Forty-Four Fantastically Frivolous Fun-Facts
"...and this is where you put all the facts." Source
Did you know?
Beep beep get out of the street! Source
1. The first ever speeding ticket was given to a man driving 8mph.
Whipping his custom Benz through the streets of 1896 England at four times the speed limit like a G, Walter Arnold was chased down by a policeman on a bicycle and awarded the very first speeding ticket for driving 8 miles per hour!
The dude went on to win races with his custom engines, so what's a couple speeding tickets here and there on the road to glory?
Y'all are weird. Source
2. Rabbits are unable to vomit.
One silver lining to that baby rabbit you bought your daughter for Easter that you're now regretting; it won't puke on your carpets!
Rabbits have a really strong sphincter... between their throat and their stomach to prevent stomach acid, and anything else, from splashing up their esophagus, so what goes in the front must come out the back.
Two red tittles. Source
3. The dot above a lowercase 'i' or 'j' is called a "tittle".
We're all adults here, right? Say it out loud... "Tittle".
Just one of those weird things we never really think about that someone put real thought into naming. It's a really old word, but it rarely gets used. It's thought that the phrase "to a T" is derived from "to a tittle", meaning to cover all the little details.
I bet the next time you're writing a letter to grandma you chuckle at all the little tittles.
"We're goin' on an adventure!" Source
4. The national animal of Scotland is the Unicorn.
As if you needed another reason to admire the Celts...
Most countries choose "real" animals to represent their people. Usually something rare and majestic, or something that strikes fear into the hearts of their enemies.
Scotland took a left here, and for over half a millennium, they've chosen the proud and illustrious Unicorn to be their national animal.
No Q in the states? It's a conspiracy! Source
5. Q is the only letter in the alphabet that does not appear in the name of any of the United States!
Even X has a home in Texas, and Z in Arizona, but Q is the loneliest letter in America.
Who knows how they managed to only leave out a single letter among 50 separate states' names, but some believe there's more to it than just mere coincidence...
She's thicc, boi! Source
6. Just the tongue of a blue whale weighs more than an adult elephant.
Of all the giant dinosaurs and such we learned about in school, the largest creature ever known to exist swims the oceans today. Blue whales can grow to be over 100 feet long and weigh around 400,000 pounds!
To maintain their figure they gulp down nearly 3 million calories worth of krill every single day. Their tongue alone can weigh 5000-8000 pounds, which is more than many full-grown elephants!
Three strikes and you're out! Source
7. A bowling pin is exactly as tall as it is round.
In ten-pin bowling, the rules dictate not only how long the "lane" should be, but also the size, shape, and weight of the ball and pins.
A "regulation pin" is made of hard maple wood, weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces to 3 pounds 10 ounces, is 15 inches tall, 21/4 inches wide at its base, and 15 inches in circumference at its widest point.
Sleeping on the redeye. Source
8. Some birds can sleep while flying.
In case you needed another reason to wonder whether birds are real at all, some of them can stay in the air for weeks or months at a time...
The Great Frigatebird was shown to sleep with half its brain at a time in ten-second naps while on long journeys, amounting to around 45 minutes of sleep per day... again, while flying!!
"I wanna split you open." Source
9. Banana trees can't reproduce.
The bananas our grandparents ate as children are not the bananas we enjoy today. Those species were all but wiped out by disease. 99% of bananas sold in the world today are of the 'Cavendish' variety, and they're all genetically identical to each other.
Cavendish banana trees originate from a single tree in England. Being sterile, the only way to grow more banana trees is by cloning the ones you already have!
This actually makes the species very susceptible to what's called 'Panama Disease' that's caused by a fungus in the soil, so we're almost certainly doomed to repeat history. I just hope the next bananas are as yummy as the Cavendish.
Premium Fish Sauce. Source
10. Worcestershire Sauce is basically just Anchovy ketchup.
Replace the tomatoes with anchovies and spices, and you've got yourself a vinegary fermented fish sauce...
