Today is a brand new day and before it turns into yet another small and insignificant spot somewhere in a 365-day bender, there’s time to make it worthwhile. So today, we baked you a special treat of a list that features some of the most entertaining facts you probably didn’t know.
Thanks to our dear friends and the powerhouse of Reddit, “Today I Learned,” we have quite a read to scroll through right below. The group’s whopping 26.2 million members prove that too many of us love that sense of discovery, no matter how big or small it be. And often all it takes is one specific fact to pump up your trivia muscle!
TIL that the FTC actually recommends against organizations using regular password changing policies as it only encourages users to use simple, easy to remember passwords that they then only alter in predictable ways.
TIL James Blunt(singer) developed scurvy in university when he ate only meat for two months ‘out of principle’ to annoy vegetarian classmates
TIL 110 years ago Dr Charles Campbell constructed 30 feet high bat roost to fight malaria. Bats that lived in the roost ate the mosquitoes and Mitchell’s lake municipality was malaria-free in 4 years.
TIL According to a 2011 study, SpongeBob is messing with the memory retention of children, impairing their “readiness for learning.” Findings show that allowing preschoolers to watch the series causes short-term disruptions in mental function and attention span due to frequent camera cut scenes.
TIL The Vatican has its own telescope staffed by priests, and has previously been given awards for the pursuit of scientific research.
TIL that the song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by the artist Skrillex was observed as a mosquito repellent due to its low-frequency vibrations. The scientists also found that mosquitoes exposed to the song had sex “far less often” than other mosquitos without music.
TIL A group of engineering students from Purdue University reported that its licking machine, modeled after a human tongue, took an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
TIL that the first child protective services organization in the world was created after the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals realized laws protecting animals from abuse were stronger than laws protecting children
TIL ancient Egyptians would give opium to quiet crying babies. This practice was also a popular way to calm babies in the Victorian era, but it sometimes caused infants to starve to death as they were kept in a constant state of narcotism.
TIL that Stalin struggled with depression and summoned renowned Russian psychiatrist Vladimir Bekhterev to examine him. After the examination Bekhterev said only one word – “paranoiac”. He died on the very next day from what most believed was poisoning.
TIL there is a full taxidermed whale in a Swedish museum that was open to the public until a couple was caught making love inside it
TIL that the destruction of Hiroshima was caused by only half a gram of matter being converted to energy: the weight of a butterfly
TIL Mexico was the only country to protest the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. To honor that support, there is a square in Vienna named “Mexikoplatz”
TIL that in China 209 BC two generals were going to be late which was punishable by death. They realized that the punish for rebellion was the same as the one for being late, so they decided to rebel and created an uprising.
TIL Vince Gilligan strongly regretted introducing the machine gun to Breaking Bad’s last season and found writing a convincing explanation for it so difficult that he nearly abandoned the plot device out of frustration
TIL that in 1939 an experiment was conducted at the University of Iowa on orphans in which the purpose was to induce stuttering in otherwise normally speaking children. Dubbed the “monster study”, it caused lifelong psychological issues in some of the subjects.
TIL the sex of alligator hatchlings is based purely on temperature while incubating. At 86F or lower, the babies will all be female; at 93F or higher, they will all be male. The mother can sense these changes in temperature and will alter the nest to maintain an optimum temperature.
TIL of garden hermits, people encouraged to dress as druids and live in caves and grottoes on the estates of rich people effectively as decoration in the 18th century, usually receiving room and board as payment. One such hermit was fired three weeks into a seven year term after being found drinking at a local pub.
TIL about a man who shot a protected saguaro cactus down with his shotgun in 1982. The cactus fell on him, crushing and impaling him to death.
TIL that the two least profitable movies of all time both take place on Mars. Mars Needs Moms, an animated Disney film, lost $143 million, and John Carter, a live action Disney film, lost nearly $127 million.
TIL that Enya lives in a castle in Ireland, and when Bo Burnham wanted to include Orinoco Flow in his film, he had to send her a hand written letter
TIL in the early 2000’s Serena and Venus Williams, along with their father Richard, were regularly accused of “match fixing” when the sisters competed against one another. One incident, where Venus pulled out entirely from a semifinal match against her sister (tendinitis), had fans demanding refunds
TIL Bruce Springsteen’s mother would rent him guitars for $6 a week in 1957. Springsteen bought his first guitar as a teenager in 1964 for $18.95. Later on, his mother would take out a loan to buy him a $60 Kent guitar.
TIL Americans Watched Over 57 Billion Minutes Of The Office In 2020
TIL a quantum logic clock at the Univ. of Colorado Boulder is so accurate, it would not lose 1 second in 33 billion years (about 2.5 times the age of the universe)
TIL that Smarties candy was originally made with machines that were built to make gunpowder pellets for ammunition during World War I.
TIL kamikaze pilots weren’t 100% volunteer. Pilots were asked to put their hand up in a big group if they didn’t want to volunteer. Amid peer pressure, hardly anyone was able to say no to the mission.
TIL that the opossum and the possum are not the same animal. The opossum lives in North America and the possum lives in Australia and SE Asia. While they are both marsupials, they belong to different orders. An example of a possum would be the sugar glider, which weighs less than 5 ounces.
TIL A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus. It takes Venus longer to rotate once on its axis than to complete one orbit of the Sun. That’s 243 Earth days to rotate once, and 225 Earth days to complete one orbit of the Sun.
