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It's not procrastination if you're learning things
September 19, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Did you know that two guys once flew a Cessna for 64 days, without landing? They apparently refuelled from a moving pickup truck with a hose. Did you also know of the monks from Mt. Hiei, Japan who run 900 marathons in 6 years? To qualify, they do 30 km. a day for 100 consecutive days. I did not know these things when I woke up on Friday, but Now I Know.

Now I Know is an email newsletter by Dan Lewis, who clearly makes my information addiction look like a mild inclination. In it, he shares...stuff. Wildly interesting stuff.

I've been subscribed for a couple of week and to avoid the temptation of ripping him off and using his emails to attain everlasting MetaFilter glory, I'm letting you in on the secret. The archives are a bottomless pit of wonder. You've been warned.
posted by Cobalt (27 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
They apparently refuelled from a moving pickup truck with a hose.

The impressive thing was the engine running over 1500 hours continuous without service. The total overhaul interval on a C172 is 1800 or 2000 hours, depending on which engine is in it. So, they over 3/4 of the overhaul time in one go. I'm not surprised they lost power.
posted by eriko at 9:04 AM on September 19, 2011


Carrots used to be purple.

Used to be? I grew a batch of purple carrots this very year. They were orange on the inside, though.
posted by DU at 9:04 AM on September 19, 2011


Ooh. This is fantastic, although I'm beginning to wonder if this is a cleverly-orchestrated attempt to feed a handful of blatantly incorrect facts into my brain, amid numerous interesting true facts.

What other good email lists are there?

As a web developer, I've recently become enamored with JavaScript Weekly, which does exactly what it says on the tin, and does a fantastic job of curating just enough content to hold my interest without overwhelming me.

So...what else is out there that should be spamming my inbox?
posted by schmod at 9:04 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


TIL there's a site called NIK
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:05 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Carrots used to be purple.

Used to be? I grew a batch of purple carrots this very year. They were orange on the inside, though.
posted by DU


Our local market here in the UK sells white, purple and orange carrots. They're all pretty tasty so I dont know about the claim that orange carrots taste better.
posted by vacapinta at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2011


When I was young, I would read fact books instead of novels. I now have an abundance of fairly useless trivia, and no attention span...well, thanks for giving me these...I guess that pile of New Yorkers over there can wait a few more months.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck yes. Ever since I went on Jeopardy the CFO/GC at work keeps pestering me for an "interesting fact" every day. Which isn't really what being on Jeopardy is all about, but whatever. (And yes, it's pretty annoying.) This'll keep me stocked forever.
posted by kmz at 9:09 AM on September 19, 2011


I used to read fact books as a kid too, which maybe explains why I'm burned out on them now. Or sensitive to the various ways they sneak BS in. This site seems to me to be exactly like the cracked.com lists, only shorter and not funny.
posted by DU at 9:09 AM on September 19, 2011


Probably just grabbing stuff off reddit's TIL subreddit.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 AM on September 19, 2011


Works well if you read them in Michael Caine's voice.
posted by hal9k at 9:34 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Did you know that Indians can talk to animals?....That they invented the wire recorder?...That they can be in two places at the same time?...And YOU probably don't even know where you are!" - Firesign Theatre, How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere at All
posted by tommasz at 9:44 AM on September 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Those of you who prefer an RSS feed to an email newsletter can try this, which I just used mmmmail.com to set up.

If a "click to confirm" message appears, you can ignore it. I've already confirmed.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just got contacted by Dan Lewis himself. Cool dude. He says, by the way, that TIL gets stuff from him! : )
posted by Cobalt at 10:07 AM on September 19, 2011


Close personal friend of Dan here, which is why I wouldn't have FPPed this myself.

If you really want RSS, there is a direct RSS link to the archives that doesn't involve email. Memail me for it.

Dan really doesn't like people using it, enough so that he took the RSS link off of the site, because he can't do statistical analysis as easily, but I think it's more important to get the info out there in whatever form people desire :)
posted by jozxyqk at 10:14 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you also know of the monks from Mt. Hiei, Japan who run 900 marathons in 6 years? To qualify, they do 30 km. a day for 100 consecutive days.

Yep.

