This article was originally published on ScientistPlus
Not to be dramatic, but the world is filled with curious tidbits of mind-blowing knowledge. These bizarre facts about everything from our health and psychology to nature's secret superpowers make us scream internally and ask ourselves: How come nobody told us this earlier?! So get ready to get educated and pick your jaw up off the floor after reading these incredible truths.
So, get this: remember that whole lesson teachers gave us in biology class about plants and photosynthesis and all that jazz? Well, somehow, they neglected to mention the fact that plants actually spew invisible beams of light that we humans can't see whenever they photosynthesize. We're not sure how nobody told us this curious fact; it definitely seems like the most interesting part about photosynthesis. Talk about missing the point!
Speaking about invisible light - the human eye is only capable of seeing a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which means that there's quite a bit of light floating around that we can't see, such as ultraviolet rays.
This is one of our favorite facts on this list. Apparently, officers of the law in Thailand that commit some kind of wrongdoing are punished in the most peculiar of ways; these esteemed officers are made to wear Hello Kitty armbands. Why, you may ask? Honestly, we're not quite sure. We'll get back to you on that one. Maybe it's about making them feel powerless or emasculated or something along those lines?
But honestly, we have no idea how this solves things. If anything, we'd just be more inclined to commit wrongdoings if somebody made us go through the shame of wearing a Hello Kitty armband.
This is definitely one of those stories our grandparents would have preferred to keep under wraps. The history of 7up isn't as innocent as it seems. The beloved soft drink invented in 1929 by Charles Leiper Grigg used to contain a little-known ingredient known as lithium, which was supposed to act as some sort of mood stabilizer. This led to the soft drink becoming the third most popular soda in the country by the 1940s.
It was only in 1948, once the aftermath of the destructive World War Two had faded, that a ban on lithium-instilled soft drinks was set. If you ask us, that's pretty late.
It was once believed that plagues were contagious through the air (as in, all plagues were spread airborne), so people would fight the smell of sickness by inhaling sweet perfume scents or burning incense. Today, this is known to be partially true: we know that some viruses are certainly spread through the air, while others are transmitted through other means, such as bodily fluids. But times have changed when it comes to our view on perfumes fighting diseases.
But we doubt that this former misconception negatively affected the societies of the past. Given everything we know about cleanliness and hygiene in the past, those people probably could have used a few squirts of perfume every now and then anyway.
This may basically come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, but Jeff Bezos has a lot of money. Now, we aren't talking about just having a lot of money. A lot of people have a lot of money. Jeff Bezos is a different breed of rich. So rich, in fact, that spending 1.1 million to him is like the average American spending one dollar. That is just how rich he is.
And that's not all. Bezos technically makes nearly $2,500 per second. That is just wild; one of those facts definitely changed our perspective on money-related issues and whatnot.
By now, many people have figured out just how dirty most of the stuff they carry in their pockets is. Like, it's no surprise that the coins inside our wallets made quite the journey before reaching the safety of our back pocket, all the while never being washed. But what many people don't know is just how dirty their phones are. Our phones are actually dirtier than a toilet seat!
This actually makes sense when you think about it - our hands touch a wide variety of different stuff throughout the day and then often touch our phones. While we do wash our hands, we don't wash our phones.
We knew the Earth had a curious history filled with a lot of extinct life-forms that would make our knees weak just looking at them, but we didn't know just how bad it would be. Apparently, approximately 400 million years ago, the Earth was once inhabited by terrifying, huge mushrooms reaching up to 8 meters high in the sky. That's as tall as a two-story building, which is absolutely wild.
Like, that's a lot of mushrooms. We wouldn't even know what to do with that many mushrooms everywhere. This begs the question: What happened to these titanic mushrooms? Did they just shrink down?
We have absolutely no idea why, and to us, it makes zero sense, but garlic makes you smell good. Well, not immediately; if you go about munching on garlic, you're sure to have a pretty nasty edge to your breath, but garlic is helpful when it comes to body odors. This may explain why all Italian people smell so nice all the time; it has got to be the garlic.
Basically, this fact may actually be of use to those of us who suffer from pungent body odors - why not try stuffing your face with garlic the way Italians do?
Having a hard time with a troublesome kid? Is your kid being unruly, uncontrollable, and messing up everything in your beloved house? Well, if so, then this trick may just be for you. Apparently (and this is what certain scientists have proposed), kids are way more likely to do anything if they're dressed up as Batman. They tend to see even the most boring of chores as "part of the job."
So why not let your child believe he's Gotham City's one and only savior if that means he gets a little bit of extra work done in your place? Sounds great to us.
So here's the thing with coin flips - they aren't fair. What do we mean by fair, you ask? Great question; by fair, we mean that the odds of winning or losing a coin flip are 50-50. That, however, just isn't the case when it comes to flipping coins. In fact, the true odds of winning are coin toss is more akin to 51-49, biased towards the side facing up before the coin toss.
