Peu de choses pimentent un jour comme apprendre un nouveau savoir qui change la perspective – quelque chose qui vous fait repenser une hypothèse de longue date, remettre en question un faux manuel, ou même commencer à douter de chaque leçon et conférence et de la page Wikipedia que vous avez glanées Information provenant de. En d’autres termes, un fait qui vous fait dire (peut-être même de manière audible):sensationnel!”
Ces babioles de trivia peuvent concerner pratiquement n'importe quoi – le monde qui vous entoure, l'histoire ou même votre propre corps – tant qu'elles déclenchent un changement de paradigme intellectuel. Nous en avons rassemblé 150, ce qui est garanti. Et pour plus de secrets de la vie, ne manquez pas les 40 Faits tellement drôles qu’ils sont difficiles à croire.
Mais n’essayez pas de les fumer. Nous avons tous entendu dire que les fruits et les légumes sont riches en nutriments, mais vous ne saviez probablement pas que les tomates contiennent aussi… de la nicotine? En fait, des études ont montré que la consommation de choses riches en nicotine, telles que les tomates et les poivrons, peut effectivement réduire vos risques de contracter la maladie de Parkinson. Et pour découvrir plus d'aliments que vous devriez absolument consommer, consultez Les 50 meilleurs aliments pour votre cerveau.
Regarder vos émissions et vos films préférés, relire vos livres préférés et écouter votre musique préférée à plusieurs reprises présente en fait des avantages: cela détend votre esprit. En tant qu'êtres humains, nous avons un bassin limité de ressources mentales. Lorsque nous sommes dépassés, nous commençons à avoir moins de maîtrise de soi et moins de motivation pour les tâches à accomplir. Lorsque vous regardez une rediffusion ou écoutez vos chansons préférées, vous n’aurez pas à faire d’effort pour contrôler ce que vous pensez, ce qui signifie que votre cerveau peut faire une réinitialisation mentale rapide.
Margaret Dickinson, une femme de la région d’Edimbourg, a été pendue en 1736 pour avoir tué son bébé après sa naissance. Mais après que son corps ait été jeté sur un chariot pour être emmené, elle s'est réveillée et, puisque la loi écossaise interdisait le châtiment à deux reprises, elle était libre de partir. Et pour des histoires aussi bizarres, ne manquez pas 30 Faits fous qui changeront votre vision de l’histoire.
Une combinaison des lettres cursives pour “e” et “t” (formant le mot latin et, signifiant «et»), le symbole «&» a été inclus dans l'alphabet pendant des décennies, après «z». Il n'a reçu son nom officiel qu'en 1837. Et pour des idées sur la façon de commémorer l'esperluette de manière intemporelle, Découvrez 100 tatouages étonnants pour les débutants.
Les dos de chameau ne sont pas destinés à stocker de l’eau: ils servent à l’isolation et au stockage des aliments. La bosse est presque entièrement grasse, ce qui régule la température corporelle et sert de source de carburant alternative quand ils errent plusieurs jours à la fois, sans nourriture en vue. Alors, où faire ils stockent leur eau? Droit dans leur circulation sanguine.
Au cours de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la 22e compagnie d’approvisionnement en artillerie de la Pologne du 2e corps polonais comptait dans ses rangs un ours syrien pesant 400 kilos, nommé Wojtek. Il est venu vers eux comme un petit et a été élevé comme un animal domestique, buvant du lait dans une bouteille, puis de la bière. Il aidait à porter des munitions et a finalement été fait soldat officiel lorsque l'armée est arrivée en Égypte, où les animaux domestiques n'étaient pas autorisés (mais les soldats). Et si vous pensez que c'est adorable, ne manquez pas ces 40 faits étonnants sur les animaux.
Cela pourrait ne pas sembler un pays immense par rapport à ces autres pays, mais la France a des îles dispersées un peu partout dans le monde. Au total, ses territoires se répartissent en 12 fuseaux horaires distincts, à l’inverse des neuf États membres de la Russie et des six autres États
Quand vous pensez au Royaume-Uni, les tornades ne sont probablement pas la première chose qui vous vient à l’esprit. Mais selon le National Climatic Data Center, le Royaume-Uni a plus de tornades par rapport à son territoire que tout autre pays. Ainsi, alors que l’Argentine, le Bangladesh, la Nouvelle-Zélande et le Japon – ainsi que la célèbre allée de tornades des États-Unis dans le Midwest – souffrent tous de tornades, il n’ya rien de plus classique que la tornade britannique.
Quand un marin nommé Howard Blackburn s’est retrouvé dans des températures glaciales loin de la côte à Terre-Neuve et sans mitaines, il a su que ses mains gèlent. Mais pour pouvoir toujours les utiliser, il s'est penché et a «pris les deux rames et m'a pincé les doigts autour des poignées, les a maintenues jusqu'à ce que je ne puisse plus bouger mes doigts. Je savais qu'ils étaient alors gelés. »Cela lui a permis de ramer pour continuer à ramer et finalement se rendre à terre.
Les épices proviennent de toutes les parties d'une plante, à l'exception de la feuille; les herbes sont la feuille elle-même. Une épice doit être ajoutée aux aliments et / ou rôtie avant et pendant la cuisson, tandis que les herbes doivent être ajoutées à la fin, car elles libèrent la saveur plus rapidement.
