50 Facts So Crazy You Won’t Believe They’re Actually True

Get ready for the mental equivalent of a double-take.

50 Facts So Crazy You Won’t Believe They’re Actually True
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The world is a strange, surprising place, in ways large and small, serious and trivial. Many times, things that you think you know are more complicated than you might expect—and the facts you may have assumed to be true (for years!) might be totally false. The reverse is also the case. Don’t believe us? Read on through these 50 bits of trivia. They’re sure to challenge what you think to be true about the world.

secretly hilarious things

1
Cats Can Be Allergic to People

Some people’s immune systems react badly to cats. Even a little bit of fur can provoke a runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and even a rash. However, cats have allergies, too. They can have allergic reactions to other pets like dogs and birds or, in rare cases, to their human owners. Since we (hopefully) bathe more often than our furry friends and don’t shed so much hair, feline allergies to people usually develop in response to chemicals like detergent, soap, or perfume. If you change brands and that still doesn’t help, though, you may need to give your cat anti-histamines.

2
It’s Illegal to Die in One Scandinavian Town

Off the coast of mainland Norway, about halfway to the North Pole, lies the Svalbard archipelago. It’s so far north that it’s completely dark for four months out of the year, and it’s so cold that anything buried in the ground doesn’t decompose. For example, in 1998, scientists extracted a live sample of the 1918 flu virus from buried bodies. Because of this, the 2,000-person town of Longyearbyen has made it illegal to die or be buried there. Instead, people nearing the ends of their lives must fly to the Norwegian mainland.

Eddie Collins, Pinto Colvig, Billy Gilbert, Otis Harlan, and Scotty Mattraw in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

3
Snow White Almost Co-Starred with Burpy the Dwarf

The story we know as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came from a German fairytale that’s been around for centuries. The dwarfs were always an important part of the story, but they didn’t have individual names (apart from one stage adaptation) until Walt Disney came along. However, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey, and Doc weren’t the only names the writers considered. We could have had dwarfs named Jumpy, Burpy, Puffy, Stuffy, Lazy, Wheezy, and the cringe-inducing Deafy.

Businessman Drinking Coffee

4
Caffeine Makes Food Taste Less Sweet

Do you like to have a sugary pastry with your morning coffee? Us, too. But recent research shows that might be missing out on some sugary goodness. While caffeine dulls your brains receptors to hormones that cause sleepiness, it also dulls your perception of sweetness. That can lead you to underestimate the true amount of sugar you’re consuming—either in the coffee itself or as a side dish—or even cause sugar cravings. The solution? Try decaf a few times a week. That same research showed that participants couldn’t tell the difference between regular and decaf.

3 Musketeers Bar cut in half

5
3 Musketeers Candy Bars Used to Contain Three Bars

If you’ve ever wondered why they call it a “3 Musketeers bar,” even though you only get one musketeer—ahem, bar—you’re not alone. In fact, the original 1932 version of the confection contained three separate candy bars in one wrapper: one full of chocolate nougat (like today), while the other two contained vanilla and strawberry nougat.

However, during World War II, American candy makers had to work around sugar rations, and the Mars Corporation decided to focus on their most popular flavor: chocolate. (No surprise there.) In recent years, however, they’ve released limited-edition flavors from time to time.

Golden raisins

6
The Sun-Maid Raisins Girl Was an Actual Model

Sun-Maid Raisins has been using the same logo on their packaging since 1916: a young woman with curly brown hair tucked under a red bonnet, holding a tray of grapes. This image was inspired by real-life model Lorraine Collette (later Peterson), who was working as a seeder and picker for a California fruit packing company when a Sun-Maid executive spotted her now-iconic bonnet. In addition to lending her image to the company, she was hired to promote their product, once even dropping raisins from a plane as it flew over San Francisco.

