Qatar Airways allows each economy class passenger to carry on one live falcon, up to a maximum of six total falcons in the cabin. Each falcon must remain hooded and chained to its handler for the duration of the flight.
President Benjamin Harrison kept two pet possums named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection.
Smokey the Bear and the President of the United States are the only two individuals with their own zip codes.
The last execution by guillotine in France was in 1977.
The film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was funded entirely by the Quaker Oats Company in order to promote the launch of their new chocolate bar.
Liechtenstein added a crown to its flag after discovering during the 1936 Summer Olympics that its flag was identical to Haiti's.
The first American penny, designed by Benjamin Franklin, bore the motto "mind your business."
Falconers collect sperm for artificial insemination by wearing "copulation hats" and enticing falcons to mate with their head.
Source: Conservation and the Use of Wildlife Resources, Melvin Bolton
In 1808, two men caught in a love triangle engaged in a duel to the death by boarding two hot air balloons and then exchanging shotgun blasts in midair until one of the balloons was brought down.
Source: A Short History of Balloons and Flying Machines, Lord Montagu
In Denmark, the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is titled "The Boy Who Drowned in Chocolate Sauce."
Chinese bloggers refer to the Tiananmen Square protests as the thirty-fifth of May to avoid government censors who detect references to the fourth of June.
Source: China Airborne, James Fallows
The Miss Navajo Nation pageant includes a sheep butchering event.
A one-month-old orphan named Ernest was raffled off at the 1909 world's fair in Seattle.
The French term for cotton candy is "barbe à papa," or "father's beard"; the Afrikaans term is "spookasem," or "ghost breath."
After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Secret Service needed a way to protect FDR from possible assassins on short notice while he rode to address Congress. Federal law prohibited the purchase of an automobile costing more than $750, so they drove him to the Capitol in Al Capone's confiscated bulletproof limousine.
Joel Silver, the producer of movies such as Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and The Matrix, also invented the sport of ultimate frisbee.
In 1958, a rhinoceros named Cacareco was elected to São Paulo's city council.
In Maryland, adultery is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $10.
Source: Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 10-501
During World War II, the Nazi propaganda apparatus produced the children's board game Hunt The Coal Thief to teach the importance of wartime energy conservation.
The grand champion goat from the 2011 Colorado State Fair was stripped of its title after failing a drug test.
In 1975, the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the official name of Mount McKinley to Denali, the traditional Alaska Native name for the peak. Since then, the congressional delegation from William McKinley's home state of Ohio has blocked the change at the federal level by regularly amending appropriations bills with a requirement that the mountain not be renamed.
The USDA allows the use of "wyngz" in the name of a wing-shaped poultry product that contains no wing meat, provided the packaging meets three additional labeling requirements. No other spelling variations are permitted.
In 1986, US warplanes bombed the volcanic island of Ferdinandea after mistaking it for a Libyan submarine.
Source: Maphead, Ken Jennings
In 1961, the New York Museum of Modern Art mistakenly hung a work by Henri Matisse upside-down for 47 days until a visiting stockbroker pointed out the error to a security guard.
California's minimum wage law contains an exemption for sheepherders, who are guaranteed a minimum monthly salary of $1,333.20.
In a 2009 study, 82% of adolescents who had taken a virginity pledge five years earlier denied having ever taken the pledge.
The US military had a plan (code name: "Operation Dirty Trick") to fabricate evidence of sabotage and blame Cuba if John Glenn's Mercury spaceflight crashed.
In 1997, the Sheffield, UK police department put a black suspect in a lineup with eight white men in blackface.
By the end of World War II, every German spy sent to Britain had been turned into a double agent by the British.
In Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, a permit is required to wear shoes with heels more than two inches in height in public.
In 1964, Mississippi's ABC affiliates protested the airing of the sitcom Bewitched, arguing that the depiction of a marriage between a man and a witch constituted a "veiled argument for racial intermarriage."
Source: Freedom Summer, Bruce Watson
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Singapore is 66.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Saddam Hussein's official campaign song in the 2002 Iraqi presidential election was "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston.
In Victorian England, men with moustaches drank tea from "moustache cups" and ate soup with "moustache spoons"; both were equipped with extra ledges positioned to keep one's moustache dry.
In 1866, one-fifth of Mississippi's state budget was spent on artificial limbs.
Source: The Angry Scar, Hodding Carter
In 2011, Libyan rebels discovered a photo album in Moammar Gadhafi's compound that consisted of nothing but photos of Condoleezza Rice.
It is illegal to send abortion devices through the mail in the United States.
The number of players lost to military service during World War II forced the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers to temporarily merge into a single team: the Steagles.
During Boris Yeltsin's 1995 visit to the White House, the Secret Service found him drunk in his underwear on Pennsylvania Avenue in the middle of the night, attempting to hail a taxi so he could get a pizza.
Source: The Clinton Tapes, Taylor Branch
In 1952, physicist Ted Taylor lit his cigarette using the energy from an atomic bomb test.
Source: Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing, Richard Lee Miller
After being ousted as Prime Minister of Somalia in June 2011, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed returned to his previous job as a manager at the New York State Department of Transportation office in Buffalo, New York.
Gary Kremen, the founder of Match.com, was left by his girlfriend for a man she met on Match.com.
The bronze medalist in the 1896 olympic marathon was disqualified for covering part of the course in a carriage.
Source: The Olympic Marathon, David E. Martin and Roger W. H. Gynn
NASA intern Thad Roberts was sentenced to eight years in prison after stealing a safe full of moon rocks from Johnson Space Center and having sex on top of them.
The Comanche prophet White Eagle, who claimed to speak directly with the Great Spirit and have the power to protect his warriors from bullets, was disgraced and renamed Coyote Vagina after suffering a disastrous defeat in battle.
Due to the rise in pro-democracy protests, the highest earner in South Korea in 1987 was the president of the country's only tear gas manufacturer.
Michael Buffer, the boxing announcer who holds a trademark on the phrase "let's get ready to rumble," has earned over $400 million licensing its use.
A single Wal-Mart grocery distribution center can store 4 million bananas.
Three of America's first five presidents died on the Fourth of July.
During World War II, the British military intelligence service staged a fake crossword contest to identify promising codebreakers.
Source: From Square One, Dean Olsher
41% of Americans believe Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050.
In a given week, a street prostitute in the US is twice as likely to have sex with a police officer as to be arrested by one.
The US Department of Agriculture banned the use of the word "tornado" in weather forecasts until 1938.