C'est ce qu'on appelle la "détection du regard" et c'est le sens que votre cerveau utilise quand il sent que quelqu'un vous regarde. Des recherches ont montré que certaines cellules du cerveau se déclenchent lorsque quelqu'un vous regarde fixement, mais pas lorsque le regard de l'observateur est évité de quelques degrés à gauche ou à droite de vous (ce qui provoque le déclenchement de cellules différentes à la place). Nous avons évolué avec cette capacité afin de détecter les menaces potentielles, car le regard direct est un symbole de domination.
Littéralement connue sous le nom de «guerre du football», cette escarmouche centraméricaine de 1969 a eu lieu alors qu'un large éventail de tensions régnait entre les deux pays. Mais ce qui l’a déclenchée, c’est une série de matches opposant les deux parties dans laquelle les tensions se sont intensifiées jusqu’à ce que le Honduras coupe enfin ses relations diplomatiques avec son voisin. Deux semaines plus tard, El Salvador a envahi.
Le second est caché dans leur gorge et entre en jeu lorsque l'animal mord sur sa proie, le tirant plus bas dans sa gorge. Le résultat est comme un film de science-fiction.
Les scientifiques de la NASA travaillent sur une machine capable de lire les signaux nerveux dans la gorge qui contrôlent la parole lorsque l'homme parle. Ils ont trouvé des capteurs nerveux situés sous le menton, près de la pomme d’Adam, qui communiquent entre le cerveau et la boîte vocale. Selon les chercheurs, ces capteurs seraient lus par un processeur informatisé capable de transmettre les signaux en mots. (En d'autres termes, la NASA est sur le point de pouvoir lire dans vos pensées.)
Les oignons ont une enzyme appelée facteur synthase lacrymatoire, qui convertit les acides aminés de l’oignon en acide sulfénique. L’acide sulfénique devient instable lors de la coupe de l’oignon et se décompose en thiosulfonate (c’est l’odeur de l’oignon) et en syn-propanetriol-s-oxyde (le gaz qui vous déchire).
Avec tous nos progrès technologiques, il serait facile de reconstituer les armes que les Vikings fabriquaient il y a des centaines d'années. S'avère, pas tellement. NOVA s'est intéressé aux fabricants d'épées modernes qui tentent de recréer des «épées Ulberfht» en acier creusé. Ils ont réussi à s'en sortir, mais à peine. Il s'avère que les anciens Vikings étaient des ingénieurs assez habiles.
Comme les joueurs de baseball ou les Pokémon, les membres à quatre pattes de l'unité montée du service de police de Toronto reçoivent leur propre jeu de cartes à collectionner. Projet de passion d’un couple de passionnés de chevaux, l’effort produit un jeu de cartes tous les deux ans, l’un des couples prenant des photos des chevaux et l’autre créant les cartes.
Dans une expérience, les scientifiques ont placé des manteaux semblables à des zèbres sur des chevaux normaux et comparé le résultat à de «vrais» zèbres. Ils ont découvert que les mouches qui seraient normalement attirées par les chevaux semblaient extrêmement éjectées lorsqu'elles tentaient de se poser. Cependant, la tête du cheval – qui n’était pas habillée de zébrures – attirait toujours les mouches.
Les scientifiques ont découvert que l’effet placebo ne doit pas nécessairement dépendre de la personne qui ne réalise pas qu’elle a pris un placebo. Dans une étude de l'Université Harvard et de l'Université de Bâle, ceux qui ont inconsciemment pris un placebo censé soulager la douleur et ceux qui ont consciemment pris les médicaments factices ont tous deux été soulagés de la douleur.
En 1864 ou 1865, l'acteur Edwin Booth a retiré le fils du président, Robert Lincoln, d'un train qui commençait à bouger et le jeune homme s'est retrouvé pressé contre le train. Robert Lincoln se souvenait à quel point: «Je me suis tordu les pieds et je suis tombé un peu, les pieds vers le bas, dans l’espace dégagé, et j’ai été personnellement impuissant, lorsque le col de mon manteau a été saisi avec force et que j’ai rapidement été tiré vers le pied sur la plate-forme. En me retournant pour remercier mon sauveteur, j'ai vu qu'il s'agissait d'Edwin Booth, dont le visage était bien connu de moi, et je lui ai exprimé ma gratitude et, ce faisant, je l'ai appelé par son nom. »Abraham Lincoln serait assassiné par le frère de Booth mois après l'incident.
Pour éviter de gaspiller les ressources de la colonie, les fourmis gravement blessés refuseront l’aide de «fourmis paramédicales» qui essaieraient généralement de les aider. Comme National Geographic explique: «Les fourmis mourantes ont refusé de coopérer, remuant les jambes lorsqu'elles étaient sondées ou ramassées, forçant leurs assistants à les abandonner."
We think of treason as a federal crime, but many states have their own treason laws—and their enforcement tends to be harsher than the national laws. No American has been executed for treason against the federal government of the United States, though five people convicted of treason against individual states have faced execution.
That would be the Krakatoa volcano, near Indonesia, which, after having been dormant 200 years, erupted in an ear-bursting blast that shot ash 20 miles into the air and triggered multiple tsunamis. It produced a sound that was heard 3,000 miles away, in the central Australian island of Rodrigues.
Sometimes you are just born to do something. The president and CEO of nonprofit hunger relief organization Food For The Poor is none other than Robin Mahfood.
“If you’re looking across all of the hominids, which is the family tree after the split with chimpanzees, there [are] not really that many traits that we can point to that we can say are exclusively human,” Duke University’s James Pampush told NPR. “[T]hose animals all walked on two legs. The one thing that really sticks out is the chin.” While other animals have jaws, no others besides humans have the little section of bone on the lower jaw that juts past the teeth.
