50 Facts About Life You Won't Believe You Didn't Already Know
From practical tips to amazing facts, these are the things everyone should know—including you.
With unlimited access to information at our fingertips at any given moment, it can be hard to keep up. Sometimes, the constant noise of social media and the 24-hour news cycle can even seem unescapable. The good news—which we could all use right about now—is that some things are worth knowing a lot more than others. From practical tips to tidbits that can help you out a your cocktail party, or virtual happy hour, here are 50 facts everyone should know. So read on to feel your quality of life rise.
You should throw away the cotton in your medication bottles.
Believe it or not, that little ball of cotton that comes in your bottle of pills, which is there to keep pills safe during shipping, is meant to be removed. It can collect moisture because of its absorbent nature, which makes your pills deteriorate faster.
It's easy to calculate a tip without a calculator.
Assuming you want to tip 20 percent for good service, move the decimal point one digit to the left and then double that number. It's that easy! For example, if a bill is for $35.50, you move the decimal to the left, which gives you $3.55. Double that number, and you've got $7.10—a 20 percent tip calculated in seconds.
You're tallest first thing in the morning.
If you're feeling a bit on the short side, measure yourself when you first wake up. According to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, This phenomenon may be due to gravity compressing cartilage in our spine and in other parts of our bodies, such as our knees when we stand up or sit down throughout the day. "While we are lying down in a resting position, the spine is said to "spread out" or decompress, so when we wake in the morning we are taller after lying in bed all night."
You should sleep with your door closed.
Sleeping with your doors closed will help protect you from smoke and toxic fumes in the event of a fire. And for more information on how to rest better at night, check out these 50 Tips for Your Best Sleep Ever.
Sleeping in a cold room can help you slim down.
Just a single month of sleeping in a 66-degree room helped increase subjects' fat-burning ability by as much as 10 percent, according to research from Commonwealth University.
You'll yawn more often than you eat breakfast.
Over the course of a lifetime, you'll yawn approximately 250,000 times, according to one expert on the subject. If you live to 70, that's about 10 yawns per day.
You can't breathe and swallow simultaneously.
"This is because the food and fluids we swallow and the air we breathe in both travel down the same part of our throat," according to registered psychiatric nurse James Steinmetz.
Fake smiles can hurt you.
It turns out that faking happiness can hurt your health. For a 2011 study published in the Academy of Management Journal, researchers looked at the behavior of bus drivers—a profession where people are required to have many friendly interactions throughout the day—and discovered that these people withdraw from their work while putting on a smile for show, and that that could have long-term deleterious health effects.
Babies don't have kneecaps.
Well, they do. It's just that they aren't made of bone. They're little bits of cartilage that have yet to ossify into bone. And for more on how to know when kids are being honest, check out 50 Lies Kids Say That Parents Always Fall For.
The color you see in pitch darkness has a name.
If you close your eyes in a completely dark room. When you open them, the color you see is called eigengrau, which means intrinsic gray. It's the shade of dark gray people see when there's no light.
The smell after it rains does, too.
It's called petrichor. It comes from an oil plants exude that dries on the ground. When it rains, the oil combines with a byproduct from a type of bacteria to produce the smell.
Craving ice is a symptom of iron deficiency.
If you like crunching ice after you finish your soda, you might be suffering from anemia. Also known as "pagophagia," the compulsive eating of ice may not just be a nervous tick, but a way of cooling inflammation in the mouth caused by a lack of iron, according to the Mayo Clinic. So if you like chomping down on those cubes, get thee to a doctor, stat.
Sharp knives are safer than dull knives.
Sharp knives aren't actually as likely to cut you as dull ones. Because a sharp knife easily slices through food, you only have to apply a small amount of pressure when using them. This means that you're more likely to cut the item you're intending to cut, and not your hand.
Dull knives, however, can't cut through food easily, and often cause injuries when resistance between the dull blade and the food's surface suddenly gives way, at which point the knife flies out of control. Since you have to use so much pressure to cut with a dull knife, they often cause deep cuts and gouges, as opposed to the minor nicks a sharper knife might inflict. Keep your knives sharp and hone those skills for maximum safety.
Tomato juice won't fix getting skunked.
