130 words TIL that exposure to UV light increases sex drive
212 words TIL when his first attempt to bridge the Hellespont strait ended in failure, "Xerxes the Great" ordered the Hellespont (the strait itself) whipped three hundred times, and had fetters thrown into the water in retaliation.
131 words TIL in 1965 a 90 year old woman in France sold her home in an arrangement that allowed her to live in it for the rest of her life and receive a 2,500 Franc monthly payment. That women went on to be the oldest person in history and received over double the properties value.
213 words TIL the first supersonic airliner was not the Concorde or Tu-144, but a DC-8. During a test flight in 1961 it achieved supersonic speed for 16 seconds while in a dive. Accompanying the airliner in a chase plane was Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier.
149 words TIL Mars Inc., maker of Snickers, Milky Way, M&Ms, Skittles and other candies, remains a privately-held company wholly owned by the Mars family. The Mars family is reclusive and rarely gives interviews, and in 2020 the estimated combined wealth of the family totaled over $125B.
156 words TIL James Caan improvised scenes while filming The Godfather. He broke the FBI character's camera after getting genuinely heated. From his upbringing, he instinctively pulled out money to pay for the damages and walked away.
163 words TIL legendary NFL player Jim Thorpe is buried in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Thorpe had no connection to the town, nor had he ever visited. His third wife sold his body to the town rather than having him buried in his native Oklahoma.
261 words TIL A company in the 90's made pencils with the anti-drug slogan "Too Cool to Do Drugs" but had to recall them because, when sharpened, they read "Do Drugs"
230 words TIL that New Hampshire is the only state with no adult seatbelt laws. Seatbelts are only required for minors ages 17 and under in that state. According to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, it also had the lowest percentage of seatbelt useage among the 50 states, at just 67.6%.
495 words TIL about the Horse, Sergeant Reckless. A Horse who served with the marines in Korea. She was able to haul ammunition by herself without a handler, would seek a bunker or lay down when under fire and received two purple hearts as well as other medals for her service in the Korean war.
265 words TIL that in the operatic song in The Fifth Element, composer Eric Sierra "purposely wrote un-singable things" so she’d sound like an alien. When opera singer Inva Muls came for the part, "she sang 85% of what [Eric] thought was technically impossible", the rest being assembled in the studio.
257 words TIL that in the 1630s there was a song only played in the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican kept the composition of "Miserere Mei, Deus" secret for 140 years until 14-year-old Mozart listened to it 2 times, transcribed it from memory, and produced one of the earliest records of musical piracy.
120 words TIL that during World War II, USAAF Col. Paul Tibbetts was frustrated with his pilots complaining about how hard it was to fly the new B-29 bomber. He arranged for two women WASP pilots to be trained on the big plane and had them fly it around the country just to shame the men. It worked.
208 words TIL that American ice cream company Häagen-Dazs sued American ice cream company Frusen Glädjé to stop them from using a "Scandinavian marketing theme". The court ruled against Häagen-Dazs as they had also marketed themselves as Scandinavian without having any real connection to the region.
668 words TIL The Wright Brothers only flew together on the same flight one time, a six-minute flight on May 25th, 1910. They promised their father, Milton, they would never fly together to avoid the chance of a double tragedy and to ensure one brother would remain to continue their flight experiments.
150 words TIL In 1968 South Korea hatched a plan to assassinate Kim Il Sung that went terribly wrong: Recruits (petty criminals) snapped during intense training on a remote island, killed their trainers, hijacked and blew up a bus in Seoul, killing 15... In all 37 people killed, 7 missing and 30 wounded.
154 words TIL The US Embassy in Moscow was blasted with a microwave transmitter from 1953 to 1976 and a Spanish 2019 study found that “Moscow embassy employees in 1976 had a higher cancer mortality rate than the general population and a worse health status than Europe's embassy employees overall.”
168 words TIL an FBI whistleblower reported multiple problems in forensic cases. After years of the FBI seeking to ruin him, his claims were investigated and a report showed that forensic hair analysis was flawed or inaccurate over 90% of the time.
121 words TIL that in the 1950s, a psychiatrist had three paranoid schizophrenic patients who each believed they were Jesus Christ. He put them in a room together to see if their beliefs would change after confronting each other
127 words TIL According to Haiti's Constitution, all Haitians, regardless of skin color, are to be considered black in the eyes of the law.