When US farmers bought seeds or flour during the Great Depression, the most important question was this: what patterns were printed on the sack?
Since 2006 no-one could enter the Newhaven Marine railway station in England. From then until 2019 one train passed through the station each day, and it was not allowed to carry any passengers.
Since the 1980s most colour printers and photocopiers add a set of secret near-invisible dots to every page they print. The dots uniquely identify the origin and timestamp of that printout.
Wall Street in New York City is named after one of two things: the Walloons, early Dutch settlers… or a literal wall to defend against the Algonquian peoples angry over the slaughter of 120 local Weckquaesgeek.
The Heladería Coromoto ice cream parlour in Merida, Venezuela offers nearly a thousand different flavours of ice cream, including avocado, garlic, onion, sweetcorn, and crab.
In the Domesday Book of 1086 the economic value of forests is not measured in the amount of wood they could provide, but in the amount of pigs they could feed.
In Marvel comics, the X-Men struggle to have their humanity recognised. But in real life, the United States Court of International Trade ruled that the X-Men are not human.
Looking for a new hobby? Try folding banknotes into origami.
In 1917 a 2,200-strong posse kidnapped 1,300 striking miners from Bisbee in Arizona, loaded them into trains, and sent them to New Mexico. The sheriff then sealed off all the entrances to Bisbee and began purging the town.
The Centro Financiero Confinanzas skyscraper was unfinished at the time of the 1994 Venezuelan banking crisis. In 2007, squatters moved in.
In Germany, by law, all public and private companies with more than 2,000 employees must have half of their board of directors elected by those employees.
In 1648 a Dutch water board issued a bond that paid 5% interest annually, with no maturity date. That water board still pays interest on the bond today.
The inventor of the pie chart and the bar chart was also a secret agent who helped collapse the French revolutionary government’s economy through an elaborate counterfeiting operation.
The song Happy Birthday to You is in the public domain. But that didn’t stop a music publishing company collecting two million dollars a year for its use.
In the 1950s cigarette companies tried to make their products appear healthier. One of them decided to do this by adding asbestos.