Instead of dousing yourself in V8, make a mixture of dish soap, peroxide, and baking soda. The skunk spray is an oil, which your grease-fighting dish soap will take care of. Peroxide and baking soda add plenty of oxygen to the mix to help get rid of the smell.
Wikipedia is downloadable.
You can actually download the entirety of Wikipedia and keep it on a USB drive. Here's the link, if you'd like to eliminate the middle man and own the source.
And it can act as your tour guide.
If you allow Wikipedia to know your location, it can provide you with pages about subjects relevant to where you are using its "Nearby" function.
There are more life forms on your body than people on earth.
You are a planet teeming with microbes. Trillions of them inhabit your body. In fact, 90 percent of the cells in your body are actually composed of microbes.
And microscopic mites live on your face.
Don't freak out, but your face is crawling with eight-legged, spider-like creatures. Fortunately, they are microscopic and impossible to see—but, according to the BBC, they're mites with long, worm-like bodies residing in hair follicles and pores or sebaceous glands.
The size of your social circle is related to the size of your brain.
A scientist at Oxford discovered that the size of a person's "orbitomedial prefrontal cortex" (the part of a brain that identifies other people's moods and personalities) can predict the size of that person's social circle. The average prefrontal cortex averages out to around 147.8 friends in a social network.
And people with friends live longer.
People with active social networks and close friends they talk to live longer than people who rely only on family, according to researchers at Michigan State University. So, whenever possible, make time to see the members of your social circle, even if it's just for a coffee.
Your hair growth may have to do with your ethnic background.
While human hair generally grows at a rate of about six inches per year, there is some difference in growth rates based on ethnicity. According to research published in the International Journal of Dermatology, people of Asian descent tend to have faster-growing hair than those of other ethnic backgrounds.
Young adults are more likely to be living with their parents than on their own.
Don't have the cash for rent or a down payment? You're not alone. For the first time in over 130 years, more people between 18 and 34 are living with their parents than on their own or with a partner.
Taking aspirin during a heart attack may save your life.
Taking an aspirin at the first sign of a heart attack can be a lifesaver. The drug inhibits platelets from forming a clot that can block and artery and cause a full-on heart attack. For the fastest relief (and time is of the essence), chew the aspirin instead of swallowing it.
Most spreadsheets don't spellcheck.
Before you hand off that important spreadsheet, be sure to run a spellcheck manually to spare yourself any undue embarrassment.
Women can give birth after they die.
It's very rare, but it has been known to happen. Called "coffin birth," it's a phenomenon that occurs when a pregnant woman delivers a child spontaneously after her death—due to gases that built up in the abdominal area, putting pressure on the mother's uterus and forcing the baby out the birth passageway. One example of this was discovered in 2010 in the grave of a medieval woman who was buried in Italy, according to Smithsonian. (With modern embalming techniques, this doesn't really happen anymore.)
And men can get aroused post mortem.
Called priapism, it's most often seen in the corpses of men who have died by hanging and it's due to the pressure on the cerebellum created by the noose.
Shakespeare invented the name Jessica.
Well, it can't be proven that he invented it, per se. But the first written instance of the name is found in the Bard's 1596 play The Merchant of Venice: Shylock's daughter, an Anglicization of the biblical name Iscah, is named Jessica.
High heels were first designed for men.
Though closely identified as a female fashion staple today, high heels were first designed for men. At the end of the 16th century, Persian-inspired style was all the rage in Europe, according to the J. Paul Getty Museum, and heels were seen as being virile and masculine—and a great way to boost your height a few inches.
The Exorcist film set was haunted.
Based on the book by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist, released in 1973, stirred up quite a bit of controversy in the years surrounding its release. For starters, the set used as the home of Regan MacNeil burned to the ground when a bird flew into a circuit box. The only room left standing was the one used for the exorcism.
Even creepier, not only did actors suffer multiple injuries during the filming of the movie, two of them actually died shortly after filming wrapped—actors that played characters who died onscreen. To make matters worse, according to CBS News, when the film premiered in Rome, lightning struck a 400-year-old cross atop a nearby church.
There's a mental phenomenon that causes you to see monsters in mirrors.
