100 Random Facts So Interesting You’ll Say, “OMG!”
Space smells like... what?!
Everyone loves a surprising and interesting fun fact that makes you question the world around you—challenging your assumptions and long-held beliefs and ultimately proving that there’s never a time in your life when you stop learning. But you know what everyone loves even more than a fun fact? Well, a fun fact so surprising and interesting that you stop dead in your tracks to say, “Holy smokes! Really?”
To help you channel that feeling once more—OK, a full one hundred times!—we’ve compiled here the most interesting facts we could find in every genre imaginable that are guaranteed to stoke your curiosity. So read on, and enjoy! And once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, don’t miss these 50 Random Facts That Will Simply Astonish You.
Superman Didn’t Always Fly
The original comic book Superman could leap tall buildings in a single bound—but then he had to come right back down to earth, because he didn’t fly.
It wasn’t until the 1940s, when animators for a new cartoon show decided it would be too difficult to routinely draw him bending his knees, that it was decided Superman could simply take off into the air. The audience got to see smooth animation and a superhero gained a new power. And for more trivia that’ll blow your mind, learn the 50 Random Facts That Will Simply Astonish You.
Hitler Had Stomach Problems
This was revealed in 2012, when Hitler’s medical documents were being auctioned to the public by Alexander Historical Auctions. According to the files, flatulence had become so pervasive of an issue that he had to regularly ingest 28 different drugs to keep his reputation “squeaky” clean.
However, a lot of these drugs ended up falling “flat.” The anti-gas pills he used contained a base of strychnine, a poison, and caused further stomach and liver issues. (Please “excuse me” for the all of the “cheeky” jokes).
Showers Spark Creativity
Showers aren’t just good for your hygiene—they’re good for your creativity, too. A recent study out of Drexel University found that over seven out of 10 people have reported experiencing an insight or breakthrough while in the shower. Other solitary activities, like taking a walk and daydreaming, show similar opportunities for inspiration. And for more mind-blowing info about your mind, the 35 Crazy Facts about Your Memory.
Bees Sometimes Sting Other Bees
Bees are notorious for their stings, but humans aren’t the only ones who experience this pain in the neck (or the arm, or the leg…). In protecting their hives from outsiders, some “guard bees” will actually stay by the entrance and sniff the bees that come in. If there’s a rogue bee from another hive trying to steal some nectar, the guard bee will bite and even sting the intruder.
Kids Ask 300 Questions a Day
A recent British study observed young children and recorded the questions they asked the adults around them. Perhaps not surprisingly, the children usually turned to their mothers for answers, and these moms could end up answering an average nearly 300 questions per day, or one question every two-and-a-half minutes. The moms reported that the hardest questions they were asked included “Why is water wet?” and “What are shadows made of?”
The Total Weight of Ants Equals the Total Weight of People
You’ve probably heard that the number of bugs on the planet exceeds the number of people many times over, but it can be hard to comprehend what that really looks like. Entomologists have estimated that there at least one million trillion insects, and only 1 percent of that number is ants.
If you took all those ants (about ten thousand trillion) and put them on one side of a giant scale, you’d have to put all the humans on earth (7.4 billion) on the other side to balance it out. Yes, the total weight of all the ants on earth equals the weight of all the people.
Space Smells Like Seared Steak
When you see footage of astronauts in their space suits floating peacefully outside their ships, do you ever wonder what space smells like? That’s usually not the first question people have in mind, but according to some former astronauts, space does have a distinct odor that hangs around when they come back in the ship after a spacewalk. They’ve described it as “hot metal” or “searing steak.” And for more on the great beyond, check out the 21 Mysteries about Space No One Can Explain.
The Healthiest Place in the World Is in Panama
A small valley near Volcán in Panama has garnered the distinction of the world’s healthiest place to live. Called “Shangri-La Valley,” this area is home to beautiful scenery, a low cost of living, and a significantly longer life expectancy than the surrounding areas. All in all, the world’s healthiest areas have some common factors: a warm climate, an active social scene, healthy food, and a slower pace of life that makes for less daily stress.
The Accordion Is the Most Popular Instrument in North Korea
The most popular instrument in North Korea is the accordion, so much so that all teachers used to be required to play to get their teaching certifications. Because the accordion is portable in a way that, say, a grand piano isn’t, it was thought of as the “people’s instrument” that could be taken outside and played for laborers in the fields.
There’s a Decorated War Hero Dog
While in the trenches of World War I, the U.S. First Infantry Division found themselves unable to communicate with other troops because shellfire had damaged the telephone wires.
A young private came up with a unique solution: Rags, a mixed breed terrier whom the soldiers had adopted in Paris, would carry the messages from one division to the next tucked into his collar. He saved many lives, and when Rags passed away—in Maryland, at the very advanced age of 20—he was buried with military honors. And for more important canines, don’t miss the 30 Most Important Dogs in American History.
You Have a Nail in Your Body
Or, at least, the components of one. Iron is an important nutrient that the human body needs. It helps your red blood cells carry oxygen, which is necessary for producing energy, throughout the body, so an iron deficiency can present with a feeling of exhaustion. Amazingly, a healthy adult has enough iron in their body that, if it were pulled out and melted down, it could form a nail up to three inches long.
A Pharaoh Used a Slave to Keep Bugs Away
The pharaohs of ancient Egypt were thought by their people to be literally divine. The word pharaoh itself means “great house,” as in house of god. King Pepi II, who supposedly ruled for 90 years, thought so highly of himself that when he was bothered by insects, he would command that one of his slaves be covered in honey to lure the flies away from himself.
