30 Random Facts That Will Make You Sound So Interesting
Next cocktail party, give 'em the ole razzle dazzle.
Few feelings are more satisfying than dropping a mind-blowing fact at a cocktail party. You feel smart, your friends are impressed, and there’s a decent chance they’ll remember it and pass it on—meaning you just kickstarted a game of trivia telephone. Boo-yah. Oh, and if conversation lags? You just kickstarted that, too.
Yes, having an arsenal of odd, random, unexpected bits of info at your disposal—stuff that you can effortlessly toss into conversation at any time—is an invaluable weapon. Here are 30 such fascinating facts.
The U.S. wastes 160 billion pounds of food per year
Think twice before you get rid of that carton of milk, because, according to a Los Angeles Times report, that sell-by date isn’t as accurate as you may think. The sell-by date is actually not intended to convey safety information but rather communicate the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the food will taste best. Who knew?
Well, apparently not many people: the U.S. alone wastes 160 billion pounds of food, or nearly 40 percent of food produced in this country, per year. All in all, more than 90 percent of individual consumers have tossed out food that’s totally fine because of a mostly arbitrary date. Yikes.
Divorce Rates Double Over Christmas, Peaking in January
According to out of the United Kingdom, divorce rates spike over the Christmas period. So, what gives? According to Wilson Nesbitt, the surge in separations could be the result of the intense two- to three-week period that makes up the holidays, which can bring about financial stresses, too much time with in-laws, and more, all of which would test any couple—let alone a pair that are struggling.
One Time, Pizza Hut Delivered to the International Space Station
Well, this delivery probably took a little longer than 30 minutes… In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first restaurant chain to deliver to space. This was mostly a publicity stunt by the company—a more than $1 million publicity stunt. The pizza was delivered via a resupply rocket to Russian astronaut Yuri Usachov.
There Used to be Hundreds of Elephant Species
At one point on earth, there were more than 350 different species of elephants in the world. Today, there are only two: African elephants and Asian elephants. The African elephant is the larger of the two, and both female and male African elephants grow tusks. Of the Asian elephants, only the males grow tusks.
Facial Hair Is Responsible for a lot of Wasted Guinness
According to a report in the Guardian, Guinness drinkers who have mustaches are wasting an estimated 162,719 pints, collectively, every single year because the drink gets trapped in upper-lip facial hair. (Maybe they’re “shaving” it for later.)
Twister, the Game, was Once Accused of Being Too Sexy
Talk about twisted. But it’s true! The Milton-Bradley game first hit the shelves in 1966 and was deemed “sex in a box” by a competitor. But, on May 3, 1966, during an episode of the Tonight Show, Carson took a minute to highlight the new game. It went on to sell more than 3 million copies over the next year.
Australian Sportswoman of the Year was Once Awarded to a Horse
In 2012, Sally Pearson, the gold medal winner of the 100m hurdles in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, in what might have been the greatest moment of the ’12 Games, was totally snubbed. Phil Rothfield and Darren Hadland, sportswriters at the Daily Telegraph, in Sydney, named Black Caviar—a horse who’s won every race she’s been part of—as the Sportswoman of the Year. And no, they weren’t horsing around. Despite receiving a whole lot of backlash (the decision was roundly ridiculed as sexist on social media), they doubled down. As for who won sportsman that year? Michael Clarke, the cricket player.
Moose Are Great Swimmers
Take that, Phelps! Moose, despite their lanky legs and floppy frame, are actually excellent swimmers. In fact, these big land mammals can completely submerge under water for up to 30 seconds! According to Canadian Geographic, moose can swim up to 10 miles and can dive 16 feet deep.
Nintendo Once Tried to Compete With LEGO
You’d think the company would have had enough what with dominating the video game market. But Nintendo once tried to take on plastic toys, too, going after LEGO back in 1960s Japan. the company created a series of construction sets with colorful plastic blocks, which it called Nintendo N&B Blocks. The studs were identical to LEGOs, allowing the two brands to be mixed and matched. They sold briskly for a few years before legal pressure led the company to shelve their product. And for more fun with colorful bricks, see the 37 Craziest Structures Built with LEGOs.
The Indian Constitution Is the Longest Written Constitution In the World
This document, running 145,000 words spread over 22 parts and 395 articles, making it far and away the longest of its type. (For comparison, the U.S. Constitution is about 4,500 words.) It was first adopted by the state on November 26th, 1949, and came into practice on January 26th, 1950.
In 1989, Queen Elizabeth II was the Richest Person In England
In 1989, the Sunday Times started the Rich List, a compilation of the 300 wealthiest people in the United Kingdom. That year, Queen Elizabeth II was at the top of the list. In 2015, however, she didn’t make the list at all, coming in at 302 with a wealth of £340 million (she was at 285 the year before).
The IRS Taxes Ill-Gotten Gains, Too
Yes, the IRS wants to tax your illegal income, too. According to CNN, “Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.”
You Can Teach Your Dog to Read
“Read” might be a bit generous, but Fido is nonetheless probably smarter than you’re giving him credit for. You can actually teach your dog to recognize written words as cues, such as “sit,” “stay,” “shake,” all that jazz. So, no, he can’t necessarily give you a book report on Atlas Shrugged, but still pretty cool, no?
