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13 Surprising Facts That Might Teach You Something New This Week

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13 Surprising Facts That Might Teach You Something New This Week

Updated 23 minutes ago. Posted 2 hours ago

New Zealand has an official government wizard.

1. Lucille Ball is basically the sole reason that Star Trek exists.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images, CBS

Ball’s production company — Desilu — took on the Star Trek pilot, but when NBC ordered the pilot and the Desilu board of directors realized how expensive it would be to shoot, they balked at the idea. Ball singlehandedly overruled the board and allowed the pilot to go ahead, and overruled them AGAIN when NBC rejected the initial pilot. The pilot was re-shot with William Shatner in the lead, and the rest is history.

2. Water (usually) isn’t a beverage.

Vladimirfloyd / Getty Images

The Merriam-Webster definition is “a drinkable liquid,” while the OED adds “especially a liquor which constitutes a common article of consumption.” Unofficially, the intent of the word is to describe a drink that is enjoyed and/or savored. While obviously language is fluid (pun intended) and the word “beverage” colloquially often includes water, it shouldn’t always because not all water is drinkable or used as a drink! In fact, most water is used for purposes other than drinking, such as agriculture.

3. Hard Rock Cafe is owned by the Seminole tribe of Florida.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The Seminole tribe purchased Hard Rock Cafe International back in 2006, at which time Seminole representative Max Osceola said, “Our ancestors sold Manhattan for trinkets…we’re going to buy Manhattan back one hamburger at a time.”

4. In 1957, a Phillies fan was struck by two foul balls in the same game, breaking both her nose and her knee.

Alex Gombash / Getty Images

The unfortunate fan was Alice Roth, the wife of the sports editor at the time for the Philadelphia Bulletin. The first foul ball hit Roth in the face and broke her nose. As she was being carried away on a stretcher, a second foul ball hit her in the leg and broke her knee. Both foul balls were from the same hitter, Richie Ashburn, during the same at-bat.

5. Casa Bonita — the restaurant featured in an infamous South Park episode — is not only a real place, but also has to track when the episode airs on TV so that they can prepare for a 10% increase in sales.

youtube.com, Comedy Central

The episode first aired in 2003. As of 2015, the Denver location of the restaurant was still seeing a bump in customers whenever the episode aired on TV. The location also has what they refer to as the “Cartman table,” which is seated on the upper level with a view of the “cliffs” and waterfall pool.

6. New Zealand has an official wizard.

Joseph Johnson / Getty Images

A man named Ian Brackenbury Channell was appointed as the country’s official wizard by Prime Minister Mike Moore in the 1990s. Channell says the job mostly involves an occasional “rain dance” during droughts and comes with the benefit of tax-free status.

7. There was a case in the UK of a sexually transmitted allergic reaction.

Belchonock / Getty Images

Basically, what happened was a woman who had an undiagnosed allergy to Brazil nuts had unprotected sex with her boyfriend after he had eaten Brazil nuts. She had an allergic reaction to his semen, which led doctors to do some testing on the woman’s skin. Sure enough, his semen before eating nuts didn’t cause any reaction, but after he ate Brazil nuts again, the semen caused another reaction. The immunologists involved believe it may be the first recorded case of a “sexually transmitted allergic reaction.”

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images, Tim Boyle / Getty Images

He got the piercing because he “just always wanted a pierced ear,” and hopped into a Claire’s Accessories because it was nearby. He gave Tavora Escossery, the then 18-year-old employee who did the piercing, a signed note that said: “To Tavora. You made a hole in me. Harrison Ford.”

9. Reindeer and caribou are the same animal.

Pawopa3336 / Getty Images

The difference, at least in the US, is that caribou are wild animals and reindeer are domesticated. In Europe, they’re mostly just referred to as reindeer.

10. The blinking light at the top of the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles sends out secret messages in Morse code.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

The blinking light has been sending out messages since the building opened in 1956, and Samuel Morse’s own granddaughter, Leila Morse, flipped the switch to turn the light on for the first time. The default message, which is active most days, spells out “Hollywood.” However, the building sometimes sends out special messages, such as when the building celebrated its 50th anniversary (the light spelled out “Capitol 50” that year). It’ll also sometimes announce major album releases, like with Katy Perry’s Prism.

11. An orgasm can potentially stop incessant hiccups.

MTV

Several years ago, there was a case where a man had non-stop hiccups for four days straight. None of the treatments he or doctors tried worked, but after the man had sex with his wife and orgasmed, the hiccups immediately stopped. Of course, this is only one case, so it might not work for everyone.

12. It’s illegal to be drunk in a bar in Alaska.

Urbazon / Getty Images

Alaska statute 04.16.040 states that, “A drunken person may not knowingly enter or remain on premises licensed under this title,” meaning that if you’re drunk, you can neither enter nor stay at any place that is licensed to serve liquor.

13. Buzz Aldrin submitted a travel reimbursement form for the Apollo 11 mission that listed his travel as Houston, TX –> Cape Kennedy, FL –> Moon –> Pacific Ocean –> Hawaii –> Houston, TX.

47 years ago I submitted my travel voucher reimbursement for my trip to the moon. #Apollo11

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