It’s National Trivia Day and as the queen of odd facts, I feel the need to uphold my title. I sorted through my brain and pulled out ten facts that I thought I remembered, then I scoured the internet to verify. I totally don’t remember where they initially came from, but I read weird things all the time. Let’s go.
1. In the early 1900’s, a dead man won a horse race.
His name was Frank Hayes and he had a heart attack while riding, but since his body was still in the saddle when the horse crossed the finish line, they won.
2. There is an Italian cheese called Casu Marzu (yes, I’ve memorized the name) that contains live maggots (and now you know why I memorized that).
It’s from Sardinia, specifically, and the idea is that the maggots break down the cheese until it is very soft. If the maggots have died, the cheese is no longer safe to eat. There is a Pugliese version called casu puntu – I will not be eating either.
3. There is a species of fish called the hagfish that can produce over a gallon of slime when stressed.
True Facts is probably where I heard this in the first place – my zoology professor used to play these videos for us. The hagfish is about the ugliest fish ever and if they are caught, they create this slime so that they can slide themselves free.
4. Humans share more than half our genes with bananas.
Basically, a lot of our genome is dedicated just towards making cells function, and banana cells have a lot of the same needs. But I’m still going to say you’re half banana.
5. If we were to proportionately shrink the solar system to be human-sized, the planet Uranus would be located…exactly where you are thinking.
I can’t find my source, which annoys me, and I’m pretty sure I’m right, so instead of linking a source, I just did the math. Yeah, I’m obsessive, whatever. Anyway, I’m 5’8″, which is 68 inches, so I scaled everything to that. Pluto is the red dot at the bottom, because Pluto is a planet again (and my design software kept cutting off its label – Pluto is 3674.5 million miles from the sun). Anyway, I feel like they should teach this in school because it really goes to show just how giant our solar system is.
6. Remember the movie Finding Nemo? Marlin (the father) wasn’t looking for his son to raise him, he was looking for him to make more babies – at least, that’s how it would be if Disney were being accurate.
Clownfish essentially have a matriarchal society, and when the female dies, her mate, the lead male, changes genders to take her place. It’s called protandry and would have led to a very very different movie.
7. When frogs vomit, they vomit up their entire stomach.
Italy won’t let me link the source but it’s all over the place. Technically, it’s not vomiting, it’s eversion, but essentially, when frogs (or sharks or a number of other animals) eat something bad, they eject their stomach through their mouth to get rid of the offending object and then just…swallow their stomach again. Sea cucumbers do it as well, but they do it as a defense mechanism, because are you going to continue attacking the thing that just shot its stomach and intestines at you? I definitely wouldn’t!
8. The Australians fought a war against the Emus…and lost.
Oh yeah, this is one of my favorites. It’s like my weird party trick – “Hey, I don’t know you and feel awkward standing here. Did you know the Australians lost a war to a bunch of flightless birds?” Gets them every time. Basically, in 1932, emus were running amok, destroying crops and harassing people (they are NOT friendly birds), so the Australian government sent armed soldiers to eliminate the issue. While some emus were shot, they supposedly formed packs with guard emus and continued to wreak havoc. The soldiers withdrew and were sent in a second time, before they again pulled back. Supposedly about 2500 emus were killed, but considering farmers continued to send emu help requests for the next sixteen years, the war was called in favor of the emus.
9. The first man on the moon still had to go through customs when he came back to Earth.
Sort of. The government had the astronauts fill out a customs form upon arriving in Honolulu as tribute to their extraordinary mission – and the moon dust they were importing. It’s still cute, and probably not what they expected to be doing.
10. Norway’s most respected knight is a penguin.
His name and rank is Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III, Colonel-In-Chief of the King’s Guard. Nils Olav III came by this title through ancestry, for his grandfather was the first Nils Olav, and he started as a lowly corporal. The first penguin was adopted from the Edinburgh zoo by an officer in the King’s Guard and everytime the Guard has returned home, the penguin gets a promotion. He works very hard and has earned his rank, with responsibilities ranging from wearing his medals on his wing to inspecting the troops at his promotion ceremonies.
So? Did I tell you something new or is all of this old information?