Okay, so they aren't exactly alike, but I never knew Worcestershire Sauce was made with anchovies. Apparently, the first time they made it in the 1830s, the concoction was so strong they deemed it inedible and abandoned the whole barrel of the stuff in their basement.
A few years later, they opened it back up and realized it had mellowed out. They then decided it was palatable enough to bottle up and sell, branding the signature sauce we all know today.
When life gives you lemons, clean your house! Source
11. There is more real lemon juice in Lemon Pledge furniture polish than in Country Time Lemonade.
How much actual lemon juice would you think a popular brand of lemonade drink that sells millions of bottles per year would be made with? If your guess is anything but "Absolutely zero", you'd be mistaken...
Pledge furniture cleaner contains actual lemon oil if only to produce a fragrance. That's more than can be said for the factory-made "lemonade" many Americans give their children that uses artificial flavorings to produce the "perfect" product.
A little radioactive net ready to ignite. Source
12. The bags of netting in gas lanterns (called 'mantles') are radioactive.
Gas mantles begin as little mesh nets of fabric impregnated with metals that will glow when heat is applied. Standard mantles are typically 99% thorium oxide.
As you may or may not know, Thorium is a radioactive metal that can be used to produce power in nuclear reactors. While the dosage of radiation given off by gas lamps is well below dangerous levels, it's definitely still detectable with a Geiger counter.
Not JFK's brain. Source
13. JFK was buried without his brain, which later went missing!
After John F. Kennedy was assassinated his brain was removed during the autopsy and stored in the National Archives for whatever reason.
A few years later in 1966, it was discovered that the late president's grey matter had gone missing, and the mystery of where it went has yet to be solved...
"Thanks for all the fish..." Source
14. Dolphins have been used in war.
During the cold war, dolphins and other aquatic creatures like sea lions and beluga whales were used by both the United States and the Soviet Union for all sorts of underwater operations.
Dolphins were trained for assignments including detecting and tagging mines, transporting equipment, and even helping defend ships from enemy swimmers!
They're still used today all around the world, though their usefulness isn't what it used to be now that we have things like minisubs and better sonar systems.
Here are the best golf courses in Florida. Source
15. The state of Florida is bigger than England.
The United States is really big... Most American states are larger than European countries.
The state of Florida is around 65,000 square miles of palm trees, sandy beaches, and people who used to live in Kentucky. England, while occupied by nearly three times as many people as Florida, only comes in at around 50,000 square miles.
You coulda had a bad bitch, non-committal, Source
16. Cleopatra was Greek.
When you hear "Cleopatra", you likely only connect the name with ancient Egypt.
While Cleopatra was born in Egypt, she was actually born of Macedonian Greeks and was a direct descendent of one of Alexander the Great's generals. Her parents were very likely siblings, but she carried that torch and married two of her younger brothers...
Her native language was Koine (or 'Biblical') Greek, but she was the only ruler of the Ptolemaic Dynasty to actually learn to speak the Egyptian language. After her death in 30 BC, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.
Help you with your career, just a little. Source
17. Marie Curie is the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different fields of science.
At the time of writing, 930 people have been awarded the Nobel Prize for their various achievements, and a few have won multiple Nobels, but only one person has ever won the Nobel Prize in two separate fields of science.
Marie and her husband Pierre won a shared Nobel for Physics in 1903 and nine years later in 1911, she would be awarded her own Nobel for Chemistry. This family was something else, and not only would their daughter grow up to win the Nobel Prize but so would the husband of their other daughter! Talk about keeping the gene pool strong...
Now I have to buy a new coffee mug. Source
18. The NYSE started in a coffee shop.
Way back in 1792, twenty-four stockbrokers gathered around a giant sycamore tree (as a group of men does...) to form an agreement about how they would conduct their mutual business.
For the next quarter-century until 1817, the second floor of the Tontine Coffeehouse in New York City saw the comings and goings of any number of brokers, merchants, politicians, and traders, all taking part in what would eventually come to be known as the New York Stock Exchange.
"The cold never bothered me anyway." Source
19. Frozen lobsters can come back to life when thawed!
How fresh do you like your seafood? How about reanimated-at-home-fresh?
