A list of curious facts
One: Was the world’s oldest ever woman just a fraud? Jeanne Louise Calment lived for a hundred and twenty-two years, five months, and fourteen days. FYI: she was apparently still cycling at 100—and she only gave up smoking at 117. Our fave bit is her description of Vincent van Gogh as “dirty, badly dressed, and disagreeable.”
Yeah, this would be just another boring Guinness fact except for this juicy bit: a Russian mathematician named Nikolay Zak claims she is total fraud—and that so-called Jeanne is actually her daughter Yvonne. The Guardian has the rest of the story. For a serious deep dive into this mystery, check out the New Yorker. You can see her when she was young in the lead—and in her later years in the Lisa Lichtenfels sculpture below.
Two: It is rare for world records to remain unbroken for decades—especially in the realm of sports. So it‘s amazing that swimmer Dana Kunze set the record for the highest dive ever back in 1983—when he jumped a record 172 feet. Ok, it isn’t an Olympic sport but it is pretty amazing!
Three: Once upon a time, a pharmacist named John Stith Pemberton invented a medicinal drink as an alternative to morphine. Yes, it was supposed to be a painkiller (as opposed to a diabetes-giver). The name came from its ingredients: the coca leaf and the kola nut—and it originally contained alcohol. Here’s the kicker: thanks to the coca leaf, it also contained 9 mg of cocaine per glass. Then there are the charming incarnations of the Coke can—including this first version that debuted 1936—but sadly never took off.