15 Slices of Trivia We Ordered During the Week of February 19, 2024

There have been some murders in the news — weird ones
15 Slices of Trivia We Ordered During the Week of February 19, 2024

For years, people threw rice at weddings. This was a way to symbolically wish wealth and prosperity on the couple. Ask to throw rice today, and the wedding venue will probably say no. Birds will eat the rice, they may tell you, and that’s bad for them. The rice will expand in the bird stomachs (much like rice expands when cooked), and it will explode.

Rice is really fine for birds. Baked bread is bad for birds, but rice is fine, and birds will even eat rice right out of rice paddies and will emerge just fine. There are other downsides to throwing rice, though. Find out below, along with some action news out of Norway. 

Hungry Bugs

Tiny mites live on your face at all times, and scientists aren’t sure what they eat. Maybe they eat your skin, says one school of thought. Or maybe they manage to sustain themselves entirely by drinking the oil your face squeezes out. 

Reefer Madness

A judge last month assigned two years’ probation to a defendant who stabbed her boyfriend 100 times, killing him. The woman had committed the stabbing while under the influence of Cannabis-Induced Psychotic Disorder, said the District Attorney's Office, so she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, not murder. 

The Smog Monster

Doctors in 1971 had one problem when a patient entered the hospital needing an appendectomy. The patient was an actor from an upcoming Godzilla film, and he was dressed in a 150-pound Hedorah costume they couldn’t remove. They operated anyway. 

Surprise, More Bugs

Maggots fell from the overhead compartment of a plane from Amsterdam last week, landing on passengers’ heads. One passenger had stowed some rotting fish up there, and the resulting maggot fall disrupted things so much, the plane had to turn back around.

The Colossus of Prora

Cities keep building skyscrapers to show off, but the Nazis showed off by building the world’s longest hotel. It could house 20,000 guests. They didn’t actually have much tourism after 1939, so no guests ever stayed there.

Koloß von Prora

Ralf Roletschek

You can stay in the renovated complex now, but it’s no longer one single hotel. 

College Shenanigans

Oxford University had an organization called the Oxford Stunt Factory, connected to a broader group called the Dangerous Sports Club. In 2005, they launched one member through the air with a trebuchet, and he died, since they didn’t manage to land him in the safety net. 

Polly Want a Nooner

When a parrot sees itself in the mirror, it will mistake its reflection for another bird and may even fall in love. It will then become frustrated when all attempts to mate with this bird fail. 

Railway Outlaws

You need a license to sell alcohol in the U.K. One exception: This requirement does not apply to moving trains. So, an unlicensed gin seller rented a vintage train, filled it with passengers and sold them drinks as they rode the rails. 

Odin and His Goats

One California wildfire in 2017 burned 10,000 acres. A family evacuated, but their dog refused to come with them, because it was his job to protect their herd of rescue goats. The family returned and found the dog was fine, the goats were fine as well and they’d been joined several small deer. 

The Bouba Consensus

Show someone two shapes — one spiky and one round. Now show them two imaginary words, “bouba” and “kiki,” and ask them to assign one name to each shape. Everyone says the round one’s bouba and the spiky one’s kiki. Everyone says this, no matter what language they speak. 

kiki bouba

Solipsist/Wiki Commons

If you think that makes sense, that just shows you too are under the kiki-bouba spell.

Radioactive Man

The University of California Hospital in San Francisco injected a man with plutonium in 1945, without telling him, to see what would happen. It was fine, they reasoned, since he had terminal cancer anyway. This was an error; he didn’t actually have cancer. 

Wanted: A Yoga Instructor

U.S. marshals were having trouble locating a fugitive, a yoga instructor who’d fled to Costa Rica to escape murder charges. She’d undergone plastic surgery, and they weren’t able to identify her even after narrowing down her location. They finally succeeded in getting her to turn herself in, by posting a Facebook ad for yoga instructors and waiting for her to respond. 

The Rice Conspiracy

If you plan a wedding and ask the venue to arrange for guests to throw rice, the place may tell you that practice hurts birds so is best avoided. That is a lie, but throwing rice can be difficult to clean up outdoors or can create a tripping hazard. 

Dissecting the Joke

According to Sigmund Freud, there are exactly seven types of jokes. These are absurdity, allusion, comparison, exaggeration, faulty thinking, word-play and reproach. Freud was not in fact an expert in comedy, or arguably in anything. 

Fire and Ice

A driver and passenger this month rode their car off a Norwegian dock, landing in a chilly fjord. They received help from some apparently ill-equipped rescuers: a couple of sauna patrons, wearing only towels. Nonetheless, the rescue succeeded, and everyone partied afterward in the sauna. 

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