15 Swerves of Trivia That Drained Our Bank Accounts This Week
Many people have suggested that schools waste time teaching useless knowledge, producing graduates who know about mitochondria but not how to pay their taxes. That’s a dumb complaint. Everyone knows they have to pay their taxes, and if you want to find out how, just look it up. It’s not so hard.
No, it’s the school’s job to teach you things that you wouldn’t look up if left to your own devices, things you don't even know you want to know till you know them. Things like the following…
1. Tsunami Warning
In 2012, a town in the Philippines panicked after an earthquake, when word spread that a tsunami was on the way. No tsunami was on the way. The rumor started when someone heard a parent calling out for their daughter, Chona Mae.
2. New Jersey
The Bloodhound Gang’s album Hooray for Boobies featured a song called “The Ten Coolest Things About New Jersey.” The song consists of 10 seconds of silence.
3. Mighty Umpire
Major League Baseball has a rule banning umpires from weighing more than 300 pounds. They’ve enforced it too, fining one 6-foot-3 umpire $5,000.
Two mothers gave birth to two babies each one day in Colombia. The hospital mixed up the babies, giving each mom one son and one unrelated child. The original pairs were each identical twins, so keeping them together shouldn’t have been hard.
5. Old Bet, the Elephant
The first elephant in America was murdered, out of jealousy. The elephant was making a lot of money for its circus, but farmer Daniel Davis wasn’t making much money at all, so he assassinated the beast with his rifle.
6. Too Fast
The F-11 fighter plane was so fast that it shot itself down. During its test flight, the plane moved at such a rate that it caught up to its own bullets and then crashed.
Doctors in hospitals still use pagers. They’re more reliable than cell phones, which often get no reception in hospitals. Some 90 percent of American hospitals still use pagers, and the main push to drop them isn’t because they’re outdated, it’s because they’re expensive.
8. Naughty Nuns
Greece arrested 17 British men in 2009 for dressing up as nuns and flashing people. They were dragged into court, still in their nun costumes, but no one showed up to testify against them, so they went free.
9. The Zong Massacre
In 1781, a ship killed the 130 slaves it was transporting, chucking them overboard. The ship had been running low on drinking water. Even so, preserving the cargo would have been a priority, but the crew realized their slave insurance would cover the loss.
10. Flight Hours
There’s a pilot shortage now, because pilots need 1,500 flight hours to be certified. They used to need 250, then in 2009, Congress made it 1,500 following a crash that killed 50 people. Only, both the pilots in that case had well over 1,500 hours, so the rule wouldn’t have prevented the crash.
11. Operation Graphic Hand
When mail carriers went on strike in 1970, President Richard Nixon sent in soldiers to replace them. The operation used personnel from every branch of the military. The soldiers delivered mail in military uniform.
12. Gross Green Stuff
The ocean contains solar-powered sea slugs. They’ve absorbed organelles from algae, which makes them able to carry out their own photosynthesis.
13. Portland Potables
A teenager peed into a reservoir in Portland in 2014. This might not have really made the water that much worse (it was already stored in an open reservoir), but the city discarded all 38 million gallons to save face anyway.
The smell of falling rain has a name: petrichor. Except, you’re not really smelling the rain at all. You’re smelling how the ground reacts to rain. Germs in the dirt respond to rainfall by releasing spores, and the rain kicks them up and sends them into our noses.
15. The Lady of Sark
The British evacuated the Channel Islands during World War II, but the feudal lady in charge of Sark had her people stay put. Then Germans took over. They complained about why they weren’t able to make butter from the milk she sent, so she showed up dressed like a milkmaid and gave them a lecture that confused them into submission. They spent the rest of the war still trying to make butter... out of skim milk.