Small Talk Ammo: Friday the 13th, Croatia(!?), & The Highest-Grossing Animated Film Just Came Out

Small Talk Ammo: Friday the 13th, Croatia(!?), & The Highest-Grossing Animated Film Just Came Out
Twice a month, we'll provide a bevy of ideas behind compelling headlines, stories, facts, tips, and tricks to help you nail the many various social interactions you'll encounter. Equipped with this information, you should be able to deftly navigate any conversation, no matter the subject or company.
  1. The final of the World Cup is set and if you need an interesting talking point while watching France take on Croatia in the big game, check out this video explaining how and why scoring a goal on a corner kick is nearly impossible.
  2. So how did underdog Croatia (one of the smallest countries in the tournament) reach the World Cup final? It involved several blowout victories, several upsets, several overtime victories, and a surprisingly star-studded lineup that has yet to lose a game.
  3. July is still young but it’s already being dominated by historic achievements in cinematic superheroics: this past week saw the release of the twentieth (!) Marvel Studios film (Ant-Man and the Wasp), and Pixar’s Incredibles 2 became the highest-grossing domestic animated film of all-time after less than one month in theaters. On top of that: it will soon likely become the first animated film AND the first non-PG-13 film to crack the all-time top-10.
  4. A new study suggests that eating or drinking in an unconventional way (i.e., eating popcorn with chopsticks) can cause familiar, stale tastes to pop in a way they didn’t before. It’s the perfect taste-bud hack to spice up your dining without having to learn new recipes!
  5. Break out the Head & Shoulders: Dinosaurs had unsightly flakes. Though it’s not something most people have ever considered, dinosaurs (like nearly all other animals) shed their skin in some form. Translation: dinosaur dandruff! No word yet on whether there’s enough DNA in the flakes to help jumpstart another Jurassic Park.
  6. Today is Friday the 13th, which is only the second time this year the date has fallen on Friday. Fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia, famous sufferers include Napoleon, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt, who would not host 13 guests at a meal. In Paris, you can hire a quatorzieme: a professional 14th guest to thwart the bad luck.
  7. It’s been uncharacteristically hot in Wales as of late but the high temperatures have one unexpected benefit: historians can now actually (temporarily) look into the past.
  8. What’s the fastest way to cool off a car that’s been sitting out in the summer heat all day? It may not be what you think.
  9. SOCIAL SKILL Summer is a great time to cultivate new skills, whether it’s hobbies like surfing and gardening, or invaluable skills like cooking or chatting up new people at parties. However, determining the optimal way to teach yourself something can be confusing and exhausting. Luckily, there’s already a proven process you can turn to, thanks to the world of music: practice for less time but do it more frequently.
  10. Colonies of bats have been infesting two historic 18th-century Portuguese libraries for centuries but don’t panic — they are there for a reason.
  11. If Wolverine and Deadpool had a love child, it would be this remarkable creature: the planarian worm. It has the uncanny ability to regrow a full body after being cut in to multiple pieces. Scientists have been baffled…until now.
  12. Is Westworld around the corner? Disney Imagineers have turned their attention from lifelike theme park animatronics to autonomous robot stunt doubles. Awesome action sequences without human jeopardy, here we come!
  13. Scientists recently (finally) confirmed that the Keystone virus (a mosquito-carried disease long believed to occur only in animals) was transmitted to a human for the first time ever, nearly two years ago. Probably a good idea to load up on bug spray this weekend.
  14. Exercising at the beginning of the day is regularly cited as one of the best ways to maximize your fitness routines but it can be pretty difficult to convince yourself that “awake and challenging your body” is better than “comfortable in bed”. Try these four tips to motivate yourself to work out, first thing in the morning.
  15. Here’s a simple strategy for winning any game of HORSE, no matter your skill level.
  16. What’s the secret to a long life? According to this 109-year-old WWII vet: whiskey, cigars, and butter pecan ice cream.

Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook

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  • Will

    Good stuff, Andrew. That last one, especially.