12 Effervescent Bits of Trivia That Oughta Cure That Hangover
A Guy Chickened Out Mid-Burglary, Called the Cops on Himself
A man broke into an empty home in Portland, and decided the first order of business was to take a shower. While he was in there, he heard the homeowner return. He freaked himself out, realizing that they might have a gun, and called the cops to come save him. Thinking on the fly, he claimed he was kidnapped and put in the shower.
Genghis Khan’s Regifted Trojan Horse
It’s said that he conquered the highly fortified city of Volohai by promising to leave if they gave him a gift of 10,000 birds — he then tied cotton balls to their tails, lit them on fire and released them, causing them to fly back into the city and start dozens of fires.
Some Birds Are Really Into Masonry
The canyon wren in particular has a habit of building little stone porches outside of their nests, consisting of up to 300 meticulously arranged stones.
Michael Jackson Was Down Bad for Willy Wonka
He wanted to play Wonka in the 2005 remake so badly, he offered up his most valuable skills for free, giving Warner Bros. an entire original soundtrack in exchange for the role. Warner Bros. countered with a whole truckload of money plus a bit part, but Jackson refused to compromise.
The U.S. Army Roofied Its Own Soldiers (Just in Case the Russians Were Planning to Do the Same)
Spurred on by media reports of Soviets weaponizing LSD into a spray that could immobilize American soldiers, the Army dosed its men, sometimes without their knowledge or consent, with everything from LSD to mescaline to shrooms.
Space Mirrors Will Save Humanity! (Or Possibly Doom It)
Some scientists have proposed launching a network of mirrors into orbit, to reflect some of the rays and heat from the sun back out into space. While this would hypothetically cool the planet overall, it would be extremely difficult to get the balance right. Other scientists have countered that it could just as easily cool traditionally tropical regions, and heat up the poles, which we really don’t need at the moment.
A Guy Used a Personal Check to Demand a Ransom
A bank robber handed a note to a clerk that read, “Give me all the money in your drawer now.” The note was inexplicably written on a check from the robber’s own checkbook — a comic book villain-esque flourish that immediately alerted cops as to who to ask about the recently stolen $5,000.
Brazil’s $500,000,000 Ghost Town
Brazil razed a poor neighborhood outside of Rio de Janeiro in order to build a lavish village for the 2016 Olympics. Within six months of the end of the games, the place was completely deserted. They’d hoped it would turn into a bustling city in and of itself, but the fact that it was two hours — and multiple buses — away from Rio killed it before it ever got off the ground.
The British Politician Who Swore He Taught His Dog to Read
Nineteenth-century politician, scientist and businessman Sir John Lubbock was convinced that dogs could learn to understand long English sentences, both spoken and written. While no one has been able to replicate it, he swore that he taught his dog to understand a series of notecards.
Aristotle Was Kind of an Asshole
He definitely held some wildly misogynist views. To wit, “the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject.” And while sure, that probably wasn’t an original thought on his part, he did try to add his own signature observations to the sexism lexicon, boldly claiming that “some pungently-flavoured foods” would moisten a woman’s arid libido.
Dinosaurs Were Probably Covered in Dandruff at All Times
Scientists believe they wouldn’t have shed entire coats of skin like a snake, but instead developed a flakey film of dead skin and keratin on their dermis that would shed like dandruff.
A 14th-Century Monk Meticulously Documented the North Pole (And Then the King Lost His Journal)
An unknown monk completed a harrowing expedition into Antarctica, compiling his maps and descriptions into a book he called Inventio Fortunata (The Discovery of the Fortunate Islands). He made six copies of it, too, to make sure his efforts were immortalized. He gave them to King Edward III, who just straight-up lost them.