12 Incandescent Bits of Trivia That Streaked Across the Night Sky in a Beautiful, Horrifying Burst of Light Before Plummeting to Earth
You should have seen it! Honestly, you probably will — I’m sure it was picked up on about a dozen Russian dash cams. These 12 trivia tidbits blasted through Earth’s atmosphere at such an incredible speed, they burned down from gigantic boulders to mere chunks of rock in a matter of seconds. But there was no mistaking them: You could clearly see one about Sigmund Freud’s cocaine sponsorship, one about William Hung’s famous ancestor and one about NBC’s $100 million chimp.
Here’s what we were able to make out before they burned up completely…
Freud Was Literally Sponsored by Cocaine
Parke-Davis, now part of Pfizer, paid Freud $24 to endorse their cocaine. Merck also made overtures to him, sending him free samples when he was still a research assistant.
There’s a National Epidemic of Kids Running a Little Bit Slower
The American Heart Association has said that aerobic exercise among nine- to seventeen-year-olds has decreased by 5 percent since the 1970s, causing kids to take about 90 seconds longer on average to run a mile.
William Hung Was Destined for Greatness
Hung, who took the world by storm with his soulful rendition of “She Bangs” on American Idol, is now a motivational speaker. That makes a certain kind of cosmic sense, since he’s a descendent of storied philosopher Confucius.
Military Dogs Outrank Their Handlers
The U.S. Army has a tradition of giving its service dogs a rank at least one step above their handlers, to make sure the human treats their partner with the proper respect. The superintendent of the Army’s dog school says, “I see it all the time, especially in these young handlers. They make the mistake of thinking they’re actually in charge. That dog has trained 100 students. That dog is trying to tell you something.”
Twice-Divorced Couples Are Part of an Elite and Miserable Club
About 10 percent of couples reconcile after a divorce, though an intrepid 6 percent decide to actually remarry. Of those, 30 percent go on to divorce a second time.
Mozart May Have Spoiled a 150-Year-Old Vatican Secret
Miserere, a piece of music dating back to the 1630s, was said to only be played twice a year at the Vatican, which kept exactly three copies of the sheet music. There’s some evidence to dispute this, but it was said at the time that a young Mozart attended a performance and later transcribed the whole piece from memory.
The Most Exclusive Cache in All of Geocaching
Geocaching is a fun little hobby/community where participants use GPS to locate little treasures hidden in obscure spots around the globe. By far the toughest-to-reach cache is the one on the International Space Station, which is always at least 250 miles away from most humans at any given moment.
Live Frogs Were Used to Preserve Milk Before Refrigerators
An old Russian practice of dunking frogs in buckets of milk may have science on its side. A 2012 study found that a lot of the compounds secreted by frogs have antibacterial properties. So, your milk might smell like frogs and peptides, but you’d hypothetically be ingesting less bacteria.
A Chimp Made NBC $100 Million
J. Fred Muggs, a chimpanzee who was adopted by a couple of NBC pages in the 1950s, made a bunch of appearances on NBC shows, and even had his own series for a little while. One producer estimated that Muggs brought in $100 million in ad dollars. He retired in the 1970s, but was confirmed to be alive as recently as 2018.
Rolls-Royce’s ‘Post-Opulence’ Car Was So Fancy, It Made People Sick
Engineers added 220 pounds of sound-insulating material to the 2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost. They ended up creating an eerie, uncomfortable silence (and a “thrumming bass note” from the trunk) that was so discordant from the outside world, it was making drivers physically uncomfortable.
America’s Sexiest States Have Banned Billboards
Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont and Maine have all banned billboard advertising. They seem to think people would rather gaze upon their state’s natural beauty than gigantic anti-abortion pleas and reminders to pull a U-turn and hit up a porn store.
Australia Made the First Feature Film
The Story of the Kelly Gang was a 1906 silent film about badass Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, who went into a shoot-out in a full suit of armor. It was a massive hit, but only about 17 minutes of it remain intact, so it’s impossible to know for sure who actually acted in it.