39 Amazing Facts for National Trivia Day

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Here's a little-known fact: January 4th is National Trivia Day! Here are some fun facts to impress your neighbors.

1. In Japan, letting a sumo wrestler make your baby cry is considered good luck.

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2. The actor who was inside R2-D2 hated the guy who played C-3PO, calling him "the rudest man I've ever met."

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3. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep so they don't drift apart.

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4. In 1986, Apple launched a clothing line.

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5. Between 1900 and 1920, Tug of War was an Olympic event.

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6. The word "unfriend" appeared in print all the way back in 1659.

(See Also: 16 Words That Are Much Older Than They Seem)

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7. A baby can cost new parents 750 hours of sleep in the first year.

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8. The Code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

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9. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V handbook classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder.

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10. The Dole/Kemp website from 1996 is still up and running.

(See Also: 17 Ancient Abandoned Websites That Still Work)

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11. In 19th-century Britain, opium for babies was marketed under the name "Quietness."

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12. Google was originally named BackRub.

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13. The SarcMark was invented by Paul Sak to emphasize a sarcastic phrase, sentence or message.

(See also: 13 Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using)
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14. Winston Churchill's mother was born in Brooklyn.

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15. In 1999, the U.S. government paid the Zapruder family $16 million for the film of JFK's assassination.

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16. Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

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17. Mary Todd Lincoln was once asked if Abe had any hobbies. Her reply: “Cats.”

(See Also: 24 Vintage Photos of Abe Lincoln Being Awesome)

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18. Brazil couldn't afford to send its athletes to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. So they loaded their ship with coffee and sold it along the way.

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19. Before Stephen Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants, he taught marine biology.

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20. New Mexico State's first graduating class in 1893 had only one student—and he was shot and killed before graduation.

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21. Before he played Cliff Clavin on Cheers, John Ratzenberger had small roles in The Empire Strikes Back, Superman, and Gandhi.

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22. Before choosing the name "Chiefs," ownership considered calling the team the Kansas City Mules.

(See Also: 25 Rejected Nicknames for Professional Sports Teams)
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23. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations.

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24. When Canada's Northwest Territories considered renaming itself in the 1990s, one name that gained support was "Bob."

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25. The most shoplifted food item in the U.S. is candy.

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26. In Europe, it's cheese.

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27. Some cats are allergic to humans.

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28. There are roughly 70 ingredients in the McRib.

(See Also: 10 Things You Might Not Know About the McRib)

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29. President Nixon was speaking at Disney World when he famously declared, "I am not a crook."

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30. After OutKast sang “Shake it like a Polaroid picture,” Polaroid released a statement that said, “Shaking or waving can actually damage the image.”

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31. Nutella was invented during WWII, when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his chocolate ration.

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32. The Pledge of Allegiance was written as part of a plan to sell flags to schools.

(See Also: Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?)
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33. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh played Screech's cousin on a 1996 episode of Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

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34. The light emitted by 200,000 galaxies makes our universe a shade of beige. Scientists call the color "cosmic latte."

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35. Bikini designer Louis Reard said a two-piece bathing suit couldn't be called a bikini "unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring."

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36. If your dog's feet smell like corn chips, you're not alone. The term "Frito Feet" was coined to describe the scent.

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37. Alaska is so big you could fit 75 New Jerseys in it.

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38. The Scots have a word for that panicky hesitation you get when introducing someone whose name you can't remember: tartle.

(See Also: 38 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent)

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39. In a study by the Smell & Taste Research Foundation, the scent women found most arousing was Good & Plenty candy mixed with cucumber.

For more amazing facts follow @mental_floss on Twitter. Images courtesy of Getty Images and Thinkstock.

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January 4, 2014 - 10:00am
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