In the sixth century B.C., thieving bands residing in a coastal city named Kirra would frequently rob travelers on their way to visit the famous Oracle at Delphi. Over several years united tribes of Greece would pursue the bandits who would simply escape inside their well-fortified walls at Kirra until the aggressors gave up and returned to their homes. The walls seemed impenetrable – until somebody figured out that those folks inside the ramparts got all their water from one source. The league of Greek tribes poisoned the source and waited. The robbers surrendered within two weeks and were not treated kindly.
Back on August 7, 1974 a Frenchman named Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The act was performed at a height of more than 1300 Feet. I get shaky while wearing thick-soled shoes.
It was in 1867 that the Russell and Morgan Printing Company opened a business that specialized in producing posters for various circuses. In 1885, the company owners asked for employee ideas to expand the business. Someone suggested making playing cards promoting the gadget that was currently quite popular: the bicycle. Company bosses liked the idea and subsequently sold millions of Bicycle Brand Playing Cards. The company name was changed to United States Playing Card Company and has sold gazillions (estimate) of their iconic decks.
Oh those wily men of yesteryear: In 499 B.C. the ruler of Miletus (some guy named Histiaeus) needed to send a secret message somewhere. He called forward a messenger with an especially substantial head of hair and had the man’s head shaved. Histiaeus then had a message tattooed in code atop of the shaved dude’s bald head. They patiently waited until the hair grew back. The messenger then delivered his vital secret. Upon arrival at the intended destination, the man’s head was once again shaved, thusly exposing crucial information.
It is claimed by turtle studiers (I am not making this up) that male giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands seasonally strut about with their necks extended to the max. This weird dance is part of a courtship ritual wherein the gentleman turtle with the longest neck generally wins the attentions of the pursued female tortoise (called a “betty”).
A group of scientists that (I suppose) desired to spread merriment declared that at least 1,000,000,000 people worldwide are infested with the intestinal parasites known as roundworms. Well, all you Bettys out there: Be wary of blokes that seem to walk creepy close while extending their necks – and have a great week
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.