Babies Should Be Wrapped in Cellophane and 14 Other Surprising Facts We Learned This Week
With the news week talking about Brittney Griner returning from Russia, we took a look some weird stuff Russia’s done and what it was like when soldiers would defect from the USSR. And with all the talk of COVID protests in China, we took a look at an old pandemic and some stuff China does, as well as what happen to you years after you die in Hong Kong.
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’ll erase your memory and give you another chance.
1. Russia built a $1.1 billion bridge to an island with only 5,000 people.
They built it for an economic conference in 2012, but it wasn’t a very economic choice, seeing as how little it’s been used since.
2. One of the most famous techniques for spotting lies is itself a big lie.
You can’t spot lies by seeing which way someone’s eyes move. This idea comes from misunderstanding a 1970s theory about hypnosis and induced memories (which also might have been nonsense).
3. Shark fin soup isn’t as big a deal as TV tells you.
Shark finning is a damaging and wasteful sort of fishing, sure, but it’s also illegal almost everywhere in the world, while a bunch of other stuff that kills sharks is much more widespread.
4. Jelly Belly used to be an obscure delicacy.
It’s the leading brand now, but when Reagan became president and the media talked about his favorite snack, it was a gourmet hipster alternative.
5. In 1929, we panicked over a birdemic.
6. A whole village lost power so one guy could see his girlfriend.
He knocked out the electricity at the same time each night so the couple could meet, and when they got caught, the village made them get married.
7. Hans Christian Andersen stayed celibate his whole life.
Biographers believe he died a virgin, even though he regularly patronized brothels. He paid women for their time but didn’t do anything with them.
8. A Russian defector thought the U.S. was so amazing, it had to be fake.
Viktor Belenko saw well-stocked stores and gas stations, with no one queueing up, and he thought this was all theater created by the government to fool foreigners about America’s wealth.
9. Mountain Dew was banned in Japan and the EU until recently.
One ingredient, brominated vegetable oil, supposedly causes memory loss and nerve problems. Pepsi finally removed it ... from those countries’ versions of Mountain Dew.
10. A guy ate a pepper so hot that it ripped a hole in his throat.
A vomited so hard, he tore a hole in his esophagus, a condition that’s certain death without surgery and pretty dangerous even with surgery.
11. The makers of cellophane ran ads with the wrap around babies.
12. You might wake up during surgery but later forget about it.
That’s because the doctors will shoot you up with drugs that successfully wipe your memory of having woken.
13. In Hong Kong, all bodies are dug out of graves after six years, by default.
Space is just too valuable to give some forever to random dead people.
14. German scientist Johann Wilhelm Ritter electrocuted his penis, for science.
He died a sick and poor man, never able to provide for his family.
15. A pope believed drinking breast milk would save him.
Innocent VIII, on his deathbed, drank straight from a woman’s breast, as he couldn’t stomach anything else. Cow’s milk would have been just as digestible, and would other alternatives, so we’re thinking this was a choice rather than a last resort.