The word “robot” appeared in English in the 1920s, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, based on the Czech word “robotnik,” which meant slave, and which itself was rooted in the Old Church Slavonic word for servitude, “rabota.” That fact should be especially ironic once we reach singularity and the robots become our overlords. And for info on how far we actually are into the robotic revolution, learn the 20 Types of Artificial Intelligence You Use Every Single Day And Don’t Know It.
We imagine a kidney transplant would involve swapping out the unhealthy kidney for the healthy one. In fact, in most cases, surgeons will leave the kidney inside the patient’s body and add the healthy kidney somewhere near their pelvis. And for more amazing kidney hacks, see the 20 Warning Signs Your Kidneys Send You.
Whether at the top of the Empire State Building or looking over a steep drop from the highway, you’ve probably had that weird moment where you ask, “What if I jumped?” It turns out, you’re not alone—so much so, that there is actually a name for the phenomenon; it’s the “Call of the void” or “the high place phenomenon.”
After three strikeouts, “Stormin” Norman Cash walked out to the plate with a table leg he had grabbed from the locker room, ready to swing. “Why not? I won’t hit anyway,” he responded when the umpire asked what he was doing, before tossing the leg aside.
Started in 1986, by gay rights activist Cleve Jones, by 2016, the quilt (officially titled the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt) measured 1.3 million square feet and weighed an estimated 54 tons.
A number of cities had “ugly laws” on the books prohibiting those deemed “diseased, maimed, mutilated or deformed in any way, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting” from being seen in public. Most eventually repealed these laws, though Chicago was the last, repealing in 1974. And for more city secrets, see The 50 Most Exhausted Cities in America.
That includes all of the country’s rivers and lakes, considering the loch is 23 miles long and about a mile wide…and deep enough for a massive sea creature.
When visiting the recently opened theme park in 1957, President Harry S. Truman, a staunch Democrat, did not want to be photographed sitting on an elephant, the symbol for the rival Republican party, so he refused to board the flying elephant ride. It may also have just been that he was nervous about heights.
People have actually been diagnosed with “Truman Show Delusion.” Named after the 1998 film starring Jim Carrey, this phenomenon was defined in an issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry as “a novel delusion, primarily persecutory in form, in which the patient believes that he is being filmed and that the films are being broadcast for the entertainment of others.”
Like its trunk, the elephant’s procreative organ is prehensile. As one onlooker to the phenomenon describes, “As we watched in baffled amusement (and the faintest tinge of inadequacy), he used his penis to prop himself up, swat flies from his side and scratch himself on his stomach. David Attenborough never showed us that.”
You can test if you are part of this exclusive group by holding your arm out and touching your thumb to your pinky. Likely you will see a raised tendon, that’s palmaris longus, a muscle that was once likely of use but no longer does much for us. Those without it are the minority who have evolved beyond it.
We think of serotonin as that neurotransmitter that makes us feel good and is released to our mind by various illicit substances. But in fact, more than 90 percent of serotonin is produced in our digestive tract.
In 2003, high school quarterback Nate Haasis set a record for passing yardage, only to learn later that his own coach and the coach of the rival team had conspired to let it happen (in exchange for allowing the rival team score a touchdown). Haasis took the high road when he learned of what had happened, and rejected the honor.
As storage solutions get continually more compact and efficient with each passing year, it can seem unbelievable just how far we’ve come. A one-gigabyte file is easily stored in the cloud these days. But back in the 90s and early 2000, we stored our files on things like floppy disks. And it would take 711 1.44 MB floppy disks to store one gigabyte. That’s a whole lot of floppy disks. Thank goodness for the cloud, right?
It’s true! While we’re born with about 300 bones, some of those fuse up as we age—which means by the time we’re adults we have just 206 bones. Our smallest bone is inside our ear while the largest is the femur. And for more amazing baby facts, check out the 20 Most Popular Baby Names Inspired By Movies.
Though the colloquial belief is that the common housefly lives just two to three days, in fact, the rather disgusting insect lives an average of one to two months, giving it plenty of opportunities to land on your food and make it gross.
Over a 19-year career in which he scored 28,596 points, Shaquille O’Neal hit a three-point shot exactly once: On Feb. 16, 1996, in a 121-91 game between the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks. “I wouldn’t call him a good 3-point shooter, let’s put it that way,” as his coach Brian Hill said. “He could get the ball up there on the rim, but he wasn’t going to make too many of them.”
After writing his piece “Joe Gould’s Secret” in 1964, the beloved New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell never published another piece, yet he continued to go to work at the magazine’s offices every day. He produced no new writing until his death in 1996.
While it’s hard to imagine a world without Google, and while a few of us may even remember Ask Jeeves, back in the early nineties there were only a handful of fledgling search engines available to internet users. But the very first one was created in 1990 by a few students at McGill University in Montreal. Apparently, the rudimentary search engine was so popular that at one point it accounted for nearly 50 percent of all of the city’s internet traffic. Its inventors named it Archie—like archiver but without the “V.”
Chaplin was such a success in silent film, that he continued making them for years after “talkies” began to take off in popularity. Part of this was due to the fact that his silent films still made money, and part was due to his own lack of confidence in his skills in the new medium. When he finally did his first talkie, 1940’s The Great Dictator, it was a masterpiece that effectively silenced critics.
Legendary racehorse Man o’ War ran in just 21 races over his career and won 20 of them. His only loss, in August 1919, was at the hooves of a competitor named, appropriately, Upset.
