200 Awesome Facts About Everything
Prepare to be amazed!
When you stop and think about it, you realize the world is truly an awesome place. From brilliant accidental inventions to the fact that sneezes sound different depending on where you live, this planet is filled with information that continues to amaze us. If you can’t get enough awesome facts, check out our comprehensive list of 200 extraordinary tidbits about absolutely everything. You’re bound to discover something new, from an orchestra made entirely of typewriters to the former purpose of champagne. (Seriously, when we say everything, we mean everything.)
The World’s Oldest Hotel Has Been Operating Since 705 A.D.
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi, Japan, holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest hotel in the world. The hot-spring hotel sits at the foot of the stunning Akaishi Mountains and has been in operation since it was founded by Fujiwara Mahito in 705 A.D. Since then, it’s been in the hands of some 52 generations of the same family for more than 1,300 years.
Yawning Cools Your Brain
Research conducted at the University of Vienna suggests that yawning may play an essential role in cooling our brains. But yawning to cool the brain is “not functional” when the outside temperature is as hot as the body, explained the study’s lead author Jorg Massen. And if you’re wondering: Yes, sleep deprivation does increase brain temperature, which could be a factor in why we yawn more when we’re tired.
It Takes 68 Days to Swim the Full Length of the Mississippi River
On July 4, 2002, marathon swimmer Martin Steel began a journey in northern Minnesota that saw him making his way down the 2,348-mile Mississippi River in an effort to become the first person to swim its entire length. On September 9, he reached his goal, ending up in the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana after an incredible 68-day journey. That’s about 34.5 miles a day!
There Is a Boston Typewriter Orchestra
When you’re in the mood to play a song or two, you could grab a guitar or sit down at a piano. But for some Massachusetts residents, typewriters are the instruments of choice. The Boston Typewriter Orchestra was founded in 2004 and its members use old typewriters to produce unique sounds that they turn into music—they’ve even released an album.
As typewriter musician Brendan Emmett Quigley explains, different typewriter models result in different noises. For example, “a Smith-Corona Galaxy 12 has a power space function that makes a nice metallic clang sound.”
Fleas Are Among the World’s Best Jumpers
Take that, Olympians! Fleas use their toes and shins to jump, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge. They can spring up to seven vertical inches, more than 80 times their height.
An Apple Can Last up to 10 Months
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, if you pick an apple off a tree, it’ll last a few weeks before it starts to soften and rot. But if you store an entire harvest under “controlled-atmosphere conditions,” it’ll last up to 10 months.
So, when you buy fruit at the grocery store, the produce may not be as fresh as you expect. “Apples are harvested once a year in the U.S.,” says Alisha Albinder, a fourth-generation fruit grower. “If you’re eating a New York apple not in the fall, then it’s safe to say that it’s been in storage.”
The Word “Tragedy” Comes from an Ancient Greek Word Meaning “Goat Song”
While “tragedy” is the word we use for a terrible event or a sad outcome, it has roots from the Middle English word “tragedie,” which can be traced back to Medieval Latin’s “tragēdia” and the Latin “tragoedia.” That word originates from the ancient Greek word “tragōidía,” meaning “goat song,” according to Oxford Dictionaries.
A commonly accepted theory for the etymology is that Greek tragedies were known as goat-songs because the prize in Athenian play competitions was a live goat.
The Creator of the Pringles Can is Buried in One
The ashes of Fredric Baur, who created the iconic Pringles can in 1966, found his eternal resting place in one when he died in 2008. And FYI, his remains are in an original flavor can.
The Wizard of Oz’s Full Name is Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs
In the original 1900 Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel, written by author L. Frank Baum, the titular magic man revealed that his full name was actually much longer: Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs.
In the story, Oz, as he calls himself, explains, “It was a dreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one of the hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When I grew up I just called myself O.Z., because the other initials were P-I-N-H-E-A-D; and that spelled ‘pinhead,’ which was a reflection on my intelligence.”
Penguins Used to Be Six Feet Tall
Those tiny tuxedo birds we know and love today used to be the size of a high school linebacker. According to a 2017 report published in Nature Communications, there’s evidence that extinct Kumimanu biceae penguins once stood close to 6 feet tall and weighed more than 200 pounds.
A Brewery in Canada Makes Beer Using Water from 20,000-Year-Old Icebergs
Everyone wants their beer to be cool and refreshing, but one Canadian brewery also wants their beer to be as pure as possible. That’s why Quidi Vidi Brewery in Newfoundland and Labrador harvests water directly from icebergs that are up to 20,000 years old and float down the area’s Iceberg Alley. According to NPR, “The ice formed tens of thousands of years ago from compacted snow … [which] means there are no minerals and lots of tiny bubbles trapped inside. It gives the golden beer a special, very light taste.”
The Slinky Was Created by Accident
Inventor Richard James, a naval engineer, was trying to create a spring that could help stabilize equipment on boats in choppy waters. However, his spring’s ability to move seemingly on its own proved more interesting and became the prototype for the Slinky in 1943.
At Any Given Moment, There Are Approximately 2,000 Thunderstorms Happening on Earth
Some areas of the planet experience extreme weather more often than others. But at any given time there are an estimated 2,000 thunderstorms happening in different locations on Earth, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Annually, there are about 16 million thunderstorms across the globe and around 100,000 of them occur somewhere in the United States.
Michelangelo Hated Painting the Sistine Chapel and Wrote a Poem About It
There are plenty of stories about how painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was quite literally a pain for Michelangelo—the artist had to be in an incredibly awkward position to complete the work of art. He supposedly hated the task so much that he wrote a poem about it.
The sonnet, which was originally written in his native Italian in 1509, has been translated by American poet Gail Mazur. Here’s a sample: “My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket, my breast twists like a harpy’s.”
A Million Earths Would Fit Inside the Sun
If the sun were hollow, you could fit a million Earths inside it, according to Cornell’s Ask an Astronomer. That’s because the sun has a radius 100 times that of the Earth!
The Letter Z Was Removed from the Alphabet for 200 Years
It’s hard to imagine an alphabet that doesn’t include A, Z, and every other letter in between. However, around 300 BC, the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus had Z removed from the alphabet due to the fact that it wasn’t used that much. The letter S was also nixed and the letter G was added. It took another 200 years for Z to make its way back to the end of the alphabet.
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council Ruled that Hot Dogs Aren’t Sandwiches
There are plenty of debates when it comes to what actually constitutes a sandwich. Is it anything that’s surrounded by something bread-like? What does that mean for tacos, burritos, hamburgers, and hot dogs?
While you can argue about the first three all you want, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) made an official ruling when it comes to hot dogs: They deemed that hot dogs are not sandwiches. “Limiting a hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy,’” said Janet Riley, the president of the NHDSC.
A Coffee Taster Had His Tongue Insured for £10 Million
Gennaro Pelliccia doesn’t just appreciate a good cup of coffee—he’s a professional coffee taster who works for England’s Costa Coffee company. His discerning tongue is so key to his job that he was able to insure it for a whopping £10 million ($11.3 million) with Lloyd’s of London. “My tongue and my ability to perceive different aromas are very important to my work,” Pelliccia told the Lifestyle Inquirer.