In 2010, the US Bureau of Reclamation spent 18 months and $500,000 planning a simulation in which a terrorist cell of Northern California marijuana growers seized control of the Shasta Dam and threatened to flood the Sacramento River to free an imprisoned comrade.
Joseph Blatter, the current president of FIFA, was previously the president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders, an organization devoted to protesting women wearing pantyhose instead of stockings and garter belts.
State University of New York's Purchase College has a dormitory named Fort Awesome.
Glenn Beck was once pulled over for speeding in a DeLorean with one of the gull-wing doors open.
Jockeys typically wear several pairs of goggles during a horse race; each time the outermost pair gets too dirty to see through, the jockey pulls it down and exposes the next clean pair.
According to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, indoor marijuana cultivation uses 1% of all US electricity.
Town Line, NY seceded from the Union in 1861 and joined the Confederate States of America. The town did not officially rejoin the union until 1946.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Dreamworks, used to conduct Internet research by having staff members "record" web pages onto VHS tapes for him to watch.
Source: The Men Who Would Be King, Nicole LaPorte
President James Garfield was ambidextrous and could simultaneously write in Latin with one hand and Greek with the other.
Source: Prisoner of Trebekistan, Bob Harris
Parking meters are illegal in North Dakota.
Seven US states ban the sale of alcohol on election day.
In Saudi Arabia, references to pork are censored from print and broadcast media.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Censorship, Jonathon Green and Nicholas J. Karolides
The US Navy proposed painting the Golden Gate Bridge with yellow and black stripes to improve visibility for ships.
Source: Golden Gate Bridge: History and Design of an Icon, Donald MacDonald and Ira Nadel
In 1963, a graduate student from the University of North Carolina unwittingly cut down the oldest tree on earth, a bristlecone pine tree in eastern Nevada. In 1973, a drunk driver crashed into and killed the most isolated tree on earth, an acacia tree in the Sahara desert located 120 miles from the next tree.
Some deaf people stutter in sign language.
In World of Warcraft, there is an unofficial LGBT server named Proudmoore that hosts an annual in-game pride parade.
Enron was named "America's Most Innovative Company" by Fortune magazine every year from 1995 through 2000.
Source: IOU, John Lanchester
In 1988, Cosmopolitan magazine published a feature on HIV stating that it was impossible to transmit the disease having sex in the missionary position.
CNN is sending 400 reporters and crew to cover Prince William's wedding. They have sent 50 reporters and crew to cover the Japanese tsunami.
The FBI investigated the classic Kingsmen song "Louie, Louie" for violating obscenity laws, but declined prosecution after laboratory examination and field research were both unable to determine the exact lyrics.
On the second day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sony applied to trademark "Shock & Awe" as the title of a videogame.
There are more captive tigers in Texas than wild tigers in the entire world.
The FAA recommends that pilots taking Viagra wait six hours before piloting an aircraft due to its side effect of blue-green colorblindness.
During the construction of the Pearl Harbor naval base, workers discovered the remains of large underwater pens that had been used to hold gladiatorial duels between Native Hawaiians and sharks.
Source: The Devil's Teeth, Susan Casey
Chicago Bears offensive lineman Herman Johnson weighed 15 pounds, 14 ounces at birth, making him the largest baby ever born in the state of Louisiana.
Major airlines typically require pilots and copilots to eat different meal types in case one of them is contaminated.
Source: Flight Catering, Peter Jones
Dick Cheney has no pulse.
Japan's prime minister is married to his first cousin.
Sweden's TV1 airs a 1958 Donald Duck Christmas special every Christmas Eve at 3PM. It typically draws a viewing audience of between one third and one half of the entire Swedish population.
Scientists determine the age of blue and humpback whales by measuring the amount of accumulated earwax.
Celebrating Christmas was illegal in Boston from 1659 to 1681.
J.K. Rowling was born Joanne Rowling and has no middle initial. She added the 'K' to create a gender-neutral pen name.
Source: J.K. Rowling: A Biography, Connie Ann Kirk
The last Civil War pension check was issued in 2003.
Source: Women in the American Civil War, Volume 2, Lisa Tendrich Frank
Moscow's subway station escalator repair department has 3,000 employees.
In 1982, the Boston Celtics drafted a paraplegic in the 10th round of the NBA draft.
Rio de Janeiro was once the capital of Portugal.
The classic Christmas song "Do You Hear What I Hear?" was written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
One of the Mandarin Chinese slang terms for something cool, similar to the English "the cat's meow," is "niubi," which means "the cow's vagina."
Source: China with a Cut, Jeroen de Kloet
Wombat feces come out in cubes.
In 2009, Mormon Senator Orrin Hatch wrote and recorded a holiday song called "Eight Days of Hanukkah."
In 1947, the FBI opened a file on the film "It's A Wonderful Life" due to a belief that it was anti-capitalist propaganda and undermined the banking industry.
In 1939, penicillin was in such short supply that patients on the drug had it filtered back out of their urine to be re-administered.
Source: The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
Traditional slot machines have images of fruit on the wheels because they dispensed fruit-flavored gum instead of money before gambling was legal.
More people in India have a cell phone than have access to a toilet.
Submarine crew members are forbidden from driving immediately after coming ashore. The lack of distant objects to focus on at sea causes temporary "submarine myopia."
Source: Packing For Mars, Mary Roach
In 1979, McDonald's changed the shape of its coffee stirrers because they had become too popular as an accessory for snorting cocaine.
The common Japanese term for the uvula translates to "throat penis."
In the US, Netflix Instant accounts for 20% of all non-mobile bandwidth use during prime time hours.
It is illegal to swim across the English Channel from Calais to Dover, but not from Dover to Calais.
The Sugar Daddy caramel candy bar used to be called the Papa Sucker.
When a monkey with a bisected brain is given a nut, his two hands fight each other for it.
During the Vietnam war, the US military seeded clouds with silver iodide to extend the monsoon season over portions of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and keep it impassable to North Vietnamese supply trucks.
The president of Food for the Poor is named Robin Mahfood.
Johnny Carson's first three wives were named Joan, Joanne, and Joanna.
California's first state legislature was known as the "Legislature of a Thousand Drinks."
Source: California, Kevin Starr
In a 2009 Gallup poll asking Americans which living man they admire the most, the most frequent response was Nelson Mandela. The second most frequent response was Glenn Beck.