Dolphins have Been Trained to be Used in Wars
Dolphins are known widely as adorable, intelligent animals. What is not as widely known is that these crafty creatures were used largely by the U.S. and Soviet Union during the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Both countries studied the creatures for its sonar capabilities, but also trained them to detect mines, bring equipment to divers, find lost equipment, and guard submarines amongst other nifty tricks. Not only do they Sea World, they can Destroy World. And surprisingly, dolphins are also one of the 30 Adorable Animals That Are Actually Deadly.
Children’s Medicine Once Contained Morphine
If you were a baby in the middle of the 1800s and you cried while teething, your parents might have given you Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup. This “medicine” claimed that “it soothes the child, it softens the gums, [and] allays all pain.” It may have done plenty of soothing, but it was also extremely dangerous—this concoction, like many patent medicines of the time, contained morphine.
The Weirdest Creatures Live in the Deep Ocean
The deepest levels of our oceans are some of the least explored areas of the planet. Because of the extreme pressure, cold, and dark at these depths, only the very strangest of creatures can survive there. These include giant tube worms, vampire squids, goblin sharks, and viperfish with teeth so long that they can’t close their mouths. Perhaps the strangest, though, is the barreleye, a large fish with a completely transparent head. And for more monstrosities from the deep, meet the 20 Bizarre Sea Creatures That Look Like They’re Not Real.
The Driest Place on Earth Is A Lot Like Mars
The Atacama Desert in Chile, located on the western edge of South America, may also be the oldest desert on the planet. It’s also the driest. Amazingly, there are some weather stations there which have never reported rain.
At certain altitudes, the soil is so dry and devoid of any kind of life—even microorganisms—that it’s comparable to the soil on Mars. In fact, NASA has sent researchers to this desert to test instruments that will be used on Mars missions.
Redheads Aren’t Going Extinct
Periodically, a rumor starts on the internet that says natural redheads will become extinct by the year 2060. Lucky for gingers everywhere, this is a myth. It’s true that the gene that causes red hair is recessive, meaning that both parents must have it for their child to have red hair. However, even non-redheads can carry the red hair gene, and it can pop up unexpectedly in generations down the line.
One Man Saved More than 200 People from Suicide
It’s a sad fact the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is a site where many suicides take place. However, one California Highway Patrol officer has done more to combat this problem than any other individual. Officer Kevin Briggs, who battles depression himself, has personally talked more than 200 people down from the proverbial ledge throughout his career. After retiring in 2013, Briggs wrote a book called Guardian of the Golden Gate and now goes on speaking tours to encourage public discussion of suicide and mental illness.
Our European Ancestors Were Cannibals
In 16th and 17th century Europe, cannibalism was actually a fairly common practice, and it was all for medical purposes. The practice seems to have started because Egyptian mummies were thought to have magical curative properties and so were ground up and put in many remedies.
As the idea evolved, human bone, blood, and fat were all used in medical concoctions. Got a headache? Crush a skull and make it into tea! While medical cannibalism has, thankfully, fallen out of favor, modern medicine still sometimes uses one human body to heal another in the form of blood donations, organ transplants, and skin grafts.
Dogs Actually Understand Some English
Some owners of disobedient dogs may have trouble believing this, but dogs can learn to recognize a vocabulary of about 165 words. Unsurprisingly, dogs respond best to short words, as well as words with hard consonants like T or R, which may explain why they can hear “treat” from three rooms away.
If you want to try to expand your dog’s vocabulary, be consistent—for example, always call a meal “dinner” instead of breakfast, lunch, or supper. And don’t believe the myth: old dogs can learn words just as well as young dogs.
Pringles Aren’t Technically Potato Chips
The next time you see a can of Pringles, take a closer look—you won’t see the word “chip” anywhere on the packaging. That’s because Pringles aren’t made of thinly-sliced potatoes, but instead dehydrated potato flakes pressed into their signature parabolic shape. That’s what makes them less greasy, but when other potato chip manufacturers complained, the FDA ruled that Pringles couldn’t be marketed as chips. The company eventually settled on “potato crisp.”
Most Laughter Isn’t Because Things Are Funny
Every culture in the world laughs, but surprisingly, most of our laughter isn’t necessarily a response to humor. Only 20 percent of laughter comes after jokes; the other 80 percent is a reaction to regular statements and questions like, “How have you been?” The ensuing laughter, however brief, helps form social bonds—people who laugh together grow closer.
Pro Baseball Once Had Women Players
While there are currently no female players in Major League Baseball, there have been plenty of women in professional men’s leagues. The first was Lizzy Arlington, who in 1898 pitched the ninth inning for the Reading Coal Heavers and won her team the game.
A little over 30 years later, an African-American woman, Jackie Mitchell, pitched against the Yankees during an exhibition game, striking out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. What’s more impressive: Mitchell was 17 years old at the time.
Koalas Have Fingerprints
Chimpanzees and gorillas have human-like fingerprints and so do koalas. In fact, koala prints are so alike as to be indistinguishable from human fingerprints, even to expert crime scene investigators. As of yet, no koalas are known to have framed humans for their crimes, but now we know it’s not impossible…
Water Makes Different Pouring Sounds Depending on its Temperature
If you listen very closely, hot water and cold water sound slightly different when being poured. The heat changes the thickness, or viscosity, of the water, which changes the pitch of the sound it makes when it’s poured. What we feel as heat comes from the molecules of the water moving faster. Cold water is thicker and therefore makes a slightly higher-pitched sound.