Called the Troxler effect, and discovered as long ago as 1804, it causes those who experience it to think they see something fearsome in the mirror just on the periphery of their vision—whether they say "bloody Mary" three times or not.
There's a brewery in Japan that makes beer from elephant dung.
The brewery, Sankt Gallen, produces a beer called Un Kono Kuro, made with coffee beans that have passed through an elephant. It's a huge hit, according to Fox News.
Snow is a terrible way to stay hydrated.
When it comes to snow, it's water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. It requires a lot of energy for your body to convert something from a solid to a liquid, and while snow will provide a tiny amount of hydration, it will also lower your body temperature in the process, making you more prone to hypothermia.
Blue cheese can change your dreams.
Having strange dreams? It's time to skip the blue cheese on your salad. According to research from the British Cheese Board, eating blue cheese is particularly associated with vivid dreams.
You can request a DMV examination for senior citizens.
In some states, you can request that the DMV re-examine a senior citizen. So if Grandpa Joe isn't taking the hint that he's not safe behind the wheel, you can put the responsibility for nagging him about it solely on the shoulders of the DMV.
Dishwashers need washing, too.
If you've never cleaned your dishwasher, it might be time. Look up some instructional videos or hire a professional, and get that thing in tip-top shape. It will greatly improve your machine's performance.
The universe has a color.
Researchers at John Hopkins University took the average of light from over 200,000 galaxies. It turns out the universe is, on average, kind of beige. They named the color "cosmic latte."
Women have more pain receptors than men.
They also have a higher tolerance for pain than men do, according to Time.
You can use Amazon for charity.
Use Amazon Smile instead of plain old Amazon, and Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of your purchases to a charity of your choosing.
Many phones attach GPS data to your photos by default.
Many phones, including iPhones, track your location and attach that information to every picture you take by default. You can turn it off in your settings, but that doesn't remove the information from pictures you've already taken.
"I.e." and "e.g." are not the same thing.
I.e. is an abbreviation of id est, which means "that is," but you can remember what it means with the phrase "in essence." E.g., on the other hand, stands for exempli gratia, which means "for the sake of example," but can easily be remembered as "example given."
You only have to be in line before the polls close in order to vote.
You don't have to cast your vote before the polls close. As long as you're in line, you're legally allowed to vote.
You can leave everything you own to your pet.
Don't have any close friends who feel like good choices to inherit your fortune? Not a problem. Your pets can be listed as the beneficiaries of your will. However, as was the case with famed hotelier Leona Helmsley's prized pooch, their total payout may be reduced if your heirs contest the will—her pup only got $2 million of what was supposed to be a $12 million inheritance in the end.
Water won't put out a grease fire.
Water will make a grease fire much, much worse. Instead, starve the fire of oxygen by completely covering it and removing it from heat, if possible. Baking soda will also help put out a grease fire, as will a class B fire extinguisher.
You can (probably) mute your microwave.
Most modern microwaves come with a mute option. Sometimes it's as easy as finding the button that has "mute" written on it in small letters and holding that down for a while. Otherwise, check your owner's manual and exponentially improve your quality of life.
Finishing your antibiotics is crucial.
If you stop taking antibiotics before you're supposed to, any bacteria that didn't get killed can develop an immunity to that antibiotic and become a super-strain that's much more difficult to kill in the future. So keep taking your pills, even if you feel better.
You can blur your house on Google's street view.
Go to your house, click on it, and then click "report a problem" at the bottom of the screen. You can also do this for your face or your car.
You can cancel free trials before they expire.
Instead of accidentally getting duped into a membership to a service you don't want, simply cancel during the free trial period. With most free trials, you can cancel immediately after you sign up and still enjoy the entire trial period.
Escalator etiquette is real.
In the United States, it's customary to stand right and walk left on stairs and escalators, even if it's not posted anywhere.
There's a trick to foil and plastic wrap.
There are perforated spots on either side of a box of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Punch those tabs in, and they hold the foil or wrap in place, and you never have to deal with accidentally flinging a roll across the kitchen ever again.
Air isn't mostly oxygen.
Air is actually 78 percent nitrogen. An over abundance of oxygen can actually make you feel kind of high. That's why oxygen bars started to become a thing for a bit in the late '90s and early '00s.