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    7 Facts You Can Blurt Out During Awkward Silences This Weekend

    And if you didn't know, now you know.

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    Conversations are hard. Each week, two-time Jeopardy! winner and awkward silence warrior Terri Pous makes small talk a little easier by giving you random things to blurt out when you don't know what else to say.

    1. German chocolate cake is named after a guy named Sam German, not the country.

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    Turns out, German chocolate cake is more American than apple pie. German developed a sweet baking chocolate for the US-based Baker Chocolate Company in 1857, and the company paid him back by naming his invention after him. The cake recipe came later β€”Β it was published in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 after a woman sent it in β€” and the name came from the brand of chocolate that made it so tasty.

    2. Almost as many people were killed by guillotine in Nazi Germany as in the French Revolution.

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    Even though it's most closely associated with the French Revolution β€” when it was used to execute some 16,549 people β€” Nazis were equally big fans of the dropping blade. Hitler declared the guillotine the state execution method in the 1930s, and by the time he died in 1945, the machine took roughly 16,500 lives in Nazi Germany.

    3. The animal that kills the most people every year isn't snakes, sharks, or even other humans β€” it's the mosquito.

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    The humble mosquito bests creatures hundreds of times its size when it comes to murder. Mosquitos kill an average of 750,000 people a year, mostly because of malaria. Compare that to 475,000 human-related deaths, 50,000 snake-related deaths, and 10 shark-related deaths per year, and mosquitos suddenly seem even more terrifying than before.

    4. There's a cheerleading squad in Arizona that only people 55 or older can join.

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    Say hello to the Sun City Poms, who do everything teenage cheerleaders do, from splits to pyramids, but at quadruple the age. The squad is based in Sun City, a retirement community outside Phoenix, and the women β€” most of whom are in their 60s and 70s β€” perform at the Fiesta Bowl and even show up high school cheerleaders at pep rallies. See them in action here.

    5. "What in tarnation?" is literally just another way of saying, "What the hell?"

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    The origin of the wildly popular meme phrase goes back to 18th and 19th-century America, when curse words were frowned upon and even saying hell was no-no. Tarnation is the love child of the very bad words "damnation" and "tarnal," which was a way of referring to the afterlife ("the eternal") in a more socially acceptable way. At some point, someone mixed the two words together and invented "tarnation," just like Cady Heron did with "grool," so they could reference hell in polite company.

    6. Chainsaws, the horror-movie murder weapon of choice, were invented for aid in childbirth 😊.

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    The prototype for modern chainsaws was invented in the late 18th century by Scottish doctors John Aitken and James Jeffray. The hand-operated saw aided in symphysiotomy, aka cutting into and widening a woman's pelvic bone during childbirth as an alternative to a C-section. It was a risky and (obviously) painful procedure, especially before the invention of anesthesia. Luckily, symphysiotomies β€” and medical chainsaws in general β€” fell out of favor by the end of the 19th century, and chainsaws began being used to topple trees in the early 1900s.

    7. And there's an island in Japan you can visit that's inhabited only by friendly bunnies.

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    If you need a pick-me-up from some furry friends, head over to Okunoshima Island, where some 700 bunnies hop around and greet the tourists who go there to see them and also to visit Japan's Poison Gas Museum. Yeah, the island was where Japan produced all of its poison gas for chemical warfare against China. But according to Ellis Krauss, professor of Japanese politics at the University of California San Diego, these bunnies aren't related to the ones they tested the chemicals on. In fact, no one knows exactly how the current ones got to Okunoshima Island, but regardless, they're there, and they're pretty fun to visit.

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