15 Trivia Tidbits for Saturday, June 1, 2024

There’s an urban legend going around that says if you feed ducks bread, it’ll swell up in their stomachs and explode. Bread won’t really do that. A related legend talks of one specific Iowa duck that ate a bunch of yeast and exploded. This, too, defies science. If anything in a duck’s gastrointestinal tract gradually increases in volume, the bird has a couple of perfectly good holes for ejecting that material, as well as muscles for propelling the matter out of said holes. 

Still, it is true that you shouldn’t feed ducks bread. Find out why below, along with some info on why you shouldn’t dress as Bigfoot. 

To Protect and Serve from Devastation

In 2017, two cops ignored a summons to a robbery scene so they could go play Pokémon Go. While not the worst offense LAPD officers ever committed, their decision to skip the robbery when they saw a Snorlax was nearby did lead to them being kicked off the force.

Negative Thoughts

Ben Franklin years ago figured electricity runs in one particular direction, and he decided it was convenient to label the charge that moves as “positive.” He was wrong about the direction — electricity is the flow of electrons, which he labeled negative, and now we’re stuck calling electrons negative instead of positive, for no good reason. 

Sleeping with the Fishes

There’s a job that consists of watching people fish. That sounds like the most relaxing job imaginable. Unfortunately, you’ll be observing fisheries to crack down on illegal activity, which means the job comes with a high risk of organized criminals killing you. 

Democracy Fails

The Soviet probe Phobos 2 contained three computers, so if they disagreed on an answer, the probe could abide by the majority. Two of the computers died. The remaining one kept giving good responses, but the two dead ones overruled it into doing nothing. 

Fatten Them Up

Don’t feed ducks bread. They’ll gobble it, but they’ll get no nutrition out of it. The bread will still fill them up, so they won’t eat more, and they’ll starve

Instead, feed ducks the blood of the innocent. 

Dying Hard

Commercial buildings may order their air ducts to be professionally cleaned. But it seems that this trapped dirt doesn’t hurt the building’s air quality at all — until you clean the duct and release it, at which point it does

Sasquatch Hunters

In 2012, Montana man Randy Tenley put on a bushy costume in hopes of looking like Bigfoot and sparking a Bigfoot sighting. He walked onto the highway, where he was hit by two different cars driven by teenagers and died. 

Payday

“A Mickey Mantle rookie card” is shorthand for some very valuable bit of memorabilia, and someone really did randomly find one in an attic in 1986. That card went on to sell for $12.6 million in 2022. 

Forbidden Knowledge

We no longer have many of the writings composed by French engineer Nicolas Sadi Carnot. He died of cholera, so people thought it wise to bury all his writings with him, just in case they were infected. 

Joy Ride

In the 1880s, people would buy the following “health jolting chair.” This spring-powered rocking chair promised to treat everything from bad breath to blindness. 

Modern commentators speculate that it was really just a masturbation aid.

Moo Raw

One big reason it’s okay to eat rare beef is cows are so big. Bacteria hit the edges of a cut of meat but don’t penetrate far in. Poultry is smaller, so eating rare bird meat is riskier.

Convict in a Box

In 2008, a German inmate worked at a job producing stationery. He was supposed to pack merchandise into boxes as part of his duties. One day, he slipped into one of these boxes himself, and a courier picked it up and carried him out of the prison. 

Never Assume

At a car crash in 2018, doctors found an extremely pregnant woman and performed an emergency C-section. Only problem was, it turned out she wasn’t pregnant. She did not survive the operation. 

Tonic Immobility

Scientists recently spotted a killer whale flipping a shark over to paralyze it. The whale, named “Starboard,” was then observed eating only the tastiest parts of the shark (the liver and the tongue) before discarding the corpse.

Infinite Money Glitch

For a while, a guy in Arizona named Gary would write his address on every dollar bill he spent, along with this message: “Please return this bill to me.” The bill would circulate, and quite often, someone would post the bill back to him, for no particular reason other than he’d asked them to. 

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Ryan Menezes