15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, April 20, 2024

We have a totally legit reason for putting a dead rat in the microwave
15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, April 20, 2024

When explorers came to Tasmania in the 19th century, they came up with several somewhat derogatory names for one animal they found there. Sometimes, they called it “Beelzebub’s pup.” Sometimes, they called it “bear devil.” Sometimes, they called it “Satanic flesh-lover.” Ultimately, the name “Tasmanian devil” stuck.

People came up with those names because they were exaggerating how vicious the animal was. But the Tasmanian devil is vicious in at least one little-known way. Find out below, along with another story from Australia that’s thematically related and even worse.  

Passing Gas

A New Zealand trucker fell on an air hose at work. The nozzle entered a buttock (it ripped through the skin; he didn’t slip it up his butt), and the air blasted inside, separating fat from muscle. He felt like he was blowing up like a balloon, but he survived. 

Now They’re Unstoppable

Mostly, wildlife thrives in the Chernobyl exclusion zone due the absence of human activity there. But we just discovered something extra weird with the place's wolves. The radiation has given them a new power: resistance to cancer.

Boring Techno

Italian clubs in the 1990s would play “Children” by Robert Miles to wind clubbers down. Before that, people would leave the club too pumped up, leading to a spike in accidents known as strage del sabato sera (“Saturday night slaughter”). 

One Last Job

The oldest execution that we have a record of happened over 3,500 years ago in Egypt. The condemned man was sentenced to be beheaded with an axe. Worse, he was ordered to swing this axe himself.

The Salton Sea

The government diverted the Colorado River for irrigation in 1901. But they messed up, and the river broke through the barrier they built. It flowed to the wrong spot for two years. The lake it made is still there.

Salton Sea

Rman 348/Wiki Commons

Looks nice here, as it’s only sometimes toxic.

Self-Heating Beans

In the 1970s, the military looked into a way to heat meals without fire or electricity. The result was the flameless ration heater. Pour water into a chamber, and it would set off a chemical reaction that heats food as well as a portable stove would. 

The Motherlode

When a man in 1902 realized a 16-ton meteorite lay on his neighbor’s property, he tried to buy the land so he could claim the rock as his. When that failed, he spent the next three months moving the meteorite to his own property, thinking this would let him claim it as his own. It did not.

Sue the Muse

The song “The Girl from Ipanema” was about an actual 17-year-old girl from Ipanema. Thirty-five years after the song came out, she named her boutique “Garota de Ipanema.” The song’s owners found her and sued her

Quis Custodiet Opsos Custodes?

An Illinois man applied for a job as a police officer, claiming he had 30 years of experience. As proof, he shared a photo of an LAPD badge from the TV show Dragnet. He got the job. 

Deviled Eggs

The Tasmanian devil gives birth to 50 young at a time. She has just four nipples, however. The first four joeys that make it to the nipples are raised as children. The rest? Mom eats them

Three young tasmanian devils sunbathing.

tearsxintherain/Wiki Commons

Asked for comment, mom said they were delicious.

Mother of Invention

Prohibition had a big effect on the number of inventions created in the United States. Specifically, the number of patents from counties where alcohol had previously been legal now dropped significantly. 

Break Shot

Billiard balls used to be made of ivory, but manufacturers had to change that for fear that the ivory trade was ending. So, they switched to nitrocellulose. Only problem was, nitrocellulose explodes. This caused some problems, but players were mostly okay with it. 

Whoops, Sorry

In 2003, Australia convicted a mother of killing her four children. Last year, they overturned the conviction and released her, after genetic testing suggested they’d gotten it wrong and all the children had actually died of natural causes

Clock Talk

The reason we have a unit of time called the “second” is because it’s the second division of an hour, with the first being the “minute.” A minute was called pars minuta prima, meaning the first small part of an hour, and a second was pars minuta secunda.

Something Smells Good

When rats exhibit no heartbeat — a condition informally known as “being dead” — there is a method that can bring them back to life. It’s called microwave diathermy and involves chucking them in a microwave oven. We do not recommend trying this on a human, as most microwave ovens are not big enough. 

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