A salmon farming company froze lobsters using the same process they use to flash freeze their other products, which involves soaking in freezing-cold water, then plunging them into -40 degree brine.
After taking another cold bath to thaw, some of the lobsters were found to have survived and "come back to life". Now that's fresh!
Don't feel bad, strawberry. I too am a false fruit. Source
20. A strawberry isn't a berry.
Ready for me to ruin the way you look at strawberries? My whole life is a lie. Bananas are berries but strawberries aren't!
Strawberries are what's known as a pseudocarp, or "false fruit". The red part of the strawberry is actually a "fleshy receptacle" that holds many individual fruits (the white or brown specks I've always thought were the seeds!). Inside each tiny fruit is an even tinier little seed ready to grow a whole new plant.
A Human, doing Human things. Source
21. Redheads require more anesthesia.
Redheads are mutants...
I suppose a more polite way of putting that is; redheads have a genetic mutation of the melanocortin-1 receptor. This slight variation of the genetic code doesn't just reflect on the outside, though, but possibly on the inside as well.
A small study of women showed that 9 times out of 10, healthy women with the melanocortin-1 mutation required "significantly" more anesthesia than people with other hair colors to produce the same result.
Good morning, sunshine. Source
22. Sunlight takes over 8 minutes to reach Earth.
If for some crazy reason the Sun were to suddenly turn off, we'd still have nearly 10 minutes to enjoy before we realized our swiftly impending doom.
Light travels really fast, but the Sun is really far away. Once photons reach the surface of the Sun, they still have about 8 minutes and 20 seconds of travel time before stopping dead in their tracks at your eyeball.
It's all about the Washingtons. Source
23. There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
Here's one for all my cashier friends. The next time a customer asks if you can break a bill, switch it up on 'em.
Using pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, there are 242 different ways you could make change for a dollar bill.
If you throw half-dollars into the mix, the total number of combinations comes to 293!
Coffee is worth risking any danger. Source
24. Non-dairy powdered coffee creamer is flammable.
The next time you're making a cup of coffee using coffee-mate, be sure you don't have any open flames around your coffee bar...
While it's just sitting in its canister or in a pile you accidentally spilled onto the counter, the powdered creamer is entirely safe. Shake the canister and make a cloud of the stuff and it's a completely different story.
Most powders can be ignited when their particles are able to float freely around in the air. The small particulates have a comparatively large surface area, and oxygen fills the gaps in between. Hold an open flame to a cloud of powdered coffee creamer, and it's possible for the whole thing to explode!
Should I eat it or try to sell it? Source
25. Diamonds can be made from peanut butter.
When asked "How do you find diamonds?", my first thought is "dig down to Y 11-15 and start mining..."
Peanut butter contains loads of carbon, and diamonds are basically just pure carbon atoms aligned a certain way. A scientist in Germany figured out that by putting this beloved legume cream under high pressure, he could form real diamonds in the process!
The tiny little gems created weren't breaking any records, but size doesn't matter, right?
26. The hashtag symbol (#) is called an octothorpe.
The "number sign", the "pound sign", the "hashtag". This little guy has been used for so many different things throughout history and has been called as many names.
It traces its origins all the way back to 14th-century Latin, but it never actually had a name until AT&T added it to their telephones. They needed a name for the symbol for their manuals and eventually landed on octothorpe.
Who cuts a cake with a steak knife? Source
27. The 'Happy Birthday' song used to be copyrighted.
There's a reason you don't hear the most popular song in the world in many movies. That's because until just a few years ago, singing 'Happy Birthday To You' would require you to pay royalties...
It's now in the public domain and can be used by anyone for free, but at one point, the holder of the copyright, Warner Music, was pulling in a very sweet $2 million per year from this simple ditty. Disney even paid $5,000 just to play it during a parade!
When moon? Source
28. You could fit 30 Earth-sized planets between Earth and the Moon!
Looking at it in the sky, the Moon looks pretty close, but in reality, it's around 240,000 miles away.
