Random fact roundup, March 11th—18th, 2018!
What do Finland, bacon, and basketball have in common? They're all part of our new series, the Random Fact Roundup.
It's Sunday, and you know what that means! Actually, you don't, because this is the first time we're doing this. Welcome to Big Think's inaugural random fact roundup, where we take 3 subjects and give you some great facts about each.
— There are 2.2 million saunas in Finland, which averages to 1 sauna for every 2.5 Finnish people. It's not unheard of for Finnish men to conduct informal business meetings within a sauna, sometimes seeing who can withstand the heat the longest.
— Finland celebrates an annual "Day of Failure" every year on October 13th. While this sounds pretty depressing, the point of doing so is to accentuate that one must appreciate failure to truly understand success. Pretty poetic, huh?
— Finnish speeding tickets vary according to income. Reima Kuisla, a Finnish businessman, was fined about $60,000 for going 64mph in a 50mph zone outside of Helsinki.
— Finland has the highest coffee consumption in Europe. On average, a Finnish citizen drinks twice as much coffee as an Italian, and three times more than an American.
— Finland is home to the World Wife Carrying Championship. Yes, you read that right. A man carries his wife (or his neighbor's wife, per the rules) down a track with one water obstacle. The sport is called "Eukonkanto" there, and the official track length is about 850ft, or 2.5 football fields. The still-standing world record is 55.5 seconds.
— Basketball was invented by a bored gym teacher, James Naismith, in 1891. He wanted to keep his class occupied on a rainy day. As a kid, he'd played a game called "duck on a rock" where you tried to knock a rock off a tree stump by throwing smaller rocks at it. Most players just threw the rocks straight, but Naismith found that lobbing the rock up and over — like how basketball players still shoot today — give him a much higher chance of winning. He nailed a peach basket to a post to create the first hoop, and the game was born.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has scored 38,327 points in his career. That's 24 points a game.
— On March 2nd, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game.
— The shortest player in NBA history was Muggsy Bogues, who was 5ft 3in.
— Basketball got a big overhaul in the 1950's. The shot clock was introduced in 1953, which sped up the game and made it perfect for the new medium of TV. Dribbling rules were also introduced. Before that, players could stop and hold the ball and even take a few steps while holding it.
— Bacon grease was used for explosives during WW2. Rendered bacon fat is used to make glycerin, which is an ingredient in explosives (nitroglycerin, etc).
— The average American eats about 18lbs of bacon a year.
— Oscar Meyer made two apps about bacon: a bacon dating app called Sizzlr, and an alarm clock app that woke you up to the smell of bacon via a phone attachment. Sadly, neither are around today.
— A 250lb pig makes about 12lbs of bacon.
— There's a (real) church — the United Church of Bacon — that worships bacon. In 2014, it had about 13,000 members worldwide.
— The phrase "bringing home the bacon" was actually coined in 1104 in the town of Dunmow, UK, after a couple apparently impressed the clergy at a local church so much that they awarded the couple, who it is said had not fought for a year and a day, with a side of bacon. Don't believe us? Author Geoffrey Chaucer even mentions it in The Wife of Bath's Tale and Prologue, published in 1395: "But never for us the flitch of bacon though, that some may win in Essex at Dunmow."
And there you have it. See you next week!
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.
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