The Chills You Get When Listening to Music Are Caused by Your Brain Releasing Dopamine
Some songs affect you more than others, pumping you up with energy or making you cry ugly tears. And then there are tunes that give you the chills. When that happens, it’s due to the fact that your brain reacts to the stimulation by releasing dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that causes pleasure.
More People Tuned Into Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s Wedding Than for the Friends, Cheers, Seinfeld, and M*A*S*H finales combined
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding amassed nearly 30 million viewers in the U.S. The 2019 Super Bowl brought in more than 98 million viewers. But Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana had 750 million people worldwide tune in to see them wed!
There are 10 Different Ways to Pronounce the Letters “Ough”
No matter how you utter “ough,” there’s a good chance you’re saying it properly. That’s because there are 10 different ways to pronounce the widely versatile sound depending on how it’s being used. For instance, in “rough” it has an “uff” sound, while in “plough” it’s more like “ow.” In “through” it’s more like “ew” and in “though” it’s like “oh.” And now you know!
The Word for Black Belt in Japanese Translates to “First Step”
We might think of people with black belts as experts in martial arts who have endured years of rigorous training. But the word used for the ranking in Japanese, “shodan,” can be broken down and translated to “first step.”
The World’s Largest Pumpkin Weighs More Than a Sports Car
In 2016, Belgian native Mathias Willemijns set a new world record for growing the biggest pumpkin. The massive pumpkin weighed in at 2,624.6 pounds—that’s 129.6 pounds more than an Alfa Romeo 4C sports car.
“Natiform” Is a Term for Something That Looks Like a Bum
It’s always helpful to have a proper word to accurately describe what you see. And thankfully, if you spot something that looks like a bum, you can use the term “natiform,” which refers to anything that happens to resemble buttocks. So instead of calling a person a butthead, you can call them a natiform-head and really throw them for a loop.
Doctors Who Play Video Games More Than Three Hours a Week Make Fewer Operating Room Errors
Doctors who work in the operating room may want to start playing video games. A study published in the Archives of Surgery found that doctors who played video games for more than three hours each week made 37 percent fewer surgical errors than those who didn’t. They also performed 27 percent faster and scored 42 percent better on a the test of surgical skills.
According to the researchers, this supports earlier findings that video games can improve “fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, depth perception, and computer competency.”
The Average American Woman Owns Seven Pairs of Jeans and Only Wears Four
How many pairs of denim do you own? And how many do you actually wear? According to a national poll featured in ShopSmart, the average American woman owns seven pairs of jeans. However, despite the fact that 85 percent of women typically wear jeans at least once a week, they only tend to wear four pairs on a regular basis.
Dolly Parton Lost a Dolly Parton Lookalike Contest
Dolly Parton entered herself into a Dolly Parton lookalike contest for drag queens in 2012 and didn’t even win first place!
An NFL Referee Can Also Get a Super Bowl Ring
NFL players aren’t the only ones who can take home a Super Bowl ring. Referees who have earned the honor of officiating the sport’s biggest annual game are also recognized with the coveted pieces of jewelry.
According to Fox Sports, “The officials get Super Bowl rings just like the players do. They aren’t as big as the players’ rings, but they are still valuable pieces of jewelry. These rings mean the world to the officials and they wear them with such pride.”
The Lines on the Inside of Your Wrist Have a Name
If you look at the skin on the inside of your wrists, you’ll see a few lines that become deep creases when you bend your hand inwards. These grooves have a name—rasceta—in case you ever find a need to refer to them.
New York City Is Going to Get Bigger to Prepare for Climate Change
In March 2019, NYC’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to extend Manhattan’s shoreline into the East River in order to prepare for the potentially devastating effects of climate change. By extending the island by up to 500 feet with two city blocks of parkland, they hope to create a buffer zone that will save up to 70 percent of lower Manhattan from possible future floods.
A Sneeze Sounds Different Around the World
While people in English-speaking countries tend to say “achoo” and French-speaking countries go with the similar sounding “atchoum,” Germans say “hatschi” and the Japanese say “hakshun.”
A Belgian Pigeon Named Armando is Worth $1.4 Million
Armando isn’t just any old pigeon. The racing champ is a Belgian bird that, according to CNN, is the best long-distance racing pigeon “of all time.” In March 2019, a Chinese financier named Xing Wei bought Armando for a whopping $1.4 million, making him the most expensive bird ever to be sold at auction by a reportedly “huge” margin.
Mars Exploration Has Its Own Scottish Tartan
It may still be a few years until we land on Mars, but when we do, explorers will have the option to proudly wear the planet’s own tartan if they’d like. Designed by Geoffrey (Tailor) Highland Crafts, the pattern was inspired by the colors and history of the Red Planet, according to The Scottish Register of Tartans.
And here’s what it all means: “The red background depicts the surface of Mars, the Red Planet; blue depicts the water-rich past of Mars and the presence of water, mainly as ice, on the planet today; the four green lines represent Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, the presence of habitable conditions on the planet and the possible future presence of life in the form of human settlement; the thick white line represents the Martian poles, visible from the Earth, a conspicuous and important feature of the planet and its long-term climatic cycles.”
There Are More Than 60 Different Species of Eagles But Only Two Live in North America
Even though the mighty bird of prey is the national bird of the United States, there are only two species of Eagles living in North America: the bald eagle (which is the national bird and the national animal) and the golden eagle (the national bird of Mexico). There are more than 60 species of eagles on Earth and you can find various groups living on every continent, except for Antarctica.
A Symbol Used in Place of a Curse Word Is Called a Grawlix
When you use a jumble of symbols in place of a curse word, it’s perfectly clear what you mean (and certainly how strongly you feel). But what you might not know is that those symbols used in this particular way are called a grawlix.
The term was coined by late cartoonist Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey, although the use of grawlixes in comics preceded him.
Hairiness is Correlated With a Higher I.Q.
Spam Mail Got Its Name from Monty Python
If you’ve ever wondered why we call unsolicited email “spam,” just ask a Monty Python fan. The term was inspired by a skit from the British comedy group that featured Vikings loudly (and annoyingly, though hilariously) singing “spam, spam, spam” in an effort to drown out others who were trying to talk.
According to Wired, applying the analogy to modern-day spam works because “unsolicited email is seen as drowning out normal discourse on the internet.” Even Merriam-Webster dictionary credits Monty Python with the term, explaining that spam comes “from a skit on the British television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus in which chanting of the word ‘spam’ overrides the other dialogue.”
Facebook’s Blue Color Scheme is for Mark Zuckerberg’s Benefit
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg suffers from red-green colorblindness, and blue is the color he can see best.
A Pianist Set a Guinness World Record by Performing at a Record-Breaking Height in Honor of her Mom
On September 6, 2018, Evelina De Lain of the U.K. played a piano at Singge La Pass in India at a record-setting 16,227 feet. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, De Lain was determined to perform the feat as a tribute to her mother who passed away the previous year from cystic fibrosis.
