15 Bundles of Trivia We Gathered This Week
The human body is symmetrical in many ways. Organs often come in pairs. You have two arms, two ears and two nipples. With some organs, this doubling confused early anatomists. For example, why do men have two testicles?
The testicles aren’t exactly located on opposite sides of the body. They’re located in a single scrotum, close to a single penis, and yet there are two of them. Could these discrete balls have individualized functions of some sort? Early people had a theory. Find out what it was below, along with a real-life government conspiracy.
We’ve all heard about the collapse of honeybee colonies and the resultant effect on the environment. But honeybees aren’t native to North America, and the environment could get by just fine without them. Wild bees, not honeybees, are the ones that pollinate the wilderness.
Fat Is Truth
For the past decade, Breyers has been unable to legally call most of its products ice cream. Ice cream, says the FDA, must contain at least 10 percent dairy fat. Less than that, and the product can only be labeled a “frozen dairy dessert.”
A fight broke out in an Alabama church in 1902. “There’s a fight!” yelled someone who saw it. People misheard this as “there’s a fire.” They stampeded for the exit, and 115 died.
Fire ice is a real substance, consisting of methane embedded in water crystals. We don’t know for sure how much exists, since the stuff lies deep in the ocean, but we estimate the Earth may have more fire ice than all other fossil fuels combined.
They Are Legion
In 2011, an Australian newspaper reported that 30,000 pigs had been swept into a river from a farm. The scale of this pig flood baffled readers. Later, the paper issued a correction, saying the actual number of pigs in the incident was 30.
Ordeal by Fire
A medieval mystic named Peter Bartholomew claimed to own the lance that pieced the side of Jesus. To prove this, he set himself and the lance on fire, claiming they’d both survive the ordeal. He died immediately afterward, from injuries that his supporters insisted had nothing to do with the fire.
After the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, trams returned to service after just three days. One of them was later restored and still running in 2015.
Truly Home Alone
In 2002, a Belgian engineer tried to kill his estranged family by rigging the home with booby traps. He accidentally shot himself while setting up these traps, and the military had to come in to rescue him.
The Wright Stuff
Will Wright says he designed the video game The Sims as a satire of consumerism. The satire may be hard to appreciate now, considering all the real-world money players pay, beyond the initial price, out of a genuine desire to own (virtual) items.
Murder the Hypotenuse
Angeleno Walburga Oesterreich hid a lover in the attic for 10 years without her husband noticing. One day, the lover came down and murdered the husband. Oesterreich covered it up, and the lover went right back to living in the attic.
Boy Balls, Girl Balls
In ancient times, people believed that the left testicle makes boys, while the right one makes girls. This meant couples could chop off one testicle to pick the sex of their child, though no record exists of ancient people managing that operation successfully.
…And Flag Balls
Before America planted its flag on the Moon, the Soviets sent their own emblems up there. A Soviet rocket hit the Moon, exploding two spheres, which released a bunch of spherical Soviet emblems. Balls burst into more balls.
Having You for Dinner
An old traditional celebration, the hell banquet, assigned each guest their own gravestone and covered the dinner table with skulls. These sometimes took guests by surprise. At one 1519 banquet, two guests (both cardinals) vomited.
The Weather Bunker
The U.S. government built a facility in Mount Weather, Virginia, where politicians can move in case of an apocalypse. The public only came to know of it when a plane crashed into the mountain in 1974, killing all 92 aboard.
Fear of Needles
A Scottish doctor injected his penis with gonorrhea, to prove that gonorrhea and syphilis are in fact the exact same disease. His demonstration convinced his colleagues, but only be because he accidentally injected himself with syphilis as well.