The last person to have the honor of walking on the moon was American astronaut Eugene Andrew Cernan, the eleventh and last person to walk on the moon (during the Apollo 17 mission). But it was Charles Duke, the tenth person to walk on the Moon, who was born the latest of anyone who’s ever walked on it—October 3, 1935.
It’s one cruel killer.
There are a an estimated 7,097 languages spoken throughout the world today (839 spoken in Papua New Guinea alone), but because many of these are spoken by a small number of people they are considered at risk of extinction.
Though specifics vary, scientists have found that crickets chirp at different intervals depending on the temperature outside. They do so consistently enough that you can determine how warm or cold it is by counting the number of chirps over a particular interval and adding a set number to it (one popular formula from an old Farmer’s Almanac is to count the number of chirps over a 14-second interval and add 40 to it).
The creatures aren’t quite the skilled actors they are often portrayed as. Instead, they are just strategic wimps, falling into an involuntarily comatose state when they feel intense fear, which can last for hours, convincing any would-be predators that they are dead (they even emit a corpse-like smell to really sell the act).
They don’t produce silk, have just one pair of eyes, and don’t have the narrow “waist” that spiders do. In fact, they’re more closely related to the scorpion than other spiders. (That doesn’t really make them less creepy, though.)
Since a case involved a fraternal organization of which almost all of Texas’ elected officials were members and had to recuse themselves, the governor eventually came to the idea of appointing a group of female supreme court justices, since the organization did not accept female members.
Called Ixtab, she oversaw the heaven where those who hung themselves would go to in the afterlife.
The man who coined the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned” lived and died by the mantra. In his will, he left the cities of Boston and Philadelphia each 1,000 pounds sterling (worth about $4,500 at the time), with the caveat that they could not touch it for 200 years. Both followed his wishes and, in 1990, found that those few thousands were worth millions. And for more money secrets, see the 20 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About One Dollar Bills.
The ancient Egyptian calendar was similar to our current one, with 365 days in a year and 12 months. But each was exactly 30 days, leaving five extra days at the end of the year. Instead of spreading those throughout the year, they just made it an “intercalary month” treated as separate from the rest of the year proper.
Who says Americans are getting less healthy? While soda was the country’s most-consumed beverage for more than two decades, in 2013, bottled water took that title.
Never a star academic himself, the late-night TV legend created a scholarship in 1985 for telecommunications students who showed outstanding creativity, rather than academic excellence. To apply, they were asked to submit a creative project such as writing or interactive media.
In 1977, the mayor of Vulcan, West Virginia, frustrated by the lack of state support he’d received to replace a bridge, put out a request to the Soviet Union to help pay for it. Within the hour that a Russian journalist showed up to report on the story, the West Virginia Legislature released the $1.3 million funds to pay for the bridge’s replacement.
To help students overcome chronic sleep deprivation.
It’s not just about the nice speech and medal for recipients of the Medal of Honor. They also get a $1,300 monthly bonus, a 10 percent raise in retirement pay, and, in some states, a special Medal of Honor license plate.
Frustrated that his unemployed son spent all his time playing video games, a father in China hired a skilled player to kill off his son’s character. It didn’t work, though, as even when the son stopped playing he continued to show no interest in getting a job.
Soon after PepsiCo introduced Crystal Pepsi, Coca-Cola rolled out Tab Clear. Despite early success, like its competitor, the drink soon floundered on the market, and many believe it was a “kamikaze” stunt to hurt Crystal Pepsi by association.
While that label might seem to imply something about a wallet or pair of boots’ quality, in fact, the term “genuine leather” is a formal phrase applied to leather that has a corrected (in other words, artificial) grain that gives it a more natural appearance. Leather buffs typically view it as of low quality.
In 2009 the theoretical physicist prepared canapés, champagne and a giant banner with the words “Welcome, Time Travelers” in hopes that any actual time traveler from the future might come back in time to attend. Sadly, no one showed up.
While evolution is often characterized as being antithetical to Biblical teachings, the Catholic Church recognized Darwinian evolution going back to Pope Pius XII in 1950.
During a dark time in the actress’ younger days, she contemplated suicide but thought it might be easier on her family to have her life taken by someone else. So, as she told an interviewer in 2001, she hired a hitman who urged her to think about it for a month before going ahead with it. She thought better of it and decided against going through with the plan.
Bad joke. But the ship did have an impressive six-foot-deep, heated salt-water swimming pool for both swim workouts and spa-style relaxation.
Researchers found that females playing high school soccer were about one and a half times more likely to suffer a concussion than boys playing high school soccer—and the concussions were likely to be more severe.
This went back to 1986, when the Reagan administration condemned Mandela’s group, the African National Congress, for fighting against the apartheid regime of South Africa (which had supported the U.S. during the Cold War) through what it called “calculated terror” (it didn’t help that Mandela’s group also included a number of prominent Communists).
Kleenex tissues may seem like an innocent invention designed to soothe snuffly noses, but in fact, it developed as a filter to put in gas masks during WWI. Originally called Cheesecloth UGG the paper filters replaced cotton ones after cotton was needed for bandages in the battlefield.
That would be November 22, 1963. Though you probably only remember that as the day of JFK’s assassination (apologies to English authors).
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the birth of the United States. The country’s fifth president, James Monroe, died five years later on July 4, 1831.
Alan Magee, an American gunner during WWII survived a fall of 22,000 feet, without a parachute, when his B-17 was shot and caught fire. He passed out on the way down due to shock and a lack of oxygen that high up but woke up to find that he had fallen through the glass roof of the train station of a small German town. He was treated and became a prisoner of war for two years.
