Take Five is perhaps the most famous piece of music in 5/4 time. Tito Puente’s cover of the song is not in 5/4 time.
Who keeps the metric system down? In the United States, pirates do.
Animals have some of the best old-timey disease names, including heartwater, foulbrood, bluetongue, glanders, scrapie, camelpox, and bumblefoot.
In 1956 Eddie Lawrence had a one-hit wonder, a song called The Old Philosopher that is perhaps the most pessimistic song to ever reach the American Billboard Top 40.
In 1862, between a third and half of the entire population of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) were kidnapped by Peruvian slavers.
When a double rainbow happens there’s a dark shadow between the bows. This is Alexander’s band.
In Myanmar you can drink tea or you can eat it.
In 1980 three men placed a bomb packed with 450kg of dynamite in a Nevada hotel, hoping to collect a three million dollar ransom.
The historian A. Roger Ekirch has argued that in Medieval Europe, and in many places prior to the Industrial Revolution, people would habitually wake up for an hour in the middle of the night.
When a human dies, they go through several distinct stages. In order: pale, cold, stiff, mottled, putrefied, decomposed, skeletonized.
Leia and Luke crash land on Mimban, are arrested by stormtroopers, fall in with a pair of drunk aliens, escape, float on giant lily-pads, then chop off Darth Vader’s arm. This is the official 1978 novel sequel to Star Wars.
In 1946 Simeon II, the last person to bear the title “tsar,” was deposed and exiled from Bulgaria. Fifty years later, he returned and was elected prime minister.
Samuel Beckett wrote one of the shortest performed plays in the world on the back of a postcard. The first staging still managed to mess it up.
A tree in New Zealand grows downwards-facing spikes for the first 15 or 20 years of its life; this is thought to be a remnant defence against gigantic now-extinct birds.
Want to be on the radio? Try saying this first: “The seething sea ceased to see, then thus sufficeth thus.”