Some fun facts to ensure you have the upper hand at (virtual) pub quizzes!
An Unlikely Visitor
There are plenty of things one would hope to find aboard a submarine – but a live animal might not be one of them. In 1941, members of the HMS Trident were gifted with a reindeer by the Russian army whilst fighting the German forces in the Arctic Circle. The crew spent six whole weeks in close quarters with the reindeer, which historians believe was a token of gratitude by the Russian Army. The reindeer was lovingly known as Pollyanna.
Across the Border
Did you know that there’s an opera house where the stage is in one country and the audience in another? It seems hard to believe, but the Haskell Opera House actually sits on the border between the United States and Canada. The 400 seat theatre sits the audience in the US state of Vermont and the stage in the Canadian province of Quebec. Deliberately constructed on the border, the Opera House put on its first performance in July 1904.
The Dark Age Local
Can you imagine humans during the Dark Ages going to their local pub for a pint or two? Well, the Irish might have been doing just that. The oldest pub in the world is Sean’s Bar in County Westmeath, an hour and a half away from Dublin. The owners have been pulling pints for local residents for over a millennium – and it’s even got an official Guinness World Record for it.
The Starlet Who Invented Bluetooth
Hedy Lamarr, an Austrian actress who fled the Nazis in the late 1930s and charmed Louis B Mayer on a boat to the United States, is actually who we should be thanking for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Why? As well as being an accomplished Hollywood actress, Lamarr helped to develop a radio guidance system for Allied forces during World War Two. The technology she and a composer friend created to guide torpedoes became the basis of the tech we now use to transmit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth all over the globe.
Not So Peaceful After All
The Swiss are generally known as a peaceful country, often taking a staunchly neutral stance in major conflicts. But the country has actually invaded their neighbouring Liechtenstein three times – and each one by mistake. In 1985, 1992 and 2007, exercises carried out by the Swiss Army caused soldiers to cross the border between the countries by mistake and, technically, invade the nation. Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world with a population of about 35,000.
Bananas are naturally radioactive. It might seem strange, but the yellow fruit is so naturally high in potassium that the isotope within the enzyme is a bit radioactive. There are even stories of bananas setting off radioactive sensors at the border between the US and Canada. It’s not even the only radioactive item – potatoes and cat litter are also slightly radioactive