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What's the One Weird Fact That You Learned in School And Never Forgot?

Illustration for article titled Whats the One Weird Fact That You Learned in School And Never Forgot?

It’s never the big, important things that stick in your memory. It’s always the weirdest details or most bizarre bits of information. I, for example, will always remember that the state bird of Utah is the California gull. Because that is ridiculous.


Now’s also a good time to find out if that fact that you’ve remembered is true. I also have a very distinct memory of a professor telling me that Otto von Bismarck once ate an entire boar, but I cannot seem to find any proof.

So, what is the strangest thing a teacher told you that you still remember years later?


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I had an English prof who postulated that Brits in the 18th and 19th century were so frail because most everyone started using laudanum from before they were infants until death. His reasoning was that since laudanum was derived from opium, they were basically a nation of addicts, and regular drug use tends to have some bad effects on a developing fetuses and growing babies/children, leaving their constitutions ravaged.

I guess that’s not so much a fact as a hypothesis, but I was just amazed he brought it up.

Second one is a fact: Friedrich Nietzsche had never encountered the work of Dostoevsky until he had already established his own philosophy of how to become a complete human. When Crime & Punishment was finally translated into German, Nietzsche was more than unnerved that this Russian was espousing such similar ideas to his own, but they’d never seen each other’s work.

Later on, when Nietzsche was already in pretty poor mental and physical health, he came across a man beating a horse that was strapped to a cart stuck in the mud — which was also a scene out of Crime & Punishment. That put him over the edge, and shortly after Nietzsche fully snapped.