Stupidity and the Helmet Law


‘There are many things we can point to as proof that the human being is not smart. The helmet is my personal favourite. The fact that we had to invent the helmet: why did we invent the helmet? Well, because we were participating in many activities that were cracking our heads. We looked at the situation. We chose not to avoid these activities but to just make little plastic hats so that we can continue our head cracking lifestyles.

The only thing dumber than the helmet, is the helmet law, the point of which is to protect a brain that is functioning so poorly it’s not even trying to stop the cracking of the head that it’s in.’

Seinfeld, J. (1998). I’m Telling You For The Last Time. Broadhurst Theatre, New York: Universal Records.

5/v mmxv


If the empty space in atoms could be removed, the entire human race could fit into an average sugar cube.

The most common surname in China is Wang.

Originally, the traditional Argentine game of pato, which is a combination of rugby, polo and basketball, was played – as the Spanish name suggests – with a live duck in a basket. Nowadays, a leather ball is used.

There are 117 road accidents in Rome every day.

No country in history has imprisoned more citizens than the United States.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

19/ii mmxv


In 40 US States, the highest paid public employee is the States’ leading college football or basketball head coach.

The Archbishop of Manila from 1974-2003 was called Cardinal Sin.

In 2012, the Swedish town Soderhamn paid people to look for work in Norway in an attempt to reduce soaring youth unemployment.

Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump.

By twelfth grade, 65% of high school students will have engaged in sexual intercourse, and one in five sexually active teens will have had four or more sexual partners. Please note, according research published in 2012 by the non-profit Guttmacher Institute, all sex education delays teen sex.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Moacir Barbosa Nascimento


In the final game of the 1950 World Cup, an honest mistake by a man called Moacir Barbosa condemned him to spend the rest of his life being vilified by millions.

The tournament’s last game saw Brazil and Uruguay engaged for the right to call themselves World Champions. Before the match began the Brazillian national team – known locally as the Seleção – were given solid gold watches stating: ‘For the World Champions’.

“Football is the ballet of the masses.” – Dmitri Shostakovich

Only one player has achieved the dream of all Brazilians – scoring in a World Cup Final for the Seleção on home soil at the famed Maracana stadium. A minute into the second-half Albino Friaça Cardoso realised that fantasy. It was his only goal for Brazil. It was to be the only goal Brazil scored that fateful day. The Uruguayan jet-heeled right winger, Ghiggia from Montevideo, surged down the line crossing the ball for Schiaffino to equalise past Barbosa. Thirteen minutes later, Ghiggia surged down the line again. This time he was to ruin Moacir Barbosa’s life forever.

Footage exists of 4.33pm, 16th July 1950: the worst moment of all Barbosa’s days on earth. What is a second in a lifetime of existence? For Moacir this instant would shape the rest of his 50 years.

“The first World Cup I remember was in the 1950 when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father was a soccer player, and there was a big party, and when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying.” – Pele

The official attendance was 173,850 – some say 200,000 – making it the largest football crowd ever. Yet they all fell quiet at Barbosa’s error. As Ghiggia said years after his goal that won Uruguay a World Cup: “Only three people have silenced the Maracana: Sinatra, Pope John-Paul II and me”. It was said without any fear of contradiction.

Brazilians – never opting for stoicism when flamboyant exhortations suffice, variously described the defeat as ‘the greatest tragedy in Brazilian history’.

For Moacir Barbosa, 16th July 1950 was not an exercise in extravagant self-flagellation: it started a living nightmare. He was never forgiven. Life treated him harshly. He never played for Brazil again. People spat at him or abused him. He was denied coaching jobs after he retired. Having black skin didn’t help in a racially-divided country.

Once he visited the Seleção to wish them well. He was denied, fearing bad luck. He was even refused a commentator’s job.

After his wife died a friend revealed “he even cried on my shoulder – until the end he used to always say: ‘I’m not guilty. There were 11 of us.’”

