By Angelina Tzankova

Edited by Julia Dec

Do you want to know something completely random? Something that you can bring up amid conversation, or keep in your back pocket?  

Who knows? Sometimes it might come in handy… well, dear reader, if the answer is yes, you are in the right place… 

June 1815, the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon’s last battle – and sadly for him, not a completely successful one – the British forces completely crushed the French troops. Exiled on Saint Helena, in May 1821, Napoleon died. He was then buried in not one, not two, not three, not even four, not five, but six coffins that would fit into each other! One was made of soft iron, another of mahogany (too difficult of a word to remember, but one can always try), two others of lead, one of ebony, and the last of oak. One of the theories on why the Brits did this is that they didn’t want Napoleon to rise from his grave. I don’t know, do you think it worked?

Think about it. In the meantime, let’s move on from battlefields, remote islands and skeletons to Glasgow, crime, and street lighting.  

Illustration by Ana Wallis

In the year 2000, in Glasgow, Scotland, the colour of street lighting in some districts was changed from yellow to blue for purely aesthetic reasons. Later, it had been found out that the number of crimes and suicides had noticeably decreased in the blue-illuminated areas – so much so that in Japan, police decided to set up blue street lighting in some neighborhoods, too. There are a few psychological reasons behind this blue light effect:  

  • Blue is a calming colour 
  • It is associated with police presence 
  • It is unusual, so people will be more cautious in the area 

Talking about crime, let me give you a lifehack that you might or might not need to use someday. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a crime investigation where you need to forge your fingerprints, find a koala.

We all know that monkeys are our closest living relatives. In the 1970s, the number of unsolved crimes in the UK was becoming a serious problem. The London police thought that perhaps criminals were using monkey fingerprints to confuse them – so, they tested chimpanzee and orangutan fingerprints. Don’t worry, no monkey was found guilty of any criminal activity. Funnily enough, the police said that the naked eye cannot distinguish a chimpanzee fingerprint from a human one.  

This little tale was picked up by the Australian police – they feared that koala fingerprints may have hampered their criminal investigations. It turns out that even under a close inspection with a microscope, a koala’s fingerprints are almost identical and impossible to distinguish from our own. Scientists don’t know the reason behind this yet!

Dear reader, from graveyards to Australian koalas, you just learned three very random facts. Let’s hope they are helpful.  

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