15 Bags of Trivia We Carried During the Week of January 22, 2024
Repeatedly, Argentina has banned a sport named pato. The problem the government had with it was that it kept killing people. Sometimes, people died because they got trampled by all the horses. Sometimes, people died because players disagreed about the rules and settled the dispute by stabbing each other. It got so controversial that the Catholic Church excommunicated anyone who played it.
That’s not the weirdest thing about pato, though. Find out what it is below, along with the truth about why you talk the way you do.
The Luckiest Guy
For decades, every fortune cookie fortune was written by one man, behind the one company that made fortune cookies. He recently stepped away from this job, which explains why fortunes have changed of late, now including stuff like ads and motivational quotes.
To Each According to Their Genes
The Soviet government was not a fan of the science of genetics, including the newly developed idea that some varieties of genes are dominant over others. That sounded like capitalist propaganda to them. In fact, when scientists argued for this type of genetics, the government executed them.
United Customer Service
A woman on a plane slept through landing in 2010, staying in her seat while everyone else disembarked. Not only did the crew leave without waking her up — when they later realized she was still on, she was held on suspicion of terrorism.
People were recording the word “fuck” for as far back as they recorded voices. We have audio of the word from 1885. In the recording, someone recites the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” messes up and says, “Oh, fuck!”
The Haggis Hunt
While polling American tourists, a Scottish company discovered something surprising. One-third of visitors thought that “haggis” is an animal. Perhaps they would be able to catch a haggis, the tourists said.
Bobby the Terrier
A nightwatchman died in Edinburgh in 1858. His dog Bobby stood by his gravestone and came back to it, every day, for the next 14 years. When the dog died, they buried him in a grave nearby.
Typewriters were loud because they had big moving parts. Keys themselves can never make a noise that loud. So, IBM keyboards originally had “clicker assemblies” — solenoids that fired out hammering noises with each keystroke, since that’s what felt right to people familiar with typewriters.
The Fall of Germany
German used to be the second-most-spoken language in America, and it was Queen Victoria’s first language. After World War I, it fell out of favor, and parents decided to stop teaching German to their kids.
Blow Before Eating
A wedding planner died in 2019 from eating a fishcake at one of his weddings. He didn’t choke on the food or have an allergic reaction. The cake was so hot, it burned his throat, then he died after his throat swelled.
The Duck Game
In Argentina, they play pato, a game that’s something like basketball but is played on horseback. It used to be more interesting than it is now. Earlier, instead of using a ball, they played using a live duck.
Esoteric Foot Fetish
People used to love the idea of a second toe that was slightly longer than the big toe. It’s called Morton’s toe today but used to be known as the Greek foot or royal toe because of how much it was venerated.
One species of ant, Lasius emarginatus, lives all over Europe — and also in New York City. Specifically, it lives only in Manhattan. Unlike all other ants, it has learned to live in apartments dozens of floors high.
The Law of Words
Some languages take lots of syllables to express an idea. Those speakers, though they don’t realize it, compensate by talking more quickly. As a result, no matter what language anyone speaks, info is transmitted at 39 bits per second.
Home Vending Machines
Video-on-demand existed all the way at the start of the 1950s. You paid for programs by inserting coins into a box attached to your own TV. The system had potential, but network TV triumphed over it.
A man had a heart attack at an Italian hospital in 2009. The problem was, the man was a surgeon currently in the middle of operating on a patient’s brain. He decided to power through it and go on operating. He and the patient both survived the ordeal.