15 Shuttles of Trivia That We Rode This Week

15 Shuttles of Trivia That We Rode This Week

This weekend, some people have got their hands on Starfield, a new video game that is either monumentally epic or quite lame, depending on whom you ask. It’s a time to reflect on real-life space travel, including the Moon probes no one talks about. It’s also a time to reflect on real-life space technology, including transparent polycrystalline alumina. 

What is transparent polycrystalline alumina? It might be closer to you than you know. Find out about it below, along with some far more sobering facts about science gone wrong.  

Moon Crash

The space race was even tighter than you might think. The Soviet Union crashed a lander onto the Moon on July 21, 1969, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking 500 miles away

The Mystery Jeans

Levi’s has a fit of jeans that they call 501s. We have no idea why they call them that, and neither do they. The significance behind the number used to be written down, but this written record was burned in a fire that ravaged San Francisco in 1906. 

Rocket Balls

The Pentagon has a weapon that consists of rocket fuel molded into a simple sphere. Light the sphere, and the ball goes flying, spreading flames throughout a building. You have no way of directing the ball’s path, but this is not seen as a problem. 

Pillow Rock

The oldest known pillows were made of stone or wood. People saw some advantage in elevating the head during sleep before they figured out that sleeping on something soft can make you feel good. 

Whoa, Nellie

Robert E. Lee was really fond of his pet hen, Nellie. When his army was leaving Gettysburg, defeated, he noticed the hen had gone missing, and he postponed the retreat so all the surviving soldiers could look for her. 

Too Awkward to Attack

A type of moth evades bats by masturbating furiously. The hawkmoth rapidly rubs its genitals, creating a wave that jams bats’ sonar. 

The Ban on Greg

In 1994, a state in Australia really wanted to jail a guy named Greg. Greg had killed his wife, and he’d served his sentence, and he’d been released, but the state wanted to jail him longer. So, they passed a special new law just for him

New Fear Unlocked

The world’s tallest chimney is in Kazakhstan. The second-tallest is in Canada and stands a quarter mile high. The very last day of its construction, a tornado hit it. Construction workers were on top of it at the time, and you’d think they’d all have been knocked off, but they survived the experience. 

The Disrespected Vet

A French soldier, Albert Severin Roche, was sentenced to die when he was caught sleeping. Less than an hour before he was due to be shot, a messenger showed up with testimony confirming that he’d only fallen asleep because he was exhausted after carrying his captain off the battlefield. 

Space-Age Smile

Transparent dental braces are made from a material designed by NASA. They produced it for missiles, needing a substance stronger than steel that could also absorb light. 

The Worm Experiment

In 1927, a five-year-old kid entered a Tennessee hospital to receive treatment for ringworm. He didn’t know that doctors would try to treat him by shooting massive quantities of radiation at his skull. He lived to the age of 80 with a hole in the top of his head

The Ultimate Outie

It’s possible to be born with your intestines spilling out of a hole next to your navel. The condition is called gastroschisis and is not much fun at all. 

Cops, Uh, Find a Way

A mosquito sucked a Finnish car thief’s blood in 2008 and then died on the windshield. The guy went on to abandon the car, and police retrieved the mosquito and used the blood to track down the thief using DNA testing. 

The Love Surgeon

One doctor named James Burt took it on himself to operate on thousands of women without their consent, reconstructing their genitalia to make sex more pleasurable. Sex, in fact, ended up less pleasurable after these surgeries.

Mmmm, Invisible Cola

A bottle of Coke cost the same in 1950 as it did in 1890. Here’s one trick Coca-Cola used to continue making money off these low prices: The company intentionally stocked vending machines with some empty bottles, cheating buyers who inserted nickels in hopes of getting a drink. 

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