Source: Tears of a Clown, Dana Milbank
In 1835, John Wilkes Booth's father, Junius Booth, sent a death threat to President Andrew Jackson.
The music doctorate program at Washington University in St. Louis requires a median length of 16.3 years to complete (the longest in the nation).
In response to sharp declines in birth and marriage rates, Singapore created the Social Development Unit, a government matchmaking service that organizes singles events, cruises, and dance lessons.
Frogs vomit by first regurgitating their stomach, and then using their legs to dig out the stomach's contents while it hangs outside the body before reswallowing it.
To join the central management of the Church of Scientology, you have to sign a one billion year membership contract.
In 2002, Elmo from Sesame Street testified before Congress.
Before the 1938 World Cup final, Mussolini sent the Italian team a telegram that read "Win or die."
Source: Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Eduardo H. Galeano and Mark Fried
One of Scotland's royal mottos is "Nemo me impune lacessit" - "Nobody provokes me with impunity."
Death row inmates in Japan are not told when they'll be executed until immediately before it happens. Family members and lawyers of the inmate are informed afterwards.
In US military cemeteries, Christian veterans have a cross on their headstones, Jewish veterans have a Star of David, Muslim veterans have a star and crescent, and atheist veterans have a drawing of an atom with a capital "A" in the middle.
The medical term for shed skin cells is "scurf."
The use of headlights while driving at night was banned in Beijing until 1983.
Eskimo hunters traveling alone are sometimes stricken by "kayak angst" - delusions that their boat is flooding or sinking.
Source: "A Preliminary Report of Kayak-Angst Among the Eskimo of West Greenland: A Study in Sensory Deprivation," International Journal of Social Psychiatry 9:18-26, Zachary Gussow
President John F. Kennedy sent an aide out to buy him 1,000 Cuban cigars the night before he signed the Executive Order banning their sale in the United States.
Chicago and Oklahoma city both have airports named after people who died in plane crashes (Edward O'Hare and Will Rogers, respectively).
In Brazil, the practice of forging land titles is known as "cricketing," because new documents are placed in a box full of crickets overnight to give them an aged appearance.
President Benjamin Harrison shuffled the statehood bills for North and South Dakota before and after signing them so that no one would ever know which one became a state first.
Source: The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison, Homer Edward Socolofsky and Allan B. Spette
Somalia's per capita budget is 0.015% the size of North Dakota's.
More collect calls are made on Father's Day than any other day of the year.
In Tibet, sticking out one's tongue is a standard greeting and sign of respect. The practice supposedly stems from Tibetans' desire to prove that they are not the reincarnation of Langdarma, the evil black-tongued king.
In Colorado, Snickers, Butterfinger, and Hershey bars are subject to state sales tax, but Kit-Kats and Twix bars are not.
The color of the plastic twist tie on a loaf of bread indicates which day of the week it was delivered.
The word Taser is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle," a reference to a 1911 Tom Swift novel in which Swift invents an electric hunting rifle to take on safari.
Canada receives an annual gift of 20,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands as gratitude for its assistance during WWII.
During World War II, American soldiers in the Pacific Theater used the password "lollapalooza" as a way to identify Japanese enemy combatants because they would be unable to pronounce the 'l' sounds correctly; British commandos participating in the raid on St. Nazaire similarly used the challenge/response of "War Weapons Week" and "Welmouth" to identify German soldiers, who would pronounce them with a 'v' sound.
Source: The New York Times Book of Language and Linguistics, Nicholas Wade
The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Volume 122
42% of South Koreans claim to have never spoken to a foreigner.
Taylor Swift has won more Grammys than Elvis.
The United States produced so many extra Purple Hearts as preparation for an invasion of Japan that there was a surplus of 500,000 Purple Hearts at the end of World War II, of which over 100,000 remain unused.
Matthew Vassar, the founder of Vassar College, died while delivering his farewell address to the Vassar College Board of Trustees.
President Andrew Johnson was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and his head resting on a copy of the US Constitution.
Source: Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, David Stephen Heidler, Jeanne T. Heidler, and David J. Coles
80% of all uncut diamonds pass through Antwerp before being sold.
In 2008, Antarctica's McMurdo Station received a shipment of 16,500 condoms in preparation for winter.
Q-tips were originally known as Baby Gays.
Asbury Park, NJ was formerly home to a "fly-in" movie theatre for private planes.
Source: Drive-in Theaters, Kerry Segrave
In the 1950's, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a separate subsection to identify and dismiss homosexuals from Canadian public service. The group developed a "Fruit Machine," a chair with electrical sensors and a monitor that flashed a series of erotic images of men and women and measured pupil dilation and heart rate to determine a subject's sexual orientation.
The Pabst Brewing Company sells "Blue Ribbon 1844" beer in China for $44 per bottle.
In six hours, China exports as much as it did in all of 1978.
Teddy Roosevelt's mother and first wife died on the same day in the same house of unrelated causes.
Bangkok police officers who break department rules are forced to wear a pink Hello Kitty armband as punishment.
The Japanese word "bakku-shan" means a woman who is attractive from behind but not from the front.
The German term Kummerspeck, or "grief bacon," refers to the excess weight one gains from emotional overeating.
Source: English-German Dictionary of Idioms, Hans Schemann and Paul Knight
The only Latin book ever to become a New York Times best seller is "Winnie Ille Pu," the Latin translation of "Winnie the Pooh."
Calvin Coolidge, who was allergic to horses, exercised in the White House by riding an "electric horse," a saddle on a mount that bounced at an adjustable rate.
In California, it is illegal for a business without a licensed barber to display a red and white striped barber pole on the premises.
Source: California Business and Professions Code, Section 7349.1
Wal-Mart is the largest employer in 21 US states.
In 1975, BP produced a board game called Offshore Oil Strike, in which players compete to build and manage deep-sea drilling platforms. The game includes "hazard cards" with events such as "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million."
Denmark's Law on Personal Names states that parents must give each child a gender-appropriate first name and must either choose from a list of 7,000 pre-approved names or be granted special approval by the local church, the Names Investigation Department of Copenhagen University, and the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs.
In Tucson, Arizona east-west roads are called "streets," north-south roads are called "avenues," and diagonal roads that intersect both streets and avenues are called "stravenues." The official postal notation for a stravenue is STRA, but the US Postal Service also recognizes the abbreviations STRAV, STRAVEN, STRAVEN, STRVN, and STRVNUE.
Pokemon is banned from Saudi Arabia for Zionist content.
