15 Plates of Trivia That Landed on Our Tables This Week
When we talk about founding fathers, many people seem to leave George W. off their list. We don’t mean George Washington (everyone remembers him) but George Wythe, who signed the Declaration of Independence and made good on some of those words about freedom once the Revolution ended by freeing his slaves.
Wythe died, apparently by murder. Read on to find out the surprising thing that happened after that — and also about some overvalued pants.
1. Bye Bye Big Band
Musicians went on strike in the 1940s. By the time their strike was done, the world had moved on, and that was the end of big band music, which, though you might not remember its prominence now, had been the predominant genre in America up to this point.
NASA launched a satellite in 1976, and it will fall back to Earth, eventually. So, they included a message in the satellite for whoever finds it — when it lands, in 8 million years.
King Louis IX gifted Henry III an elephant, who lived in the Tower of London. Staff fed it prime cuts of beef and wine, which killed it.
4. The Vitamin Paradox
A large-scale review aiming to note any benefits of vitamins found that women who take multivitamin pills are more likely to die in any given year than those who don’t. They don’t die because of the pills, but it was still a surprising association.
5. Watching You
In 2009, someone put up a statue of Buddha at an Oakland traffic intersection known for its crime. Over the next five years, crime there dropped over 80 percent.
6. Skynet’s First Strike
A chess-playing robot in Russia last year reached out and broke the finger of an opponent, a seven-year-old. The child had tried to play before he was allowed to.
In ancient Greece, an athlete lashed out at the statue of a rival. The statue fell on him, killing him. So, a court put the statue on trial, and found it guilty.
8. The British Paedio
Vandals spraypainted “paedo” on a British woman’s house in 2000, and she fled the neighborhood in fear of her safety. Apparently, someone had heard she was a pediatrician and didn’t understand what that word meant.
9. Gentlemanly Gameplay
The NCAA used to ban dunking in basketball. Dunking was against the very nature of basketball, claimed critics, with dubious logic.
10. Pool Smell
When chlorine is poured into a clean pool, there’s no “chlorine smell” at all. The smell instead comes from byproducts that are created when the chlorine reacts with body fluids — sweat and oil, but most of all urine. Red eyes, too, come from pee reacting with chlorine.
11. Did You Pack Your Bags Yourself?
Airports ask you this question because of one 1986 hijacking. A terrorist packed his pregnant girlfriend’s bags for her and slipped in a bomb, without her knowledge.
12. Old Soldiers
Maybe you’ve heard the story of the one Japanese fighter in the jungle who thought World War II never ended. There were actually more than a dozen of these men, and they were discovered and stopped separately over the course of over many decades.
13. George Wythe
A founding father’s murderer got off because the Black housekeeper couldn’t testify. George Wythe was murdered, and consensus blames his nephew. But the law forbade testimony by Black witnesses, so housekeeper Lydia Broadnax’s testimony went unheard.
14. ‘Track 3’
In 2014, Taylor Swift’s label accidentally released a track consisting of white noise, crediting it to her. The eight-second “Track 3” became Canada’s bestselling song on iTunes.
15. Pant Suit
In 2006, D.C. man Roy Pearson sued his dry cleaners for $54 million, after the business lost a pair of his pants. Not only did Pearson lose the lawsuit — he also lost his job, as Pearson was a judge and got suspended for making a mockery of the court.