Teddy Bears

7
We Almost Had a Billy Possum

You may have heard that the teddy bear was named for Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, who once refused to shoot a wounded bear. The invention of the teddy bear coincided perfectly with the rise of mass manufacturing in the toy industry, and the bear’s creators made off like bandits. When the 27th president, William Howard Taft, began his term, toymakers sought to make a similarly-popular plushie out of a meal he enjoyed in Atlanta: “possum and taters.” Needless to say, “Billy Possum” was not as big of a hit as Teddy Bear.

tom kerss captures supermoon 2018

8
Rhesus Monkeys Can See the Man in the Moon

If you’ve ever seen a “face” in the features of a building or the wood grain of a door, you’ve experienced pareidolia: the illusion of seeing facial features in inanimate objects. As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones who do this. Rhesus monkeys do, too. They act similarly to human infants presented with a picture of, for example, a fruit or vegetable that appears to have a face. Scientists hypothesize that this ability helps monkeys—just as it helped human ancestors—detect potential hidden dangers.

berries thyroid health

9
A Woman Sued a Cereal Brand

America has a bit of a reputation as the land of frivolous lawsuits, and it’s hard to argue when you hear about cases like this one. In 2009, a California woman sued the makers of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunchberry cereal for tricking her into believing that it contained real fruit. There is a law stating that a company’s advertising can’t be “likely to deceive a reasonable consumer.” But the judge didn’t find her case to be reasonable. The court ruled that, as “crunchberries” aren’t real and the box lists the ingredients, the cereal packaging wasn’t deceptive.

40 roads everyone should drive

10
An Australian Man Tried to Sell New Zealand on eBay

On the other side of the globe, a prankster in Brisbane, Australia, listed the nearby country of New Zealand for auction on eBay in 2006. He set the starting bid at $0.01 AUD, but the bidding quickly rose upwards of $3,000 before the moderators caught on and removed the listing. Though a few cities have been “sold” on eBay, an entire country was just too much. The foreign minister of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, was not amused, stating, “I don’t think it’s funny. It’s nonsensical stupidity.”

man thinking at the office {priorities after 50}

11
Thinking in a Second Language Leads to Better Decisions

While you might assume that you’d need your native tongue to fully comprehend all aspects of a problem, thinking it over in a different language might actually improve your rationality. Using a non-native language, no matter what it is, requires you to be deliberate in your word choice and less reactive to emotionally charged words, giving you a more accurate ability to perceive risk. The effect even extended to bets, with participants who considered the rationality of the bet in a second language more likely to take the more profitable option.

Christmas tv specials are a bad tradition

12
Fergie Voiced Charlie Brown’s Sister

Before she was Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas, Stacy Ann Ferguson was an aspiring child actor. In addition to being the longest-running cast member on the show Kids Incorporated, she did voice acting work for cartoons based on Charles M. Shultz’s famous Peanuts comic strips. She provided the voice of Sally, Charlie Brown’s laid-back younger sister, for two TV movies and several episodes of an animated series. Although she did lend her voice to a dog named Jezebel in the 2010 movie adaptation of Marmaduke, she’s mostly focused on her singing since then.

Dog Licking Paw on the beach {Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws}

13
Your Dog Might Have “Frito Feet”

Dog owners often encounter a number of unusual odors emanating from their beloved pets, but there’s one in particular that’s described as smelling like “corn chips or old popcorn.” Since it tends to come from their paws, it’s been nicknamed “Frito feet.”  The good news is that it’s rarely an indication of a problem—it’s simply a yeasty smell given off by bacteria that naturally live on a dog’s paws. Regular bathing and trimming fur between your dog’s foot pads will cut down on foot sweatiness and thus that weird corn chip odor.

Lottery Ticket {Best of 2018}

14
You’re More Likely to Win a Gold Medal than the Lottery

The recent U.S. Mega Millions jackpot of $1.5 billion carried winning odds of 1 in 302.6 million. You surely knew that your chance of winning was low, but you may not have a good reference point for just how low. For comparison, your odds of becoming an astronaut are 1 in 12 million. Or how about this: your odds of winning an Olympic gold medal are just 1 in 662,000. If that ship has sailed, remember that your chances at winning an Academy Award are substantially higher than that, at an unbelievable 1 in 11,500.

