TIL former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas claimed that people acting on the orders of President Richard Nixon were trying to plant marijuana in his yard so that they could stage a televised raid and force him to retire from the court, with his replacement appointed by Nixon.
Arthur Abba Goldberg (born 1940) is an American businessman and leader in the ex-gay movement...In the 1980s, Goldberg was well known on Wall Street, earning the nicknames "Abba Dabba Do" and "Abba Cadabra" for his investment skills.
TIL in 1518 a "dancing plague" broke out in Strasbourg. Dozens of people started dancing for no apparent reason, some to the point of exhaustion and death. Some historians have attributed the plague to the accidental consumption of a fungus that contains a compound structurally similar to LSD.
TIL that in 2004 a tour bus carrying the Dave Matthews Band through Chicago drove over a bridge and dumped 800 lbs of human waste into the river below, splashing feces and urine onto tourists who were on a sightseeing cruise underneath the bridge.
TIL that Josef Stalin was highly suspicious of doctors and had many Kremlin doctors arrested and tortured. So few doctors were available that after Stalin suffered a stroke, one imprisoned doctor claimed he was mid-interrogation when his captors suddenly started asking for medical advice instead.
TIL that the United States occupied Greenland during WWII to prevent it from being captured by the Nazis. After the war ended, they offered to buy it from Denmark for $100 million, but Denmark refused.
Deera Square - "a public space in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square."
TIL in 1995, RJ Reynolds proposed "Project SCUM", a plan to sell cigarettes to "alternative lifestyle" residents of San Francisco, in particular gay people and homeless people. "SCUM" stood for "subculture urban marketing" but was deemed offensive and eventually renamed Project Sourdough.
TIL in the late 1800s/early 1900, fans of the English soccer team Preston North End became some of the first modern hooligans, committing acts of violence and destruction. In 1905, several Preston supporters were tried for hooliganism, including a "drunk and disorderly" 70-year-old woman.
TIL that Afghanistan's opium poppy harvest is so large that it produces more than 90% of illicit heroin globally and provides about 400,000 jobs in Afghanistan, more than the Afghan National Security Forces.
TIL to help negotiate the armistice with Germany in WWI, Russian foreign minister Leon Trotsky brought along 28 people chosen to represent the groups supporting the Russian revolution. On the way to the train station they realized that they lacked a peasant so they recruited one off the street.
TIL a major tobacco company was sued for allegedly using company vans in the 1960s to make trips to housing projects where free Newport cigarettes were given to children. A jury ruled against the tobacco company, which was ordered to pay over $35 million in damages.
"During the seven-year period specified by Congress it was ratified by only 16 states and so failed to be adopted...Had it been adopted, this proposed amendment would have given Washington, D.C. full representation in both houses of the Congress. "
TIL before becoming popular, the Beatles had several stints playing clubs in Hamburg, Germany. One period came to an end because Paul McCartney and drummer Pete Best were arrested for arson and deported. They were caught setting fire to a condom in a concrete corridor.
TIL that days after the release of Windows 3.1, it was discovered that typing "NYC" in the font Wingdings produced a skull & crossbones, Star of David, and thumbs up. This was claimed to be an antisemitic message referencing New York's large Jewish community, a claim Microsoft strongly denied.
TIL Wrigley’s was originally a soap company that gifted baking powder with their soap. The baking powder became more popular than the soap so they switched to selling baking powder with chewing gum as a gift. The gum became more popular than the baking powder so the company switched to selling gum.
Anti urination devices in Norwich - "By the mid 19th century, the numbers of large crowds visiting the area, coupled with a lack of public toilets, was causing concerns about public urination in the area."
TIL in 2012, a borough in the city of London commissioned the design of a bench that was made to deter use for sleeping, littering, skateboarding, drug dealing, graffiti and theft. It has been called the "perfect anti-object" and a "masterpiece of unpleasant design".
Swastika Laundry - Irish business founded in 1912. "In 1939, the laundry changed its name to "The Swastika Laundry (1912)" to make clear the distinction between its use of the name and symbol and the more recent adoption of the symbol by the Nazi Party in Germany."
"[Former US Senator] Chambliss was criticized for remarks he made during a November 19, 2001 meeting...where he said that homeland security would be improved by turning the sheriff loose to "arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line." Chambliss apologized for the remarks."
TIL the stadium cheer "the wave" was invented in the early 1980s by "Krazy" George Henderson, a "professional cheerleader". He later appeared on America's Got Talent, during which his entire act consisted solely of leading the audience in "the wave". He was buzzed out by the judges in seconds.
"the album was written while lead singer/guitarist Nick Blinko was being detained in a psychiatric hospital...The subject matter of the album relates to the delusions Blinko was experiencing at the time, particularly the idea that he was 'Pope Adrian 37th'"
Kent Hovind - "He said, 'Satan is using evolution theory to make kids go to hell.'...Hovind tried 'to convince the audience that evolutionists believe humans came from rocks' and subsequently 'evolved from bananas.'"
TIL in ancient Rome, residents of cities were required to have firefighting equipment available for firefighters to use in case of fires. The law stated that "where persons have paid insufficient attention to their fire, the prefect ... orders them to be beaten"
"During its heyday, Plato's Retreat was considered the world's most infamous sex club...the club offered, besides a heated swimming pool, a sauna steam, whirlpool baths, disco dancing, free bar and buffet, "cozy living rooms and lounging areas", a "variety of swing areas", and a backgammon lounge."
