In 1941, the British ship HMS Trinidad torpedoed itself (one of its torpedoes malfunctioned).
The most common last name in Japan is "Suzuki."
In Bangladesh, a 1989 riot which killed one person and injured
at least 30 was caused by shoes. Some Moslems happened to see the Thom
McAn logo on some sandals, and thought it looked like the Arabic
characters for "Allah." They became incensed that Westerners would
denigrate their religion, and began destroying shoe stores.
In Singapore, it is a crime to import, sell or manufacture chewing or bubble gum.
A woman was trapped for three days in a New Zealand parking
garage elevator. After finally escaping, the garage attendants tried to
charge her for three days of parking.
Feminist author Andrea Dworkin was responsible for developing
legal theories that were incorporated into Canada’s 1993
anti-pornography law. Two of the first books banned by the law were her
In Stockholm in 1993, a woman was found dead in her apartment.
She had died three years before, but government computers had paid her
pension and bills, so no one had discovered her.
In 1996, the major city with the highest cost of living in the world
was Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo was the world’s most populated city as well,
with over 28 million people.
Chang Hsien-chung, a Chinese bandit, is believed to have
killed 40 million people in the 17th century (including the entire
population of Szechwan province). That stood as the record for mass
murder until the career of Mao Tse-tung.
Many countries prohibit parents from giving unusual names to
their children. In Norway, parents must choose from a list of approved
names. Included on the approved list are Odd, Bent, Roar, Dits and Anon.
As a show of admiration, the Pakistani Army gave a gift of
three thoroughbred geldings to the Army of Sweden. Since Swedish law
prohibits the importation of Asian horses (for fear of disease) the
Swedes decided to avoid offending the Pakistanis, as might happen if the
horses were returned. Rather, the Swedes destroyed the animals. The
Pakistanis were offended.
In Italy, pregnant women are required to leave their jobs for
the last two months of their pregnancies and for the first three months
after giving birth. During this time, they must be paid their full
salaries, 80% of which is provided by the taxpayers.
In China, actors are now required to get a license before they are allowed to perform
Police in Cebu City in the Philippines killed a man while trying to prevent him from committing suicide.
In 1984, a Canadian farmer began renting ad space on his cows.
The Great Wall of China was not intended to keep men out of
China (soldiers could easily climb the wall using ladders). It was
designed to keep horses (and cavalry) out.
In 1993, Italy passed a law forbidding the imprisonment of
anyone with AIDS. This led to several gangs of AIDS-infected career
criminals roaming the country immune from arrest.
In 17th century China, finely chopped tiger whiskers would be put on
someone’s food to torture them. The microscopic barbs on the whiskers
would cause the pieces to lodge in the victim’s intestines, causing
In Frankfurt, Germany, a couple was forbidden from naming
their child Schroeder. Other names that have been forbidden include
Woodstock, Pushkin, Hemingway, Pumuckl, Stechpalme (German for holly),
and Moewe (German for seagull).
Joseph Stalin is responsible for the murder of an estimated
50-60 million people, making him history's top mass murderer. Mao
Tse-tung is second, with 25-30 million. Adolf Hitler comes in third,
with 15-20 million.
In 1996, the government of France had $500 in unpaid, overdue telephone bills.