When we found out about this, it actually blew our minds. No wonder we lost all those fateful coin tosses long ago. We should've known that the game was rigged from the start.
There is a staggering amount of different apples in the world. We're willing to bet you never knew that. Go on, try guessing how many apple varieties there actually are. Okay, so get this: there are approximately 7,500 different kinds of apples. Yeah, that's wild. If a person was to eat one day, it would take him over 20 years to eat every single one of those many apple varieties.
The thing is, is that these apple varieties have been cultivated for over 3,000 years. It's not like somebody just grew these overnight. They all have a rich agricultural history.
It's commonly held that dogs are man's best friend. It appears, however, that they are also man's judicial system's best friend. In 2008, a French dog made legal history when he stepped up to the witness stand and testified in a murder case. Scooby, the name of our eye-witness, was called to the witness stand, as he was believed to be with his owner when she had tragically passed away.
The otherwise tranquil dog barked his soul out when he was shown one of the potential suspects. This turned out to be a decisive factor in the formulation of the judge's decision.
This fact may be one of the more popular ones on the list, but it's still unbelievable when you think about it. Incredibly, the human body is approximately 60% water. Truthfully, it can go up to 70% sometimes, which is even crazier. You would think that with that much water within us, we should be able to spot it somewhere in our person. That isn't the case, though. Never judge a book by its cover.
All that water is necessary for a few key bodily functions: waste disposal, cellular function, temperature regulation, and more. All of these are some of the essential things our body does to keep us afloat.
When people think of things taking their jobs, they usually think of machines performing tasks much more efficiently than a human could ever dream of. Nobody, however, thought that pigeons were a legitimate threat to the medical professional job market, but they should have! Once trained, pigeons can spot breast cancer in mammograms with the same accuracy as human doctors. This fact actually blew our minds. How do the little creatures know how to do that?
So why not just go ahead and promote a new petition to replace all those doctors with pigeons? Why not? It will definitely make hospitals that much funnier and chaotic.
So by a show of hands - who here knew that grapes apparently spontaneously combust when you put them inside microwaves? Yeah, we definitely did not know that. On the other hand, we really aren't sure how we were supposed to find that out. It's not like we would ever purposefully microwave grapes. That just makes absolutely zero sense and would ruin our grapes (which, in our books, are the best kind of fruit).
This is like one of those secret easter eggs: whatever created us put grapes in the world just to see if we would find out. There really is no other way to explain this curious fact.
There are few offenses graver than that of publicly chewing gum. It is commonly held as one of the most deplorable and despicable acts a man could ever do. Well, maybe that's taking things a bit too far, but when you look at the lawbook in Singapore, you'll realize that some people may actually believe this. Chewing gum is absolutely forbidden in Singapore, and people caught munching on it are heavily penalized.
The punishment for first-time offenders and bubble gum enthusiasts is a $1,000 fine, with second and third-time offenders facing a staggering $20,000 fine or even a two-year sentence in prison.
Space may just be the one place we would have thought to go if we ever got so tired of hearing about politics we thought our head might just pop. However, we'll have to find a new safe haven, given that astronauts are given the privilege of voting from space. Yeah, you heard us. We're actually not sure how this procedure actually works, but it does. Every election, these guys vote from space.
So does somebody go over and collect their votes? Do they have some kind of special system to make sure nobody cheats? The answers are no and yes: they get special credentials sent to their emails and can vote through there.
So this one will definitely surprise most people, given just how much we tend to think we're aware of our own mannerisms. Turns out, we aren't unless you're aware that the average person touches their face approximately 15.7 times an hour. Yeah, that's a lot. That basically means you touch your face every four minutes. That's way more than we would have guessed. Goes to show just how much we know about things.
Guess we're all kind of obsessed with ourselves after all. We would never have thought that we were so narcissistic, but the number of times we touch our faces just proved us wrong.
Ever wanted to formulate your own superhero origin story? If you're like us, you've probably fantasized and planned out every grueling detail of your superhero origin story. Pretty much every kid wanted to be a superhero at some point in their lives. Well, we have some good news and some bad news - if your origin story includes exposing yourself to a staggering amount of radiation, then you may just want to try binge-eating bananas.
The bad news is, however, that you'll need to eat a heck of a lot of them, seeing as bananas contain a minuscule amount of radiation. Yeah, bananas are radioactive.
This one goes out to all those hopeless romantics that just can't seem to get a break - when setting up your dating app profiles, make sure to set them up in the morning. Why, you ask? Well, according to science, you're actually a tad bit taller in the morning than you are in the evening. This may just be the thing to give you the edge over all those other people on dating apps.
There is a bit of perfectly sound reason underlying the whole issue of us being taller in the morning. Apparently, when spread out in a resting position for a while, our spines "decompress."
