15 Flurries of Trivia That Dusted Us This Week

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15 Flurries of Trivia That Dusted Us This Week

As winter rolls closer, we’re brainstorming ways to keep warm. Maybe we can drink brandy, maybe we can set fire to cheese or maybe we should cuddle a dog. Or maybe brainstorming is itself a path toward warmth. The brain consumes some 500 calories a day, and all that energy is converted to heat. Read some facts, simmer some blood and distract yourself from the coming wind. 

Thrilling Adventure

Shoppers distrusted the first escalator, which debuted in London in 1898. To treat customers’ varying levels of distress, the store stationed a butler at the top, to offer either smelling salts or a drink of brandy

Cursed House

Walt Disney’s mother suffocated to death. The culprit was a faulty furnace in the home Disney had bought his parents that year for their 50th wedding anniversary. 

Broken Car

The rear windows of cars traditionally did not roll down all the way. This wasn’t a safety feature, like some people suppose, or any other intentional choice. The glass pane simply has no room to further descend, thanks to the placement of the rear wheels.

Morgue Sandwiches

If you happen to spend a lot of time preserving corpses, you may come down with a case of formaldehyde hunger. The preservation fluid enters your system and acts as an appetite stimulant. 

Green Energy

One town in France generates its electricity from cheese. Albertville has a power plant that grabs whey from cheesemaking and lets bacteria feed on the stuff to release biogas. 

Medieval town of Conflans, Albertville

Markus Schweiss

It’s enough power for 1,500 people, which is not much but 1,500 more than we’d think.

Hug Your Dog

Sometimes, when a dog has a bad day, it will stay up late at night thinking about it. It will more easily go to sleep if a human is nearby to comfort it. 

The Scenic Route

America imports a lot of processed chicken meat from China — a lot of processed American chicken meat from China. It’s cheaper to ship the stuff to China and back then to pay workers to process the stuff domestically. 

Agree?

You know those surveys that ask how much you like a statement — somewhat agree or disagree, strongly agree or disagree or neutral? There’s a name for that scale: the Likert Scale. It’s not named because it tells whether you like-ert but after a man named Rensis Likert.

Too Much Is Not Enough

When you drink too much in Russia, they have a word for that: Перепить. However, even when you drink more than your body can handle, you may drink less than you’d like to. Russians have derived a word for this combination as well: Недоперепил.

Diplomatic Faux Pas

A Saudi billionaire bought his way into becoming a diplomat for St. Lucia, to escape having to pay an ex a divorce settlement. Unfortunately for him, it turns out diplomatic immunity doesn’t have much do to with divorce law. His ploy failed, and he had to pay up. 

The Roman Rooster

We have lots of kiddie jokes about how the bird Turkey has the same name as the country Turkey. Turkey (the country) itself doesn’t call the bird that. They call it “Hindi,” and several other countries call it “Indian bird.” In Portugal, the bird is called “Peru.”

The Pendle Witches

In England in 1612, a nine-year-old girl sentenced her mother, brother and sister to die as witches. We’re not totally sure what happened to the girl next, but years later, someone with her name was also executed for witchcraft

Cerebral Cryptography

Greek history tells of Histiaeus of Miletus sending a secret message to the Greeks by tattooing it on a slave’s head. He waited for the slave’s hair to grow back before sending him on his journey. This was not a very fast way of sending a message. 

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

Take comfort in knowing that you’re not a starfish. Sometimes, when hit by the right virus, a starfish’s legs will spontaneously rip off and walk away from it. 

The Persistence of Cat Pee

In 2014, Los Alamos scientists added kitty litter to a nuclear waste barrel before sending it to a dump. This is standard, actually. But they happened to use the wrong kind of kitty litter, and the barrel exploded. Cleanup took three years and cost $2 billion.    

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