September 1, 2006
• The riff from Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" is based on a common Gregorian chant.
• While New Jersey is nearly always referred to as the "garden state", officially it is the "flowering garden state".
• Worldwide, democratically-elected national leaders are three times more likely to be left-handed than those that rose to power via other means.
• Kevin Cross of Los Angeles has been an extra in over 300 films, and can be seen, albeit briefly and uncredited, in 7 of the 10 top-grossing movies of 2005.
• Mark Lemongello, former pitcher for the Houston Astros, ironically dislikes Jell-O®, regardless of the flavor.
September 3, 2006
• Cows are among the few herbivores that will become cannibalistic if starving.
• When occupations are rated by their own household's cleanliness, sanitation workers are surpassed only by chefs.
• The baseball bat which Al Capone used to beat disloyal mobsters Scalise and Anselmi to death was recently auctioned off for $475,000.
• The animated cowboy Woody in Toy Story
was so named as a nod to Woody Guthrie.
• A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a computer system that uses positioning lasers, micro-current air measurements, radar speed sensors, and other instruments to measure 27 different variables when a coin is flipped in the air. It can correctly call heads-or-tails nearly 50 percent of the time.
September 5, 2006
• Oxford Sleep Lab studies show that the more weight pressing down on a person, the faster they will fall asleep.
• During the 19th century, men in wealthy European social circles would wear a tuxedo, on average, 26 hours out of any given week.
• If all the nicotine from the discarded cigarette butts on the ground in New York City was collected, there would be enough to administer around 1,500 lethal doses.
• 43 percent of all credit card purchases are made within two miles of the cardholder's home.
• The U.S. Capitol building has a total 21 square feet of public space not under video surveillance. The largest single area is a 2.5 by one square foot in the building's main rotunda.
September 6, 2006
An open letter to the fans and friends of Gullible.info and Stephen Colbert:
Today, our hearts beat reluctantly, weighted by the burden of a shameful failure and bound by the chains of a deception gone awry. It is unfortunate that we are writing this in the midst of what has been a fantastic year for everyone's favorite "trivia destination": Readership is up 12 times from what it was this time last year, and our google module
is now installed on 18 percent of all Google custom homepages
. Yes, if it weren't for a few recently transpired events, this may have very well been a day of celebration. Instead, it is a bitter time of self-loathing and tears.
However, you might still be as unaware of the situation as all of us here at Gullible.info were until a few days ago; we will elaborate.
Here at Gullible.info we pride ourselves on being a clearing house for fascinating and tantalizing tidbits. In a word: trivia! Early last month, our automated fact extracting system found a fascinating bit of information from a TV broadcast, The Colbert Report
: "The elephant population has tripled in the last six months." Needless to say, this piqued our interests. After a quick trip to Wikipedia to verify its authenticity, the "fact" was queued up to run on August 24, 2006.
It was only later that we learned from our diligent readers that the elephant population had not tripled in the last six months. What's more, it would be physically impossible for this to happen, given the long gestation periods of pachyderms.
Naturally we were shocked, as you must be, too. How could we have made such an egregious mistake? The answer it turns out, was far more sinister than just a simple error. Gullible.info was deliberately misled by Stephen Colbert, host of the wildly popular Colbert Report
Mr. Colbert, under the guise of "discussing" the nature of Wikipedia, goaded his loyal legions into editing pages about elephants to include a statement, which he said "would be a real blow to the environmentalists." Colbert even admits his information wasn't necessarily grounded in reality (as he said: "I don't know if that's actually true"). But what was the partisan lie he pushed? You guessed it... "The elephant population has tripled in the last six months."
Readers: We have let you down, and for this our hearts ache. You turn to us for whimsey and fancy, but instead we gave you candies made of mud. In no way are we trying to avoid our deserved responsibility in this matter; had we been more precise in our practices this whole situation could have been avoided. On the other hand, would you stand by a man who poisoned our water supply as Mr. Colbert has poisoned our information supply? I wouldn't go as far as to use the phrase "information terrorist," but that's what some insiders have been calling this little stunt.
Stephen Colbert: shame on you. You have a duty to the American people you must uphold. After all, were you not the man who coined the word "truthiness?"
-The Hardworking Team at Gullible.info
P.S., We have begun an internal review of our entire research and fact checking procedures, in case those in an information dissemination role, like Stephen Colbert, learn no lessons from all this.
P.P.S., In addition to more rigorous fact checking
, we will also be marking our dubious mistakes with this:
Finally, and again, we are so sorry for this terrible mistake. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let us know
September 7, 2006
• 91 percent of rocket mission failures occur within five minutes of takeoff or landing.
• A recent study by Proctor & Gamble found that 62 percent of people use more shampoo than necessary to clean their hair. 18 percent use twice what they actually need.
