A woman in France accidentally received a phone bill of €11,721,000,000,000,000 (million billion). This was 5000x the GDP of France at the time. It took several days of wrangling before the phone company finally admitted it was a mistake and she owed just €117.21. They let her off.
“Decimation” means “removal of a tenth” in Latin, and refers to a Roman practice in which military commanders punished units for capital offenses by having soldiers execute 1 in 10 of their comrades.
A woman discovered that the hair stylist whom she got along so well with for the last 6 years was in fact her biological brother.
IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad started his journey to becoming the 8th richest man in the world at age 5, by selling matches to his neighbors. He bought matches in bulk, cheaply & re-sold them at a very low price while still making a good profit, the same basic model used later at IKEA.
A 19 year old Ninja History student in Japan scored full marks for submitting an essay written with invisible ink; a technique called, ‘Aburidashi’.
During the Punic Wars, the Romans realized they had no clue how to build ships. They decided to rent row boats, run aground a Carthaginian ship, and plagiarize the designs. The entire first fleet of their new Navy was based off this ship, but learning to row proved more challenging.
Julius Caesar would personally conduct espionage on his enemies. Once, he even dressed up as a Gaul and snuck behind enemy lines. When his soldiers failed to sneak him back, he boarded a Gaul ship blockading the Romans and sailed back into Roman territory without anyone noticing.
For the production of ‘Master and Commander’, Russell Crowe personally bought the violin his character plays in the film as the budget couldn’t spare the expense. He later then sold the violin at auction in 2018 for $104,000.
C.S. Lewis nominated J.R.R. Tolkien for the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was rejected on the grounds that his writing “has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.”