She also used her concert at the breathtaking location to raise awareness about the disease. “The windchill was extreme and everybody thought I would only last about 10 minutes,” De Lain admitted. Instead, she played for more than an hour.
Picasso Was a Suspect in the 1911 Mona Lisa Theft
When Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was stolen in 1911, 30-year-old Pablo Picasso was questioned about its disappearance before being cleared.
President Obama is a Two-Time Grammy Winner
Former President Barack Obama has two Grammys, both for spoken word albums: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming the American Dream and Dreams From My Father.
There’s a Word for When You Can’t Remember a Word
There’s actually a word for when you’re trying to say something and suddenly forget a specific word. It’s “lethologica.” But is there a different word for when you can’t remember the word for when you can’t remember a word? Not yet!
The Record Lowest Temperature in the U.S. Was -80°F
It can get pretty chilly in some parts of the U.S., but the coldest recorded temperature ever in the country happened in January 1971 in Prospect Creek, Alaska. While it might be hard to believe—and will certainly make you shiver at the thought—it dropped down to a staggering -80°F (-62.2°C). Brrrr!
Male Monkeys Will Pay to Look at Female Monkeys
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered that male rhesus macaques will pay—that is, give up their “juice rewards”—to check out the backsides of lady macaques. True story!
A “Ghost Word” Is a Word that Became a Word by Error
On occasion, a word finds its way into existence not because of normal linguistic evolution or a cultural reference, but rather due to a mistake like a misinterpretation or a misprint in the dictionary. These terms are called “ghost words.”
For instance, in 1934, Webster’s Second New International Dictionary included the non-existent word “dord” after someone misread a note written by Austin M. Paterson, Webster’s former chemistry editor. According to Grammarly, “The note said ‘D or d, cont./density,’ and it referred to the uppercase letter D (or lowercase d) being used as an abbreviation for density. ‘D or d’ became ‘dord,’ a word that meant ‘density.’” A Webster’s editor noticed the error five years later and removed it from the dictionary, but other dictionary compilers repeated the initial error, allowing the word to haunt the English language for far too long.
Legal Sea Food’s Clam Chowder Has Been Served at Every Presidential Inauguration Since Reagan
During former President Ronald Reagan‘s first inauguration in 1981, he insisted that food from every state be included. Legal Sea Foods’ clam chowder was to represent Massachusetts and has been at every inauguration since then.
President Donald Trump nearly ended the tradition, until it was decided days before his inaugural ceremonies to serve the dish.
The Burnt Part of a Candlewick Is Called the “Snaste”
While it might be a word that you won’t find yourself using any time soon, the burnt part of a candlewick is called the “snaste.”
Horseshoe Crabs Have Eyes All Over Their Bodies
Horseshoe crabs have 10 eyes in total, including ones near their mouth, on the top of their shell, and down their tail.
Lenny Kravitz and Al Roker Are Related
While the mild-mannered weatherman and the rock star may have drastically different demeanors, they’re actually pretty closely related: Al Roker and Lenny Kravitz share a great-great-grandfather.
Cheese May Prevent Nightmares
In a 2013 study conducted by the British Cheese Board, all participants who ate cheese before bed reported having no nightmares. But blue cheese consumption did have a tendency to make dreams a bit odd.
French Poodles Aren’t French
The French Poodle is widely believed to have first been bred in Germany, not France. In fact, the word “poodle” comes from the German word “pudelhund,” a combination of words meaning “dog” and “to splash.”
Night Owls Tend to Be Smarter Than Early Birds
Feel bad that you’re never well-rested enough to head out for a jog before the sun’s up? Don’t be. Research published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests that night owls tend to have higher I.Q.s than early risers.
Every Dutch Police Car Has a Teddy Bear in It
Dutch Police carry teddy bears with them on the job in case they need to help out a traumatized child.
There Is a Blonde Zebra in Africa
Zebras are famous for their striking black and white striped appearance, but there’s one zebra that was spotted in Africa’s Serengeti National Park that isn’t like the others.
In February 2019, photographer Sergio Pitamitz came across an extremely rare “blonde” zebra. “At first I thought it was a zebra that had rolled in the dust,” Pitamitz said. But scientists believe that the golden-colored zebra likely has partial albinism.
It’s Illegal to Sell Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night
The next time you visit Paris, be sure to take a few pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower like a proper tourist. However, you should be aware of the fact that while it’s totally legal to snap pics of the tower during the day, it’s illegal to sell photos of the tower at night. That’s because the rights to the building’s evening light show belong to the artist who created it, so the image is therefore protected under French law.
There’s a Patron Saint for Dentists
Saint Apollonia is the patron saint of dentists and tooth problems. You can pray to her before your annual visit.
Hawaiian Pizza is Canadian
David Hasselhoff’s Divorce Settlement Included Ownership of the Nickname “The Hoff”
After David Hasselhoff found fame thanks to starring roles on TV shows like Knight Rider and Baywatch, he not only earned a nickname from fans, “The Hoff,” he also became associated with the catchphrase “Don’t hassle the Hoff.”
And apparently, the terms are so lucrative and so key to his career, that when Hasselhoff divorced Pamela Bach in 2008, their settlement included the actor keeping the rights to both the nickname and the catchphrase.
The World’s Longest Fingernails Are More Than Two Feet Long
Neanderthals Mass Produced Tools in a “Flintstone Factory” 60,000 Years Ago
Fred and Wilma may not have worked there in reality, but it turns out that there was, in fact, a “flintstone factory” 60,000 years ago.
Recently, archaeologists in Poland discovered a massive workshop that they believe was used by Neanderthals to make thousands of flint tools. Those working on the site found more than 17,000 stone items, making it the first large Neanderthal work area discovered in Central Europe that isn’t in a cave.
A Shrimp’s Heart Is in Its Head
A shrimp exoskeleton is divided into two distinct parts: one that contains its head, and one that includes the tail. The shrimp’s heart is located in the former section, behind its face and stomach.
Three Presidents Have Died on July 4th
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all passed away on Independence Day.
Scientists Believe They’ve Found Fossils from the Day the Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs
At a location in Tanis, North Dakota, University of Kansas PhD student Robert DePalma found a “treasure trove” of fossilized freshwater fish, trees, and marine ammonites that appear to be from the day an asteroid hit the Earth.
The impact created the Chicxulub crater and triggered a tsunami that killed a mix of land and sea organisms that were found together in the area. David Burnham, co-author of a paper based on research from the discovery, said, “The sedimentation happened so quickly everything is preserved in three dimensions—they’re not crushed.”
Barry Manilow Wrote the State Farm and Band-Aid Jingles
In addition to co-writing hits like “Copacabana” and “Mandy,” Barry Manilow has authored a number of famous jingles. This includes the iconic “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle, and the classic, “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.”
The “ManhattAnt” Is a Species of Ant Unique to New York City
In 2012, scientists discovered the “ManhattAnt,” a previously unknown species of the insect that appears to exclusively live in New York City where Broadway meets 63rd street and also 76th street.
They believe the critter, which is related to the cornfield ant, may have evolved on its own due to its isolation in the city. The ant has adapted to its warmer, drier, concrete-covered environment.
