A ‘fatberg’ is the term coined for an increasingly common blockage found in London sewers. It happens when so-called ‘flushable’ wet wipes mix with cooking fat that is poured down the sink. The biggest ‘fatberg’ was found in the London borough of Whitechapel in 2017. It weighed 130 tonnes (the same as 11 double-decker buses).
It took a team of 8 workers 3 weeks to remove the blockage. They were wearing Hasmat suits and used high pressure hoses and pickaxes to remove 20 to 30 tonnes per shift.
‘Total monster’: fatberg blocks London sewage system – The Guardian
2. Cows produce between 100 and 150 litres of saliva a day
The cow saliva has three purposes:
- Lubrication – To help the grass and debris slide down the oesophagus.
- Fermentation – Copious amounts of liquid help the fermentation process that occurs in the rumen (fermentation vat). The rumen contains between 1-10 billion bacteria per ml. The bacteria break down the vegetation so that the cow can digest it.
- Acidity regulator – The saliva is an alkali which helps balance the ph in the stomach as so much acid is produced during digestion.
3. To relieve the pain of a flathead fish sting; rub its slime on you
The flathead fish an be found in the sea surrounding Australia. If you are stung the pain can last for two days. A gland in the fish’s stomach produces a chemical that can counter the venom. You can rub the fishy slime on the sting to make it better.
4. The snapping turtle can smell rotting flesh and was used by police to look for dead bodies in lakes
The snapper has an excellent sense of smell and can sniff out carrion in a large body of water. Before the police had scuba divers they would use the turtles to locate corpses.
Bonus fact: The snapping turtle is not to be trifled with and will even eat small crocodiles.
5. Snail eggs are a delicacy in France
Snail Caviar is a luxury item with a price tag to match, typically fetching about €2,000 per kilogram / £1,500 per kilogram.
Snail caviar is said to have a subtle earthy taste like the smell of a forest and has notes of mushroom. It is often served with blinis, sour cream and champagne.
Snail Caviar was also a delicacy in the ancient world and was considered an excellent aphrodisiac. It was known as “Pearls of Aphrodite” (Aphrodite being the ancient Greek goddess of love and passion).
6. You can use spit to make wine
In Japan Kuchikamizake was still drunk up until the 1930s. It translates as ‘mouth chew sake’. The fermentation process was traditionally started by the spit of a virgin girl.
7. In Greenland they eat whole birds fermented in the stomach of a dead seal
A Greenland delicacy called Kiviak involves stuffing the stomach of a seal with dead auk birds, burying it and leaving the birds to ferment. Later it is dug up and the birds are eaten whole, feathers and all.
8. A British Aircraft safety video was so horrific that 13 people required medical attention
At a British Aircraft Corporation factory, in Preston in 1978, manager Ron Hesketh showed the employees a safety video about the importance of wearing safety goggles. It was so graphic that it caused thirteen employees to need escorting out and attended to by state registered nurses.
The video showed, in gruesome detail, what happened to employees who didn’t wear eye protection. One scene was so realistic that a welder fell off his chair in fright and had to have seven stitches. During the same scene another worker fainted and had to be carried out. A close-up of another accident was so shocking that a group of machine minders had to be led out feeling sick and faint.
The safety video was banned because it was deemed too dangerous. Hesketh said ‘We are keen to get over the point of eye protection but at this time we have decided not to take any chances.’
Source: The Book of Heroic Failures – Stephen Pile
9. Ancient Romans used human urine for toothpaste
Roman toothpaste formulas made use of both human and animal urine. The ammonia in urine would have helped to whiten the teeth, although how clean they were is open to debate!
Romans also used urine to clean clothes. They had public pots where people could urinate. The urine was then left until the ammonia had killed the bacteria. Then the urine jars were collected and the urine was watered down and used in launderettes as a cleaning agent.
Ammonia is still used in modern day cleaning products, but it is manufactured rather than collected from urine.
A Shit History of Nearly Everything – A. Parody
10. Everyone has tiny mites living on their face
- 99.9% of people carry follicle mites
- A single human can carry up to 1 million mites.
- Only newborn babies don’t have any, but they soon acquire them from their mother.
- As you get older you get more and more mites.
- It is 0.3 to 0.4 mm long and has 8 legs.
- They come out at night and eat your dead skin.
- The follicle mite has no anus and never poops (thank god!)
- Follicle mites prefer greasy skin so they tend to live on your face.
- They lay 2-6 eggs in the root of your hair follicle.
11. The Durian fruit smells so bad that it is banned in Singapore
its odor is best described as…turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away.Food writer Richard Sterling
The fruit is said to smell like rotten onions or raw sewage. Due to it’s disgusting and pungent odour It is banned on public transport and in hotels and public places in South East Asia.
After eating the Durian your breath will smell like you’ve been eating your dead grandmotherUS celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain
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12. A cup of milk contains one drop of pus
Due to intensive milking procedures using milking robots, one in six cows develops mastitis; where the udder becomes inflamed and emits mucus. Inevitably some of this pus and blood ends up in the milk that we drink.
How much pus is legally allowed in milk?
- US – 750 million pus cells per litre
- EU – 400 million pus cells per litre
- Australia – no limit
13. Children have all their permanent teeth already formed in their face
The first set of teeth begin to form in the 8th week of pregnancy, then in the twentieth week the permanent teeth form.
Between the ages of 6 and 12 years the child loses their baby teeth and the permanent teeth push through from above and below.