American Flag

15
The Current American Flag Design Earned a Bad Grade

Unless you’re over 60, the American flag has always had the same iconic design: 50 stars and 13 stripes. However, the United States didn’t include 50 states until Hawaii joined in 1959, necessitating a new flag design. High schooler Robert G. Heft submitted such a design as part of a class assignment, and though he wasn’t the only one to suggest the alternating rows of five and six stars, he was the only one who actually sent in a prototype. President Eisenhower chose Heft’s flag to become the official national symbol—but his teacher only gave it a B-.

rice

16
Uncooked Rice Isn’t Bad for Birds

This urban legend even had Ann Landers urging couples not to give out rice to throw at their weddings, asserting it was dangerous for birds to eat. The rumor states that uncooked rice, particularly instant rice, will expand in birds’ stomachs, killing them. However, rice must be boiled before it can expand, and birds eat plenty of uncooked, wild rice anyway. Rice won’t harm birds, but it might harm your guests if they slip and fall, and the venue might charge you extra for the difficult cleanup.

Sad Woman Pretending to Smile {Body Language Cues}

17
There Are Three Different Types of Smiles

No single emoji can really capture the diversity of the human smile. Studies have shown that people distinguish three basic types of smiles: reward (given as praise, for example, to a joke), affiliation (to show a bond between people), and dominance (to signify higher social status). Each of these smiles looks distinct and involves different aspects of facial symmetry, eyebrow lift, and lip-pulling. Understanding different types of smiles and how they’re used can decrease miscommunication, particularly between people from different cultures.

cat hunching over

18
Belgium Trained Cats to Deliver Mail

One wonders why they tried it in the first place. Budget issues? Boredom? Just to see if they could? Regardless, in the 1870s, the city of Liège in Belgium hit upon the idea of using domestic cats as mail carriers. They trained 37 such cats, fastening messages to their collars in waterproof bags and sending them throughout the city. It worked about as well as you’d expect: the fastest cat delivered its cargo in five hours, but most took a full day to reach their destinations. There’s a reason we don’t use Kitty Express.

fan celebrating a baseball game

19
A Baseball Fan Was Hit Twice by Consecutive Foul Balls

There’s more protection for spectators these days, but every baseball fan knows there’s still a small chance of a foul ball flying your way. During one Phillies–Giants game in 1957, Richie Ashburn fouled off a ball into the stands that smacked Alice Roth right in the face, breaking her nose. As the medics led her out of the stands, Ashburn hit another foul ball off the very next pitch—hitting Roth once again, in the leg this time. Fortunately, she recovered, and the Phillies treated her and her family, per reports, “like royalty.”

brain boosting habits over 40

20
An Ancient Egyptian Mummy Has a Modern Day Passport

When Pharaoh Ramses II died in 1213 B.C.E., his priests moved his body frequently from tomb to tomb to stave off grave robbers, so his mummy was in pretty bad shape by the 1970s. However, the reigning experts in mummy preservation lived in France, and the Egyptian authorities worried that the Europeans would simply keep the mummy. (Anyone who’s visited the British Museum knows this isn’t an idle fear.) To give Ramses II some legal protection, Egyptian authorities issued him a passport, listing his occupation as “King (deceased).” Fortunately, he was returned to Egypt safely and well-preserved.

Lake with Lily Pads {Tricky Math Questions}

21
Victoria Lily Pads Can Support a Small Child

Lily pads seem like delicate things, floating across the surface of the water, and many of them are. Even the Victoria amazonica, the world’s largest lily pad, is very susceptible to puncture if you drop a sharp object into it. However, because of the leaves’ spectacular size—up to 3 meters, or 9.8 feet—if you distribute weight evenly across the Victoria lily pad, it can support up to 71 pounds. You’d need to lay, for example, a sheet of plywood across it first, but then you could set a young child on it as though it were an inflatable raft.

