Somehow, we never learned the facts on this list in school - or any time before 2021, and we're so glad we finally did. These bits of trivia prove that learning something new can be downright funny, and in a year like 2021, we could all use an extra chuckle.
So whether it's the scatological humor that's up your alley, or the small towns with big, unconventional names, vote up the funniest facts you'll be sharing at the dinner table.
- 1218 VOTES
The First Speeding Ticket Ever Issued Was To A Man Going 8 Miles Per Hour
The first person to receive a fine for speeding was zooming at the heart-racing speed of 8 miles per hour. Walter Arnold was driving his vehicle through Kent in the United Kingdom in 1896. At the time, the maximum speed limit was a whopping 2 mph, meaning Arnold was four times over the limit. Cars were a brand-new luxury item that weren't yet commonplace, so they also required a person on foot to precede the car and wave a red flag. Arnold had no such flagger.
When a police officer saw Arnold speeding by at such a breakneck pace, he pursued him on his bicycle for 5 miles before finally catching the speedster. Arnold was charged for his speed, among other things, for which he was fined a shilling.
As tickets weren't even a thing when Arnold was pulled over, some argue that the first official ticket went to Harry Myers, who was racing through Dayton, OH, at 12 mph in 1904. Myers was the first to receive an actual written citation.
- 2156 VOTES
Cows Moo With Regional Accents
After dairy farmers began to notice their cows had moos that varied from one another, depending on which herd the cows were in, specialists began to examine the different bovines.
John Wells, professor of phonetics at the University of London, said this phenomenon could be a result of "peer pressure." According to Wells:
This phenomenon is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country. This could also be true of cows. In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group.
Jeanine Treffers-Daller, a linguistics lecturer at the University of the West of England in Bristol, added to Wells's statement:
When we are learning to speak, we adopt a local variety of language spoken by our parents, so the same could be said about the variation in the West Country cow moo.
- 3157 VOTES
Pennsylvania Has Cities Named Intercourse, Climax, Paradise, And Blue Ball - Among Others
Pennsylvania is home to more than just Dunder Mifflin in the city of Scranton. The state may actually be home to some of the oddest, and perhaps most risqué, town and city names out there. Among the notable offenders are Climax, Blue Ball, Intercourse, Virginville, Pillow, and Paradise. There seems to be a theme here...
Although they seem inappropriate to us now, the names have (mostly) noble origins. Blue Ball, for example, was named after the Blue Ball Inn, one of the main buildings in the early town. After it was damaged by cannonballs in the American Revolution, settlers decided to name their town after the inspirational inn. Unfortunately, the name has stuck around longer than the inn. Similarly, "intercourse" was a word that referred to a trading post in the 1800s when the village of Intercourse was founded.
Locales like Climax, Paradise, Mount Joy, and Jugtown have more ambiguous origins. Regardless of the history, the names are amusing and offer plenty of chuckles and conversation today.
- 4171 VOTES
Charlie Chaplin Reportedly Entered A Charlie Chaplin Look-Alike Contest And Lost Badly
A story about Charlie Chaplin losing a look-alike contest has taken on a legendary quality, and different sources reporting on the incident (which seemingly would have taken place around 1915-1920) get a little bit murky in the details. The popularized version reported in the papers was relayed by Mary Pickford to Lord Desborough, a British athlete and politician:
Charlie Chaplin was one day at a fair in the United States, where a principal attraction was a competition as to who could best imitate the Charlie Chaplin walk. The real Charlie Chaplin thought there might be a chance for him so he entered for the performance, minus his celebrated mustache and his boots. He was a frightful failure and came in 20th.
An earlier alleged account ran in the Chicago Herald in 1915:
When he entered a contest run by a theater in San Fransisco, he failed even to make the finals. “I am tempted to give lessons in the Chaplin walk,” he told a reporter, “out of pity as well as in the desire to see the thing done correctly.”
While where and when the contest took place, as well as just how poorly he finished, are up for debate, Charlie Chaplin contests like this were actually a thing during the actor's height in popularity, and entering one himself seems like a very Charlie Chaplin thing to do.
- 5172 VOTES
Chicken, A Town In Alaska, Got Its Name Because Of A Spelling Problem
You may not have heard of the town of Chicken, AK, population 12 (as of 2019). The small town is notable for its funny name, and arguably funnier origin story. Chicken was founded in the late 1800s by gold miners. They managed to survive the harsh Alaskan life by eating the wild and plentiful ptarmigan, the Alaskan state bird, which looks similar to a chicken.
When deciding what to name the town, residents wanted to pay homage to the ptarmigan. But they couldn't decide on the correct spelling and didn't want to embarrass themselves, so they called it a day and named their home "Chicken" instead.
- Photo: Election / Paramount Pictures6110 VOTES
The Average American Thinks They're Smarter Than Average
Would you consider yourself smarter than the average person? If so, you're not alone. In fact, according to two national surveys published in the scientific journal PLOS One, most Americans believe themselves to be smarter than average.
According to the study, 65% of Americans believe they have above-average intelligence, with men more likely to hold this belief than women. The results led the researchers to conclude that "a tendency to overrate one’s cognitive abilities may be a stable feature of human psychology."
Psychologists have long considered the belief a person is smarter than most a textbook human phenomenon of overconfidence and self-enhancement.