Exercise Doesn’t Really Help You Lose Weight
You can’t outrun a bad diet. Recently, study after study has shown that, in order to lose weight, you need to watch what you’re eating—and eat less—rather than try and run it all off at the gym. Weight loss is all about calories: how many you take in, how many you burn. To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. That’s it. Full stop. What you’re eating is far more important that what you’re doing, since even the most arduous workouts will only burn about 500 calories per hour.
One Time, Kanye West Sold a $120 Plain White T-Shirt
Maybe just to show off how foolish some of his fans are, the rap superstar once offered up a boring white t-shirt, with a $120 price tag on it (promoting such attributes as “Short sleeves” and “Egyptian cotton”) and it still sold out immediately. You can’t beat the power of branding, it seems.
Muhammad Ali Starred In a Broadway Musical
While Ali was suspended from boxing, for not joining the army during the Vietnam War, he found a very different way to keep busy: taking the stage on Broadway. He starred for five days in Oscar Brown Jr. and Jean Pace’s adaptation of Joseph Dolan Tuotti’s play Big Time Buck White. Perhaps most surprising: He was apparently pretty good! As the New York Times critic wrote at the time, Ali, “He emerges as a modest, naturally appealing man. He sings with a pleasant slightly impersonal voice, acts without embarrassment and moves with innate dignity.”
Burger King Once Tried to Sell Cologne
In 2008, the fast food chain Burger King launched the cologne “Flame,” a men’s body spray. The restaurant where the Whopper was born described the spray as “the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” Do you want fries with your tongue-in-cheek marketing stunt?
Almost All Languages Follow a Certain Law
Known as Zipf’s law, this linguistic idea holds that the second-most common word is used half as much as the most-common word, while the third most-common word is use one-third as much as the most-common word, and so on. For example, in English, “the” is the most common word and accounts for 7 percent of all word occurrences, while “of,” the second-most common, clocks in at 3.5 percent. “And” follows after that.
There Are Hydrogen-Operated Trains
Hydrogen is becoming an option for the future of fuel to cut down on carbon emissions—look no further than what’s going on in Germany. In 2018, the first hydrogen-powered train went operational in the country. Two trains built by the French train manufacturer Alstom are now operating on a 62-mile stretch of line in northern Germany. While it’s costlier, it is more eco-friendly.
The World’s Largest Family Is in India
A 73-year-old man in India’s remote northeast has 39 wives, 94 children, and 33 grandchildren. And, get this, they all live under one roof: a four-story building with 100 rooms. Imagine trying to shower in the morning.
Lamb And Sheep Are Born With Long Tails
Weird as it seems, lamb and sheep are actually born with long tails. However, these tails can be too long for these animals to even lift. As such, sometimes these tails need to go through a process called “docking,” or trimming the tail. It sounds cruel, but the process actually can help the animal in the end.
There’s Only One Letter That Is Never Silent
The letter “V” is the only letter in the English language that is never silent. Many words have a silent letter or two. V will never be that letter, though.
South Park Creators Wore Designer Dresses to the 2000 Oscars
Talk about a fashion statement. The creators of the satirical show South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, wore designer dresses to the 2000 Oscars. Oh, and did we mention they were tripping on acid, too? No? Oh. Well, they were. Clearly, they take the awards season very seriously. They were nominated for Best Original Song: “Blame Canada.”
“Gut Feelings” Are Actually a Thing
According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, yes, gut feelings are real: emotional intuitions get transmitted from your gut to your brain via the Vagus Nerve. In other words, yes, trust your gut.
Turkeys Were Once Worshipped Like Gods
While the turkey these days is little more than the centerpiece at American Thanksgiving, in 300 B.C.E., these big birds were heralded by the Maya as vessels of the gods and were honored as such, so much so that they were domesticated to have roles in religious rites! They were symbols of power and prestige, and can be found all over the place in Maya iconography and archaeology.
The U.S. Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
During the 1920s, the U.S. government poisoned its citizens in order to enforce Prohibition. When people continued to consume alcohol despite its banning, law officials got frustrated and decided to try a different kind of deterrent: death. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States—products that were regularly stolen bootleggers. By the end of Prohibition in 1933, the federal poisoning program is estimated to have killed at least 10,000 people.
Elephants Have A Specific Call to Warn the Herd of Bees
It’s a real threat, it turns out. Oxford scientists discovered that elephants have a specific call to warn the herd about angry bees. While scientists have known from previous studies that elephants will make specific noises for other events, like the birth of a calf, they wanted to see if any other perceived dangers had a call. Turns out, there was: Bees.
Pope Gregory IV Declared War on Cats
Pope Gregory IV was apparently a dog person. He officially denounced cats in the 13th Century, saying black cats were instruments of Satan. Because of this belief, he ordered their extermination throughout Europe. However, the plan backfired, as it resulted in a steep increase in the population of plague-carrying rats.
President Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame
Before the 16th president took office, Abraham Lincoln was a declared wrestling champion. The 6’4” president had only one loss among his around 300 contests. He earned a reputation for this in New Salem, Illinois, as an elite fighter. Eventually, he earned his county’s wrestling championship.
There is an Extra Rare Blood Type
Chances are that you don’t have it, since just 43 people in the world carry Rh-Null, this crazy-rare blood type. Consider yourself lucky, though: those 43 people would have an insanely difficult time obtaining blood in emergency situations. See? It pays to be unremarkable. And for more info that will take you to Trivia Night gold, check out these 50 Fast Facts So Interesting They’ll Crush Your Boredom.
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