In 1962, an epidemic of laughing broke out in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Starting among a group of schoolgirls, the laughter spread rapidly, eventually infecting neighbouring villages and forcing schools to close. It lasted for at least six months.
Anton-Babinski syndrome is a rare condition in which a blind person doesn’t realise they are blind. They usually insist they can see perfectly well, and make up excuses for why they make errors – such as blaming the quality of light in the room, or saying they’re a bit tired.
The idea of making people pay to use public toilets was introduced by the Roman emperor Vespasian, who instituted a ‘urine tax’ on public conveniences as a way of raising funds following a civil war.
The best way to tell if you have bad breath is to lick your wrist, let you saliva dry, and then smell it.
The first ‘successful’ head transplant was carried out in 1963 by Robert J. White of Cleveland, Ohio, who attached the head of one monkey to the body of another. The monkey survived for several days, during which it tried to bite the experimenters.
The world’s first ever telephone directory was published in New haven Connecticut, in February 1878 – less than three years after the invention of the telephone. It had fifty names in it, and was just one page long.
Female koala bears have two vaginas. Male koala bears have a bifurcated (i.e. forked) penis.
The amount of money spent on beer every year in the United States is roughly the same as the annual cost of the occupation of Iraq. So they could just give everyone free beer instead.
The ancient Greek colonial city of Sybaris had their plumbing priorities in the right place. They are said to have had pipelines that brought wine from the countryside vineyards directly into the city and their homes.
If you took all the approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels out of a human body and laid them end-to-end, they would stretch around the world twice. And you would probably be arrested.