15 Mountains of Trivia We Scaled This Week

Dinosaurs can still kill you. Good news!
15 Mountains of Trivia We Scaled This Week

We’ve stepped into a new year, and so far, things are going great. For starters, there have been absolutely no miserable Sundays this year, and we trust this trend will continue. We’ve also had no hurricanes in 2024 and not a single one of those scary full moons. We have, however, stumbled upon several intriguing facts — some entertaining and some frightening. You better read them all before it’s too late. 

Dino Attack

In 2021, a man in Spain leaned close to examine a public statue of a stegosaurus. He dropped his phone into the hollow statue and fell inside trying to retrieve it. People only noticed him quite a while afterward, when they smelled his corpse. 

The Language Grail

Everyone knows that the Rosetta Stone was a useful archaeological tool for decoding languages. What most people don’t know, however, is just what was written on the stone. A big chunk of it boringly details tax law

Evaluate, Mitigate, Prepare

In 2011, the Defense Department produced a plan for how the nation should respond in the event of a zombie attack. Though zombies will likely never attack, the plan proved a useful exercise in how to write plans. 

The Magic Bag

Firefighters have a tool when they’re stranded in the woods and fire is approaching, offering no escape. They carry a big aluminum bag they can slip into. It traps enough breathable air to sustain them for a little while and blocks the approaching heat. 

Nice and Toothy

Wensleydale is a variety of cheese from North Yorkshire. By the 1990s, no one was interested in it, and the one creamery making it was about to fold up. Then Wallace and Gromit mentioned the cheese, repeatedly, and it became popular again. 

A Grand Day Out

Aardman Animations

Wensleydale did not pay for this product placement, though they should have.

Dangerous to Go Alone

A three-year-old girl wandered away from her Siberian village in 2014 and went missing for 11 days. She survived, despite the presence of bears and wolves in those woods, likely thanks to the dog who accompanied her and eventually fetched rescuers. 

Girly Men

The first bodybuilders never thought to build their chests. They modeled themselves on Roman statues, which were in turn were modeled on ancient strongmen, none of whom had any way for the chest to grow from normal strenuous activity. 

The Mystery Record

A song called “Ready ‘n’ Steady” charted in 1979, but for years, no one had any memory of the song or any recording of it. People were convinced that all mentions of it were a hoax. Then, in 2016, someone finally spotted an old copy, and our faith in music was saved. 

Boxing Rugby

An Italian version of football, called Calcio Storico, involves players punching and choking each other along with vying for the ball through traditional means. They have made one recent rule change, however: They forbid surprise punches, because those killed too many players. 

Decryption Key

In the seventh century, Greek codemasters used a tool called the scytale. You’d wrap a strip of paper around this staff to line the letters up properly and decipher the message. This was not very secure, and hackers easily constructed their own scytales. 


Luringen/Wiki Commons

Still useful as a walking stick, for beating people, etc.

Security Theater

Irish police arrested a man in 2010, after spotting explosives in his airport luggage. They later released him when it turned out the explosives had been planted on him — by Slovakian authorities, to test their own security procedures. 

Musth Tusks

Elephants are dangerous opponents even at the best of times. You really need to beware of them, though, when bull elephants experience musth. Testosterone rises to 60 times its normal level, and the elephant goes nuts. 

Airtight Seal

Ziploc tech was originally too expensive for throwaway items. The company first designed these plastic zips for clothes. They adapted it to plastic, but it was too expensive for food bags, so they next used it to protect business documents.

A Person Is a Person

The meaning of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! has been heavily debated, by people with a lot of time on their hands. Seuss actually wrote it about the importance of protecting all lives after meeting Hiroshima survivors, to atone for previous anti-Japanese cartoons he’d drawn.

The Silver Slipper

One famous story about Howard Hughes says that one casino with a bright light bothered him, so he bought the building just so he could put the light out. Modern biographers look at this story and suggest it’s untrue. More likely, he bought the casino because casinos make money. 

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