blood, and the winner is hailed as a hero.
The Forgotten Bush
Why are tea and coffee the only plants we boil for their caffeine? In America, they used to make drinks from a native plant called Yyupon. Europeans called it Ilex vomitoria because it made people vomit, but other than that, it makes for a decent beverage.
Sex Just Got Worse
Ebola be transmitted sexually. Of course, your partner probably doesn’t have Ebola, but keep in mind that men retain Ebola in semen long after otherwise recovering from the disease.
The Boiled Man
When Moosie the dog jumped into a hot spring in Yellowstone, his owner David Kirwan jumped in after him to save him. “That was stupid,” he said afterward. “That was a stupid thing I did.” The burns killed him within a day.
We’ve all heard of the awful traditional Chinese practice of foot-binding, but few write-ups about the process reveal just why men sought women with bound feet. It wasn’t because feet looked good this way. It was because people believed that bound feet led to tighter vaginas.
Apes Are Dumber Together
Scientists taught a chimpanzee a new method of cracking open nuts. Then they introduced him to a group of untrained chimps to see if he’d teach the rest. He abandoned the new method and imitated the dumber chimps.
And Now a Word
Lockheed Martin sponsors NCIS: Los Angeles. This is surprising because they do not advertise during the show, and their name appears nowhere in the show, but they still consider funding the show to be a good investment.
Third-degree burns are likely the most serious sort of burns you’ll hear about. The scale goes further than that, however. Fourth-degree burns go deeper than just the skin. If it reaches the bone, it can even be a sixth-degree burn.
The Lesbian Rule
A Lesbian rule was a type of tool, a flexible ruler. Though it was not straight, that name isn't intended as a gay reference. It was named for the island of Lesbos.
Worker bees are controlled by pheromones, and if you spray the right chemical at a victim, worker bees will attack them. This chemical, isopentyl acetate, smells like banana oil, so we’ll recommend avoiding eating bananas when you’re near bees.
Caesarean sections are not named after Julius Caesar. Nor was Julius Caesar born via Caesarean. There was a Roman law called the Lex Caesarea, related to cutting babies from dead mothers, but the Caesarean is a different procedure, which was impossible in those days.
Pet cats are living a lot longer than they used to. Forty years ago, a pet cat would typically die at around seven years old. Today, a cat will easily live to be twice that age.
Until the year 2000, Ireland had a law that said any establishment that served alcohol at night had to also serve a substantial meal. So, for half an hour each night, clubs would turn up the lights, turn off the music and hand out plates of curry.