In The Netherlands, people swear with diseases. Get someone angry enough and they may wish syphilis on you. (Or cancer, tuberculosis, smallpox, etc.) The more serious the disease, the more seriously you have angered them.
“Berserkers” were Norse warriors who fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury. It has been suggested that the warriors consumed hallucinogens before battles. Some were said to wear the pelt of a wolf (or bear) when they entered battle.
Ants use “social immunization” – if one is infected with a fungus, they still lick the ant, spreading it throughout the colony. This practice both kills some of the spores, and builds immune resistance.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has donated over $10,000,000 to charity since they started touring.
In Japan there’s a communal event called ‘rui-katsu’ (tear-seeking). It’s when people get together to watch sad clips and then cry to relieve stress.
American psychologist George Stratton conducted experiments in which he either wore glasses inverting images both upside-down and left-right or a contraption that forced him to see his body from above. He found that it took only a few days for his brain to adapt to the new orientations.
If we could capture just 0.1% of the ocean’s kinetic energy caused by tides, we could satisfy the current global energy demand 5 times over.
Because of prenatal scans and boys being the preferential gender in China. That in 20 years there will be 30-50 million men without wives in China.
Finding Nemo had the opposite effect that was intended. Despite its negative portrayal of keeping fish in aquariums, the use of clownfish prompted the demand for aquariums to triple. Demand was met by large-scale harvesting of tropical fish from the wild which devastated Clownfish Populations.
George R.R. Martin’s idea for Game of Thrones began with his pet turtles. He said, “I decided they were all knights and kings…and I made up stories about how they killed each other and betrayed each other and fought for the kingdom. So, Game of Thrones, actually began with turtles.”
In 2013 a cat named Cookie went missing while on holiday with his owner in Grasse, southern France. 18 months later Cookie returned “dirty and emaciated” having traveled a journey of 700-miles, all the way home.
In the 1960s, Nichelle Nichols, the black actress that played Uhura in Star Trek, wanted to quit the show. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked her out of quitting the role because he believed presenting a black woman working alongside white men would help further the goal of racial equality.
Since Ronald Reagan, each outgoing United States president has left a private message on the Oval Office desk for the incoming president on Inauguration Day.
There is a 100-year-old woman still teaching math at her elementary school in Brooklyn.
A staff writer for The New Yorker came to the office every day from 1964 to his death in 1996 — and never published a single story.