“You don’t really start getting old until you stop learning,” software magnate and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates told Time Magazine last year. That’s not just true for rich tech icons. Studies have shown that learning something new every day can improve your brain health and make you happier. But most people would rather skip the studying and stick with entertainment. And why not? Studies have proven that laughter is the best medicine. If only there was a way to fill our heads with new knowledge while also appeasing our appetites for silly good fun.
You’re in luck. We’ve assembled 40 of the weirdest, funniest, jaw-dropping factoids of all time. Take a break and read ‘em all. It may seem like you’re wasting time online, but you’re actually making yourself smarter and healthier. And when you’re done here, continue your self-improvement with these 10 Amazing Facts to Make You Smarter This Week.
Cows moo with regional accents
“In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group,” explains one UK professor. In other words: You can take the cow out of Jersey…
Hunting unicorns is legal in Michigan
Lake Superior State University in Michigan offers a unicorn hunting license. Unsurprisingly, the “chief herald of the Unicorn Hunters” was once quoted saying: “The pursuit of the unicorn is a lonely quest.” We wish them nothing but good luck! And for more fun facts, here are 20 Amazing Things You Never Knew About Your Body.
This football fan’s last dying wish
True story: A lifetime Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder requested in his obituary for “six Cleveland Browns pallbearers” at his funeral. Why? “So the Browns can let him down one last time.” Burn! And for more great insults, check out the 30 Wittiest Put-Downs Ever Uttered.
The Supreme Court has its own private basketball court with an amazing nickname
There’s a basketball court on the top floor of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. It’s nickname? You guessed it: “the highest court in the land.” And for more legal trivia, here are the 47 Weirdest Laws from Around the World.
Walmart has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard
You think you’re hard to get into, Harvard, what with your fancy 8.9 percent admittance rate and all? Well try this on for size: only 2.6% of Walmart applicants are accepted. How ’bout them apples, huh?!! Now, we realize that this comparison isn’t exactly flawless, but you have to admit that it’s funny.
Someone paid $10,000 for artwork he or she can’t even see
An art collector once paid $10,000 for a “non-visible” sculpture created by actor James Franco. The artwork was billed as an “endless tank of oxygen.” Um, yeah… it’s called air. We’re breathing some now… for free! And for more great trivia, here are 20 Crazy Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.
A school of higher learning actually measured Tootsie Pop licks
It officially takes 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Well, at least according to engineering students at Purdue University, who used a proprietary “licking machine” rather than a human tongue. And for more fun info, don’t miss the 50 Awesome Facts About Everything.
There is a technical name for the “fear of long words”
It’s called “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.” And for more language facts, here are the 40 Words That Will Instantly Reveal Your True Age.
A U.S. town had a 3-year-old mayor
In the small town of Dorset, Minnesota, where a new mayor is picked every two years by drawing names out of a hat, a three year old named Robert Tufts was elected mayor in 2015. His governing style : “Being nice and no poopy talk.” In 2018, I think we can all agree that the world could use more Robert Tufts in higher office. And for more political knowledge, here are The Most Enduring Myths in American History.
The Cookie Monster has a real name
It’s Sid. No, seriously.
China censored the word for “censorship.”
Barry Manilow didn’t write his hit song “I Write the Songs”
And before he recorded it, Barry didn’t even think it was a particularly good song.
Vending machines are bigger threats to humanity than sharks
You’re twice as likely to be killed by a vending machine than a shark. So when is Discovery Channel premiering their “Vending Machine Week?” And speaking of killer appliances, check out the 50 Deadliest Items In Your Home.
The blob of toothpaste that sits on your toothbrush has a name.
It’s called a “nurdle.” And for more funny words, know the 100 Slang Terms from the 20th Century No One Uses Anymore.
What Americans think “HTML” means
According to a 2014 study, 1 in 9 Americans—exactly 11% of the population—think HTML is actually a disease. Oof! And speaking of tech terminology, here are the 90s-era Tech Terms from the 90s No One Uses Anymore.
The Queen is a total wedding crasher!
If you invite the Queen of England to your wedding, even if you’re not royalty, there’s a chance she might show up anyway, as she did with one unsuspecting couple in Manchester in 2012.
You can hire scary clowns to terrify children
You can hire a clown in Switzerland to stalk your kid and creepily smash a cake into their face on their birthday. Seriously. As if “nice” clowns weren’t terrifying enough!
