Cracked has long been dedicated to delivering the most incredible information it can discover, mixed in with a heaping helping of jokes about RoboCop's penis. But as George Orwell once wrote, "All mind-blowing facts are mind-blowing, but some are more mind-blowinger than others." And that's why we've taken the time to select the top 25 things we sort of remember from articles we published this year. May they explode your brain just as they exploded ours.
"It wasn't exactly a coup for women. The characters were portrayed as ditzes who were largely useless at fighting crime and mostly interested in getting into Batman and Robin's respective spandex. Plus, the fact that the menfolk didn't seem too thrilled about their presence probably didn't do much to deflect talk of Batpederasty."
"Through analyzing the soil in the region the poem was set, Minoura discovered ocean water in one of the layers, proving there had been a massive earthquake/tsunami duet in the year 869. Digging deeper (literally), Minoura discovered something chilling: The same tsunami affected layers every thousand years -- and the next one was overdue."
"By the way, there's no record of any significant number of people misunderstanding the other letters. People could've just as easily assumed A stood for 'Amazing,' B stood for 'Badass,' C stood for 'Crappy,' D stood for 'Dipshit,' and F stood for 'Fucking Idiot,' but they didn't."
"The first person in modern medicine to document the phenomenon, Thomas Willis, named this particular type diabetes mellitus, or 'honey diabetes,' after noting that the urine of his subjects tasted 'wonderfully sweet.' Who ever said you can't combine business and pleasure?"
"Young Newton had quite a few mommy issues, to the point that when his mother remarried, he developed an intense hatred for his new stepfather. Apparently, by his own admission, this resulted in the genius teenager threatening to kill both of them in a fiery inferno and beating the shit out of one or more people."
"Rist made off with a selection of the best specimens, then made an estimated $159,000 selling them to the 'feather underground.' Which is a shady network of ... fly fishermen? Who obsessively hunt rare feathers to ... tie to fishing flies? What the hell is going on with this story?!"
"We humans simply cannot be trusted with this technology. What follows is the absolutely real story of some dudes who did in fact own a jet pack and took it for a years-long ride fueled by deceit, obsession, assault, kidnapping, possible murder, and a little dash of karate for good measure. To be extra clear: We did not make any of this up."
"As a reminder, The Handmaid's Tale is about a totalitarian society where fertile women are property of the state, forced to produce children for the ruling class. Main character Offred's name means 'Of Fred,' as in she's the legal property of a man. It's not exactly light fare that you watch with your gal pals while giggling over a fruity pinot noir."
"Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak were lab workers at separate Massachusetts drugs labs, and they each faked loads of results. Between the two of them, around 54,000 convictions may now have to be overturned."
"[One theory] says that speakers do the shit they do because it's the laziest ('most optimal' means 'least amount of effort') way to do it. You have to work fractionally less to say tick-tock or clip-clop than you do to say tock-tick or clop-clip. So we just evolved an affinity for the sound of the laziest way to do things."
"The right gadgets can put a ghostly figure right in a room with you, and we're not talking about holograms desecrating the sanctity of the Coachella Music Festival. Scientists have actually figured out the process behind how we create ghosts in our own minds."
"When you're facing a five-figure bill in the U.S., that means you can buy a plane ticket to Tijuana, book a hotel there, get healed, and then throw in another week of sightseeing and tequila on top of that, and you'll still end up spending less than if you'd gotten the work done at home."
"Instead of barging back into the nest like tiny Typhoid Marys, they mostly quarantined themselves outside, thereby minimizing contact with the more vulnerable indoor workers, or more importantly, the queen."
"The singing cowboy craze lasted 20 entire years, and boy howdy did they pump them out fast. RPC ... alone released over 90 movies in that era, which means writers had to figure out dozens of stories about a guy in a Stetson who can yodel each year."
"Recently, an inhibitor has been found to counteract the sonic hedgehog deformation, which scientists have dubbed the Robotnikinin. Somewhere in a lab out there today, a 29-year-old PhD is gleefully looking for a defective gene that causes people to be born with two tailbones solely to keep the joke running."
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"Heemeyer had armored his dozer in layers of steel sheets and concrete slabs. The concrete absorbed the blast and rendered the Killdozer immune to an explosive that would've probably opened up an actual tank like a screen door."
"The Gregorian calendar is kind of a mess. Like a college student desperately trying to get laid, it has to reinvent itself every year. You're probably so used to its shortcomings that you don't even think about them."
"Despite being a foot soldier for history's great evil, Scharff was well-respected by his prisoners, and come the end of the war, he was able to hit up some of his old contacts for advice about moving to the United States. Once there, he discovered his true passion: mosaic art."
"On May 21, 1977, at the NRA's annual conference and in a stunning display of organization that future generations would come to know as the 'Revolt at Cincinnati,' the rebel faction was able to decapitate and replace the entire leadership of the NRA with a single stroke."
"Explosives experts figured that this kind of bomb-making still required a level of technical expertise that the brothers simply didn't possess. Even stranger, not a trace of bomb-making equipment was ever found at their homes or dorms, which had to have served as their workshops."
"Of the many, many spiteful things they did -- including refusing to answer questions or talk to the team -- they suggested switching from an action game to a Sims-style game starring Superman as the mayor of Metropolis, as seen in issue #never, that's an awful idea."
"However, unlike with his fiction, he couldn't simply write 'and justice prevailed' and be done with it. He soon started receiving letters from an anonymous source (it was the police chief) warning him to back off the case, lest he 'run the risk of losing kidneys and liver.'"
"From a makeshift kitchen in a parking lot, he served evacuees, volunteers, and firefighters a veritable feast which included chicken, pork loin, braised cabbage, mashed potatoes, and baked beans. And that's before we get to his donations to World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which provided meals to the people of Puerto Rico following last year's hurricanes."
"While it isn't easy to figure out the extent to which gun-containing video games boost real-world gun sales, that isn't really the reason gun companies are doing this. In the words of a Barrett Rifles rep, 'video games expose our brand to a young audience who are considered possible future owners.'"
"One 'ugly law' introduced in 1881 Chicago targeted anyone who was 'diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object.' And this wording was so popular (read: awful) that it was soon copy-pasted into similar ordinances in Omaha, Columbus, Cleveland, and Portland."
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How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.