TIL at a US nuclear test site in middle of the Pacific, radioactive waste was buried and covered with a concrete dome. Cleanup was so poor that the dome fails American standards for landfills for household trash and radiation inside the dome is dwarfed by the radiation in the sediments outside it.
Tusko the Elephant - "[researchers] injected 297 mg of LSD into him, which is over 1,000 times the dose typical of human recreational use…It is believed that the LSD was the cause of his death, although…the drugs the researchers used in an attempt to revive him may have contributed to his death."
TIL while a professor at Cornell, Carl Sagan was invited to dinner at the frat house across from his home. When he declined, the frat arranged strings of Christmas lights to project the words, "Carl Sagan Sucks!" towards his home.
Swedish post-war prefabricated houses - [In] response to the housing shortage in Great Britain following the Second World War...5,000 homes were built from kits made in Sweden and assembled on site."
Sarah Baartman - "the most well known of at least two South African Khoikhoi women who, because their bodies were different to European women's bodies, were exhibited as freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe"
"Dressed in striped shirt and beret, riding a bicycle hung with onions, the Onion Johnny became the stereotypical image of the Frenchman and was possibly in many cases the only contact that ordinary British people had with France and French people."
"In 2016, Sisqo opened a store on the world-renowned Rodeo Drive of Los Angeles called The Thong Bong. Specializing in his own brand of fashionable ladies underwear and the latest in accessories to smoke marijuana, the store has since closed due to copyright issues on branding."
Miami Cannibal Attack - "On May 26, 2012, a nude assailant, Rudy Eugene, attacked and maimed Ronald Poppo, a homeless man, on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida... Eugene accused Poppo of stealing his Bible, beat him unconscious, removed Poppo's pants, and bit off most of Poppo's face"
TIL the "blue ribbon" in the name of Pabst Blue Ribbon does not come from it winning a first place blue ribbon in any contests. It comes the fact that little blue ribbons were tied around the bottles between 1882 and 1916.
TIL that Mark Twain hated Jane Austen's books and summarized his opinion of her by saying "every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone!”
TIL that one of the mint plant's first known uses in Europe was as a room deodorizer. The herb was strewn across floors to cover smells since stepping on the mint helped to spread its scent through the room.
TIL The term slush fund was originally a nautical term: the slush was the fat or grease skimmed from the top of the cauldron when boiling salted meat. Ship officers would sell the fat to tallow makers, with the resulting proceeds kept as a slush fund for making small purchases for the ship's crew.
TIL two of the founders of the punk band the Germs were classmates at an alternative high school where they were allowed to create their own class. They created a class for themselves called Fruit Eating in which they would go to a market, eat fruit for an hour, then return to school.
TIL that President Ronald Reagan's first official White House doctor called his job "vastly overrated, boring and not medically challenging." He could not attend most state dinners due to lack of space but had to be ready for emergencies, usually waiting alone in his office wearing a tuxedo.
"[W]hen the regular team went on strike... [he] came to bat himself once as a pinch hitter...when the umpire asked him for whom he was batting, Jennings answered, "None of your business." The umpire noted on his lineup sheet, "Jennings--batted for exercise."
Pronoia (psychology) - "defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person...'the suspicion the Universe is a conspiracy on your behalf'"
TIL that a series of studies dubbed the "Stanford Marshmallow Experiment" offered children a choice of 1 small reward immediately or 2 small rewards later. They found that children who were able to wait longer for the rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores and BMIs.
TIL that in the early 2000s, competition among many of the popular low-cost "Chinatown bus lines" connecting major cities on the east coast of the U.S. led to turf wars. Some escalated to include drive-by shootings, stabbings, and arson.
"Hawaii is where Latvala began to collect recordings of Grateful Dead concerts, often mailing other tapers pot in exchange for tapes. Latvala would exchange long letters...and extend an invitation to visit Hawaii, to smoke pot and listen to the Grateful Dead at high volumes."
"[Facebook] has been accused of preventing users from searching for certain terms...[a] group for organizing protests against privacy violations could for a time not be found by searching. The very word privacy was also restricted."
TIL that in many parts of the world, spitting on the ground is considered a protection against curses. In parts of eastern Europe, people historically would gently spit in the face of younger people (often relatives like grandchildren or nephews) they admire to prevent them from being cursed.
Cannabis and Judaism - "n 2016, Belrussian-Israeli rabbi Chaim Kanievsky declared that medicinal cannabis was kosher for Passover. In January 2016, the Orthodox Union certified some medical cannabis products made by Vireo as kosher, their first medical cannabis certification."
TIL in the 1920s, a man falsely claiming to be a doctor implanted goat testicles into people across the US as a cure for all diseases. He was condemned by the AMA and media, but ran for governor of Kansas in 1930, narrowly losing after thousands of votes for him were questionably disqualified.
"In 1922, Brinkley traveled to Los Angeles at the invitation of Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times, who challenged Brinkley to transplant goat testicles into one of his editors...The operation was judged a success"
'[He attacked the large army] with only twelve followers, believing that he was a second Gideon... He was killed, his head severed and placed on a pole for all in the city to see, and his genitals nailed to the city gate."
TIL during the SARS epidemic in 2004, a 45-year-old Taiwanese woman died from alcohol poisoning after immersing herself in a bathtub full of 40% alcohol for 12 hours, likely because she thought the alcohol would decontaminate her if she had been exposed to the virus.
Baltic Sea anomaly - "An MSNBC report speculated that interpretations of the image as a flying saucer are likely the result of graphic outlines intended to suggest the fictional spaceship Millennium Falcon drawn onto the sonar image by tabloid newspapers."