40% of court cases in the Central African Republic are witchcraft prosecutions.
The US military document specifying procedures and requirements for the production of chocolate brownies is 26 pages long.
Southwest Airlines passengers may pack parachutes in their carryon luggage, but are prohibited from wearing them during a flight.
New Zealand has an official wizard.
Jacob has been the most popular name for boys in the US every year since 1999.
Prior to leading the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan recorded several albums of calypso music under the stage name The Charmer.
Elephants are typically right-tusked or left-tusked in the same way that humans are right-handed or left-handed.
Source: Elephant Destiny, Martin Meredith
The annual carbon dioxide emissions from coal mine fires in China are greater than the annual carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles in the United States.
An average of 10 million people are traveling on a train in China at any given time.
Detroit has 50 times as many liquor stores as it does supermarkets.
A state of emergency declared by the Egyptian government has been in effect since 1981.
97% of Americans have never ridden an intercity passenger train.
Source: Waiting on a Train, James McCommons
Over 40% of Nauru's adult population has type 2 diabetes.
The movie Bad Boys was originally set to star Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz.
In Mexico, professional artists can pay their taxes in art instead of money.
Bank of America originated as Bank of Italy.
The NCAA gets approximately 98% of its revenue from the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Clarence Thomas did not finish paying off his student loans until his third year as a Supreme Court Justice.
Approximately one-third of all motel owners in America have the last name Patel.
The band Steely Dan is named after a dildo in the William S. Burroughs novel Naked Lunch.
A Utah inmate was executed by firing squad in 1996.
The director of RoboCop considered the movie an allegory for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Bounty hunting is only legal in the United States and the Philippines.
From 1912-1948, the Olympics included medals for architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture.
In 1999, the National Security Agency banned Furbies from its headquarters for fear that they would learn and repeat classified information.
Vatican Bank ATMs allow users to perform transactions in Latin.
60% of Roomba robotic vacuum owners give their Roomba a name.
Source: Wired for War, P.W. Singer
In Boston, it is illegal for more than four college students to live in the same apartment.
During his 8 years as president, Bill Clinton only sent two emails.
The Mexican constitution prohibits foreigners from owning land within 50 kilometers of the coast.
Florida State University and Illinois State University are the only two colleges in the U.S. to have their own circuses.
The 3 Musketeers candy bar is so named because it originally consisted of three smaller candy bars with three different fillings: vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.
Happy hours with reduced drink prices are illegal in 18 U.S. states.
80% of Morton's Steakhouse customers pay with a company expense account.
In Kennesaw, Georgia it is illegal for a household not to own any firearms.
During the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian army built railroad tracks across Lake Baikal while it was frozen in winter.
In 2009, no students in the Detroit public school system scored "advanced" on the NAEP national standardized math test.
In 1969, the Army Corps of Engineers "turned off" Niagara Falls for six months in order to study erosion of the rock bed underneath.
The JW Westcott II, a US Postal Service boat based in Detroit, has its own ZIP code.
In August 1998, Topeka, Kansas changed its name to "ToPikachu" in honor of the US debut of Nintendo's Pokémon video game.
The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is considered the property of the King, and its tail is considered property of the Queen.
In 1916, a circus elephant that killed its trainer was publicly executed by hanging from an industrial crane.
John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator that he kept in a White House bathroom.
The oath of office for the Kentucky General Assembly requires members to swear that they have never participated in a duel.
Joseph Stalin's last name at birth was Djugashvili. He adopted the pseudonym Stalin, which means "Man of Steel," as a pen name in 1913.
Source: Young Stalin, Simon Sebag Montefiore
The hairstyle options on an Oakland Police Department Suspect Report are Natural/Afro, Braided, Crewcut, Curly, Ponytail, Punk, and Conservative.
As of 2002, Queen Elizabeth II had a Big Mouth Billy Bass animatronic singing fish on her grand piano.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt set a national high school record in the standing high jump.
Source: That's Not in My American History Book: A Compilation of Little Known Events, Thomas Ayres
Half of all children in America will be on food stamps at some point during their childhood.
In the Trobriand Islands, short eyelashes are a symbol of popularity because lovers bite off each other's eyelashes when kissing.
John McCain was a contestant on Jeopardy! in 1965.
Ernest Hemingway shot himself with a gun he purchased at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Source: Hemingway, Kenneth Schuyler Lynn
When The New York Times chose its slogan ("All the news that's fit to print") in 1896, the four rejected options were "Always decent; never dull," "The news of the day; not the rubbish," "A decent newspaper for decent people," and "All the world's news, but not a school for scandal."
After Buddy Holly's death, the coroner took $11.65 in coroner's fees from Holly's personal effects.
In 2002 the dictator of Turkmenistan renamed the month of April after his mother.
In Japan, the word for male masturbation is "senzuri" ("a thousand rubs"), and the word for female masturbation is "manzuri" ("ten thousand rubs").
Source: The Meaning of Tingo, Adam Jacot de Boinod
The actor who provided the voice of Gargamel in The Smurfs also invented the artificial heart.
Source: 101 Things Not to Do Before You Die, Robert W. Harris
Two of President John Tyler's grandsons are still alive (Tyler was in office from 1841-1845).
The average American is more likely to live without ever visiting a dentist than to live without a TV at home.
Denver International Airport is more than twice as large as Manhattan.
Since 2006, 1 out of every 17 novels purchased in the United States was written by James Patterson.
Afghanistan has had both a solid black flag (1880-1901) and a solid white flag (1996-1997).
The new span of the Bay Bridge will cost as much to build as the Large Hadron Collider.
In 1943 the sale of sliced bread was banned in the United States.
Source: Paradox of Plenty: a Social History of Eating in Modern America, Harvey A. Levenstein
There are an average of 1800 thunderstorms in progress at any given moment.
Source: A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
In 1791, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were arrested together for riding in a carriage on a Sunday. While in office, Ulysses S. Grant and Franklin Pierce were arrested for speeding in a carriage and running down an old woman on a horse, respectively.
Source: One-Night Stands With American History, Richard Shenkman and Kurt Reiger
Instead of passing down family names, the Akan people of Ghana typically name children based on birth order and which day of the week they are born on. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is so named because he was born on a Friday (Kofi) and was the fourth-born child (Annan). His middle name, Atta, indicates that he is a twin.
British competitors in Olympic pistol shooting events must do all their training in Switzerland because of UK handgun bans.
