15 Jet-Setting Dollops of Trivia We Learned This Week
This Thanksgiving, we took a look terrifying turkeys (both wild and cooked), and also looked at how parades can be deadly. If you flew for the holiday, you might be interested in the truth behind airports and airlines. And if you struggle to escape from your relatives, fear not, there’s always alcohol.
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 you will never be king.
1. Frederick Banting came up with how to find insulin in a dream.
He dreamed of tying off a dog’s pancreas, killing the organ that way, then mashing it up. Sounds like a nightmare, but when he tried it in real life, it worked.
2. A Dell laptop suddenly burst into flames during a conference in Japan.
This incident back in 2006 revived questions about Dell’s reliability, but the company was relieved to see its stock price unaffected.
3. The public did not like an alcoholism awareness stamp that the Post Office put out.
The stamp read “alcoholism — you can beat it,” which made it sound like you were identifying your recipient as an alcoholic.
4. In the 1700s, some guy in Montenegro claimed to be Peter III, the slain Russia tsar.
He was so convincing that they made him king, leading to multiple wars.
5. John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator.
6. Major American airlines actually lose money selling tickets.
But they make it all up and then some by selling miles to credit card and car rental companies.
7. Stockholm syndrome kinda isn’t a thing.
Kidnapping victims almost never act anything like the victims of the original Stockholm crime. A psychiatrist labeled their behavior a syndrome to deflect criticism about his own role in the rescue.
8. And the kidnapper from that Stockholm robbery later turned himself in, and no one cared.
After serving out his original sentence, he committed more crimes, fled to Thailand for years, then came back and turned himself in. They let him go.
9. A Thanksgiving Day balloon sent a woman into a coma
The Macy’s Parade balloon knocked a bar off a lamppost, and it knocked the spectator out for 24 days.
10. Teams visiting Colorado have to prepare for altitude sickness.
The mile-high city might be mildly uncomfortable for tourists, but for visiting hockey players, it’s a serious handicap, necessitating days of acclimatization.
11. China has just one time zone, even though it’s wider than the continental U.S.
12. Adult wild turkeys can measure 4 feet tall.
They can also probably outrun you, reaching ground speeds of 25 miles an hour.
13. Baby koalas eat their mothers’ feces.
This isn’t some incidental behavior, like how some animals will eat just anything that’s available. It’s a specially evolved trait and a special kind of feces, with extra bacteria.
14. Airports are smart to still use dot-matrix printers.
Sure, they use them because print quality doesn’t matter for boarding passes, but the ancient printers also break down less often than modern printers.
15. A college photoshopped a student into a football game and got sued.
They liked the photo but noticed all the kids were white, so they shopped in one Black student and stuck it on the admissions brochure’s cover.
Top image: Ansie Potgieter/Unsplash