People in Japan are renting cars, but not to drive them anywhere. Car rental companies looked into it and discovered that people were using them to take naps, eat lunch, do work, change clothes, recharge cell phones, and store things (when storage lockers at train stations weren’t available).
While in the USSR, Neil Armstrong collected a handful of soil from outside a Ukrainian man’s house in Siberia to acknowledge that man’s contribution to Apollo-11 Moon Mission. The gravitational trajectory adopted by Apollo-11 program to reach the Moon is named after that man – ‘The Kondratyuk Rout’.
In 1999, Philip Morris attempted to convince the government of the Czech Republic that smoking was highly beneficial to the country, as more people would die earlier as a result, thus letting the government save millions on pensions, hospitals, and housing for elderly citizens.
In 1953, a paper boy acquired a hollowed-out nickel containing a ciphered message while collecting for his deliveries. He told the daughter of an NYPD officer and the news got to the FBI, eventually leading to the arrest and conviction of KGB agent Vilyam Fisher four years later.
In the late 17th century, the pirate Henry Avery became the richest pirate in the world after raiding a treasure laden ship belonging to the Grand Ruler of India. He stole £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to £89.6M today. The world’s first worldwide manhunt was called on him. Although a number of his crew were subsequently arrested, Every himself eluded capture, vanishing from all records in 1696; his whereabouts and activities after this period are unknown. Unconfirmed accounts state he may have changed his name and retired, quietly living out the rest of his life in either Britain or an unidentified tropical island, while alternative accounts consider Every may have squandered his riches. Henry Avery is considered to have died anywhere between 1699 and 1714; his treasure has never been recovered.
Half of all US food produce is thrown away (left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill) because of unrealistic and unyielding “cosmetic food” standards.
During WWII, the British launched nearly 100,000 weather balloons trailing long metal wires toward occupied Europe, causing power outages when they shorted out power lines and causing at least one German power station to burn down. The US military “rediscovered” this during training operations in the San Diego area a few decades ago when metallic radar cloaking chaff accidentally drifted into a substation causing a widespread power outage. This led to development of ordnance that released carbon fibers for the same effect. It was used during the Iraq war.
An increasing number of schools and companies in Japan encourage their students and employees to cry as a way of relieving stress and improving mental health. There are also people who are called “namida sensei” meaning “tears teacher”.
A man in Vermont, upset with local officials for denying a building permit for his proposed business, paid $4,000 to build a giant illuminated middle finger statue on his property. “If you don’t want to look at the building, look at this.” He said to the Development Review Board.
Removing lead from gasoline is thought to be one of the big factors that lead to the drop in the violent crime rate in America in the 1990s.