Maya people at the ancient city of Tikal in Guatemala used a mineral called zeolite to decontaminate drinking water in one of their large reservoirs. It’s the oldest known example of water purification in the Western Hemisphere.
Hispanics paradoxically live longer lives than non-Hispanic White Americans despite having lower average income and education. Researchers have not been able to find out exactly why but they believe it has to do with either lower smoking rates, stronger family connections, or healthier food.
Baskin Robbins used to have a milkshake that contained 2600 calories, 1700mg of sodium, 135g of fat, and 263g of sugar. Unsurprisingly, Men’s Health Magazine dubbed it the worst food in the U.S.
The founder of Hyundai was born to an impoverished family of peasants in what is now North Korea. In 1998, he sent 1001 cows to his hometown in North Korea as a repayment 1000 times over for a cow that he stole in the early 1930s to afford his train ticket to Seoul and escape from poverty.
The Whole Shabang is a brand of chips initially only sold at prison commissary stores. The chips were so popular amongst ex inmates that it became a grey market commodity and finally was sold to the general public.
The Maluku Islands were the world’s sole source of nutmeg, cloves, and mace. The islands were occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Dutch again. During a British occupation spice tree seedlings were stolen and taken to British colonies thus depreciating the islands’ value.
George Lucas wanted to be a racecar driver when he was a teenager. In 1962, he suffered a terrible car accident when another driver broadsided him. He required emergency medical treatment. The incident caused him to lose interest in racing, but inspired him to pursue other interests.
Alaskan Wood Frogs freeze during winters. 2/3rds of their body water turns into ice, hearts stop beating & blood stops flowing. They build up high concentrations glucose in their organs & tissues which prevents cells from shrinking/dying. When spring arrives, they thaw out and hop away.
In Sierra Leone, before getting a driver’s license, you have to buy a board game called “The Drivers’ Way” and play it at least once. The game involves rolling stoplight-themed dice and moving models of classic cars around a board, together with answering questions about the country’s road laws.
Floriography is the art of sending a message via a bouquet of flowers. There have been many flowers with many interpretations throughout history, but some popular meanings in Victorian England included yellow roses (friendship), daffodils (unrequited love) and basil (I hate you).
Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone was especially accident-prone. As a boy, he swallowed a needle, fell down a flight of stairs, got hit on the head by a brick, fell on a hot stove, and accidentally drank sulphuric acid.
Most of the native speakers of the critically endangered Germanic language, Gottscheerish, now live in Queens, New York City.