TIL Roundup Vol. 30

When you edit an encyclopedia, you learn something new every day. Sometimes it’s mundane, but other times it’s something fascinating that must be shared, like the fact that not all beavers have tails. Therefore we’re collecting all of the fascinating things we’re learning as we comb through and edit The Canadian Encyclopedia. Here’s this week’s roundup of our “Today I Learned” (TIL) moments.

Squid Jiggin’

Arthur Scammell was all of 15 years old when he wrote the classic Newfoundland folk song “Squid Jiggin’ Ground.” He wrote the words as an assignment for a high school project, and later set it to the tune of the Irish folk song “Larry O’Gaff.” The song came to be so representative of Newfoundland that it was played on the Peace Tower carillon on Parliament Hill when Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949.

Gallons? Litres? Whatever

Canada’s conversion to the metric system made many people very upset. Some challenged metrication through the courts, while others signed a Toronto Sun petition. Adding fuel to the fire was the Gimli Glider incident: in 1983, Air Canada Flight 143 from Montreal to Edmonton had to make an emergency landing near Gimli, Manitoba, because it ran out of fuel. The shortage was caused by a miscalculation of the metric amount of fuel needed for the flight, giving the plane only half the fuel it needed.

Muzak is the Kleenex of the Music Industry

Three editors — Andrew McIntosh, Eli Yarhi and myself — were softly lulled to sleep by the smooth sounds of reading the Muzak article, which we learned is actually a real company and brand name, not just a style of elevator music.

This Week in Insane Watercraft

I also learned that Alexander Graham Bell designed a hydrofoil that reached like 114km/h in 1919, which I think is the definition of insanity. That’s highway speeds, in 1919, on water. A replica of the HD-4 is housed in the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

Band for Sale

Nathan Baker notes of Canadian pop-punk band Hedley: “They named themselves after the BC mining town of Hedley, which made news by offering itself for sale.” Surely we wouldn’t make a comment about selling out here.

Image: HD-4 replica at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Baddeck, NS. Flickr/cc.