Mr. Clean’s Name Changes Around the Globe
In Germany, he’s Meister Proper, and in Spain, he’s Don Limpio.
Goats Have Unique Accents
The Earth Weighs About 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pounds
Earth may be too big to pop on a scale, but, according to NASA and the California Institute of Technology’s Cool Cosmos, scientists have used their knowledge of the laws of gravity and applied that to some fancy-schmancy mathematical equations to figure out that our planet weighs about 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds.
The World’s Oldest Tortoise is Twice as Old as Queen Elizabeth
Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise living on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, is thought to be 187 years old. That makes him more than twice as old as Queen Elizabeth!
Charles Dickens Always Had His Bed Facing North
Charles Dickens was responsible for writing classic literary works like Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. And while he obviously had a talent for the written word, he was an insomniac who believed that his creativity was dependent on his bed pointing northward. He also insisted on sleeping right in the middle with his arms outstretched and his hands equal distances from the edge.
One Region in Canada Has Lower Gravity Than Other Parts of the World
In Canada, the Hudson Bay region seems to be “missing” gravity. This strange phenomenon was first identified in the 1960s, according to Global News.
Scientists believe that it’s caused by “a combination of convection occurring in the Earth’s mantle and the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which left an indent on the area after it melted 10,000 years ago.” That indent means less mass, which in turn means less gravity.
350 Slices of Pizza Sell Every Second in America
To keep up with demand, approximately 17 percent of all American restaurants are pizzerias.
The World’s Largest Waterfall Is Underwater in the Ocean
The largest waterfall on the planet is underwater beneath the Denmark Strait, an area that separates Iceland and Greenland. At the bottom, there is a series of waterfalls that begin 2,000 feet under the surface and drop nearly two miles down to a depth of 10,000 feet.
It Only Appears as if Our Hair and Nails Keep Growing After We Die
You may have been told at some point in your life that our hair and nails continue to grow after we die. But that’s not quite true. Instead, due to the fact that our skin dries out and therefore pulls back after we pass away, it merely appears as if our nails and hair are getting longer because more of them are exposed.
The World’s Fist Hamburger Was Actually a Smushed Meatball
Hamburgers lovers may want to make a trip to Seymour, Wisconsin, which claims to be the place where the beloved burger was first made. In 1885, Charlie Nagreen apparently served the very first hamburger at the Seymour Fair when he flattened a meatball—which weren’t selling terribly well—and placed it between slices of bread to make it easier to carry around and eat.
Ernest Hemingway’s Former Home is Overrun With Cats
The famed author’s former home in Key West, Florida, is home to 54 cats. Ernest Hemingway was particularly fond of polydactyl cats, and these largely make up the population of felines at his home today.
Tiny Pumpkin Toadlets Have a Glow-in-the-Dark Skeleton
Researchers from New York University have discovered a species of small Brazilian frogs called pumpkin toadlets. While the name is enough to make this tiny creature notable, what makes it truly extraordinary is the fact that the animals glow under a UV light. And while the fluorescence shows up on the surface of their skin, it actually emanates from their bones.
“Aviation English” Is the Language All Pilots Must Speak, No Matter What Nationality They Are
Pilots from all over the world make trips to international destinations, which means it’s incredibly important for both pilots and those coordinating air traffic to be able to clearly communicate and understand one another. That’s why they use “Aviation English,” a 300-word language that senior aircrew are required to know no matter where they come from or what their native language is.
Otters Hold Hands
Early Americans Used Corn Cobs as Toilet Paper
If you think using anything less than two-ply toilet paper is roughing it, then imagine what it must have been like to use dried out cobs of corn. That’s exactly what early Americans did in rural farming communities while they were settling the U.S.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, “dried corncobs…were plentiful, and quite efficient at cleaning … They were also softer on tender areas than you might think. Even after toilet paper became available, some people in Western states still preferred corncobs when using the outhouse.”
Ketchup Used to Be Considered a Medicine
Polar Bears Don’t Have White Skin or Fur
That white fur polar bears seem to sport is actually two layers of clear fur that appear white to the human eye. Underneath that coat, their skin is actually black.
Sudan Has Almost Twice as Many Pyramids as Egypt
Most people automatically associate pyramids with Egypt, which isn’t surprising since it boasts some magnificent examples of the impressive structures. However, Sudan actually has more pyramids than Egypt. While Egypt has between 118 and 138, depending on the account, Sudan has nearly twice as many, in the range of 200 to 255. The pyramids there served the same purpose as the ones in Egypt; they are the final resting places of numerous members of royalty.
Barbie and Ken Have Full Names
Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. Ken’s full name is Kenneth Carson.
About 1 Out of Every 2,000 Babies Is Born With a Tooth
While most babies start getting teeth when they’re around six months old, around one out of every 2,000 babies is actually born with a tooth, known as a natal tooth. There are four kinds of natal teeth—fully developed but loose teeth, loose teeth with no roots, tiny teeth already poking through the gums, and teeth about to cut through the gums.
T-Mobile Owns the Color Magenta
In 2014, the brand successfully trademarked the color and a Texas judge ruled that similar colors, even with different names, can’t be used by other telecom companies.
The Only Words That Rhyme With “Purple” Are “Hirple” and “Curple”
While “purple” is a common word that’s used fairly often, there are only two obscure words that rhyme with it—and you’re not likely to use either any time soon. First, there’s “hirple,” which means to limp awkwardly. Secondly, there’s “curple,” an old Scottish word for a leather strap that goes beneath the tail of a horse to secure its saddle. Try using that in a sentence.
The Spanish National Anthem Has No Lyrics
Spain’s national anthem,”Marcha Real,” or “Royal March,” doesn’t have any official lyrics. It was written as a military march, and as such, was not intended to be sung.
A Cat’s Ear Has 32 Muscles
If you’ve ever wondered how your cat seems to hear every little noise from rooms away, blame it on their highly-developed ears. A cat’s ear contains 32 muscles, some of which account for their aural aptitude, providing their ears with a wide range of motion to detect sound.
The Vatican’s ATMs Are in Latin
There Are Frogs Smaller Than Your Fingernails
In March 2019, three new species of incredibly itty-bitty frogs were discovered in Madagascar, according to the journal PLOS One. The largest of the frogs was a teensy-weensy 1.4 centimeters in length, while the tiniest is 0.8 centimeters, which is smaller than your fingernail. The frogs are now thought to be among the smallest vertebrates on the planet and have been added to an appropriately named genus that was made up just for them: Mini.
Specifically, they’ve been deemed Mini mum, Mini scule, and Mini ature. Evolutionary biologist Mark Scherz explained, “We searched all the databases we could find, and nobody seemed to have used the [Mini] name before. From there, the puns just fell into place.”
Spotted Skunks Do Handstands
Unfortunately, this cute little dance only happens before it sprays. So if you see it, get out of there ASAP.
A “Gowpen” Is What You Call It When You Cup Your Hands
A “gowpen” is the term for the useful hollow area that you create to scoop water.
There’s a Town in Western New York Populated by Psychics
Lily Dale, a town an hour southwest of Buffalo, New York, has a population of just 275, virtually all of whom are psychics and other spiritualists.
