Weird History
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Facts We Couldn't Help But Shake Our Heads At When We Heard They Were True

Updated October 1, 2021 2.1k votes 397 voters 19.8k views11 items

List RulesVote up all the facts that leave you shaking your head.

So many interesting and random bits of information circulate that make us think, "What?"

Sometimes these facts seem so far from the truth that we may actually shake our heads once we learn of their veracity. These ridiculous snippets about history may make you do a double-take once you realize they're true. From Disney to novels to cows, these all-over-the-place factoids will be handy to keep in your back pocket for your next trivia night.

  • In 1969, French novelist Georges Perec wrote the entirety of La Disparition without using the letter "e." He decided to do this as an experiment called "constrained writing," a technique to explore new writing patterns and structures.

    The novel was translated to English as A Void, and was again devoid of "e." It's the most commonly used letter in the English alphabet, yet Perec wrote 328 pages without using it once.  

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    Ants Take Around 250 Power Naps A Day

    A recent study found that some ant species take incredibly short power naps at staggered times - approximately 250 per day. Their naps last about 60 seconds, which adds up to around 4 hours and 48 minutes of daily shut-eye. This means there are always ants awake, while others are snoozing.

    The study also found that 80% of an ant workforce is awake and active at any one time.

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    If You Smell Fish And No One's Cooking, It's Likely An Electrical Fire

    If you begin to smell a fishy odor and you're not cooking fish, it could be a sign that your house has an electrical fire. The stink comes from heat-resistant chemicals and insulation that smolder when items like wires, circuit breakers, and outlets get too hot.

    Once these electrical components begin to overheat, the fishy smell is released, meaning an electrical fire could be imminent!

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    One Of The Oldest Tablets From Mesopotamia Is A Customer Complaint

    The world's first-ever documented customer complaint dates all the way to ancient Mesopotamia. The complaint was filed around 3,800 years ago from the city of Ur, which is now Tell el-Muqayyar in modern Iraq, and was written on a clay tablet. It's traced to a man named Nanni, who sent it to a businessman named Ea-nasir when Nanni was dissatisfied with his copper purchase.

    The complaint is in the Akkadian language in cuneiform script, one of the oldest forms of writing. Translated by Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim, the end of the tablet reads as follows:

    ...Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.

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