15 Splashes of Trivia We Dipped Our Toes Into This Week

15 Splashes of Trivia We Dipped Our Toes Into This Week

Sometimes, fiction can be so strange, it rings true. Take for instance “Always on Time,” the 2001 song by Ja Rule and Ashanti. “I’m not always there when you call,” sings the chorus, “but I’m always on time.” The song is not explicitly autobiographical (in it, Ja Rule is pursuing someone with a restraining order against him), but this particular boast is so modest and so specific, it surely draws from real life.

On the other hand, real life can be so strange, it sounds made-up. Such is the case with the following weird facts we found… 

1. Just Business

An engineer in France died while having sex in a hotel with a stranger in 2013. His family held his employer responsible for this extramarital sex and said it counted as an industrial accident. A court sided with the family and made the company pay compensation. 

2. The Santa Tracker 

The annual tradition of NORAD pretending to track Santa Claus’ journey across the sky began with a mistake. Sears put out an ad with a phone number that kids could use to phone Santa impersonators. The number they mistakenly printed belonged to Continental Air Defense Command, and the Air Force rolled with the joke. 

3. The Kenora Robbery

In 1973, a man walked into a Canadian bank with a bomb. A sniper detonated it, killing the robber and sending money flying. Decades later, no one still has any idea who the guy was. 

4. Cool Blue

A player for the New York Giants tried to help his friends cheat and win at sports betting at the 2007 Super Bowl. No, he didn’t throw the game. His friends were betting on what color Gatorade players would dump on the coach, and so Jared Lorenzen checked the color and let them know. 

5. Moon Germs

When they returned from the Moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts had to spend 21 days in quarantine. It was all for show. The fear of infection was real, but if they brought Moon germs back with them, NASA believed quarantine would do nothing to protect us from them. 

6. Colorado Cuisine 

The Texas Roadhouse steakhouse chain is not based in Texas. Nor were any founders from Texas, and nor was the original cuisine especially Texan. They just all liked the sound of “Texas Roadhouse.” 

7. French Cuisine 

After just three days stranded on a raft, sailors from the French frigate Méduse started eating each other. They really needn’t have; people have survived much longer than that on rafts. Nonetheless, only 15 of the 147 passengers aboard the raft were still alive and intact when the rescue team arrived 10 days later. 

8. Lab Blood

In 2007, doctors tested an artificial blood called PolyHeme on unsuspecting accident victims. Unfortunately, patients receiving this blood suffered a lot more disease and death. There were good reasons to do the experiments without obtaining consent from anyone, argued the doctors. 

9. Saved His Ass 

In 2014, a policeman went home and found his parents being held hostage. Rather than intervene, he tried to flee, and a gunman shot him in the buttocks. His Nokia phone took the bullet and saved him.

10. Convenient Banking

Irish banks went on strike for six months in 1970. There was minimal harm to the economy. When it came to everyday activity, people managed to get their banking done at pubs

11. Sad Birthday

In 2011 Samoa switched time zones, putting itself over the international dateline. As a result, that country had no December 30, 2011.

12. Masabumi Hosono 

When the one Japanese survivor of the Titanic went back home, people assumed he’d taken the spot of some woman or child, or had otherwise acted dishonorably. He was “branded a coward” and lost his job. Things improved for him later on, though. 

13. Failed Experiment

In 1921, a spiritualist killed himself so that he’d appear as a ghost to his partner and prove the legitimacy of their profession. His ghost failed to appear.

14. Evolution of the Game

Basketball used to be played with traditional baskets, the kind you carry stuff in. It took two years to replace the basket they originally used with a hoop with a net. It took 10 more years to put a hole in the bottom of the net so the ball would drop through it. 

15. An Overwhelming Response

A doctor ran a study aiming to compare penis size to self-esteem. She invited participants to submit information about their wellbeing, along with photos of their penises, to confirm the size. Chaos ensued, and she canceled the study.

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