Dinosaurs Lived on Every Continent
Back in their day, dinosaurs lived on every continent on earth, including Antarctica. The reason we only find their bones in certain places, though, is that weather and soil conditions in those places were just right for the bones to be fossilized. Scientists also speculate that there may be many smaller-sized dinosaurs that we know nothing about because their bones were too small to fossilize well.
Many Languages Have the Same Roots
English, Portuguese, Latvian, Pashto, and Greek all sound very different today, but these languages all have a common ancestor called Proto-Indo-European. Though we don’t have any written examples of it, linguists have worked backwards from a variety of modern languages to try to reconstruct it. Using their reconstruction, the sentence “The king wanted a son” would be written as “H3rḗḱs súhxnum u̯l̥nh1to.”
Rolls-Royce Makes the Most Expensive (New) Car in the World
Currently, the most expensive car in the world is a Rolls-Royce Sweptail that sold for $13 million. However, even if you have that kind of dough lying around, you won’t be able to buy it—only one was made, and it was custom-built from the ground up according to the buyer’s specifications. Apparently, though, brand new custom cars have nothing on used classics; the recent sale of a 1963 Ferrari GTO for $70 million is supposedly the highest price ever paid for a car.
Typhoid Mary Loved to Cook
“Typhoid Mary” was a real historical person: an Irish woman named Mary Mallon who immigrated to the United States in the 1880s. Though she had no symptoms of typhoid fever, she carried the bacteria in her blood and could pass it on to other people. Because no doctor could convince her that this was true and she didn’t feel sick, she insisted on working as a cook. During her career, she infected at least 51 people, three of whom died, before she was isolated in enforced quarantine for the last decades of her life.
The Legend of the Loch Ness Monster Goes Back Nearly 1,500 Years
There’s a tale written in the year 565 A.D. that speaks of an Irish monk traveling through Scotland. While there, St. Colomba heard stories of a “water beast” that attacked and killed the local people when they went in the river. Wanting to help, the monk used his friend as bait to lure the beast into sight, at which point Colomba commanded it to “go no further,” and the creature stopped and swam back upstream. That river is now known in Scotland as the River Ness, which flows out from the famous Loch Ness. And for more tales that hold no water, check out the 33 Common Myths We’re All Obsessed with.
Nutmeg Can Be Poisonous
A little dash of nutmeg in a pumpkin pie or on your egg nog can give it some extra flavor and a lovely spicy scent. Too much nutmeg, however, can be toxic. Two to three teaspoons of raw nutmeg can induce hallucinations, convulsions, pain, nausea, and paranoia that can last for several days. Actual fatalities are rare, but they have happened.
Chinese Police Use Geese Squads
You’ve heard of police dogs, but police geese? As of 2013, twelve police stations in a rural area of China have begun to use geese as sentries. They are alert animals and, as you probably know, can create a lot of noise and commotion, and creative Chinese law enforcement officers are taking advantage of that fact. While this trend has yet to spread throughout China, Dongwan police claim that the geese have already stopped at least one theft.
The First iPhone Wasn’t Made by Apple
The first mobile device to be called an “iPhone” was made by Cisco, not Apple. It allowed the user to use the voice functions of Skype without a computer. Apple announced its own product just 22 days later, and Cisco sued for trademark infringement. The lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court and both companies were allowed to keep using the name. However, it’s safe to bet that you’ve never heard of the Cisco iPhone.
There’s a Country Where Twins Are Most Likely to be Born
Benin, a country in central Africa, is notable for having the highest birth rate of twins in the world. While the world average is just 13.6 twins per 1,000 births, Benin more than doubles that rate, at 27.9 twins per 1,000 births. There’s no single factor that causes this, but genetics, diet, and even the mother’s height are thought to play a role. In contrast, parents in Asia and Latin America are some of the least likely to have twins.
The Comic Sans Font Came from an Actual Comic Book
Most adults nowadays who know anything about graphic design steer away from using the Comic Sans font in formal documents. Whether or not this font deserves its negative reputation, it was designed by Vincent Connare, who drew direct inspiration from his favorite comic books, including Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ celebrated Watchmen series. Gibbons, who did the lettering for the book, has described the Comic Sans font as “dreadful.”
For 100 Years, Maps Have Shown an Island That Doesn’t Exist
Almost nothing is known about Sandy Island, a land mass about the size of Manhattan in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia. Supposedly, explorer James Cook discovered it in 1876, and it began appearing on nautical maps in 1908. It wasn’t until 2012, when a team of Australian scientists set out to survey the island, that they discovered there was no island there at all. The scientists guessed that Cook may have in fact spotted a “pumice raft” of floating volcanic stone and gas, but nonetheless, the Sydney Morning Herald published an obituary for Sandy Island.
Babies Are Physical Anomalies
Babies, particularly newborns, are surprisingly different from the children they’ll grow up to be. When they’re born, their heads account for a quarter of their full body weight, and the size of their brains will double in the first year of life. Babies have 300 bones and around 10,000 tastebuds all over their mouth. Some of the bones will fuse as they age (into 206, as an adult), but the tastebuds not on the tongue will eventually vanish.
The Queen Has Some Hidden Hideaways
Since the early 13th century, the city of London has officially payed rent to the Crown for two small pieces of property. Fortunately for the city, the price has stayed the same for over 800 years: one knife, one axe, six horseshoes, and 61 nails, presented every autumn in the Ceremony of Quit Rents. Although one of these properties is located in the Moors in Shropshire and the other is near the Royal Courts of Justice in the city itself, no one knows the exact location of the Queen’s land.
