15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, June 8, 2024

If you call for help too much, you might set yourself on fire
15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, June 8, 2024

Whales are a lot like us. That’s easy to forget, since they spend so much time underwater, but it’s true. They have ears with earwax, and you can count the rings in a blob of their earwax to figure out how old they are. They have sex the way most mammals do, and a blue whale’s penis measures 10 feet long. 

The idea of a mammal living under the sea raises some other issues, however. Find out about one below, along with proof that everyone has been lying to you about rainbows. 

Familiarity, Contempt

A New Jersey employee tasked with refilling ATMs once left a sack of $141,000 on the ground and drove away. He didn’t realize he’d left the money behind till he’d driven seven miles, by which point someone had, of course, found it and run off with it.

All-You-Can-Eat, Shrimp

Shrimp will keep a starfish alive to farm its body parts. Rip off a starfish leg, and it will grow back over time. The tastiest part of the starfish is the center, but the harlequin shrimp knows enough to keep the center for later and leave the starfish alive for as long as possible.

Forever Game

The 1998 video game Myth II came with an uninstaller, as is normal with games. But instead of just removing the game’s own files, it would sometimes delete absolutely everything on your hard drive.

The Forgery Forgery

For years, someone exhibited a painting of a sunset in their home, claiming it was a Van Gogh. Then people exposed the painting as a fraud. So, the owner stored it away in his attic. Years after that, other people rediscovered it and realized, whoops, it really was a Vang Gogh after all. 

The Worms Crawl Out

Cryogenics hasn’t quite worked on people yet. But Russians last year extracted ancient worms from permafrost and revived them, 46,000 years after they were last alive. 


If Russians have been acting odd lately, the reason is zombie brain worms.

Infinite Jest

Luciano Re Cecconi, who played for Italy at the 1974 World Cup, once thought of a fun practical joke to play on a friend and former teammate. He walked into the friend’s jewelry store and said, “This is a robbery!” A man behind the counter shot him dead. 

Water Water Everywhere

Whales don’t drink. They’re mammals like us, but they drink nothing, as they get all the water they need from food. If they do swallow seawater, they don’t die because they can pee out urine that’s even saltier. 

Off the Scale

Early on during the COVID pandemic, England found itself mistakenly leaving tens of thousands of cases off of records. The outdated version of Excel they used supported a maximum of 65,536 rows, so when they entered new cases beyond that number, the old ones were deleted. 

Demon Barber

Hairdressing doesn’t sound like such a dangerous occupation. But it involves so much contact with bleaching ingredients that it amounts to continual exposure to hazardous chemicals, leading to a whole lot of cancer and lung disease. 

The London Galvanic Generator

When electricity was still a novelty, the following product promised its electricity could treat a wide variety of conditions, including “rheumatism, dyspepsia, heartburn, flatulency, weak stomach, debility, vertigo, indigestion, constipation, lumbago, sciatica, aches and pains, liver and kidney complaints.” 

Wellcome Collection

The boldest claim was where it says its battery lasted five years. 

Surreal Ending

At the end of his life, Salvador Dalí stayed in bed, using an electric button to summon help when he needed it. He pressed this button so often that the wiring set his bed on fire, burning his leg.

Stress Injury

Beware of how hard you tense up during your next plane crash. When a plane went down in 1980, investigators discovered that some passengers gripped their arm rests and cushions so hard that they ripped their tendons and muscles.

Roy G. Biv

We say there are seven colors in the rainbow because Isaac Newton thought the number seven was cool. We divide the musical scale into seven notes, so he thought the visual spectrum should divide into seven as well — even if that meant carving out a place for “indigo,” a color no one ever uses.

Duck and Vacuum

A 1950 government propaganda film encouraged citizens to clean their homes to protect themselves from nuclear attack. A cluttered or unpainted house was a fire hazard, explained the film, so stood more of a chance of catching alight when nuclear fire swept through a town.

Clean Slate

Early into his criminal career, “Sheeny” Mike Kurtz was sentenced to 12 years for stealing silk. Inside, he ate soap till he grew emaciated. The jail assumed he’d contracted some mysterious illness, and he was pardoned. 

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