In 1911, physicist George de Hevesy suspected his landlady was bulking up his meals with leftovers; he proved it by sprinkling radioactive material over his dinner and detecting it in the next day’s portion.
Reverse Racing was a huge and very challenging motor sport in the Netherlands thanks to the sale of DAF cars that had no speed limit for driving in reverse. It was eventually stopped because those cars were becoming collectors items and the sport was considered too dangerous.
One of the most important mathematical books ever written, Principia Mathematica, needed 360 pages to prove that 1 + 1 = 2. The book itself is considered so advanced and hard to understand that it’s rarely used in academia at all.
Syphilis has had many names throughout history: In Germany, it was the “French Disease.” In France, it was the “Italian Disease.” In Holland, it was the “Spanish Disease.” In Russia, it was the “Polish Disease.” In Turkey, it was the “Christian Disease.”
Some apartments in Hong Kong are so small they are called “coffin homes”. They are so small that the UN called it an “insult to human dignity” with some being around 15 square feet”.
The iconic photo of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J day was actually a non-consensual kiss by a drunk sailor. The “nurse” was a dental assistant named Greta Friedman who later said “it wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed.”
In 2018, a middle school in Dallas organized an event called “Breakfast with Dads,” but saw that not all of the students have fathers or father figures to attend the event with. So, they put up a post on Facebook seeking around 50 volunteers. On the day of the event, 600 men showed up to help.
In 1974, when President Nixon visited Syria, the Syrians sent MiG fighter jets as a friendly escort for Nixon’s Air Force One. Someone forgot to tell the pilot of Air Force One, who thought the plane was being attacked and took evasive maneuvers.
In 1967, hippies attempted a ritual to levitate the Pentagon in the air to end the Vietnam War.
In July 2020, marine biologists studying the seafloor in the South Pacific Gyre (“the deadest spot in the ocean”) discovered aerobic microorganisms in “quasi-suspended animation.” At 101.5 million years old, they are the longest-living life forms ever found.