The Man Who Wrote Dracula Never Visited Transylvania
Bram Stoker was an Irish author who is now best remembered for his gothic horror novel Dracula. Partially set in Transylvania, a mountainous region in central Romania, the story cemented the legend of the vampire in mainstream European and American culture. Since Stoker was a notoriously private man, many people over the years have speculated as to his various inspirations for the novel, from Vlad Dracul of Wallachia to the English seaside town of Whitby to a particularly vivid nightmare. One thing is certain – despite Stoker’s many world travels, he never visited Eastern Europe—and, by virtue, Transylvania—at all.
The Australian Government Banned the Word “Mate” for a Day
There are probably slang or informal words that get on your nerves from time to time, particularly when you think something should be taken seriously. In 2005, Australian Parliament took a few citizen complaints a little too seriously and banned anyone on their staff from using the word “mate” while at work. Fortunately, Prime Minister John Howard objected, claiming that “mate” was an important part of Australian culture, and the ban was overturned within 24 hours.
Sea Lions Can Dance to a Beat
There are only two mammals on Earth with the proven ability to move their bodies in time with an external beat: humans (though not all humans, to be fair) and sea lions. When researchers at the University of Santa Cruz rescued a stranded sea lion, they found that she was very smart, and one particularly enterprising grad student decided to teach her to dance. Though parrots can also keep a rhythm, it was previously thought that only animals capable of complex vocal learning could do this.
A Tick Bite Can Make You Allergic to Red Meat
Plenty of people have food allergies, but few are the result of an insect bite. In a strange and growing trend, some people who get bitten by the Lone Star tick can develop a sudden allergy to red meat. Beef, lamb, and pork (which is technically classified as a red meat) can make people with this allergy experience headaches, sneezing, a runny nose, and nausea. In severe cases, it can cause the person to be unable to breathe. For some sufferers, the allergy fades over time, but for others, it’s permanent.
Harriet Tubman Was Basically an Action Hero
You probably know that Harriet Tubman was a former slave who became a political activist for the abolition movement. You may not know, however, that Tubman routinely fought for the cause. In addition to smuggling escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad, during the Civil War she was the first woman to lead an armed assault. She planned and executed a number of raids and was known to carry a revolver for personal protection.
Tornadoes Can Cause “Fish Rain”
Tornadoes can develop over water just as well as they can over land. When they do, they’re called waterspouts, and they suck up large amounts of lake or sea water—as well as whatever’s swimming in that water. If the waterspout travels on to the land and the winds decrease, there’s nowhere for those fish to go but down. As far as we know, there’s no tornado powerful enough to pick up sharks, but a fish-nado is entirely possible.
Napoleon Was Once Attacked by Thousands of Rabbits
Napoleon Bonaparte was once one of the most powerful men in Europe, but he suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands (or paws) of rabbits. After a military victory, Napoleon’s chief of staff organized a rabbit hunt to celebrate. Thousands of rabbits were brought in to be set loose, but instead of hopping away when the cages were opened, they turned to attack, swarming the partygoers. After trying and failing to shoo them away, the great Emperor Napoleon ran for the safety of his carriage.
Star Trek’s Scotty Stormed the Beach at Normandy
Canadian actor James Doohan, best known for playing Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the original Star Trek series, served in World War II with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. As a commissioned lieutenant, he led his troop up a mine-strewn Juno Beach as part of the Allied Forces’ D-Day invasion.
Later in the day, he was wounded by friendly fire that caused the amputation of the middle finger on his right hand. You might not have noticed it because, during his time on Star Trek, directors did the best they could to avoid showing the injury on screen. And for more weird celebrity trivia, don’t miss the 20 Craziest Celebrity Rumors of All Time.
Apple Pie Isn’t Actually American
Apples originally come from Asia. The first pies were baked in Medieval Europe. Even the concept of putting apples in pie traces back to a recipe from England in 1381. Nevertheless, the phrase “as American as apple pie” turned up by 1924 and became a common saying during the years of the Second World War.
Pigs Are Constitutionally Protected in Florida
First written in 1838, the Constitution of the state of Florida guarantees the right to privacy, the freedom of speech, and the right of pregnant pigs to be free from cages. Unlike many crazy or outdated laws, this amendment is recent (passed in 2002) and comes from a well-meaning place: the prevention of cruelty to animals. During pregnancy, a pig must not be caged or even tethered such that it can’t turn around freely.
Mr. Cherry Breaks All the Records You’ve Never Heard Of
The year 2018 has seen a lot of world records beaten, from the cat with the longest tail to the most layers on a ball of paint. Once again, it was a banner year for Japan’s record breaker for most records broken: Cherry Yoshitake, a children’s entertainer who goes by “Mr. Cherry.” This year alone, Mr. Cherry set one-minute records for the most pairs of underwear pulled on (36), the most baked beans eaten (71), and the most apples bobbed (37).
Sweat Doesn’t Actually Stink
You might notice that any sweat you produce right after a shower doesn’t smell so bad. That’s because your sweat itself isn’t stinky; it’s the bacteria on your skin that break the sweat down that cause the odor. Additionally, you’ll find that the sweat on your arms and legs doesn’t smell as much as your armpits. That’s because sweat glands in your armpits secrete more protein into a dark, damp environment—the perfect place and food for bacteria.
Some Planets Produce Diamond Rain
Saturn and Jupiter are gas giant planets that produce a truly unique form of weather. Recently, scientists discovered that there is plenty of carbon in these atmosphere. When carbon soot gets hit by lightning, it hardens into graphite and falls downward, where the pressure of the atmosphere hardens it further, until it becomes… a diamond! Storms on these planets may literally rain diamonds as big as a centimeter across.