• Eight out of nine Americans have made at least one purchase at a Wal*Mart retail store.
• For nearly a decade, acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick greeted people with the question "how you doodle doing?" Friends would often respond "yankee doodle dandy."
• On average, tomatoes picked in the dark will stay ripe for two days longer than those picked during daylight hours.
September 9, 2006
• There are approximately 800 people killed per year in pedestrian-on-pedestrian accidents in the US.
• Since the destruction of the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building is struck by lightning nearly twice as often.
• The first draft of the Declaration of Independence read "life, liberty, and happiness" until John Adams successfully argued that happiness is not a right and cannot be guaranteed, so they compromised with the "pursuit of happiness".
• Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, was afraid of heights.
• Comparing injuries per mile, travel by horseback is over 70 times more dangerous than by car.
September 11, 2006
• Three out of five Frenchmen believe the sun revolves around the earth.
• John Kerry's favorite food is croutons.
• For every student that graduates from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, three drop out before completing their training and two are failed by their instructors.
• Polarized sunglasses counteract the effects of one-way mirrors.
• Microsoft Word crashes cause 49 million hours of lost productivity ever year.
September 14, 2006
• The first atomic clock, built in 1949, required six inches of lead shielding to protect nearby scientists.
• The Disneyland monorail has been safety rated up to 85 MPH, but normally travels at a leisurely pace since it's intended as a ride for all ages.
• One of the first Venus landers was rendered nearly useless because the protective lens cap had not been removed from the imaging camera prior to launch.
• ISO-standard telephone handset cords spiral twice per centimeter.
• Nine out of ten election poll workers are registered Democrats.
September 15, 2006
• Law students spend more time in ethics training than any other professional students.
• The average age of first-time cell phone owners has decreased from 17 to 12 since the year 2000.
• Memorizing and quoting trivial information can increase a person's score on standardized IQ test by 11 to 19 points.
• When cornered, a lemur can jump over ten feet straight up.
• According to Google, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, searches for "porn" more than any other city, worldwide.
September 17, 2006
• It is estimated that only 32 percent of insurance fraud attempts go unnoticed.
• The ratio of left-handed people to right handed people is increasing. If the present trend continues, "lefties" will outnumber "righties" in the year 2456.
• Nearly twice as many ketchup packs are discarded in the U.S. every year as are consumed in the same period.
• The second most common word in the King James version of the Old Testament is "begat." After "the."
• 21 percent Chia Pets die prematurely due to neglect by the owner because of its common label as "the care-free plant."
September 19, 2006
• Authors whose names start with an A have their books checked out 23 percent more often at public libraries.
• In his youth, U.S. President George Washington was an accomplished clog dancer.
• In his high school years Albert Einstein scored an 83 on an IQ test, In his adult years he was asked why his score was so low, he replied that he "never took tests too seriously."
• One in every 5,000 emperor penguins carries a rare gene that makes its beak bright red.
• In 1894, the Georgia State Legislature declared the color name 'puce' to be in violation of anti-obscenity laws. The color itself was declared acceptable on a probationary level, but the probation has never been lifted to this day.
September 20, 2006
Do you hear that music? Do you know what that means? That's right, it's Gullible.info's second birthday. We've been doing our best to bring you the finest nuggets of knowledge for 731 days. Fantastic!
Thank you for all the fun times we've had over the last two years. Thanks to your visits, support, and feedback, we've been able to expand the site and its traffic tremendously. But of course traffic isn't the reason we run this site. We're in this for you. And you're in this for us. We're in this all together. One big, happy, and extremely gullible family.
Also, thank you to everyone who took the time to write in about the Stephen Colbert "issue." After much deliberation, we have decided to post some of the most uplifting and insigtful letters in the fact check forums.
But enough of that...
Here's to another year of fun!
September 21, 2006
• According to the National Bureau of Police Statistics, the average police officer will 'misplace' and be reimbursed for 7 sets of handcuffs over the course of an 18 year career.
• An average person in New York City showers 1.8 times every day.
• A hand-written note attached to the flag left on the moon declares Neil Armstrong to be President for Life of the "Republic of Luna".
• Elephants don't have ankles.
• Despite two extreme outliers -- Oregon on one side, New York City on the other -- an average American bathes more often than an average person of any other nationality.
September 26, 2006
• People call a coin flip as "heads" approximately 55 percent of the time.
• Four out of five Americans surveyed dislike Canadian cuisine.
• There is twice as much money granted to universities for disproving global warming than for proving it.
• A koala appears to have leopard-like spots when viewed with only ultra-violet light.
• The word "tape" is the most recently invented 4-letter word according to The Oxford English Dictionary