Dogs are friendly creatures. Consider Dormie, who was put on trial in 1921 for killing cats but was found not guilty, which is as close as we can get to a legal ruling declaring he’s a good boy. We bred friendliness into dogs over the course of many centuries. Dogs are genetically different from their ancestors, the wolves, who were friendly only occasionally.
But this friendliness gene has some other possible effects. Find out below, along with some information about a truly noteworthy sandwich.
A World of Babel
“It’s all Greek to me,” we say, about something unintelligible. In Bulgaria, they say, “It’s like you’re speaking Patagonian.” The Czechs say, “This is a Spanish village to me.” While the Albanians say, “Please stop speaking Chinese.”
In 1816, America started work on a fort on Lake Champlain, to guard against Canada. A year into construction, surveyors realized they were actually building the fort in Canada itself, and they had to abandon it.
In 2014, police at a New York bus station saw a man with a toy stuffed lion, wearing a D.A.R.E. shirt. The lion’s shirt read “D.A.R.E. to resist drugs and violence.” Police searched the lion and found it contained weed, cocaine and LSD.
The Handy Acorn
During the Civil War, one tool for carrying secret messages was a brass object shaped like an acorn. This object went in the rectum.
Go On and On
New Zealand has siren battles, where each car has dozens of speakers to blast music the loudest. Rather than heavy metal, music with low bass is the most effective, which is why Celine Dion songs are especially popular.
There’s a reason slot machines traditionally show pictures of fruit, as well as the mysterious word “BAR.” Originally, these machines dispensed chewing gum as prizes. The fruits represent different gum flavors, and “BAR” derives from a logo for an old chewing gum company.
Wood is judged by how hard it is, and this is measured using something called the Janka Hardness Test. The wood is scored according to how much force is necessary to fire a steel ball at it so hard that the ball stays embedded.
I Love Trash
A decade ago, Sweden was building a system of burning waste to produce heat and electricity. Unfortunately, it turns out garbage isn’t as energy-dense as other fuels, so they soon found they didn’t have enough garbage to feed the furnaces they’d built.
More Lying Crooks
Your car’s gas gauge says the tank is full before you’ve really filled the tank, and it goes on saying the tank is full for quite a bit after it starts to empty. The reason is that if drivers see the gauge go down soon after filling up, they’ll feel unsatisfied too quickly.
Beer on Tap
In Germany and Belgium, trucks sometimes can’t transport beer away from breweries fast enough. Several cities set up beer pipelines that send the stuff continuously to taverns. They also construct special temporary beer pipelines for festivals.
A Business Gamble
In 1975, FedEx was out of money. Founder Fred Smith took the last $5,000 to Vegas and hit the blackjack tables. Losing this might have earned him a reprimand or two, but he came away with $27,000 and wired it back to the company.
The Nice Gene
We can trace the friendliness of dogs to a specific gene not present in wild animals. This same gene can appear in human DNA, in which case it expresses itself as a developmental disorder known as Williams-Beuren syndrome.
The Romans enjoyed dining on a hallucinogenic fish, known as sea bream. The fish doesn’t qualify as a psychedelic, but it does qualify as a deliriant — i.e., it makes you delirious.
The Science of Stereotypes
One popular idea says we’re either ectomorphs, mesomorphs or endomorphs, depending on whether our digestive tract, muscles or nerves dominate. According to one theory, ectomorphs are smart, mesomorphs are competitive and endomorphs are selfish. In other news, some theories are stupid.
Iran put together a giant sandwich in 2008, containing over a ton of meat, which was a mixture of chicken and ostrich. They had Guinness World Records on hand to document the feat. But before the judges could measure the sandwich, a crowd came and started eating it. They finished it within minutes.