Romans were known to create tombs for their dogs and gave them epitaphs to remember them by. One such inscription read, “I am in tears while carrying you to your last resting place as much as I rejoiced when bringing you home with my own hands 15 years ago.”
2. In 1990, the high school dropout rate in Sevierville, Dolly Parton’s hometown, was over 30%. In 1991, she launched The Buddy Program, offering 7th and 8th graders $500 if they graduated. The dropout rate for those classes dropped to 6% and has generally retained that average to this day.
3. For generations, doctors figured that the appendix had no apparent function. But recently it has been determined that it “acts as a good safe house for bacteria”. Sometimes bacteria in the intestines die or are purged. The appendix’s job is to reboot the digestive system in that case.
4. Ariana Grande once tried to get a Japanese tattoo that read “Seven Rings” but found out later that it read “Small Charcoal Grill” and then attempted to correct it, only for it to still be wrong and it then read “Japanese BBQ finger.”
5. North Korea has its own basketball rules: slam dunks are worth three points, field goals in the final three minutes of the game are worth eight points, three-pointers are worth four if the ball doesn’t touch the rim, and a point is deducted for missed free throws.
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Room of Forgotten Souls
6First Soup Kitchens
During the Great Depression Al Capone started one of the first soup kitchens, called “Free Soup Coffee & Doughnuts for the Unemployed." Capone’s soup kitchen served breakfast, lunch, and dinner to an average of 2,200 Chicagoans every day.
7. Andrew Carnegie believed that public libraries were the key to self-improvement for ordinary Americans. Thus, in the years between 1886 and 1917, Carnegie financed the construction of 2,811 public libraries, most of which were in the US.
8. Nepalese farmers create a type of honey called ‘mad honey’ which is produced by bees pollinating rhododendron plants. The honey is psychoactive and its effects can range from euphoria and lightheadedness to being similar to a full-blown acid trip.
9. In 2012, an 11-year-old Manchester boy named Liam Corcoran accidentally flew to Rome alone without any money, passports, or boarding passes while running away from his mom in a mall. No one realized until the plane was already halfway to Italy.
10. Pharrell made only $2,700 in songwriter royalties from 43 million plays of ‘HAPPY’ on Pandora.
One of the reasons achieving happiness is so difficult for humans is due to something called “prevalence-induced concept change” - when your life improves so much that bad experiences start to decrease, your brain automatically makes other ‘less bad’ experiences seem worse than it would before.
12. Ximen Bao was an ancient Chinese minister. When he learned that some corrupt politicians were sacrificing beautiful women to a river god and threatened floods if they weren’t paid high taxes, Ximen had the politicians thrown into the river to tell the god they could not find a beautiful sacrifice, ending the practice.
13. Sputnik Monroe was a 60s Memphis wrestler. As part of his villainous act, he fought against segregation and frequented black neighborhoods. He succeeded in ending segregation in wrestling arenas and became one of the biggest draws in wrestling history
14. The movie “Independence Day” was originally meant to have support from the United States Armed Forces, but they backed out when the references to Area 51 were not removed from the script.
15. The 1990s most obese state (Mississippi) had at that time a lower rate of obesity than what the least obese state (Colorado) had by 2010.
16Converting Blood Types
Canadian researchers have discovered how to convert blood types A, B, and AB to universal donor O-negative. They found that human gut bacteria make a class of enzymes that reacts with the non-O type red blood cells, essentially transforming them into O-negative.
17. “Lazy eye” or “Amblyopia” can be improved by playing Tetris. This is more efficient than an eye patch due to using your eyes in unison and using rapid eye movement to help check the pieces and where they should go.
18. Attending Harvard is free if your household income is below $65,000 a year. Harvard’s financial aid programs pay 100% of tuition, fees, room, and board for students from families earning less than $65,000 a year.
19. In 1992, Nike made a Super Bowl commercial where an animated Bugs Bunny played basketball with a real-life Michael Jordan. The commercial was so successful that Warner Brothers decided to turn it into a whole movie (Space Jam).
20. Will Wright, the creator of SimCity and The Sims, was also the winner of a 1980 illegal street race from New York to Santa Monica, driving a Mazda RX-7 with his co-driver Rick Doherty.
The Secret Service spent 10 years (1938 to 1948) searching for Emerich Juettner, a senior citizen counterfeiter. He only made $1 bills, just enough to support himself and his dog, never passing more than one in the same place. When Hollywood based a movie on him, he made more money than his counterfeiting did.
22. Prince Charles inherits the possessions of anyone who dies in Cornwall without a will or next of kin, a power that in some years has yielded hundreds of thousands of pounds. He funnels the money into charities after deducting his costs.
23. The Halifax Glove Guy is a man who has been prowling the streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada for almost 30 years picking up and preying on young drunk men. Once in his car, he convinces them to try on leather gloves, sometimes not letting them leave until they do. He is still active.
24. During the early days of the Soviet space program, one of the “Orbital survivability volunteer” dogs, named “Bobik”, ran away days before his first flight. His replacement was named ZIB, a Russian acronym for “Substitute for Missing Bobik”. He survived.
25. In 2004, teacher Barry Bradford and 3 students collaborated with a journalist to create a documentary about the murder of 3 civil rights activists by the KKK in 1964. Their discovery of fresh evidence got the case reopened, resulting in the conviction of white supremacist Edgar Ray Killen.