Asteroids Named After Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan Met Up Near Earth
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were so charming together in 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle that the two actors teamed up five years later for 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. And 13 years later, they reunited once again—in a way. An asteroid that named 8353 Megryan in 1989 and an asteroid that was named 12818 Tomhanks in 1996 both made their closest approaches to Earth in September 2011.
Female Lions Do More Hunting Than Males
Female lions tend to be the primary hunters in their prides, while male lions tend to enjoy the leftovers from the female lions’ hard work. Typical. Right, ladies?
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Was Originally a Political Movie
The script for the unpopular Dirty Dancing sequel that was released in 2004 was originally a political romance. Written by NPR’s Peter Sagal, the original script was called Cuba Mine and told the story of the romance between a Cuban revolutionary and an American teen in the 1950s. Welcome to Hollywood, where a script for a political period piece can be transformed into a romantic dance-movie sequel.
San Francisco is Mostly Water
The 232 square miles that make up this Bay Area city are 80 percent water, 20 percent land.
Early Horses Had 14 Toes Total, While Modern Horses Only Have Four
Equine is the term for animals who have a single toe on each foot, such as zebras, donkeys, and horses. But these are modern creatures. Their ancient ancestors that lived around 55 million years ago were not only smaller (more dog-like in size), but they also had 14 toes—four toes on their front feet and three on their back.
Shakespeare Popularized the Name Jessica
Jessica, one of the most popular names in America for the better part of the 1980s and 1990s, was actually coined by William Shakespeare. The first instance of the common spelling of this name comes from The Merchant of Venice, written by the bard in the late 1500s.
There is a Hot Pink Lake in Australia
Western Australia’s Lake Hillier has a naturally-occurring pink hue. While scientists aren’t entirely sure why this is, it likely has to do with the carotenoid pigments produced by microalgae in the water.
There Has Been One Documented Albino Penguin Chick
Penguins are undeniably quirky creatures and baby penguins are absolutely adorable. But the baby albino penguin born at a Polish zoo in December 2018 is almost too cute to believe.
And while its white feathers might look cool, Vikki McCloskey, curator of the California Academy of Science Steinhart Aquarium, explained to IFLScience that it will likely affect how other penguins view him. “Juvenile penguins don’t have their tuxedos until they go through their first adult molt,” she said. “If this bird never gets a tuxedo then I imagine the other birds would consider it a juvenile no matter how old it is.”
Stephen King Bought—and Smashed—the Automobile That Nearly Killed Him
Prolific horror writer Stephen King laughed death in the face when he purchased the van that hit and nearly killed him in 1999. “I’m going to take a sledgehammer and beat it!” King announced to Maine’s Bridgton News after shelling out $1,500 for the car.
The Empire State Building Has Its Own ZIP Code
The Empire State Building isn’t only an iconic building, it’s also the location of so many businesses that it had to be given its very own zip code. If you need to send mail to 20 West 34th Street, despite it being in the 10001 area, you use the special 10118 zip code.
Chuck E. Cheese is a Nickname
Much like Barbie and Ken, Chuck E. Cheese is just your favorite anthropomorphic mouse’s nickname. His full name is Charles Entertainment Cheese.
A Dog’s Nose Is the Equivalent of a Human Fingerprint
Your dog’s nose has a unique pattern to it, just like a human fingerprint.
“She Sells Seashells by the Seashore” Was Likely Written About a 1800s Female Paleontologist Who Sold Dinosaur Bones
While “she sells seashells by the seashore” is a terrifically tricky tongue-twister, it’s also a bit of history. The saying is thought to have been inspired by Mary Anning, a woman who was born in 1799 and ran a little fossil stand on Dorset Beach in England, a location that’s also known as the Jurassic Coast due to the plentiful amount of dinosaur bones in the area.
Anning was also responsible for finding some of the first dinosaur fossils unearthed in Britain, including a complete 200 million-year-old ichthyosaurus skeleton that she came across when she was just 12 years old.
The Color Orange Was Named After the Fruit
In contrast to popular belief, the fruit wasn’t named for its color, but the other way around. The first known use of the word “orange” to describe a color in English took place in 1512.
The Largest Sand Castle Ever Can Be Seen from Space
In February 2019, artists in Dubai spent more than 2,400 hours creating the largest sand image ever constructed. At 170,890 square feet—the equivalent of more than 12 Olympic-size swimming pools—the image carved out of natural sand is so massive that it can be seen from space. Titled “Prince of Humanity,” the piece features the image of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait.
George Washington Was a Prolific Whiskey Maker
America’s first president was quite adept at making whiskey. In fact, George Washington’s distillery at Mount Vernon produced close to 11,000 gallons of the stuff. The site of the former distillery now makes small-batch whiskeys.
New York’s Washington Square Park is a Former Graveyard
As you sit on that bench, sipping your coffee and trying to avoid New York University students, more than 20,000 bodies are underneath your feet.
Jerry Springer Was Born in a London Subway Station During World War II
Jerry Springer is best known for very explosive TV show, but his entrance into the world was no less dramatic. When Springer was born in London in 1944, it was the middle of World War II and his mother gave birth to him in Highgate subway station, which was being used as a bomb shelter at the time. “During the war, women who were in their ninth month would often spend the night in the subway stations because those were the bomb shelters,” Springer explained to the BBC.
There’s an Opposite of Deja Vu
Called “jamais vu,” this phenomenon describes when you know something has happened before, but it seems unfamiliar.
Selfies Kill More People Than Sharks
According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been just 439 fatal shark attacks worldwide since 1958. That’s just 7.5 shark-related deaths per year. However, in India alone, 27 people perished from selfie-related accidents in 2015, according to the Washington Post.
There Are Seven U.S. Towns Named After Santa
There’s a town named Santa Claus in Arizona, Georgia, and Indiana, and ones named Saint Nicholas in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
There Are More Than a Million Ants For Every Person on Earth
Human count: 7.4 billion. Ant count: 10,000 trillion. Guard your picnic well.
Dextrophobia Is the Fear of Having Objects to Your Right
You might be afraid of spiders and you could definitely be terrified of snakes—or, if you have dextrophobia, those two things might only freak you out if they’re on your right side. Dextrophobia is the morbid fear of things located on the right side of the body. It can also be a fear of right-handedness.
Andrew Jackson Owned a Lewd Parrot
President Andrew Jackson taught his pet parrot to curse. The bird was later kicked out of the former president’s funeral for swearing during the service, according to one Jackson biographer.
The Longest Underwater Kiss Lasted 20 Minutes and 11 Seconds
In March 2012, Nikolay Linder of Germany set the Guinness World Record for the longest underwater kiss at 20 minutes and 11 seconds (the other person involved in the smooch was unnamed in the record). This beat the previous 2010 record of 3 minutes and 24 seconds set by Michele Fucarino and Elisa Lazzarini.
Christmas With the Kranks Was Inspired by John Grisham
Best known for his legal thrillers, author John Grisham also wrote Skipping Christmas, a novel that served as the basis for the 2004 holiday comedy Christmas With the Kranks, one of the worst Christmas movies of all time.
