Venice, 15th century. It’s a gorgeous city, but has a tendency to get a bit waterlogged, so you wear clogs to keep your clothes out of the mud. Next thing you know, you’re half a metre off the ground.
Lots of spiders, snakes, and fish are venomous. This is not news to most people. Many people know that the platypus has venomous spurs… but it turns out that the platypus is not the only mammal with venom.
The first criminal fingerprint bureau was set up in Argentina in 1892 by police chief Juan Vucetich. That year, an officer used Vucetich’s techniques to catch the first criminal to be found guilty because of fingerprint evidence.
On August 5th, 1944, more than a thousand Japanese prisoners of war broke out of the Cowra POW camp in eastern Australia. It was the biggest prison break of World War II.
In 1970, an audience of doctors, graduate students, and other professionals listened to a talk by Dr. Myron Fox. They rated the talk and the teacher very highly… but it was in fact complete gibberish.
Geoffrey Chaucer is best known as the author of The Canterbury Tales, one of the most important works of early English literature. I guess that didn’t pay the bills, because he also wrote one of the first English technical manuals.
In most editions of the Christian Bible, Genesis comes first. But it was almost certainly not the first book of the Bible to be completed.
The HMS Trident was a British submarine. Over the course of World War II it sunk several German ships while patrolling the North Sea. And one of its crew members was a reindeer.
Everyone knows the awards for movies (Oscars), television (Emmies), music (Grammies), and theatre (Tonies). They’re all American awards. The premiere award for board games, however, comes from Germany.
In 1971, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau apparently swore under his breath during a parliamentary session. He later referred to it as “fuddle duddle” – and so a minor scandal and a major pop culture phrase were born.