Sharks Can Live For Five Centuries
Greenland Sharks are known to be some of the oldest living animals in our world. Researchers did carbon dating on a Greenland Shark that was caught four years ago and found it to be around 392 years old. Further testing revealed that our fishy friends could be up to 512 years old. Yes, that would mean that our geriatric friends would have been alive when Leonardo Da Vinci painted the “Mona Lisa.” Still, they aren’t as friendly as they look as they are apex predators, or top predators, within their ecosystem.
There’s an Entire Town Under a Rock
If you’ve ever been accused of “living under a rock,” you’ll feel right at home in Setenil de Las Bodegas in Spain. Many of this tiny town’s 3,000 residents live and work and play in a gorge beneath a huge rocky outcropping, where homes are built right into the rock. It provides so much shelter that historians think this area has been occupied by human settlements since the Stone Age.
It Is Illegal to Sell a “Bounceless” Pickle to Somebody in Connecticut
This law put Connecticut Librarians in quite the pickle. In disbelief, the law arose as a legend and the people demanded the truth. For hours, librarians in the state scanned past archives of laws within the state until one librarian eventually found the truth in the Hartford Courant. The law was in fact an ordinance that was created in 1945 to thwart pickle packers Moses Dexler and Sidney Sparer. These two men were selling inedible pickles, so laboratories conducted experiments and found that if it doesn’t bounce, don’t eat an ounce!
The Bermuda Triangle Isn’t So Bad After All
This area in the North Atlantic Sea, is also called “The Devil’s Triangle” because it is an area of the ocean that stretches between the tip of Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. It has been thought to seemingly swallow up ships and aircraft, never to be seen again, and explorers as far back as Columbus have reported odd occurrences, like fireballs in the sky (that turned out to be a meteor crashing).
Don’t put away your sailboats yet, though; historians, scientists, and the U.S. Coast Guard have proven that vessels are no more likely to disappear in the Bermuda Triangle than they are anywhere else in the ocean. Many prior disappearances have been demystified as remains of numerous wrecks were discovered or explained by weather patterns in the area at that time.
There’s a World Record for Greatest Distance Thrown in a Car Accident (Spoiler Alert: He survived!)
This is one world record you may not want to try and top, recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. A car traveling 70mph struck Matthew McKnight, an off-duty paramedic, when he stopped to help at an accident on the side of an interstate in 2001. He was thrown 118 feet, almost half a football field.
Dr. Eric Brader, his emergency room physician, told McKnight he should send it into the Guinness Book of World Records, but McKnight brushed it off as a joke. Brader was so impressed by the feat that he sent in the paperwork anyways, which was approved in 2003, but didn’t make the cut until its 2008 edition.
You Can Sneeze Faster Than a Cheetah Can Run
Clocking in at 100mph, we can sneeze faster than cheetahs run, four-and-a-half times faster than Usain Bolt’s record, and twenty times faster than Michael Phelps. (Unfortunately, we also expel about 100,000 germs when we sneeze.)
Luckily, we don’t sneeze as much as our friend the Iguana, the “sneeziest” animal of all. So, as long as you sneeze into your elbow, you’ll most likely avoid the speedy impact of that armada of germs.
The Fire Hydrant Patent Was Lost in a Fire
The fire hydrant patent, is credited to Frederick Graff Sr. who was the chief engineer for Philadelphia Water Works during the early 1800s. Unfortunately for Graff Sr., it was destroyed when the patent office in Washington, D.C., burned down in 1836. After 100 years, retired firefighter George Sigelakis reinvented the hydrant after they had been failing to work in too many critical emergencies.
Saudi Arabia Imports Camels From Australia
Saudi Arabia is known for its vast expanse of desert, so it may seem unbelievable that they rely on Australia to supply them with animals that dominate their landscape. Australia originally had them imported to be used for transporting heavy loads or for riding, but were let loose when their work was done. This caused an unwanted spike in their population, thus prompting Australians to sell them back to desert-based countries like Saudi Arabia, which use camels at a much higher volume.
One Man Survived Two Atomic Bombs
If you feel like you might have the worst luck in the world, consider Tsutomu Yamaguchi. He survived both nuclear attacks to Japan when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs during WWII.
Yamaguchi, sent to Hiroshima on business on August 6th, 1945, saw the U.S. drop the first atomic bomb. Miraculously, he survived with burns across his face and arms, but made it home to Nagasaki.
Three days later, the second atomic bomb hit, throwing Yamaguchi across the office and flattening his home. Because his family was out finding ointments to treat his already existent burns, they were safe in a tunnel and miraculously survived as well.
The Cast of Friends Still Earns Around $20 Million Each Year
When the show came to an end, the cast of the popular TV show Friends negotiated syndication rights for themselves. That means they receive a percentage of revenue (2 percent) the show earns from reruns across all broadcasting companies. Since the much-loved TV show still pulls in around $1 billion of revenue, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry all make major dough each year for doing, well, nothing. And for more Friends trivia, don’t miss the 30 Celebrities You Forgot Appeared on Friends.
Pluto Technically Isn’t Even a Year Old
Pluto was discovered on February 18th, 1930. It is the farthest (dwarf) planet from the Sun, requiring it to go a much farther distance than we are used to on Earth. It takes a whopping 248 Earth-years to complete one rotation of its own around the sun—its own year. This places Pluto’s first birthday since its discovery on Monday, March 23, 2178. You might want to call and say you might not make the party.