The pilot for the TV show "Nash Bridges" was written by Hunter S. Thompson.
Former Cardinals offensive lineman Conrad Dobler has had 31 knee surgeries.
Lake Baikal contains 20% of the world's surface fresh water (as much as all the Great Lakes combined).
President Woodrow Wilson's 1915 wedding was catered by Chef Boyardee.
In traditional Balinese culture, a baby is not allowed to touch the ground until it is 105 days old.
Source: The People of Bali, Angela Hobart, Urs Ramseyer, and Albert Leemann
In 1957, Indian envoy Krishna Menon gave an eight hour filibuster speech to the UN Security Council. He collapsed from exhaustion at the podium and was hospitalized, but returned to continue his speech for another hour while a doctor monitored his blood pressure.
83% of all chicken meat sold in the US is infected with either campylobacter or salmonella at the time of purchase.
Source: Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
The pistol shrimp snaps its claw shut so fast that the resulting cavitation approaches the temperature of the sun and is loud enough to white out submarine sonar.
In South Korea, the popular urban legend of "fan death" states that leaving an electric fan running overnight in a closed room will cause death by oxygen deprivation or hypothermia. As a result, many electric fans sold in South Korea are equipped with shutoff timers.
When Coca-Cola announced that it was discontinuing New Coke and returning to its classic formula in 1985, ABC interrupted its regularly scheduled programming to break the news.
Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording was a duet with R2-D2 on the Star Wars Christmas album, Christmas in the Stars (1980).
Teller from Penn & Teller's legal name is the single name "Teller."
The Iroquois Indian nickname for George Washington, Conotocarius, translates as "Town Destroyer" or "Devourer of Villages."
Source: The Iroquois in the American Revolution, Barbara Graymont
99% of the world's landowners are men.
On December 2, 2009, the day that Tiger Woods said in a statement that he regretted his "transgressions," the #1 and #5 top trending Google searches were "transgressions" and "transgression definition," respectively.
Released in 1965, Slumber Party Barbie came with a book called "How to Lose Weight." One of the suggestions in the book was "Don't eat."
In Rwanda, citizens are required to spend the last Saturday of each month cleaning the streets.
Article 222 of the Turkish Penal Code bans the use of the letters Q, W, and X.
Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman Rob Kindler owns a Porsche Cayenne with the vanity license plate "2BG2FAIL".
Michael Jackson composed music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Germany is still paying off the reparations imposed on it at the end of World War I.
In the US, it is legal to send queen honey bees via air mail, but not drones or worker bees.
As part of David Hasselhoff's divorce settlement, he received sole possession of the catchphrase "Don't Hassel the Hoff."
P.T Barnum convinced The New York Evening Sun to publish his obituary before his death so he could read it in print.
Source: P.T. Barnum: The Legend and the Man, A. H. Saxon
The name of the soft drink Mountain Dew comes from a slang term for moonshine.
Source: Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon, Anthony Harkins
As president, Warren G. Harding once lost an entire set of White House china in a poker game.
In 1911, Pablo Picasso was held and questioned by police for his suspected involvement in the theft of the Mona Lisa.
In Japan, inflatable sex dolls are known as "Dutch wives."
Source: Tokyo Vice, Jake Adelstein
Martin Van Buren's autobiography (822 pages long) does not mention his wife at all.
Lincoln Logs were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright's son.
Source: Timeless Toys, Tim Walsh
From 1990 to 2007, there were 7 recorded instances of aircraft colliding with iguanas in the United States.
The cream filling in Twinkies was originally banana-flavored, but was changed to vanilla when World War II interrupted the world banana trade.
Source: Brain Fuel: 199 Mind-Expanding Inquiries Into the Science of Everyday Life, Joe Schwarcz
Timothy McVeigh's last meal was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
62% of women in US state prisons have children under the age of 18.
About 10% of the electricity in the US comes from dismantled nuclear bombs.
Since uncovering Nazi execution records, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been posthumously baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims.
In 1721, Louis XV removed 25 of the most notorious prostitutes from a Parisian prison and sent them to Louisiana in an effort to supplement the lack of women in the colony.
Source: Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women: Illegal Sex in Antebellum New Orleans, Judith Kelleher Schafer
The production of state quarters has generated $4.6 billion in profit for the federal government due to collectors taking more coins out of circulation.
75% of America's 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for military service due to obesity, illegal drug use, a criminal record, or a medical condition.
Pandora's "box" comes from a mistranslation by Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1508 - in the original myth, it is a jar.
Source: Handbook of Classical Mythology, William F. Hansen
Next to Trúc Bach Lake in Hanoi, where John McCain's plane crashed in 1967, there is a statue commemorating the capture of "John McCan [sic], the famous air pirate."
The first Democratic governor of Wyoming attended his inaugural ball in a pair of shoes made from the skin of a lynched cattle rustler.
During the Cold War, every Minuteman long-range nuclear missile in the US was equipped with a launch code security device to prevent unauthorized or unintentional launches. However, due to concerns that real codes would interfere with wartime launch orders, the launch code for every missile was set to 00000000.
In 1956, the Cincinnati Reds changed their name to the Redlegs to avoid an association with communism.
The final scene of the movie Casablanca was filmed on a sound stage too small to fit a real airplane, so the filmmakers built a half-sized prop plane and hired midgets to play the flight crew to ensure proper perspective.
On the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, a lesser-known fire in Peshtigo, Wisconsin killed 10 times as many people and destroyed an area twice the size of Rhode Island.
In 1872, Congress passed a law to dock the salaries of members of both houses for every day of absence not caused by illness. It has only been enforced twice.
When Herbert Hoover invited a congressman's black wife to the White House for tea, he was officially denounced by the state legislature of Texas.
J. Edgar Hoover refused to allow people to step on his shadow.
Source: J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, Curt Gentry
In the last ten years, female life expectancy in Zimbabwe has dropped from 63 years to 34 years.
Source: Who Hates Whom, Bob Harris
1 in 3 households that own a Prius also own an SUV.
Charlie Chaplin once lost a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.
The Las Vegas Strip is not located in Las Vegas.
Pinball was banned in most major American cities from the 1940s to the 1970s because it was considered a form of gambling.
In Des Moines, dancing in public is illegal after 2 a.m.
Article 249 of the Haitian penal code prohibits turning someone into a zombie.
Source: The Serpent and the Rainbow, Wade Davis
There are four containers of human excrement from the Apollo 11 crew at Tranquility Base, the site of the first moon landing.
