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Greg's Useless Trivia #31 (1 Viewer)


A collection of mostly useless but sometimes interesting things I've come across.

Links to previous Useless Trivia:







1) There are at least six birds that are enlisted as soldiers in the United Kingdom at any given time. They are issued attestation cards in the same way as soldiers and police. They can even be dismissed for unsatisfactory conduct. What type of birds are they?

They are a group of at least six captive ravens which live at the Tower of London. Their presence is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the tower; a superstition holds that "if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it". Only one raven survived the Battle of Britain. Winston Churchill had more brought in.
2) True or False. "The Masked Marauders" was a 1969 musical super group featuring Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney. Due to legal issues with their respective labels, the stars’ names did not appear on the album cover, though a Rolling Stone review let the cat out of the bag before their album's release.

False. The Masked Marauders were a Rolling Stones hoax. There was a Rolling Stone article claiming this, but it was a gag article intended to be so full of absurd details that it would add up to a clear hoax. Only people didn't get it. There was so much anticipation for the album that the writer of the article recruited an obscure band to record an album, which sold 100,000 copies. The album included a copy of the Rolling Stone article and a liner note that read, “In a world of sham, the Masked Marauders, bless their hearts, are the genuine article.”
3) True or False. After the Civil War's bloody Battle of Shiloh, as many wounded lay in the cold mud waiting on help in some cases for days, many of their open wounds began to glow in the dark. Soldiers called it Angel's Glow. Such wounds healed unusually fast, with fewer infections and less scarring.

You actually believed that? Good, because it's true! While the phenomenon was reported by many soldiers at the time, it took until 2001 before a good explanation was put forth by a pair of high school students in a school science fair, albeit with some assistance from a microbiologist mother. Parasitic worms called nematodes kill insects for ingestion by releasing a bacteria called Photorhabdus luminescens, which glows in the dark. Photorhabdus luminescens also wipes out other bacteria. The human body is normally too warm for Photorhabdus luminescens to grow, but the students postulated that the cool weather at the time, combined with the wounded lying in the mud, could have lowered their body temperatures to where Photorhabdus luminescens could flourish when insects carrying the bacteria were drawn to the wounds. This would have caused the wounds to glow, while at the same time killing bacteria that causes gangrene and other dangerous infections. And while Photorhabdus luminescens can itself cause harmful infections, when the surviving soldiers were taken for medical care, they would then warm up and the Photorhabdus luminescens would quickly die off, leaving the wounds clean of bacteria.
4) According to a 2007 NHTSA study, how does fatality rate (per unit of distance traveled) compare between motorcycles and automobiles?

a) Automobile fatality rate 6x greater
b) Both about equal
c) Motorcycle rate 6x greater
d) Motorcycle rate 20x greater
e) Motorcycle rate 35x greater

e) The rate of fatal crashes on motorcycles was found to be 35 times that of automobiles.
5) The USDA's definition of free range includes that hens must have "outdoor access" or "access to the outdoors". For how much time each day must they have such access to qualify as "free range"?

a) 5 minutes
b) 1 hour
c) 4 hours
d) 8 hours
e) 16 hours
f) 24 hours

a) 5 minutes. Actually not even that much necessarily. A "pop hole" that lets the hen stick its head out but doesn't allow full-body access is sufficient. While regulations apparently do not list a specific time requirement, sites mention the USDA considers 5 minutes sufficient.
6) The Phantom of Heilbronn was a woman sought by police as a serial killer based on DNA evidence found at as many as 40 crime scenes in Austria, France and Germany from 1993 to 2009, including 6 murders with one victim being a police officer in Heilbronn, Germany. Police finally caught up with her in 2009, but then let her go despite the DNA evidence. Why?

It turned out that her DNA was found not because she'd been to the crime scenes, but because her DNA was already on the cotton swabs used for collecting DNA samples. She was a worker in the factory where they were made. While the swabs were sterile, they were not certified for DNA collection.
7) This language had mostly died out as an everyday spoken language by 400 AD. But the language was then revived in the 1800s, and today is an everyday language of about 9 million people.

8) Running a marathon is rated at 7 micromorts, while a Scuba dive by someone certified is rated at 5 micomorts and someone uncertified is rated at 10. What is a micromort?

It is a measure of mortality risk, of how likely you are to die from an activity. A 1 in a million chance of dying during the activity is 1 micromort. The word is derived from micro- and mortality.
9) Unless the President decides otherwise before then, by law the documents regarding John F Kennedy's assassination must be made public in what year?

This year, 2017. Under the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, if the President has not decided to extend their classified status, then the library of documents about Kennedy’s death must be made public in full by the law’s 25th anniversary on October 26, 2017.
10) The year before this famous rock trio formed in 1970, two of the members toured the US impersonating a British band "The Zombies".   

ZZ Top. The Zombies had broken up in 1967. Two years later, their US label released the track "Time of the Season" which reached No 3 on the Billboard charts. With the band defunct but a healthy demand for concerts by the public, two different imposter bands were put together by Delta Promotions and toured the US pretending to be the Zombies. One of the bands included later ZZ Top members Dusty Hill and Frank Beard. Delta Promotions also had imposter versions of a few other bands, before threatened legal action finally led to them being shut down.

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Here's the article that #10 came from. An interesting read. Like the part where they had an imposter band of the Animals... and the founder of the real Animals heard about it and showed up with a baseball bat and some bikers and chased the imposters around.

Also this part:

As a warm-up for the Zombies tour, Delta Promotions asked the Texas Zombies to go on a short tour as a different, less successful, also recently disbanded group called the Rose Garden, a Los Angeles folk-rock quintet who had a Top 20 hit in 1967 with the song “Next Plane to London.” Ramsey remembers it being the only Rose Garden song they bothered learning; the rest of their set was blues. To everyone’s satisfaction, a small run of shows in the South went off without incident.

Audiences were so starved for live music that no one confronted the fake Rose Garden despite the fact that the real Rose Garden had a female lead singer, Diana DeRose. (DeRose hailed from West Virginia, but reportedly told people she was from Blackpool, England; fact-checking was not a priority in this era.) “People did start asking where the girl was but we did OK,” recalls Hill.


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