Flowers like Viagra
ISIS learns to make cupcakes
Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service once hacked an Al-Qaeda website and replaced the bomb instructions with a cupcake recipe. And for more on our friends across the pond, here are 30 Fascinating Facts About British Royal Weddings.
There’s an American town with a population of one…
Monowi, Nebraska is the only town in the United States with an official population of one person. Yes, she owes taxes… To herself! She’s in her 80s, and she’s employed as the village’s mayor, librarian, and bartender.
President Coolidge’s childish sense of humor
Believe it or not, the 30th U.S. president thought it was hilarious to push the emergency buzzer on his desk and then hide when the Secret Service came running. And for more or presidential hijinks, read up on the 5 Handshake Rules Trump Breaks Every Time.
What some passengers do to avoid baggage fees
In 2012, a man wore 60 shirts and nine pairs of jeans on an 11-and-a-half hour flight from China to Africa because he didn’t want to pay the extra baggage fee. Though hilarious, we don’t recommend it. We’d advise you to remember The Best Way to Pack a Suitcase.
A bridge for squirrels exists
A town in Washington has a treetop bridge over a busy road that’s just big enough for squirrels. It’s called the “Nutty Narrows Bridge.” Admit it. That’s undeniably funny.
One brogrammer’s unusual way of weaning himself off Facebook
Maneesh Sethi, a computer programmer, hired a woman (at $8 an hour) to slap him in the face every time he tried checking Facebook during working hours! If only he had simply read our 11 Easy Ways to Conquer Your Smartphone Addiction!
Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s other career path
While he was in graduate school, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson considered becoming a stripper to earn extra money. He visited a club and watched dancers perform to the song Great Balls of Fire. Tyson left immediately and became a math tutor instead. We’re thrilled, of course. If Tyson were an X-rated performer, he wouldn’t be part of the 15 Podcasts That Will Make You 15 Percent Smarter!
The irony of this town’s name
There’s a village in southern Norway actually named “H*ll.” And get this: every winter it freezes over!
Our silly constitutional amendments that never happened
A U.S. constitutional amendment was proposed in 1893 suggesting that the country be renamed “The United States of Earth.” There was another failed amendment, a few years prior, that wanted to abolish the presidency and install a “Roman-style triumvirate.” As if the United States needed any more comparisons to the doomed Roman Empire! And for more political gaffes, check out these 10 Major Etiquette Gaffes by U.S. Presidents Abroad.
What people really pray for
According to a 2014 survey by a Christian retailer in Nashville, 7% of Christian Americans pray for a parking spot!
We have musical roads
There’s a highway in Lancaster, California that plays the “William Tell Overture”—or the theme from “The Lone Ranger”—whenever cars drive over it at 55 mph. Yes, roads that sing!
We’re more prepped for a zombie invasion than you ever knew!
The actual U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a real website devoted to “zombie preparedness.”
The brooding silence in the Twilight movies
If you spliced them all together, there are exactly 26 minutes of quiet staring. And for more on Hollywood, don’t miss these 20 Craziest Celeb Meltdowns.
Lobsters have bladders on either side of their heads, so they communicate by urinating at each other. If they want another lobster to know that they’re happy or sad or angry or interested in a relationship, they say it with pee!
Dolly Parton lost a look-alike contest
Dolly Parton once entered a celebrity look-alike contest, without revealing her true identity, at a club in San Francisco. She lost to a drag queen.
The things we do when we lose a bet
After losing a drunken poker bet in 2009, a New Zealand man had his name legally changed to “Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova.” It took five years, but the name was finally approved by the government. All 99 characters of his new name are on his passport.
The fact that carrots will turn you orange
If you eat enough carrots—about three large carrots a day for several weeks—it increases the beta-carotene in your blood and could turn your skin orange.
All of the fine print in the world that literally no one reads
Nabokov may be the real inventor of emojis
Russian author Vladimir Nabokov, the guy responsible for the classic novel Lolita, came up with the idea for smiley emoticons in 1969.
High heels were originally for men
When high-heel shoes first came into fashion, in the 10th century, they were intended for men. It wasn’t until the 18th century that more women wore high heels than men.
These amazing flowers that look like lips
There’s a flower in the rainforests of Central and South America that resembles a puckering mouth covered in lipstick.
Cows don’t like Willie Nelson
A dairy cow will produce up to 3% more milk when listening to music. But they don’t like country music, especially Willie Nelson. They need something with a good beat.
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