Acacias whose leaves are eaten by giraffes, release an airborne chemical called ethylene. Ethylene alerts nearby acacia trees to produce tannin, a toxin that makes the leaves poisonous, and lethal if over-consumed. Giraffes try avoiding this by eating trees downwind from another.
2. American secretary Nan Britton claimed to have had an affair with US President Warren Harding and gave birth to his daughter. She was ridiculed in court when she tried to sue for child support. In 2015, Ancestry.com confirmed that Britton was telling the truth.
3. The American Rock Band ‘The Postal Service’ was sent a cease and desist letter by the United States Postal Service for trademark infringement of their name. After negotiations, the USPS allowed the band to use their name in exchange for playing a free show at their national conference.
4. An increasing number of elderly Japanese people are committing small crimes so they can live in prison for free. People aged more than 65 now make up more than a quarter of the prison population in Japan.
5. Matt Groening named his show The Simpsons because he thought it was funny to have the word simp (short for simpleton) in their name.
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7. A 9-year-old Pakistani girl named Arfa Karim was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) until 2008. When she suffered cardiac arrest in 2011, Bill Gates assembled an international panel of doctors to advise the local physicians treating her and offered to pay for treatment in the U.S.
8. A cat in New Zealand tricked two different women into owning him. Neither knew they had the same cat until after he went to the vet for stitches. The cat got to keep both names as well as both owners through a shared custody agreement.
9. In 1990, Dr. Mary-Claire King discovered the human gene BRCA1 which is linked to breast cancer. Soon after, Myriad Genetics cloned and patented it. She was sent a cease-and-desist letter to stop researching it. Finally, in 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented.
10. In 2008, a bear was sued for stealing honey by a Macedonian beekeeper. The bear was found guilty, and the beekeeper received 1,700 euros from the state for the damages.
The Berlin Wall came down by mistake. When the East Germans planned to slowly open the border they announced it at a press conference without including a plan. When a reporter asked when it would be opened, the party official mistakenly said "Immediately, without delay" causing a run on the wall.
12. Botanical Sexism is a process by which urban landscapers, in an effort to keep streets clear of seeds and flowers, plant only male trees. The male trees lack the seeds of their female counterparts and as the trees get bigger, their pollen counts increase which can worsen seasonal allergies.
13. The "Holbrook Holiday" is a creative punishment invented by an Ohio judge. Instead of a standard jail term, he takes a holiday away from the criminal for the next several years by making them report to jail for the holiday.
14. A scientist named Emilie du Châtelet in 1749 feared that bearing a child at the age of 42 would be the last thing she did. She worked furiously on a magnum opus that would eventually change the world of physics. Within days of completing her work, she gave birth to a daughter and died soon after.
15. Scientists have been able to track the history of the AIDS virus. Through research, they believe 'patient zero' lived in Cameroon in Africa, and contracted the disease around 1908, after hunting a chimp and being infected with SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus).
In 1963, the Bronx Zoo had an exhibit called "The Most Dangerous Animal in the World". It was a mirror.
17. The 1992, Rage Against the Machine track "Killing In The Name" was the 2009 UK Christmas #1 song thanks to a campaign set to prevent a song from "The X Factor" from accomplishing the feat for a 5th straight year. The band would then perform a free concert in London thanking fans for the campaign.
18. In 1994, a country music singer named Alan Jackson was asked to use a pre-recorded version of his song 'Gone Country' when performing live at the award show. He protested by having his drummer perform with no drum sticks in his hand the whole performance.
19. Pomato is a grafted plant that is part tomato and part potato. The resulting plant has cherry tomatoes on the vine and white potatoes in the soil, resulting in plants with double crops. Grafting can also boost natural resilience and improve biodiversity by supporting different pollinators.
20. In the US in the late 19th Century it was briefly fashionable for people to form "13 Clubs" where they would dine in groups of 13, walk under ladders, spill salt at the table, etc. to demonstrate their lack of superstition. Several future US Presidents participated.
The popular Sriracha sauce in the US (in the green-capped bottle) tastes different because they have a different supplier of chili peppers. The owner sued the original supplier for $1 million claiming he overpaid. The farmer countersued and won $23.3 million and now makes his own sriracha.
22. Decades after reunification, the former border between East and West Berlin is still visible from space at night due to differences between the streetlamps used by the two sides.
23. Nancy Wake ran away from home at 16 with just £200. Her husband was executed by the Germans and she worked as a nurse, a journalist, a courier, and finally a spy for the UK. She is responsible for destroying the Gestapo Headquarters and was awarded medals by the US, UK, France, among others post-World War 2.
24. The World Mosquito Project scientists cultivate and release mosquitoes infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia. The bacterium is passed down to future generations. The bacterium appears to block mosquitos from transmitting arboviruses (dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever) and Zika.
25. Police Woman, a 1974-1978 NBC TV show starring Angie Dickinson about a female cop caused an avalanche of applications for employment from women to police departments around the United States and was President Ford's favorite show, canceling a press conference in order to avoid delaying an episode.