To research for this article, I looked up Wikipedia on Wikipedia, and my phone started ringing immediately. I let it go to voicemail because I’m busy, and then learned that this free online encyclopedia is not only the fifth-most popular website in the web, but also features more than 40 million articles in 299 different languages, as well as receiving around 18 billion page views a month. Despite boasting these numbers so large that you’d die before you could count to them, Wikipedia still comes under some scrutiny due to its open platform where anyone can create and edit articles. And to this, I say: have you ever tried to create a Wikipedia article? I once made an article about myself and it lasted all of three minutes before it was taken down, and I received a message from the admins which read “nobody cares about you, stop trying so hard”. I actually stop trying altogether after that day.
If Wikipedia was a pie, it would be the most magnificent pie in all the world, perfected by millions of minds from an endless array of historical references. However, you would not want to eat said pie, because do you know how many fingers had touched it? So many fingers! What’s more, by cutting the pie open, you may find some rather questionable ingredients were used, shoved into the dark corners, hiding from casual observers, only accessible to those who are willing stick their knuckles in deep. And that’s where I come in. Knuckles deep. Here are 15 articles specifically chosen to send you way down into the Wikipedia wormhole, only to wake up three days later, naked in an abandoned stairwell, your phone’s battery completely dead.
15. Buttered cat paradox
Arguably the most important conundrum of all time is this one: if a cat will always land on its feet, and buttered toast will always land butter side down… what happens if you strap buttered toast onto the back of a cat and drop it? Which side hits the ground first? Which supernatural force of nature is stronger? Or will they just spin in the air infinitely? These are the mysteries that give me anxiety.
Spoiler alert: I read the article, and it pretty much ruins the fun by informing us that the cat will win. The reason why, is because cats are actually living creatures with the ability to change their body positioning using reflexes. According to Wikipedia, toast does not have reflexes, as it is merely an inanimate object, no brain whatsoever, its only purpose to be eaten. That said, studies did actually prove that if you remove the cat, buttered toast will land butter side down 81% of the time, because the aerodynamic drag of the bread’s air pockets will cause it to flip. The more you know, hey!
14. List of unexplained sounds
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, pronounced like “Noah”) do some important work around here. For starters, they warn us simpler folk about upcoming dangerous weather conditions, and what’s more, they research our environment to better understand how we can maintain it, by keeping it healthy, and keeping it safe. But even more exciting than all of this, is that they listen to sounds underwater all day long, just in case the ocean eventually has something really important to say to us.
So far, nothing much, but according to this Wikipedia list, NOAA have been sticking to it, slowly but surely identifying some tones which we had never heard before. These include Julie (the sound of a large iceberg running along the ground) and Bloop (the sound of a large icequake). However, even NOAA still have no idea what noises Upsweep and Whistle are, but I go to bed in peace every night, fully aware that if the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hear something weird, they will let us know, and then someone will update this Wikipedia article, and then maybe I will remember to check it out again at some point.
13. List of premature obituaries
In our modern internet age, not a day goes by where someone isn’t reported to be dead, even though they did not die. Some celebrities have died so many times, that by the time they actually do die, no one will even believe them and they won’t become the trending topic they deserve to be. That said, it’s probably preferable not to die, so if you’re into people dying expect not dying, there’s a full Wikipedia list for that. Furthermore, it’s so extremely extensive that I scrolled through it but my eyes did that blurry thing where I kinda pretended to be reading but I was actually thinking about faking my own death.
On that topic, interestingly enough, faked deaths are only one of the many causes for a premature obituary. Other reasons may include: a hoax, the death of a normal person who just so happens to share the same name as a famous person, a misidentified body, or when a publication accidentally clicks the wrong button like a fool.
12. List of wartime cross-dressers
What I enjoyed most about the outdated practice of cross-dressing during the hardships of wartime, is that the men usually pretended to be women because they wanted to avoid getting drafted, and the women usually pretended to be men because they wanted to go out and shoot guns and kill people. Famous examples would include: Greek hero Achilles who hid from war in women’s clothing; French saint Joan of Arc who journeyed through battlefields disguised as a man; and Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings who bravely fought in our historical war against the evil forces of Mordor, what a true heroine she proved herself to be.
These days, it’s a little more complicated than that, as back in 2014 it was reported that there were now 71 separate genders a person could recognize themselves as, and this number is only growing. I get it though. I once woke up at Glastonbury convinced I was a shoe for hours, but that might have been a different thing.
11. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
Believe it or not, the sentence “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is 100% grammatically correct in American English. It might get a little confusing, but you can work it out if you’ve had enough sleep the night before. It works using three different definitions of the word “buffalo”: from the proper noun city of Buffalo, New York; to the verb meaning “bully or harass”; to the bison animal itself. Analyzing it this way, you can decode it into a more digestible manner, like so: Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are bullied by other bison from Buffalo, New York, also happen to bully other bison from Buffalo, New York. Which, let’s be honest, probably happens all the time.
For other super fun English sentences which you will struggle to remember, check out the related Wikipedia articles called “James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher”, and “that that is is that that is not is not is that it it is”. Isn’t language just the most fun ever!
10. List of Kim Jong-il’s titles
Former leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, had a good run. According to legend, he was born on Korea’s most holiest of mountains, Mt. Baekdu, and when that happened, a new star appeared, the seasons abruptly changed from winter to spring, and a double rainbow exploded out of nowhere. Since then, he lived like a deity, reportedly inventing the hamburger and never needed to defecate. He ultimately took over as the dictator of North Korea when his dad died, ruling the country known for having more human rights violations than anywhere else in the world. During his reign, he went by many names, including such modest titles as Wise Leader, Brilliant Leader, Guiding Sun Ray, The Great Sun of Life, and (my personal favorite) Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have. He looked a bit weird to me, to be honest, but what do I know about leaders.
Anyways, fast forward to 2011, and “in a fit of rage” over some construction failures, Kim Jong-il had a heart attack at age 70, and his third son (the equally attractive) Kim Jong-un took the reigns, a man who has also earned a fair share of titles in his time. The POTUS calls him Rocket Man, for example.
9. List of people who have lived at airports
Back in 2004, Steven Spielberg made a comedy-drama film called The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks as a man who gets stuck at an airport due to the United States refusing his entry, whilst a military coup in his (fictional) country Krakozhia meant he couldn’t return. He was stuck at the airport! Hahaha, oh how funny! What a misfortunate event! And we laughed and laughed, unaware that this was inspired by the true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who was stuck at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for 18 years. Less funny now.
Mehran Karimi Nasseri was eventually hospitalized and removed from the airport in 2006, but he still holds the record by a very long way. However, there are others. Sanjay Shah was stuck at Kenya’s Nairobi Airport for well over a year until he obtained full British citizenship and was allowed into the UK, and Iranian Zahra Kamalfar was seeking asylum in Canada, which she was granted after a 318 day wait at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia. I once had a 10 hour stopover in Dubai, so I totally understand what these people went through, it’s such a downer.
8. List of inventors ruined by their own inventions
Franz Reichelt died when his coat parachute didn’t work properly after he jumped off of the Eiffel Tower. Thomas Midgley, Jr. was strangled to death by the ropes he built to get him out of bed. William Bullock invented the web rotary printing press, which crushed his foot so badly that he developed severe gangrene and died during the amputation. Please, let us all spare a thought for these brave entrepreneurs who managed to kill themselves in the most roundabout manners possible.
Personally, I found something particularly depressing about this Wikipedia list. The exciting idea lightbulb above one’s head should fill our spirits with hope, painting our daydreams with the applause of recognition and money raining down into our bank accounts, adding zeros onto our statements that are almost already at zero. It’s really disheartening when these contraptions turn around and kill us, and proves once and for all that you should never try to achieve anything in life, because it increases your risk of failure or even death.
7. List of people who passed away on the toilet
Elvis Presley! Elvis Presley died on the toilet, we all knew that one! The king on his throne, which was rather fitting. Apparently his last words were to his fiancée, Ginger Alden, when he said “I’m going to the bathroom to read,” but he actually went to the bathroom to die. How this happened is anyone’s guess, except that it’s actually well documented that his belly was full of diazepam, methaqualone, phenobarbital, ethchlorvynol, ethinamate, 10 times the recommended amount of codeine, and probably a load of peanut butter. Elvis had a heart attack, froze, and then fell onto the floor in that exact same position. It’s sad, but considering his final years of obesity and incoherent performances, it wasn’t exactly the most surprising death in the world.
What is a little more surprising, however, is that someone has taken the time to put together this list of other people who met their demise in similar circumstances. There aren’t that many of them, but it does include Duke Jing of Jin (599 to 581 BC ruler of the State of Jin) who died after falling into the toilet pit, and King Edmund II of England who was stabbed repeatedly in the butt by a man hiding in his toilet.
6. List of lists of lists
You may have seen Christopher Nolan’s science fiction film Inception, with its sharp dialog, intellectual plotlines, and dreams within dreams within dreams. But that fictional gibberish is nothing compared to Wikipedia’s list of lists of lists. On this list you will find lists of skepticism lists, lists of phone hacking scandal reference lists, lists of legendary creatures lists, and every list of arts lists, maths lists, science lists, and geography lists in between lists. Such an organizational paradise!
