The world’s ‘humblest Christmas tree’ has a not-so-humble price tag, and other wild tales

Conversation-starting headlines, featuring a strange TSA discovery, a way to chat with whales, and a very specific injury to watch out for.

These headlines from this week are bonkers, but that’s exactly what’ll make ‘em pop when you break them out in conversation…

A collage showing a humpback whale, a sparse artificial Christmas tree, and a broken pencil against a pink background patterned with diapers.
  • Scientists had a 20-minute conversation with a 38-year-old whale named Twain. The interaction (i.e., the humpback responding to an Alaska research team’s recorded whale sounds) reportedly involved just one type of call, known as a “whup”: a contact call which scientists believe mothers and their calves use to locate one another. Scientists are hopeful that a similar approach could one day be used to communicate with… aliens.
  • Around the holidays, getting frisky could be risky. Ahh, the season of giving — a time of love, warmth, and apparently a lot of people being naughtier than nice. According to a recent study, cases of penile fractures significantly increase around Christmas time. Researchers suspect the intimacy and euphoria of the cozy season could be behind the annual spike. Fun fact: Other common holiday-related injuries involve Christmas trees, Champagne corks, and swallowed baubles.
  • TSA officers confiscated a diaper concealing 17 bullets. The loaded diaper (which was otherwise clean) was discovered inside a passenger’s carry-on after it triggered an alarm at a LaGuardia Airport security checkpoint. The passenger, who claimed he didn’t know how it got there but later blamed his girlfriend, was cited for unlawful possession of ammunition. According to the TSA, it intercepts ~20 guns, on average, every day — 94%+ of which are loaded.
  • A 103-year-old artificial Christmas tree sold at auction for $4k+. The tree was originally purchased in 1920 for 8-year-old Dorothy Grant, who kept it until her death at age 101 in 2014. The 31-inch-tall tree, with just 25 sparse branches and little ornamentation, has been dubbed the “humblest Christmas tree in the world” and represents one of the earliest mass-produced artificial Christmas trees.
New call-to-action
Topics: Sound Smart

Related Articles

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.