There are many, many people who are going to be completely devastated by the news that chocolate might go extinct. Not just chocolate lovers; think about all the Swiss and Belgian people who have based their entire economy on this luxury item that we all love to consume. Just imagine a world without chocolate - is that truly a world worth living in? We can't imagine life without these precious goodies.
Due to warm temperatures and changing weather conditions, we may just find ourselves in a chocolate-less world as early as 2050. That would be a tragedy. We definitely have to make sure we have chocolate in the future.
It's often said that things taste better when somebody else makes them for you. We believe in this, but we just kind of thought it was because cooking requires you to taste your work constantly, thereby ruining the experience of just getting a fresh meal handed to you on a plate and finding out what it tastes like. Science says that that isn't all there is to it, though.
Scientists are yet to understand exactly why, but they believe that there's some sort of real reason why things taste better when other people make them for you.
We have absolutely no explanation as to how or why this could be, but cheese is the most stolen ingredient by shoplifters around the world. This makes absolutely zero sense to us given just how contaminable cheese is and just how likely the shoplifters are to fall upon a bad or spoiled piece of cheese, but nevertheless, the numbers do speak for themselves. Facts are facts, and that's the end of that.
What may help make sense of this statistic is the fact that many shoplifters take their stolen cheese and sell it elsewhere in smaller markets. Now you, too, know about the shady black market of cheeses.
Charles Darwin is the Evolutionary biologist most widely known for theorizing and popularizing the notion of natural selection in his seminal work: On the Origin of Species. The book is widely considered to be one of the most influential books of all time, and Darwin's fundamental premises are still in line with a lot of current scientific discourse. What people don't know about the great naturalist, however, is that he had a knack for chairs.
What kinds of chairs? Well, office chairs. Charles Darwin was an office chair expert. He even invented the first office chair with wheels. That's just how much of an office chair head he was.
Yeah, they do. Not only that, but apparently, Coca-Cola was the first Earthly soda to make its way to the final frontier - outer space. Astronauts (literally) around the world rejoiced when they finally got their space mittens upon a Coca-Cola can be designed for outer-space consumption. Coca-Cola's space exclusivity didn't last too long, however, as Pepsi announced that they too would join in on the fun only 8 hours after the initial Coca-Cola news.
We can only imagine how those astronauts must have felt chugging a long-sought-after can of Coca-Cola, so many miles away from anything any human before them had called home.
Ah, Christmas time. The mother of all holidays. Who doesn't love Christmas? Well, the U.S. federal government wasn't too keen on the holiday, given how celebrating Christmas was banned across the entire country until Alabama stepped up to the plate and lifted the ban in 1836. The thing is, is that some of the properties of Christmas had their roots in pagan rituals, making for a love-hate relationship between the Church and Christmas.
All things considered, we definitely used to live in a country run by a bunch of grinches. Like, how could anyone ban Christmas? The most joyous of holidays? We have no idea.
You may once have wondered: When was the eraser invented? You may have then wondered further: What did they use to erase things before they invented the eraser? Did people just cross out misspelled and unwanted words and sentences? Did people just not believe in do-overs? Well, to that, we say: bread. People actually used bread to erase pencil marks before the invention of the eraser in 1770 by Edward Nairne.
Supposedly, Nairne, an 18th-century Brtish engineer, developed and marketed the first eraser in Europe. The funny thing is that he discovered the erasing properties of the rubber by accident, as he tried using bread to erase his writing, only to find out he had actually picked up a lump of rubber.
Somebody call the Academy of Classical Music because we have a new expert in all matters classical and music in the house. We are, of course, talking about none other than the common goldfish. Yeah, that little fishy you get at fairs is apparently classical training, seeing as they can apparently distinguish between the classical music of Bach and that of Stravinsky. That is, at least, what some scientists believe.
Who would have guessed that these innocent, unassuming creatures were actually so cultured? Well, someone obviously did, given that he took the time to test our beloved goldfish's classical ear.
When humans do all kinds of weird things just to get a little bit of attention, we just kind of brush it off as regular human behavior. It's no surprise people tell all sorts of lies to get attention or their way in life. But when pandas do these kinds of things, it makes us raise a brow or two. So what do pandas do for attention? That's a great question.
Pandas are such attention seekers that they actually fake pregnancies to be treated like queens. Yeah. Even humans don't go that far in their attention-seeking ways. In a way, it's impressive.
We use a lot of machinery to explore the final frontier known as outer space. Unfortunately, a hefty amount of those machines outdo their own usefulness and just end up floating around with no true purpose. Similarly, a lot of unmanned satellites get into small accidents and shed a bit of their metal bodies, leaving for more mechanical debris and space junk. This happens time and time again until, surprise, surprise, there's a lot of space junk.
