15 Trivia Tidbits for Your Saturday, March 23, 2024

Featuring disgruntled priests and disgruntled hamsters
15 Trivia Tidbits for Your Saturday, March 23, 2024

Let’s say a security guard stops you, deeply suspicious. He pulls out a device and holds it up to you. You hear a buzzing from within. This isn’t an electronic buzz that you hear. No — this device contains live bees.

Should you feel afraid? Potentially. Find out why below, along with some worrisome details about what some other security guards found hidden in a bag. 

The Science of Chilling

We’ve all been taught the importance of sitting up straight, to keep your back healthy. But this position actually puts maximum strain on your back. Leaning back is much better for your spine — and also feels great. 

Suit. Wetsuit

One particularly over-the-top James Bond scene from 1964 has Sean Connery surfacing from the sea and revealing that he’s wearing a tuxedo underneath his wetsuit. This was based on an actual mission by Dutch spy Peter Tazelaar. He swam from a boat to a Dutch resort and then emerged in eveningwear to infiltrate a party. 

The True Eaters

At competitive eating contests, the real champions are invariably skinny. If you’re fat, there’s fat around your stomach, too, and that limits how much the organ can unfold to take in more food during a single sitting.

Not a Test

During the 2011 tsunami, one town had a manual emergency broadcast system. A woman assigned to it, Miki Endo, stuck around this office and recited the evacuation order into the system, saving thousands before a wave destroyed the building. 

Monkey Business 

Dogs smelled something strange in one Boston passenger’s luggage last month. It turned out to be four mummified monkeys. Carrying these was illegal, but the passenger said they were for his own personal consumption

Beware the Boom

A submarine’s sonar isn’t a series of little pings, the way movies portray it. It’s a massive boom, measuring over 300 decibels, which is much louder than anything you will ever hear up on the surface. 

Just Needed to Get Laid

A French priest in 1857 grew tired of the rule enforcing celibacy, and he lashed out the only way he knew how: He assassinated the archbishop of Paris. Later, he was baffled when the emperor failed to pardon him. 

Aw, Nuts

Elephants aren’t really fans of peanuts. That’s quite understandable, since they don’t have much opportunity to roast legumes in the wild. This idea in our minds must have come from circuses, which sold peanuts as a cheap snack and also had elephants around.

Stanley and the Tramp

For his last film, Charlie Chaplin directed Marlon Brando. Things didn’t go great between them. One witness said Chaplin grabbed the younger man and yelled, “Listen, you son-of-a-bitch, you’re working for Charlie Chaplin now.” Chaplin was a “fearsomely cruel man,” said Brando. 


In 2007, scientists trained bees to purr when they smelled any of several explosive compounds. We have to assume this led to a revolution in bomb detection, based on how none of the people reading this today died in bomb attacks during the last two decades.

Los Alamos National Lab

The bees reportedly liked the job, as they were rewarded with sugar water.

Association Will Be Televised

Soccer balls are black-and-white because of television. They were a uniform brown before, or came in other colors, but a pattern of black and white shapes proved a great high-contrast choice for black-and-white televisions

Suck Squeeze Bang Blow

You might have heard that an electric car is more efficient than a gas-powered one. This is even true when the electricity that powers it was previously made by burning fuel, and you’re calculating how much of the original oil’s needed to move the car either way. That’s how inefficient the internal combustion engine is. 

Stop and Sell the Roses

If you made fake flowers back in the 19th century, you might have had to handle a pigment called Scheele’s Green. Inhale some of this stuff, and your eyes would turn green, everything you looked at would look green, and oh yeah, you’d die. 

Hamsters of Doom

Making use of new gene-editing technology, scientists tinkered with the DNA of some hamsters, turning off certain receptors to make the creatures more docile. This completely backfired. The hamsters instead became much more violent.  

Never Say Die

Staff at the Tomball Regional Medical Center in Texas declared a patient brain-dead in 2015 and prepared to take him off life support. His father refused to let this happen and pulled out a gun to keep the doctors away. The son actually did wake up and fully recovered. 

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