It’s always fun to have some trivia and facts on hand for the next time you want to slay a party. The trivia could be about anything you find interesting, from wild animals to pets, historical figures to political ones. Of course, you could share one of the creepier facts on the list if your audience enjoys nightmare fuel.
Either way, having facts stored in your head makes you the life of any gathering. So here goes some more trivia, fun to read and share. Vote up the ones you find most interesting.
The duck-billed platypus is a strange creature. It has a duck-like beak, or bill, and a beaver-like tail. Plus, platypuses (not platypi) lay eggs, being oviparous mammals. Males also have a spur on the back of their hind feet, which is connected to a venomous gland. It's not life-threatening to humans, but can be very painful.
They also don't have stomachs, meaning their gullet connects directly to the intestines. Scientists say it has something to do with diet, because a lot of fish also do not have stomachs. It could be connected to a calcium and mineral-rich diet, but for now, there are only theories.
Another tidbit: Platypus babies are called puggles.
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The Roman Catholic Church Classified Beavers As Fish
When the Europeans came to North America and Canada, they brought along the Catholic Church with them. The Indigenous population slowly began converting to this religion, but the one thing that pained them was the no-meat rule during Lent.
Back then, beavers were a favored treat in some areas of North America, so the bishop of Quebec asked his superiors for permission to eat beaver meat on Lent Fridays. The Church had a simple solution: Since the beaver is a semi-aquatic mammal, the Church decreed it was fish.
Following the same logic, capybaras were also classified as fish. Both make for delicious Lent meals in many parts of the world today.
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The US Air Force Almost Nuked The Moon
No, not accidentally. There was a plan and purpose behind the plan to nuke the moon, and it was mostly retaliatory in nature. Since the Soviets had slung Sputnik into space, the USA had to do something bigger and more visible. The idea was to shoot the moon with a hydrogen bomb for a visual spectacle - giving America the chance to thumb its nose at the USSR.
The team involved Dr. Leonard Reiffel, Gerard Kuiper, and astronomer Carl Sagan. Thankfully, the plan disintegrated, mostly because the visual spectacle imagined was not as grand in reality. So they landed on it, instead, as option B.
- Photo: No Time To Die / United Artists Releasing
Ian Fleming was an ex-commander in the British Naval Intelligence Division during WWII. When he got down to writing his spy novels, he needed a name for the protagonist.
He found his name, not in a spy, but in an ornithologist. Said Fleming:
I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find. "James Bond" was much better than something more interesting, like "Peregrine Carruthers."
That said, the ornithologist went by Jim, Jim Bond, and was a dapper fellow. The fleshing out of the character was inspired by many different real-life spies, as well as some top government officials, including a James Charles Bond.
The 007 has meaning in military code, as well. 0070 was the first German diplomatic code decoded by the British.
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Gargoyles And Gargling Are Related Terms
The word "gargoyle" has become a rather loosely used term for any statue that's uglier than anything you've ever seen before. But architecturally speaking, a gargoyle has a function. As strangely as it may be carved, it's a water spout. A gargoyle, human or animal, is usually found on the roof and directs rainwater away from the building.
The term comes from the old French word "gargouille," meaning throat, as does the word "gargle."
Any and all other statues, no matter how ugly, carved into buildings are called grotesques. And this term comes from the Italian word "grottegargoysco."
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Taser Is Actually An Acronym, And Named After A Book
Taser is not a type of weapon, but rather a brand of weapons. But much like Xerox is to photocopies and Kool-Aid is to fruity drink mixes, Taser has become a proprietary eponym. It's even a verb today, considering you can be Tasered.
The name itself, Taser, is an acronym for Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle. It's an ode from the creator, Jack Cover, to an adventurer named Tom Swift - the protagonist of Cover's favorite sci-fi book series.