Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about accidental discoveries that changed the world – One

 

MTr 2


Penicillin

Inventor: Alexander Fleming

Year: 1928

What Happened: Halfway through an experiment with bacteria, Alexander Fleming up and went on vacation. Slob that he was, he left a dirty petri dish in the lab sink.

Big Discovery: When he got back, he found bacteria had grown all over the plate, except in an area where mold had formed.

As a Result: That discovery led to two things: 1) penicillin and 2) Mrs. Fleming hiring a maid. 

Anecdotes about accidental discoveries that changed the world – Two

 

MTr 3

Saccharin

Inventors:  Constantin Fahlberg and Ira Remsen

Year: 1879

What Happened: After spending the day studying coal tar derivatives, Fahlberg left his Johns Hopkins laboratory and went to dinner.

Big Discovery: Something he ate tasted particularly sweet, which he traced to a chemical compound he’d spilled on his hand. Best of all, it turned out to be calorie-free.

As a Result: He cut Remsen and the university out of millions of dollars when he secretly patented the breakthrough discovery, saccharin.

Anecdotes about accidental discoveries that changed the world – Three

 

MTr 4

The Microwave

Inventor:  Percy Spencer

Year: 1946

What Happened: With the end of World War II, the Raytheon engineer was looking for other uses for the magnetron, which generated the microwaves for radar systems. While Spencer was standing next to the device one day, a chocolate bar in his pocket melted.

Big Discovery: The magnetron worked even better on popcorn.

As a Result: Orville Redenbacher (an American businessman most often associated with the brand of popcorn that bears his name) became very rich.

Anecdotes about accidental discoveries that changed the world – Four

 

MTr 5

Viagra

Inventors:  Scientists at Pfizer

Year: 1992

What Happened: A Welsh hamlet was ground zero for a test on a pill to fight angina. Unfortunately for the afflicted, it had little success against the disease.

Big Discovery: Though it didn’t work, the men taking part in the study refused to give up their medicine.

As a Result: The scientists switched gears and marketed the drug, Viagra, for a very different purpose.

Anecdotes about accidental discoveries that changed the world – Five

 

MTr 6

Botox

Inventors: Alastair and Jean Carruthers

Year: 1987

What Happened: The couple were using small doses of a deadly toxin to treat ‘crossed eyes’ eyelid spasms and other eye-muscle disorders when they noticed an interesting side effect.

Big Discovery: Wrinkles magically disappeared.

As a Result: The expressionless face became the ‘it’ look, thanks to Botox.

Anecdotes about Cyclists

Anecdotes about Cyclists – One


Two Nerds on a Tandem

Two nerds are riding along on a tandem bicycle when, suddenly, the one on the front slams on the brakes, gets off, and starts letting air out of the tires.

The one on the back says: “HEY! What are you doing that for?!”

The first nerd says, “My seat was too high and was hurting my butt. I wanted to lower it a bit.”
So the one in the back has had enough. He jumps off, loosens his own seat and spins it round to face the other direction.

Now it’s the first guy’s turn to wonder what’s going on. “What are you doing?” he asks his friend.
“Look, mate,” says the rider in the back, “if you're going to do stupid stuff like that, I'm going home!!”

 

Anecdotes about Cyclists – Two

Problem Dog

“I've really had it with my dog,” says a guy to his neighbor. “He'll chase anyone on a bicycle.”

“Hmmm, that is a problem,” said the neighbor. “What are you thinking of doing about it?”

“Guess the only answer is to confiscate his bike!”

 

Anecdotes about Cyclists – Three

The Pedestrian and the Cyclist

A pedestrian stepped off the curb and into the road without looking and promptly gets knocked flat by a passing cyclist.

“You were really lucky there,” said the cyclist.

“What on earth are you talking about! That really hurt!” said the pedestrian, still on the pavement, rubbing his head.

The cyclist replied, “Well, usually I drive a bus!”

 

Anecdotes about Cyclists – Four

Cyclist in Heaven

A very devout cyclist dies and goes to heaven. Saint Peter meets him at the gate. The first thing the cyclist asks is if there are bicycles in heaven.

“Sure,” says St. Peter, “let me show you,” and he leads the guy into the finest Velodrome you can imagine.

“This is great,” the cyclist says.

“It certainly is,” says St. Peter. “You will have a custom bike and the best cycling clothes you've ever seen, and your personal masseuse will always be available.”

As they speak, a blur streaks by them on the boards, riding a gold-plated bike.

“Wow!” the cyclist exclaims. “That guy was so fast that can only be Mark Cavendish!”

“No,” says St. Peter, “that was God on the bike. He only thinks he's Mark Cavendish.”

 

Anecdotes about Cyclists – Five

Spousal Tandem

A tandem rider is stopped by a police car.

“What've I done, officer?” asks the rider.

“Perhaps you didn't notice, sir, but your wife fell off your bike half a mile back . . .”

“Oh, thank God for that,” says the rider – “I thought I'd gone deaf!”

 

Anecdotes about Philosophers – One

 

MTr 2 Jean Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher known for his thinking on politics and sociology. Early in his life, Rousseau fathered five children and abandoned all of them to a home.

He did this because abandoning children and sexual boasting was in fashion among his social circles, and men who had abandoned the most children were highly applauded.

Such despicable behavior isn’t quite what one would expect from a theorist on education and child-rearing, but that didn’t stop Rousseau from becoming one. His past didn’t escape the eye of rival philosophers – such as Voltaire – and he was severely criticized for being a hypocrite.

Anecdotes about Philosophers – Two

 

MTr 3 Demonax

Despite having the most evil name of all time, Demonax was a popular philosopher and celebrity figure. One thing that earned him that admiration was his love of solving disputes. According to a biography of his life, “he was fond of playing peace-maker between brothers at variance, or presiding over the restoration of marital harmony.”

So not only was he willing to use his ideals to solve the problems of squabbling couples, he did it for free because he enjoyed it.

When he got so old that he thought he couldn’t take care of himself, he just stopped eating until he died. He was nearly 100 at the time.

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