Weekly Wrap Volume 182

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here.

eiffel-tower2Stealing the Eiffel Tower
In this episode of The Brain Food Show podcast, we discuss that time a man managed to successfully sell the Eiffel Tower… even though he didn’t own it. We also lament the lack of awesome World’s Fairs in modern times only to subsequently discover they are actually still a thing… 😉 And finally we wrap up discussing the fascinating list known as the “10 Commandments for Con Men”. On another note, if you could do us a huge favor and rate and review this show in whatever…(more)

John_PembertonPemberton’s Tonic

The sickly sweet sugar water known as Coca-Cola was initially marketed as a magical cure-all tonic for every kind of “nervous affliction” imaginable from headaches to hysteria- a condition that, fun fact, used to be treated in women through medically administered orgasms. This ultimately led to the creation of vibrators to help out the no doubt cramped handed doctors who just didn’t have the stamina to keep up with the countless hysterical women banging on their doors…(more)

Crown_JewelsStealing the Crown Jewels

The crown jewels are a collection of historic and obscenely valuable relics closely associated with the British monarchy. For centuries these golden, jewel-encrusted trinkets have been kept under the watchful eye of burly guards in the Tower of London. And to doubly deter thieves, historically the punishment for attempting to steal them was death… something Thomas Blood thumbed his nose at when he waltzed right into the Tower of London and tried to steal them in 1671. A charismatic and likeable man who reportedly had oodles of Irish charm and a razor sharp wit…(more)

anna-jarvisAnna Jarvis’ Big Mistake

Most moms are pretty great, so great in fact that in the early 20th century a woman called Anna Jarvis campaigned tirelessly to recognise them on a national scale- a decision Jarvis would later come to regret culminating in her more or less dedicating her life and life’s savings to destroy the Frankenstein’s monster of a holiday the greeting card industry molded her creation into. First celebrated on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was a somewhat sombre affair marked by a touching speech given by the aforementioned Anna Jarvis in memory of her late mother…(more)

This Week’s YouTube Videos (Click to Subscribe)

Bonus Quick Facts:

  • While the vast majority of electronic devices that speak to us do so in a female’s voice, dating all the way back to some of the earliest such devices, there was one notable exception in the late 1990s. In Germany, BMW ultimately had to recall their 5 Series cars due to using a female voice with their GPS system. You see, according to Dr. Clifford Nass, author of “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships,” BMW was flooded with calls from German men who’d bought the BWM’s in question and were angry about having to take navigational directions from a woman. As a result, they issued a recall to those who wanted it to reprogram the GPS to have a male’s voice.
  • The world’s tallest flagpole, known as the Jeddah Flagpole, in King Abdulla Square in Saudi Arabia, is a whopping 557 ft (170 meters) tall, with the flag itself weighing 1,257 pounds (570 kg) and is 162 ft wide by 108 ft. tall (49.5 x 33 meters)
  • On February 10, 1355 in Oxford, England, Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, two students at Oxford University, got in an argument with tavern owner John Croidon over the quality of the drinks he was serving. In the end, drinks were thrown in the face of Croidon, after which the two students attacked him. Soon the fight spread, with local townspeople on one side and Oxford students on the other, including the students assaulting the mayor of Oxford, John de Bereford. The riot lasted two days, leaving 63 students and about 30 locals dead and many more injured. For the next 470 years, the mayor of Oxford and its councilors had to march through the streets of Oxford on February 10th each year with bare heads, as well as give one penny annually for each of the students killed. This finally ended in 1825 when the mayor refused to do the penance.
  • Bubble Wrap was originally invented in 1957, but not to be used as a packaging material, but rather for use as wallpaper. Needless to say, it didn’t sell well, nor did their next idea to use it as greenhouse insulation. Finally, in 1959 its creators got the idea that it could be used to protect the IBM 1401 during shipments. That one worked out and the rest is history.
  • The male ostrich is capable of making a “roaring” noise not too dissimilar from a lion’s roar, but tending to add a hiss with it.

Other Interesting Stuff

wham-paymasterForgotten History: Robbing Wham

The story behind what came to be known as the Wham Paymaster robbery began on the morning of May 11, 1889 when a U.S. Army paymaster called Major Joseph Washington Wham was charged with transporting a lockbox containing the salaries of several hundred soldiers across the Arizona desert from Fort Grant to Fort Thomas located some 50 miles away. All in all the lockbox contained $28,345.10 in gold and silver coins worth the equivalent of about $784,000 today. Tasked with protecting the contents of the lockbox, Paymaster Wham’s convoy included 9 Buffalo Soldiers of the 24th Infantry and…(more)

youtube-logoGrowing a You Tube Channel

In this episode of The Brain Food Show, we cover a myriad of tips and tricks to help grow a YouTube channel and maximize the odds of being successful in that space, including covering elements of the YouTube algorithm, thumbnail design, etc. Much of this talk was gleaned from interesting things we learned at VidCon Amsterdam, and particularly from the various talks given by Matt and Stephanie Patrick from the hugely popular Game Theorists channel. On another note, if you could do us a huge favor and rate and…(more)

Karlovy-Vary-Czech-RepublicNo. 9

The result of years of work and representing the absolute pinnacle of Beethoven’s skill as both a composer and musician, Symphony No. 9 is widely considered one of the single finest pieces of music ever created- a fact made all the more impressive when you consider Beethoven himself was completely deaf when he finished composing it in 1824, with its debut performance occurring at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna on May 7, 1824. Wanting to go out with a bang, Beethoven saw to it that the orchestra performing his masterwork was one of the largest ever seen by the city. As an idea of just how large the group Beethoven assembled was, it’s noted that not only did Beethoven require the entire…(more)

craig-newmark1-340x308Who Is Craig From Craigslist?

Craig Newmark is the Craig of Craigslist whose estimated net worth as of 2010 was around $400 million. This is in direct contrast to his financial wealth during childhood, where his mother struggled to support Craig and his brother, Jeff, after the death of their father. Craig Alexander Newmark was born on December 6, 1952, in Morristown, New Jersey, to Joyce and Lee Newmark. Lee worked as an insurance salesman but after his death, Joyce had to move her two sons into an apartment. Craig was only thirteen years old when his father…(more)

560px-Goldfish3-340x364Goldfish Do Not Have a Three Second Memory

In fact, goldfish actually have very good memories for fish. They can be trained to respond various ways to certain colors of light; different kinds of music; and other sensory cues. Not only that, but they seem to be able to remember things they are taught as much as a year later. Researchers have successfully taught goldfish to play fetch, push levers, do the limbo, and even play soccer. If they are fed around the same time of day, they also remember that and will anticipate the feeding leading up to that time, which implies they have a very good sense of time. Goldfish also have been shown to be able to recognize their..(more)

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