In 1928, as former New York Governor Al Smith ran for president against Herbert Hoover in the midst of the debate over whether alcohol should continue to be banned, Smith’s campaign figured his anti-prohibition (“wet”) stance should be promoted to those frustrated by the restrictions. So they produced some now-notorious buttons bearing the slogan “Make Your Wet Dreams Come True,” which carry a very different meaning today than they once did.
Developed in the era of the rotary phone, part of the planning behind area codes was to make those for major population areas be easiest to dial. So New York City got 212, Chicago got 312, and Los Angeles got 213. According to Atlas Obscura, “The largest and most prominent cities got the best codes, while smaller states had to drag the zero all the way around, almost as a punishment of sorts for not being bigger.”
Now that we use it to wrap our food, it might seem hard to believe that in the 19th century, this element was hugely valuable. When it was finally learned how the metal could be extracted, as Ardoise explains, “people adored Element 13’s color and luster, which reminded them of the sparkle of gold and silver—a brand-new precious metal. In fact, aluminum became more precious than gold and silver in the 19th century, because it was harder to obtain. The French government once displayed Fort Knox-like aluminum bars next to the crown jewels, and the minor emperor Napoleon III reserved a prized set of aluminum cutlery for special guests at banquets. (Less favored guests used gold knives and forks.) The United States, to show off its industrial prowess, even capped the Washington monument with a six-pound pyramid of aluminum in 1884.” Once innovators figured out how to extract it on an industrial scale, the market came crashing down. But for a while, aluminum was king.
Talk about dying for your job. Jim Heselden, a British businessman who bought the Segway company from its inventor in 2009 died a year later when his scooter went over a cliff and into a river near his Yorkshire estate, falling 30 feet to his death.
You probably assumed it was because they’d lost an eye and vanity led them to cover it up with the patch. Not so, it turns out. Jim Sheedy, a doctor of vision science and director of the Vision Performance Institute at Oregon’s Pacific University, explained to the le journal Wall Street that since pirates were having to move frequently from the bright conditions above deck to the extreme dark below, many “wore a patch over one eye to keep it dark-adapted outside.”
Well, it’s not assez as dire as you may have heard, but helium is, in fact, a nonrenewable resource and when it is released it escapes earth because of how light it is. That being said, a huge reserve of helium was found just a couple years ago in Tasmania, so we should be alright for a while longer.
It might not seem that long ago, but just 12 years had passed between the fall of the wall and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Some wineries and distilleries still use the antiquated term “butts” to refer to a full cask. It derives from the Medieval French word for boot, and, according to the Macallan distillery, is equivalent to 108 Imperial gallons.
That would be Harold Holt, the country’s 17th prime minister. He went swimming near Portsea, Victoria, in 1967 and was never heard from again. Of course, he likely drowned, but when a massive search operation failed to recover the body, he was declared par contumace and conspiracy theories remain about what might have vraiment happened to him.
That’s 16,766 libraries, compared to 14,146 McDonald’s restaurants (as of 2016). Just remember that next time you despair over our education system.
Specifically, there are 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s 67 zeros) ways to arrange a deck of 52 cards. As Yannay Khaikin explains, “Any time you pick up a well shuffled deck, you are almost certainly holding an arrangement of cards that has never before existed and might not exist again.”
It has to do with density.
If you believe all those dinosaur movies and shows, all the various prehistoric lizards were living together during the same era. Pas si vite. Comme Smithsonian explains, “About 83 million years separated Apatosaurus from Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus from Triceratops. The so-called Age of Mammals—which began when the non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out—has been going on for about 66 million years. Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.”
You can’t judge a fruit by its name. To technically be a berry, a fruit must develop from one flower that has one ovary. Strawberries have flowers with more than one ovary (as do raspberries). And for more amazing facts, see the 40 Random Obscure Facts That Will Make Everyone Think You’re a Genius
It’s a “single seed berry” to be precise. As UC Riverside’s Agriculture and Natural Resources helpfully explains: “There are two main classes of fleshy fruits: drupes and berries. Drupes are characterized by having a fleshy mesocarp but a tough-leathery or bony endocarp. They are said to have ‘stones’ or ‘pits’ rather than seeds (example: peaches). Also, a drupe usually has only a single seed. Berries, to the contrary, are characterized by having a fleshy endocarp, as well as mesocarp, and may have more than one seed
In the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery in Los Angeles.
Before he was an actor, Duncan was a bodyguard for celebrities, ranging from Will Smith to Jamie Foxx. He had been hired to protect Christopher Wallace—who you may know by his more common name, Notorious B.I.G.—in March 1997. He switched assignments, only to find out later that his almost-client was shot and killed the night he would have protected him. It led Duncan to leave his work as a bodyguard and pursue acting.
Though we usually think of them as French, these flaky pastries originated as the Austrian kipfel. Selon Smithsonian, it originated in 1683 to celebrate Austria’s victory over the Ottomans at the siege of Vienna: “The story follows that a baker, up early to make bread, saved the city when he heard the Turks tunneling underneath the city and sounded an alarm. The kipfel’s curved shape, said to mimic the crescent moon of the Ottoman flag, then would seem to pay poetic tribute to the indomitable spirit of a city that resisted a powerful invading force.”
It takes 243 Earth days for Venus to spin around its axis (that’s what denotes a day) but it only takes 225 Earth days for it to travel around the Sun, meaning that a day on the planet lasts a bit longer than a year.
