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15 Buckets of Trivia We Splashed Out This Week

It’s the first week of autumn, and you know what that means: facts! In fact, we have facts every week, factual ones. This time around, we’ve got a fair bit of death, a fair bit of food and a look into people with very strange minds. And if you were looking for a reason to dislike that boy Peter Pan, we have some good news for you. Or, possibly bad news, if you've been hunting for the children he kidnapped out of their strollers. 

15 Questionable Expert

When George H.W. Bush threw up in Japan in 1992, an unidentified caller, claiming to be Bush’s physician, contacted CNN. Bush had died, said the caller. The anchor got as far as telling viewers there had been “tragic” news, before a supervisor yelled “stop” and prevented the death report from being broadcast.

14 Mother of Dragons

Komodo dragons tend to eat baby members of the species. Young dragons have a mechanism to protect themselves from this: They roll themselves in feces, which doesn’t taste very good. 

13 The Cure, Found

When a doctor called a superior about a girl suffering from paralysis, the suggestion came down to transfuse some of a parent’s blood. The doctor misheard this as “a parrot’s blood” and transferred some blood into her from the family’s pet bird. This was 1931; people would try anything back then. 

12 Loophole

In 1994, a man killed his cheating wife, not while catching her in the act but hours later, after giving the matter some thought. A judge sentenced him to 18 months. “I seriously wonder,” said the judge, “how many married men — married five, four years — would have the strength to walk away without inflicting some corporal punishment.”

11 Filthy Flour

You should bake cookie dough before eating it, for safety reasons. No, not because of the Raw Eggs. Raw eggs might make you sick, but that’s a secondary concern. The bigger risk is E. coli from eating the raw flour. 

10 The Dora Case

One of Freud’s case studies was about a 14-year-old girl, whose father was urging her to sleep with a married man. The father, meanwhile, was sleeping with the man’s wife. Freud concluded that the daughter was hysterical and secretly was attracted to the man, to her father and to the wife. She disagreed. 

9 A Pirate’s Life

In the original Peter Pan play and books, Neverland didn’t keep all kids from aging — that was just a Peter Pan thing. His “lost boys” didn’t stay young. They just died, sometimes at the hands of Peter himself. 

8 Doubt, Fire

A waitress sued Robin Williams in 1992, saying he gave her herpes. He’d cheated on his wife, she claimed, though the suit was mostly concerned with the herpes part. Williams paid her a settlement one week before the trial was set to begin. 

7 Search Your Hearts and Kidneys

According to the Book of Revelation, God will examine all of our kidneys. This makes slightly more sense when you learn that people once believed kidneys are the organs responsible for our consciences. 

6 Chicken With Bacon

In 1626, Francis Bacon went out and gathered snow to stuff into a chicken, to prove freezing meat preserves it. He was right about meat. However, he also caught pneumonia and died. 

5 Useless Knowledge

One time, someone tried to test Albert Einstein by asking him to state the speed of sound. Einstein said he didn’t know, and you should just look the answer up. What’s the point, Einstein asked, in burdening your memory with something you can just find in any textbook?

4 So Many Bodies

China’s famous terracotta warriors are next to a bunch of mass graves. The emperor killed all his rivals. He also killed all the concubines, just in case any were pregnant with his rivals’ heirs. 

3 Do the Dew

A scammer took Pepsi to court in 2012, suing over allegedly finding a mouse in their Mountain Dew can. Pepsi won, by proving for the court that the soda would have completely dissolved the mouse corpse, had the mouse appeared in there genuinely. 

2 Submission

The Sex Pistols’ manager, Malcolm McLaren, told them to write a song called “Submission,” figuring they’d make it about BDSM. The band wrote a song that wasn’t about submissive sex. It was about a sub mission — a mission on a submarine. 

1 Russia’s Biggest Fear

Speaking of subs, in 2015, a Swedish group installed an underwater neon sign to scare off Russian submarines. “This way if you are gay,” broadcast the sign, in Morse code. Neon letters proclaimed, “Welcome to Sweden — Gay Since 1944.”

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