Facebook friend request

22
The Verb “Unfriend” is 350 Years Older than Facebook

While most of us would interpret the word “unfriend” as a verb meant to indicate that someone has severed an internet relationship, the word itself was first used in the 1200s to describe someone who was no longer a friend. By the 17th century, however, “unfriend” had become a verb that meant essentially the same thing it does today, minus the internet. In 1659, Thomas Fuller wrote: “I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.”

Abraham Lincoln Craziest U.S. Presidents

23
John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved the Life of Abraham Lincoln’s Son

If they put it in a movie, you’d never believe it: Robert Todd Lincoln was saved from a gruesome train accident by the brother of the man who would later assassinate his father. Lincoln the younger, traveling to D.C., ended up on a crowded train platform. He pressed himself against the train to let other people pass, but when the train began to move, he fell between the train and the platform. He might have been squashed if not for then-famous stage actor Edwin Booth, who pulled Lincoln up by the collar and back onto the platform.

a tuxedo cat playing with catnip - why do cats like catnip so much

24
Catnip Repels Mosquitos

Though you may experiences some difficulty wrestling it away from your cat, catnip contains an essential oil that is ten times better at repelling mosquitos than the active ingredient in commercial bug repellent. At high doses, catnip repels 49 to 59 percent of mosquitos, while DEET (diethyl-m-toluamide) repels only about 10 percent at the same dose. The problem with catnip oil, or nepetalactone, is that it loses potency quickly and is difficult to grow commercially, but new strains of the plant are currently in development to fix these issues and potentially create a better bug spray.

conspiracy theories

25
One Man Created Half of Today’s Routine Vaccines

The current recommended vaccine schedule for children includes 14 different vaccines spread out over childhood (and longer, in some cases). A single scientist named Maurice Ralph Hilleman is responsible for an astonishing 8 of those 14 vaccines: measles, mumps, hepatitis A and B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia, and a strain of bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae. He also discovered that chlamydia was caused by a bacterium, not a virus. You’ve probably never heard his name, but he’s likely saved the lives of more children than any other single person in history.

26
MIT Students Can Become Certified Pirates

If you’re an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you’ve worked hard to get there, and you finally have a chance to fulfill your dream: becoming a pirate. Though the university doesn’t offer a full major in piracy, if you pass courses in sailing, fencing, pistols, and archery, you can receive a certificate asserting your status as a scourge of the high seas. While the status was unofficial for nearly as long as the school has offered all the classes, MIT made it official in 2012, offering documentation to aspiring Anne Bonnies and Edward Teaches.

Australia's Lake Hillier

27
There’s a Lake in Australia That’s Bright Pink

No matter how bad you are at geography, you’ll be able to identify Western Australia’s Hillier Lake by sight. That’s because the water in the lake is an unmistakable pink. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why it’s pink, but they suspect that a combination of microalgae in the water and bacteria in the salt crust form the color. Though the lake is too salty to support any life bigger than algae, it’s safe to swim in. You have to be quite a dedicated swimmer, though, because the island is only accessible by airplane or cruise ship.

kid inventions

28
Spiked Dog Collars Protected Sheepdogs from Wolves

They became part of punk and goth fashion in the 1980s, but the protruding spikes on some dog collars actually originally served an important purpose. Though the Ancient Egyptians were the first to put collars on dogs for domestication purposes, Ancient Greeks added the spikes. They would put these spiked collars on their herding dogs before sending them out into the fields so that any attacking wolves couldn’t get a hold of their necks or throats. The spikes protected the dog, and the dog protected the sheep.

computer

29
The World’s First Business Computer Calculated Bakery Receipts

Though it seems inconceivable that any contemporary business could operate without the aid of computers, this practice has barely been around for 60 years. It was actually an English tea shop called J. Lyons & Co. that first used a computer for business purposes. The LEO (Lyons Electronic Office), unveiled in 1951, was the size of a large room and could calculate sales, invoices, supplies, orders, and payroll. It’s rather remarkable that the owner of a restaurant and catering business with no electronics experience had the foresight to invest in such an innovative machine.