Cows Kill More Americans Each Year Than Sharks Do
While sharks account for about 53 bites per year, only one of those ends up being fatal. Cows, on the other hand (or hoof), kill around 20 people per year. Still, don’t expect Stephen Spielberg to reimagine Jaws as Hooves anytime soon.
Newborns Don’t Have Kneecaps
Parents, don’t pull out your knee pads yet. This widely known belief is only a half truth, as babies actually technically do have kneecaps when they are born. Those knees just aren’t hardened yet, and remain soft cartilage throughout their childhood until they eventually turn into bone. So, while it may seem like a risk, your little ball of joy will be absolutely fine as long as they aren’t swinging from trees or anything.
In Germany, People Help Toads Cross the Road
You might not want to bring up the popular video game Frogger in Germany. There, they like to protect their frogs, toads, and other amphibians. In order to save them from harm when crossing the street, conservation organizations installed over 800 fences along popular roadways. Along these fences are buckets, so when they try to cross, they eventually fall into one. At the end of the day, wildlife conservationists collect the buckets and release frogs across the road into a nearby forest with ponds and lakes.
Cheetahs Don’t Roar
Cheetahs can’t roar, but they can purr, meow, hiss, bark, and growl instead. This type of behavior is much like the domestic cats we keep in our homes. While this may make them seem cuddlier or less threatening, don’t go petting a cheetah the next time you see one.
France Has A Dozen Time Zones
The country with the widest spread of land, Russia, spans 11 different time zones. France, though, technically has the most, “clocking” in at 12—but that’s due to the fact that its territories are dispersed in various parts of the world. The U.S. ties with Russia in second, but not all time zones are inhabited. So, Russia is the only place in the world where one citizen could be waking up at 8:00 a.m. and another could be going to bed at 11:00 p.m.
Humans Aren’t the Only Species to Adopt
We’ve seen the heartwarming videos of dogs nursing baby squirrels back to health. It’s much more common than we think. Though the phenomenon isn’t completely understood, scientists agree that both humans and animals have an instinct to care for others.
Naturally, when adopting within the same species, animals help their young survive in order to pass on their DNA. When it comes to adopting animals of another species, it becomes mutually beneficial to have more furry friends in the group that take on other roles in survival—whether that be hunting, gathering, or just simply cute companionship.
Blue Ivy Carter Is the Youngest Person Ever to Appear on a Billboard Chart
Jay-Z released his hit “Glory” in January of 2012. A dedication to his first-born child at the time, the rapper decided it would make sense to have her featured on the song, including a clip of her crying before the track ends. Because her dad officially credited her in the song’s title, Blue Ivy Carter became the youngest human on Earth to have a Billboard hit—at a mere two days old. And for more Carter family trivia, don’t miss the 20 Little-Known Facts About Beyoncé That Will Make You Love Her Even More.
The Majority of Americans Choose Dogs Over Love
Dogs have been known for the longest time as man’s best friend, but Americans are increasingly taking that to a new level. A new study conducted over three years (2015-2017) by Rover.com, found that 54% of dog owners are willing to end a relationship if their pup doesn’t like their partner.
The study also found that 94% consider their dogs a part of their family, and 78% include their pups in major family moments. Since one in four people said they bring their cuddly companions on first dates, it is more important than ever to make a great first impression. Maybe consider bringing dog treats instead of flowers the next time you play the field, folks.
Star Wars Expected to Be a Flop
Star Wars had a budget of $8 million, which 20th Century Fox was reluctant to give to George Lucas, so he accepted a lower salary in order to keep the budget, but asked for full merchandising rights if the film made sequels.
With help and encouragement from friends like Steven Spielberg, he fixed up the film. It was an instant hit, making $1.5 million in its limited release. It went on to make $775 million around the world, and since Lucas obtained full merchandising rights, he became incredibly rich. More recently, Disney picked up the entire franchise for $4 billion.
Your Liver Can Regrow Itself in Three Weeks
The Greeks had it right with Prometheus. This Titan was famous for creating mankind, but got in trouble with Zeus when he favored them over the gods. In Response, Zeus took away the secret of fire, but Prometheus stole it back. As punishment, he kept Prometheus on a stake and had an eagle eat his liver. The liver would regrow at night, leaving Prometheus at the bird’s mercy day after day.
While a Greek myth, the regenerative properties of this story are true, doctors have found (except that it takes three weeks, not one day). Moral of the story? Don’t anger a god. And always be on the lookout for the 20 Warning Signs Your Liver Sends You.
Danes Bred a Pig to Look Like the Flag
In the early 20th century, those who resided in North Frisia under Prussian rule were not allowed to raise the Danish flag. These crafty fellows took action by breeding a pig, known as the Danish Protest Pig, to be red in color, with a large white stripe around its belly. As they technically did not break the law, and because it wouldn’t be feasible to ban the breeding of pigs, the Danes successfully protested Prussia.
A 70-Year-Old Woman Completed Seven Marathons in Seven Days, Across all Seven Continents
Chau Smith was always an avid runner, and, in 2017, decided that for her 70th birthday, she would complete seven marathons in one week across all of the continents (yes, that includes Antarctica). Traveling made it challenging, as Smith made the race in Egypt just minutes before the start, because her plane to Cairo was delayed. Despite the obstacles, she went into full “beast mode” and completed her goal.