Aquatic Snail Teeth Are the Hardest Natural Material
The teeth of limpets, a type of aquatic snail, can withstand more pressure than it takes to create diamonds from carbon. We should be wearing those on our fingers!
Elephants Bury Their Dead
While sad to imagine, elephants are among the few animals that bury their dead. After a member of their pack dies, elephants not only cry, but they also create graves for their dead and cover their bodies with leaves.
Jane Austen Referenced Baseball 40 Years Before it Was Officially Invented
While it’s commonly believed that baseball was invented in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, Jane Austen referenced the sport 40 years earlier. In the opening pages of Northanger Abbey in 1797, Austen wrote, “It was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, base-ball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books.”
Author Julian Norridge thinks that it was a term that Austen’s readers would have to have been familiar with since she didn’t bother to explain it further. He says that means there is “no doubt [baseball] was being played in Britain in the late 18th century, and equally no doubt that it traveled to America.”
Purdue University Created a Licking Machine to Finish Tootsie Pops
If you’ve ever wanted to know how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop without having to eat one, Purdue University researchers have done the hard work for you. It took their licking machine 364 licks, while human volunteers got to the center in just 252.
A British Man Created an All-Lego House
A Cat Served as the Mayor of an Alaska Town
Stubbs, an orange cat, was the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for 20 years. He was in office until his death in 2017.
You Can See Four States from the Top of Chicago’s Willis Tower
The next time you’re in Chicago, be sure to head up to the top of Willis Tower. From the sky deck, which is 1,353 feet above the ground, you’ll be able to see four different states on a clear day—Illinois (of course), Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Champagne Was Once Used as Shoe Polish
In the early 20th century, men of society eschewed traditional polish, using champagne to shine their shoes instead. In fact, Olga Berluti, a high-end shoe designer whose company is owned by the LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) umbrella, still uses Dom Pérignon to polish her famed shoes.
Astronauts Celebrate Christmas in Space
Not only do astronauts aboard the International Space Station get the day off for Christmas, they also have presents delivered to them in space. Astronauts spend the day eating together and unwrapping gifts, and some even dress up for the occasion.
The Inventor of the Internet Regrets the URL Setup
When Tim Berners-Lee created the setup we now use for every website URL on the internet, he included the double slash “//” after the “http:” because it was “a programming convention at the time,” he told The New York Times.
But he later admitted that the slashes “turned out to not be really necessary.” “Look at all the paper and trees that could have been saved if people had not had to write or type out those slashes on paper over the years—not to mention the human labor and time spent typing those two keystrokes countless millions of times in browser address boxes,” he said.
The Pacific Ocean Houses a Mysterious Singing Whale
Known as The Loneliest Whale, this whale sings at a significantly higher pitch than any other blue whale ever discovered. While he’s never been seen, researchers think his strange songs may be keeping him from finding a mate.
May 29 Is “Put a Pillow On Your Fridge Day”
If you’re looking for some good luck, then be sure to put a pillow on your fridge on May 29th. Seriously!
The silly sounding “Put a Pillow On Your Fridge Day” is a modern twist on an old custom of ensuring good fortune by placing a cloth in a larder (a cool storage area that was used before refrigerators became common in kitchens). Nowadays, simply popping a pillow in your fridge will apparently do the trick.
Sea Cucumbers Fight by Shooting Out Their Internal Organs Which Will Grow Back
Sea cucumbers may look like chubby vegetable-like creatures that live a rather uninteresting existence underwater, but they actually have a pretty wild way of defending themselves. When sea cucumbers are threatened, they shoot their internal organs out in self-defense. That may seem like an extreme way of protecting oneself, but it’s not fatal—the animal’s organs will eventually grow back.
Dentistry Is One of the Oldest Professions, Dating Back to 7000 B.C.
The next time you avoid visiting the dentist, consider that people have been getting their teeth checked for millennia. Humans have always had dental issues, which is why the history of dentistry can be traced all the way back to 7000 B.C. By 5000 B.C., dentists had written texts about how they believed tooth worms caused dental decay—an idea that wasn’t proven false until the 1700s.
The Word “Computer” Was Used to Refer to a Person in the 1600s
Nowadays, the word computer refers to the super handy piece of tech that can be used for everything from drafting work documents to spending hours watching adorable cat videos online. But in 1613, it was a term used to refer to a person. Then, in 1869, it switched to a machine before becoming the word for an electronic device in 1946.
Darth Vader Never Says “Luke, I Am Your Father”
The Very Middle of America is 2 Miles Northwest of Lebanon, Kansas on a Pig Farm
If you search for Lebanon, Kansas on a map, you’ll find yourself looking at the very middle of America. According to data from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, the geographic center of the contiguous United States is two miles northwest of the center of the town.
And if you want to visit it in person, you’ll need permission first: The direct center of the country is on a privately owned pig farm. However, at the end of a nearby paved road, there’s a historic plaque marking the spot as well as a picnic table and tiny six-person chapel with a guest book that you can sign to commemorate your visit.
Bulls Can’t See Red
Although the bright red color of a matador’s cape is said to be what angers the bull, the animal can’t actually discern its hue. Cows—bulls included—are generally red-green colorblind; it’s the motion of the swinging fabric that incenses them enough to charge.
Platypuses Moms Nurse Their Babies By Sweating Milk
The platypus is a curious creature for plenty of reasons, including the fact that the animal nurses its young despite having no nipples. Instead, female platypuses secrete milk from special mammary glands that make the liquid ooze from the surface of their skin. It looks more like sweat than the breast milk humans are familiar with.
There’s an Island in Japan Almost Entirely Populated by Bunnies
Ōkunoshima, also known as Rabbit Island, is a Japanese island that is predominantly populated by rabbits. Formerly the home of a World War II-era poison gas factory, the island is now overrun with adorable rabbits, and has become a major tourist destination.
British Military Tanks Are Equipped With a Tea-Making Area
It’s no secret that the Brits like tea, but they apparently consider it such a vital part of their routine that their military tanks are even equipped with an area specifically designed to allow those inside to brew a cup or two. The Vessel Boiling Electric heats water for tea and can also be used by hungry soldiers to cook food.
Daniel Radcliffe Was Allergic to Harry Potter’s Glasses
Harry Potter’s glasses may have been a key part of the young wizard’s iconic appearance, but Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Potter throughout the film franchise, was allergic to his character’s signature specs. “I had these two rings of whiteheads and spots that had come up around my eyes and it took us a week to realize that it was actually the glasses,” he told ABC News.
The issue was reportedly a sensitivity to the nickel in the original pair, so Radcliffe was instead given glasses made from hypoallergenic materials.
Most Wasabi Paste Isn’t Real Wasabi
If you enjoy wasabi when you’re at a sushi restaurant, you might be surprised to find out that what you’re actually eating probably isn’t wasabi at all. That’s because real wasabi is expensive. The green paste is instead likely horseradish, which is in the same family as wasabi like other “Brassicaceae,” such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, mustard, and watercress.