A tunnel dug directly through the center of the Earth wouldn't even be 8,000 miles long, so doing the math there, you could fit 30 more Earths in the space between here and the Moon!
Getting in my feelings. Source
29. Pain travels at over 200 miles per hour.
When you cut your finger or stub your toe, the pain you feel is seemingly instantaneous.
The nervous system is made up of different-sized neurons that carry signals at different speeds, and some neurons have sections that are covered with a protective sheath.
Signals are able to "jump" past those protected spaces, allowing certain signals like pain to travel between 150 and 250 miles per hour, give or take.
Wanna play a game? Source
30. Opposite sides of a six-sided die will always add up to 7.
How much have you ever really paid attention to the dice when you're playing a game like Monopoly or Craps?
The numbers on the dice are laid out so that if you add opposite sides together, you'll always get 7.
1 is on the opposite side of 6, 2 is on the opposite side of 5, and 3 is on the opposite side of 4.
Throw some roo on that barbie. Source
31. A fire in Australia has been burning for 6000 years!
As you're probably aware, coal is very flammable. You may also know we collect coal from enormous deposits deep underground. What happens, though, if that underground coal gets ignited?
That's exactly what happened with a coal seam under Mount Wingen in Australia before Europeans had ever settled on the continent, and it's still burning today. Considering it happened thousands of years ago, we're honestly not sure what started this fire, but the area is pretty uninhabitable, with surface temperatures that can reach 600 degrees Fahrenheit!
I thought this post would only take a few jiffies... Source
32. A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time!
The complete opposite of how much time it's taking me to finish this post, a "Jiffy" denotes a specific measure of time, but the actual amount of time depends completely on context!
In physics and chemistry, a jiffy is the amount of time it takes light to travel 1 centimeter, which is about 0.00000000003 seconds... In electrical engineering, however, a jiffy is the time between AC power cycles, coming out to between 0.1 and 0.2 seconds. Computer scientists consider a jiffy to be the time of one "tick" or about .01 seconds.
If 2+2 can equal 5, 1+1 can equal 3... Source
33. 111,111 X 111,111 =
This one doesn't require much explanation. It's just a fun math equation I've learned over the years.
One hundred eleven thousand one hundred eleven multiplied by itself comes out to one two three four five six five four three two one. 😁
Stackin' them Teddies. Source
34. A U.S. dime has 118 ridges around the edge, a quarter has 119.
Looking at a dime or a quarter, you'll notice there are tons of little ridges around the edge.
This practice made it harder to counterfeit the coins and prevent fraud in the form of people shaving off a little of the precious metal, known as "clipping", before spending the coin. The reason dimes and quarters have ridges and not pennies or nickels is that the higher valued coins were mostly made of silver, while pennies and nickels were made of much cheaper metals.
Our coins are no longer made with silver, but the "reeded edges" have remained. Today, every dime has 118 ridges, a quarter has 119, a half-dollar coin has 150 ridges, and a dollar coin has 198.
A tiny vial of bean juice is all you need to rid yourself of enemies. Source
35. Lima beans and apple seeds contain cyanide.
Always make sure to properly cook your food...
Mature, raw lima beans have evolved to produce the chemical Linamarin, which when consumed, can release hydrogen cyanide. The cyanide content of wild lima beans can exceed 3000mg, though in the US, regulations state that farmed lima beans must contain no more than 200mg. You can rid the beans of their cyanide content by profusely boiling them before consumption.
Growing up, your mother may have warned you against eating the seeds of apples, and it's for the very same reason. Granted, you'd have to eat somewhere between 100 and 500 apple seeds to come down with cyanide poisoning, but better safe than sorry, right?
"Like Hamlet, all about words, words, words..." Source
36. The word 'run' has more definitions than any other word in the English language.
Taking up 32 pages in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the word 'set' used to be the word with the most definitions.
The current record holder is the word 'run', which just in verb form has over 645 different meanings! Without looking at the dictionary I can honestly only think of a handful, but I suppose that's why I'm not a lexicographer.