Dogs Like Squeaky Toys For a Dark Reason
Ever wondered why your little puppy can obsess over those cute little squeaky toys? Because they are descendants of wolves and were wild animals long before they were domesticated, they had natural instincts that allowed them to survive. Of course, one of those instincts was hunting smaller animals. The sound a squeaky toy makes when squeezed is very similar to the sound a small animal makes when being hunted. When Ol’ Lassie hears that, she gets excited because of these killer survival skills. Still, they make quite the cute killer.
The Man Who Founded Atari Started Chuck E. Cheese
Noah Bushnell started the gaming company Atari in 1972, which gave us the classic arcade game Pong. Bushnell sold the company just four years later for $28 million in 1976 to Warner. He thought of Chuck E. Cheese while running Atari. In fact, there is one game in Chuck E. Cheese that actually is called Ping, a knockoff of his original arcade game of which he can’t use since he no longer owns it.
One Man Was Constipated for Over a Month
In 1965, Angus Barbieri was put on a fasting program as he weighed 456 pounds. It wouldn’t be ethical to conduct and publish a study like this today, but at the time, laws were different, allowing Barbieri’s doctor, William Stewart, to experiment. On a strict regimen of multivitamins and minerals, Angus Barbieri got his nutrients without eating a scrap of food. By the end of the year, Barbieri was 180 pounds, shedding of a total of 276 pounds. While there are health benefits, fasting to this degree is not recommended, as it can lead to serious health conditions.
Most People Break up on Mondays, Two Weeks Before Christmas and Easter
Searching through public Facebook data, Lee Byron and David McCandless found that relationships statuses changed for the worse two weeks before Christmas, around Easter and on Mondays. Though this data may be somewhat misleading, as people might not be live-updated their break up status, it shows an obvious trend. Holidays can be stressful, and it is not news that Mondays are very much despised. Maybe go out-of-country for your next holiday, eh?
There May Be 2,000 Active Serial Killers in the U.S. Right Now
Thomas Hargrove has been archiving homicides for years. Through his experience, he came up with an algorithm that found patterns in recent murders. This allowed him to estimate the number of unsolved, repetitive cases, leading him to the estimation that the number of active serial killers in the U.S. is around 2,000.
Beethoven Could Still Hear After Going Deaf
Upon going deaf, Beethoven discovered that if he bit onto a metal pole that connected to the piano he was playing, he could hear almost perfectly well. This process is called bone conduction, and were even reportedly used in the now-famous raid on Osama Bin Laden.
Technology has evolved, but the science is the same: vibrations are transferred from the conductive metal into our bones. When this happens, our ears pick up the signal with no sound distortion.
Ants Have a Built-In FitBit
FitBits aren’t just used by those of us trying to fit into their old pair of jeans. While previous studies found that ants use visual cues, a recent study focused more on desert ants, who lack landmarks to aid in their navigation.
They attached stilts to ants to see if it affected their accuracy and saw that those ants usually traveled 50 percent further than their home before wandering to find it. Less fortunate ants had their legs shortened, and those ants traveled 50 percent less of a distance. Scientists discovered that desert ants have an internal pedometer that helps them keep track of their travels.
Stressed Men Have Altered Proclivities
A study done by Viren Swami found the pattern that men who are feeling stressed out will most likely prefer women with curvier figures. The study had one experimental group perform a stressful activity, while the other control group did not. Afterwards, they were shown pictures of women with various body types. The men in the control group were asked to rate pictures on a scale of 1–9. More often than not, they rated pictures of women with a heavier BMI as the most attractive. And for more insights into the minds of men, here are the 30 Things That Women Do That Men Always Find Sexy.
Crows Holds Grudges
Researchers in Seattle found that crows were able to remember the face of their abductor even years after the incident. Once they identified the suspect in question, they would threaten them by diving down and swarming the person that they had felt threatened by years before. By monitoring their brain activity, researchers found the crows were most active when recognizing the faces of their captors.
Canada Once Heavily Targeted LGBTQ Individuals
Our friendly neighbor Canada may not have been as friendly as we thought. Looking very much like a radio, Canada spent thousands on its historic “Fruit Machine” during the Cold War era. This device was supposedly able to identify gay men and lesbian women by monitoring vitals as subjects were shown pornographic images with homosexual content.
This unfortunately led to the wrongful persecution of many of Canada’s fine citizens. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently apologized on behalf of the country’s dark past for the mistreatment of these men and women.
Bill Gates has Donated Nearly Half His Fortune
Bill Gates is well-known for his success with Microsoft. He isn’t as well known for his major contributions to philanthropic causes, with his wife Melinda alongside him. He encourages the Giving Pledge, a notion that, if you are fortunate enough, you should be giving 50 percent of your wealth to those that need it most. By following his own footsteps, he has donated $28 billion and has saved around 6 million lives by bringing vaccines and better healthcare to people worldwide. Other notable philanthropists have been Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffett, and John D. Rockefeller.
You Can Always “See” Your Nose
The human brain brain is capable of amazing things, but in order to do those things, it needs to block out distractions. The nose is one of those distractions. This process is called unconscious selective attention and was noticed by Ulric Neisser in his study that asked participants to count the number of times two basketball players passed a ball in a video. What 79 percent failed to notice in the video was a girl walking through the middle of the court with an umbrella.
A Restaurant in New York Employs Grandmas instead of Chefs
It is true that everybody thinks that nonna is best cook around. So it was a genius idea when Jody Scaravella decided to gather up as many nonnas as he could to work in his restaurant in Staten Island. Enoteca Maria combines the skill of these delightful, talented grandmothers and has them create and cook recipes from their own family cookbooks.