Box jellyfish

30
Jellyfish Keep Clogging Up Power Plants

Power plants have a surprising but extremely numerous marine opponent: jellyfish. These plants—nuclear, gas, and wind alike—require a large amount of water to cool their machinery, and the only source for that much water is the ocean. However, jellyfish blooms around oil platforms and wind farms in the ocean mean that sea water isn’t the only thing the cooling pipes are pulling in. Power plants in Scotland, Sweden, Japan, the Philippines, Israel, and the United States have all experienced jellyfish-related clogs in the last few years.

31
May 29th is “Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day”

Um, why? Well, it can’t hurt. Before refrigerators, some Europeans and Americans practiced the tradition of once a year sticking their linens in their pantry or larder as a way of inviting wealth and good luck to the home. This superstition has updated with the times, so now placing your pillow atop your fridge on the designated day each year (May 29th) should fulfill the requirement. (If you have the space, you could also try cramming the pillow in your fridge, though scientists have yet to determine whether this might bring any extra luck.)

Lightning Storm Bogus 20th Century Facts

32
A Lightning Strike Can Form a Tree Shape on Your Skin

The scientific name for the branching, tree-like shape of a lightning bolt is a Lichtenberg figure, a pattern that can be found wherever electricity discharges through non-conductive matter. Sometimes, this pattern imprints on insulating materials like acrylic or wood, but it can also form on human skin. Some people who have been struck by lightning develop a rash in the shape of a tree where the bolt hit, bursting capillaries in the path of the electricity. Though the rash will fade, the person will bear the lightning’s signature on their skin for good.

weird facts

33
The Tea Bag Was Invented by Accident

Though many of us associate all things tea with the British, the portable tea bag was a purely American invention. Before 1908, tea only came in loose leaf form and needed to be steeped in a metal diffuser to brew. However, when a New York tea merchant sent out samples of his product in small silk bags, some of his American customers assumed that the bag could take the place of the diffuser—they just dunked the whole thing in boiling water. The Brits turned up their noses at this American practice—until after WWII, when the portability factor won them over.

Electricity, lightbulbs, scandalous

34
You Can Make a 60-Watt Lamp Without Electricity

Since it refracts sunlight, you can only use this Moser lamp (named for its creator, Alfredo Moser) during the day, but it can be a boon for simple homes without electricity. All you need to do is fill a 2-liter plastic bottle with water, and add a little bleach to prevent algae from growing. You then need to drill a hole in your roof to access sunlight, but if you insert the bottle and then seal the opening, the room below will get about 60 watts of illumination while the sun is out.

35
A Man Was Hit by a Train and Survived

In 2013, a Michigan man named Darryl See was walking along a set of train tracks, listening to music so loud that he didn’t hear the oncoming train. The Chicago-bound train hit See straight-on at 110 mph, throwing him 20 feet, breaking bones, and crushing some of his vertebrae. Amazingly, though, he survived, needing surgery only to put a plate in his neck. The 22-year-old reportedly remembers nothing about the accident, and lifelong train engineers claim they’ve never seen anyone survive this kind of accident before.

moving boxes garage upgrades

36
There’s an Earthquake-Proof Cathedral Made of Cardboard

In 2011, the city of Christchurch in New Zealand was struck by a massive earthquake. Many of the city’s oldest buildings were destroyed, including Christchurch Cathedral. Anglican leaders wanted to create a temporary structure until something more permanent could be built, so they commissioned a Japanese architect who specializes in earthquake-proofing and designed the building primarily out of cardboard. It’s supported by timber and steel, but, should another earthquake hit, this Transitional Cathedral is flexible enough to remain standing. It was the first major structure to go up as part of the city’s rebuilding efforts.

