15 Moon-Shaking Chunks Of Trivia We Learned This Week
This week, still escaping from the Halloween season, we did a series on some spooky sites in California, from a ghost town to an abandoned ranch to that horrifying place known as Hollywood Boulevard. California is so influential that all movies take cues from the state, even when the rest of the world acts very different. We also did a series of articles this week on people chasing down fake cities, including one discovered by the inventor of the Human Cannonball and one sought by a secret Soviet lab.
Here's a look back at the facts we learned this week. These short summaries are not meant to be appreciated by themselves—each one links to a full article we put out this past week with much more info, so click every one that interests you, or we will tax your dog.
1. Neil Armstrong got roped into an ancient aliens scam.
The author of Chariots of the Gods falsely claimed to have visited a South American cave system full of engraved gold plates from precursors, and he fooled Armstrong into flying in for an expedition.
2. It took people freakishly long to realize that blood circulates.
For more than a thousand years after doctors first described what we now call the circulatory system, people believed the liver makes blood continuously, and it flows one-way to the tissues, which consume it.
3. Billy the Kid’s first crime was stealing clothes and guns from a laundry.
He went to prison, and escaped by climbing up the chimney.
4. A man emerged from rubble after being buried alive for weeks.
Rubble pinned Evans Monsignac down for 27 days following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, but he survived by drinking sewage that flowed around him.
5. Canadians sank $50,000 of cheese in the ocean, then couldn’t find it.
The plan was to use the water pressure to make the cheese taste better, somehow, but when divers tried to retrieve the cheese, it had vanished.
6. Emperor Nero fixed the Olympics so he personally won a bunch of medals.
7. The Doberman was created to protect a tax collector.
Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann’s job was to collect taxes from dog owners, and to catch dogs, so he bred the fierce Doberman Pinscher for his own protection.
8. Amsterdam stores its garbage underground, till the trucks come collect it.
You access dumpsters using an RFID key, then they slide under the road, putting them out of sight and also out of reach of rodents.
9. A terrorist bombed a plane but succeeded in killing only himself.
In 2016, a man set off a bomb hoping to bring down a plane, but he just blasted a hole and got swept right out it.
10. Movies all depict a phone system that exists only in California.
When someone hangs up in a movie, the other person hears a dial tone. That’s usually doesn’t happen with landlines, but it did in California, so all movies adopted this.
11. Parents named their kids “Winner” and “Loser,” and they went down different paths.
12. Ryan Reynolds wanted a short film crossing Deadpool with Bambi.
The joke short would have had Deadpool interrogate the hunter who shot Bambi’s mother, looking for tips on how to tweak his own character.
13. A Caribbean country can legally pirate (because the U.S. was cheating them).
The World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. was wrong to block its residents from accessing Antiguan gambling sites, and as compensation, Antigua could ignore U.S. copyright restrictions.
14. A lot of snacks marketed as vegetable chips are made mostly out of potato.
Which is just as well, just potato’s not really any worse than those veggie alternatives, but they’re charging you more for the lie.
15. In the 1890s, a doctor sold rectal dilators as a cure for bad breath, among other afflictions.
The FDA shut him down, saying the butt plugs helped with nothing and may even cause harm, but the product still spent decades on the market.