Avocados Don’t Ripen on Trees
If you want to get that perfect-for-guacamole texture, they have to be plucked first.
Olympic Gold Medals Are Only Partially Gold
When the world’s top athletes win gold medals at the Olympics, what they take home is only partially gold. While the medals were originally pure gold, the last of those were awarded in 1912. These days, both the gold and silver medals are 92.5 percent silver. Gold medals only look the way they do because they have to be plated with at least six grams of gold.
There’s Only One Flying Mammal in the World
The bat is the only mammal that can actually fly. Other animals that give the appearance of flying, like flying squirrels, are just gliding through the air (albeit up to 660 feet at a time).
You Need 10 Years of Cheesemaking Experience to Even Apply to Become a Master Cheesemaker
The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program isn’t for amateur dairy lovers. The prestigious program is so elite that candidates are required to have had a Wisconsin cheesemaker’s license for at least 10 years before they’re even eligible to apply. You also have to pass a series of courses on subjects like Cheese Technology, Cheese Grading (not grating), and another on being a Cheese Artisan.
You’re Most Likely to Die on Your Birthday
According to research published in the Annals of Epidemiology, people over 60 have a 14 percent higher chance of dying on their birthday than on any other day.
Your Dog Is as Smart as Your Toddler
According to the American Psychological Association, dogs are approximately as intelligent as your average two-year-old and can understand more than 150 words. Also much like a toddler, dogs can deceive people and other animals when they want a treat.
McDonald’s Serves Spaghetti in the Philippines
Americans who like fast food might be used to ordering a Quarter Pounder or a Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’s, but the chain offers a variety of different items on their menus around the world to suit local tastes. If you’re in the Philippines, you can order a combo that includes a chicken drumstick and spaghetti—or more specifically, a one-piece Chicken McDo with McSpaghetti.
Google Was Nearly Called BackRub
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin created what we now know Google back in 1996, they initially called it BackRub. The name was a nod to the way the search engine analyzed the web’s “back links” to determine how important a site was. A year later, Page and Brin decided they needed to upgrade to a name that indicated just how much data they were indexing. Eventually, they came up with “Google,” a take on the number “googolplex,” which is the digit 1 followed by 10100 zeroes.
The Winner of the North American Wife Carrying Championship Gets Their Spouse’s Weight in Beer
If you’re the big winner of the North American Wife Carrying Championship—which literally involves carrying your significant other through a lengthy obstacle course as fast as you can without dropping them—you’ll be awarded with your spouse’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.
In order to figure out how much that is, the wife gets up on a seesaw and cases of beer are placed on the other side until the two sides even out. The winner can also choose to compete at the World Championship held annually in Finland where the activity originated.
If you play music for a turkey, it might just sing along with it. You can have a listen here.
Pizza Hut Used to Buy More Kale Than Anyone in the U.S.
Back when Pizza Hut had salad bars, the chain was the largest purchaser of kale in the United States. However, that kale wasn’t making it into salad: It was just used to spruce up the look of the salad bar. My, how times have changed.
Divers Found the Remains of a 27,000-Year-Old Giant Sloth Stuck in a Sinkhole
In 2014, while divers in central Belize were looking for Mayan artifacts in a deep sinkhole, they came across something a lot older—the remains of a giant sloth that got stuck and died a staggering 27,000 years ago. To be precise, it was a humerus, femur, and a tooth that they found, which helped them determine the animal’s age.
A Flock of Ravens Is Called an “Unkindness” or a “Conspiracy”
If you ever spot a flock of ravens hanging out together, what you’re seeing is called an “unkindness” or a “conspiracy.” Hmm, suspicious, indeed.
In Michigan, You’re Never Further than Six Miles from a Body of Water
No matter where you are in the state, you’ll never be more than six miles from a body of water. On top of that, you’ll also be within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.
Cell Phones Are Illegal in One West Virginia Town
In Green Bank, West Virginia, no wireless signals are allowed, because they could interfere with the operation of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s radio telescope.
A Grizzly-Polar Bear Hybrid Is Either Called a “Grolar Bear” or “Pizzly Bear”
There are grizzly bears and there are polar bears, and when the two come together to make a little bear baby, it’s called either a “grolar bear” (the offspring of a male grizzly and a female polar bear) or a “pizzly bear” (the offspring of a male polar bear and a female grizzly). Generally, the animals have a shape that resembles a grizzly with a lighter color that’s inherited from the polar bear.
Oysters Can Change Sexes
Oysters that were initially male can become female over time. That’s because, in oysters, sex is determined partly by environment.
“Albert Einstein” Is an Anagram for “Ten Elite Brains”
It seems incredibly appropriate that the name of genius Albert Einstein is an anagram—meaning it uses the exact same letters—as the phrase “ten elite brains.” It’s also an anagram of “elite brain nest.”
Waffle House Informs FEMA Decisions
Although it’s not an official metric, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gets information from Waffle House about their closings and limited menus to determine the severity of storms.
The Bigger Your Brain, the Longer You Yawn
Andrew Gallup, a psychologist and professor at the State University of New York, Oneonta, compiled a list of animals—elephants, cats, gorillas, sheep, camels, and walruses—and told his students to go online and find as many videos of these creatures yawning as possible, according to a report by The Atlantic.
The students gathered enough evidence to show that the size of an animal’s brains (not to the overall size of the animal itself or the size of its mouth) seemed to be directly related to the length of its yawn. So basically, if an animal yawns for a long time, you can safely assume it has a “heavy” brain.
There’s a Flower Shop in the White House
The Pittsburgh Pirates Considered Building Their Stadium Over a River
Pittsburgh sports fans may be familiar with PNC Park, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates. But even those who follow baseball may not have known that the Pennsylvania city once had plans for a “Jetsons-style stadium” that would have been positioned over the Monongahela River. The design from 1958 featured a large futuristic stadium building as well as a hotel and parking area that would’ve spanned a wide bridge-like structure located where the Smithfield Street Bridge stands today.
The First 3D Film Was Shown in 1922
The first 3D film, called The Power of Love, had its premiere at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel Theater on September 27, 1922.
Ostriches Can Outrun Horses
Ostriches’ elastic tendons mean they have to exert less energy to run than your average animal does. According to research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, this low energy expenditure means they could outrun many animals capable of running long distances, like horses.
It’s Impossible to Hum While Holding Your Nose
Go ahead and hum whatever tune pops into your head. Now, hold your nose and try to hum that same tune. Notice anything? While you still might be able to push out an awkward sound, it’s no longer humming. That’s because when you’re humming, you’re actually making the same sound as a prolonged M consonant, which is done by moving air through your nasal passages. In fact, when you hum, you should feel a little buzzing in your nose. But when you close your mouth to hum and hold your nose at the same time, the air has no way to escape and the humming sound isn’t created.
Robert Downey, Jr. Used to Be Mr. Peanut’s Voice
When the Planters mascot got a makeover in 2010, Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr., was behind his voice.
