this was fun

#21 – 1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways

…because not all reading needs to be heavy.

also, i was busy. 😜

have fun sharing these facts with your friends!

Quotes from the book

The letter Q was illegal in Turkey for 85 years.

There is only one stop sign in the whole of Paris.

A male capuchin monkey will have sex with any female that throws a stone at him.

Oxford University was over 300 years old when the Aztec Empire was founded.

When Harvard University was founded, Galileo was still alive.

When Star Wars came out in 1977, France was still using the guillotine.

In 1941, there were only 11 democracies in the world.

People in Britain who wake in the middle of the night are most likely to do it at 3.44 a.m.

Gavisti, the Sanskrit word for ‘war’, literally translates as ‘desire for more cows’.

The original advertisement to recruit band members for the Village People read: ‘Macho types wanted: must have moustache’.

The most difficult tongue-twister in English is ‘pad kid poured curd pulled cod’.

In some parts of Germany, it is illegal to show The Life of Brian on Good Friday.

Male squirrels can perform fellatio on themselves.

In Brazil, ‘Rio’ is pronounced ‘Hio’.

In 1976, Ron Wayne, co-founder of Apple, sold his shares for $800; today they would be worth $35 billion.

The Boy Scouts’ motto ‘Be prepared’ was originally followed by ‘to die for your country’.

The Royal Navy uses blasts of Britney Spears’s ‘Oops! . . . I Did It Again’ to scare off Somali pirates.

Sleeping on your stomach is the most likely position to produce erotic dreams.

For 500 years from the 13th century, 70% of Englishmen were called Robert, John, Thomas, Richard or William.

When Danes pose for photos, they say ‘orange’, the Chinese say ‘aubergine’ and the Germans say ‘ant shit’.

There are more than 1,000 species of banana. We eat only one of them.

When he enlisted in the army, J. R. R. Tolkien’s son Michael put down his father’s profession as ‘Wizard’.

There are as many bacteria in two servings of yoghurt as there are people on Earth.

New buildings in New York must have twice as many women’s toilets as men’s.

Traffic lights were introduced 18 years before the car was invented.

Chimpanzees can identify each other by looking at photographs of their bottoms.

John F. Kennedy’s brain was removed during his autopsy and is still missing.

Chinese eunuchs kept their testicles in a jar in the hope they will reattach themselves in the next world.

Karl Lagerfeld’s cat has two maids who write down everything it does in a special book.

The first McDonald’s only sold hot dogs.

In 2002, the US military developed a sandwich that stays fresh for three years.

Guinness isn’t black; it’s very dark red.

Ancient Romans ate puppies.

Virtually all Koreans lack the gene that produces smelly armpits.

Only 1% of a tree is actually alive.

In the Second World War, Ribena was such an important source of vitamin C that two fake Ribena factories were built to confuse German bombers.

In 2007, police in Iran detained 14 squirrels suspected of spying.

To save lives, Volvo gave away the patent for its seatbelt.

If a Hong Kong election ends in a tie, the candidates draw from a bag of numbered ping-pong balls.

Five years before he won Wimbledon, Fred Perry was world table tennis champion.

The largest bra size is 48V.

In Washington DC, the Slovakian and Slovenian embassies meet once a month to exchange wrongly addressed mail.

The founders of Hewlett-Packard flipped a coin to decide which of them would come first in the company name.

Sylvester Stallone was so broke before his script for Rocky was accepted that he sold his dog for $25. A few weeks later, he bought it back for $15,000.

Human flesh tastes like pork but looks like beef.

Not one of the Star Trek TV shows or films contains the words ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’

Before having their chests cut open and their hearts pulled out, Aztec human sacrifice victims were given a cup of hot chocolate.

Before fridges were invented, Russians and Finns kept their milk fresh by putting live frogs in it.

Due to a computer error in 1989 41,000 Parisians received letters charging them with murder, extortion and prostitution instead of traffic offences.

Titanic was the first movie made by James Cameron that didn’t include any mention of nuclear weapons.

The largest sperm bank in the world does not accept donations from redheads because of ‘insufficient demand’.

From 1934 to 1948, the motto of the BBC was Quaecunque, Latin for ‘Whatever’.

At the 2012 London Olympics, 55% of the athletes were found to have tooth decay.

Waterloo Bridge is called the Ladies Bridge because it was mainly built by women.

In 1937, ukuleles were banned in Japan on the grounds that they ‘weakened young people’s will’.

More than a third of all sick leave is taken on Mondays.

Birds living in cities start the dawn chorus five hours earlier than in the countryside.

Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan was inspired by the last words of a murderer.

A popular way to cure impotence in the 14th century was to wear your trousers on your head for 24 hours.

Pandas defecate 50 times a day.

Lady cheese is cheese made from human breast milk.

Until January 2013, it was illegal for women in Paris to wear trousers.

There are eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses on Earth but, according to their teachings, only 144,000 people will be saved at the end of the world.

The most commonly awarded grade at Harvard is an A.

The original Popeye got his strength from rubbing a magic hen.

Until 1916, cocaine and heroin could be bought over the counter at Harrods.

Orthodox Jews can buy kosher sexual lubricants.

In imperial Japan, high-born women peed standing-up so as not to crease their kimonos.

Lenin owned nine Rolls-Royces.

In the French Harry Potter books, Voldemort’s middle name is Elvis.

Queen Cleopatra lived closer in time to the Moon landings than to the building of the Great Pyramid.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has towns called Intercourse and Paradise. It takes six minutes to get from one to the other.

I’m inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s annual projects and decided to have one of my own.  Read a non-fiction book every week and write about it. Subscribe to my newsletter.

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