Tonight millions of people in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway will watch an obscure British comedy routine from 1963. Dinner for One has inexplicably become perhaps the most repeated TV broadcast in history.
In 1962 the United States detonated a nuclear bomb in outer space over Hawai’i. It caused an artificial aurora in the sky over Honolulu – and another one over Samoa, more than four thousand kilometres away.
The cookiecutter shark is easily the weirdest shark around: it uses bioluminescence to lure large predators, feeds by suction, sheds whole rows of teeth at once and swallows them, and by weight can be more than one third liver.
Consider three special dice: A, B, and C. On a fair roll, A is more likely to beat B. B is more likely to beat C. But C is more likely to beat A. These are nontransitive dice.
Genes and proteins have been named after Sonic the Hedgehog, the Smurfs, Spock, Pikachu, and the Tinman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
In 1966 a New York TV station played a 17-second loop of a blazing fireplace accompanied by Christmas music. It was, and is, a huge success.
One of the miracles attributed to Saint Nick is the resurrection of three children before they could be turned into Christmas hams.
The Dutch win the prize for most disturbing Christmas song, 1978’s Flappie by Youp van ‘t Hek.
Coins bearing a picture of the devil with the inscription “Civitas Diaboli” have been found in churches and museums in Denmark, Norway, and England – products of a hoax that began in 1973.
The Portsmouth Sinfonia was founded on one simple principle: why leave orchestras to the professionals?
The first pictorial representation of Jesus Christ is insulting Roman graffiti that gives him a donkey’s head.
Vietnamese puppetry uses an ingenious method to hide the puppeteers’ controls: they put them underwater.
Al-Khazneh, the temple carved out of a cliff in Petra, is the most famous remnant of the Nabataean Kingdom. But to its south lies Hegra, the cursed stoneland city.
A passenger in the the 1957 Zündapp Janus sits with their back to the driver. The Janus has two doors: the front of the car and the rear of the car.
Every six months the Tonlé Sap River reverses direction.
We know how Chinese was pronounced 1400 years ago thanks to the world’s oldest surviving rhyming dictionary.