Since 1958, only 2 of Argentina's 18 presidents have served a full term.
Over 200 people confessed to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.
Source: Introduction to Forensic Psychology, Curt Bartol and Anne Bartol
37% of Alabama voters voted against legalizing interracial marriage in 2000.
Beards are prohibited among male students, faculty, and staff at Brigham Young University.
390,000 people listed their religion as Jedi in England's 2001 census.
During the 1990s, Texas courts upheld death sentences in three cases in which the defense lawyers had slept during the trial.
The books in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series accounted for 16% of all US book sales in the first quarter of 2009.
In a 1996 survey, 17% of Americans said they were more comfortable with a First Lady who does not change her hairstyle for the entire term.
In 1996, FBI investigations into military surplus sales discovered that there were 23 privately owned Cobra attack helicopters in the U.S.
850,000 cell phones are inadvertently flushed down British toilets every year.
Source: The Big Necessity, Rose George
40% of Australian women wear a bra with a DD or larger cup size.
The North Pacific Gyre, an intersection of several major ocean currents, contains over three million pieces of plastic garbage per square kilometer.
Source: State By State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
New York state resident astronauts who die in the line of duty are exempt from state income tax for the year of their death.
On April 1, 1915, a French pilot flew over a German military camp and dropped a fake bomb with an April Fool's note attached.
The average residence in Tokyo is 33% larger than the average American two-car garage.
West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd has quoted all 37 of Shakespeare's plays on the Senate floor.
The income eligibility cutoff for public housing in San Francisco for a one-person household is $63,350 a year.
A kidnapped child can be claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes, but only if the child is presumed alive, the prime suspects in the kidnapping are not family members, and the child was a member of the household for more than half the portion of the tax year prior to the kidnapping.
In Paris an average of 650 people break bones or are hospitalized each year after slipping on dog feces.
Two months after he was acquitted of fraud, Don King took the jury on a vacation to the Bahamas.
Mississippi did not ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which abolished slavery) until 1995.
Source: The Civil Rights Movement, Bruce Dierenfield
Before entering politics, Abraham Lincoln was a cockfighting referee, and is rumored to have gotten the nickname "Honest Abe" in that role.
Source: Animals and the Law, Jordan Curnutt
Miles Davis uses the word "motherfucker" 333 times in his autobiography.
Former US President Gerald Ford was on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in 1942.
24% of the laws passed by the 110th Congress concerned the renaming of post offices.
The last public flogging of a prisoner in Delaware occurred in 1952.
Source: Principles of Criminology, Edwin Hardin Sutherland, Donald Ray Cressey, and David F. Luckenbill
37% of Russians today approve of the direction the country took under Stalin.
21% of Americans making over $100,000 a year say they live "paycheck to paycheck."
The name of Portland, Oregon was decided on a coin flip (the other option was Boston).
The Moken people, sea nomads off the coast of Thailand, learn to swim before they learn to walk.
In 1944, an estimated 28% of the female population of marriageable age in Naples was engaging in prostitution.
Source: Cloak & Gown, Robin Winks
G.I.: The American Soldier In World War II, Lee Kennett
Chili's had its biggest sales day ever on Valentine's Day 2009.
98.8% of West Virginians were born in the United States. West Virginia is also the only state to experience a decline in population since 1950.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2006 American Community Survey, Table GCT0501
The movie House Party, starring Kid n' Play, started as a Harvard University film school thesis project.
Tree snakes cause an average of 87 major power outages a year in Guam.
In Elizabethan England, a woman often held a peeled "love apple" under her armpit until it absorbed her sweat and odor; she then gave the apple to her lover to smell in her absence.
Source: The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge
29% of the American workforce requires an occupational license from a government agency.
Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham in response to a $50 bet from his editor that he could not write a book using only 50 different words.
Source: Dr. Seuss: American Icon, Philip Nel
At least six US states have a constitutional prohibition against atheists holding public office.
In the Dyirbal tribe of Australian Aboriginals, members are forbidden from ever speaking to their mothers-in-law. If speaking in the presence of one's mother-in-law, all normal words are taboo, and the speaker must instead use an entirely separate vocabulary.
Source: The Stuff Of Thought, Steven Pinker
89% of Englishmen smoked in 1949.
Source: Bad Science, Ben Goldacre
Justice Clarence Thomas did not ask a single question during the 2006-2007 Supreme Court term.
Source: The Nine, Jeffrey Toobin
In Utah, it is illegal for a bartender to recommend alcoholic beverages or to serve a customer multiple shots of the same liquor.
In the Pakistani version of Sesame Street, Oscar the Grouch is known as Akhtar and lives in an oil barrel.
John Adams's inaugural address included a sentence more than 700 words long.
Grover Cleveland paid a Polish immigrant $150 to replace him in the draft.
Source: Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell
There are 709 houses for sale in Detroit with asking prices under $3000.
On the day of his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. had a pillow fight in his motel room.
Bob Hawke, the Australian Prime Minister from 1983-1991, was previously the Guinness World Record holder for beer chugging (2.5 pints in 11 seconds).
Source: The Hawke Memoirs, Bob Hawke
Valeria Messalina, the wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, was notoriously promiscuous. According to Pliny's Naturalis Historia, she once challenged a prostitute to an all-night sex contest to see who could take more partners, which she won with a score of 25 men.
Source: Naturalis Historia, Pliny
During the Great Depression, Code 348 of the National Recovery Administration stipulated that burlesque dancers could only perform four strip teases per evening in an effort to spread the work around to less successful dancers.
In Dallas, it's illegal for taxi drivers to wear shorts.
Trainers spent six months teaching a chimpanzee how to cook bacon and eggs in a frying pan for a scene in the movie Dr. Dolittle.
Until gaining citizenship in 1967, Australian Aborigines were classified as native game animals by the government.
Source: Practical Paediatrics, Don Roberton; The Neglected Ape, Ronald Nadler; What Matters in Probation, edited by George Mair
Carrots were originally purple, but patriotic Dutch vegetable growers bred orange color into them to match their national flag.
The rate of venereal disease in continental Western Europe doubled in 1944, due mainly to the sexual promiscuity of Allied troops.
Source: The Crash of Ruin, Peter Schrijvers
79% of Cameroonians have paid a bribe in the past year.
A duck can sleep with half of its brain, leaving the other hemisphere conscious and one eye open to stay alert for predators.
The majority of Jews in America are over the age of 50.
