11. TIL – In order to bolster its waning popularity as a travel hub, Japan’s Kishigawa Train Line appointed a cat named Tama as its new station master in 2007, leading to a huge spike in popularity as a tourist destination. In 2010 a second cat was hired to “assist” Tama with her duties.
12. TIL during the Vietnam war, many American soldiers stationed in Japan went AWOL and fled to Sweden. Swedish PM Palme was vehemently against the war and promised that he would grant asylum to deserters.
13. TIL in the 5th century BC, diabetes was first identified by a surgeon named Sushruta who pointed out that the urine of diabetics was sweet enough to attract ants and sticky to the touch. He noted that diabetes affected rich castes and was related to the excessive consumption of rice and sweets
14. TIL that the juggling done by David Bowie’s character in Labyrinth was actually performed by juggler Michael Moschen, who had to do all the tricks blind while standing behind Bowie. He won a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” for his techniques a few years later in 1990.
15. TIL Harriet Tubman suffered a violent head injury as a child causing her to frequently slip into into sleep like states. These would produce vivid dreamlike hallucinations that Tubman interpreted as messages from god, to devote her life to freeing southern slaves through the Underground Railroad.
16. TIL that Ken Eto, the first American-Asian leader in the mafia, was shot 3 times in the head at close range. After the hitmen ran, he climbed out of the car, walked a few blocks over to the nearest pharmacy and politely asked for medical attention. He lived to 84.
18. TIL: Faced with a severe pilot shortage during WWII, the USA started a program called WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) to train women to be pilots. 1100 women volunteered to fly military aircraft. They were finally granted military status in the 1970s and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.
19. TIL while making Moana, Disney producers visited the South Pacific and assembled an “Oceanic Story Trust” comprised of local cultural experts to advise on accuracy of details. Maui was originally bald but he was redrawn with a full head of hair as hair symbolized mana (power) in Polynesian culture.