Italian scientist Francesco Redi in 1668 proved that maggots come from the eggs of flies. At that time, the prevailing wisdom was that maggots arose spontaneously from rotting meat.
2. John Stevens Henslow, a British priest, botanist and geologist, in 1831, was offered a place aboard a voyage to survey South America. After his wife dissuaded him from accepting, Henslow wrote to the captain, telling him to offer his place on the HMS Beagle to his protégé, Charles Darwin.
3. A Toronto lawyer named Charles Vance Millar died in 1926 with no relatives. In his will, he left all his remaining assets (equivalent to $9 million CAD) to the woman who had the most babies within 10 years of his death, creating a "baby race" where woman competed to have the most babies. The race ended in a tie between 4 mothers who each received $100,000 for their nine children.
4. According to NASA researchers, an optimal nap will last between 20-30 minutes and a perfect nap will last exactly 26 minutes.
5. Cats put their butts in your face because they are allowing you to “get to know” them.
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The East German Stasi used psych warfare called Zersetzung against dissidents. Tactics involved breaking into homes and subtly manipulating the contents; moving furniture, altering alarms, removing pictures from walls. Many thought they were losing their minds and had mental breakdowns.
7. A medical student named John Jones was trapped in the Nutty Putty cave while spelunking in 2009. Rescue attempts were unsuccessful and the cave entrance was eventually sealed with concrete. John's body is still there today.
8. A network of men and women working in the legal system have created something called "The Innocence Project" which to date has exonerated 364 innocent people serving sentences for violent crimes with punishments ranging from death to life without parole.
9. Peru built a hospital ship in 1862 which is still in service and it still runs on its original steam engine which is fueled by dried llama dung.
10. The day World War 2 started in 1939, BBC ceased all television broadcasts. They later resumed them in 1945, restarting at the same spot when it had been cut off during a Mickey Mouse cartoon.
In 2012, Facebook ran psychological experiments on users to study “emotional contagion” without the consent of users or pre-approval from ethics boards. Facebook was able to prove that it could alter the moods of users by changing algorithms of users’ news feeds.
12. The name Kevin in Germany has a particularly bad reputation (related to lower socioeconomic status), so much so that the word 'Alpha-Kevin' has been coined, representative of a particularly unintelligent young person. 'Kevinism' has even been described as an 'avoidable childhood illness.'
13. Mets fan Mike Sergio parachuted on to the field during the 1986 World Series. He was jailed for 21 days and given 500 hours of community service. To this day he refuses to reveal the pilot's name.
14. The Colombian army once wrote a song which contained a secret message in the chorus written in Morse code. It was broadcast to rebel-occupied territories in order to raise the morale of hostages being held there. The message read, “19 people rescued. You're next. Don’t lose hope.”
15. Although Fidel Castro was always pictured with cigars, he gave up smoking them in the ’80s and was quoted as saying: “The best thing you can do with a box of cigars is give it to your enemy!”
With only four tables and six booths, Rao's is New York's most exclusive restaurant. There are no reservations, just table assignments, designated decades ago. When any of the original “owners” of those tables die, their families will often inherit the table.
17. Stanford researchers in Costa Rica have found that adding a single tree to a pasture land could boost biodiversity. For example, the number of bird species after one tree was planted went from near 0 to 80.
18. Georgia Tann was a child trafficker who arranged expensive adoptions with the wealthy, including stars like Joan Crawford. She deceived birth parents by taking babies for medical care and later saying they died. The police did nothing because her victims were poor, and Tann died without justice.
19. Ancient Roman bridges are among the largest and most lasting bridges ever built. Many are still used despite being around 2,000 years old.
20. The record for the most Grammy Awards won in a lifetime is held by Georg Solti, a Hungarian-British conductor who conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 22 years. He has won a total of 31 competitive Grammy Awards out of 74 nominations and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Simply sniffing your partner’s clothing can reduce stress and feeling of loneliness, according to research from the University of British Columbia.
22. In the 1920s, Bhagat Singh Thind, an Indian Sikh man, tried to argue to the Supreme Court of the United States that he was "white" on the grounds that anthropologists at that time classified people from India as "Caucasian." The Court rejected his argument.
23. During World War 2, the U.S. military designed a grenade to be the size and weight of a baseball, since "any young American man should be able to properly throw it."
24. Apollo 12 was struck by lightning during launch and was on the verge of being aborted before a single flight controller realized that flipping a little known switch would restore enough systems to save the mission.
25. Mary Ann and Charles Goodnight were responsible for the continued existence of pure American Bison and returned them from the verge of extinction.