Special Racist Place Names Edition: Mauritius comes from the Latin for "Island of the Dark-Skinned One"; Guinea comes from the Tuareg for "Land of Black People"; Ethiopia comes from the Greek for "Land of the Burned Faces"; Sudan comes from the Arab for "Land of the Blacks"; Melanesia comes from the Greek for "Black Islands."
T-Pain's stage name stands for "Tallahassee Pain," and refers to the hardships of growing up in the state capital of Florida.
The average SAT score of University of Florida football players is 890.
The music video for the Michael Jackson song "Bad" was directed by Martin Scorsese.
The 285 tallest mountains in the world are all in Asia.
At age 12, Jay-Z shot his brother in an argument over a piece of jewelry.
There is no bridge that spans the 4,000-mile long Amazon River.
The Philippines flies its flag upside down during wartime.
In Catalonia, there is a Christmas tradition known as the "caga tió," or "pooping log." The hollowed-out log is "fed" candies and nuts for several weeks leading up to Christmas, when the family gets the log to expel its treats by hitting it with sticks and singing traditional songs about defecating candy. Catalonian nativity scenes also typically feature a "caganer," or "pooper" - a man squatting in the corner and defecating.
Special Detroit Edition: 47% of Detroit adults are functionally illiterate; Detroit's high school graduation rate is 24.9%; Detroit has no national chain grocery stores; in 1980, Detroit gave Saddam Hussein the key to the city.
General Motors has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits for 1,000,000 people.
Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan.
René Descartes had a fetish for cross-eyed women.
Source: Descartes: His Life and Thought, Genevieve Rodis-Lewis
U.S. President James Buchanan was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other, which forced him to view things with head tilted to one side and his left eye partially closed.
Among Albanian couples that use some form of contraception, 89% use the withdrawal method, versus 2.8% that use condoms and 1.3% that use the pill.
In the hit Bryan Adams song "Summer of '69," the number 69 refers to the sexual position, not the year 1969.
The following songs were all written by Jews: "White Christmas," "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Sleigh Ride," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "Santa Baby," "Holly Jolly Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year," "Silver Bells," and "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
If Gov. Rod Blagojevich is convicted, he will be the fourth Illinois governor to go to jail in the last 40 years.
In American Sign Language, the sign for "stingy" is a variant of the sign for "Jewish." In Russian Sign Language, the previous sign for "American" was to indicate a large belly with your hands while mouthing the word "capitalism."
In some cases, deaf-mute people with Tourette's Syndrome uncontrollably sign obscenities.
The orange prison-issue sneakers at Rikers Island are known as Air Giulianis.
Most skeletons used in museums and schools have typically come from India, but the Indian government outlawed their export in 1985 after persistent reports of children being kidnapped and murdered for their bones.
One of every five neckties sold is a Christmas gift.
Roger Ebert used to date Oprah Winfrey, and also wrote the screenplays for two X-rated movies titled Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens.
Necrophilia was not made a crime in any U.S. state until 1965.
Source: Stiff, Mary Roach
In the half hour before the verdict in the OJ Simpson criminal trial was announced, trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange dropped 41% and long distance telephone call volume dropped by 58%.
Celebration, Florida, the residential community developed by the Walt Disney Company, has speakers hidden throughout the town that play recordings of birdsong.
Dubai is transitioning away from its "landmark-based" address system, in which there are no street addresses and no mail delivery. Under the old system, mail only arrives at central PO boxes, and to get something delivered you must either write a description of the destination or draw a map instead of filling out an address form.
Syphilis was originally called "Spanish disease" by the Italians, "Italian disease" by the French, "French disease" by the English and the Turks, "Polish disease" by the Russians, "Portuguese disease" by the Indians and the Japanese, and "Haitian disease" by the Spanish.
The brain of a 90-year old person is the same size as that of a 3-year-old.
Source: The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, David Shields
In Germany, it is illegal to insult foreign diplomats and heads of state.
Of the 35 U.S. states with official insects, 15 of them have chosen the European honey bee (which is not native to North America).
Lyndon Johnson nicknamed his penis "Jumbo," and was known to pull it out and brandish it during meetings as an intimidation tactic.
Children of any age can legally drink in bars in Wisconsin.
Elvis Presley made $52 million in 2007.
Fighter pilots sometimes ejaculate during dangerous situations due to a sudden surge of epinephrine.
Source: The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, David Shields
The federal government owns 84.5% of the land in Nevada.
Anorexics often grow soft, woolly fur called lanugo, which aids in heat retention when body fat levels are too low.
The Obama family's Secret Service code names are Rosebud (Sasha), Radiance (Malia), Renaissance (Michelle), and Renegade (Barack).
In 1844, New York City's voter turnout was 35% higher than the number of eligible voters.
11% of Americans would abort a fetus if they were told it had a tendency toward obesity.
Source: The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, David Shields
30% of Americans do not know what the Holocaust is.
Source: Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter, Rick Shenkman
If all 213 million eligible voters voted for one of the two major-party candidates, one could win the electoral college with only 22% of the popular vote.
25% of public school biology teachers believe dinosaurs and humans inhabited the earth simultaneously, and 27% believe it is possible for the living to communicate with the dead.
Source: The Evolution Controversy in America, George E. Webb
The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby
After Samuel Wallis discovered the Tahitian Islands, the native women began offering sex in exchange for iron nails. The crew stripped so many nails from the ship that the mainsail collapsed.
Source: Stupid History, Leland Gregory
The Queen Mother of Swaziland's title literally translates to "She-Elephant."
8 of the September 11th hijackers were registered to vote.
43% of West Virginians over the age of 65 are missing all of their natural teeth.
Florida has more obese residents than Japan.
1.3 million Americans do not have indoor plumbing.
The correct noun for a group of cobblers is a "drunkship."
The Cayman Islands have the fourth largest banking system in the world.
Centerpieces and other decorations at Amish weddings contain celery instead of flowers.
The official state sport of Maryland is jousting.
51% of women in Bangladesh are married by age 15.
In the 2nd century BC, the Carthaginians fought off Roman ships by catapulting jars filled with live snakes at them.
Source: Hannibal, Ernle Bradford
During World War II, codetalkers referred to submarines and fighter planes using the Navajo for "iron fish" and "hummingbird," respectively.
Producers of the first Terminator movie considered O.J. Simpson for the title role, but decided he was "too nice" and wouldn't make a believable villain.
Tattooing was illegal in Oklahoma until 2006.
