12 Primordial Bits of Trivia That, Given the Right Conditions, Could Form the Building Blocks of Organic Life Deep Within Your Grey Matter
No big rush — it’s going to take a few millennia, if it happens at all — but the sooner you pop these nuggets of knowledge into your brainpan, the sooner you might end up creating novel forms of life.
Japanese police burritos, jazz-loving rats, the bro who swallowed a toe — let these bad boys bounce around up there long enough, with the right temperature and moisture, and maybe a crucial jolt of lightning, and you might get yourself some kind of primitive proto-organelle. Before you know it, it’ll be replicating, naturally selecting and evolving into who knows what kind of hideous or brilliant creature.
Let us know how it goes!
A Guy Secretly Lived in His Ex’s Attic, 12 Years After They Broke Up
A woman in South Carolina went to her attic to check on a suspicious noise, and found her ex-boyfriend sleeping on a pile of clothes. He had moved in two weeks earlier, upon his release from prison (and had been pooping and peeing in Sonic cups).
A Woman’s Weird Genes Almost Got Her Arrested
After her kids were found to share zero DNA with her, Lydia Fairchild was accused of either committing medicare fraud (receiving benefits for someone else’s kids) or being part of a bizarre surrogacy scheme. She was pregnant at the time, and the judge required someone to watch the birth and monitor a collection of blood samples for DNA testing. When her third kid also shared no DNA, they figured it out: She was a chimera. Or at least, had chimerism — she had an entire second set of DNA in her body, from a twin she had absorbed in the womb.
Japanese Police Make Human Burritos Instead of Whipping Out Guns
When confronted with drunk or otherwise rowdy citizens, police will de-escalate the situation by rolling the offender up in a blanket — or even, reportedly, a futon — to more easily drag them to the police station.
Morgan Freeman Wears Radical Earrings for Nautical Reasons
He says he wears expensive earrings for the same reason sailors used to: “These earrings are worth just enough to buy me a coffin if I die in a strange place.” It’s unclear if he researches the price of coffins before he travels, or if he’s just kinda guestimating.
Rats Love Jazz (If They First Heard It While on Cocaine)
Scientists found that given the choice, teetotaling rats had a strong preference for Beethoven over Miles Davis, but preferred silence over any music. But if they got them zooted up and blasted them with Miles Davis for a couple of weeks? They wanted all jazz, all the time.
There’s a Small Russian Town Where Circus Shit Is Mandatory
The tiny mountain town of Tsovkra-1 has a tradition so weird and so old, no one can even remember why they do it: Every kid who is able must learn to tightrope walk. One local theory is that it developed as a way for guys to navigate steep cliff sides to go hook up with girls in nearby Tsovkra-2.
Black and White TVs Made People Dream in Black and White
Dream studies between 1915 and the 1950s found that people overwhelmingly dreamed in black and white. As color TV rose to prominence starting in the 1960s, more and more people dreamed in color again.
Medieval German Divorce Was a Fight to the Death
“Marital duels” were rare physical bouts with bizarre rules, meant to settle domestic disputes with state-sponsored murder. In one documented case, the husband was forced to stand in a chest-high hole and was armed with three clubs, while his wife ran around him and pelted him with three big rocks. She won, and he was buried alive.
Sucking the Wrong Toe Could Get You a $2,500 Fine
The Downtown Hotel, a popular Canadian tourist attraction, serves a drink called the Sourtoe Cocktail: a glass of whiskey with a mummified human toe inside. It’s inspired by an old tale of a local miner who had to amputate his frostbitten toe, and stored it in a jar of whiskey. They used to have a $500 fine for swallowing the toe, but they upped the price when a dude known only as “Josh from New Orleans” slapped down 500 bucks and horked it down.
Domino’s Tested Reindeer Delivery in Japan
It took them less than a week to realize the pack caribou would not obey traffic laws, were getting spooked by dogs and were generally “difficult to control.”
The U.K.’s Coat of Arms Is Written in French
Even though it was adopted in 1801, after England formally relinquished its claims to the French throne, the coat of arms is still emblazoned with the French phrase “Dieu et mon droit” — literally “God and my right,” which reinforces the idea that the monarch derives their power from God. Anglo-Norman French was the prevailing language among wealthy elites in the time of William the Conqueror.
‘Pokemon Go’ May Have Killed 24 People (So Far)
A Pokemon Go Death Tracker chronicled all the publicly reported deaths and injuries among players (up through August 2022, anyway). Research out of Purdue University clocked the value of overall damage caused by the game at as much as $25 million, in just the first 148 days of the fad.