In the interest of strengthening peoples’ knowledge of stuff that doesn’t really matter, here is another set of odd, but true, tidbits of relatively useless information.
•Pigs don’t sweat. Swine don’t have sweat glands, which is why they’re famous for cooling off in a mud puddle. That kind of makes you wonder where the old saying “sweating like a pig” came from.
•The sound of a Star Wars light saber was created by combining the sound of an idle film projector and the buzz from an old TV. The Force was obviously with whoever came up with that combination.
•The U.S. government once gave the University of Indiana $1 million to study memes. One meme in the study (or that should have been) showed a picture of a guy with a huge, wry smile on his face emptying a wheelbarrow full of cash into an SUV while surrounded by cheerleaders waving pompoms. The words below the image said, “That time the U.S. government gave a college a whole bunch of money to study memes.”
•Most of your bones are in your feet. There are 26 bones in each foot (or 52 in both) and a total of 206 bones in a human body, meaning more than 25% are in your feet.
•Mount Thor on Baffin Island, Canada, has Earth’s greatest sheer vertical drop at 4,101 feet.
If you step off the peak, you’ll fall nearly a mile before hitting anything. That’s gonna leave a mark.
•Some snails have been known to sleep for three years. I guess they’re just slow sleepers, right?
•The inventor of the Pringles can is now buried in one. Fredric Baur was so proud of his invention that he wanted to take it to the grave. I can’t find a record of what flavor he chose.
•Dogs are banned from Antarctica. The ban was made in 1994 because of concern that dogs might spread diseases to seals. Dang it, I was planning to take my Corgi on a camping trip down there at some point.
•Astronauts get taller when in space. So, do crews of submarines get shorter?
•The jellyfish known as Turritopsis dohrnii is considered biologically immortal; they don’t age and will never die unless they’re killed. In your face, Ponce de Leon!
•Tyromancy is the practice of predicting the future with cheese. I’ve heard that cheddar isn’t very accurate and you really want to go with Havarti or Gouda (preferably smoked).
•In the Philippines, there’s an island within a lake that’s on an island within a lake that’s on an island. Read that again and you’ll see it actually does make sense. The place is the Taal Volcano, about an hour’s drive from Manila.
•People who are terrified that a duck is watching them suffer from a condition known as anatidaephobia. Hey, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that duck isn’t watching you.
•Some people in Russia think eating ice cream will keep you warm. Right. And some people in Arizona think eating scalding-hot chili will cool you off.
•Ketchup was first used as a medicine. In the early 1800s, ketchup was sold at pharmacies as a cure for indigestion. I think it’s now often viewed as a cause.
•An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. That kind of makes me wonder if some federal politicians aren’t ostriches in disguise.
•Jousting is the official sport of Maryland. Of course. We all know that the Old Line State has long been a hotbed of Knights in Shining Armor and that kind of stuff.
•Russia spans 11 time zones. When it’s 7 a.m. at one side of the country, it’s 6 p.m. on the other. And you thought scheduling live TV shows was tough in the U.S.!
•If a donkey and a zebra have a baby, it’s called a zonkey. And if a donkey and a rodeo horse have a baby, it’s called a bronkey.
•The snow on Venus is metal. Man, how do you dress for skiing?
•Los Angeles’ full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula. Alrighty then. And California’s full name is Supercaliforniagilisticexpialidocious (at least that’s what Dick Van Dyke once told me).
•Before he became president, Abraham Lincoln was an elite wrestling champion. In 300 matches, Abe only lost one. He was known to talk some smack in the ring (for real). “So you like my beard, eh? I hope you enjoy the view of it from your back!”
Man, this is one strange world, you know?
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.