Mythbusters and trackable credit cards. Fake motorbike cop stopped a car carrying $26m. A story of a 155-year-old mousetrap [r/TodayiLearned, Episode #23]

#1

TIL that Mythbusters got bullied out of airing an episode on how hackable and trackable RFID chips on credit cards are when credit card companies threatened to boycott their TV network

RFID chips are super cool because those little buggers can beam things wirelessly. The guys at Mythbusters totally thought so too and wanted to make an episode about how trackable and hackable RFID chips were. Sounds amazing! Everyone would’ve learned more about the technology that’s invisibly invading our lines. But, nope. Credit Card companies banned ’em.

Specifically, it looks like the lawyers of Visa, American Express, Discover and all the other bigwig debt slurpin’ credit card companies got in immediate contact with Discovery (the network that airs Mythbusters) and told ’em if Savage and crew did the episode, the credit card companies would pull its advertisements and commercials from Discovery. Discovery caved and the RFID episode was axed. Bummer.

#2

TIL In 1968 Japan a fake motorbike cop stopped a car carrying 300m Yen in cash (26m USD), told the driver to run because the car was rigged to blow and then simply drove the car away. The culprit and the cash have never been found

ON A rainy morning in December 1968, a police motorcyclist screeched to a halt in front of a cash-laden Tokyo bank vehicle and ordered four men to get out, warning it was about to explode.

Seconds after the cop ducked underneath the car, plumes of smoke began billowing up and he screamed at them to flee.

“It’s dynamite. It’s going to blow!” he yelled, sending the terrified men running for their lives.

Then he calmly climbed behind the wheel and drove off with 300 million yen, never to be seen again.

It was Japan’s biggest-ever cash heist, netting the crook the equivalent of $3.4 million today, and leaving a mystery that remains unsolved 44 years later, having eluded some of Japan’s top investigative minds.

The huge police probe cost over $12 million and involved hundreds of detectives – two of whom died of exhaustion working on the case – who questioned a staggering 118,000 people.

Decades later the crime continues to captivate the nation, having spawned books, movies, TV dramas, and a comic book series.

#3

TIL in 2016, a 155-year-old mousetrap kept on display in a museum in Berkshire caught a mouse.

A 155-year-old Victorian mouse trap on display at a museum sprung into action again to claim its latest victim.

Ollie Douglas, an assistant curator at the Museum of English Rural Life, was baffled when he discovered the dead mouse in the trap, which was in a cabinet.

He said the rodent could have entered the trap to make a nest, but got stuck inside.

The trap is one of the hundreds kept at the museum.

Mr. Douglas said: “We think that the mouse chewed at the label and got interested in chewing at the string attached to the label.”

‘See-saw mechanism’

It is thought the mouse entered the trap to get the string.

The device, created by Selsey-based inventor Colin Pullinger, was dubbed the “perpetual mousetrap” as it was claimed that it would last a lifetime.

It is believed to have featured during The Great Exhibition in 1851 at Crystal Palace.

The device works by trapping mice humanely with a see-saw mechanism.

Mr. Douglas added: “It was designed about 155 years ago.

“And here it is, still capable of catching mice, even though it was not baited.”

The Museum of English Rural Life, based at the University of Reading, has said the mouse could become a permanent feature in the museum, or be given a burial.

#4

TIL a cow in Poland escaped on its way to the slaughterhouse, broke through a metal fence, swam to a nearby island, and was allowed to live there after its owner gave up trying to recapture it.

A cow has been living alone on an island, attacking anyone who comes near, after staging a miraculous escape on its way to a slaughterhouse.

The animal made its bid for safety last month after it refused to get into a lorry taking it to be killed for meat. Instead, it rammed a metal fence before making a dash for the nearby Lake Nysa, south Poland.

After the cow’s owner, known only as Mr. Lukasz, attempted to get it back to the farm, the cow broke one of his worker’s arms, according to Polish news show Wiadomosci.

It then entered the water and swam to one of the islands in the middle of the lake. Mr. Lukasz said he even saw it dive underwater on its way.

After a week of trying and failing to get the cow back, Mr. Lukasz gave up and began making sure it was fed enough food to stay alive instead.

When firefighters used a boat to get to the island, the cow swam about 50 meters to a neighboring peninsula. Pawel Gotowski, deputy commander of the fire brigade in Nysa, said the animal was frightened but healthy.

A vet called in to tranquilize the animal told Mr. Lukasz he had run out of gas cartridges, and that it would take several days to get new ones.

Despite the farmer considering having it shot dead, a political leader in the town of Nysa, Czeslaw Bilobran, has reportedly said the cow will live out its life in peace.