15 Nibbles of Trivia That Landed in Our Paths This Week
Many bathrooms in England have an unusual, inconvenient setup. The sink has two taps, one for hot water and one for cold. That means if you want water that is merely warm and feels good on your hands, you can’t turn two separate handles so the water mixes and comes out one faucet. You have to turn on two streams in winter, one scalding and one freezing.
There’s actually a reason behind this. Find out below, along with information about a naked hermit and too many spiders.
1. The Rise of Jobs
In 1997, Apple’s stock price suddenly plummeted, and Steve Jobs used this to oust the CEO and install himself in his place. It later came out that the price had plummeted because Jobs himself had sold 1.5 million shares.
You don’t have six abdominal muscles. You have a single wall of muscle called the rectus abdominis. Bands of tissue make this look like six (or sometimes more) muscles, structures that are officially known as muscle bellies.
3. The Cop Did It
Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in 1986, and police said it must have been a botched robbery, ignoring her father’s theory that an LAPD officer did it. Then, 26 years later, that officer was convicted of the murder.
4. Hot Shot
The “shot” in the phrase “hot shot” refers to firearms, naturally, but it doesn’t just mean “gunfire.” It means a round shot, meaning a cannonball. A hot shot was a cannonball covered in coals, to set the target on fire.
5. The Royal Physician
Johann Struensee had the role of doctor to the king of Denmark. He seized control from the king, ended slavery, enforced freedom of the press and slept with the queen. A year later, he was executed.
Microscopic roundworms outnumber all other animals on Earth, by far. Around 80 percent of all animals are microscopic roundworms. Given that you are an animal, this means that, statistically, you are probably a microscopic roundworm.
7. The Naked Hermit
Masafumi Nagasaki was getting tired of society, so he moved to the island of Sotobanari to live alone, naked. He got on perfectly fine for three decades. When he was 82, authorities came to the island and told him that for his own good he had to come back to the city, where they had a free house waiting for him.
8. Steve Wilder
An Omaha man woke up one morning in 2008 and cut his own throat. No, he wasn’t killing himself. He’d awoken unable to breathe, and he realized performing a tracheotomy was the only way to save his life. The really weird part? This wasn’t even the first time he’d had to do this.
9. The Palm Menace
Some natural materials grow quickly but take a long time to decompose. A frond from a palm tree might take half a century. In Phoenix, around 3.4 percent of all waste the city collects every year is palm fronds.
10. The Bastard
In his will, Ben Franklin left one illegitimate son some Nova Scotia land that was totally worthless. William Franklin had stayed loyal to Britain during the Revolution. Ben reasoned that this son had tried to lose the family their American land by helping the British win, so he didn’t deserve to get it now.
11. Moon Treasure
After a NASA museum director got arrested for selling artifacts, police auctioned off some of his belongings, including a bag labeled “Apollo 11” for $995. Buyer Nancy Carlson brought the bag to NASA to authenticate it, and when they discovered the bag really had once held Apollo 11 lunar samples, they refused to return it to her.
12. So Many Spiders
In 2009, the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant had to call for help when they discovered a large number of spiders at the facility. Scientists later investigated and estimated that this spider colony had a population of around 100 million.
13. Keep Calm
England’s separate hot and cold taps are a holdover from a time of unprotected water tanks. Cold water came straight from the mains supply and was safe to drink. Hot water came from a storage tank and might have gotten contaminated, so the law said the two had to stay separate.
14. Flight 498
In 1986, a plane crashed on the way to Los Angeles airport, killing 64 aboard, three people in a different plane and eight people on the ground. The air traffic controller blamed himself, saying, “I think I lost an airplane.” His name was Walter White.
15. Plastic Surgery
At the Vancouver Aquarium in 2014, a rockfish kept getting bullied because it had only one eye. A veterinarian sewed a prosthetic eye onto it. This worked: The other fish now started respecting it.