15 Saucers of Trivia That Spiced Our Wraps This Week
If you set up a bug zapper in your home and leave it, an entire layer of dead flying insects will form below the coils. In time, spiders may arrive and build webs over the zapper, just as they would over any untouched part of your home. Below the spider are countless insect corpses, enough food for multiple lifetimes. Still, it spins this web.
That’s because it doesn’t spin with the intention of catching insects. It spins because instinct tells it to. It has evolved an ability that lets it trap prey, not decision-making power to choose when to employ it. Evolution also explains why spiders engage in oral sex. Find out why below.
1. First Law of Robotics
The first killer robot (the M247 Sergeant York) immediately targeted a group of generals observing it. Luckily, it did not fire. Then, given the chance to fire, it shot up a toilet instead of the target drone. The military abandoned the program for decades.
2. Stefan Lanka
A measles skeptic offered €100,000 in 2016 if anyone could prove measles is real. It’s not a virus, it’s psychosomatic, said he. When someone answered his challenge, he dismissed the evidence, predictably. But a court told him to pay up.
3. Black Cabs
In 2014, London’s cabbies went on strike and blocked traffic to protest. During this time, in response, nearly 10 times more people than usual downloaded and installed Uber.
4. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
A Canadian man really wanted to go to prison, which he figured would be a good place to beat his addiction to cocaine. So, he falsely confessed to a previous shooting. Police didn’t buy it. He next tried to rob a McDonald’s — with a stick.
5. Iron Mike
Five friends tried to kill Mike Malloy, repeatedly. They put antifreeze in his drink, then turpentine, then rat poison, then other poison, then dumped him in the snow and poured water on him, then hit him with a car. Finally, they gassed him to death, and four of them were executed for the murder.
6. New Fear Unlocked
Ice worms live in Mexican glaciers, places that otherwise wouldn’t seem to support life. They feed on bacteria. And the bacteria? They feed on oil.
7. Minute Man
In 1906, a man named Joe Munch received a one-minute prison sentence. We was a soldier arrested for getting drunk while on leave, and this verdict followed six months of litigation.
When Werner Forssmann was working on a heart catheter, no patients were willing to have one put in their body. And so, he put one in himself. The hospital fired him for this, but he later won the Nobel prize for his research.
9. Or Give Me Death
Gerald Ford used his dog to cut meetings short. When he wanted one to end, he’d signal his golden retriever Liberty, who’d come to the guest and interrupt them.
10. Fan Man
James Miller liked parachuting into places without authorization. His biggest stunt was chuting onto Buckingham Palace, resulting in his being banned from the U.K. He finally vanished into the Alaskan wilderness, with plans of never being found.
11. Welcome to My Parlor
The female Darwin’s bark spider normally kills and eats the male after mating. Males seem to be evolving an adaptation against this: switching to oral sex after copulation, which relaxes the mate until he can escape.
12. Romantic Gesture
In 2010, a man ran past airport security in Newark to kiss his girlfriend goodbye. Not only did he end up convicted of a misdemeanor — the entire airport shut down, pushing all flights to the following day.
13. Heaven is a Place
Astronaut Stu Roosa visited Nepal in 1975 and told a class of children he’d been to the Moon, and had seen no one there. He later learned they believed people go to the Moon when they die. He blamed the government for not briefing him better.
14. Laughing Gas
Horace Wells is credited as the inventor of anesthesia, but one demo went so bad that stopped his research and became addicted — to inhaling anesthesia. Later, he got arrested for throwing acid at prostitutes.
15. Bacon Wrote Them
The theory that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays himself was started by Ohio woman Delia Bacon. Like most people who write theories about books, she was insane, and she was committed to an asylum, where she died.