Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice, liked to poke fun at his conservative colleagues. He would greet the Chief Justice with “What’s shakin’, Chiefy Baby?”
Whale oil was a key component of automotive transmission fluid until 1972; over 30 million pounds was used annually until its use was outlawed, after which transmission failures rose eight-fold.
Botswana’s currency is named Pula which literally means “rain” in their official language. This is because rain is very scarce in Botswana — home to much of the Kalahari Desert — and therefore valuable and a blessing.
In 1995, Courtney Love was ejected from Lollapalooza after starting a fight with the crowd for not cheering loud enough. She jumped off stage and began chasing two men. After security carried her off the premises, the festival MC began playing “All Apologies” by Nirvana in retaliation.
Ants are self aware. In an experiment researchers painted blue dots onto ants bodies, and presented them with a mirror. 23 out of 24 tried scratching the dot, indicating that the ants could see the dots on themselves.
The bell on early cash registers (circa 1884) is not marketing. It’s the reason why prices like $1.99 rather than $2.00 exist. The 1¢ change back to the customer forced the cashier to open the till, ringing the bell, and make change. Otherwise the sale could more easily be pocketed by the clerk.
During the Soviet Union, government officials made a deal with Pepsi to allow Pepsi into the Soviet Union, being the first foreign product sanctioned for sale in the Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Coca-Cola was favored because Pepsi was associated with the Soviet Union.
Rollercoasters were invented to distract Americans from sin. In the 1880s, hosiery businessman LaMarcus Thompson didn’t like that Americans were going to places like saloons and brothels and created the first rollercoaster on Coney Island to persuade them to go there instead.
In 1838, a man stopped on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris to get his boots cleaned. He and the cleaner stood still for at least seven minutes on the street, and accidentally became the first people in history to be photographed.
Isaac Newton became a member of Parliament but only spoke once, telling someone to close the window.