15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, March 30, 2024

A man calling himself ‘Dr. Ch@os’ attacked Chicago from an underground lair, stocked with cyanide
15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, March 30, 2024

March is almost at an end, which is a relief, because let’s be honest, this month did not go like any of us planned. It wasn’t all bad, though. At least you didn’t suffer the cold fate of a certain man in Italy, or the hot fate of a certain baby in Missouri. Find out about them below, along with a story about a dog, one that actually ends happily. 

Home Mining

A single British man created 14 million £1 coins, in his home workshop. He sold them to a confederate, for a fraction of their face value, so this work did not allow him to live a very lavish lifestyle. 

For Want of a Mat

In 2008, a couple guys at a ski resort thought it might be fun to remove rubber mats from a barrier and use them as sleds. Both then crashed into the barrier, which no longer had protective padding, and one died. 

Beware the Robonurses

A lot of headlines recently have been talking about a new A.I. nurse, which outperforms human nurses. In reality, the only basis for the performance claim is how this chatbot rates versus human nurses on a survey — a survey that actually rates human nurses higher in terms of how effective they are. 

Stupid Pandas

When a panda has twins, it will instinctively care for just one and leave the other to die. So, zookeepers will grab the spurned twin and keep switching it in for the other, to make the mother think they’re both the same one and nurse them both. 

The Other Housing Crisis

In Japan, home values don’t appreciate over time. They depreciate, based on the assumption that buildings are worth less and less as fewer years remain till they collapse

Demolition of old house in Ebisu

Syced/Wiki Commons 

Land appreciates, but they probably knock the house down.

Walk, Don’t Walk

Astronauts can’t just hop out of a spaceship to go for a spacewalk. First, they need to go through a 2.5-hour session of “pre-breathing,” during which they breathe pure oxygen to remove the nitrogen from their bloodstreams. Otherwise, with the change in pressure, the nitrogen would bubble over and kill them.

The Chaos Lair

A man calling himself “Dr. Ch@os” led a group named the Realm of Ch@os in the 1990s. They hacked power plants, disrupted broadcasts and burned buildings, with no clear ultimate goal. Once authorities arrested him, they found he had a lair in the tunnels under Chicago, where he was stockpiling cyanide

For the Folks at Home

Tennis balls are yellow because of color television. They used to be fully black or fully white, and then Britain got a chance at its first color broadcast: Wimbledon. David Attenborough suggested making the balls during this event yellow to show off color TV’s capabilities.

Fish Food

Most piranhas are vegetarians. Even the one carnivorous species won’t hunt humans. The myth that they’re dangerous goes back to Teddy Roosevelt. People played a prank on him in Brazil, throwing a dead cow among piranhas to make them look ferocious, and he reported what he’d seen. 

The Dog in the Container

The Coast Guard was inspecting shipping containers leaving the country last month. “Oh, it’s scratching, dude,” said one inspector, hearing something inside. A dog had been in there for eight days, apparently having got snatched up when a junkyard moved car wrecks for export. They got her out, and she recovered. 

Coast Guard

They named her Connie, because they found her in a container.

Amelia Bedelia

In a case of extreme scatterbrain, a woman last month was found to have put her baby in an oven instead of the crib for a nap. Following the baby's death, she was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Key Difference

In the 1990s, with calculators becoming increasingly advanced, the people behind standardized tests set a new rule: Students were not allowed to use calculators with QWERTY keyboards, as those were as advanced as computers. Texas Instruments responded by selling a calculator that did all the same stuff its QWERTY calculator did but just didn’t have a QWERTY keyboard. 

The Musical Fruit

Pythagoras told his followers to never eat beans. This made so little sense that some think he was offering a metaphor of sorts with this advice, but no: He was really saying people shouldn’t eat beans. There’s much debate over exactly why this was. 

Multiplying Like Bunnies

A California family last month reported a large number of bunnies in the vacant house next door. Authorities removed 100 of them. Then they spotted 200 more, with all the females pregnant, because that’s what happens when you let bunnies do their thing.

Need More Fireworks

The town of Rough and Ready in California seceded in 1850, to avoid paying taxes. A few months later, residents voted to undo that move. One possible reason put forward by historians was they realized leaving meant they wouldn’t be able to celebrate the Fourth of July.

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