12 Succulent Bits of Trivia to Fry Up in Your Brainpan
Heat up that skillet, drizzle in some oil, maybe dice up a bit of garlic and then dump in these juicy hunks of trivia. Make sure to get a good sear going on all sides. Or don’t! Frankly it’s none of our business how you cook up these slabs, they’re a gift. Feed ‘em to your dog for all we care!
The Whale Who Screams Into the Void
There’s a whale in the Pacific Ocean who’s been yelling at the very specific, very unique pitch of 52 hertz for over 30 years. That’s higher than most whale calls in the region, and scientists have posited that other whales are neither hearing nor responding to it, earning it the nickname “the loneliest whale in the world.” Luckily, there’s been at least one other whale detected at that frequency, giving us hope that maybe this isn’t the saddest animal on the planet.
Doctors Used to Diagnose Diabetes by Tasting Pee
In 6 B.C., one doctor referred to “honey urine,” which he decided to take a little sip of after noticing nearby ants were showing interest. In the 17th century, it was known as “the pissing evil,” and was described by doctors as “wonderfully sweet.”
Your Eyes Are (Sometimes) Your Most Important Tasting Organs
The human eye is pretty good at identifying flavor, and in fact, when the nose and tongue are given conflicting information, the brain will turn to the eyes as a tiebreaker. For example, wine tasters have been known to identify red-dyed white wine as red wine.
Chen Tao: No Weirder Than Scientology
This Taiwanese ex-cult made the mistake of setting a hard date for the apocalypse without a solid backup plan. They believed that we live in the fourth iteration of our solar system, which is cyclically created and destroyed by nuclear war, with God scooping up the survivors in his flying saucer to seed the next one. They predicted that God would appear on TV on March 31, 1998, but unless He made an uncredited cameo on Home Improvement or Moesha, their calculations were off. They fizzled out a couple years later.
The First Horseless Ambulances Were EVs
When Chicago unveiled the first horseless ambulance in 1899, it featured a two-horsepower electric battery. New York City followed suit a year later. Then a hearse company started mass-producing them, and went with gasoline, helping to ignite an addiction that humanity has yet to kick.
The U.S. Government Used to Administer Murder Medicine to Its Troops
Lariam is a malaria treatment that has been linked to symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to the uncontrollable urge to kill a lot of people. The U.S. armed forces stopped doling it out in 2009, and in 2013, the FDA required this warning be attached to the drug: “Neurologic side effects can occur at any time during drug use, and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or can be permanent.”
Warren G. Harding Tried to Hide an Affair by Nicknaming His Junk
As a U.S. Senator, Harding attempted to cover up an affair with his mistress by referring to his junk as “Jerry,” and her junk as “Mrs. Pouterson” in their letters to one another. How’d that work out? Over 100 years later, we know that he said stuff like, “Wish I could take you to Mount Jerry. Wonderful spot,” and “When I saw Mrs. Pouterson a month ago, she persuaded me you still loved. I had a really happy day with her.”
This Guy Won’t Stop Making Drones Out of Dead Animals
Looking for a way to memorialize his cat, Orville, after it was fatally struck by a car, Bart Jansen teamed up with an engineer to make a working drone out of his dead cat. Deciding they hadn’t offended god enough, the two went on to make a rat drone, an ostrich drone, a shark with a jet engine and a badger submarine. They also vowed to make a cow quadcopter that could fit a human inside.
The CIA’s Rat Purses
Because humans have a seemingly universal fear of dead rats, the CIA implemented a practice of using rat corpses to pass messages and materials between agents. They’d stuff them with correspondences or supplies, douse them in tabasco to keep scavengers from running off with them and dead drop them around whatever hostile city they were located in.
The Triple Dick Knife of the Azande Warrior
The kpinga is a boomerang-esque throwing knife with at least three distinct blades. Poetically, one blade was often specifically carved to look like the thrower’s junk.
A Wisconsin Journalist Changed Her Tune on Werewolves
The Beast of Bray Road is a werewolf that’s been around since as early as 1936, and made a series of dramatic appearances in the 1980s. When local journalist Linda Godfrey was assigned to cover it, she thought it was a joke or a hoax — one notable attack came when a woman was leaving a Halloween party. After speaking to several witnesses who’d had their cars scratched up by a huge wolf beast, she started taking it more seriously, and eventually published a book on the phenomenon.
Cortes Gave the Pope Some Clowns
The famed conquistador kidnapped several clowns from the court of Aztec emperor Montezuma, and handed them off to Pope Clement VII when he got home.