In 1975, rather than installing expensive signs or speed bumps, Napa, California experimented with using chickens to slow down motorists on one of its streets — Streblow Drive, bordering Kennedy Park. They simply let 85 chickens roam the park and street at will. Said park superintendent Bob Pelusi, “Only occasionally does an errant driver charge through the flock. In the nine months we’ve had the chickens on the job, we’ve lost 12 of them — gone in the line of duty, so to speak.”
Christopher Columbus was thrown in jail upon his return to Spain for mistreating the native population of Hispaniola.
London black cab drivers must first pass The Knowledge, a multi-sequence oral exam requiring memorization of all 25,000 street names, landmarks, and points-of-interest in a 6 mile radius from London center.
Vincent Van Gogh didn’t start to paint until the age of 28 and only started drawing at the age of 26. In the 9 years, until his death at 37, he painted over 800 paintings.
Shooting free throws in basketball underhanded, or “granny style,” is statistically more effective, but players don’t do it because it doesn’t look cool.
Some of the first US spy satellites took imagery on 70 millimeter film, which was recovered by dropping huge film canisters from space and catching them mid-air by a passing US Air Force plane.
The longest war in recorded history lasted 335 years and 19 days. It was between the Dutch and the Isles of Scilly, there were no casualties, and the Dutch actually forgot about the conflict until a Scilly historian contacted them about it in 1985. A treaty was signed between them in 1986.
Japan has blue traffic lights in some areas because historically the Japanese used the same word for green and blue.
Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ray Bradbury, actors Christopher Reeve and Linda Hamilton, and astronaut Alan Shepard are all descendants of Mary Bradbury, a woman tried and sentenced in the Salem Witch Trials who escaped death and lived to age 85.
The film The China Syndrome, a movie about a nuclear meltdown caused by a faulty sensor reading and a stuck-open pressure release valve, aired only 12 days before the 3 Mile Island Meltdown, caused by a faulty sensor reading and a stuck open pressure release valve.