Pufferfish sea creature

37
Male Pufferfish Create “Crop Circles” to Attract Mates

Around 1995, marine biologists began to notice a phenomenon off the coast of Japan—crop circles, seven feet in diameter, on the ocean floor. Their source remained a mystery for 16 years, when a research team finally observed one of these Spirograph patterns being created by… a 5-inch-long pufferfish. It seems male pufferfish shape the circles over the course of 7-9 days, using their fins to move sand around and decorate the peaks with shell fragments. We still don’t know the exact criteria the female pufferfish use to judge these sculptures.

breast cancer prevention, raw meat

38
Charles Darwin Ate One of Every Animal He Found

Primarily known for his theory of evolution gleaned from observing animals in the Galapagos, Charles Darwin was not only a scientist – he was an extremely adventurous eater. He belonged to his university’s “Glutton Club,” which prided itself on eating the strangest meats its members could find. Later, on his voyages on the HMS Beagle, he sampled, among other things, puma, armadillo, iguana, giant tortoise, and lesser rhea. His favorite was an unnamed rodent, probably an agouti, which he described as “the very best meat I ever tasted.”

sunflowers in a field on a sunny day

39
Japan Uses Sunflowers to Clean Up Radiation

When a tsunami hit the Fukushima area of Japan in 2011, the radioactive fallout from the nearby nuclear power plant contaminated the land and water for 30 miles in every direction. Even outside the evacuation zone, the soil shows traces of radiation, which can end up in any food grown there. To help rehabilitate the land, Buddhist monks began passing out seeds for field mustard, amaranthus, cockscomb, and sunflowers—all plants known to soak up radioactive particles. More than 8 million sunflowers were planted within the first six months after the disaster.

kittys hog nosed bat Image via Wikipedia

40
The Bumblebee Bat is the World’s Smallest Mammal

At just over an inch in length and under an ounce in weight, Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, is the smallest mammal on the planet. As its name suggests, it has a pig-like snout for a nose, and its eyes are barely visible. These tiny creatures are found only in western Thailand and southeast Myanmar, and forest-burning practices in these areas have reduced the population significantly over the past few decades. It isn’t yet endangered, but it’s considered vulnerable with a downward trend.

41
A Dead Jockey Won a Horse Race

Poor Frank Hayes wasn’t even really a jockey—he was a stable hand who sometimes filled in during races. On June 3, 1923, he won his first—and last—horse race. At some point while riding the 20-to-1 longshot Sweet Kiss, Hayes suffered a heart attack and died. However, the horse finished first and Hayes’ body was still mounted on the saddle, so Sweet Kiss was declared the winner. Hayes, who was only 22, had been required to drop 10 pounds of water weight in the previous 24 hours, so it’s possible that dehydration and weakness proved a lethal combination.

Volcano, HI

42
There’s an Active Volcano in Colorado

In the heart of Colorado, about 50 miles west of Denver, lies the Dotsero volcano, a 2,300-foot long beast that once produced a lava flow that stretched for two miles. It is indeed active… depending on how you define “active.”  In the technical, geological sense, any volcano that has erupted in the past 10,000 years is considered active, and Dotsero last spewed lava about 4,200 years ago. However, minus a catastrophe the size of an asteroid strike, it’s in no real danger of it erupting today.

habits after 40

43
There’s a Pop-Punk Lead Singer with a PhD

When punk band The Offspring released their album Smash in 1994, it became a huge hit, and lead singer Dexter Holland stepped away from his postgraduate education to focus on his music. Neither his professors nor his mother were very happy about it, but even as he toured with the band over the next decades, the “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” singer kept chipping away at his classes. Finally, in 2017, now-Dr. Holland completed his dissertation on “the molecular dynamics of HIV and general virus/host interactions.” It’s never too late to finish your education!