The Human Genome Project is well-known, but researchers are currently undertaking the Human Connectome Project, aiming to completely map out the human brain’s neural connections in order to better understand its functions and connectivity. “Everyone knows that imaging isn’t equivalent to mapping every cell. There’s an endless expanse of potential detail that we still wish to know,” one of the scientists behind it told National Geographic. “But this [pattern] is a new piece on the chessboard.” He pauses. “And it really is a chessboard.”
Though one of the few absolute requirements of anyone running for president of the United States is that he or she be a natural born citizen, none of our first seven presidents would have qualified by this rule. It wasn’t until Martin Van Buren, born into the newly created country of the United States in 1782 and elected president in 1837, that we had a natural-born president. Interestingly enough, he was also the first president for whom English was not his first language.
That would be Russia.
They are both located in banks in the city of Casper. After an exhaustive investigation, L'Atlantique found none in Jackson Hole, Sheridan, or even the capital city of Cheyenne.
The first piece of wheeled luggage was sold at Macy’s in 1970. It was invented by Bernard Sadow, who was inspired when wrangling his two large suitcases through the Puerto Rico airport. And for more life hacks, don’t miss the 30 Amazing Facts That Will Change the Way You View the World.
Crazy right? It’s so true that it even has its own name, The Birthday Paradox. And for birthday ideas, we got you covered with the 30 Best Birthday Gifts for Your Husband.
Too bad it’s uninhabitable. When lighting storms strike on Saturn, it turns methane into carbon soot, which hardens as it falls to the ground, first into graphite, then diamonds. The high-value hailstones are, according to one researcher, “big enough to put on a ring, although of course they would be uncut.”
Generally, clouds are white and fluffy, and that’s because the water particles are spread widely apart, which allows light to pour through. When a cloud is about to pour rain, however, it gathers more water droplets and ice crystals, making it thicker, which prevents light from peeking through. The result is a darker shade of gray.
As they ripen, bananas produce ethylene gas, a plant hormone that stimulates ripening. Not all fruits respond (for instance, citruses don’t), but for those that do, the gas causes ripening by triggering the genes in plants that regulate growth and decomposition (ETR1 and CTR1); the gas causes these to turn de, which cause other cells to turn on, leading the breakdown of cell walls, conversion of starches to sugars, and the disappearance of acids—all of which we simply call “ripening.”
The most common gene for colorblindness is transmitted on the X-chromosome, which women have two of, compared to just one in men. The gene is recessive, so in a female, even if she has the mutated gene, the stronger, dominant X chromosome will “win” out. Conversely, if the male ends up with the non-dominant colorblind gene on his X chromosome, he will be colorblind, because he doesn’t have another X chromosome.
Everyone loves acetaminophen for its ability to reduce physical pain, but did you know it can reduce emotional distress too? A study conducted at the University of Florida has shown that the pills regularly used to dim bodily aches and pains also dim activity in brain regions that process social pain. In scarier news, another study also showed a reduction in empathy among regular acetaminophen consumers, as well.
In a process called sexual death feigning, female dragonflies will literally stop mid-air and fall to the ground when an aggressive male dragonfly chases after them to mate. It really works (a majority of the time): biologists have confirmed that 60 percent of the female insects who fake their deaths were able to evade mating-crazed males.
Have kids or pets in the house and don’t want pesticides on the counters? Try this trick out: Sprinkle coffee grounds (new or used) in the corners of your cabinets, counters, around pet food dishes, and anywhere else ants might pop up. Soon enough, your ant problems will go away: the ants are repulsed by the smell, and, even if they do eat it, the caffeine exposure will kill them.
Think of it this way: dinosaurs—ancestors of birds—were born from eggs for a really long time. At some point, a chicken-like avian produced an offspring with some sort of genetic mutation that caused it to cross from chicken-like to just poulet. Since this mutated chicken-like turned chicken creature came from the egg, we can definitively say that the egg came first.
Paresthesia (the clinical term for when your limbs fall asleep) is caused by your nerves being pinched, which restricts the communication between your nerve endings and the brain, so your brain and nerves can’t communicate feeling. If the paresthesia occurs in your arms, hands, and upper body, you can usually wake the appendages up by turning the head side to side, as it’s generally the nerves in the neck that become pinched, cutting the nerve communication channels from your upper body to the brain.
According to the National Severe Storms Lab, a tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust, and debris. You don’t see the tornado—you see what the tornado picks up.
The gametes of each sex are on polar opposite ends of the cell-size spectrum, with the female ovum (the egg) being the largest cell in all of human biology and the male sperm being the smallest. The “largest cell” is about one millimeter in size—juste visible to the naked eye, at roughly the width of a piece of hair (and that’s if you have good eyesight).
When the Romans first built apartment homes (called insulae, at about nine to ten stories high), it was the wealthier folks that lived on the ground floors. The higher floors rarely had running water, nor did they have bathrooms. Imagine climbing up and down nine stories, every day, multiple times a day! It wasn’t until the elevator came around in the 1800s that penthouses and upper-floor units became status symbols.
Baby eggplants really do look just like large dark-colored eggs. And back in the 18th century, when the Europeans first named them, eggplants were more of a yellow color, not purple, so the name was even more fitting. Oh, and while we’re on weirdly named produce, the grapefruit (which looks nothing like a grape) gets its name from the way the fruits grow in clusters on the tree, like giant clusters of grapes.
You can scroll through Instagram, post on Facebook, and even watch Netflix on the moon. Using lasers, NASA was able to establish transmission of data from Earth to the moon and back. The researchers achieved upload speeds of 19.44 megabits per second and download speeds of 622 megabits per second over the 384,633 kilometers between Earth and the moon.