Gah, many of those old links don't work anymore, but most of the content is still out there:

Buddhist monk completes seven-year run
The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei
Marathon Monks - Japan (YouTube)
Fudo Myouou
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Cessna endurance flight is quite a story. Here's a detailed magazine article on it, and the same article presented in magazine format via Flash
The record-setting flight of a prosaic Cessna 172—with [the Las Vegas] Hacienda Hotel prominently painted on the side—would draw nationwide attention to the hotel. It would surely be prominently featured on national news broadcasts.

But one serious roadblock loomed. Would the average law-abiding, church-going citizen be open-minded about a headline-grabbing flight that was being sponsored by a hotel located in Las Vegas, a town known for gambling and even gangster activity? In a flash of inspiration, Doc Bailey announced that the casino’s flight was a fundraiser for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. ... any average law-abiding, church-going citizen—or anyone else for that matter—wanting to guess how long the flight would stay aloft could send their guess with a cash contribution to this distinctly humanitarian cause and would automatically be entered to win $10,000 if their guess was closest to the actual time spent aloft. The logic is irrefutable. Two intrepid airmen take to the air to raise money for a humanitarian cause, and America is nudged into the idea that it’s OK to gamble when it backs a worthy cause.

posted by exogenous at 10:23 AM on September 19, 2011


Apparently after a lot of years of running, the monks that take the challenge have to do this:

During the fifth year of the challenge, the running is punctuated by what many consider the most daunting phase of the process. The trainee Monk must go for 9 days (216 hours) without food, water, or rest of any kind.

Uh, wouldn't that result in death 100% of the time?
posted by ignignokt at 12:39 PM on September 19, 2011


Interesting collection of anecdotes, but he keeps writing "replete" when he means "complete."
posted by Floydd at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2011


Did you know that two guys once flew a Cessna for 64 days, without landing?

Did you know a pedestrian is hit by a car every 30 seconds in NYC?

Poor guy, I feel for him, but y'know a job's a job and in this economy you take what you can get.
 
posted by Herodios at 1:00 PM on September 19, 2011


Just to add more trivia.. I run the JavaScript newsletter schmod mentioned :-) I have three now, JavaScript, Ruby and HTML5. You can find them all under "[whatever] weekly" on Google. Not going to self link, naturally!

A lot of us running these newsletters know each other (if only casually). It seems to have become a bit of a old-becomes-new thing but you can't argue with the reader engagement compared to the Web. Blogging is (almost) history to me.
posted by wackybrit at 1:27 PM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


... in Michael Caine's voice

<stevecoogan>The Cessna starts off like this. Then it gets very loudly and specific. </stevecoogan>

then it nears its overhaul time and it gets quite soft
posted by zippy at 2:07 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, wouldn't that result in death 100% of the time?

It's not wholly without water; they get a drink everyday which probably keeps them alive.
posted by Mitheral at 2:25 PM on September 19, 2011


I don't think I'd trust this site without further verification. Read the article on Lincoln creating the Secret Service the same day he was shot:

"While Lincoln's assassination sparked a discussion about the need for a permanent security detail for the President, this need went unfulfilled for decades. In the interim period, both James A. Garfield (1881) and Warren G. Harding (1901) were assassinated. The latter caused Congress to work toward a solution, and, informally, Presidential security became a duty of the Service starting with Harding's successor, Theodore Roosevelt. "

I believe that should read William McKinley in place of Warren Harding. No idea if this was done purposely or not, of course.

(I played the role of Leon Czolgosz in a 7th or 8th grade history class re-enactment.)
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 3:14 PM on September 19, 2011


The Secret Service was originally involved in busting counterfeiting during the Civil War.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:27 PM on September 19, 2011


Did you know that two guys once flew a Cessna for 64 days, without landing?

Holy shit.
posted by procrastination at 6:07 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had always heard that carrots were breed for the orange color to match the national colors of Netherlands. Then they ended up changing their national colors anyways because the dyes were changing colors.

I cannot remember, at all, where I had heard that, so I can't site it. Sorry.
posted by BurnChao at 8:17 PM on September 19, 2011


A Google search confirms a similar story of Netherlanders cultivating the modern orange carrot we all know and love. Maybe that will be a future Friday fact.
posted by eye of newt at 10:23 PM on September 19, 2011


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