Mental Floss

The Facts of Life, The Facts of Life

Matt Soniak

Thanks to everyone who submitted facts last week. We've got a few amazing facts making their way to the Generator as we speak, but the most
amazing fact came to us from Brent, who told us that "ETAOIN SHRDLU is a combination of the 12 most-commonly used letters in English, in descending order. Linotype machines have them arranged in the first two columns of the keyboard. When a typesetter made an error, he would quickly run his hand down the columns to type "ETAOIN SHRDLU", to serve as a flag to discard that line of type. The phrase did, of course, occasionally make it into print."

Brent has got a copy of -30-: The Collapse of The Great American Newspaper headed his way, and we've got another opportunity for you to join him in the winner's circle.

The rules remain simple: 1. Don't go to a competing trivia site and copy/paste a fact, then claim it as your own. 2. You only get five submissions.

There's a lot of info in the Generator already, so take a look at it to see what type of things we're looking for.