TIL: Members of the public can play the bells in St. Ann's Cathedral in Cork, Ireland. Joe O'Neal, owner of the Kerrytown Shops complex in Ann Arbor, Michigan, visited the Cathedral and added a small set of bells to a tower in the shopping center, also for members of the public to play.
TIL: The German newspaper Die Tageszeitung covered its office building with an obscene mural to taunt the editor of a rival newspaper. The mural includes a body part that extends for several floors.
TIL: The worst sports disaster took place in 29 CE in a cheap wooden stadium in Fidenae, 8 miles north of Rome. It collapsed during a crowded gladiator game and killed at least 20,000 people. The Roman Senate responded by requiring that future stadiums be inspected and certified.
TIL: While excavating for the London underground Crossrail project, excavators found artifacts from more than 8,000 years of London history, including flakes from early flint tools and a raunchy Victorian-era chamber pot.
TIL: In Victorian times, the dead birds (or parts of birds) on women's hats were treated with arsenic to preserve them. These items still test positive for arsenic today and museum conservators need to be careful handling them.
TIL: A Siamese cat's coloration is dictated by genes that are sensitive to temperature, which is why the cooler parts of their bodies (ears, paws, tail) are colored dark, while the rest of them is light-colored.
Melanie always sneered at anybody who wasn't in a tailored suit, but now that it was over, Dan finally felt free to explore his goth inclinations. He not only felt liberated, he felt like he looked good.
TIL: In Tokyo, there are two Buddhist bars (Vow'z and Vow's) run by Buddhist priests as a form of outreach. The bars provide a comfortable spot to talk about spirituality and personal issues as well as to have a drink.
A Kiev archivist discovered "bread" samples from Ukraine's 1932-33 Holodomor in historic criminal records. The church choir conductor who documented them was sent to the gulag for saving the scraps as evidence of the famine.
TIL: The book Goodnight Moon was revolutionary for its time, based on the theory that young children wanted to see their "here and now" reflected in books, rather than the escapism represented by "once upon a time" stories.
TIL: In the Viking period, Ulfberht swords were made of crucible (very pure) steel all the way from India. The exceptional quality of this steel made them so valuable that forgers faked the name Ulfberht on lower-quality swords, the equivalent of a fake designer logo.
TIL: The first suction-powered vacuum was invented in 1901, two years after the inventor of the first automated carpet cleaner told the inventor that suction would never remove dust. "Puffing Billy," the first version, was so big it had to be transported by horse-drawn cart.
TIL: One of the most famous "snake salvation" pastors died in Kentucky in 2014 from a snakebite after refusing medical treatment. He had been bitten at least nine times before and even lost a finger to a snake bite. In 1995, one of his parishioners also died of snakebite.
TIL: A viewer of "America's Most Wanted" called to report that he'd seen the kidnapped girl who was featured. The authorities investigated and found that while she wasn't the girl featured, she had been kidnapped years ago, and reunited her with her mother.
TIL: Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge was scheduled to fly on Malaysia Air flights MH17 (which was shot down over Ukraine) and MH370 (which disappeared) . Both times, he changed his plans and booked a different flight.