TIL when former NFL safety Dave Duerson took his life he left a note that read, “Please see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.” He shot himself in the chest rather than his head so as to preserve his brain. Doctors confirmed that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
TIL that in 1999, author of the Dilbert comic Scott Adams released “the blue jeans of food”: a microwave burrito he affectionately dubbed the Dilberito. The product tanked, with the creator himself later admitting that “three bites made you fart so hard your intestines formed a tail”.
TIL When his owner died in August 1936, Shep the Dog followed the casket to the railroad station and watched it being loaded onto a train heading to the eastern US. For six years until his own death, he would greet every train that arrived each day, expecting his master to return.
TIL In 2015 a district in Iceland repealed a 400-year-old decree to kill any Basque caught in the area on sight. The edict was issued in 1615 after a storm destroyed 3 Basque whaling vessels on an expedition in Iceland. The crew resorted to robbery that eventually led to the Slaying of the Spaniards
TIL that in 1648 an angry mob of Parisians once broke into the royal palace, demanding to see the king. They were led into the bedchamber of Louis XIV, who was pretending to be asleep. Satisfied, the mob quietly departed.
TIL the Soviet K-13 missile, is almost an exact copy of the US Sidewinder. On 28 September, 1958, a Chinese MiG-17 was struck with a sidewinder that didn't detonate, they gave the missile to the Soviets, who then reverse engineered it. The missile up to that point was dominating all air battles.
TIL In 2006, Wenger produced a Swiss Army style knife called "The Giant" that included every implement the company ever made, with 87 tools and 141 different functions. It was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's most multifunctional penknife.
TIL of the U.S National Eagle Repository where dead eagles can be posted to provide Eagle parts for Native American and Native Alaskan ceremonies. They advise double bagging your dead eagle prior to posting.
TIL about Jane Fonda's Workout, a 1982 exercise video by actress Jane Fonda, which was the top-selling VHS tape for six years. Fonda's Workout popularized the phrases "Feel the burn!" and "No pain, no gain." and contributed to the increased popularity of ballet-style leg warmers.
TIL locusts can exist in two states. Solitary and gregarious. In low populations, locusts behave as individuals. But in high populations they undergo polyphenism where they experience physiological and behavioral changes. Even their color can change when they form a swarm
TIL farts don’t dissipate easily in space and a particularly smelly astronaut, while in the space shuttle’s middeck, would position his butt next to an air hose that led to the ISS and fire away. He called it “sending emails” to the ISS
TIL about the letters of last resort, four hand-written letters of identical content by the British Prime Minister with instructions to ballistic submarine commanders in the event an enemy nuclear strike has destroyed the British government.
TIL about Hobo Signs - Beginning in the 1880's up until WWII, hoboes placed markings on fences, posts, sidewalks, buildings, trestles, bridge abutments, and railroad line side equipment to aid them and others of their kind in finding help or steering them clear of trouble.
TIL American inventor Elias Howe had a dream where he had been captured by a tribe of savage cannibals. Just as the cannibals were about to eat him he noticed they held spears with holes in them. He awoke with an idea for the sewing machine.
TIL Patrick Watt, a radio station host in the Falkland Islands, broadcast the first ten hours of the Argentinean invasion on April 2nd 1982, including bulletins, interviews and eyewitness reports from the residents. He continued in the role even after Argentinean forces took over the radio station.
TIL Elizabeth Swaney, a relatively amateur skier, was able to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics halfpipe by accumulating points at qualifying events leading up to the Olympics by doing flawless yet completely simple routines, outscoring opponents who often would crash in their more-ambitious runs
TIL that the famous photograph taken in 1993 named 'the vulture and the little girl' actually shows a starving boy named Kong Nyong. The picture gained widespread attention for the Sudan famine and won Kevin Carter the 1994 pulitzer. The boy in the picture is said to have died of fevers in 2007.
TIL that King Offa of Mercia (in modern day England) had a coin minted in the late 8th century that included the phrase, “There is no Deity but Allah, The One, Without Equal, and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah” in Arabic.
TIL Father's Day was a Catholic celebration dating back to at least 1508 in Europe. Today, it is celebrated worldwide and falls on many different days, mostly in March or June. Regional traditions are attached to the celebration, like Germany, which celebrates by men hiking with wagons of alcohol.
TIL in 2009 the Walt Disney Company offered millions of dollars in refunds for those who purchased “Baby Einstein” videos after being threatened with a lawsuit over claims that the products were educational
TIL for years there has been a long standing myth on the internet about the game Civilization. Supposedly the game had a programming glitch which made Gandhi extremely aggressive and frequent to use nuclear weapons. Both the lead game designer and Sid Meier have since stated this bug never existed.
TIL of the Republic of Užupis, a suburb of Vilnius, Lithuania which declared itself independent in 1998. Every April fools day Lithuania sets up border posts on the bridges and stamps passports. The Republics Constitution guarentees "A dog has the right to be a dog."
TIL it has been established so far that 928 prisoners attempted to escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp complex (878 men and 50 women). For 196 prisoners the escape finished with success and the majority of them lived to see the end of the war.
TIL that possums and opossums are entirely different animals. Generally, opossums live in North and South America, while possums live in Australia. A British botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, thought the possum looked enough like the North American opossum to give them a similar name.
TIL the opening crawl to Star Wars begins with a storybook-esque narration ("A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....") because George Lucas first imagined his films as stories being told by an ancient race of immortals. The immortals were written out for early films, but this vestige remained.
TIL of Masanobu Tsuji, a Japanese war criminal who executed POWs on Bataan, fled to Indochina, and disappeared into Laos in 1961. He was later rumored to be working for North Vietnam. A CIA report said he was "the type of man who would start World War III without any misgivings."
TIL During the American Revolution at the Battle of Long Island, 400 Maryland Soldiers repeatedly attacked a superior British force in order to allow Gen. Washington’s army to escape total destruction. Washington said of them, “Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose”.