10 Amazing Facts to Make You Smarter This Week

Herewith, you'll find your perfect dinner-party cheat sheet.

Did you have a busy week? Didn't have much time to keep up with the news? Amazon Alexa was broken so you couldn't get your flash briefing? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are some of the most important discoveries that you missed out on this week, so you can be sure that you don't feel out of the loop at the dinner table or on your next date. And for vast trove of fun facts, check out the 50 Awesome Facts About Everything. 

Penguins Used to Be Giant Beasts

penguin coming for you

Scientists have discovered a fossilized penguin that shows that the ancestors to these adorable little waddlers were 200-pound, 5' 7" beasts with long, spearlike beaks. That's right: Monster penguins! You'll never watch March of the Penguins the same way again.

Baby Born Without a Heart Survives

Newborn yawning

Vanellope Hope Wilkins was born on November 22nd in Leicester, UK, with a rare congenital congenital condition that caused her heart to grow outside her body. After three intensive surgeries, doctors have managed to successfully put her heart inside her chest, making her the first baby in Britain to survive this operation. And for more fun facts, here's everything you never new about your dog. 

A Lot More People Are at Risk for Floods Than You Think

Hurricane Harvey 2017, flooding in Spring Texas, a couple miles north of Houston. Speed limit sign almost completely submerged.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that about 13 million people live in a "1-in-100-year" floodplain zone, aka a region that has a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year. According to researchers at the American Geophysical Union's meeting on December 11th, this means that national flood maps are underestimating the risk of flooding for tens of millions of Americans.

This New Jacket Will Protect You From Extreme Cold

oros jacket

The company Oros has used NASA-inspired technology to create a jacket that will keep you warm under extreme weather conditions. After being sprayed with liquid nitrogen, the jacket's exterior allegedly reached -329 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas inside the heat remained a balmy 89 degrees. The waterproof jacket, which uses the same insulation technology that is used on space shuttles and space suits, retails for a cool $179.

Our Ancestors Wore Shark Teeth As Charm Bracelets

american museum of natural history shark teeth

A viral tweet by the American Museum of Natural History this week yielded the following fun fact: "Centuries ago, the fear of poisons led people to seek charmed objects to keep them safe. One example? When Europeans found fossilized shark teeth, they thought they were the tongues of dragons. These "tongue stones" were worn as charms and dipped into food to purify it of poison."

Canola Oil Might Be Bad for You

canola oil

While often considered a "healthy" alternative to traditional oil, a new study suggests that it may be good for the heart, but not the head. New research indicates that while canola's low saturated fat is good for your cardiovascular system, it might poorly impact your memory, especially when compared to virgin olive oil, which studies have shown to decrease the risk of Alzheimer's. It should be noted, however, that this study was conducted on mice, so further research is necessary.

The Man Flu Might Be Real

A new article  published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal alleges that men really might have a harder time dealing with the symptoms of the flu. Shortly after the study was published, Gizmodo claimed it was just a Christmas prank, but the lead author, Dr. Kyle Sue, responded by saying that while some of his comments are meant to be humorous, "the research is all real."

Fewer Toys Are Better for Tots

child playing with toy

A November report in Infant Behavior and Development claims that new research shows that toddlers play longer and more creatively with toys when there are fewer of them around. The research comes just in time too, as many parents are begging friends, teachers and neighbors to curb the number of physical gifts their children receive this year, in order to curb materialism and stop their kids from being spoiled or easily bored. And if you're still struggling to buy the perfect gifts for your loved ones, check out this definitive list of 50 Last-Minute Gifts. 

NASA Found 8 New Planets


NASA announced this week that, for the first time, eight planets have been found orbiting a distant star, Kepler-90, 2,545 light-years from Earth. Hello, neighbors!

An Octopus Can Fit Through A Tiny Hole

video shows octopus going through small hole

A viral video proved the myth that an octopus can squeeze through any hole it can fit its beak into.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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