bad puns hippo

44
Hippos Are an Invasive Species in Colombia

Before his death in 1993, cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar built himself an expansive estate in his home country of Colombia. This included a personal zoo, and when the government took over his property, they had no way to move the four hippopotamuses, so they just… left them there. In the 25 years since, the herd has expanded to dozens of hippos. Conservationists differ as to whether the hippos, which have taken up residence in the main river, represent a danger to local ecosystems or a suitable replacement for the large animals that lived in South America before they went extinct.

astronaut floating in space

2
Astronauts Come Back to Earth Taller

Human bodies can do some unusual things when you free them from gravity. For example, without the weight of their bodies compressing the cartilage in their joints and spines, astronauts’ bodies actually lengthen slightly in zero-G conditions. As a result, they come back to Earth a few inches taller, though the effect will disappear over time.

Amazingly, laying down for a good night’s sleep down here on planet Earth can have a similar effect. Though the difference is slight—usually no more than 1 cm—you’re a little bit taller when you first get out of bed in the morning than you are at night.

people who drink coffee black more likely to be psychopaths

46
A Coffee Taster’s Tongue is Insured for 10 Million Pounds

Costa Coffee might not be a household name in the United States, but in the United Kingdom, it’s one of the most profitable coffee brands. It’s so profitable, in fact, that the brand’s head taste tester, Gennaro Pelliccia, has insured his taste buds with Lloyds of London for the princely sum of £10 million. To put that in perspective, Lloyd’s insures Bruce Springsteen’s voice for only £3.5 million, while David Beckham’s legs are worth £40 million.

Herd of elephants

47
Tuskless Elephants are Evolving in Response to Poaching

When a certain trait allows an animal to survive better in its environment, more offspring who share that trait will be born. In this case, the elephants who have survived African poachers are those born without tusks, so they’re the ones left to reproduce. The percentage of tuskless female African elephants has grown from around 3 percent to as high as 51 percent in Mozambique. Unfortunately for these animals, tusks aren’t just ornamental—elephants use them to build habitats and dig for water. A tuskless generation could severely change broader elephant behavior.

Walgreens pharmacy

48
Medicinal Whiskey Prescriptions Put Walgreens on the Map

When Prohibition went into effect in the United States in 1920, Walgreens Pharmacies numbered only 20—hardly a nationwide chain. However, there were a precious few legal ways to procure alcohol during the 1920s, and a doctor’s prescription was one of them. Doctors could make some extra money on the side by prescribing “medicinal” whiskey to their patients, and Walgreens was one of the few places that kept it in stock. By the end of the decade, there were over 400 Walgreens stores across the country.

italy, sculpture garden, Stefano Giannoni, Brunello Cucinelli

49
Medieval Italians Fought a War Over a Bucket

Medieval Italy wasn’t a unified country; it was a collection of rival city-states that rarely got along. Bologna and Modena were two such neighboring city-states that supported opposing political factions. Tensions had been simmering for decades, occasionally breaking out into border clashes, when in 1325, some Modenese soldiers snuck into Bologna and stole a bucket from the main city well. The resulting War of the Bucket had only one battle, the Battle of Zappolino, but Modena was the victor. Nearly 700 years later, the bucket remains there still.

deep underwater mariana trench

50
Underwater Rugby is an International Sport

If you’ve got 11 athletic friends and access to a pool, why not try playing underwater rugby? You’ll need a ball full of saltwater (so it doesn’t float) and a pair of heavy buckets. Divide into two teams and pass the ball to your teammates in any direction, but don’t let it come out of the water. Dunk it in your team’s bucket to score a point. Since its invention in 1961 in Germany, underwater rugby has become a world sport, with a governing body featuring members from 21 countries, including the United States. And for more mind-blowing trivia, check out 30 Facts You Always Believed That Aren’t True.

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