12 Bits of Trivia You Should Consume If There’s a Meteor Hurtling Toward Earth and You Have 10 Minutes to Live
It’s pretty unlikely, but there is a small chance that there’s a meteor out there, hiding behind the sun, on a direct collision course with Earth. If that’s the case, we wouldn’t get much of a heads up, if the government saw fit to notify us at all. But if you ever do get that alert, at least you know what to do. While everyone around you is scrambling to decide between calling loved ones, repenting for their sins or sneaking in one last crash course in carnal knowledge, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve.
You’re going to whip out this list and pack a few more trivia tidbits — about Twitch-streaming Danish cops and the woman who sued God — into that soon-to-be vaporized noggin of yours. For old times sake!
The U.K. Electrical Grid Is Routinely Compromised by Tea Time
Engineers have gone to great lengths to account for “TV pickups” — massive spikes in power demand that happen during commercial breaks, when the entire nation sprints to its respective kitchens to brew up a pot of tea.
When Tic Tacs First Dropped in 1969, They Were Called ‘Refreshing Mints’
A year later, Ferrero changed the name to “Tic Tac,” an onomatopoeia of the sound they make in the container.
Danish Cops Have a Special Unit of Twitch Streamers
They deploy their members into games like Fortnight and Minecraft to root out hate speech and grooming. They live stream their games on Twitch, and have their own Discord server.
Stupidity Is Against the Law in Arizona
The Maricopa County government’s brochure on flooding preparedness makes special note of “The Stupid Motorist Law”: drivers who go around obvious barriers and end up stuck in flood water have to foot the bill for their rescue.
The Little-Known Fringe Benefit of Being a World War II Fighter Pilot
For the low, low price of their youth, their sanity or their life, a young man in the 1940s could get some free ice cream. Squadron commander J. Hunter Reinberg was known to dump a slurry of canned milk and cocoa powder into ammo cans, fly them around at 33,000 feet, and return with some war-forged ice cream for the fellas.
Schizophrenic Hallucinations Can Be Fun (But Only Outside of the U.S.)
A Stanford study found that culture affects how internal “voices” present during hallucinations. Lots of African and Indian participants felt like they were being communicated with by positive forces, like God or family members who had passed. Every single American participant said their voices were jerks, with most describing them as symptoms of a malady rather than an act of communication.
Volvo Refused to Profit Off of Its Life-Saving Seatbelt
Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin, who had previously designed airplane ejection seats, invented the three-point seatbelt that’s in basically every car now. It’s strategically designed to distribute the force of a crash across the most robust parts of your body, and immediately started saving lives when it was implemented in 1959. Instead of monetizing their patent, Volvo presented data and crash test footage to its competitors, imploring them to adopt their design. It took a couple decades to catch on.
A Woman Sued God for Negligence
In 1969, a woman tried to sue God for $100,000 after lightning struck her house. Her lawyer thought they were on solid legal ground because a famous folk singer had recently transferred the deed of his ranch to God a week earlier. Since God owned land near-ish her home, he was likely responsible for the lightning. It was ruled that God had no way to accept the deed, invalidating the argument entirely.
The Entire State of Connecticut Was Ordered to Evacuate (for One Hour)
In 2005, someone at the Office of Emergency Management punched in the wrong code, and instead of one of those emergency alert tests, residents saw this message: “Civil authorities have issued an immediate evacuation order for all of Connecticut, beginning at 2:10 p.m. and ending at 3:10 p.m.” Perhaps intuiting that this made no sense, only about 1 percent of residents attempted to evacuate.
A Guy Harnessed the Power of Predatory Parking Fees to Get Revenge on His Ex
A Chicago man bought a used car for $600, registered it in his girlfriend’s name and then parked it in an airport parking lot. It sat there for three years, racking up 100k in fines. The city eventually dropped that to about 5k. Outrageously, the woman was on the hook for $1,600, while her ex had to make a series of monthly payments to knock out the rest.
Burger King Paid for the Burger-King Wedding
In 2015, Illinois couple Joel Burger and Ashley King took engagement photos at a Burger King. After their photos went viral, BK corporate reached out and offered to pay for their wedding in exchange for the free press.
The First Woman in the U.S. Senate Served for Exactly One Day
Due to an untimely death, and the odd timing of a special election, suffrage movement leader Rebecca Felton was named the interim senator from Georgia for a day. It’s probably best that she didn’t serve any longer, as she was a raging white supremacist.