One of the downsides of living in the Information Age? It feels impossible to keep up! We’re awash in information all day, every day. The good news, of course, is that some things are worth knowing a lot more than others. The name of the second baseman for the ’92 Mets? Probably not important. But tips for living a better life? Well worth committing to memory. (Note: Apologies to baseball buffs.)
From practical tips to tidbits that can help you out in cocktail party conversation, here are 50 facts everyone should know. So read on, put on your learning caps, and feel your quality of life rise. And for some amazingly fun facts to share, check out these 100 Awesome Facts About Everything!
You Should Throw Away the Cotton in Your Pill 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. And for more great health facts, check out the 50 Best Supplements on the Planet.
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. And for more restaurant etiquette tips, here are 25 Things You Should Always Do at a Fancy Restaurant.
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. And for more tips on becoming a culinary master, check out these 5 Easy Kitchen Moves.
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. Now, this is actually a good thing, but if you want to limit the amount of microbes on your skin, learn about The Safest Way to Wash Your Hands.
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 information about the little ones in your life, here’s How to Avoid Spoiling Your Child.
You’re Tallest First Thing in the Morning
Intervertebral disks between your vertebra are filled with water. Over the course of a day, the weight of your body causes the water to diffuse out of the disks, and you can lose up to an inch in height by the time you go to bed at night. At night, while you’re sleeping, water can diffuse back into the disks.
So, if you’re feeling a bit on the short side, measure yourself when you first wake up. Another thing that could be making you shorter is bad posture from too much screen time. And for more on the importance of posture, read up on What is “Tech Neck,” and Do You Have It?
Chocolate Isn’t the Only Thing Dogs Can’t Eat
Yup, in many ways it’s not great to be a dog. Eating grapes or raisins, even in small quantities, can cause kidney failure or death. Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, tremors and depression. Onions and garlic both can give dogs anemia. Dogs should never eat any part of an avocado. Doing so can cause breathing difficulties or even death. The caffeine in coffee and tea is too much for a dog and can cause tremors, vomiting, and seizures. In large enough quantities, death is possible. Xylitol can lead to liver failure and death for dogs. Lemons and limes can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Stomach pain and seizures can result from your dog consuming nutmeg. And alcohol and raw yeasted dough can both give dogs alcohol poisoning. And for more information about keeping your dog in perfect health physically and mentally, here are 15 Signs Your Dog Is Depressed.
Baby Carrots Are Nothing Fancy
Most baby carrots you buy from the store are baby-cut carrots, which are actually just misshapen full-sized carrots that have been whittled down. (Who knew?) And if you’re curious about how you should eat your carrots—baby or full-size—read Why Eating Raw Food Is Better for You Than You Ever Knew.
You Should Sleep With Your Doors 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 70 Tips for Your Best Sleep Ever.
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. And if you really want to look good on the job, here’s How to Fireproof Your Career.
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. And for more great knowledge, don’t miss these 40 Random Obscure Facts That Will Make Everyone Think You’re a Genius.
Drowning Doesn’t Look the Way You Think It Does
In movies, when somebody is drowning, it is very flashy, with lots of screaming and flailing arms. In reality, people who are drowning can rarely call for help. Signs a person is drowning include being vertical in the water with their head tilted back, possibly hyperventilating, and appearing to be climbing an invisible ladder. They might also be face down in the water.
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 for more mind-blowing trivia, don’t miss these 40 Amazing Animal Facts.
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 Has a Name, 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.
Sleeping in a Cold Room Will 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. And for more great knowledge, bone up on the 40 Facts You Always Believed That Aren’t True.
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.”
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.
Goldfish Bowls Are Bad for Your Fish
Granted, goldfish bowls have a classic look, but what they don’t have is adequate filtration or oxygen for your fish. It’s better to get a proper aquarium.
Women Have More Pain Receptors Than Men
They also have a higher tolerance for pain, which is fortunate.
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.
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.
Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests Are As Good As Brand Name
Save yourself some money, because they are equally effective.
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.
If You Find Someone’s ID, Put It in a Mailbox
USPS will probably ship it to its owner, postage due. Also: make sure you have the correct address on your ID.
You Can Request a DMV Examination for Seniors
In some states, you can request that the DMV re-examine a senior. 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.
There’s Another Total Solar Eclipse Coming Soon
The next total solar eclipse visible in North America isn’t too far into the future—April 8, 2024, to be precise. So, if you missed the last one, you’ve got another chance.
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 Show Up Before the Polls Close
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.
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.
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.
You Shouldn’t Feed Ducks
You might think you’re doing the ducks a favor, but feeding them actually water pollution, poor nutrition, and can even delay migration. Just as it is with all wild animals, it’s best not to feed them, no matter how cute and happy they are when they eat little cubes of bread.
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.
Air Isn’t 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 were a thing for a bit in the late ’90s and early ’00s.
Everything Is Made of Chemicals
On the subject of science, everything (barring subatomic particles) is made of chemicals. That means that, despite what folks on the internet may tell you, something containing chemicals isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s probably worth noting that the length of a chemical’s name doesn’t correlate to how good or bad it is for you, either.
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.
Lilies Are Toxic to Cats
And not just a little, either. Eating just two leaves off a lily plant can be fatal to a cat in a few short days without treatment. If you’re a cat person, you should find a different houseplant to love.
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.
The Atmosphere Makes the Sky Blue
An effect called Rayleigh scattering is what makes the sky appear to be blue. Shorter wavelengths of light get absorbed by gas molecules in the air and scattered around the sky. Because of this, the blue light is everywhere you look, and the sky looks blue.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Wikipedia Can Be 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.
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.
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.
You Can Save Travel Time With Google
You can find your terminal and gate number by Googling your flight number rather than crowding around the sign at the airport. Google is often updated before the sign too, so you can find out sooner if your flight has been delayed or canceled. And if you want more ways to streamline the travel process, here are 20 Ways to Make Flying Less Miserable.
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