There’s an easy way to find out if your sweetie’s a cheapie. Diamonds are made of carbon, which has a very low atomic number (six to eight, depending on grade). The lower the atomic number, the harder it is for an x-ray machine to “read.” Most x-ray machines are designed with a photon energy high enough that low atomic-number things—like carbon, or the oxygen in water—are fairly transparent, so that things like the calcium in bones (or the metal in weapons) show up more clearly.
The average cumulus (the fluffy ones) cloud weighs 1.1 million pounds. So, at that weight, why don’t they just fall out of the sky? Because they’re relatively light compared to their surroundings: the cloud may weight a lot, but the mass of the air within the same space is approximately 1.1 milliard pounds, making it 1,000 times heavier than the liquid.
In 1964, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent an anonymous letter to Martin Luther King Jr. with a recording of what it claimed were his sexual indiscretions and urging him to step down from his leadership role, decline the Nobel prize and/or commit suicide (yes, opinions vary about what exactly the letter was asking that he do). The plot was exposed in 1971 and has proved a constant embarrassment for the organization ever since.
There’s a condition called phytophotodermatitis that you get it if you spend too much time in the sun after handling limes, lemons, or even celery. Such produce items contain a chemical compound called furanocoumarin which, when in contact with exposed skin and sunlight, will cause a phototoxic reaction, resulting in what looks (and feels) like second-degree burns.
“Idiot” refers to someone with an IQ between 0 to 20; “imbecile” refers to someone between 21 and 50; and “moron” refers to anyone between 51 and 70. All of these terms were medical terms until October 2010, when S.2781 of the 111th Congress (or “Rosa’s Law”) mandated that the clinical term for any lower IQ-related issues be referred to as “intellectual disabilities.”
Back in the 17th century, sailors measured the speed of their ship by using a contraption called a “common log,” a coil of rope with equally spaced knots attached to a piece of wood. The piece of wood was lowered from the back of the ship and allowed to float behind it free from the coil it was attached on the ship. After a specific time had passed, the line was pulled in and the number of knots between the rope and the ship were counted. The speed would be the resulting number of knots.
And that’s because fireworks count as explosives. The U.S. government is the only entity to buy more explosives than the happiest place on Earth. Disney keeps its numbers top secret, but some estimate they spend between $45,000 to $50,000 on explosives per show.
Highly dopaminergic individuals tend to work with the abstract, ideas, and the future, and tend to affiliate as liberals. Lower dopaminergic individuals tend to be content with how things are and tend to affiliate as conservatives.
When patients were exposed to prolonged silence (two hours or more at a time), brain scans revealed new cell growth in the hippocampus. In another study exploring the effects of different types of music on the brain, researchers found that the two-minute pause between the music actually induced more relaxation than any type of music. That’s right: silence really is golden.
There are more neurons in your gut lining than there are in your spinal cord (that’s so your digestive system can work on its own without needing information from the brain). Those butterflies you get in your stomach when you’re overcome with emotion? That’s your stomach neuron system reacting.
The inner circle of Saturn’s seven rings spans about 180,000 miles in circumference. But the rings are, at most, about 0.6 miles. Let’s do some math: at the thickest spot, that amounts to a thickness-to-width ratio of 0.0000033. A standard 8.5-by-11 piece of paper (which is 0.004 inches thick) has a thickness-to-width ratio of 0.00036—or more than cent fois that of Saturn’s rings.
It became commonplace to say “God bless you” after someone sneezed back in Rome, when the bubonic plague was running rampant through Europe. A common symptom of the plague was sneezing, so the Pope at the time (Pope Gregory I) suggested saying “God bless you” to anyone who sneezed, in the hopes that prayer would save them from the deadly plague.
It’s true that their genetic makeup closely resembles humans, but, realistically, chimps would be the better choice. Mice also reproduce much faster than monkeys, so it’s easier and faster to watch genetic mutations and toxicology effects over the course of generations, in comparison to other test mammals.
Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid with a PH rating of 1-2) is strong enough to dissolve razor blades. So, if your stomach is so acidic, how does your body handle it? The truth is that your stomach aurait essentially eat itself if it didn’t generate its own protective lining daily. When your body is unable to produce the sugary and protein-filled mucus lining properly, you experience painful ulcers.
Forget the three you learned about in grade school science (solid, liquid, gas). You’ll also find super-fluid liquids (liquids with a specific quality of zero viscosity), plasma (a gas made only of ions), and amorphous solids, among others. But most interestingly—and commonly—you’ll find colloids: the “in-betweens” that contain two or more forms of matter, like whipped cream, shaving foam, and butter.
You’re not shining or buffing away uneven spots when polishing shoes—you’re just filling in the crevices. When you’re polishing a shoe, you’re just filling in the teeny-tiny scratches and holes with the shoe wax. So why does it get shiny? The filled-in spots then create an even, uniform surface, which reflects light more evenly.
A sunburn is the result of your body forcing your skin cells to essentially destroy themselves (scientific term: apoptosis, or programmed cell death) in an effort to prevent further damage in the form of skin cancer, which can result from the damaged DNA in the burnt cells.
Though the brain controls the pain you feel throughout the body, the brain itself has absolutely zero pain receptors, according to Allan I. Basbaum, a professor of anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco. That’s why craniotomy (brain surgery) can be done with the patient wide awake, which is incredibly useful for surgeons trying to map and locate the specific regions in the brain.
