15 Sets of Trivia We Jammed to During the Week of January 29, 2024

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15 Sets of Trivia We Jammed to During the Week of January 29, 2024

We measure earthquakes using the Richter scale. Actually, we measure them using a newer scale called the moment magnitude scale, but we continue to say these numbers are “on the Richter scale” out of habit. It’s a numerical measure that considers how much the rocks are stressed, how much they move and how big the rupture is. One thing it doesn’t consider is exactly how much damage the quake does, including how big the death toll is. 

If we wanted to describe how bad quakes are, rather than just how strong they are, we’d need a new measure. Find out about one option below, along with the truth about what’s keeping you up at night. 

Greatly Exaggerated

Marcus Garvey had a stroke in 1940. Rumors spread that he’d died, and in May, he read his own obituary in a newspaper. He had a second stroke reading it, and this one killed him. 

Big Pig

There isn’t really any species of pig known as a teacup pig. If you buy a miniature pig, it’ll will end up smaller than some huge farm pigs, but it’ll grow up much bigger than advertised and will wind up weighing some 170 pounds

Cheddar Baby

In England, they used to have a tradition called the groaning cheese. When a woman gave birth, people would cut a hole in a wheel of cheese big enough to pass the baby through. Afterward, they’d eat the cheese. 

Holy Shit

The word “shit” appears in the Bible. Not in English of course, but we have Paul calling his life perikatharma. It was a profane word for feces. Bibles today are more likely to mistranslate it as “rubbish.”

The Fleishhacker Experiment

In 1925, someone built a pool in San Francisco big enough to fit 10,000 people. It was too big to fill with fresh water, so it used seawater. Tip: If you want to swim in saltwater, San Francisco already has beaches.

Fleishhacker Swimming Pool, San Francisco, California Postcard (1932)

via Wiki Commons

But can you cannonball into the ocean? Checkmate. 

What You Gonna Do

We call rebels “bad boys” (rather than reserving the phrase for literal boys) because of an 1870 novel called The Story of a Bad Boy. It’s about a boy who forms a club and takes a boat to an island. He’s not really that bad of a boy, actually. 

The Universal Dog

When explorers came to Australia and asked the Mbabaram people to translate some words, the first thing they asked for was “dog.” “Dog,” replied their host. The explorers assumed this was a misunderstanding, but by total coincidence, both languages called dogs “dogs.”

The Resuscitating Dog

During Hurricane Katrina, an 80-year-old man found himself treading water in his home. He got tired and figured he’d let go and drown. Then his dog nosed him awake, repeatedly. They both made it through. 

Old Whispers

Until 1970, keyboards had no exclamation marks. If you wanted to add one using your typewriter, you’d hit a period, then backspace, then put an apostrophe over the same spot.

Tidal Madness

Galileo was a maverick in knowing the Earth revolves around the Sun, but when it came to the influence of the Moon’s revolution, he didn’t know much. Other people thought the Moon affected the tides, but he dismissed this idea as “occult.”

An illustration of the Moon from Sidereus Nuncius, published in Venice, 1610

Galileo

Ironically, he was a big fan of astrology.

One Eye Open

Your first day in your new house, you often have trouble sleeping. When you sleep in a new setting, the right side of the brain experiences the usual level of slow-wave activity, while your left side experiences less. Your brain effectively stays half-awake to deal with threats in this unfamiliar place. 

The Death Scale

A geographer named Harold Foster proposed a scale for disasters that considers both physical damage and death toll. World War II scores a 11.1, while the Black Death of the 14th century scores a 10.9.

X is for Xtreme

In 2009, the minds behind mixed martial arts came up with a new sport. “XARM” would combine MMA with arm wrestling. Sadly, it has had some trouble taking off. 

The Butler Did It

When Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote the mystery novel The Door, she attracted some criticism because the butler did it, and having the servant as the culprit wasn’t considered fair on the reader. Some years later, her own servant pointed a gun at her and fired. 

A Happy Man

A man walked into a hospital in 2007, complaining of weakness in his legs. The doctors discovered that 75 percent of his brain was missing. Yet, despite this, he seemed to be getting along just fine. 

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