WTF Fun Fact 13037 – The First Trick or Treat

According to CBC News (cited below): “While the act of going door-to-door in costume in exchange for something sweet to eat has been around since the Middle Ages, it wasn’t until sometime in the last century that people started saying ‘trick or treat.'” Apparently, the very first trick-or-treat took place in Alberta, Canada.

The first trick or treat

Nick Rogers, who teaches history at York University in Toronto and wrote Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, the earliest use of the phase can be traced to a newspaper clipping from 1927. On November 3rd of that year, The Blackie Times of Blackie, Alberta, noted that:

Halloween gave an opportunity to the young to use up some of their surplus energy which was freely taken advantage of. Threshing outfits, wagons, old autos, barrels, etc., decorated the front streets and buildings were overturned, while front and back doors were invaded and inmates held up by the awful word “Trick or Treat” from the youthful invaders who carried…

Prior to this, historians believed the first use of the phrase occurred in 1947.

Trying to end Halloween fun

The holiday has long been associated with a bit of misbehavior, especially among older kids. Throughout the 20th century, North Americans have long tried to get ahold of Halloween hooliganism, even trying to replace the holiday with a more wholesome one.

CBC noted that “[i]n July 1950, the U.S. Senate recommended that Halloween be renamed ‘Youth Honor Day,’ and young adults and teenagers would pledge good behaviour on Halloween and try to tone down the holiday.”

It never really took off.

Rodgers explained that while Halloween is something wild today, going door to door at this time of year wasn’t always associate with tricks or treats.

“It goes right back to Hallow Mass to the original Christian holiday of honouring the dead,” Rodgers said. “Back then it was called ‘souling,’ where people would collect food from neighbours’ homes in exchange for praying for their dead relatives. ‘The idea being that, if you prayed hard enough, you would help them get to heaven.'”  WTF fun facts

Source: “Albertans may have been 1st to say ‘trick or treat'” — CBC News

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WTF Fun Fact 12917 – The Science of Batman

A course called The Science of Batman was proposed at the University of Victoria in Canada back in 2012, and was offered for the first time a few years later in 2016.

The science of Batman

According to HuffPost (cited below) “the course will examine how the human body can be adapted and improved based on the metaphor of the caped crusader himself” and “Offered in “alternate years” the course would make up only part of a degree and is run by the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education.”

EPHE 156 is described in the course catalog as such:

“The extreme range of adaptability of the human body
explored through the life of the Caped Crusader; examines
human potential using Batman as a metaphor for the
ultimate in human conditioning; evaluates the concepts of
adaptation to exercise and injury from the perspective of
science and exercise training; examines the multiple
sciences behind exercise adaptation, musculoskeletal injury
and concussion, and limitations of the human body and
mind.”

Frankly, it sounds pretty awesome. Just like Batman.

Why teach about superheroes?

It’s hard to get students interested in courses, so sometimes professors (or their administrators) resort to gimmicks. And while they might sound silly, there’s really nothing wrong with it if it helps students learn valuable concepts or skills. The Science of Batman wasn’t about taking away tuition dollars for something mindless, in fact, it was a course about how the human body could be improved.

In some ways, The Science of Batman was ahead of its time. People are only more and more interested in things like “biohacking” and adapting the human body to extreme conditions (like space). Physiology experts travel to high-altitude locations to study these sorts of things all the time. It may even help us improve our health and live longer. So if you have to lure in students with the promise of Batman, so what?

Parents, teachers, and, yes, even executives use references to things people are interested in all the time to explain tough concepts or motivate people.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Science Of Batman: Canadian University Offers Physical Education Class In The Dark Knight” — HuffPost

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WTF Fun Fact 12639 – Prosecuting Space Crime

Pretty soon, it may be illegal for Canadian astronauts to go on crime sprees in space.

Now, we’re pretty sure that’s not why Canadians become astronauts in the first place, but apparently, you can never be too careful.

So, what’s this all about? Well, Canada just proposed an amendment to the country’s Criminal Code in their no-doubt riveting 443-page Budget Implementation Act in the House of Commons. It basically states that any crime committed in space by Canadians will be considered to have been committed on Canadian territory and punished accordingly. In other words, if you commit moon murder as a Canadian, you better not come back.

Interestingly, Canada has been preparing for space crime for a while now. Their Criminal Code already lays out prohibitions on crimes Canadian astronauts may commit during space flight to the International Space Station. accounts for astronauts who may commit crimes during space flights to the International Space Station.

Canada is part of the Lunar Gateway Project, a NASA-backed orbiting space platform. Part of that plan includes a trip to the moon, and apparently, the government wants to make sure Canadians maintain their reputation for being polite even among extraterrestrials.

The proposed code change reads:

“A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada that if committed in Canada would constitute an indictable offense is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada.”

There are two interesting questions at play here – 1) who controls space justice, and 2) what gives a country the right to say space in their territory for prosecutorial purposes?

If you think space crime is absurd, there have already been accusations that have raised questions (however, no crime actually occurred). In 2019, astronaut Anne McClain was accused by her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, of improperly accessing bank records from the International Space Station. But McClain was later cleared after her spouse admitted to lying.

Still, it made people wonder how we might prosecute crimes in space, where no one technically owns territory (yet) and no one has jurisdiction.

Now, we already have some guidelines for international space law, believe it or not. According to CBC News:

“‘There are five international treaties governing activities in space but the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, ratified by Canada and more than 100 other countries, is the most relevant when it comes to dealing with alleged crimes in space, wrote Danielle Ireland-Piper, an associate professor of constitutional and international law at Australia’s Bond University. ‘As for the question of who prosecutes space crimes, the short answer is that a spacefaring criminal would generally be subject to the law of the country of which they are a citizen, or the country aboard whose registered spacecraft the crime was committed.'”

But things might be different if the astronaut-on-astronaut crime occurs between two different nations. In that case, there might be some disagreement about which country is able to prosecute the space offender. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Crimes on the moon could soon be added to Canada’s Criminal Code” — CBC News

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WTF Fun Fact 12398 – Canadian Humor

In 1999, Canada’s Northwest Territories was split in two. The eastern region became Nunavut, a territory made up of the Inuit (known to some as Eskimos). However, the other half of the 1.3 million-square-mile territory wanted to come up with its own name.

Politicians turned to residents to come up with new names, which may not have been the best idea in retrospect. Before the Boaty McBoatface debacle, Canadians proved that the people don’t always know best when they rallied behind the name “Bob” for their territory.

According to The Baltimore Sun, other contenders included Restavit, Alluvit, Fullavit, Tundraland, Freedom Territory, Eskimo Pie, and Snobound. So, in some respects, it could have been worse.

While the internet wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today, an online campaign on behalf of Bob contained a list of reasons why citizens thought it was a good idea, such as: “‘Bob’ sounds the same in each of the official languages of the Northwest Territories” (these include English, French, Cree, Inukitut, and Dene).

“‘A spokesman for Bob said ‘ sounds friendlier in news reports than ‘A spokesman for the Northwest Territories said,'” claimed another fan.

Politicians were not so good-natured about the fun and games:

“The campaign to make the name of the Western Territory into ‘Bob’ is not humorous,” said J. Michael Miltenberger, member of the territorial assembly. “This campaign is hurting the reputation vTC of residents of the Western Arctic across North America and beyond.” – WTF Fun Facts

Source: Northwest Territories looking for new name – ‘Bob’ need not apply — CBC News

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