The first record of a flag being flown at half-staff for mourning was on a British expedition to Canada in 1612, on which the captain was killed. The crew lowered the flag to make room for the invisible “Flag of Death.” This tradition caught on among sailors from across the seven seas and was truly solidified in 1799, when the U.S. Navy ordered all flags to fly at half-mast to mourn the death of George Washington. In 1954, President Eisenhower issued Proclamation 3044, standardizing the requirement for all Federal buildings.
The Borden Company’s mascot Elsie, who appeared on its dairy products, eventually acquired an “all-American family” in 1940, including her husband, Elmer. When the company rolled out a new glue in 1947, the fact that it could be used to fix things around the house soon made Elmer, the helpful husband, an obvious mascot.
Not the black bars.
Whether it’s within 10 minutes or 10 million years, it’s statistically inevitable. (Exhibits A through ZZZ: skyscrapers with antennae, like the Empire State Building or the Willis Tower.) A lightning strike at any location does nothing to change the electrical activity in the storm taking place, which means double strikes are bound to happen.
There are a few compounds you’ll find in your chocolate bar that have been linked to improved mood and even altered brain patterns: tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the brain produce serotonin (the neurotransmitter related to happiness and satisfaction); phenylethylamine, an adrenaline-boosting compound often dubbed the “love” chemical because it stimulates the feeling of falling in love; and theobromine, a compound proven to reduce stress reduction and increase relaxation.
An apple has a crisp crunch that wakes you up with a high amount of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. Instead of waking you up with caffeine, the average 12 to 13 grams of natural sugar in the apple is slowly released into the bloodstream, which wakes you up without the jitters that are commonly associated with caffeine. The glucose in the fruit is easily digested by the body to feed cells, providing slow and steady energy, and lasts for the entirety of the digestion process of the apple, rather than the quick spike and crash that results from a cup coffee.
The red is for attention, of course, but the shape of the sign was determined by the American Association of State Highway Officials to be the most recognizable. Signs used to not be reflective, so at night it was important for drivers to be able to make out the sign. An octagon is more noticeable than a circle or a square. In addition, the shape is recognizable for traffic traveling in any direction, allowing drivers to be more fully aware of the driving landscape.
Grandparents who actively babysit and spend time with their grandchildren are proven to live longer. Taking care of kids keeps them physically and mentally active, and also helps to relieve stress. The feeling of being “needed” also plays a role for motherly and fatherly figures. And it’s beneficial for the kids, too! Spending time with nana and poppy provides emotional support and stability in the home.
When the body consumes alcohol and a sugary mixer, the sugars act the same way as food would by delaying the stomach’s emptying and absorption of alcohol. There are no (or very little) sugars in diet drinks for the stomach to digest, so there’s virtually no buffer of time between alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication. Studies have shown an 18 percent increase in intoxication for those who drank diet mixed drinks compared to those who drank sugary mixed drinks.
Don’t believe us? Try it out yourself. And for more mind-blowing trivia, check out these 50 Incredible “Did You Know” Facts That Will Astonish Everyone.
When you’re asking questions to someone you think may be lying, pay attention not to what they say, but to how they answer. Truth-tellers tend to elaborate on answers with more detail the more you ask; liars will tend to stick with the same basic answers, repeating their responses over and over (and over and over) until you just drop the subject.
It’s an age-old ballerina trick from when stage makeup would irritate the eyes, but you can use it in your day-to-day: to stop yourself from tearing up, look upward and to the left. In addition, if you wake up feeling groggy, you can instantly perk yourself up by lightly brushing your lower lashes with your fingertip. Try it tomorrow morning!
Pringles are hyperbolic paraboloids that are actually only 40 percent potato. They’re made up of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes, then pressed into a super-thin sheet and cut by a machine. The cuts then move to a mold, which presses them into their signature shape, and then they’re dropped into oil. That’s why, on the can, you can read, in small font, “potato crisps” (not “chips”).
Water-repellent clothes are coated with a chemical compound called DWR (durable water repellent), which work by increasing the contact angle (the surface tension) created by water when it touches the fabric. By increasing the angle, a “spiky” surface is formed on the textile, making the water turn into tiny droplets when they make contact with it, so that the water rolls off. If and when the angle is flat (a low contact angle), the water droplets are flatter, so they spread out instead of rolling off.
In 1386, a particularly nasty pig was tried for the murder of a child in Falaise, Normandy, France. Those trying the hog determined it was guilty and sentenced it to be “mangled and maimed in the head and forelegs, and then to be hanged.” It was even dressed in a man’s clothes as it was trotted into the public square and hanged.
Talk about a one-two punch. A month after the devastation of the atomic bombing in August 1945, Hiroshima was struck by Typhoon Ida, which killed an estimated 2,000 people in the prefecture. And for more historical facts you may not be aware of, don’t miss 30 Things in History Textbooks That Weren’t There Just 10 Years Ago.
Mostly just the ones for eating.
Well, technically he played in a band with the two guys from Steely Dan for a few gigs in college. They would go on to play in a few more bands before forming Steely Dan and Chevy Chase would go on to Saturday Night Live.
In the digital world, at least, 42 is the most unlucky number for a fairly surprising reason. (It’s also the last number in the unlucky lottery numbers from LOST.) There’s a malicious zip file out there titled 42.zip, aptly named the “zip bomb.” It’s a scant 42 kilobytes in size, but once unzipped, it expands to 4.5 petabytes (or, for perspective, 4.5 million gigabytes), crashing any system it’s opened on. And for more astonishing numerical truths, here are 40 Facts About Numbers That Will Make You Feel Like a Mathematical Genius.
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