Hey, but check this out: on this list of lists of lists, you can locate the lists of accolades by award winner list, which features the list of accolades received by Inception list, so I mean like, we are so far down the list acid trip right now that you might as well wake up because there is no way a world this exciting could possibly exist. Wait though, before you do, keep reading this list, the list of Wikipedia articles I wrote, because this list of lists of lists is only but one list item on this list, so listen.
5. List of fictional colors
It is estimated that your average human being can see roughly 1 million colors, but did you know that around 1% of the population (people known as tetrachromats) are born with the ability to see 100 million different colors? Furthermore, there are various studies which strongly suggest that color perception differs from person to person. For example, when you see the color red, someone pointed out to you that it was called “red”, and from that moment on, you knew it as red. But perhaps when I look at red, I see what you would consider blue, and there is no way we can prove or disprove this theory, so it is an absolute waste of time to even talk about it.
Dissatisfied with these boring thoughts, there are authors out there who decided to make up their own colors, for example: amarklor, which only Klingons from Star Trek can see; or hooloovoo, a certain blue from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which has been described as “superintelligent”. I only worry that making up fictional colors is a little insensitive to dogs and colorblind people. “Oh, here’s some more colors you can’t see, lol”, it’s just a bit impolite in my opinion.
4. Unusually shaped vegetable
Sometimes vegetables or fruits grow funny. It’s not their fault, it’s just a part of natural evolution, a genetic glitch or an environmental oddity, nothing to be alarmed about, we should just let them get on with their lives. But do we do that? Of course not! We take photos of them. We put them on display. We mock them and laugh at their misfortune, sometimes even holding contests to see who can produce the largest deformed vegetable in the world, or at least the one that looks the most similar to humanoid genitalia. And it’s sick, I tell you! Sick! Veggies have rights too!
Every now and then, however, a special fruit or vegetable is born, destined to lead all the other fruits and vegetables to the promised land. There have been reports of Jesus himself appearing in oranges, potatoes, apples and even on bananas. So you know what we did? We ate him! We eat everything! What’s wrong with us!
3. List of animals with fraudulent diplomas
While you were slaving away, cramming coffee beans into your mouth like breath mints, studying the night before the big exam because your parents threatened to kill you, just remember that there are a whole load of animals out there who have been granted a degree in an array of complicated subjects, without even being able to pronounce their own names.
All of the examples provided on this Wikipedia page are of either cats or dogs, which does make me slightly suspicious that perhaps there was some human involvement, granting their house pets an unreasonable advantage, which is completely unfair to all those animals who earned their diplomas by putting in the hard work. Regardless, look out for George the hypnotherapist cat, Henrietta the feline with a nutrition degree, and Kitty O’Malley whose high school diploma has been under investigation since 1973. You might find this funny, but may I remind you, it is also highly illegal.
2. List of common misconceptions
You know that super smug guy at the party who informs everyone that everything they know is absolute rubbish, pulling out facts like a snobbish know-it-all, and even though it turns out he is always right, everyone secretly hates him because he is obviously compensating for some lack of any real social skills? You can be that guy! Simply by studying this very Wikipedia list, no one will like you anymore, but damn, your information will be absolutely fascinating!
Here are some quick little bits to get you started: Twinkies do not last forever, and rather have a shelf life of roughly 45 days; the forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis was never identified as an apple; The Great Wall of China is not visible from outer space; bats are not blind; waking up a sleepwalker does absolutely no harm to them; pregnancies between first cousins carry the same birth defect risk as that of a 40-year-old woman; humans don’t catch warts from toads; swallowed chewing gum digests as fast as everything else; and sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. All this knowledge and more can be yours, with the simple click of a link!
1. List of unusual passings
I know how much you adore hearing about people who have died in interesting ways, because you’re a sick sick person, and you need to talk someone. Even worse, is that you are not alone, as those friendly Wikipedia contributors have bonded together and compiled this very list just for people like you, pedantically arguing over what constitutes as an “unusual death” and what doesn’t. We can all only hope that when we die, it will be for such a glorious/stupid reason that our names shall forever be etched on this Wikipedia page, but for now, let us leave it to the professionals.
Here are some of my favorite deaths ever: Athenian lawmaker Draco was suffocated to death by gifts thrown upon him by his loving citizens; drunk Greek philosopher Chrysippus died of laughter after he watched a donkey eating a fig; 18th century King of Sweden, Adolf Frederick, kept eating food until he died; and health advocate Basil Brown passed from liver failure after digesting 7 million units of Vitamin A and 10 gallons of carrot juice. Ugh, such stiff competition. How am I ever going to top those?
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!