15 Keys of Trivia That Set Us Free This Week
Many people have pointed out that Mount Everest is not truly the tallest mountain in the world. If you measure mountains from base to peak, the tallest mountain is Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Its base is below sea level, while Everest’s base is much above sea level. Mauna Kea’s so tall that it’s taller than Everest plus the height of all the ground Everest stands on, by a good 4,000 feet.
When people say Everest is the tallest peak on Earth, they really mean it’s the highest point on Earth. But it’s really not that either. Find out why below, along with some information about a man who liked picnics way too much.
1. Flight N47506
People in Florida were baffled in 1991 when a plane exploded in midair. An investigation later discovered the pilot had gotten distracted and let the aircraft go past its limits, because he and the copilot were having sex during the flight.
2. Frank C. Bostock, Lion Tamer
In 1889, a lion escaped a menagerie and slipped away into the sewers of Birmingham. The menagerie owner soon emerged with a lion, relieving everyone. This was a totally different lion, however; the original one was still on the loose.
3. The Happy Retiree
The town of Epecuen in Argentina flooded in 1985, and every single person moved away. Decades later, an 80-year-old man moved back, to live there alone with his two dogs.
4. The Shiny Mountain
A climber found a frozen box of rubies and sapphires on Mont Blanc in 2013. It must have fallen there from a plane crash 50 years before. He submitted the find to authorities, who allowed him to keep half of it.
5. A Most Shitty End
A ship sank in the Thames in 1878. That doesn’t sound so bad. The passengers could probably just swim to land. But this was the part of the river where London dumped its raw sewage, and the sewage killed 15.
6. Whose Isle Is It Anyway?
Pheasant Island switches control between France and Spain every six months. This has gone on for 350 years. Conveniently, no people live there. No pheasants live there either.
When The Ink Spots (famous for songs like “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”) broke up, several individual members tried performing under the name The Ink Spots. Then non-members did, too. Finally, a judge ruled that the name was so generic that anyone’s welcome to use it.
8. Moon Missiles
NORAD went on max alert in 1960, when an early warning radar detected inbound Soviet missiles. It had actually detected the Moon rising in Norway.
9. By Presidential Decree
Someone drove a truck into a golf club’s shop in 1983 and took out a gun, demanding to see the president. Ronald Reagan, close by, actually did talk to him, and the man released his seven hostages.
When the King of Thailand sued for divorce, no one was legally allowed to question him. His wife was not able to speak on her behalf because it was against the law to criticize the king.
11. The Tiny Mountain
Mount Everest isn’t the highest peak in the world. It’s the highest measured from mean sea level, but sea level varies depending on where you are in the world. The highest peak, measured in distance from the center of the Earth, is Chimborazo in Ecuador, which peaks 6,800 feet higher than Everest.
12. Rude Awakening
When doctors discovered breast cancer, it used to be common to perform mastectomies without consulting the patient first. This spared the unconscious patient the stress of making a decision, it was reasoned.
13. The Average Bear
An Ohio man was caught repeatedly having sex with a picnic table. That raises several questions, but fortunately, a neighbor taped him doing this, on four separate occasions. The neighbor taping this raises even more questions.
14. RIP Tusko
Scientists wanted to see if LSD would induce high testosterone and aggression in elephants. They gave the elephant too much. He shit himself and died.
15. Ahoy There
After recording the album American Life, Madonna leaked a version to torrent sites. The tracks were all silent, except for her voice at the start saying one line to pirates: “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”