Abraham Lincoln signed the order creating the US Secret Service on the same day he was assassinated.
The Burmese king Nanda Bayin died when a visiting Italian merchant explained that Venice was a free state without a king, causing him to laugh so hard that he choked.
Source: History of Burma, G.E. Harvey
England's Sandringham Estate had its own time zone until 1936. King Edward VII began the custom of setting the clocks a half hour ahead to allow more time for hunting in the winter.
The #1-#9 irons in golf were formerly known as a cleek, midiron, mid-mashie, jigger, mashie, spade mashie, mashie-niblick, pitching mashie, and baffing spoon, respectively.
Tug-of-war was an Olympic sport until 1920.
In 1925, jockey Frank Hayes suffered a heart attack during a race at Belmont Park and was dead when his horse won the race.
The Ace of Spades in a pack of playing cards typically has a special design because of a Card Tax dating back to the 17th century. The British Stamp Office enforced the tax by printing official Aces of Spades with the royal coat of arms, and card manufacturers chose to keep the design after the system was abandoned in 1862.
Source: Schott's Original Miscellany, Ben Schott
Cap'n Crunch's full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch.
Source: Brainiac, Ken Jennings
One third of the world's current population is infected with tuberculosis bacteria.
In 1685, the North American colony of New France ran out of currency, so it made playing cards legal tender and used them to pay the military.
1 in 5000 women is born without a vagina.
Source: Bonk, Mary Roach
Paraguay has an estimated 300,000 registered taxpayers, of whom only 1,500 actually paid taxes in 2004.
Johns Hopkins Hospital has thirty times as many physicians as the entire country of Liberia.
AARGH, AARRGH, and AARRGHH are all acceptable words in Scrabble.
Source: The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary
34% of homeowners do not know what type of mortgage they have.
America has more World of Warcraft subscribers than farmers.
Only 5 students at Amherst College have landline phone service.
In the Kinsey Report, 27% of college-age rural males admitted to having "an animal experience to the point of orgasm"; the most popular partners were calves, sheep, and donkeys.
Source: Sexual Behavior In The Human Male, Alfred Kinsey
74% of people living in the El Paso metropolitan area speak Spanish at home.
Multiplatinum recording artist Akon owns a diamond mine in South Africa.
The only two species in which males typically fondle females' breasts are human beings and pigs.
Source: Bonk, Mary Roach
In San Francisco, cock ring emergencies are so common that the Fire Department teletype has a special shorthand code for them. The Fire Department's Heavy Rescue Squad also has a modified circular saw designed specifically for cock ring removal.
Source: Bonk, Mary Roach
The electric eel is not an eel.
29% of California inmates have 6 or more prior felony convictions.
Roman households often had a barber on staff and offered haircuts to visitors.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
The giant squid has a doughnut-shaped brain, and its esophagus passes through the center.
An average of 25 American children drown in buckets every year.
Under the Code of Hammurabi, bartenders could be executed for watering down beer.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
California holds more inmates in its prisons than France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands combined.
An estimated 80-90% of North Dakota's female prison population was incarcerated for meth-related offenses.
Pope Stephen VI hated the policies of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, so much that he had Formosus's corpse exhumed, dressed up in papal vestments, and put on trial.
70% of all pornographic internet traffic occurs during the 9am-5pm workday.
24% of Alaska's prisoners serve their prison sentences in Arizona.
In Rio de Janeiro, the prison population is organized by gang membership. New prisoners who are unaffiliated with a gang are required to join one upon incarceration.
In 16th century England, anyone who could read the Fifty-first Psalm in Latin was exempt from capital punishment.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
After an estimated 90% of the male population of Paraguay was killed in the War of the Triple Alliance, the Catholic church temporarily allowed polygamy so the country could be repopulated.
The members of China's Boxer gang were called Boxers because they thought boxing training would make them impervious to bullets.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
In traditional Balinese society, boy-girl twins were forced to marry, because it was assumed that they had sex in the womb.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
In Japan, fried chicken from KFC is a Christmas Eve tradition.
Antanas Mockus, a former mayor of Bogotá, once hired over 400 mimes to patrol the city and mock people who committed traffic violations.
1.5 million horses were killed in World War II.
Source: The Shock Of The Old, David Edgerton
Whenever the promiscuous Mao Tse-Tung contracted venereal diseases, he declined treatment and instead had more sex, declaring, "I wash myself inside the bodies of my women."
Source: Nixon and Mao, Margaret MacMillan
The forty members of the Académie Française, the institution that protects the purity of the French language, are known as "immortals."
Twice as many people were killed assembling V2 rockets as by being attacked with them.
Source: The Shock Of The Old, David Edgerton
8% of all men in Central Asia are descended from Genghis Khan.
In Alabama it is illegal to recommend shades of paint without an interior design license. In Nevada it is illegal to move any large piece of furniture for aesthetic reasons without one.
Swarming locusts may invade up to 20 percent of Earth's land surface at a time.
Source: Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt
75 traffic signals in LA run on "Sabbath timing" so that Jews don't have to violate the Sabbath by pushing the "Walk" button.
Source: Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt
The manufacture of a microprocessor involves over 400,000 patents.
Source: Google Public Policy Department
Bayer held a trademark on heroin until the German defeat in World War I. It was marketed as a cure for morphine addiction.
34% of American men with a net worth of over $20 million admit to having paid for sex.
Two-thirds of the world's kidnappings occur in Colombia (but Washington, DC still has a higher murder rate than Bogotá).
The screenplay for the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice was written by Roald Dahl.
Every plant in Tomorrowland is edible.
In Chico, CA there is a $500 fine for manufacturing or detonating a nuclear device within city limits. In Pacific Grove, CA there is a $1000 fine for molesting a butterfly.
Mexico City has 850 streets named Juárez, 750 streets named Hidalgo, and 700 streets named Morelos.
Source: First Stop In The New World, David Lida
Rather than spell out proper names letter by letter, deaf people refer to each other with "sign names."
The telephone excise tax passed to fund the Spanish-American War was not repealed until 2006.
Playing with a laser pointer to distract a cat was patented in 1995.
Onions are the only commodity for which futures trading is banned.
Saudi Arabia accounted for 28% of all global amphetamine seizures in 2006.
The average price of a single-family home in Detroit is $54,000.
48% of American college graduates and 35% of people with postgraduate education don't accept the theory of evolution.
Source: The Canon, Natalie Angier
A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, about 9 percent of all income.