The world water speed record has stood for more than forty years, ever since an Australian build a boat out of wood in his backyard and strapped a jet engine on its back.
In 2004, a United States Air Force F-16 jet fighter accidentally shot at an intermediate school in New Jersey. Fortunately, no-one was harmed.
In 2004 a plaque commemorating Father Pat Noise was installed on a bridge in Dublin, Ireland. Pat Noise never existed.
Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
The loneliest tree in the world was knocked over by a drunk driver in 1978. The new loneliest tree in the world is very close to the southernmost point of New Zealand.
On August 21, 1986, seventeen hundred people who lived around Lake Nyos in Cameroon suffocated overnight – victims of an extremely rare and silent natural disaster.
The Kāma Sūtra suggests that lovers learn cryptography.
Mass-produced American chocolate has a distinct flavour that non-Americans describe as tasting a bit like vomit. It’s Milton Snavely Hershey’s fault.
The phrase “Here Be Dragons” actually appears only once on a historical map, on the early 16th century Hunt-Lenox Globe. And actual dragons live there.
Between 1941 and 1943 Germany broadcast propaganda jazz music with altered lyrics into Britain.
In 1875, trillions (yes, trillions) of Rocky Mountain locusts swarmed over the western United States. Thirty years later, they were extinct.
The 40,000km-long Incan road system connected 12 million people, but it also supplied the Incan army with food from thousands of storage depots spread across the whole network.
The first author whose name we know was Enheduanna. Daughter of Sargon the Great, she wrote religious hymns, so she can also lay claim to being the first named poet in history.
Bridges go over water. Tunnels go under water. How about the Archimedes bridge, a hypothetical tunnel design that goes through water instead?
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.