TIL that Filipino churches built during Spain’s colonial period used millions of egg whites in the concrete to make it more durable. This is also why Filipino desserts often use lots of egg yolks- many were developed to use up all the extra yolks from construction projects
TIl an english garbage man won the lottery for 10 million pounds (25 mill USD in today’s money), lost all of it then 8 years later reapplied for his old job as a garbage man.
TIL that a man bet his friend that he could make any house famous. To accomplish this, he wrote thousands of letters requesting services at 54 Berners Street. So many people showed up on the day that parts of London were shut down. The man (who watched it unfold from across the street) won the bet.
TIL that half of all panda births result in twins, however, it is very rare for both cubs to survive as giant pandas almost always abandon a cub if they give birth to more than one
TIL in 1967 students at the University of Colorado voted to name their new cafeteria after Colorado’s most well-known cannibal, Alfred Packer.
TIL Nokia 1100 phone, originally sold for under $100, reached the price of over $32,000 in 2009 as criminals discovered that it can receive SMS messages for another phone number, thus allowing to intercept sensitive information like one-time passwords for online banking
TIL Anchorage, Alaska, is almost equidistant from New York City, Tokyo, and Frankfurt, Germany (via the polar route), and lies within 10 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world
TIL pepperoni is an American invention. It’s similar to the spicy salamis of southern Italy, but it also has elements characteristic of German sausages (smokiness, beef content, and fine grind). In Italian, “peperoni” just means “bell peppers”.
TIL that “granny style” is the most efficient throwing technique for free throws in basketball. The only reason no one does it seems to be because the players are afraid of ridicule. There is no rule against it.
TIL Elizabeth Ann is a black-footed ferret, the first U.S. endangered species to be cloned. The animal was cloned using the frozen cells from Willa, a black-footed female ferret who died in the 1980s and had no living descendants.
TIL: President Nixon, wife Pat, and Henry Kissinger took lessons and practiced for months to learn to use chopsticks properly, in preparation for the dinner banquet on his visit to China in 1972
TIL that in 1457 golf was banned in Scotland by king James II, because he felt that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing archery. It remained in banned until 1502, when James IV became a golfer.
TIL That the US Army tradition of naming helicopters after Native American Tribes (something that was once an official regulation) dates to 1947 and General Hamilton Howze who felt that helicopters were meant to attack the flank and fade away…in the tradition of the Plains Indian tribes.
TIL President Nixon ordered the Secret Service guarding the White House to have fancy uniforms similar to what palace guards wear in other countries. Revealed in 1970, almost no one liked the new uniforms, including the US Secret Service agents. The uniforms were sold to an Iowa Marching Band.
TIL that there are actually fireflies all along the west coast of the U.S.; they just prefer to be active during the day.
TIL that d’Armond Speers tried to teach his son Klingon language, used by Klingons in Star Trek series, as a first language. The boy answered mostly in English which his mother talked to him in and at the age of 5 stopped answering dad when he was speaking Klingon to him.
TIL In 1888 Alfred Nobel (of Nobel Prize fame) was astonished to read his own obituary titled “The merchant of death is dead”. Actually it was his brother Ludvig who died but the article disconcerted Nobel about how he would be remembered and inspired him to change his will.
TIL that James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, developed a new proof for the Pythagorean theorem while discussing math with some members of Congress. His proof was published in a peer reviewed journal
TIL drawings of battles between knights and snails appear in the margins of many texts from the 13th and 14th centuries. There is no known explanation for the meaning behind this recurring depiction.
TIL that the Beatles’ final concert for a paying audience wasn’t sold out, leaving over 15,000 unsold seats, largely because no one realized it would be their last concert appearance.
TIL the ‘Fake Shemp’ – using one actor to fill in for another – is now prohibited by Screen Actors Guild rules, as a result of a lawsuit filed by Crispin Glover over his replacement in Back to the Future II
TIL: According to Dan Aykroyd 80 percent of the dialogue of Ghostbusters was improv. “The rest was just structure and exposition.”
TIL that during Civil War, the North blockaded salt imports and destroyed salt mines in the South to sabotage food preservation. The food shortages resulted in general unrest and contributed to surrender.
TIL The 1941 American movie drama ‘Citizen Kane’ was originally a box office flop. The movie failed to recoup its cost at the box office. Radio City Music Hall’s management refused to screen Citizen Kane for its premiere. Today, Citizen Kane is considered the Greatest American Film of All Time.
TIL: There’s a guy who is responsible for maintaining the database of time zones which computers and operating systems use to configure locales. His name is Paul Eggert. And he’s a computer scientist based in California.
TIL of Lady Lucy Houston, a British philanthropist who, after WWI, recognized the need for a strong Air Force… when the British government refused, she funded development of what became the Spitfire. She passed before WWII, and never saw how much that investment paid off.
TIL that screensavers were originally created to save CRT screens from burning an image into the display due to prolonged, unchanged use.
TIL David Lucas, a producer of the 1976 rock hit “Don’t Fear The Reaper”, really did want more cowbell, while band members felt he was crazy. In a 2005 interview, the bassist recalled that the cowbell “really pulled the track together”.
TIL that submarines use a generator to extract oxygen from water using electrolysis.
TIL In 2012 as a Valentine’s Day promotion, Pizza Hut offered a $10,010 “proposal package” that included $10 in pizza and breadsticks, limo service, a photographer, fireworks, and a ruby engagement ring.
TIL traditional battleships are no longer used by any navy. Most were decommissioned following World War II, but the US maintained 4 that were in and out of service until the 1990s.
TIL that in 2013, Star Wars was dubbed into Navajo, making it the first major motion picture translated into a Native American language