How much space junk? Well, a lot. We're talking about approximately 29 thousand man-made objects orbiting the Earth. That is way more than we would have guessed, but the numbers don't lie.
One can only assume that honey is made out of a magical, extra-terrestrial substance of some sort (maybe some kind of moon rock extract or something like that), given that it pretty much has no expiration date as opposed to everything else in the world. Honey has an absurdly long external shelf life. That's why we love buying honey - it doesn't matter if we use it every day or not, we'll use it sometime.
The only question remaining is how those bees managed to do it; how did they make such a substance impervious to the passing of time? We must study the bees carefully.
Right, you're probably thinking to yourself: History facts? Uhh.. yawn! Boring! But history can actually be really cool, especially when it's contextualized properly. Need an example? Well, how's this for an example: Remember Cleopatra? That famed, beautiful Ancient Egyptian queen? Well, she was born closer to the dawn of the age of the computer and the invention of the iPhone than she was to the establishment of the Great Pyramids.
This, by all accounts, is weird as heck. It just goes to show you how much longevity the Ancient Egyptians had in them as a civilization that they lasted for so long.
Well, it may not be the most powerful ingredient in the world right now, but there was a case for saying such a thing in the past. When we say past, we specifically mean medieval Europe, as it was then when medieval peasants used to pay their taxes and rent in black pepper. This makes sense, given how the economy wasn't mostly market-based as it is today but an agricultural economy.
Plus, all the nobles loved their pepper. Black pepper had been considered a luxury item in Ancient Rome way before the medieval era, and that carried on into the dark ages too.
Jellyfish are some of the world's most mysterious and enigmatic creatures. There's even one type of jellyfish that can reverse the process of biological aging, effectively making it almost immortal, but we've got a different bone to pick with jellyfish (setting aside the fact that jellyfish have no bones) - did you know that jellyfish are made of 98% water and that they can easily evaporate because of that?
Yeah, we didn't know that either. Turns out those jellyfish critters harbor some very mystical secrets that are bound to pique our interests. They are just so majestic and mysterious.
It truly is as they say: the hair is the window to the soul. That is what they say, right? No? Well, anyways, people feel very strongly about their hair. Some people spend a lot of hard-earned cash buying hair products just to make sure that their hair looks as good as they know it can. Well, those people may want to check this out: Salmon is really good for your hair.
Why is salmon good for your hair, you ask? Well, to answer that, we'd have to talk about a little thing known as omega-3, one of the essential fats our body requires, which also strengthens the hair.
We have no idea what went through the Greek authors of Greece's national anthem, but it seems like they had a lot to say. After all, the Greek national anthem. The Hymn of Liberty, written in 1823, has over 158 disparate verses. According to our uncalculated calculations, singing the whole thing would take more time than running a marathon. Okay, that probably isn't true. But it's still absurdly long. 158 verses?
That's way too much. For comparison, modern pop songs have approximately two or three verses, while the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, has around four verses. The more you know.
Well, this may come as a surprise to absolutely nobody at all, but according to a few recent studies, approximately half of the academic papers in the world aren't read by anyone but their authors and editors. We know this is pretty obvious to anyone whose written an academic paper, but the amount of work going unread is truly baffling. It's one of those things that you could've figured out for yourself but still end up surprising you.
It really is kind of sad and tragic when you think about it. So much work, so much research going completely unnoticed. We wonder what society would be like if we had read these works.
Sorry couch potatoes, but we're here to break some bad news for you. This may come as a bit of a bummer to anyone who planned on Netflix and Chilling their way through life, but apparently, running just one hour could add 7 hours to your life. Well, it isn't that easy - but this is a statistic some scientists proposed. All the more reason to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
So why not get off that couch, turn off the T.V. or Youtube or whatever you were just binging, and hit the mean streets? Do a little bit of roadwork, as they say.
Some people are just born talented. Some people are born ambidextrous. Some people are born with ambidextrous talent. There's absolutely no question that Leonardo Da Vinci's talented. That much everyone knows. But we definitely didn't know just how motorically talented he was - apparently, the renaissance artist could draw with one hand while writing with the other. Now, remember - this isn't just some regular doodling; we're talking about Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings.
This would be impressive enough if some random dude managed to draw something passable while writing a paragraph that made coherent sense, but full-blown Leonardo Da Vinci drawings? That's just wild.
Pandas are a lot of things. They're cute. They're fluffy. They're unfortunately going extinct. They're incredibly unique compared to the other creatures in the world, both inside and out. But what may just be the most unique panda trait is that they're radically anti-bedroom. What do we mean by that, you ask? Well, pandas pretty much sleep anywhere they want. They have no regular sleeping area, unlike most animals.
We, for one, could not do without our beloved bed and bedroom. We've spent way too much time, money, and effort decorating it and designing our bed to be our private heaven.