An elderly Barbosa lamented, ‘In Brazil, the most you get for any crime is 30 years. For 50 years I’ve been paying for a crime I did not commit. Even a criminal when he has paid his debt is forgiven. But I have never been forgiven.”

In 2000, penniless and close to death, he recalled his memory of 1970 – in the year when the greatest-ever Brazil team won the World Cup, a mother pointed him out to her child in a market saying: ‘Look at him. He was the man who made all of Brazil cry’.

Heart failure caused Moacir Barbosa to die in 2000, aged 79. Some say it was a broken heart that killed him.

Marquess of Queensbury


The Marquess of Queensberry Rules are a code of rules that most directly influenced duelling and modern contact-sports like boxing. Written by John Graham Chambers, the rules were first published in 1867 under the sponsorship of John Sholto Douglas, ninth marquess of Queensberry, from whom they take their name. The rules are as follows:

  1. To be a fair stand-up boxing match in a twenty-four foot ring or as near that size as practicable.
  2. No wrestling or hugging allowed.
  3. The rounds to be of three minutes duration and one minute time between rounds.
  4. If either man fall through weakness or otherwise, he must get up unassisted, ten seconds be allowed to do so, the other man meanwhile to return to his corner; and when the fallen man is on his legs the round is to be resumed and continued until the three minutes have expired. If one man fails to come to the scratch in the ten seconds allowed, it shall be in the power of the referee to give his award in favour of the other man.
  5. A man hanging on the ropes in a helpless state, with his toes off the ground, shall be considered down.
  6. No seconds or any other person to be allowed in the ring during the rounds.
  7. Should the contest be stopped by any unavoidable interference, the referee (is) to name the time and place as soon as possible for finishing the contest, to that the match can be won and lost, unless the backers of the men agree to draw the stakes.
  8. The gloves to be fair-sized boxing gloves of the best quality and new.
  9. Should a glove burst, or come off, it must be replaced to the referee’s satisfaction.
  10. A man on one knee is considered down, and if struck is entitled to the stakes.
  11. No shoes or boots with springs allowed.
  12. The contest in all other respects to be governed by the revised rules of the London Prize Ring.

“Sure, there have been injuries and deaths in boxing – but none of them serious.” – Alan Minter

Sport is not Always Good for You


According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the risk of dying from a cardiac arrest is about 1 in 50,000 for endurance athletes who exercise for three hours or more.

“I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.”
– Rodney Dangerfield

That is, if you run marathons or participate in other forms of exercise which last for three hours or more, that distressing number is the approximate risk of suffering an acute heart attack or sudden cardiac death during – or within 24 hours of – the strenuous effort.

The sad truth is that for every 50,000 athletes, one will be stricken during such prolonged activity. Therefore, running a marathon or cycling intensely for three hours is riskier than taking a commercial airline flight.

In fact, any athlete who participates in a strenuous test of endurance lasting about three hours or more has an increased chance of dying during – and for 24 hours following – the exertion, even when the athlete’s chance of a sudden death is compared with the risk incurred by a cigarette-smoking, couch potato who spends the same 24 hours drinking beer and watching television. This is what is known as a U bend phenomenon, in which one extreme is equal to the opposite.

Hobbes: Jump! Jump! Jump! I win!
Calvin: You win? Aaugghh! You won last time! I hate it when you win! Aarrggh! Mff! Gnnk! I hate this game! I hate the whole world! Aghhh! What a stupid game! You must have cheated! You must have used some sneaky, underhanded mindmeld to make me lose! I hate you! I didn’t want to play this idiotic game in the first place! I knew you’d cheat! I knew you’d win! Oh! Oh! Aarg! [Calvin runs in circles around Hobbes screaming “Aaaaaaaaaaaa”, then falls over.]
Hobbes: Look, it’s just a game.
Calvin: I know! You should see me when I lose in real life!”
Bill Watterson