Theres Is a Global Drone Racing League for Elite Drone Pilots
Flying drones has become a popular pastime for anyone who likes remote control gadgets or aerial photography. But some have taken the high-flying hobby up a notch. The Drone Racing League is a global organization for competitors who build custom machines that race while reaching speeds upward of 90 miles per hour. The league’s CEO and founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski, told Forbes, “It allows you to really focus on the innovation of technology, and gives a platform to test and refine it.”
Canada Has a Completely Indoor Town
Fermont, Canada, is so cold in the winter, it’s built so that residents never have to go outside during the seven months when temperatures dip below freezing. Homes, restaurants, supermarkets, stores, schools, a health center, bars, and a hotel are all contained in a series of interconnected structures.
The Largest Collection of Comic Books Is Nearly 102,000 Strong
If you’re an avid comic book fan, there’s no doubt that you’ll be impressed by the collection that Bob Bretall of Mission Viejo, California, has managed to put together. In 2015, he nabbed the world record for the largest comic book collection with 101,822 unique items.
Queen Elizabeth Was a Mechanic
Near the end of World War II, Queen Elizabeth worked as a truck mechanic. According to History.com, the woman then known as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor donned a pair of coveralls and trained in London as a mechanic and military truck driver. She’s the only female member of the royal family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II.
Owls Have Three Sets of Eyelids
One is used when blinking, another for sleeping, and a third, called the nictitating membrane, is to clean the surface of the eye.
Béla Lugosi Was Buried in His Dracula Costume
When actor Béla Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of Count Dracula, died in 1956, he was buried in his vampire costume.
The World’s Largest Teddy Bear Collection Numbers More Than 8,000
South Dakota resident Jackie Miley has 8,026 teddy bears living with her. That’s one for every nine people living in her native Rapid City.
Two of John Tyler’s Grandsons Are Still Alive
Although President John Tyler was born more in 1790, two of his grandsons were still alive as of 2018.
Cockroaches Can Survive Decapitation
That rumor about cockroaches being the sole survivors at the end of the world might not be so far off. They can often stay alive even after their heads have been cut off!
One Year on Uranus Is 84 Years on Earth
It takes Earth around 365 days to complete a trip around the sun, which is why a year on our planet lasts for that many days. However, over on Uranus, which is a lot of farther away from our star and follows a wider path around it, a single orbit takes 84 years. That means one year on Uranus lasts for nearly a century on Earth.
In an Average Grocery Store, One-Quarter of All the Products Contain Ingredients That Come from Corn
Corn on the cob may be a staple of summer menus, but corn itself is such a staple of American food that one-quarter of all products found in an average grocery store contain ingredients that originally come from corn, according to journalist Michael Pollan’s 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. French fries and chicken nuggets wouldn’t be crispy without corn fiber—and even soft drinks contain corn syrup.
You Can Die From Laughter
Chrysippus of Soli, a Greek philosopher, is rumored to have died while laughing at a donkey eating figs. So, it is possible!
A Blue Whale’s Heart is More Than Five Feet Long
It’s also four-feet wide and can weigh upwards of 400 pounds!
A 3,500-Year-Old Tablet May Contain the World’s Oldest “Yo Mama” Joke
Dating back 3,500 years and believed to be written by a Babylonian student, archaeologists determined that the text roughly translates to: “…of your mother is by the one who has intercourse with her. What/who is it? [No answer].” While it might not seem funny to us today (or really make much sense), perhaps this was hilarious thousands of years ago.
Spiders Can Regrow Their Legs
Spiders often amputate their legs as a means of escaping predators. Luckily, they can usually grow them back.
Steve Jobs’ Last Words Were Awe-Inspired
According to his sister, the last words Steve Jobs spoke were “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”
The Scientific Name for a “Brain Freeze” is Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia
When you eat or drink something cold and immediately feel a sharp pain in your forehead, it’s commonly referred to as a “brain freeze.” However, there’s also a scientific name for this intensely unpleasant common experience. So the next time you get a sudden headache due to the fact that you ate your ice cream too fast, you can tell the people around you that you’re suffering from sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
Cows Get Excited When They Problem Solve
Nearly One-Third of Alaska Lies Within the Arctic Circle
Located on the tip of North America’s extreme northwest, Alaska is a unique state for a number of reasons—including the fact that nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the arctic circle. That’s why about half of the state is covered with tundra, which is the kind of vast treeless plains that are common in the frozen North.
Roses Can Grow Taller Than People
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest rose bush, grown in California, was 18 feet, 8 inches tall.
No Two Tigers Have the Same Stripes
In the same way that no two humans have the same fingerprints, no two tigers have the same stripes. Each tiger has its own pattern that scientists and researchers can use to distinguish one individual animal from another.
Sharks Can Grow Thousands of Teeth
As if you needed more of a reason to fear the deep blue sea… sharks can grow up to 30,000 teeth over their lifetime.
Your Left Lung Is Smaller than Your Right Lung
While your lungs get bigger as you grow from a child into an adult, your right lung will always be larger than your left lung. According to the Lung Institute, in human beings, the left lung is smaller so that it leaves enough room for your heart, which is located next to your lung on the left side of your body.
The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside” Lyrics Repeat Because of Procrastination
The first and second verse of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” are exactly the same because the lead singer, Brandon Flowers, procrastinated and didn’t feel like writing more lyrics. The singer told Rolling Stone that he wrote the lyrics at the end of his first serious relationship. When he met his guitarist, Dave Keuning, the pair was tasked with recording a demo of the song, and since Flowers hadn’t written another verse, he just simply sang the first one again.
Early Pacemakers Had Wall Plugs
Arizona’s Meteor Crater Is Actually Named After a Post Office
Many people have said Arizona’s Meteor Crater was misnamed and should instead be called “Meteorite Crater.” However, the site did not actually get its name from the space object that created it. Instead, the crater was actually named after the closest nearby post office, which was named Meteor.
More Than 95 Percent of Passengers Involved in Plane Crashes Survive
Are you one of the many people with a fear of flying? Well, put your fears (mostly) to rest. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 95 percent of passengers involved in aviation accidents actually survive. Taking a look at accidents between 1983 and 2000 involving more than 53,000 passengers, the board found that 51,207 people made it out alive. Those are some good odds!
U.S. Paper Money Contains Hundreds of Species of Microorganisms
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that the most abundant microorganisms were ones that cause acne, as well as plenty of harmless bacteria. They also found vaginal bacteria, microbes from mouths, DNA from pets and viruses.
New Hampshire Drinks the Most Alcohol of Any State
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that New Hampshire residents drank 4.76 gallons of alcohol per capita in 2016, more than any other state. For comparison, the national average was 2.35 gallons per capita that year.
Green Bay, Washington, Is Known as the “Toilet Paper Capital of the World”
That’s because the first “splinter-free” toilet paper was produced there in the early 1900s. The product came from the Northern Paper Mills of Green Bay and each pack had 1,000 sheets of 4-by 10-inch paper. By 1920, the mill was the world’s largest producer of bath tissue.
Betty White Predates Sliced Bread
The 97-year-old actress Betty White was born in 1922, but commercially-available sliced bread didn’t hit shelves until 1928. And for more shocking celebrity ages, check out Here’s How Old These 100 Iconic Celebrities Would Be If They Were Alive In 2019.
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