12 Constitutional Bits of Trivia We’ve Enshrined Into Law, and Which Cannot Be Redacted or Altered in Any Way (Unless We Decide at Some Point That We Want To)
These 12 trivia tidbits right here? These are the end-all, be-all of factoids. If it’s not on this list, you don’t need to know it. Trust us, we thought about these for three whole months! We’re pretty sure we covered everything.
We’ve got one about the schizophrenic hallucinations that saved a woman’s life, another about Denmark’s signature cinnamon challenge, even one about the biggest laugh line of Jimmy Carter’s career. What else could you possibly want to know?
A Woman’s Auditory Hallucinations Saved Her Life
In 1997, a woman said she began hearing a voice in her head out of nowhere — it was kind, but urgent, explaining that it wanted to help her. She was treated for schizophrenia with counseling and medication, but the voice later returned, with a friend. The two voices convinced her to go to a hospital that specialized in brain scans, where she found she had a brain tumor. The voices visited her one last time after her operation, saying, “We are pleased to have helped you. Goodbye.”
Disney’s JV Squad Is Responsible for Animating the Lion King
Disney thought Pocahontas would be their big hit, so their primary animators were working on that while the B-team made The Lion King. Pocahontas made $346 million in theaters, while The Lion King made $968 million.
Babies Are Wetter Than a Banana (But Drier Than a Potato)
Human newborns are about 75 percent water, but within a year, that number shrinks to about 65 percent. When that baby is elderly, it’ll be about 50 percent water. For comparison, bananas and potatoes are 74 percent and 80 percent water, respectively.
A Scientist Made a Colony of Ants Think They Had a Zombie Infestation
Ant researcher Ed Wilson pinpointed the chemical compound that ants emit after they die, which tells other ants to clean up their corpse. When he dropped some on a living ant, its comrades started repeatedly picking it up and throwing it in their refuse pile. The poor little guy kept getting fireman carried and chucked in the garbage for about two hours before the chemical finally wore off.
A Con Man Was Found Out When the Employer He Was Bilking Tried to Give Him an Award
An engineer working for a municipal water company found a loophole that allowed him to continue collecting a salary, despite not actually working for the company for six years. They only figured out something was up when they went to give him an award for 20 years of service, and no one could find him.
Denmark’s Uniquely Degrading Cinnamon Challenge
Harkening back to a time when traveling spice merchants often remained lifelong bachelors, people are declared “Pepper Dudes” or “Pepper Maidens” if they’re still single when they turn 25 years old. That gives their friends license to soak them with water (or sometimes egg) and pelt them with powdered cinnamon. They up the ante at 30, when they start using actual pepper instead of cinnamon.
Botox Wasn’t Supposed to Make You Hot, Just Less Cross-Eyed
When they invented it in 1987, Alastair and Jean Carruthers began using the incredibly deadly toxin as a last resort for relaxing muscles that caused crossed eyes. They noticed that it also relaxed the muscles that cause all those unseemly expressions to appear on your face, and everyone decided that looked hot as hell.
Jimmy Carter’s Interpreter Got Him the Biggest Laugh of His Career
When speaking at a college in Japan, Carter got a huge, unexpected laugh after his introductory anecdote. His interpreter later said, “I told the audience, ‘President Carter told a funny story; everyone must laugh.’”
Roald Dahl Was a Real-Life Oompa Loompa as a Child
Dahl’s school was located near the Cadbury chocolate factory, and the company would sometimes have local kids test and rate experimental new candies before they went to market. Unpaid labor on behalf of a candy magnate? Sounds like Oompa Loompa work to me.
WD-40’s Secret Formula Has Only Ever Left Its Bank Vault Twice in Over 50 Years
The first was when they switched banks. The second was on the 50th anniversary of its creation, when CEO Norm Larsen trotted around Times Square on a horse, in a full suit of armor, waving the formula around triumphantly.
The Caterpillar Club: An Elite Society of People Who Had to Bail Out of a Plane
Founded in 1922 by the guy who invented the first free-fall parachute, it’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek club for people who have had to eject from an airplane and survived thanks to their parachute. Their motto is “Life depends on a silken thread.” The Goldfish Club is the same deal, but for people who parachuted into water. You know, like goldfish do.
The Chinese Government Ordered All Sparrows in the Country Executed (And Immediately Regretted It)
The 1959 “Four Pests Campaign” required people to go murder mosquitoes, flies, rodents and sparrows the way Brooklynites are currently crushing spotted lantern flies. They had to reverse course on the sparrows — who they said were eating too much of the country’s grain — after their severely depleted population allowed other pests like locusts to wreak even more havoc on crops.