15 Dazzling Hunks of Trivia We Unearthed This Week
A president once got into an accident while in office, landing in the mud and injuring his leg. His secretary also got hurt, and worst of all was what happened to a Secret Service agent on duty, who died beneath the wheels of the offending vehicle. Onlookers had to hold the president back to keep him from attacking the driver physically.
Which president was it? Was it Biden? Find out below! (No, it wasn’t Biden.)
1. The Donner Death
Several members of the Donner Party starved to death, and some famously ended up dining on the corpses. But one person in the party died from overeating. William Hook was rescued, reached a food cache and was unable to hold himself back, gorging himself on food and dying by morning.
2. Quiet Quitting
In Japan, you can hire someone to quit your job for you if you think the experience would be too awkward for you to handle yourself. The service costs $450.
3. The Coma Leader
António de Oliveira Salazar fell into a coma while he was prime minister of Portugal. When he awoke, mentally impaired, everyone told him he was still prime minister, though he had been replaced. He lived at home for the next two years, thinking he was ruling the country.
4. The Invention of Belts
The first known fatal car accident happened all the way back in 1869. A steam-powered car ran over its own driver, Mary Ward, after first throwing her out of the vehicle.
5. The Dog’s Bollocks
People used to use a punctuation mark that combined a colon and a dash. They shifted away from it because this combo, sometimes called “the dog’s bollocks,” resembled genitalia.
6. Awful, Awful, Awful, Awful, Awful, Awful, Awful
China used to have an execution method called the waist chop, in which the victim was sliced at the waist. In 1731, China executed a corrupt education commissioner this way, and as he bled out, he wrote the word for “awful” (a single Chinese character) seven times.
The word footage refers to length, just as acreage refers to area. It’s called that because reels of film were measured in feet. This meaning is totally lost now when video uses other formats.
8. Not the Better Half
A ship retrieved 306 bodies from the Titanic, including third-class passengers. After retrieving them, they chucked the third-class ones back in the water. First-class passengers returned to shore and got burial plots.
9. The Assassin
James Parkinson, who lent his name to Parkinson’s disease, was a doctor of course, but he was also tied up in an assassination attempt known as the Popgun Plot. He was accused of killing George III with a poison dart.
After you turn 35, your brain shrinks a little every year. If you make it to 90, you can expect your brain volume to fall 14 percent from its peak.
11. Ich Spreche Kein Deutsch
For a while, German was the most commonly taught foreign language in American schools, ahead of Spanish and French. After World War II, popularity suddenly dropped, and only 1 percent of schools now offered it as an option.
Trainers taught a dolphin to clean dead birds from a pool, in exchange for fish. The dolphin wised up and used some of these fish to lure more birds to the pool. She killed those birds and turned them in for even more fish.
13. The Pittsfield Streetcar
President Roosevelt used a wheelchair. No, we’re not talking about FDR. We mean Teddy Roosevelt, who used one following surgery, after an accident with a streetcar injured him and killed a Secret Service agent.
14. The Strawberry Generation
In Taiwan, millennials were dubbed the “strawberry generation.” The name meant that they bruise easily.
15. Off the Charts
At the 1976 Olympics, the scoreboard showed gymnast Nadia Comaneci getting a score of 1.00. She’d actually scored a perfect 10, but the scoreboard only had place for three digits, as no one had ever scored that high before.