Why are we like this? How can one simple little three-letter word, that always sounds the same, mean so many different things?
The word gaggle makes me giggle. Source
37. A group of geese is called a gaggle, but only if they're on the ground.
Another bit of English language nonsense is "collective nouns" and almost all of them refer to groups of animals.
A group of owls is called a "parliament". A "business" of flies swarm the trash you didn't take out last week. The crows that keep gathering to harass passersby are collectively known as a "murder". A group of jackasses is called a "coffle" as long as they are roped together. A "gaggle" of geese are only a gaggle if they're on the ground, but if they're in the air, that same group of geese is known as a "skein", a "team", or a "wedge".
Again... Why are we like this?
Oopsy Daisy... Source
38. The US Military has LOST six nuclear warheads.
A "Broken Arrow" is a term for when a nuclear weapon is accidentally launched, detonated, lost, or gets stolen.
Just between 1950 and 1980, there were 32 Broken Arrow incidents. While most of those weapons were recovered, to this day the US is still missing six nuclear weapons. Some are buried at sea due to plane crashes, but there's a nuclear core that is likely buried in a field in North Carolina! The military couldn't find all the parts of the weapon after a B-52 crashed shortly after takeoff, so they purchased an easement over the area so no one would be allowed to dig it up.
A whole new meaning to "babies having babies" Source
39. The youngest mother in history wasn't even 6 years old!
This one isn't a very "fun" fact, but it's intriguing nonetheless.
On Mother's Day of all days in 1939, a Peruvian girl by the name of Lina Medina became the world's youngest mother at the ripe old age of 5 years, 7 months... Obviously, the police were immediately involved, but could not determine exactly what had happened to this poor little girl.
Via cesarean section, Lina gave birth to a healthy 5 pound, 8-ounce baby boy who she named Gerardo after the doctor who helped her through labor.
Aren't you glad I didn't choose a more relevant image? Source
40. The origin of the word 'gymnasium' means 'to exercise naked.'
The ancient Greeks took exercise and physical health very seriously and a healthy body was thought to be just as important as a healthy mind.
They were also nowhere near as modest as we are today, and the place where they worked out was called a "gymnasion" which literally meant "school for naked exercise".
Taking that meaning and applying it to modern gymnasiums is ill-advised at best.
Pray for mercy. Source
41. The mantis is the only insect that can turn its head.
Sneak up behind one and you may be shocked to see it swivel its tiny triangular head 180 degrees to look you straight in the eyes.
I've always been fascinated by the praying mantis (which is apparently an exotic species in North America), but I never knew they were the only insects that could turn their heads.
Mantids have a flexible joint between their head and prothorax, which is likely how it's so easy for the female to rip the head of her mate after breeding, because that's a thing...
Do do do do do do... Source
42. Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake in the world that has sharks.
Lake Nicaragua in... wait for it... Nicaragua... is thought to have been part of an ocean bay once upon a time.
When it became a lake, the sea life trapped inside had to adapt as the water slowly became less and less salty.
Over 3,000 square miles in size, it is the only freshwater lake in the world that's known to contain animals usually only found in the ocean like bull sharks and swordfish.
These things happen... Source
43. Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a 'Friday the 13th'.
This one doesn't require much explanation either, but I never actually thought about it.
Is Friday the 13th really unlucky, or is it just the rotation of days on the calendar?
The next Friday the 13th is in August 2021 and there won't be another until March 2022. Are you worried, or does it all make a little more sense now?
"Of course I know how to roll a joint." - Martha Stewart Source
44. Martha Stewart reacquired her billionaire status while in prison.
America's most beloved Mom first became a billionaire in 1999 when her company went public, tripling the value of her stock, but nothing great lasts very long, and money spends.
5 years later, Martha would get herself into hot water for insider trading, conspiracy, and lying to investigators... She would serve five months in prison for her crimes. While she was locked up, though, she maintained 50% of her company's stock which would double during those months, making her a billionaire once again.
I think I'll almost certainly be writing more just like it in the future.
Thanks so much for reading!
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