Shaq Only Made One Three-Pointer
Playing for the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal made the only three-point shot he would ever make in his entire career. On February 16th, 1996, against the Milwaukee Bucks, O’Neal received an almost full-court pass from Joe Wolf before he shot the three-pointer.
Despite being the only official three-point shot in his career, he went down in NBA history as one of the greatest of all time. Jury is still out on whether the same goes for his acting career.
America’s First Bank Robber Desposited the Money Back Into the Same Bank
At the Bank of Philadelphia on August 1, 1798, a sum of $162,821 was stolen from their vault. There was no sign of forced entry so it was thought to be an inside job. Patrick Lyon was imprisoned as the prime suspect, as he had been the carpenter that worked on the vault doors.
Luckily, one of the robbers on the heist, Isaac Davis, was not the shiniest coin in the vault, and had been depositing large sums of money into the Bank of Philadelphia. Years later, Lyon was a freed man, but so was Davis, who only ended up repaying the money without serving a day in jail.
Germany Uncovers 2,000 Tons of Unexploded Bombs Every Year
During the World War II, the Allied forces dropped over a total of 2.7 million tons of bombs on Germany. Due to certain defects in their delay timers, a large number of bombs never exploded—around 10 percent, or 200,000 tons. It’s routine for German citizens to be evacuated from buildings or sectioned off in streets, while bomb experts handle the device. While it is common to find them, it is rare to be injured or killed by them.
Sharks Existed Before Trees
Trees are young’ns compared to the geezer sharks that rule the sea. Sharks have existed for around 400 million years, while trees became their own official species only 350 million years ago. Other notable animals that outlive our leafy ancestors are the horseshoe crab as well as the jellyfish.
Trees Weren’t Always Biodegradable
Our trees were indestructible at one time—except for fire. Today, bacteria and fungi eat away at fallen trees. That wasn’t always the case, as bacteria hadn’t quite evolved to eat wood, so the trees would fall at death, leaving large piles of dead wood. Forest fires of unimaginable proportions would burn the massive mounds of dead wood. And that’s where most of the coal today on Earth came from.
Detroit Undercover Cops in A Drug Ring Fought Another Group of Undercover Cops
“Put your hands up!” … “No, you put your hands up!” This was probably an accurate paraphrasing of what went down when two groups of undercover cops accidentally mistook each other for the drug dealers and buyers they were trying to bust. What ensued during the raid was a stand-off, resulting in fists being thrown while guns were pointed at each other. Internal affairs had to be contacted to put the officers under investigation in an attempt to figure out the unfortunate miscommunication.
You’re Pronouncing Dr. Seuss’ Name Wrong
Dr. Seuss, the popular children’s book author who is known for his rhyming skills, was born with the name Theodor Seuss Geisel. Seuss is his mother’s maiden name, and their family pronounces it as “soice” (rhyming with voice). Seuss’ college friend Alexander Liang even wrote a poem about the common misconception. And for more common etymological slip-ups,
Nearly All Species to Have Ever Existed on Earth are Extinct
We walk an Earth that has seen the extinction of 99 percent of all of the species who’ve ever lived on it. Scientists may fear that we are in the midst of a mass extinction, but data is inconclusive as it is a long process and one we don’t have all of the past data for. Congratulations, though, because that means you are technically in the 1 percent.
The Silverback Gorilla Can Lift A Literal Ton
The Silverback gorilla can lift up to 10 times their body weight on average: a total of about 2,000 pounds. So, to answer your question—do they even lift, bro? Yeah, actually, and they can lift a literal ton of weight. This makes them one of the strongest living animal species on Earth. They are feared, but the Silverback gorilla will only use their strength when they feel threatened.
Every Time You Shuffle a Deck of Cards, You Get a Combo That’s Never Existed
Your angsty teenage dreams of being the most original, unique person alive could actually come true! Grab a deck of cards and shuffle. Most likely, you will have created a combination of cards that had never existed yet until that moment. For those math nerds out there, you know that this is because the probability comes out to 52 factorial or 52! (52 x 51 x 50 … x 2 x 1). The probability that two card shuffles are exactly the same is so small, it likely will never happen.
There is a Type of Jellyfish that is Immortal
When it’s an adult, the “Immortal Jellyfish,” scientifically named Turritopsis dohrnii, can transform its cells back to their childhood state. This usually happens when it is physically harmed, sick, or even when it is starving. The jellyfish evolved this skill in order to survive throughout history, specifically when latching onto ships. Since it can hitchhike, it’s DNA has spread and the not-so-rare species is emerging all over the world.
America Accidentally Dropped an Atom Bomb on South Carolina in 1958
In 1958, a B-47 plane was headed to the United Kingdom and was armed with an atomic bomb. This bomb was even bigger than the “Fat Boy,” the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Pilots noticed a fault light, so one of them decided to check it out.
In doing so, he accidentally released the emergency pin, watching in horror as it dropped to the ground. A critical part of the bomb, needed to set it off, was still on the plane, so the bomb itself never exploded.
Baby Blue Whales Grow 200 lbs Per Day in Their First Year of Life
If you ever thought you wear putting on weight, it’s nothing compared to Blue Whale calves. These babies grow 200 pounds per day for the first year they are alive. They can move at a brisk pace of five miles per hour when fully grown, but if disturbed can get up to 20 miles per hour. Slow down there, speed racers! They are also known as the loudest animals and most likely can hear up to 1,000 miles away in the deep blue sea. And for more crazy trivia, check out the 50 Fast Facts So Interesting They’ll Crush Your Boredom.
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